I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I’m a strong believer in transparency about what we are doing and why. Today I’m covering the changes we are making to our marketing plan as of July 2011.
The Short and Sweet Version
- Our Classified ad budget in the St. Louis Post Dispatch will be re-allocated to Zillow and Yahoo Real Estate for the next six months. This coming weekend will be our last week of corporately sponsored ads in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
- Our Search Engine Marketing budget will be re-allocated to Search Engine Optimization for the next six months.
- Our support of Your Next Home magazine is increasing. The company will now support one month of advertising in Your Next Home for all new listings taken over $100,000. Your personal web address and phone number will be included.
- Leads from the four major portals will be driven straight to you on all your listings. You’ll receive them by text/email.
- You’ll see monthly reports on the campaign including the number of leads generated both online and via phone calls.
The Lengthy Version with Lots of Words and Graphics
Where is our advertising budget going?
Last month we spent almost half of our advertising budget on classified advertising in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. This is a huge chunk of our advertising dollars to invest in a 5 line, text only ad.
Is this really the most effective use of our budget?
I certainly don’t have to tell you there’s been a shift from print to online advertising or that we’re the last broker with a corporate presence in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. But we need to question if these ads:
- Can be proven effective
- Drive buyer leads to you
- Increase consumer interest
Re-investing our print budget online
By reallocating our St. Louis Post Dispatch expenditures we can increase our online exposure on the top four real estate portals. Together these portals drove over 45,000,000 visitors last month.
How is this change good for you?
When a consumer goes to Google or another search engine and enters ‘st. louis real estate’ you can guarantee that Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and Yahoo Real Estate are going to be within the top search results. These national portals have an enormous amount of marketing dollars invested in SEO/SEM (search engine optimization and marketing). Now if the consumer gets to any of these portals, they can also get to you. Your listings will not only be there, they will be at the top of search results with leads directing to you.
1. Featured Listings
When a visitor views a search result list on one of these portals, the listings at the top of the list are considered ‘featured’ properties. If the search returns several hundred properties that match, an un-featured home may very well be the 175th on the list. Which means your listing never gets seen. With these changes your listings will now be featured (moved to the top) on Yahoo, Zillow, Trulia and of course, DiscoverStL.com.
2. Buyer Leads
Any request from your listing on Yahoo, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia or DiscoverStL.com goes directly to you. You’ll get the request as a text to your mobile phone, sent to your email and recorded for future reference on your website’s client management side. As always, there is no referral fee on these ——-> it’s your listing.
3. Opportunity Time Leads
Each portal will have a unique phone number that forwards to our offices on a rotating basis, increasing the number of opportunities available on phone duty. The unique number also allows us to track the number of responses we’re receiving from each portal.
4. Results Reporting
Which brings me to my personal favorite thing about this change. I am routinely going to send you updates on the number of calls, leads and visits we get from each online initiative. You’ll be able to view the direct results of this campaign and we’ll be able to evaluate it’s effectiveness. If it doesn’t work the way we’re anticipating then we’ll go back to the drawing board. The important thing is to get these buyers into your hands.
How to Identify Leads
Make sure you know how to identify these buyer leads so you don’t miss an opportunity. Step-by-step guide below with examples.
Your Next Home Magazine
Prudential Select Properties will support new listings in Your Next Home for the first month of the listing. The full color ad will direct to your website and have your mobile phone number.
There is also now an option to add the Sunshine Kids logo to your listings in the magazine.
SEM to SEO
For the next six months we’ll be taking the part of the budget we were using for search engine marketing (buying ads on the first page results) and using it towards optimizing our site so we organically pull in the search results for keywords like ‘st. louis real estate.’ I’ll also be sending out reports on this each month. We expect to be able to drive more leads to you with this change.
If you have questions remember you can email me at Sarah@DiscoverStL.com.