The Importance of Local Content Strategies

Learn from neighborhood pages and other hyper-local strategies.


There was a great article published recently about “Putting IDX Out To Pasture,” from Joel Burslem of 1000Watt Consulting. The article drives home that as more real estate consumers move towards mobile real estate searching, the listing portals are stealing online traffic market share. This is due to the listing portals’ superior products in this space. Brokerages just don’t have the time to keep up with features and “wow” factor; however, it’s not impossible. The article offers great advice, including the fact that implementing more neighborhood and lifestyle information will project you as the local expert in your respective area.

It’s All About Local Content

While brokers may not be able to launch the best mobile app (one caveat I will touch on later), they can implement better local content strategies than portals.

Let’s start with a granular example and bring it back to the big picture. When our technology consulting team works with brokerages, we help them create a neighborhood content strategy. We start with the MLS, RPR account or broker metrics and pull data on local areas, zip codes and cities. This is your starting point. Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, regurgitate that onto your website in some mess of statistics. Instead, create a catchy infographic. They are easy to make with tools such as Pictochart and Info.gram, but there are other online infographic tools out there as well.

In addition to the infographics, consumers want insights, not data. So, interpret this data into layman’s terms and place that on your website into easily decipherable images and text.

Take It Up a Notch
That’s the hyperlocal example, now let’s look big picture. Take this same strategy and put it on steroids. Do it for every neighborhood in your market area. Here’s a look at one year of doing this for one neighborhood a week:

Monday: Create your infographic for neighborhood or city and put it on a corresponding neighborhood page on your website. Create the webpage with rich keywords like “real estate in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.” Create a detailed description about life in Highlands Ranch. Interpret the data with a short write up and voilà, you’re created a neighbor-hood page. Ideally, this neighborhood page includes listings that match the area. Check the capabilities of your website vendor to hone your search. Total time: 1-2 hours

Tuesday:
Encourage a top-producing agent to shoot a quick video about a specific neighborhood. Focus on lifestyle and trends, and leave out the sales pitch. Place the video on the neighborhood page. Keep it short (30 seconds max). Share the video on your social media channels and drive traffic back to your website. Total time: Less than 1 hour

Wednesday:
Set up a small budget in Google AdWords, such as $50 a month, to drive search engine clicks to this neighborhood page. Remember, this is a hyper-local strategy, so don’t be intimidated by the high cost per clicks. It is unlikely there is stiff competition for a specific neighborhood, so expect to pay less than 50 cents a click on average. For $50, you can drive over 100 clicks to this page. Make sure you have a conversion or contact form on the page. Total time: 1-hour setup

Thursday:
Write a lifestyle blog post about this neighborhood and focus on schools, activities, events and more. Feed this from your blog to your neighborhood page or simply add it straight to your neighborhood page. This is unique SEO content to drive traffic from the search engines. You can use content from numerous sources such as city-data.com, Sitegeist (app) or niche.com. There are many sources with great school content such as RealtyTrac and Onboard Informatics. Share that content on social media, then place on your neighborhood page. Total time: 1-2 hours

Friday:
Just like with any good exercise program, a day off won’t kill you. However, if you are ambitious, take all the great content you just created and place it into a local drip marketing campaign with links back to your website. This way, new leads you derive from that neighborhood page or customers you acquire elsewhere who are interested in that neighborhood, will get valuable local content each time that neighborhood page is updated.

Monday: Rinse and repeat with a new neighborhood

In one week, you can create a neighborhood page rich with local, unique content. You have generated traffic using Google AdWords and a social media campaign. You have built inbound links that are shared by your agents and consumers in that market. You have developed video and a drip marketing campaign centered around this unique pocket of your market. Commit to this for a year with regular updates to your already created neighborhood pages, and you have a full-blown and effective strategy (with followup/relationship marketing tactics built in) for 52 neighborhoods.

The Advanced Route
Want to take the advanced route? Add in two more strategies. First, target prospective job seekers in that area using Google’s Display Network, but only focus on three sites. We like careerbuilder.com, simplyhired.com and indeed.com. Target your ad to job seekers looking in that area and drive the traffic to your neighborhood page.

Then, place a mobile ad on Trulia and Zillow for corresponding zip codes of home shoppers and drive traffic to your new neighborhood page. Have the ad say something like, “Want the best local information for “enter neighborhood,” click here.”

The Mobile Experience
Earlier in the article, I said it is hard for brokers to compete with the portals on a mobile playing surface. There are providers that offer a unique mobile experience that can compete, however it takes a big commitment. There is nothing wrong with advertising your mobile app on the listing portals site as a mobile ad. It’s a great way to drive downloads of your app to prospective home seekers already on a mobile device. Take a look at vendors such as HomeNdo, Virtual Agent, Virtual Properties and Mobile Realty Apps to handle your online presence.

In a research study by REAL Trends, we recently found that 31 percent of the top 500 brokerage firms did not have a mobile-optimized website, and nearly 80 percent did not have a mobile app. With almost 50 percent of all real estate web traffic visiting on a mobile device, it is time for brokerages to acknowledge this. I am not ready to “put IDX out to pasture,” so let’s compete!


 

This article originally appeared in the December issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2014

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