Tag Archives: professional content marketing

Online Marketing for Real Estate Agents – Tips & Tricks

Editor’s Note: There are numerous books, websites, and other mediums devoted to assisting real estate agents who want to grow their business. Few of these mediums, however, provide substance when it comes to leveraging the possibilities of online marketing. Mary Beth Downing is a Dayton, Ohio real estate agent who has gotten off to a fast start in her career by leveraging the web. In the article below, she shares how she has achieved early success.

Breaking in as a real estate agent is incredibly difficult. This difficulty is the reason why so many agents quit within their first few years, out of frustration. I’ve seen realtor discussion boards in which many agents say that one should only expect to sell three to four homes in their first year. As of this writing, I’ve had my license for slightly over five months and I’ve put eight homes under contract. The most exciting part is that each month has been better than the previous. I’m excited to use this article to share how I’m going about growing my business.

The biggest thing that has surprised me, early on, is the extent to which many new agents entirely devote their time to trying to meet people face to face as opposed to leveraging online resources. These online resources can include paid ads as well as things which you own outright (more on this below). It’s understandable that many new agents don’t want to put money into building a website or into online listings. In my opinion, however, there’s a flaw in refusing to do so. If you take the approach that “I’m not spending any money and I’ll spend my time networking and trying to meet people” then you’re only saving money if you value your time at $0. Given that time is valuable, and can’t be replaced, I find online marketing to be highly effective.

In my first five months I’ve focused on three main areas: my website, my blog, and video. I’ll discuss each of these in turn.

Real estate agents can use their website to attract and capture leads

Most agents don’t invest the time or money to create a website for themselves. This is the first mistake as having a web presence helps to validate you in the eyes of potential clients. Simply, having a website, however, isn’t enough; too many agents build a basic page for the sake of having one, but don’t truly leverage their site. You can use your website to attract clients who would have never heard of you otherwise. You can then use it to capture more of those leads and turn them into signed contracts.

I didn’t want a website that simply said “Hi, this is me. I’m a real estate agent.” I wanted something that would actually provide value to potential clients. This is why I had my webmaster integrate the MLS (through third-party software) into my site. This allows people to search listings of homes for sale through my site instead of through a service such as Zillow. One of the big benefits of this has been that individual home listings tend to show up well in organic search results on Google and Bing. So when people see a for sale sign, and search for the specific address to get more information, my site’s listing of the property shows up. People then land on my website and call me from there. This results in leads with no additional time or meaningful financial investment on my part.

Another big benefit is that the MLS integration into my website allows me to automate the follow-up process. The software I use, to integrate the MLS, allows me to add a lead’s email and other information to a database. That lead will then receive automated emails whenever a new listing, which meets their desired criteria, comes on the market. This means that, instead of me having to call someone about a new listing, they receive it automatically. This helps people to be informed of listings they may be interested in and, importantly, ensures that the information is coming from me. I could spend hours, every day, researching listings and calling people or I could have an automated system which handles this task. I prefer the latter.

My blog is crucial to my strategy of driving seller listings

As I mentioned above, most realtors don’t create a website. Of the ones who do, very few create a blog and maintain it. Blogging is crucial to my strategy going forward. The thing about a blog post is that it can be the gift that keeps on giving. Say, for example, that I write an article on “how to price your home for sale” and it gets clicked on just five times a month in search. That’s five clicks every month that I pay no money for and spend no time on after I’ve written the article. In other words, investing a little bit of time provides me with web content, which I own outright, that will continue to give me indefinite exposure to potential

clients. This is why I wrote a comprehensive series on the subject of “selling your home.” I see my blog as a crucial component to obtaining listings without expending extensive time or money.

Video is important to helping me convert leads into clients

One of the first things I did after starting my business is hire a videographer to make the following “intro” video:

This has been vital in terms of helping me convert leads into clients. This has happened in two ways.

First, the client with the highest dollar contract I’ve signed so far explicitly mentioned my video when they first contacted me. In other words, these clients found me on the web and were considering calling me. They watched my video and it helped clinch their decision. Second, and interestingly, is another call I received. I market heavily on Zillow for a given zip code. My video appears on my Zillow profile as well as on my website. I received a call from a homeowner in the zip code I market to. She stated that she had been receiving letters from realtors offering to assist with selling her home (a common tactic for obtaining listings). She went onto Zillow to get an idea of what her home may be worth as part of deciding whether or not she wanted to sell it. Since I market to her zip code, she came across my Zillow profile and watched my video. She then contacted me regarding the listing of her home and, again, explicitly mentioned my video.

The foregoing are two examples of how my video introduces me to clients and helps me to convert more leads into signed contracts. I own this video outright. That means it’s another gift that keeps on giving. It’s another way that I’m getting clients, on an ongoing basis, without having to expend large amounts of time or pay ongoing amounts of money.

I strongly believe that many real estate agents are missing out on their opportunity to leverage the web. This is actually good news. The fact that agents aren’t leveraging the web means that it’s not as competitive as one may think. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to leverage one’s time and money when growing their business.

I owe a big thanks to Amanda Clark and the team at Grammar Chic for inviting me to write on this topic.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Client Spotlight, Content Marketing, Social Media

Don’t Let Bad Content Ruin Your SEO Rankings

You’re probably familiar with the old SEO axiom: Content is king. That’s a little bit of an oversimplification, but there’s a lot of truth to it. If you’re trying to enact a savvy SEO campaign and achieve higher Google rankings for your business website, strong content is crucial. It’s job #1. It’s an absolute deal-breaker.

And why is that? Think about it from Google’s point of view. Like any business, Google wants to provide its customers (search engine users) with the best product possible (relevant search results). That means content that adequately answers their questions. If you want to rank well, that’s the kind of content you need to create.

But if good content can boost rankings, bad content can sink them. Unfortunately, bad content is all too plentiful. Here are a few ways in which bad content can disrupt your SEO undertaking—and not in a good way.

Bad Content Means Bad SEO

Content that’s too flimsy. While we are adamant that there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is wise to be as thorough as you can be, completely addressing the topic at hand. Just ask yourself: Would this be satisfactory to a search engine user who wants to learn more about this topic or issue—or would a search engine user come away with more questions than answers?

Content that lacks the right keywords. When it comes to keywords, moderation is key. If you jam in so many keywords that your content feels stilted or robotic, your rankings will slip. Do include a few target keywords in strategic locations, however—titles, section subheadings, meta descriptions, and sprinkled throughout your body content.

Content that’s not localized. For retail companies or brick-and-mortar businesses, some geographically specific keywords are vital. Some examples include keywords like [City] plumbing company, [City] accountants, [City] pizza restaurant, etc.

Content that doesn’t offer a good UX. User experience is a key SEO ranking factor, so make sure that any visitor to your page feels totally welcome, and that it’s easy for users to find the content they’re after. We recommend plenty of white space; bullet points whenever appropriate; section subheadings; and, of course, a mobile-friendly layout.

Content that doesn’t offer value. There’s nothing wrong with developing content to sell your products, but remember that any content you create is meant to be informative and educational; if all you write is marketing fluff, you’re not helping Google provide its customers with a strong product.

Content that lacks internal linking. One more hallmark of strong content? It makes it easy for users to navigate to related resources. Make sure to include links to relevant resource pages or blog posts whenever you can.

Get the Help You Need Creating Strong Content

SEO can get really technical, and those technicalities are important—but they don’t mean anything if you don’t have good content to offer. That’s where we come in. Grammar Chic, Inc. is adept at content creation that delights readers while also pleasing the search algorithms. And we’d love to talk with you about your company’s content writing and SEO needs.

Schedule a consultation today: Reach out at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

Write Content That Improves Dwell Time. Here’s How.

Is your website successful?

There are a number of different metrics you could use to answer this question—and in truth, there’s no one factor that determines website success. As you consider different ways to evaluate your online presence, though, one you should consider is dwell time.

What is Dwell Time? And Why Does It Matter?

What is dwell time, exactly? Simply put, it’s the amount of time readers spend on your website. In a sense, it’s almost the opposite of bounce rate—that is, the rate at which website visitors navigate away from your site. If you have high dwell time, it means your readers have found some reason to stay on your site for longer chunks of time—probably because you’ve produced some sort of content that’s engaged them.

Dwell time is by no means a vanity metric; it has real impact on your marketing efforts. For one thing, it’s an SEO ranking signal. If your dwell time is high, that tells the Google algorithms that your website is providing readers with something valuable—and that’s something Google loves.

It can also be good news for conversion rates. If someone’s staying on your site for long periods of time, that person is obviously interested in something you’re doing.

The question is, how can you improve the dwell time on your website?

How Can Your Content Improve Dwell Time?

Here are just a few tips to keep in mind:

Write a compelling headline, with content that matches. The first step to keeping people on the page is attracting them to the page—and that means writing a headline that promises real value. Don’t do clickbait, and don’t do bait-and-switch; make sure your headline offers something substantive, and your content delivers on that promise.

Go deep. While there’s no magic word count you need to hit, it is important to always do your subject justice; a quick and surface-deep post isn’t going to hold anyone’s attention for long. Take the time to go into real depth, offer some concrete illustrations, etc.

Make your content digestible. It’s also important for your website to be easy to read—and that means plenty of white space, section sub-headings, bulleted lists where applicable, and some images to break up the text.

Do some internal linking. One good way to keep users on your site is to provide a trail of crumbs that leads them from one topic to another—specifically through internal linking, providing a clear path between relevant topics.

Update your content as needed. A blog post about Google algorithms circa 2014 (for example) is hardly relevant in 2018—and thus, there’s little reason for readers to spend any kind of time with it. Make sure you freshen up your content as needed to ensure it maintains some value and resonance.

Get the Content You Need to Keep Readers on the Page

As you seek to keep your readers engaged, consider hiring a content partner with ample experience in SEO-driven copywriting. Grammar Chic, Inc. can provide you with the words you need to improve dwell time, Google search rankings, and customer engagement.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation: Visit www.grammarchic.net or call 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Writing, Content Writing, Web Content

5 Content Errors That Cause Your Search Rankings to Slip

Search engine rankings don’t happen by accident; everything you do, marketing-wise, either helps or hurts your search engine presence. This includes the content you write for your website. Great content can appeal to Google’s search bots and cause your rankings to climb, while poor content can have the opposite effect—either making your rankings collapse, or worse, actively incurring a Google penalty.

In other words, content errors can be truly costly from an SEO point of view. Here are five of the main ones you want to avoid.

Content That’s Poorly Optimized

There are a couple of different traps you can fall into here: Either failing to optimize at all, or being overly aggressive about it. As is so often the case, the middle ground is best.

  • Each page of Web content gives you some invaluable opportunities for keyword optimization—including in the meta description, the SEO title, in headings and subheadings, and even in the body content. Don’t squander these opportunities! Use keywords judiciously and strategically.
  • At the same time, don’t come on too strong. Remember that your content always needs to read smoothly and organically. Don’t try to shoehorn too many keywords into your content, to the point that it’s clunky or cumbersome to read.

Content That’s Poorly Organized

Remember that a lot of your readers—especially those who are reading on a mobile device, which should be more than half of your total audience—will effectively be skimming. The last thing they want is a huge, unbroken wall of text. Not only does this make your content off-putting to human readers, but it also impedes your ability to rank well within voice search queries.

Some content organization tips:

  • Write short paragraphs and short sentence whenever possible.
  • Use subheadings to break your content into digestible segments.
  • Employ bullet points and numbered lists whenever you can.
  • Use images to make your content easier on the eyes.

Content That’s Too Thin

Users go to Google for answers—and Google rewards content that provides those answers. As such, your #1 content goal should always be to offer something of substantive value to the reader.

  • Think in terms of user intent; why would someone be seeking out your content? What questions should you be answering?
  • Consider using a Q&A format to emphasize the value in your content; note that this is another good voice search strategy.
  • Don’t worry about word count so much as providing full, complete information for your readers. Make each piece of Web content a treasure trove, rich in value-adding information.
  • Include links to relevant resources. Both internal and external links are valuable.

Content That’s Not Localized

If your company has a local, brick-and-mortar presence, you’ll want to ensure that your website content is appropriately localized. Some tips:

  • Include geographically-specific keywords, as naturally as possible.
  • Include your NAP (name, address, and phone number) information on every page. Make sure it’s a phone number with local area code.
  • Augment your content marketing efforts by seeking Google and Facebook reviews from your local customers—a great way to bolster your online visibility.

Content That’s Not Made to Convert

While good content is always written to offer value, first and foremost, it should also help you move the sales needle—however subtly. Some suggestions:

  • When appropriate, include a lead-capturing form at the bottom of your content.
  • Always place a call to action at the end of your content; this is a good place to include that NAP information.
  • Look for opportunities to position your product or service as the answer to your readers’ problems; express your unique value proposition, focusing on the benefits you offer to consumers.

Write Content That Ranks AND Converts

Good content needs to accomplish much—ranking, informing, conveying authority, converting—without falling into any of these traps. We can help you develop content that does all of this and more. Call Grammar Chic’s team to schedule a consultation today. Find us at www.grammarchic.net, or 803-831-7444.

Leave a comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Content Writing, Web Content

Why Your Company Should Move Beyond Content Marketing Freelancers

home-office-336373_1280

These days, there aren’t many business owners who seriously dispute the value of original, branded content. It can be proven, with graphs and charts, that YouTube videos increase brand engagement and boost website traffic; that blog posts can be invaluable for bolstering SEO; that e-books and white papers can be unparalleled tools for generating leads. The list goes on and on.

What business owners do question is how best to achieve their content goals. Some take on the tough job of content creation themselves, which is something we admire. Others choose to enlist freelancers. Certainly, the Internet is full of resources that make it easy to track down freelance writers and content creators, and in some cases this approach can work wonderfully.

There is another option that we would obviously recommend most highly, which is engaging the services of a content writing firm—like Grammar Chic, Inc. For companies that have grown past freelancers, this is the logical next step. Allow us to provide a few reasons why.

As your content needs grow, you’ll need to hit bigger volume goals. A freelancer can work well when you’re looking for a blog post each week, but what happens when you need 40 articles churned out, a full website content revamp, or something similarly ambitious? A lone freelancer won’t be able to keep up with that brisk production pace, but a full writing team, with a deep bench of content creators, will.

Freelancers may not have the breadth of experience you need. An integrated marketing campaign will require a wide range of content—not just blog posts but e-books, marketing emails, FAQ pages, how-tos, and more. Each of these content types calls for a different skillset—something you’ll find on a writing team, but not necessarily with a lone freelancer.

Proving ROI is something many freelancers will struggle with. It is inaccurate to say that content ROI cannot be proven; in fact, Grammar Chic routinely provides clients with reports and statistics that show just what kind of results our content is getting. This is a capability that freelance writers simply might not have.

Writing companies will have a wider network of resources to call on. Looking to get a blog post syndicated, or to have a press release distributed through a reputable PR newswire? Freelancers may not have these connections—but a company like Grammar Chic does.

A writing company will provide critical dependability. The worst-case scenario, content-wise, would be for a writer to quit on you in the middle of a big content push, leaving you to find and train someone new. Freelancers are much more likely to do this than a writing company is; a company like Grammar Chic puts its professional reputation on the line when it enters into a contract with a new client, and always sticks to the promises made.

There are some other key distinctions we could name, too—and we’d love to talk with you about them one-on-one. Start the conversation today. Contact Grammar Chic’s deep bench of writers by calling 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog Writing, Brand Management, Business Writing, Content Marketing, Content Writing

Facebook is Rolling Out Local Business Verification Badges. Here’s Why You Should Get One.

fbk-certified-702x336

Have you ever been on Twitter or Facebook and noticed an account with a little blue checkmark beside its name—say, the account for a celebrity, a musician, a professional athlete, or a politician?

These check marks show that the account is verified. All this means is that it’s the real deal. When you see Chris Rock on Twitter with a blue check mark beside his name, that means that it really is the Chris Rock—not a fan and not an imposter. By contrast, if you see a Chris Rock account without the checkmark, that’s probably a Chris Rock fan page—still funny, maybe, but not affiliated with the actual guy.

According to Marketing Land, Facebook has rolled out a new verification system—this time marked by gray badges, to distinguish from the blue ones. While blue is still the color for celebrities, gray is now used to verify and legitimize local businesses. The feature is being rolled out to businesses across several countries, including the United States and Great Britain.

For verified businesses, the gray checkmarks will now show up beside the business name in Facebook searches and on the account page itself. For companies looking to get verified, the process is fairly simple. All you’ll need is a couple minutes of time and a business phone number. Details are available here.

This is something we recommend local businesses do, and for a couple of reasons. One of the stated reasons from Facebook is to ensure that consumers are finding the authentic business listing. A lot of companies have duplicate pages on Facebook, perhaps created by former employees or perhaps generated through social media “check-ins.” The gray badge lets consumers know that they have found the real, official business listing.

And piggybacking off that point, verification badges provide consumer confidence. Your business has to be fairly legitimate to qualify for this—it needs a real phone number and a physical address—so opting to get verified is a sign that you’re running a real operation. It’s a sign that consumers can confidently do business with you.

For businesses not able to qualify for the gray checkmark—perhaps because they don’t have physical locations that consumers can visit—there are other ways to ensure credibility, such as using testimonials, sharing customer reviews, and showcasing thought leadership. But if you do qualify for the gray checkmark, there’s really no reason not to get one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brand Management, Content Marketing, Social Media

The Ten Commandments of Content Marketing

iStock_000026784544XSmall

You may already do content marketing for your brand; perhaps it’s something you’ve been doing for a long time now. Still, it never hurts to be reminded of the fundamentals—the basic dos and don’ts that will keep your content marketing efficient, effective, and ever on track.

The ten rules we have compiled here are basic, but foundational: You won’t have a good content strategy without them, and you won’t get results. And because these rules are so basic, we can say that they really are rules, more or less etched into stone. We doubt you will find many exceptions to these ten precepts.

So, with no further adieu… our stone tablets of content marketing:

  1. Thou shalt esteem quality over all else. Don’t commit idolatry with SEO gimmicks or fall into the heresy of content marketing “short cuts.” Everything you do should be in service of quality, first and foremost—content that is well-written, polished, organized, and value-adding. Sacrificing quality is content marketing’s cardinal sin.
  2. Thou shalt serve thy customer, for all thy days. Selfishness is another unforgivable offense. If you want your content marketing to be effective, you have to develop it in service to your customers and your audience, first and foremost; help, provide value, or simply entertain. By putting your customers first you will be, in effect, putting your brand first, as well.
  3. Thou shalt sell without selling. There’s nothing wrong with casting your products and services in the best possible light, of course—but content marketing is not about the hard sell. It’s about building relationships and trust over time. Don’t exasperate your audience by going into “sell” mode all the time; instead, entice them to your brand by offering free guidance and value.
  4. Thou shalt not market without a strategy. Hopefully, you have a marketing plan that you’re working from, or at the very least a written expression of your company mission, values, and goals. Make these documents your marketing Bible, and use them to guide you forward at all times.
  5. Thou shalt post new content regularly. If you’re not there, your customers won’t be, either. Feed the content monster and ensure brand visibility. Post new stuff regularly and consistently.
  6. Thou shalt write like a human, not like a corporation. People like doing business with other people, not with faceless corporate entities—so make sure you humanize your brand with a unique voice, with humor, with compassion, and more.
  7.  Thou shalt not overdo it. Don’t spread yourself too think by attempting to post 10 times daily to a dozen different social platforms; be judicious and practical, and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  8. Thou shalt not rush it. Content marketing is about building relationships—and that takes time. Don’t expect to see huge results overnight.
  9. Thou shalt review thy content marketing plan on a monthly basis. Audit your content and your strategy to make sure that you’re making an impact, and tweak/revise as needed.
  10. Thou shalt not forsake data. If you’re not tracking your results and measuring your profess, you have no idea whether you’re advancing toward your goals.

Follow these content marketing commandments and they will surely lead to some sublime reward; neglect them and there could be hell to pay.

For more guidance, contact Grammar Chic at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

1 Comment

Filed under Content Marketing, Social Media