“Don’t think. It can only hurt the ball club.” – Crash Davis, Bull Durham
I consider myself a moderately intelligent person. And that may be my problem, for it seems I have managed to outthink myself when it comes to my own online marketing.
I’ve had the feeling for a while that what I’m doing isn’t doing what I want it to do. I’ve always been more than a little skeptical of some of the numbers bantied about – the visitors, the leads per day, the closings – as much as anything because I’m aware of where my reputation and reality collide. (Still having my best year since 2005 and still could surpass that, but I’m also not going to outsell Russell anytime soon.)
But even if I apply the “rule of three” from American Pie 2 (the only notable aspect of that movie) and divide all of the figures by three, they still end up being closer to where I want to be than where I am. And so the question becomes, how do I change that?
The answer, it seems, is to forget everything that I think I know.
IDX Search Registration
Without rehashing the entire litany of Phoenix real estate bloggers (let’s say there are a lot, including four of us in the sidebar to the right), some of what I do has been predicated on what they do. I’ve never required prospective buyers to register to use the IDX-fueled Phoenix homes search on my website partially because I personally hate when I’m asked to register and also because few of the other bloggers utilize registration.
Why would they register to use my site, I would ask myself, if they can go to any number of other sites and not have to register?
The flaw here was based on my own knowledge. Just because I know these other sites exist doesn’t mean the particular people who land on my website know they exist. So what makes more sense, to base what I do on what I know or on what the people coming to my site don’t?
Registration was turned on last Saturday. Traffic hasn’t suffered. My bounce rate hasn’t increased. And folks are registering … a handful of day for the time being, but steady enough that I’ve had quite a bit of followup to do since I turned it on.
I sat out the Localism land rush primarily because I had issues with the concept. I saw the negatives and not the possible benefits. My primary focus was protecting my own fiefdom – how dare they help someone with not the slightest clue how to market online – move on top of the search engines in the areas where I have been busting my own tuchas?
It wasn’t until late last week that I turned that thought process on its head. Forget my backyard. What if I were able to utilize Localism to shift a portion of my business into areas of the Valley into which I’d almost certainly never gain entry? And I’m not talking the macro level (gee, Scottsdale’s already been claimed?) but the micro level … individual subdivisions where there’s a good mix of turnover and sales price.
I’m not going to say this is a no-brainer but the more I look, the more I realize I may have thought too hard about the entire thing when it started. (And that can be said for advertising on Trulia, answering general real estate questions outside Arizona on Trulia Voices and a few other things.)
All About the Benjamins and ROI
This isn’t to say I’m about to start throwing money around willy-nilly. I don’t have it and what I do have, I intend to hold onto and invest wisely. I’ve watched too many agents throw thousands and thousands of dollars away on absolutely useless marketing material – beautiful, but worthless.
That ain’t me.
At the same time, the time has come to challenge many of the notions I have about online marketing, many of the biases that I’ve held (paying for leads, competing against myself on large real estate portals) and look for the opportunities buried within.
They say it takes few muscles to smile than to frown (I personally can’t verify this as I don’t try the former all that often.) I’m also thinking it takes fewer brain cells to embrace the opportunities than to constantly look for the flaws.