Connect with us

Business Marketing

Finally, Google Maps Option For Real Estate Pros

Published

on

Note from the editor: Please welcome AG’s newest writer, Marty Martin who is well respected in the SEO/SEM industry and is accomplished most notably in his work with higher education, government and business clients. Marty shares our sentiment of being the “anti-consultant” in an environment where everyone’s a “guru” or a “ninja” and his passion is evident in all of his writing. Marty is a licensed agent but has for many years been devoted to the advocacy of businesses as he helps to implement cost effective SEO/SEM strategies. Please welcome him in comments.

Search marketing is more than just SEO

CompassFirst of all, as a local real estate agent, if you don’t know about the Google Local Business Center, you owe it to yourself to get in there and figure it out.

In a nut shell, when potential customers are searching Google Maps for something like “real estate” or “homes for sale” when viewing their town, neighborhood, etc. you can have your agent profile, name, address, website, address, phone number and more all show up in a handy pop-up. For free. (And honestly, what real estate agent’s heart doesn’t leap at free advertising?)

So what’s new?

Prior to the last week, only businesses with fixed locations were able to add a listing to the Local Business Center, so as an agent, you had to either use your broker’s address (and compete with all the other agents at that location) or use your home address (which is kind of awkward if someone comes driving through your neighborhood looking for a business at your home).

Enter “Service Areas”.

Roanoke, Virginia - 30 mile radiusNow, for us service industry pros, we can select a physical business location or even better, a circular service area from a center point (think city center plus a 30 mile radius) or a list of cities or zip codes. Brilliant.

Now more customers can find you

By picking one location and creating a service area or adding a list of zip codes or cities served, your Google listing is not restricted to showing up based on one physical location. The end result for you should be your listing showing up in more local map searches. And if you throw your website into the listing, some more exposure there as well.

Other features for the uninitiated

With Google Local Business Center, you can also add coupons to your listing (examples might be a free credit review, free home inspection, free title insurance policy … be creative to catch the users eye).

You can also add to your free business listing:

  • Up to 5 videos
  • Operating hours
  • Service area(s)
  • Payment options (not really applicable to agents)
  • Up to 10 photos or images (why would you add your portrait and logo?)
  • And other “Additional Details” (this is a good place to add some key words ;o)

Get started: Add your own free business listing.  Folks, this is so easy a caveman could do it.

One small thing to watch out for

Some folks have reported a problem with Google merging multiple business records of businesses using the same location and updating the same day. So if you’re using your broker’s address, you might want to wait a few weeks until Google irons out this small wrinkle. (or just switch to your home address).

Marty Martin is an accomplished SEM/SEO anti-consultant with a broad range of experience working for a wide variety of clientele including colleges and universities, regional and state tourism, government and business. An advocate for business, Marty works hard to share accurate information in a world suddenly overrun with "social media consultants."

Continue Reading
Advertisement
32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Matt Stigliano

    March 25, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Marty – Welcome to AgentGenius. First post out of the gate and it’s a winner. I wasn’t aware of the service area part. I’ll have to try and get over there tonight and get this done!

  2. Erion Shehaj

    March 25, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Welcome Marty! I have been using Google LBC for about 3 years now and I love it. But didn’t know about the service area option – thanks for sharing.

    Something tells me this was a great addition…

  3. RealEstate_Mktg

    March 25, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Welcome aboard, Marty! This is a great tool. I’m planning on passing your post on to all of our agents so they can cash in on this great tip.

  4. Heather Jacobson

    March 25, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Great article Marty! And of course I tweeted it! 😀

  5. Michael Bertoldi

    March 26, 2010 at 12:10 am

    Welcome Marty! Nice post. About to dive into this topic. Thanks for dropping knowledge.

  6. Karen Goodman

    March 26, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I’ve gotten a lot of website traffic in the last year from my Local Business Directory listing,but I didn’t have any idea about the service area or that I could upload videos. I just tweaked my listing, uploading pictures and videos, and changing my old address location to a service area.

    I also think it would make a big difference to have some positive reviews on the listing, so I shot over to Facebook and sent a message to about 15 former clients, asking them to go leave a review on my services. If they actually do, then I’ll also link to the reviews on my website Client Reviews page.

    Thanks for pointing out how I could ramp this up!

  7. Joe Loomer

    March 26, 2010 at 5:57 am

    Welcome to the party Marty!

    The Local Business Center increased our business over the last year – mainly by targetting the long tail folks who searched for our city and “real estate agents” or “companies.”

    The merging issue you pointed out is true, and if more than one agent at your firm is doing this, you’ll want to play around with the wording and the keywords to make sure Google doesn’t bundle you all up and mix website names and links.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  8. Benjamin Bach

    March 26, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Great stuff Marty, Thanks!
    Welcome to AG 🙂

  9. Marty Martin

    March 26, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Hello folks,

    Thanks for the welcome and the positive comments; I plan to bring you more great gems like this in the coming weeks so stay tuned! Sometimes even the things we know can surprise us with new features!

  10. Kelley

    March 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Thank you for this very informative post. I’m going to give it a “retweet”!

  11. Jeremy Hart

    March 26, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Good to have you here, Marty, and particularly nice to have someone from the RNR on AgentGenius!

    • Marty Martin

      March 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks Jeremy (or should I call you #2?)! It’s a great crowd to be associated with for sure.

      I love what you-all are doing on CB’s website with video, etc. Met your broker and relocation director at #rkeunwind last week, nice folks!

  12. Abbotsford Real estate

    March 26, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks for the information, I wasn’t aware that you could do this.

  13. rob | atlanta homes

    March 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Nice post. Good info. Well written and useful.

  14. Roscoe Property Management

    April 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    This is my first read on Agent Genius, and I will be back. I found out about this little Google gem last week by accident. This is very helpful for us as we are a property management company that in some areas have multiple properties on one the same road. 🙂

    Another bonus is that you (Agent Genius) are from Austin also! Keep up the good work!

  15. anthonys indianapolis homes for sale

    April 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I wasn’t aware of the option for video uploads. This sounds like a service that should be taken advantage of before way too many people start using it and it loses its value for any one user.

  16. ohalloran

    May 18, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Marty–This is awesome. Absolutely love the radius part and have updated all of my info. Thanks so much!

    • Marty Martin

      May 18, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      You’re welcome; happy you found it helpful!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business Marketing

Modern best practices for your online design portfolio

(BUSINESS) Do you have an online design portfolio? Does it hold up to modern standards or is it stuck in 1997?

Published

on

online design portfolio

Whether you’re looking for your next gig or full time opportunity, your online portfolio is your showcase, your chance to shine. But so frequently, we see creatives that either don’t have an online portfolio, or an awful (or incomplete) portfolio. It’s a challenge, because you often sign NDAs and are not at liberty to share all of your work, it’s a challenge.

Let’s talk about the modern best practices for your online portfolio.

First, before you even open a browser tab, put pen to paper and commit to your goals and consider what you are looking to express. Look around at what others are doing so you know what to compete with. Are you just going to slap up some pics of your work, or are you going to tell the story about the process and why you made certain choices? The language you use will differ if you’re looking for a job or for a client.

Second, where are you pointing people to? If you have some thumbnails on your Geocities site from 1997, you’ve already lost. Owning your own site is the best method, and the most common option used in the industry is WordPress (here are 50 themes to consider), and ideally you own the URL for your name that points to any site hosting your portfolio.

If WordPress feels too advanced for you, Squarespace is the most popular drag and drop option in the industry, and some even use Wix (which was recently improved). Or, you could consider a design portfolio platform like Big Black Bag or Behance.

Next, consider what you’ll display. You’re in a real catch-22, because you want to express experience, diversity, and quality, but if some of your work doesn’t apply to what you want to be hired for, it could actually work against you. Think of this as an art show at a museum – they would never show every piece of your work, rather they would curate specific pieces to tell a story.

And if your portfolio is light on applicable work, create your own concepts and redesigns (so long as you label it as such). Hate Google’s logo redesign or maybe the search interface? Mock up your own, show a before and after, then disclose it as a concept piece you’ve imagined. You could even have a section for concepts that is separated from client work.

Your display should match your work – if you design mobile websites but your portfolio isn’t responsive, you’ve screwed yourself. If you’re an animator, your portfolio shouldn’t be a bunch of websites you redesigned. If you’re a graphic designer, your portfolio shouldn’t showcase a bunch of emailers you created copy for. People are judging you within the first three seconds, so your offering better match the story you’re trying to tell about yourself. If you’re not a deconstructionist designer, your website design better not be deconstructionist. Get it?

Always be updating your portfolio, even if you’re not looking for clients or employment. It’s harder to go back in time to recreate a portfolio than updating as you go. But remember – you can’t just slap up 800 images of a project, again, you’re curating. Select only the best images and add them as you go to save endless time. Try doing this at least monthly (plus, it’s a great way to tell search engines that your site is fresh, thereby improving your ranking).

If much of your work is physical or print, take the time to take high quality photos of these works, potentially even mocking them up on physical products (you can use a site like Smart Mockups as a shortcut).

Next, you want to make sure that your online portfolio serves client or employers’ needs. Is your About page sparse, or does it talk about how you connect with your profession? Does your site tell people who you are, where you are, who you’ve worked for, what kind of work you’re looking for, how you charge, and how they can contact you? If you can’t answer each question in under three seconds, you’re losing opportunities. Design your portfolio for them, not for you. Do you have a logo and tagline? Testimonials? Can they find you elsewhere online (do you have social media buttons in the header or footer)? Everything we’ve mentioned in this paragraph is the equivalent of dozens of “Hire Me” buttons, so don’t take this part lightly.

Make sure that your portfolio is error free. Test every single page to make sure it works, then before going live to the world and sharing the URL, have at least three people (ideally that are writers or editors) review all of the copy for accuracy. You’re not a professional writer, so trust their input if they suggest the copy is off.

If you have the time and capacity, blogging is the cherry on top. Not only does it help your search engine rankings (don’t stress too much about SEO, though), it creates new opportunities for your thoughts to be shared, expanding your reach. You’re smart, you know not to blog about conspiracy theories or politics, blog about your work – why did you choose this profession, what enriches you, why do you make certain design choices, what do you think of large brand designs, etc.

Get the word out. Be sure to add the URL to your design portfolio on all of your social media profiles, even LinkedIn. Audit your online profiles annually to make sure they point to the place that will generate business opportunities for you.

TL;DR – get a WordPress site, curate your best work, make it easy to contact you.

And if your brain needs some samples of modern design, start clicking:

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Aori helps you pack a punch with AdWords

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Aori is the newest tool designed to help anyone using AdWords to kick more butt.

Published

on

google adwords aori

Search ad campaign managers constantly wrestle with the best way to organize their keywords into campaigns. Most of these decisions strive to balance the time needed to manage the campaign with efficiency of campaign expenditures.

Take the SKAGs strategy, for example. The SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Group) system is setup to trigger a unique ad for every single keyword by placing each keyword in its own group.

There’s lots of literature touting the benefits of the SKAG system. Generally, the hyper-specific match between ads and keywords improves click-through rates.

This leads to higher quality scores, which leads to lower costs for click, which leads to lower costs per conversion. The tradeoff with this system is the setup. You could be looking at hundreds of keyword groups to set up and maintain, and that’s a lot of work for a small business or startup.

This is where Aori comes in.

Their system helps to automate the process of setting up a SKAG system for your AdWords campaigns.

According to the website, the tool’s primary function is to automate keyword generation. Users enter a set of “root keywords” and common keyword extensions, and Aori will automatically generate all possible combinations of those keywords for your campaigns.

Additionally, through Aori, users can create ad templates using a “dynamic keyword insertion tool,” to enable you to utilize the strongest ad copy across multiple phrases.

In what is the least clear value point of the whole pitch, Aori also uses what they call a “unique bid-optimization algorithm.”

There is almost no detail to be found on how the algorithm works. If the tool handles all bid management for you, this could be a handy tool for PPC novices who are less familiar with the process and lack the time to learn it.

Aori appears to run cheaper than the others we know of, but that may be due to the level of automation available. For example, Aori requires the user to feed it keyword inputs, both root and extension words.

It’s also important to understand where a SKAG system can and can’t work. It is likely a better system for smaller campaigns where ad testing wouldn’t yield statistically meaningful results.

Because every keyword group targets one phrase, you can’t readily say that improvements in ad copy will translate to other campaigns.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

Have maternity leave gaps in your resume? Let Pregnancy Pause help

(MARKETING NEWS) The Pregnancy Pause is an organization aimed at helping moms re-enter the workforce from maternity leave sans the explanation for the employment gap.

Published

on

pregnancy pause

Mamas getting hosed

Our country’s totally sad policies around maternity leave – companies are only required to give pregnant women and new moms 12 weeks of unpaid time off – mean that many working women opt to quit their jobs in order to birth and raise infants.

bar
When a mom is ready to reenter the workplace, she often has an awkward, unexplained gap in her résumé that make it harder to get hired.

Honesty works best

While moms have traditionally been advised not to mention their maternity leave unless asked directly, studies show that moms are more likely to be hired if they actually explain what they’ve been up to.

A branding agency, Mother New York, has come up with a creative way to help moms clarify the résumé gap, and to “make it clear that maternity leave – whether 12 weeks or 12 years – isn’t a vacation.”

The company is encouraging LinkedIn users to list their job title as “Mom” and their company as The Pregnancy Pause.

Hiring managers who click on the link are taken to a website that explains the unfair disadvantages faced by working moms.

Nothing to be ashamed of

According to Corinna Falusi, CCO of Mother New York, “New mothers in the U.S. often feel forced to quit their jobs due to a lack of adequate maternity leave policies, which leaves them penalized for the subsequent gap in their résumé.

We wanted to give working mothers everywhere a simple tool for this problem, and make it easy for them to own maternity leave as the full-time job it truly is.”

Besides a website, The Pregnancy Pause also has a LinkedIn page and a phone line. When a hiring manager calls the phone line, they’ll hear a voicemail explaining that during the candidate’s résumé gap, “she spent innumerable hours raising a child, which has surely offered her invaluable experience as a prospective employee.”

Listing The Pregnancy Pause as your employer can be a great way to explain a résumé gap on sites like LinkedIn, where the lack of face-to-face contact with a hiring manager can often leave many unanswered questions.

Full time mom

Women in the workplace shouldn’t be penalized for having children. Our federal policies and company cultures must come to support working moms.

Until they do, The Pregnancy Pause at least offers a way to explain maternity leave on your résumé.

#PregnancyPause

Continue Reading

Emerging Stories