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2008-08-13 19:16:09

Online Marketing: “HomeTown Girls” Corral Buyers Online

If you were attending an educational session at a major convention it is highly doubtful that two “HomeTown Girls” from Amarillo—each a grandmother-- would be featured on the program giving tips as to how to succeed in Online Marketing.Blackwater Consulting

After all, who would think that two agents—one an agent five years, another just three—located in a place that gets very little press—could have discovered something that would help sophisticated folks in New York, or San Francisco? Even if by some miracle such a session were on the agenda, most people might elect to “skip it.” After all, it’s “Web 2.0” and the latest tech gadgets that folks are interested in, right? Who has interest in two “Hometown Girls” from Amarillo talking about anything not connected with homemaking or a cattle drive?

Debbie Moore and Karen Malone are Prudential agents in Amarillo, Texas. They are with Prudential ADA and Debbie has been an agent five years, Karen, three. They’ve sold 12 houses from their personal website this year (www.moreamarillohomes.com). These mainstream real estate agents are receiving about 20-25 GOOD leads each week from their site. Even now, they are continuing to average more than one home sale each month from their site. What do they know that you don’t know?
“My clients think I am on the “cutting edge” of real estate marketing (and that’s a good thing when you are a gray-haired Grandmother),” Debbie said during a recent interview. “The Internet is a major factor in the way we do business. We knew that the Internet would only get stronger as time went along and because we are so easy to find on the Internet, we are selling homes to folks from outside our basic marketing area as well as within it.
For example, we had one buyer who was moving here from the East Coast and found our website. They began to correspond with us and soon I was setting up property searches for them so they could “shop online.” I previewed a home for them and sent them additional pictures. They wrote the offer and put a home under contract with us without ever having set foot in our town. They came to town in time to sign the papers, pick up their keys and move in. Another time we were working with two out-of-town agents helping a family relocate here. They told us that they put in all sorts of different searches online and that we kept coming up, so they figured we knew what we were doing in real estate, since we obviously seemed to know about online marketing.”
“Early in my career I signed up for “Internet leads” from those lead sellers. Some of those sources worked, but most did not. I had enough success to realize that there had to be a better way of attracting buyers and I believed that the Internet was the way. Karen and I signed up for a good template website and for CompassSearch. Nothing happened from the website, but once I added the search we started to sell homes to Internet buyers.
"Karen and I are very good friends and both of us are grandmothers. Our goals are to take very good care of our clients and to spend lots of time with our families. We’re in the real estate business and we love it. We may never be “Top Producers,” but we play just as hard as we work and we kind of let the numbers take care of themselves. We just do our best in every situation and enjoy the journey.”
Later, Debbie told me that her web presence not only helps sell homes, but helps her gain listings, too. “I use our Internet presence as a selling point by taking some of our website reports to listing presentations to show prospective sellers that we receive plenty of traffic and lots of inquiries from our site. They all are impressed because they know that selling homes involves the Internet, today. They are all very impressed that two Grandmothers who bill ourselves as “The HomeTown Girls” can actually be so technologically strong. They know we have the local knowledge but they are sold when we show them our Internet positions!”
Debbie and Karen specialize in Canyon, Bushland and Amarillo Texas Real Estate. The total population of these three cities and towns is about 266,000 good people. There are plenty of real estate agents servicing that population, too. But if you go to Google® and type in Amarillo TX Real Estate, you’ll find Karen Malone and Debbie Moore right there on page one, currently in the number two listing, just below realtor.com.
“We work with a lot of first-time homebuyers and people relocating to the Amarillo area (thanks to Internet leads). We don’t have a specialty as far as type of property we sell. We just sell great homes to wonderful Panhandle people,” Debbie concluded, “and if anyone asked for my advice, I’d tell them this: Never give up. If you are practicing traditional real estate strategies that aren’t working for you anymore, you might want to embrace the newer technologies and marketing strategies that utilize the Internet.”
Compare how you go about selling today to how these Grandmothers are succeeding in their part of the world. Is there something you can learn from them? If people can’t find you online, you need to make it so they can. If you don’t have a personal website, you need to get one. Because when you have those two things, you can work smarter at succeeding in that part of real estate that everyone wants to succeed in, but that very few do succeed in: online marketing. It’s where 84+% of residential real estate sales start today and it’s the place where 80+% of Internet buyers find their agent: through a major search engine.
The Internet is just too important to not be a part of your plan to succeed. The Internet is the great leveler: You can be as savvy as they come from a big city and succeed, or you can be relatively new from a small area and succeed. The key thing is that you can succeed. Just ask Debbie Moore.
Click here to request a free review of your website to determine if it can be found by Internet buyers and if it is search engine friendly,
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Mike Parker is a principal at the Blackwater Consulting Group and specializes in online marketing for real estate professionals. You can reach him by e-mail at mparker@theblackwatercg.com.
 

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