I'm always pushing people to take massive action and sometimes I get some resistance from people who feel like they are venturing too far into unfamiliar territory. If it's something they're comfortable doing, it's much easier. If it's brand new, they sometimes need a little extra push.
So I'm going to show you today how you can use a familiar website to do more deals!
I'm talking about the search engines. I'll talk here specifically about Google (since it's the biggest and most popular of the search engines) but there are many search engines out there and you can take what you learn here and apply it to those other search engines.
What is Google and why does it matter to me as a real estate investor?
Google is a search engine that people use to find things online (yeah, you already knew that part!). When you search for something, Google displays it to you in a two-column format. I'll search for a term – let's say I search for "Columbus Ohio Real Estate" – and Google displays the results in a two column format:
A screenshot of a Google search for "Columbus Ohio Real Estate"
On the left are something called "natural search results" and on the right (just below the map) are something called "paid search results".
- Natural search results are the results that Google has decided are the most helpful websites for the phrase "Columbus Ohio Real Estate".
- Paid search results are like miniature advertisements. Companies pay to appear whenever the term "Columbus Ohio Real Estate" is typed into Google. People pay for their ad to be here.
If you were a real estate investor who specializes in Columbus Ohio, you might consider building a website that showed up for this term (which is also called a "keyword" in internet marketing lingo). Of course, you can substitute other keywords for "Columbus Ohio Real Estate" and in a future blog post I'll show you how to find some great keywords that your prospective sellers or investor-buyers are searching in Google for.
How to get leads for FREE
Appearing in the natural search results is done through something called "search engine optimization".
Search engine optimization is when you build a website and then market it using the very specific term "Columbus Ohio Real Estate" (or whatever term you are using). And of course, when I say "you" do this, I don’t mean that you need to drop everything you're doing right now and do it yourself. I mean you build a team who can do this for you.
Onsite keyword usage: You would put that term ("Columbus Ohio Real Estate" or whatever you're using) in the title of your website and in any subtitles on the page. If you are writing a blog, you might use that term in the blog post titles and in the content.
Marketing keyword usage: When you are marketing your site in other locations (there are many and I'm not going to list them all here), you would make the clickable link back to your website to be the keyword. For example, if I wanted to make this website (MarkEvansDM.com) searchable for the term "Virtual Real Estate Investor", I would market my website using various marketing techniques but always link back to the website like this: "Virtual Real Estate Investor".
Google will look at your site, as well as your marketing (and the links pointing back to your website) to identify what terms your website should appear for.
And the more helpful Google thinks your website is, the higher your website will appear in the natural search results. (The most helpful website are at the top of page 1; the least helpful are at the bottom of page 10,192 :) ). So if you want to appear in the natural search results, your goal is to create a very helpful website around the term you want to appear for (in my example: "Columbus Ohio Real Estate").
Appearing higher in Google using this approach can take some time because Google doesn't look at your site every single day. But if you have a dedicated team, including someone to do your marketing, you can constantly improve your ranking. I outsource all of this for very little money.
But you can bypass the above step or accelerate it if you want to appear in the search engines sooner rather than later. And you can do that with paid search.
How to appear in the paid search results
Don't be scared off by the word "paid". Paid doesn't mean expensive. In fact, Google's advertising system (which is called "AdWords") is one of the most affordable and effective methods of paid advertising in the world (if you know how to use it... That’s why you’re here).
For just a few cents (the exact amount depends on the words you have chosen to appear for) you can get a visitor to your website. Now think about that for a moment: If you go out and spend $100 on a classified newspaper and they might get visitors to their website… maybe none, maybe 10, maybe 100, maybe 1000. It's hard to be exact. But if you go to Google, you only pay when someone goes to your website (which makes this type of advertising more cost effective) and you only pay a few cents. So if you want 100 visitors, you might end up spending somewhere between $1.00 and $5.00. Maybe as much as $10.00 for some words).
So let me ask you: Would you rather spend $100 on an unpredictable ad in a newspaper that might or might not send people to your website? Or would you rather spend money ONLY WHEN someone clicks on your website, and pay between $1.00 and $10.00 to get that same number of visitors? The answer is pretty obvious!
(And to give you even more assurances about how useful this system of advertising is, Google gives you lots of tools to manage your ads so you'll never spend more money than you want to!)
An easy-to-follow search engine marketing plan for your real estate business
Growing your real estate business is important, and that includes marketing your business to prospective investor-buyers to constantly build your list, and search engine optimization is an important component of that marketing.
I've only just scratched the surface about how to appear in Google via free and paid search. There is a lot more you can and should do but I want to get you started. But if you want to get started, here are some simple steps I'd suggest:
- Optimize your website so that it is searchable for the important keywords you are trying to achieve. (If you're not sure what those keywords are, or if you're not sure how to optimize your website, ask your virtual assistant if they know. There's a good chance they do. And if they don't, find a virtual assistant who does know.
- Start marketing your website around the internet using your chosen keywords. There are many advanced techniques that you can use, which I don't want to get into here (I'll talk about them in future blog posts). Briefly, your marketing might include articles, guest blog posts, press releases, forum postings, blog comments, and more.
- If you are already paying for advertising elsewhere (i.e., newspaper classified ads), test an AdWords ad by going to http://adwords.google.com and creating an ad. (Again, use your virtual assistant for this stuff!)
The search engine marketing you do in steps 1 and 2 will help you be successful in the long term, and the search engine marketing you do in step 3 will help you to be successful in the short term.
Stay tuned because I'll show you some great search engine marketing tools and techniques you can use to grow your real estate investing business!
Your friend and mentor,
Mark Evans DM,DN
PS, I chose Columbus Ohio Real Estate for a reason... because I was there recently hosting a sold-out bus tour for real estate investors to tour the city from a real estate investor's perspective and to learn how to do deals without using their own money. PLUS, hundreds of other real estate investors watched live as we gave away the house to a homeless veteran! It was a powerful event. Even if you missed it, you can still get the recording of the event (you should definitely take the time to watch it -- people reported to me that it was "life changing" for them!). Just fill out the form below and I'll send you details of the recording.