Degrees of online marketing competitiveness
Competition is fierce in the online world and it is no secret that the real estate industry is one of the most difficult and most competitive markets to compete in. There is a big difference between the competitiveness of your local pizza shops and the local real estate agents. A pizza shop will make a few hundred small sales each day whilst a real estate agent takes a 2-3% commission on a property sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars as they come. This allows for much higher marketing budgets for real estate agents.
Frequency of sale and customer types
Apart from online, pizza shops can rely on regular customers and walk in traffic, many customers are more willing to take a gamble on a new pizza shop without researching it first. If they do not like it, they can always try another place next time as many people will want pizza on a monthly or weekly basis. However the average person may only sell their house a few times in their entire lifetime and whilst real estate agents want to form lifelong brand loyalty as well, it is critical to get the initial sale as it might be your only opportunity with that individual.
Comparing the online presence of Real Estate Agents and Pizza Shops
So with the higher profit margins of real estate agents, who may also be part of a national brand with huge marketing budgets, allowing for a much stronger online presence. Now where the comparison to pizza shops shows its biggest contrast is if you compare the search results for those businesses in your town. For this example I searched for “real estate agent Werribee” and “pizza Werribee”.
The search results for the real estate keyword delivered the following types of results: Google AdWords paid advertising, the official websites for each real estate business in the town and the Google+ Business Pages for local real estate businesses.
The pizza search resulted in a mix of review sites, Facebook pages, online ordering sites, Yellow Pages listings, as well as the business websites for the local pizza stores and Google+ Business Pages. The only paid Google Adwords Ad was for a delivery service, not an actual specific pizza shop.
This indicates that all of those real estate websites were making a very deliberate effort with their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns, whilst the pizza shops are putting in minimal effort for their online marketing and this is ok. They can still get leads through those review sites and delivery sites.
The takeaway here is that if you are a real estate agent and you search for “real estate agent + your suburb” and your site does not show up anywhere near the top of the results you have a problem. Your site is not being seen by people searching for the generic term. This is the term people are using to compare businesses and if you are not showing up here, you are missing out on your real estate marketing leads. Your site should come up for your brand name quite easily, but the real value is in the generic terms used by those who are not already familiar with you.
The solution to this is not quick, if you have not started a strong real estate SEO campaign already it will be very difficult to catch up as your competitors have been working very hard on this for many years. Many SEO agencies prefer not to take on real estate agents as clients as the sheer effort to compete online and get results is very difficult in many locations. You may need to consider other real estate marketing ideas to work in parallel.