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Market Niches Can Equal Agent Riches:
The Long-Tail in Online Marketing for Realtors

In Real Estate, as in much of business, being all things to all people, is an impossible business model to chase.

The Long and Short of It.
In Business 'The Long Tail' concept states that you can sell more 'less popular' items than you can of popular items. A common example is that Netflix rents more niche movies than popular ones.

So what does this mean to real estate agents? That you can make a business in marketing niche markets and that it can be often times more profitable.

The #1 real estate related website in the United States is Realtor.com. Knowing the Google keywords people use to find Realtor.com will tell you a lot about online consumer behavior and will give you a lot to think about in your own online lead generation efforts as they relate to niche markets.

The Google keywords used most often to find Realtor.com are "Homes for Sale" and the location in which they are searching.

Why is this? Because people instinctively begin their home buying process by searching properties' to get a sense of the market.

Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Real Estate Companies etc ALL allow online consumers to search for almost all 'Homes for Sale' throughout the country.

So how are most agents trying to generate leads with their websites? By offering a small subset of capabilities and nothing unique or otherwise beneficial to people. In other words, agents are trying to compete with Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow with the proverbial 'one arm tied behind their back.'

Good luck with that.

Trying to compete head-to-head with a company with millions of dollars to spend on technology and marketing is a losing proposition!!

The Good and The Bad

The Irony is that local real estate agents are in the best position to capitalize on their local market knowledge, but they typically do the worst job at capitalizing this knowledge online.

Local agents know what local buyers and sellers are searching for (in real time! A showing is the most up-to-date search result and one that has immediate feedback capabilities....something rarely accomplished on a computer).

In the world of real estate online lead generation, the most obvious worst offender of this principle are the Real Estate Agents that offer website visitors the ubiquitous "Search the MLS" or "Property Search" as the defining features of their websites. Some of the more cutting edge agents even have "Search by Map" prominently featured as if searching real estate by map was invented yesterday. It wasn't and pretty much EVERY website offers it.

In other words agents are trying to compete with Realtor.com and all the other real estate websites by offering infinitely less data and capabilities.

How is that working for you?

Offering people and online consumers 'the same but less' is not a sustainable business model.

Grab the market by The Long Tail
Agents should focus their efforts on niches so that

  1. They have a better chance of being found and noticed
  2. That they have a better chance at being relevant to some people (a market) vs. not relevant to anyone (the market).

And this has important implications in all your online marketing as well.

"Search Homes for Sale" / "Property Search"

99.9% of agents allow online consumers to search for 'Homes for Sale' with the main segmentation being "My Listings" sometimes euphemistically entitled "Featured Listings."

To the online consumer this looks and feels like 'every other agent and website' on the Internet. When the people start thinking you are like 'everyone else on the Internet' that is not a good thing. In addition, they can go to one of over dozens of real estate websites and not only search every location in the country, they can typically do a lot of analytics that your agent website does not come close to offering. You are trying to complete with websites that have millions of dollars to spend in marketing and advertising.

Create a Niche -> Market the Niche -> Get Found -> Get Results
Local Real Estate Agents work in defined geographical areas. In every agent's 'area' there are geographical submarkets and property submarkets.

What geographical submarkets or particular property types are in your market that you know people buy and sell?

Identify some market niches, and then using either your MLS or website IDX provider's tools, create and save predefined property searches that return just those properties when clicked on as a link. In other words, give people what they want. You certainly know your market better than a corporate website out of New York, San Francisco or wherever it is that corporate is based!

A great example of this is Dave & Suzy Cardwell's pre-defined property search for Crow Canyon Country Club in the San Ramon Valley area of Northern California. While most all other agents in their area show "Search the MLS" (which Dave & Suzy have as well), they allow online consumers to One Click Search several key niche markets that they know people buying in their area are interested in (technology provider AgentAchieve).

Property Subtypes are also a great niche to market and let people One Click Search. Rick Miner, in Seattle markets several property niches such as Waterfront and View Homes at his website (Northwest MLS IDX, member of Michael Russer Online Dominance).

Easier, Faster and More Relevant is Always Better

Put yourself in the online consumers shoes. Let's imagine 'you' are interested in buying a property in Crow Canyon Country Club. Are you more likely to click on a link for Crow Canyon Country Club or Search the MLS? Or that you are interested in Waterfront or View Homes of Seattle....would you more likely click on Waterfront and View Homes or Property Search?

The beautiful thing about allowing people to One Click Search niche markets is, is that on the one hand you are giving people that want this information the information they want upfront, fast and easy. And secondly, you are not turning off 'everyone else' who just wants to search your general MLS listings.

If people have to search your website or click too much to 'hopefully get' what they are looking for, then you are going to lose a lot of lead generation opportunities.

The Funnel
Of all the websites on the Internet, only Craigslist allows you to post your listing (what the online consumers are searching for) along with a links to the tools and information online consumers also want at YOUR website vs. sending them somewhere else and to someone else!

By providing links to the tools and information that online consumers want around your listing that the online consumer is searching for, you create a funnel that will bring the online consumer to you vs. sending them to someone else like a sieve.

Surround your listing with the tools and information at your website and leverage online consumer interest and generate both website traffic and leads! Create your funnel!

Market the Niche -> Get Found

There are many places that you can insert live links to predefined searches for the niche markets in your area. Some of the best include:

  1. Your website (but how do they find your website?)
  2. Your online marketing including Craig's List and your eFlyers

Training Schedule

Success Stories

I chose Crye-Leike because of the people and the training.  I felt that everyone was genuinely happy to welcome me to the Crye-Leike Family.  The knowledge I've gained through "Crye-Leike College" has given me a great start to a successful career as a Realtor.  

Bryan Hester, Affiliate Broker
Ooltewah, TN Office

I joined Crye-Leike for multiple reasons. First, the level of training and education Crye-Leike offers rivals anyone in the industry.  Another reason being that the first time I walked into the office  I heard over and over "If there is anything I can do to help you just let me know."  This coming from the front office staff to the most successful agent/broker in the office, and lots of folks in between. I knew I would have all of the support and guidance a new agent would need.  

Dawn Pettway, Affiliate Broker
Downtown Chattanooga, TN Office

Theirs a ton of great brokers out there, I interviewed quite a few. But from the moment I met my broker at the Downtown office - I felt like part of the family. She welcomed me in with enthusiasm and assured my success with Crye-Leike college. Starting your own business is hard; with Crye-Leike's Blue Print for Success, I literally have an instruction manual on how to be a success! Going to class was great, hands on training with a broker who has done it all before. Even after Crye-Leike College I still have an amazing support team. I can call any Crye-Leike broker for help, sit in any of the Crye-Leike branches with a client, and have the full support of the Crye-Leike family everywhere I go. So yes, there are many great brokers out there, but non like Crye-Leike - the question then becomes why not Crye-Leike?             

Rachel Ford, Affiliate Broker
Downtown Chattanooga, TN Office

As a new Realtor, I choose Crye-Leike because of their successful track record.  Crye-Leike is family oriented, they support new agents with ongoing training - some offered on a daily basis. I have found that we are family, we support each other's success' and learn from each other.

Mark D. Prince, Affiliate Broker
East Brainerd Office-Chattanooga, TN

I came to work with Crye-Leike because out of all the other competitors, I felt that this was a place that I could grow as big as I wanted.  The support structure for a new agent is amazing!  I weighed all the pros and cons and hands down felt this was the place.

Trisha Guffey, Affiliate Broker
East Brainerd Office-Chattanooga, TN

There are a lot of real estate companies out there but only one Crye-Leike, and I wanted to be with the best!  

Susan Gregg-Gilmore, Affiliate Broker
Downtown Chattanooga, TN Office

I chose Crye-Leike because it offered the services I was looking for as a Realtor and the broker made me feel I would be part of something great!

Daniel Keener, Affiliate Broker
Cleveland, TN Office
I looked at many real estate companies in the Memphis area. My main areas of concern were a sophisticated Internet presence, organized and ongoing training program, name recognition and business diversity. I felt these resources would help me grow my real estate business quickly. Crye-Leike was the only company that came close to meeting all my criteria, and after 8 months in the business I can honestly say all my expectations have been met!
Bill Bailey
Memphis Quail Hollow Office
I want to share my floor duty story. Since it is no secret that I dislike floor duty but these days I am singing a different tune. In April I listed 3 homes, two of which came from floor duty calls. Crye-Leike is the #1 company in Maumelle. It would be foolish of me to not take advantage of this fact!
Donna Dail
Little Rock Maumelle office
I have been watching Crye-Leike grow for several years now. I selected them for not only becoming the leader in Arkansas`s real estate market, but also for the services they have to offer to my sellers. They are on top of the technology and marketing suport.
Ruth Tyson
Little Rock Kanis Office
I attended a webinar on Quantum Digital. This is an awesome tool for all agents. We are very excited about this tool.
Rick Ramick
Hot Springs Arkansas office
We can honestly say that we have tried other companies in the past and found our way back to Crye-Leike. The tools that Crye-Leike offers us, as agents, are second to none.
Robert and Amy Clay
Hernando MS office
I am very excited about my move to Crye-Leike-I wish I had made it months ago. It is better than I had ever expected. I love the cooperation and team work of my fellow agents and broker.
Jane Riggen
Atoka TN Office
The best move I ever made was joining Crye-Leike because of the services that are offered and their advanced technology. It`s wonderful working in such a positive atmosphere. I am thrilled to be here!
Melissa Hayes
Memphis Quail Hollow office
The decision to leave my real estate family of 24 years was a very difficult one, but I felt it was time to make a change and grow my business. I have been very pleased with my move to Crye-Leike. 2005 was my best year yet! Crye-Leike has so much to offer agents to help them get their businesses started or to improve their existing business. The technology and marketing departments are on the cutting edge of the industry, always bringing us new things to help us with our business, but still keeping the costs down to the agents. Everyone has been great!
Patty Rainey
Collierville Office
I have been with Crye-Leike since October of 2004. Originally I received my license and started with a small agency. Then I moved here from Michigan, had no family and only a few friends. I knew prospecting was going to be a challange. I needed some training but didn`t have enough money to get my designations. I heard about Crye-Leike College and all the tools they had to offer for a new agent. I transferred my license, attended classes, now have a web site, know what it takes to advertise, and I know how to prospect for new customers. Thank you Crye-Leike and the managers at Quail Hollow. I was elected 2005 Rookie of the Year!!!
Debby Vaughan, ABR
Collierville Office
I wanted to let you know how pleased I am about the expediency of the NEW Online Marketing system. While at the Cumming office this past Thursday, I placed an order for business cards with photo, shortly after 3:00 p.m. our time. The next morning, I received email notice of them being shipped overnight to my office address. The new cards were on my desk in less than 24 hours from the time I ordered them the day before. I really did not expect the fast turnaround of printed materials. Hopefully, this will be the standard performance in the future. Impressive! To say the least.
Sidney Venable
Norcross, GA
Joining Crye-Leike, Realtors was the smartest move I have ever made. Being with other companies and experiencing their values and cultures made me realize that I finally found HOME with Crye-Leike, Realtors. From world class offices to over qualified office managers, experienced Licensed Brokers and having it all at a lower fee s it s the way to go. Crye-Leike, Realtors are positive people with ton s of encouragement and backing it up with marketing, tools, training and personal help. I have been so grateful to finally find a place to hang my sign.
Cynthia Chandlee
Roswell, GA
There are more than one reasons why I chose Crye- Leike over other real estate companies. In today s market I found myself struggling to keep up with the monthly office fees, at Crye-Leike, Realtors I get the technology I need for a small monthly fee plus I pay the E&O insurance monthly so I can better accommodate the expense to my budget. I was referred to Crye-Leike, Realtors by a friend/realtor from another company, I was told about the advantages of CRYE-LEIKE and the importance of keeping my business rolling with a full service real estate company. I was also told great things about my broker and how much I will enjoy working in a team atmosphere. I am very pleased with my move and I recommend it to anyone who wants to stay in the real estate business but feels, as much as I did, that reducing the cost of keeping my business will help me survive in a difficult market.
Claudia Guevara
Roswell, GA
Thanks Crye-Leike for your appointment center and staff support, so we can prioritize our time with the most important things...our clients
Diane and Sandy Rhodes
Little Rock Area
Success takes teamwork. Thanks Crye-Leike for you multiple offices where we benefit from working with Crye-Leike agents all over the country.
Don and Ann Edwards
Little Rock Area
Thanks Crye-Leike for making it easy to view property showings via our state of the art Information Technology Department. Crye-Leike helps so much in making my profession streamlined to better serve my clients!
Cassie Wells
Little Rock Area
Working with Crye-Leike, has given me a flexible schedule and a place to work in a positive environment by helping families find a home, and offer a good service to sellers.
Sharon Wayman
Nashville Green Hills Office