The online world has taken over a large percentage of marketing and branding for commercial real estate agents.  Certainly that is the case with listed properties but the process is largely overlooked when it comes to personal marketing.  It is time to consider just what you can do for yourself in lifting your brand as a property specialist.

So what has bought this on?  Last week I was talking to a group of 5 or so agents from a large and successful CBD brokerage.  It was clear to me that the agents were doing nothing for themselves online, and their brokerage was simply servicing listings online.  Nothing of consequence was being done to expand the search engine footprint to help the business consolidate within its Office Sales and Leasing brand.  Over the next few years that real estate business will go backwards online (if it hasn’t already) and will be lost in a sea of websites.  They will have a confused online presence and the search engines will struggle to find that real estate business or any of their agents.

This is a fact to be respected:

‘The people that search for real estate and or real estate services will use a search term to do so.  To answer their requirements, the search engines will provide the answers and the brokerages that match the search phrase.’

It directly follows that those brokerages that drive a strong online brand that is matched to the typical client search phrase will get seen much more effectively and frequently as a brokerage online.

Here is an experiment for you.  Go to the Google search engine (forget about Bing and Yahoo for this as they do not have sufficient capture and use by the searching public); type in your industry specialty and location.  That would be something like the following:

  • Office Leasing Detroit
  • Retail Property Sales Los Angeles
  • Industrial Warehouse Leasing Sydney
  • Shopping Center Management Pretoria

Look at what search results come up.  Can you see your brokerage?  Can you see yourself?  Are you on the first page of Google?

Your profile should be defined in your Sales Plan for the coming year.

Both you and your brokerage should be focused on just one or a few (up to 3) very simple search engine terms or phrases as part of marketing online.  From that point onwards you can take some solid steps in online marketing and branding.  You can do things that will help the search engines see you as a property specialist for the desired segment(s).

Within a few short years there will be two groups of agents and brokers around the industry:

  1. Those that just market property listings and have a website as part of that process.
  2. Those that have comprehensively done something else to improve their profile online with the speciality that is relevant to their location and market.

What group do you think will win the business?  The answer is obvious.

This is what typically happens online for most agents or brokerages:

  • They dabble with social media portals such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linked in
  • They send out an email newsletter once or twice a month
  • They rely on the industry portals to generate enquiry for listings

This is a marketing disaster for any agent and the broker.  All that is happening here is that the agent is letting the industry portal take over the marketing process of quality listings.  There are just so many other things that can and should be done.  Right now that brokerage and agent would be lucky if they are on page 10 of a Google search relative to their location and property type.

I go back to the point that many brokerages and even the big ones are letting this happen (the big brokerages should know better you would think – sadly most don’t).  Sometimes a brokerage is just too big to connect the website people to the agency personnel.  That is why agents are typically overlooked at an individual level in online marketing.  In a brokerage, all agents should be doing something to lift their online profile.  If all agents do that, it helps the business substantially in leads and search results.

Now is the time to ramp up your online presence for the coming year.  Look at your real estate brokerage marketing standards and systems.

So what can individuals do to promote themselves as industry specialists?  Here are some things to get you started:

  1. Determine the search phrase to suit your specialty as an agent (think about what a client would type into Google).  Do not make it generic; make it very specific.  (ie ‘Retail Property Leasing San Francisco’) .
  2. Set up a blog using your website or http://blogger.com or http://wordpress.com/ to write and load specific articles about and covering your search phrase.
  3. Write articles that inform and help people relative to the target topic you have selected.  Do not under any circumstances advertise property on your blog; let the websites do that.
  4. The articles should be about 250 to 500 words in length.  Write articles a few times a week and load them to the blog.
  5. Auto link your Twitter feed, Facebook feed, and Linked in feed to pick up your blog entries as you do them.  The quality of your blog entries will be important and should be helpful for people wanting to sell, lease, or manage their property in your location.
  6. Link some of your articles to your Newsletter emails.
  7. Set up a Google + account and link your articles to Google +.  Encourage some of your clients to be part of your circles on Google +.

As simple as these issues are, most brokers and agents don’t do them.  You can increase your online profile as an agent substantially by doing these things.  All they take is a bit of time and organization.

You can get a special report about online marketing in commercial real estate right here:

repott on online marketing for real estate agents
Online marketing tips for commercial real estate brokers.

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