SEO — search engine optimization — is a suite of best practices aimed at two goals:
Reaching the top of any significant Google search doesn't happen by chance. It's possible only when you practice search engine optimization throughout your website. Although it might seem like an intimidating prospect, SEO becomes much easier when you have the right resources in place.
SEO Is Your Key to Affordable Organic Leads for Your Website
Your real estate website is one of your most important assets. In fact, it's second only to you in its power to deliver business value.
You're the star of your brand — and you'll always be at center stage. But there's one pesky thing about humans, even real estate agents: We have to sleep at night. Even when you're doing something else, your website is always hard at work on your behalf, introducing people to your brand.
Making your website work for you should be one of your biggest goals in 2022, especially if you're early in your career. A website that attracts, qualifies, and converts leads helps take a lot of the pressure off your business. You no longer need to hustle constantly for new prospects.
And that means you can spend time up-leveling your skills and deepening existing relationships.
All in all, real estate agents who don't find a way to create the right balance are on their way to burnout. The most reliable way to yield ROI from your website is to make sure it appears prominently in search, and the only programmatic way to do that is to practice SEO.
In our SEO services for real estate, we've consistently seen small, mid-sized, and large agencies reach thousands of new leads after implementing best practices in search engine marketing. That adds up to less than $10 per organic lead, just 0.001% of what a single transaction could be worth.
Even solo real estate agents can stand shoulder to shoulder with their larger competitors if they choose a long-term focus on SEO. Unlike online advertising, SEO delivers compounding benefits in organic traffic that are virtually free of charge. By comparison, ads stop working for you as soon as you stop paying.
Use SEO for months and even the wealthiest rival can't come along and reproduce your success.
And the sooner you get started, the sooner you'll see results.
How to Get Started with SEO for Real Estate
With DeltaNET 6, the premier CRM for real estate, you can get off to a running start on SEO. But even if you want to take a do-it-yourself approach, SEO isn't really as fearsome as it appears. By knowing some of the basics, you'll have much more power to influence your digital marketing's direction in the future.
Here are the fundamentals that will turn you into an SEO-savvy real estate agent:
Once you see results from SEO, you'll wonder how you ever did without it. Contact us to learn more about its role in real estate digital marketing.
At Delta Media Group, our mission statement is literally: "Automate to Elevate Life," so it should come as no surprise that 2021 was a year of constant innovation for our team. Of course, this challenges us to constantly look for ways to automate processes within our business, and more importantly, automate processes for the agents and brokerages that utilize our all-in-one CRM & website platform, the DeltaNET®. With this in mind, I wanted to look at some of the biggest technology updates we saw in the real estate industry and what to expect in 2022:
First and foremost, I believe that automated marketing tools are the biggest time saver offered to a real estate agent. Building high-quality marketing designs for things like new listings, "just sold" postcards or multi-page brochures can be a huge time sink. Earlier this year, we officially launched our Creative Studio™, which allows agents to quickly gain access to dozens of flyer designs, postcards, multi-page brochures, and more.
The initial launch of the system brought new functionality with integrations into third-party printers, like Xpressdocs, giving agents the ability to see dozens of beautiful designs, select one, and then check out and order their print through a third-party printer. One of the biggest benefits of marketing systems like the Creative Studio within the DeltaNET is the ability to automate your marketing completely.
REALTORS® are busy, and even finding the time to take five minutes and choose a flyer to send off for something like an open house doesn't always fit into the schedule. So, we launched our "Automation Wizard" that allows a real estate agent to pre-select their favorite designs for categories like "New Price," "Just Sold," "Homeowner Anniversary," "Client Anniversary," and more. This means within minutes of new listing data being pulled from the MLS; a beautiful flyer design can be automatically built and sent to a group of prospects. At Delta, we typically pull in new MLS data incrementally every five minutes or less.
We've also continually made refinements to the Creative Studio over the last year. With automation in mind, we made it even easier for real estate agents to quickly select any prebuilt flyer design in the system and automatically have their company's colors and logos applied. We even added a dynamic "disclaimer" system for the designs, so in states like New York, where disclaimers are required, our NY-based clients could still use the designs. This has been a game-changer for the agents.
One last note I should add is that your marketing system should also have the ability to import Adobe InDesign files. Most marketing departments already have professionals who build amazing designs in InDesign, so we added functionality that allows you to build a design in InDesign and then import it into the Creative Studio. As a result, we have seen clients with more than 200+ options for different market flyers for their agents to use!
Going in a different direction, I believe 2021 was the rebirth of the traditional mobile apps. What was once a trend back from 2012-2015 had quite a bit of a renascence this year. Years ago, we provided dedicated mobile app versions of our client's websites so they would encourage their clients to download and use the mobile version of the site. At the time, we noted across many different mobile apps that the usage rates simply weren't there. Even if the consumers downloaded the apps, we saw less than a 5% usage rate, so we deprecated support of those apps in 2016 and thought that would be the end of that.
Five years later, the mobile app space within the real estate world has started to boom. It's not the consumer-facing website apps that are popular, though; it's applications for the real estate professionals to use to automate their business even further. In just the last two years, we've launched two dedicated agent-centric applications to great success.
The first app, launched in 2020, was our Open House Connector® App. This application allows real estate agents to seamlessly run an open house where the attendees can register, receive updates about other upcoming open houses, and leave feedback for the seller/real estate agent regarding what they thought of the property. As the app launched during the pandemic's peak, we offered "contactless" registration for open house attendees, where they simply scan a QR code to sign in and answer survey questions.
This open house app ties directly together with the agent's CRM, where they can have dynamic follow-up campaigns based on how the attendees answered different questions. For example, if an open house attendee said another agent was already representing them, we wouldn't import that customer as a contact into the agent's CRM. In another example, if an attendee said they were looking to put an offer in on a property in the near future, they could be automatically enrolled into a "potential buyer" follow-up action plan/ drip campaign available within the agent's CRM.
The second app we launched just a few months ago. For the first time, our mobile-responsive CRM system, DeltaNET 6, was now available in the form of a mobile app in the iOS and Android app store. By having a CRM that supports a traditional mobile app, it opens the door for many additional notification updates that were just not feasible with a strictly web-based CRM.
For example, let's say I'm an agent with a great website that has lead capture forms built-in. That website is automatically tied into my personal CRM, so whenever a customer fills out a form or saves a search, I get an email or text notification. Thanks to the power of mobile applications and their real-time push notifications, we can do new things like automatically notify the real estate agent whenever a customer is currently active on their site and looking at properties. We could also send a notification directly to the agent's phone if a customer has just signed up on their site or even clicked on an email they had sent. It allows the agent to get instant insights into which of their clients or prospects are truly active on their site and with their marketing.
Another significant step forward for CRM technology in 2021 has little to do with automations. Still, it is one of the more important things that brokerages should be looking for in any tech stack they may be evaluating. Beginning in 2021, the DeltaNET platform officially began customization of our actual backend tech stack. No longer was the CRM an "off the shelf" offering. Brokerages can now build dynamic dashboards, workflows, and even white-label the entire system to be EXACTLY what they want their agents to have in front of them.
I like to use this analogy to describe the importance of this type of functionality: Typically anyone can find a good-looking suit, and take it off the shelf and make it work. However, the feeling of getting a suit tailored and wearing a suit that was specifically fitted for you is a totally different feeling than just putting on something off the rack. The tailored suit will last longer, will feel better, and will look better. That's the power of customizing your CRM for your firm's unique needs.
Our thought process was simple. We build great technology, but we're not REALTORS®. Each business operates differently, with different cultures and skillsets. Rather than force every brokerage to play in the same sandbox, we gave brokerages the ability to put unique dashboards together that can differ from company to company and even office to office within the same organization. Our clients can change their navigation and brand the entirety of the system to look like it's an in-house tech system and not something built by a third party like Delta.
This has been huge, especially for our enterprise partners, as they can take our DeltaNET framework and have a beautiful tailor-made CRM solution that their agents feel like they can ONLY have with their current broker. It's become a great retention tool because even if the agent left the brokerage using the DeltaNET, they wouldn't be able to purchase that same version of the system provided by our brokerage client.
This is a perfect segue into what I feel brokerages will need to have in their business in order to stay on the bleeding edge in 2022. As it relates to customization of your backend systems, Delta is planning to massively up the ante next year. All of the great tools we have internally to build unique versions of our CRM platform will be put into the hands of our clients and brokerage admins to build and dynamically change their own system on the fly. By putting these tools in the hands of our clients, they will have even more flexibility to listen to their agents' feedback about usability and apply their feedback to the system in real-time. We feel this will boost the adoption of the system and make it easier to use.
What else is needed to stay bleeding edge in 2022?
An Intranet/CRM system that you can build for your company
Built-in learning management functionality
Cutting edge automated CMAtools
True video marketing that is more than automated slide shows of listings
I also see the future of these "all-in-one" systems adopting more training and learning
management type functionality. One of the most exciting updates we've been working on at Delta is our Training and Learning center that offers dynamic course creation, out-of-the-box DeltaNET training classes, built-in quizzes, and more. It will allow our clients to make the DeltaNET a critical piece of their new agent onboarding, as they can take assigned courses right in the software.
Of course, integrated all-in-one systems should have a built-in CMA builder as well. So in early 2022, we will be launching our much-awaited DeltaNET CMA tool. Unlike many other systems in the all-in-one space, we want to offer this as an integrated tool, not a paid add-on.
Finally, I expect to see more and more push for video content marketing. While video marketing is nothing new, I believe we will see a bigger call for even more tools that sales associates can use to integrate automated videos into their marketing packages. We've provided our automated listing video product, Properties in Motion®, to thousands of agents since 2014, and have been working on some incredible updates to that platform that I believe will blow our users away.
Many automated listing video services today include dynamic photo slideshows, feature the listing agent's information, and perhaps automatically post to places like Facebook or YouTube. Historically these products didn't offer much in the way of customization and were usually nothing more than a glorified vTour. That will change in 2022, as products like our Properties in Motion system receive updates that will allow agents to upload dynamic photos or video snippets into the automated video, have unique animations, upload their own voiceover scripts, and more. The goal is to take the static automatically generated video and give the agents tools to bring it to life.
To conclude, I'm excited about the advancements that have been made to real estate technology over the last year, but I'm even more excited about where things are headed in 2022. As a sales professional who uses these tools in my own business, I can't say enough how important these types of automations are in giving me back time in my day to focus on the more human-to-human relationships that matter so much to a salesperson.
To view past Real Estate Marketing and Technology articles and read more from the December 2021 issue, click here.