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Market Niches Can Equal Agent Riches:
The Long-Tail in Online Marketing for Realtors

In Real Estate, as in much of business, being all things to all people, is an impossible business model to chase.

The Long and Short of It.
In Business 'The Long Tail' concept states that you can sell more 'less popular' items than you can of popular items. A common example is that Netflix rents more niche movies than popular ones.

So what does this mean to real estate agents? That you can make a business in marketing niche markets and that it can be often times more profitable.

The #1 real estate related website in the United States is Realtor.com. Knowing the Google keywords people use to find Realtor.com will tell you a lot about online consumer behavior and will give you a lot to think about in your own online lead generation efforts as they relate to niche markets.

The Google keywords used most often to find Realtor.com are "Homes for Sale" and the location in which they are searching.

Why is this? Because people instinctively begin their home buying process by searching properties' to get a sense of the market.

Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Real Estate Companies etc ALL allow online consumers to search for almost all 'Homes for Sale' throughout the country.

So how are most agents trying to generate leads with their websites? By offering a small subset of capabilities and nothing unique or otherwise beneficial to people. In other words, agents are trying to compete with Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow with the proverbial 'one arm tied behind their back.'

Good luck with that.

Trying to compete head-to-head with a company with millions of dollars to spend on technology and marketing is a losing proposition!!

The Good and The Bad

The Irony is that local real estate agents are in the best position to capitalize on their local market knowledge, but they typically do the worst job at capitalizing this knowledge online.

Local agents know what local buyers and sellers are searching for (in real time! A showing is the most up-to-date search result and one that has immediate feedback capabilities....something rarely accomplished on a computer).

In the world of real estate online lead generation, the most obvious worst offender of this principle are the Real Estate Agents that offer website visitors the ubiquitous "Search the MLS" or "Property Search" as the defining features of their websites. Some of the more cutting edge agents even have "Search by Map" prominently featured as if searching real estate by map was invented yesterday. It wasn't and pretty much EVERY website offers it.

In other words agents are trying to compete with Realtor.com and all the other real estate websites by offering infinitely less data and capabilities.

How is that working for you?

Offering people and online consumers 'the same but less' is not a sustainable business model.

Grab the market by The Long Tail
Agents should focus their efforts on niches so that

  1. They have a better chance of being found and noticed
  2. That they have a better chance at being relevant to some people (a market) vs. not relevant to anyone (the market).

And this has important implications in all your online marketing as well.

"Search Homes for Sale" / "Property Search"

99.9% of agents allow online consumers to search for 'Homes for Sale' with the main segmentation being "My Listings" sometimes euphemistically entitled "Featured Listings."

To the online consumer this looks and feels like 'every other agent and website' on the Internet. When the people start thinking you are like 'everyone else on the Internet' that is not a good thing. In addition, they can go to one of over dozens of real estate websites and not only search every location in the country, they can typically do a lot of analytics that your agent website does not come close to offering. You are trying to complete with websites that have millions of dollars to spend in marketing and advertising.

Create a Niche -> Market the Niche -> Get Found -> Get Results
Local Real Estate Agents work in defined geographical areas. In every agent's 'area' there are geographical submarkets and property submarkets.

What geographical submarkets or particular property types are in your market that you know people buy and sell?

Identify some market niches, and then using either your MLS or website IDX provider's tools, create and save predefined property searches that return just those properties when clicked on as a link. In other words, give people what they want. You certainly know your market better than a corporate website out of New York, San Francisco or wherever it is that corporate is based!

A great example of this is Dave & Suzy Cardwell's pre-defined property search for Crow Canyon Country Club in the San Ramon Valley area of Northern California. While most all other agents in their area show "Search the MLS" (which Dave & Suzy have as well), they allow online consumers to One Click Search several key niche markets that they know people buying in their area are interested in (technology provider AgentAchieve).

Property Subtypes are also a great niche to market and let people One Click Search. Rick Miner, in Seattle markets several property niches such as Waterfront and View Homes at his website (Northwest MLS IDX, member of Michael Russer Online Dominance).

Easier, Faster and More Relevant is Always Better

Put yourself in the online consumers shoes. Let's imagine 'you' are interested in buying a property in Crow Canyon Country Club. Are you more likely to click on a link for Crow Canyon Country Club or Search the MLS? Or that you are interested in Waterfront or View Homes of Seattle....would you more likely click on Waterfront and View Homes or Property Search?

The beautiful thing about allowing people to One Click Search niche markets is, is that on the one hand you are giving people that want this information the information they want upfront, fast and easy. And secondly, you are not turning off 'everyone else' who just wants to search your general MLS listings.

If people have to search your website or click too much to 'hopefully get' what they are looking for, then you are going to lose a lot of lead generation opportunities.

The Funnel
Of all the websites on the Internet, only Craigslist allows you to post your listing (what the online consumers are searching for) along with a links to the tools and information online consumers also want at YOUR website vs. sending them somewhere else and to someone else!

By providing links to the tools and information that online consumers want around your listing that the online consumer is searching for, you create a funnel that will bring the online consumer to you vs. sending them to someone else like a sieve.

Surround your listing with the tools and information at your website and leverage online consumer interest and generate both website traffic and leads! Create your funnel!

Market the Niche -> Get Found

There are many places that you can insert live links to predefined searches for the niche markets in your area. Some of the best include:

  1. Your website (but how do they find your website?)
  2. Your online marketing including Craig's List and your eFlyers

Training Schedule

Success Stories

I am so grateful to be working for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServies Innovative Real Estate now. The way the company handles conflict or difference of opinion is so admirable. It's obvious even in disagreements that Scott Nordby is a Godly man. Innovative responds with love. I spent my first year of RE with Remax and was beginning to believe that maybe real estate was not for me. I thought it seemed worldly and self serving, then I learned about Innovative. I keep being blown away at how wonderfully different these two offices operate. I joined Innovative in October and I am working on my 7th transaction right now. I only closed 4 in my entire year with Remax. I don't say that to pat myself on the back. I believe God opened the flood gates for me after I found the place where I belong. I just want to say THANK YOU to Scott and Lora for being brave enough to live out their faith, even in the workplace!! It has changed my life. Grateful!!

-Misti

Misti Tarnowski, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

"I had to start with affirmations.  My mind needs it desperately!  Thanks for today it was so much fun, time flew by!"

(Regarding Manifest Success Program & Coach, Heidi Marshall)

Mary Rodriguez, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

After being at a corporate agency, I was nervous about joining a non-corporate office. Innovative was the only small company I even considered and I have nothing but good things to say about them. I feel cared about and supported. My needs are met right away, both personally and professionally. Innovative possesses a high level of integrity and is progressive, open-minded, and focused on personal growth. I truly appreciate being here.

Hayley Sykes, 8 Years Experience
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

Why we chose Innovative: Jason and I chose to take our team to Innovative because we knew with the support from our leaders, Scott and Lora and the supporting staff we could succeed and take our business far! We have a lot of fun at Innovative and love all the new innovative ideas that we can bring to our business putting us ahead of the competition!

Kathi and Jason Weaver, Realtors
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

"I just wanted to pass on my experience.  I had a really weird deal that was moving fast and I was dealing with a buyers broker who was not totally "with it".  Throughout the entire process I had so much help and guidance.  I have been blown away by the atmosphere and support from every single person that I have met.  

 

Sometimes it just feels like Christmas when I realize how much I receive from Innovative.  I no longer feel like it's scary to go out and try to get work.

 

Happy I made the change!"

 

-Lisa

Lisa Chesney, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

Scott 

Thank you so much for referring me to Patty Olson in our BHHS Relocation department. What an amazing resource to have when we are in need of an agent outside of our area. In this case we did not have any local offices so she looked to other brokerages in the area to find help. On top of finding an agent for me she will also handle all of the referral paperwork for me. I will definitely be using this system anytime I am in need with a client moving out of Denver. 

 

 -Mike Crosby

Mike Crosby, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

“Coming on board with Berkshire Hathaway Innovative Home Services has been one of the wisest career moves I’ve ever made. The atmosphere promotes a feeling of community that is hard to find at other real estate firms. The staff is supported in a such a way that I feel encouraged to bring my best attributes to the table. A perfect example of support and kindness”.

 

-Stef Shock

Stef Shock, Coach
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

"By the way - Thank You SOOOOO much for your time today - YOU and the training are 2nd to NONE!"

(Regarding Manifest Success Program & Coach, Heidi Marshall)

Eric Villanyi, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

"First off (I know this is not a hand written note, but I wanted to get this to you asap)  THANK YOU!!!  Today was inspirational!  As a new agent it is always hard to figure out if what you are doing is right, you get discouraged because everyone around you is circling themselves with transactions.  Today gave me the courage and tenacity to stick with it.  To better myself, and be better for my clients.  I am so thankful for you and for this journey that I am on.  I love your energy, and hop one day to be leading Manifest with your energy and spirit!!!"

(Regarding Manifest Success Program & Coach, Heidi Marshall)

Corine Doman, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

"Thank you for an amazing class today!  I'm feeling quite inspired!"

(Regarding Manifest Success Program & Coach, Heidi Marshall)

Ryan Garvey, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate

"Have to say you really motivated the room today...That's rare!"

(Regarding Manifest Success Program & Coach, Heidi Marshall)

Travis Franz, Realtor
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate
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