Where do potential clients hang out online (or offline)?

Park your ice cream truck where there are hungry clients

On a hot summer day, where would you park your ice cream truck to sell ice cream? Probably in front of a busy park full of kids and their parents, right?

In contrast, if you were selling winter items (say, scarves), you would do better setting up a temporary stand inside the Mall right before the holidays.  – You probably wouldn’t do well selling scarves out the ice cream truck in the middle of summer…

It is the same with your real estate blog. To promote it, you have to go where your potential clients are – or else, you won’t have much luck finding readers (i.e. potential clients).

So where do potential clients hang out online (and offline)?

It depends on a couple of things:

1. Who do you want to engage with?
2. Can you ask a real person?
Let’s take them one at a time:

1. Who do you want to engage with?

This is a very important question to know the answer to.  If we were to say “I want to engage with everybody” or “with anybody who listens” then we wouldn’t know where to start looking.

You could also post anywhere and hope for any result. This would be the Shotgun Approach.  But with the Shotgun Approach, the results are usually not too impressive.

Or, you could start by clarifying the kind of person that you want to attract to your conversation. For example:

Local Sellers
If you are trying to connect with sellers in a certain neighborhood, then you can have a better idea of where to find them.   Your best bet is to find them through a local approach – either through their Property Owners’ Association or at a local event, through farming (using postcards), or even by placing signs on the street.

Your message on the postcards or the signs would be also local in nature – especially if you invite them to visit your blog with local information.

Another example are out-of-town buyers.

Out-of-town Buyers
Finding local sellers is in contrast, for example, with wanting to engage with out-of-town buyers who are relocating their families to the DC area.   In this case,  you wouldn’t want to focus locally. Instead, the focus could be to find these buyers wherever they are in the world.

But where in the world are they?

This takes me to point #2:  Can you ask a real person?

2. Can you ask a real person?

The easiest way to focus your efforts is to go directly to the source: simply ask a real person who is a good example of the people who you want to find.

Going back to the example of connecting with out-of-town buyers, you can ask a relocating mom where she hangs out online.  You could start by asking where she goes to find real estate information about the area where she’s moving to, but you don’t have to stop there.

You can also ask where else she hangs out online – in general. It can be that she spends a ton of time on Facebook (or Google+) connecting with her family & friends.

Or maybe she spends time on Twitter catching up on baby trends. Or maybe there is a “mommy” forum that she visits where other frequent relocators support each other.

You know where to find her – now what?

Once you know where your relocating mom hangs out online, you can come up with a strategy for sharing valuable info on the online venue that she frequents (without selling anything), and attracting people like her to your blog – which should also have information tailored specifically for her needs.

Let’s see how asking a real person would apply to the local sellers example.

About the local sellers example

Going back to the local sellers, you could also ask a seller who lives in the neighborhood that you are interested in where she hangs out (online or offline).

Online, maybe it’s also Facebook, but then you could create a page with news about that neighborhood, or “Like” an existing neighborhood page and contribute regularly to it.

Offline, it could be that she likes going to the nearby Starbucks – and you could plan to do something related to that Starbucks – maybe a free “sell your home seminar” (and throw in a free coffee).

But – what if you don’t want to limit yourself to engaging with one kind of person (just local sellers or just out-of-town buyers)?

What if you don’t want to limit your audiences?

Then, you can choose another real person who fits a second (or third, or fourth) profile (such as “first-time home-buyer”) and ask him/her. Once you have your second profile, you tailor your content strategy to that 2nd person’s needs.   Sure, you can probably reuse some of the same content, but it’s best to make it as appropriate to your audience as possible.

Now, you won’t want to be too quick to have multiple kinds of people because you’ll find yourself spread too thin.  It’s better to start with one kind of person, work on that project for a while, then see how it goes.

If you do a good job, I think that you’ll find that you have great results and won’t want to rush to start with a new audience from scratch.

In short, finding potential readers for your blog comes down to two things:

1. Decide who you want to engage with, and
2. Ask a real person where s/he hangs out

Once you have answers to those questions,  you can come up with a strategy as to what you will be talking about on your blog and where you will be focusing your efforts to find people to read your blog.

Next step

Please leave a comment below with your thoughts – or questions – about where you think your potential clients hang out online. Maybe we can come up with a good exchange of ideas.  :)

About Marina Brito

World Traveler Extraordinaire
This entry was posted in Blogging, Marketing, Specializing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Where do potential clients hang out online (or offline)?

  1. Great advice.
    For those who are struggling to find somewhere to hang out, already existing, as I am, in my market, and my profession, things can be pretty difficult.

    One way to deal with it is to set up your own blog.
    Or set up your own LinkedIn group.
    Or set up your own Facebook page.

    If you know what your target person is likely to be interested in hearing about, you can try a Google Alert on the topic, and post the relevant information that comes from that, mix it up with ‘story leads” that come from local news, agent gossip, client comments, café rumour, and you’ll soon be engaging with new souls online.

    This, as Marina says, can also be done in seminars.
    Don’t be discouraged. And if you can’t write, make videos, or audios! Post them instead.

    At the risk of going on, and on, I’ll tell you I remember someone said, a person who makes video testimonials for people, I think. I really can’t remember.

    Someone said, there is a small city based subscription newspaper in the US, which gets more than 100% readership for every copy sold. They are “competing” with the national and statewide newspaper media, as well as all other media, right? How do they survive?

    To keep this in perspective here, it is like having a newspaper like a “Fairfax Tribune” paid subscription, for example.

    They say they thrive, not just survive, by counting the number of local names they get into the paper each day/week.

    The newspaper is sent all over the place! You, and your mates might be able to create a subscription email newspaper each week, which focuses on your neighbourhood, or your chosen niche, and thrive, by counting the number of local names and photos you can get into your blog/email/facebook page.

    It’s not really what a real estate agent would normally do, I know. But what established real estate agent doesn’t know 100s of people, some of whom can help make it happen, and get paid for it?

    Neil Smith

    • Marina Brito says:

      Neil,

      I really like your idea of curating content that comes in as a Google Alert. I notice that most local newspapers publish stories a day or two after I see them on a Google Alert.

      Although just building content and hope for the best still follows the model of “if you build it, they will come”. And I believe that, especially at the beginning, we should really be out there with big signs at busy intersections (figuratively speaking) to attract the first readers to our blogs.

      Once that initial traffic starts coming in, we continue the promotion and eventually the snowball will start rolling downhill more easily.

  2. Cindy says:

    Such a great article! I just had a discussion about this topic with a friend, and my opinion was similar to your thoughts in the post: the most important thing is to find the right audience to your product. You have to be a kind of sociologist, psychiatrist and psychologist. You have to understand and research your costumers. And take it personal. Everybody loves the personal words.
    Cindy recently posted..Problems with wisdom teethMy Profile

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