Your real estate farm is online. This article will show you how to locate and engage with them wherever they may be.
The Benefits Of Communicating With Your Farm Online
One of the things that I like the most about technology is that it allows you to become more efficient. If you decided to door knock, you’d always be restricted by time, weather, and even physical stamina. But technology changes all that. You can scale your business infinitely by adding hundreds of people to your database over time without ever leaving your office.
#2 Cost Effectiveness
Likewise, if you decided to mail each of the individuals in your farm, you’d be restricted by cost. But all of these online forums are totally free. So online forums are a unique opportunity to get your brand in front of your community without spending a dime.
If you decided to cold call people in your farm, you’d be restricted by accuracy. You’re always going to be reliant on the phone number being active, in use, and not on the do not call list. These days, that’s not always easy – Especially since most cell phone numbers aren’t easily accessed.
#4 Relationship Building
Since you can contact people instantly and in mass quantities, building relationships are easy.I’ve seen real estate agents beautifully orchestrate events in their community. And because the agents were helpful and provided value, they received a return on their investments.
Here are just a few of the examples I’ve seen:
- Happy hours
- Lost and found pets
- Crime reports
- Garage Sales
- Mobile shredding on site
- Appealing Property taxes
- Followup about appeals
- Market updates
- Holiday card photography
- Vendor lists
- Filing for homestead
- Helping with board of equalization
The Pitfalls Of Local Forums
Just like anything else, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch. Here are a few of the pitfalls to watch out for when you enter the forums.
Remember, these forums are filled with local residents, and they have a lot at stake in their communities. Sometimes, people will lash out at leaders, homeowner’s associations, government officials, school board members, the list goes on and on. Furthermore, some of the people in the group already have beef with each other offline and they may carry it with them into the forums as well. People can get really bold when they’re sitting behind a computer.
For all of the Debbie Downers of the world, these local forums can be a jackpot. These types always get a strange source of joy from trolling on the internet. Forums just give them another avenue to complain about their neighbor’s grass, barking dogs, and trash cans. For people like this, the sky is always falling!
These forms are monetarily free, but they will cost you time. And if you allow it, these forums will suck you dry! You’ll look up an hour later and realize that you haven’t done anything that you planned and the last hour of your life was totally wasted. Dont’ do it! I’m speaking from experience here, so please take my advice.
When it comes to any online forum, the trick is to: Get in, search for relevant posts, and get out! You’ll be tempted to stay and take a look at all of the juicy gossip. But just say no.
10 Ways To Generate Leads From Online Forums
Here are a few (sneaky) ways to get real estate leads from these local forums:
- Fill out your profile completely, so if people find you, they know immediately that you’re a Realtor.
- Be helpful and provide value. Answer all of the real estate questions and post highly-relevant tips that everyone will love.
- Build a list of reputable vendors and keep it on hand. Whenever someone asks for a referral, private message them and offer to send it to them via email. They get the list, you get the email. Once you have the person’s name and email, you can upload it to Facebook and serve ads to that person on the cheap.
- Post a weekly market update in the documents section of the forum. Although you can’t brand the document, it’s still attached to your profile – which contains your job description and all of your contact information.
- Attempt to drive as much of this online traffic to an offline event as quickly as possible. Once you’re in person, you’re not hampered by the restrictive policies of the forum.
- Create an unbranded community landing page that you can refer people to over and over again. Install your Facebook Pixel on this page and retarget these using Facebook Ads.
- Watch for moving sales, because these homeowners may be in need of a good real estate agent!
- Team up with a set of vendors. Make a pact to refer each other constantly. You may not be able to promote your own business, but it’s perfectly fine to promote someone else’s!
- Ask your homeowners to create a post about you in the group. You’re not allowed to post your own listings, but if the homeowner posts it, you’re in the clear.
- Enable notifications on your phone, so you can be the first responder to any questions that are relevant to real estate.
So Where Can You Find Your Farm Online?
NextDoor.com is a website and app that’s a private social network for your neighborhood. To get into your neighborhood forum, someone from the neighborhood has to approve you or you have to reply to a postcard mailed to your home. This means that you have to live in the area to get into the group. This could be a deal-breaker if you’re planning to farm an area that you don’t reside in.
Nextdoor is also notoriously strict when it comes to Realtors. If you post anything even remotely related to business promotion, you’ll get slapped or banned from the website for good. However, they are in the midst of fundraising, and once that happens, I’m sure they’ll gladly allow you to advertise.
With all that being said, there are a ton of people on Next Door, so it’s definitely worth exploring. And although you can’t promote yourself, or say that you’re a Realtor directly, you can private message people to answer their real estate questions. And when that person clicks the link on your profile, they’ll figure it out.
You can also start off with phrases like, “My clients love….” or “Everyone that I work with has…” To subtly signal to people that you’re not just a neighbor – But a Realtor as well.
City-Data.com is a website that is chocked-full of stats for United States Cities. Visitors frequent the site because they have everything that people are looking for: Real estate, relocation info, crime, house prices, schools, demographic data, sex offenders, maps, education, weather, and home values. And because they have all of this information, they tend to come up on the first page of Google for every major city.
But what most Realtors don’t know about the site, is that they have local forums for each city – And this is where the magic happens!
When you first sign up with City Data, you need to fill out your profile completely, so people can contact you. Next, join the Real Estate Agents user group. When you do, a little house will appear next to your name, indicating that you are a Realtor. This step is small, but very important because you’re not allowed to promote your business in any other way.
Once you’ve set up your profile properly, and the house appears next to your name, start working the forum! Be helpful, answer questions, schedule meetups, and blog. The more you post, the more people will notice you. And it doesn’t all have to be related to real estate either. If someone has a question and you know the answer, just be a good neighbor and tell them. Over time, people will begin to notice you and look to you as an authority.
Remember, Google loves fresh data, and since this website is so active, it gets really high rankings in Google. You never know who might Google a question and stumble across one of your posts. There are agents that have generated tens of thousands of views every day by blogging and posting on City-Data! Just imagine how much of that traffic can be converted into leads, sales, and referrals. It’s mind blowing.
#3 Facebook Groups
The final forum that I would frequent would be on Facebook. Facebook Groups allow you to join and create your own local forums. Facebook Groups don’t have the local infamy as Next Door or the Google Traffic of City data, but what they do have is Facebook!
Everyone has a Facebook account, so it’s pretty easy to get people back into your group and looking at your content consistently. Facebook also notifies members of new posts via phone whenever new posts are created, which is another great way to get more eyes on your content as well. Finally, Facebook Groups allow admins to have more control over their groups than Next Door or City-Data, so you may have a little more leeway to talk about your business.
To get started, type your local city name into the Facebook search bar. Then click on Groups. Then send requests to join every single group in your local area. Once you’re in, read the rules of the group to make sure that you stay on the administrator’s good side. Then work the group using the methods listed above.
Hopefully, this article was helpful for you. I recommend joining all of these groups and seeing which one gives you the best ROI for your time spent. And let me know how it’s working out for you below! Good luck!