SEO vs. Social Media Marketing

SEO vs. Social Media Marketing

SEO vs. Social Media Marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, you’ve got a lot of options to choose from to drive sales. There’s paid advertising on engines like Google, there’s paid advertising on social media sites, there are ways to drive organic traffic through your website, and there are equally as many ways to drive engagement through social media. 

With all the options, it’s tough to figure out which methods might be right for your company, and how much time and money to invest in each.

For this blog post, we’re going to focus primarily on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SMM (Social Media Marketing), the two free ways to drive traffic and boost sales. We get the most questions about these two digital marketing methods, likely because they’re the cheapest ways to get eyes on your site, and they’re the two methods that are the most proven.

What’s Best: SEO or SEM?

Most often, people want to know which method is right for them: SEO or SMM. And it makes sense. You don’t want to spend time or money on a digital marketing method that won’t produce the best ROI for your company. But unfortunately, a solution isn’t as easy as picking one or the other. No matter what it is you’re selling, a quality digital marketing strategy makes use of both SEO and SMM strategies. Think of it like this:

SEO is the bones of your operation. First and foremost, you’re catering to the robots that run the Google algorithm, because without their favor, your site will never see the light of day.

SMM is the skin, hair, and makeup. It’s what gives your company a personality, and it’s ultimately what attracts actual people to your website when they trust you as an authority in your industry.

Unfortunately, one can’t exist without the other. If you think about it, when you offer deck repairs and someone types in “deck repair near me” into Google, it’s quality SEO that’s going to make sure your website pops up on the first page of search results. But if you’re looking to get the word out about your deck repair company, social media marketing is what is going to build your following, and let people know that you exist in the first place, before they even head to Google.

So, it’s important to remember that the question isn’t “which one should I use”, but “how should I combine my SEO and SMM efforts to produce the greatest results for me?”

And that question isn’t as easily answered.

Getting Started with SEO

If you’re just starting out, we always recommend you focus on basic SEO. Make sure your site is at least visible to Google, because if Google can’t see your site, no one can see your site. For more info on SEO basics, be sure to check out our Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing

Again, SEO is the bones of your operation, and you need to have quality SEO to have a foundation where you can drive your social media marketing finds. Make sure your website is functional and up-to-date. It should be responsive and user-friendly, so people who make it to your site don’t just bounce right off.

Then focus on creating content that will help you rank for a number of keywords important to you company. Again, you have to rank for people to see your site. Social media marketing is an awesome way to raise awareness about your company, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t contribute to positive rankings in any way, and it doesn’t typically get more eyes on your site. 

SEO typically draws fewer people in, but it’s more effective at converting the people who do make it to your site to customers. So developing SEO content means developing content that solves pain points, and targets keywords. With a base of quality content like this, you can begin to start SMM.

Adding in Quality SMM

Remember that SMM doesn’t mean just creating a Facebook page. Facebook is a graveyard of well-intentioned business pages that no one ever posted to. Just because you have a Facebook page doesn’t mean you’re going to get followers. 

SMM means creating a Facebook page, and creating community around that. Focus on generating content that makes people want to interact with you, rather than buy something from you. 

If you build or remodel homes, post pictures of your projects and invite people to comment. If you’re a lawyer, consider posting fun infographics that breakdown complex legal concepts into easy bite-sized pieces of info, and ask for people to tell you if it makes the concept easier for them to understand. Remember that the primary goal of SMM is to create a community, rather than sell things.

SMM is quick and fleeting. Someone sees your social media post on Facebook or Twitter, and they share it or like it. Most often, SMM doesn’t actually send many people to your site. It functions more to create a community around your company, increasing your reach and alerting this online community that you exist. The goal of SMM is to build a presence that can later be harnessed for sales. Search engine optimization has a much more transactional approach of getting eyes on your page. 

SEO is focused on converting people who do eventually wind up on your site, while SMM works to make sure people know your site and your business exist, even if they don’t go to it.

SEO + SMM = The Ultimate Win

SMM functions as a sort of long game. You’re developing a community around your company’s social media presence, and once that community comes to trust you as an authority in your field, and someone they genuinely enjoy interacting with, they’ll convert to clients when they eventually need your services.

SEO ensures that when there are people who need your services right now, your site is discoverable. A combination of SMM and SEO ensure you’re playing on both fields: the immediate, right now leads, and the long-game: that social media community who will eventually become lifetime clients.

Any quality digital marketing strategy combines both search engine optimization and social media marketing, to ensure you’re catering to both the robots who shape the digital platform your site lives on, and the actual people you need to buy your product and service.

We get that digital marketing strategies are complex, often confusing concepts. If you have more questions on properly harnessing the powers of both SEO and SMM, don’t hesitate to reach out. Evenbound has been in the game for years now, and we’d be happy to help you figure out how to best combine your search engine optimization with your social media marketing strategies.

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Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

With shows like Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, Love it or List it, and pretty much anything on HGTV, it’s obvious that today’s consumer is very interested in homebuilding. Even when it’s not their own home, people love to look to at before and after photos, and imagine their own home looking that spectacular. The innate human interest in home building gives real estate developers like you a real leg up when you’re working on marketing your development. Even luckier is our society’s current fascination with social media, which makes marketing your development a breeze, if you just know how to engage that key buyer who loves home building projects, and is interested in buying in your area.

If you’ve been doing any digital marketing at all, you know that Facebook is a remarkably successful outlet for marketing your real estate development. The question is though, how do you build on the existing following you have? Well, it’s a lot easier than you might think. You’re selling something that a lot of Facebook users already want. Here are a few ways you can tailor your content for super engaging Facebook posts that are sure to boost your following:

Post photos

There’s nothing people love more than looking at before and after photos. From infomercials on the newest ab machine to finished houses, it’s one of the easiest ways to get people engaged in any product. If you’ve finished a development, or are completing the interior design of your model homes, have a professional photographer come over, and post those new home photos in an album. By labeling the album, your followers will be able to figure out which development the home is in, and where it’s located, which gives them a better chance of picturing themselves in the home itself. What’s more, good before and after progress photos typically generate a lot of engagement. If you have a really outstanding album, it’s likely to be shared by some of your followers, which ensures it gets more new eyes, expanding your Facebook following.

Share community news

As a real estate developer, you’re selling more than just houses. You’re selling a community. So whether you’re marketing a sustainable living community, or a housing development that’s set up for retirees, be sure to share community news that will get your target buyers excited about the community. Whether you’ve got a block party going on for Labor Day weekend, or you’re opening the community greenhouse, the more you can share with people about the goings on of your housing development, the better they’ll be able to see themselves fitting in that fun, happening community.

Video Tours

If you thought photos got a lot of engagement from your followers, wait until you post a quality video tour. People are inherently curious, and everyone wants to know what the house down the street looks like on the inside. Video tours are a cool, updated way to show off your handiwork, and they get people interested in both the projects you’ve completed, and the floorplan you’re showcasing. In addition to drawing in quality leads, video tours are highly shareable, and when yours start circulating Facebook, they’re sure to start drawing in more followers.

Ask questions

The best way to boost your following is to get people involved with your company’s Facebook page. If you’re putting out quality content that they like to look at, that’s awesome, but your page will do even better if your followers are engaged. Ask your followers questions! You’d be surprised at how controversial home design can be. Consider throwing out a photo with a uniquely designed aspect of one of your recent projects, and ask your followers what they think. You might just spark a lively online discussion. Open vs. closed floorplan? Master bedroom on the first or second level? These sorts of questions are sure to get people involved, and the more people who get involved, the bigger your following will get.

Contests

Facebook contests are very low risk, and they do a lot to boost your Facebook following. For example, say you want to do a giveaway for the holidays. Post a photo of the prize you’re offering to the winner, whether it’s a Kitchen-Aid, a mini-fridge, or just a set of pots and pans. Then, tell people what they have to do to enter in your contest: like your page, share the giveaway post, tag one or two friends, or even post their favorite holiday cookie recipe! Then, you can choose a winner at random.

When the contest is over, someone goes home happy with the prize, and you end up with all of those additional followers and shares. Over the course of the contest, you’ll have gotten a ton more likes, more followers to show your amazing content to, and a lot of shares that connect your housing development to a new crop of potential buyers. Not only have you boosted your Facebook following, you’ve increased your chances for more qualified leads.

Share company birthdays and important events

These days, consumers want to work with businesses they trust and feel invested in. If you regularly post employee birthdays, anniversaries of your company’s founding day, or breaking ground days for new projects, you’re reminding your followers that your company is made up of a bunch of people just like them. When your business is personal, people feel like they know you better and can trust you, which makes them more likely to work with you. The more people who want to work with you, the bigger your Facebook following.

Get active!

The more active you are on Facebook, the more followers you’re going to get. Be sure to comment and reply back to followers who ask questions or comment on your posts. What’s more, try to actively repost and share interesting content from other accounts that are relevant to your current followers. By sharing content you didn’t write, you expand your Facebook base to the followers of whoever you reposted. The more active your account, the more legitimate you look to ranking bots, which means your Facebook page will pop up higher in search engine results pages. So like and share when you can, and you’ll be sure to see that Facebook following expand.

Facebook is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there for real estate developers. If you’re active on your page, and combine those organic marketing efforts with a solid Facebook Ad Campaign, you’ll grow your following and see the high number of qualified leads you want. But if you’re still not sure how to optimize your real estate development’s digital marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to give Evenbound a shout. We’ve cracked the code to real estate development marketing, and can deliver the qualified leads and high conversion rates you need to fill your developments in no time at all.

To see just how the Evenbound strategy delivers real results and fills housing developments, check out the case study below:

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Make your Real Estate Development Stand Out Online

Make your Real Estate Development Stand Out Online

Real estate developments are a bit unique when it comes to digital marketing. The interesting thing about a development’s website is that it doesn’t stay up forever. You get your real estate development set up, you fill lots and sell homes, and once you’re done, so is your website. Compared to most websites out there, a housing development website has a relatively short lifespan, maybe a few years at the most.

As you likely know, you need a website and a solid web presence to sell lots in your development, but because of the short lifespan, you also need to get a website up, get it out there as quickly as possible, and then take it down as soon as you’re done with that particular development. This presents some unique SEO challenges. Since your real estate development website will only exist for so long, here’s how to make the most of your digital marketing efforts by putting out a quality website that attracts the right clients, quickly:

Laying the framework

Before you can get into any serious SEO or technical improvements to your website, you have to actually come up with a website that features quality content. To do that, it’s paramount that you answer the following questions:

What makes your development different?

These days, there are developments popping up on just about every corner. How does yours stand out? Are you offering special, no step floor plans for older residents? Is your development set in a location like no other? We’ve worked with a number of real estate developers, and we’ve always found that the ones with a special niche––sustainable mountain living communities, for example––tend to do better than those that are generic or seem cookie cutter. It’s important to have at least one major selling point that helps you stand out from your competition, whether that’s your quality of building, or the amenities that your housing development offers to residents.

What benefits does your development offer to potential buyers that your competition does not?

It’s easy to get caught up in the awesomeness of your own development. Many real estate development websites fall into the trap of shouting their greatness to the rooftops. While we know you’re great, and we’re certain you’re offering your clients top-of-the-line service and quality, it’s important to focus more on what benefits you’re offering potential buyers, rather than all of the positives of your company. You need to determine what it is exactly that you’re offering to your residents that others are not, and you have to explain how that benefits them.

Maybe that’s a peaceful lifestyle in the mountains, or maybe it’s a sustainable living community where residents work together to curate a community garden or implement backyard farming techniques, but whatever it is, make sure that the benefits to the buyer have more emphasis than your general greatness. Consumers are already wary of the “hard sell”—businesses telling them that they’re the best in the world or the country—so you need to show them exactly why your development is right for them.

Who are the right buyers?

To be able to highlight your benefits effectively, you need to know who your ideal buyers are. That doesn’t just mean knowing what price point they’re willing to pay, or whether they’re male or female. While those are important considerations, it’s more prudent to have a comprehensive idea of exactly who your real estate development is targeted to. Are you looking for younger families who want to move into a long term home? Or is your development more geared towards older, empty nesters who want a housing community that’s a bit quieter, but near a city where they can take in arts and culture at their own leisure?

Once you determine exactly who your ideal, target buyers are, and what they’re looking for in a home or community, you can create content that addresses their specific questions and concerns, and you can begin to put together ad campaigns that are directed towards that unique demographic. This ensures that your marketing techniques are created and implemented with purpose, and towards someone specific. In the long run, this will help earn more qualified leads, and fill up your real estate development faster.

Boosting your online presence

After asking those three positioning questions and determining your answers, you’re ready to put that information into your real estate development’s website. You’ll want to ensure that your website addresses those questions mentioned above: talk about how your development sets itself apart from your competition, and make sure you highlight the benefits that your specific, target buyer is likely to appreciate. And once you’ve got those three questions written into your site content, begin to optimize the site as a whole, and boost your web presence with these four major SEO methods:

High quality imagery

real estate development imagery

You have a beautiful housing development, show it off! You want to give potential buyers the ability to truly picture themselves living within your unique community. High resolution photos that clearly show the development, as well as some of your already completed homes, offer that possibility. What’s more, studies have shown that site viewers are more likely to stay on a webpage longer if it has multiple relevant, high quality images. The longer site viewers remain on a page, the better your search engine rankings, and the more likely those viewers are to contact you regarding that development.

So, invest in a reputable development photographer who can capture the essence of your real estate development, both outdoors and indoors. The more images you have, the better. If you’re not sure where to put some images, create a gallery. Then, site viewers can scroll through to get a better idea of what their life would look like if they chose a home in your development. You’ll keep them on the site longer, and you’ll entice them to come looking for more information.

Keyword rich pages

keywords real estate development

If you know anything about digital marketing, you know that keywords are a big deal. Keywords are the number one way that search engines like Google and Yahoo categorize and rank web pages when a user searches for something. A good way to ensure that your site is ranking for keywords that will boost your site’s visibility is to determine what your clients are searching for. Is it “real estate development in North Carolina”, or is it “new home, Grand Haven MI”? Do a bit of keyword research to see what you need to be ranking for, and where your website is currently falling on search engine results pages for the keywords you find are most relevant to your industry.

Then, implement that extensive keyword research into your website’s pages. While you don’t want to keyword stuff, by putting one word in a web page 20 or more times, you do want to make sure you’re using relevant keywords and their synonyms organically and in a way that sounds normal to your potential buyers. Sprinkle those important keywords into your content naturally. Soon, you’ll begin to see your site pop up higher in search engine results pages in no time.

Regular blog posts

blog real estate development

Another way to boost your online presence is to regularly create blog posts that address the questions and concerns of your potential buyer. For example, if you were selling lots on a development that emphasized a “sustainable community” you might offer some blogs on the benefits of sustainable living, or how to successfully grow a community garden. These are topics that your target buyer is certain to be interested in, and that are also highly shareable. Though their topics may not be directly related to the process of selling homes and lots, these blogs are sure to draw in viewers who are interested in living in the type of development that you’re providing. Once they read one of your blogs, they’re likely to read more. By addressing these target buyer’s interests, questions, and concerns on a regular basis, you’re more likely to draw them in, and get them interested in your real estate development.

What’s more, when you’re blogging regularly about topics relevant to your target buyer, using some of those researched keywords you implemented into the rest of your site’s page content, you’ll begin to see more improvements on search engines. Websites like Google prefer sites who regularly update, refresh, and put out new content, especially content that is keyword rich and useful to their searchers. The more regularly you blog, the more of an online boost you’ll begin to see.

Targeted Facebook and Adwords campaigns

The final, perhaps most effective SEO tool for any real estate development is paid ad campaigns. Like we mentioned before, your site goes up quickly, and it comes down just as soon as you fill your lots. That means it’s important to get the word out about your development as quickly as possible. There’s no more effective way to target your ideal buyer than through Facebook and Adwords campaigns. These advertisers have the most advanced demographic targeting software, and can get you a very high number of qualified leads in a very short amount of time.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads

One of the best ways to get your new site out in front of target buyers is through Facebook ads. Facebook has the power to group users according to age, gender, geographic location, personal likes, and even professional position. That makes it a powerful tool on which to market your real estate development. You can create ads that link to your new website or blog full of helpful content, and put them out to only the people who genuinely care about the information. This increases the number of qualified leads you’re getting, ensuring you’re only spending ad money on legitimate potential clients.

Adwords Campaigns

Google Adwords

Adwords works much the same, though it targets based on keywords rather than user demographic. You can create adwords campaigns around the extensive keyword research that you’ve already done. These campaigns ensure that your site shows up at the top of the list when someone searches, “new homes for sale in Spring Lake, MI”. By creating highly targeted ad campaigns, you’re only spending money on web users who are likely to convert to leads. This seriously increases your ROI, and boosts your web visibility in a way that’s cost effective.

Real estate development websites can be tricky to market. They need to be aesthetically pleasing and relevant to target customers, but they need to generate a ton of visibility right off the bat. If you’re having trouble getting eyes on your real estate development’s website, get in touch with the crew at Evenbound. We’ve successfully worked with a number of real estate developers across the country, and we’d be happy to help. For a look at how we generated 41 unit sales for developer Sovereign Oaks in just 12 months, check out the case study below:

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