Knowing Your Audience
Whether you are buying and selling widgets or Real Estate, the first rule of any communications is to Know Your Audience.
With Real Estate there are two main audience groups.
Audience 1: Potential Real Estate Buyers
Unless you plan on strictly becoming a Listing Specialist then this target market applies to everyone.
Identifying your potential buyers should not be left entirely to chance. Look at the types of buyers who have come to you and your office in the past. Were they first time buyers, second home buyers, retirees, or maybe families needing more space?
When building a Real Estate website, consider this audience heavily and create web content that matches their needs.
Know the type?
For example, first time buyers and growing families will probably spend a great deal of time thinking about financing. This group would be more likely to use mortgage calculators. This group is also most likely already in the area and may not need as much detailed information about the community.
On the other hand, second home buyers and retirees will most likely be coming from out of the area and will want more information about the area. They will also have less worries about how a mortgage works (if they are even going to need one), after all this is not new territory for them.
In general when designing your website or marketing materials for your potential buyers, think about who your customers have been in the past. If you have never worked with a buyer looking for a retirement home, then perhaps all that information on activities for seniors might be a waste of time and effort.
Audience 2: Potential Real Estate Sellers
If you are focusing on being only a Buyer’s Agent then this group would not be a part of your audience. This group consists of the people who already own real estate in your area and may wish to sell.
A potential real estate seller will visit your site to evaluate how well you market your current listings. Poor quality pictures and weak content are not going to impress this group. Sellers expect you to showcase their home on your site. A poorly constructed and lackluster listing area may lead them to another agent or to even try selling on their own.
What is your audience looking for?
If you are targeting both buyers and sellers, like most Realtors must do; your website and marketing materials need to offer what both groups are looking for.
A Real Estate website that does more to sell you than it does to sell your listings will probably not be too impressive to the potential seller.
It’s not all about you…
Likewise a site that has extensive information on your listings but does not sell you, may fail to gain your potential buyer’s attention.
Selling youself and your listings is key to keeping both groups confident that you truly have their best interests at heart. Offering separate content for both the buyers and sellers sends a clear message that you intend to serve both and understand their different needs.
Something as minor as having different e-mail addresses for first contact based upon the type of prospect may further convey your knowledge and portray you as offering more services. Different e-mail addresses would also allow for any autoresponder messages to contain content that is directed at the type of information being sought after.
In case you are not familiar with them, autoresponder messages are email messages that are sent automatically when an account receives a new message. An autoresponse message might include a word of thanks for having visited your site, additional information on a requested topic, and of course all of the contact information you would provide to a new prospect.
A brief caution on autoresponse messages.
Autoresponse messages can buy you time to provide more complete information and/or make direct contact with the prospect. Not following up an autoresponse message with a more direct and personal one will be seen as an invitation to find another agent.
Many companies rely too heavily on autoresponse messages and often will send a message to a customer that has no relevancy to the question asked. You know how you feel when you’ve been on the receiving end of one of these useless messages – your customers will feel the same. Sending a generic and totally irrelevant message to the prospect could become a gilded invitation for your prospect to find another Realtor.
Write your listing content with your target audience in mind.
Even your listing content can offer different things to different customers. Workshops and outbuildings can provide the retiree a place to indulge in that long-wished for studio or woodworking shop. Similar spaces could provide the growing family with storage for boats, cars, extra stuff, or even a playroom for the children. Extra bedrooms could be private rooms for honored guests or room for a family to grow.
Don’t forget, on the Internet there are no such things as column inches and space limitations. Get creative! Get descriptive! Get rid of all the abbreviations! While people in your area know that a FROG is a finished room over the garage, your prospect from out of state may have no clue. That three line blurb you use in print advertising, suddenly looks ridiculous on a website where the length of written content is virtually limitless. Don’t just copy what you squeezed into the MLS database. Write new, more detailed descriptions for the Internet. Help your prospects discover the possibilities and joys of owning that particular piece of heaven.
Whenever I write property listing descriptions, I tell my clients that I am going to write them a picture.
Sounds so simple, know your audience.
Who knew it could be so important to building real estate website content and marketing materials? You don’t have to look further than the NAR site to see who does know how important knowing their audience is. The most successful Realtors on the Internet have websites full of content that is directed towards their key target audiences.
Does your real estate website truly target your customers?