You might feel relatively powerless when it comes down to attracting out-of-state or remote prospective home buyers. They might seem like they’re out of reach – an “unknowable” audience.
Yet it’s entirely possible to reach this remote audience… using the remote tools you have at your disposal.
Take advantage of these tips, and soon your buyers will emerge IRL (in real life):
Create a Visually-Striking Personal Website
You might not pay much attention to your website, with the rationale that “it’s the properties that matter”… not you.
But the look of your website does matter to prospective home buyers, who make assumptions about you, based on your website.
What does it say to a home buyer if your website is clunky, “cheap-looking,” or outdated? It says that you’re not a professional. It says that you don’t pay attention to the details.
Home buyers want to know that they’re in good hands. Take care to pay attention to all of the details on your website. Hire out for great design, and get a writer to compose or proofread your website content.
A gorgeous, well-crafted website will reassure buyers that you have everything under control.
Buyers want to know that you’re selling quality properties. If your website is lacking, remote buyers will assume that your business isn’t doing well; they’ll assume that you can’t afford to create a quality website.
Pay careful attention to the message your personal website sends to the outside world.
Use SEO to Your Advantage
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” Most of your remote buyers will be finding you through Google. Your personal website should highlight SEO keywords – phrases that potential home buyers might type into Google.
Consider, for a moment, if you were looking to buy a property in another state. What would you type into Google? Likely, you’d start with “homes for sale in [insert community name here].” So that will be your first SEO term – e.g. “homes for sale in Oklahoma City” or “homes for sale in Albany, New York.”
Include these exact search phrases on your website. However, you don’t want your website look tacky. (Remember the above tip, about paying attention to the details on your website.) You want to bring prospective home buyers to your website; once they’re clicking through your website, you don’t want them to be turned off by any clunky language.
It’s a delicate balance, so you might want to hire a professional SEO writer to help you out.
Take a Look at Your Reviews
It might feel painful to read your reviews, but if you want to optimize your online presence, you’ll need to see what people have been saying about you.
Most home buyers will make a quick assessment, based on the number of stars they see next to your name on Google. If your overall score is less than 4 stars, they’re going to have concerns about entering a professional relationship with you.
It’s very sad, but if you only have a small number of reviews, it’s easier for home buyers to make quick judgments about you. They’ll assume that a small number of reviews means that’s not really active as an agent. If you’re not active as an agent, they’ll assume that you’re inexperienced, and they might not trust you as their agent.
So, you really have to take an honest assessment of your reviews. If you find that your reviews are lacking, you need to get some positive reviews on your side. As soon as you close your next deal, ask your friendly home-buyers to leave a review. Keep asking for reviews every time you close a deal. If you need to, follow up with a little note about how much you would appreciate a review.
Just be warned: never drum up fake reviews, or write any of your own. Home-buyers can sense fake reviews from 2,000 miles away.
Create Profiles/Personas for Different Buyers
There’s no way of knowing exactly who is buying in your area. You can’t see these people—they remain invisible to you.
Yet you can create buyer profiles, or “buyer personas,” to help you imagine what these buyers are like. These personas will help you to target your online presence toward the appropriate demographics.
For example, if you sell luxury properties, you’re going to create a few buyer personas to represent your potential clients. Here’s a couple of examples:
- Mr. Abbott is a high-powered executive, looking for a vacation home near the water. Mr. Abbott is between the ages of 45 and 60. He’s probably married. If he has kids, they’re likely older. Mr. Abbott wants a property that takes him away from his work, even if he’s checking his inbox while he’s lounging by the pool. Mr. Abbott wants amenities that he might find at a resort, such as a resort-style swimming pool, tennis court, and easy access to golf.
- Dr. Jones and Dr. Smith are hard-working physicians who want to decompress in their new home. They have two young children, and they want their home to have plenty of room for their children (and possibly their live-in nanny). These doctors are cautious about their new home – they want their property to be secure from any potential hazards, and they prefer not to be right next to the water – that’s too dangerous for the kids.
Once you’ve figured out your buyer personas, you’ll know exactly what your prospective home buyers are looking for in their properties. You’ll find that you’ve suddenly developed a wider list of SEO terms – for example “properties with swimming pools in Southampton” or “homes close to golf in Raleigh, North Carolina.” Make sure to add these terms to your website – again, keeping in mind the importance of your website looking glossy, professional, and perfectly polished.
The internet makes it a lot easier for prospective home buyers to find you, even from thousands of miles away. Make sure to utilize all of the tools at your disposal, and you’ll have the best chance of attracting these buyers.
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