5 Reasons Why Real Estate and Property Management Companies Should Embrace Local SEO

There are about 11 million companies, organizations, and business all over the world with Facebook pages and about 9 million who have claimed their Google Places Pages. These were the figures given by Facebook and Google as of June 2012. The reason for this boom is clearly due to the massive movement of Google to go local on its algorithm. What this means is that Google will now take the locale of a business when ranking its website, blog, or any relevant content about the business on searches.

This is the new trend. Unfortunately, not all real estate and property management companies see it. That being said if you are a real estate agent or property manager still on the fence on whether to claim your Google Places Page or set up a Facebook Business Page, here are 5 logical reasons to get you over that fence and into the realm of Google Search Domination.

More Visibility
The number one reason for getting into the Local SEO picture is because you want your business, your name, and your services to be seen by your target market online, particularly on Google. With a well-placed and optimized Google Places listing or page, you can be sure that your business will show up in the top 7 ranks for the keywords relevant to your business and locale. Facebook pages may not be put you in the top 7, but it will help you dominate searches on page 1 or page 2 of the results.

More Credibility
Let's face it, with a Google+ page, a Google Places listing, or a Facebook page in a search result, you are actually giving your business, name, and brand a big boost in the credibility scheme of things. This is due to the fact that these pages will contain crucial information such as your address, contact numbers, your website link, videos, and images.

Go Mobile
Having a smartphone and using it to hook up to the Internet is the trend these days. And in a year or two, you may soon find that a larger number of people have shifted to mobile devices rather than the traditional notebooks and desktop computers when searching for stuff on the net. Well, you can ride that trend to the bank if you have a Google Places Page and a Facebook page.

More Conversions
You are seen more, your business is more credible, and you have gone mobile - what does that mean? Yes, you guessed it right - more leads, more listings, more closed deals, and definitely more money for you.

Not Much Effort in It
Local SEO isn't something that will cost you a lot of money to do. Nor will it deprive you of the quality time you need with your family. It is relatively easy to get things going. Simply set up a Google Places page by signing up for Google+. Give Google the info it needs from you and verify that the page is owned by you. Once you are done, it is all about building your presence online to strengthen that new listing you just claimed. This will entail setting up a Facebook page, getting people to submit reviews for your business or service, and having people blog about you.

Local SEO is where the whole Internet is moving into with regards to searches. In the real estate game, being seen locally (in the areas you cover) is extremely important and right up your alley, so to speak. Now is the time to grab this trend by the balls and yank hard.

Dave G. Caufield is a video SEO Guru and owns a Property Management company. He has used his expertise to help other real estate and property management companies like this property management company in Melbourne and this Palmerston North Property Management outfit in New Zealand in optimizing their operations by using online video.

The Real Estate Market in Austin, Texas

With its enticing mix of affordability, amenities and high quality of life, Austin, Texas, is one of the top opportunities in the United States for great real estate deals. The city benefits from modest home prices as well as a wealth of local amenities and attractions all conveniently situated in the heart of Texas. Whether you're a young professional looking for a starter home, a family, a retiree or anyone else in between, the Austin real estate market has plenty to offer.

Affordable Homes in a Wide Range of Choices

Austin boasts home prices well below the national average, making it a fantastic deal for recent college graduates, retirees and families alike. The city also enjoys competitive interest rates and one of the most stable housing markets in the nation, offering a safe investment even in troubled economic times.

Home choices in Austin are just as diverse and varied as the city itself. Single-family homes and modern townhouses abound in the city as do multifamily homes like duplexes and triplexes. Condos can also be found across the city, offering excellent amenities at reasonable prices. Whatever type of home you're looking for, Austin is sure to have it at a great price.

Excellent Amenities and Attractions Contribute to High Quality of Life

In addition to its robust and highly affordable housing market, Austin also offers a wealth of amenities and attractions to enjoy. The city is also one of Texas' most livable and friendliest cities.

Austin boasts excellent public and private schools as well as the flagship branch of the University of Texas. The city's economy is vibrant and strong, anchored by growth sectors like technology, business, higher education, government and healthcare. Austin also boasts a world-class transportation infrastructure that includes major highways like Interstate 35, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and public transportation via the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Finally, the city offers a wide array of shops, restaurants and nightlife spots, a low crime rate and mild, sunny weather year round.

Attractions in the city of Austin include Zilker Park, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Austin Art Museum and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The city also prides itself as "The Live Music Capital of the World" and plays host to a multitude of festivals and community events such as the South by Southwest Music and Film Festivals, the Austin Film Festival, the Austin City Limits Festival and many more.

Austin: A Great Place to Buy Real Estate

With its affordable home prices, high livability and excellent amenities and attractions, Austin is one of the top real estate opportunities in Texas. From single-family homes to luxurious condos, the real estate options in this vibrant and lively Texas city are unmatched.

4 Tips For Making A Good Real Estate Business Plan

The Makings of a Good Real Estate Business Plan

Real estate business isn't something you dive into nose first and worry about what to do later; that's a surefire way of failing from the start. On the contrary, it is something which should be approached only once you have a careful and well thought-out plan under your hand. Needless to say, the exact plan which you are going to make will be very subjective, but regardless of that there are some steps which you can take to ease the whole process and at least give yourself some sense of direction as to where to go with your business plan. Here are a few steps which you would do well to go through when making your plan.

Finding out the Why

First off, you shouldn't be going into this kind of business without having some kind of driving force behind you... something which lights your fire and keeps you going. You need to define your purpose, what you are trying to achieve with this business on a personal level; if you are only chasing money you will inevitably get bored, inattentive, and chances are you'll slip somewhere and ruin everything.

Marking your Goals

The second step in writing up your real estate business plan is to determine the goals you are going to be chasing after. The surest way to do this would be to analyze your current situation, or what you have managed to do within the year. Have you achieved the goals you envisioned yourself completing by this stage in your life? What kind of progress, or regress, are you dealing with? Basically, you will need to set certain goals (usually people prefer to set goals in terms of money) depending on how things have been going so far.

You should make two types of goals: short-term and long-term. With the long-term goals you shouldn't really hold back and think big, imagining what you want to attain five to ten years from now. When it comes to your short-term goals, remain realistic and calculated, meaning you shouldn't expect to become a millionaire in a couple of weeks.

The Plan of Action

This may very well be the hardest part of the plan as you will actually need to put together a method for making your goals reality. The first part in making a plan of action would be to give yourself some value by defining your niche and becoming a specialist in it. Valued proposition always plays a huge role in whether or not clients trust you and should never be neglected.

The next part in making a good real estate business plan is to find a way to generate leads. If you've been in this business for some time as an agent you will probably need to fine-tune the ways you already use to generate leads. If you are not, you should definitely consider various types of marketing such article directories, video marketing, or perhaps even commercials if you can afford them.

When making a business plan in real estate it is also extremely important to set up a development plan for the future. Make sure to know in advance what you are going to be researching for your business, which is good if you are looking to try some new and intriguing concepts for your business but aren't sure they are going to actually work.

Needless to say, you probably aren't going to be working alone because let's face it, a lone real estate agent won't be able to manage this kind of business by him or herself. You will need to have a team with you, and the next step in making this business plan for real estate lies in creating an organizational structure. While it may not sound like much, each member of your team needs to know what he or she is doing and how they fit into your plan.

Keeping Track of Everything

Naturally, in order to make sure that your business is right on track to achieve your goals you will need to monitor it, and one of the first things you should do is schedule expense reviews every year. In addition, you should also look into implementing a production-check plan which would allow you to monitor your progress in regards to your goals on a monthly basis. The easiest way to do that would be to look at the leads and sales generated during the month, not to mention the total profits.

All in all, making a real estate business plan is indeed a lot of work, but if you go at it methodically with a calculated mind and base everything on numbers and calculations, you should be just fine.

Learn more about building a profitable real estate business by visiting my blog below.

Marketing Strategy Vital For Property Agency Success

For an estate agency or letting agency to be successful, a carefully orchestrated and diverse marketing strategy is essential.

Planning Your Marketing Strategy

Whether you're running or managing a new estate or letting agency, or you've been in the business a while and need to revitalise your fortunes, the most important thing is to have a plan and then act on it.

A well-balanced marketing strategy covers both sides of the equation - your vendor and/or landlord clients and prospective applicants. If you're already established, it's a good idea to take stock of where your marketing strengths and weaknesses currently lie, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

First and foremost, you want to increase the number of people who A) Know of your existence, B) understand what you can offer them, and C) trust you. To do these three things a varied marketing strategy is essential. Potential marketing channels include:

* Local press - ads in newspapers, on the radio, and possibly even on regional TV

* Online - Your own website, pay-per-click ads on Google and other search engines, listings directories, banner advertising on relevant third party websites, social media etc. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is also essential to ensure that your website ranks highly in the organic search results.

* Branded sponsorship, of local sports teams for example

* Business networking events, such as breakfast meetings and trade shows

* Setting up and hosting your own events to give potential clients the chance to get to know you and trust you

The latter two can be particularly powerful methods of marketing yourself, as they are face-to-face and proactive. Nothing is more memorable than actually having a conversation with someone. And when an honest and sincere personal encounter is followed up with a professionally-printed business card or other promotional material, the cumulative effect can be highly effective in converting interested parties into new clients.

Training & Consultancy To Reinvigorate Your Marketing Strategy

You can also explore specialist training courses and consultancy for your agency that don't just show you the marketing ropes, but help you develop a comprehensive strategy for growing your business.

Such marketing assistance is aimed specifically at helping you to increase the amount of interest in your business from potential clients, the number of client enquiries you receive, plus the number of actual instructions and subsequent lets achieved.

As well as an introduction to the basics of marketing, such an approach will help you to identify the all-important 'unique selling points' of your business, and incorporating these into a balanced marketing strategy.

Property Agency Training provide a range of intensive one-day courses and tailored training programmes to help develop the skills of new and established estate and letting agencies. In particular, the popular 1-day 'Bringing In The Business' course explores how to develop and apply a successful property agency marketing strategy.

4 Great Real Estate Marketing Tools

A Look at the Most Effective Marketing Tools

When it comes to being a real estate agent perhaps the most important skill you need to have is advertising yourself. Chances are that the money you are going to earn will be largely based on your performance, and if you can't attract any clients to your offers, then chances are that you'll need to look for a new line of work as soon as possible. The good thing is that in this day and age we have more real estate marketing tools available to us than ever before, and so here is a look at some of the more popular options marketers are making use of today.

Social Networks

While social networks certainly aren't an extremely recent phenomenon, their popularity has exploded over the past years with Facebook and Twitter becoming some of the most used sites on the entire planet. These networks are perfect to advertise your offers and generate leads as information can travel faster than what pretty much anyone has ever seen before. Naturally, you can't just keep on spamming your offers there and you will have to build a certain relationship with your potential clients, but if you play your cards right in the end you will end up with hundreds of people who are actually interested in the kind of service you have to offer them, attentively waiting for any updates that you make.

The best part about it all is that social networks are free to use and subscribe to, meaning these real estate marketing tools are only going to cost you in terms of time and effort, which is precisely what an agent who has just gotten into business needs.

Video Marketing

At the moment YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the planet, with the first one being Google... and they actually own YouTube. More than 2 billion people visit YouTube every day making it the perfect ground for a video marketing campaign. At first, you will need to build a reputation for yourself in one way or another, whether you will use humorous house presentations or try to sway your clients using the beauty of pictures is entirely up to you. If you use the right keywords, making enthralling videos and optimize them properly for the search engines, it is very possible that you will be getting more than a dozen thousand viewers per day, and with these kinds of numbers at least some of them are bound to end up checking you out. Also, it should be mentioned that humans are visual creatures and videos can be a very good way of winning their confidence and wooing your potential clients with what you have to offer them.

Real Estate Listings

There is another great real estate marketing tool known as real estate listings. There are basically websites out there on the internet which are dedicated to nothing but allowing people to find the real estate they need. You should definitely look into websites such as HotPads and Trulia which allow you to post real estate listings for free, and it is guaranteed that hundreds of thousands of people will have access to them (although it won't mean they will all flock it). In some cases the real estate business ends up becoming a numbers game, and these sites will definitely help you win it.

What's great about these websites is that they allow their users to find precisely what they are looking for, giving them the ability to search real estate based on various parameters and criteria, such as the number of bedrooms, the pricing, whether or not animals are allowed, the total square footage, and so on and so forth. This means that the people who will contact you because they are interested in what you have to offer have already decided that the house will be suitable for them, which simply makes your job of selling it to them a whole lot easier.

The Conventional Methods

Finally, if you are feeling a bit more conventional and would like to use the time-tested real estate marketing tools, then there are a couple of options open to you, although you should really go for them once you have exhausted the options presented to you above. You could try and make your own commercial, although without professional equipment, acting and editing, it will be a bit tough to pull off. You could also rent space on giant billboards, place advertisements in the newspapers and on classified websites such as Craigslist.

A Few Things to Implement in Your Real Estate Marketing Plan

When making your real estate marketing plan there are certain things which probably won't demand a lot of your time or attention, such as setting your goals for the future or determining your motivation for making it in this business. There is however a part of the real estate marketing plan with which everybody seems to struggle: marketing. Even though most agents are good at making sales pitches, they simply cannot find a way to make their voices heard in this sea of humans that is the internet (because that's where most of the marketing happens nowadays). Here is a look at a few things you can do in order to expand your influence and get yourself noticed from the crowd.

Building a Good Relationship with your Buyers

To start things off, you will need to build up a relationship with your potential buyers. Selling real estate isn't something which just happens overnight; it can sometimes be a very long process and you will end up talking a lot with your clients, meaning that they better take a liking to you or they many never consider hiring your services. How exactly do you get in good with them? Well, at this point you better put on your charmer mask and send them post cards, or perhaps even giving them a call, striking up a casual conversation during which you need to find a way to transition into what you have to offer them.

You could also send emails to your potential buyers, offering them bits of information and tips about what homeowners should be doing in today's economy, or if you are really dedicated to your job, send them small gifts to show your appreciation.

The Great Benefits of Social Media

Another very popular way of getting yourself noticed in this day and age is to use social media, which is something that should already be in your marketing plan for real estate. If it's not, then simply take a few minutes to consider this information: Facebook has almost one billion users, and 56% of them claim that they are much more likely to recommend and purchase some kind of brand themselves after becoming a fan of it.

To put it in other words, if you do things the right way you can actually spread the word about your brand and get people to lean towards it if they are ever caught in a dilemma, simply by creating a fan page on Facebook and getting people to "like" it. Also, on social media word travels faster than ever before. For example, when the Domodedovo Bomb blew up in the Russian airport, president Medvedev learned about the whole fiasco through Twitter. So, as you can see, social networks work faster than Russian intelligence services, which is a pretty good sign for real estate marketers who are looking to spread the word about their brand.

Using Real Estate Listings to Your Advantage

Another advertising tactic you should definitely consider including in order to make an effective marketing plan for profitable real estate is the use of online real estate listings. There are websites out there which you can find using your search engine of choice which allow you to post your own listings... free of charge. The best part is that these free websites, which include Trulia, Zillow and HotPads, are some of the most popular websites on the internet right now as thousands upon thousands of people go on them every day to check the house listings. All you need to do is simply make a list of these websites and head to each one of them and put your listings up there.

There is something special about these listings which will make your job infinitely easier: the people who contact you are only the ones who are actually interested what you have to offer. You see, these websites allow those who post the listings to provide very detailed descriptions of the real estate's various characteristics, and what's more, it allows the users to search real estate based on them. So, to word it differently, these people already know what you have to offer and so you really won't need as much effort to convince them.

Naturally, there is much more than that to making a good real estate business plan, but rest assured that if you get the marketing part right there won't be much stopping you from achieving the success you have been dreaming of all these years.

Real Estate Marketing With YouTube

When it comes to being successful in a business one of the most important things you need to work on is exposure because after all, even if you have the best offers in the world you won't sell anything unless people know about it. There are various ways for people to increase their exposure, including buying billboard signs, making television and radio commercials. However, the problem with these traditional methods is that they cost quite a lot of money, something only the bigger companies can afford. Fortunately though, there are various other ways to advertise yourself, and one of the better ones is real estate marketing with YouTube.

Why real estate marketing with YouTube? Well, to start things off it should be noted that every single day YouTube receives more than two billion views in total; in a month, YouTube receives more than 60 billion visits, which is roughly eight times the Earth's population (needless to say those aren't unique visits). In addition, the average person dedicates at least fifteen minutes of his or her day to browse YouTube, and every minute more than 24 hours of video are being uploaded. All in all, YouTube has become the most popular search engine on the internet, right behind Google, who actually owns YouTube.

Of course, you can't just slap a video together in a couple of minutes and call it a day. Just like any other type of marketing, video marketing is an art which needs to be done right if you hope to attract thousands of viewers per day and actually get them interested in what you have to offer. To start things off, let's look at how the video itself should be.

What makes a good real estate marketing video? Well, for starters you will need to decide whether you will simply display property you have to sell or narrate along with it. You should only choose the latter option if you are confident that you can get a good script which will make you come across as someone who is simply presenting a piece of property instead of selling anything. You don't want to talk too much because after all, the images are going to show the viewer all they need. If you are using pictures, make sure you are not just showing empty rooms; they need to look lived in, complete with furniture and various accessories so the viewers can imagine themselves in that home more easily.

In the end, the video needs to tickle their curiosity and get them to give the offer a close inspection. Also, make sure to keep the video as short as possible because as was expected, various sources such as Wistia confirm that the shorter a video is, the more engaging it is for the viewer and the more they are likely to sit through it.

Now that that's over with, let's have a look at some of the more technical details of real estate marketing with YouTube. As you know, YouTube comes up quite often as a result when someone does a Google search and if you want your video to gain traffic that way you will need to properly optimize it. First of all, make sure that the main keyword you are using appears in the title of your video. Second, place the keyword in your description, perhaps even starting it with a URL directing to your website. Put the keyword in the video tags section. You should even consider putting the keyword in the audio of your video if you can seeing as how YouTube transcribes videos now. Finally, make sure that the name of your file includes the keywords.

The last step you should take for your YouTube real estate marketing campaign is to ping the video's URL to the search engines. There are various websites which allow you to ping a link to search engines, and if you don't want to ping to every website manually there are programs which do it for you.

Once you are done optimizing your real estate video all you will need to do is simply sit back, relax and wait as the video pays its dividend. It is very possible that in the first few days you won't get much traffic, but after that is should definitely pick up. If chances are that you didn't choose keywords which were popular enough. If the traffic is coming but nobody is clicking on your links, then it is very possible that you will need to go back to the drawing board for the video itself.