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Finally, Google Maps Option For Real Estate Pros

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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."

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20 Comments

20 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!

  17. Abbotsford Houses

    November 16, 2020 at 3:26 am

    Thanks for this great information!

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.

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offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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Business Marketing

What you can learn from Ulta Beauty’s marketing mix up with Kate Spade

(MARKETING) Ulta Beauty’s insensitive marketing email surrounding the Kate Spade brand can be a lesson: Be cautious and respond to crisis appropriately.

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Woman typing on computer representing the Ulta Beauty and Kate Spade email scandal

Last week in an email sent to subscribers, Ulta Beauty made light of designer Kate Spade’s suicide. Ulta said the lighthearted connection to Spade’s death was unintentional. The email sparked anger across social media and some national news outlets picked up the story. In an emailed response to the New York Post, Ulta apologized to their customers, their Kate Spade corporate partners, and Kate Spade’s family. They ended by saying they will strive to do better.

Words matter. Messaging matters. Hopefully, we can all learn a lesson from this painful mistake.

Check your tone. It’s one of the early things we teach writing students. The tone should match the content. If the icon you’re using to sell a product ended their own life, perhaps light and fun isn’t the tone you should embrace. Ever. But most businesses won’t be dealing with well-known people whose stories have been shared with millions. It’s up to business owners and those who write their copy to ensure the tone matches the message.

Always have a second pair of eyes look over words going out to the public. Or even a third and fourth. Often those in the creative room are brainstorming messages, reworking copy, and looking for the perfect pitch. And they get it. It sounds good, looks good, is easy to say and share, and, best of all, it will lead to sales. Having a multi-person system in place to check the copy and someone separate to give final approval can help catch the oh-my-God-no great words, but absolutely not pieces of sales copy.

Listen to your customer base and have a system in place to listen quickly. All businesses need systems for immediate customer response in play. Ulta caught their so-called oversight quickly.  But they’re a huge brand and Kate Spade was a beloved fashion icon. The negative response went viral and they had a giant mess to clean up. Companies make messes with their words often, messes that don’t immediately go viral but lead to real pain for consumers. When customers ask you to stop a message, listen to them and act.

Apologies don’t make excuses. If you’re caught in a messaging mess of your own making, I’m sorry goes a long way. If needed, follow that apology up with a plan to show you’re serious about “doing better” and making sure this never happens again.

If you find yourself in a place where a public apology is necessary, consider hiring a crisis manager to help with that plan as well.

Part of business today is constant communication with consumers. Try to have systems in place so you don’t find yourself in a “learning to do better” moment like Ulta. Words aren’t just about sales. They have power. Remember that.

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