Real estate investors are in a competitive market with limited sellers, buyers, and many others competing for those same assets. Real estate wholesalers are especially competitive. They are competing for both buyers and sellers. Today, most people start searching online when looking for a solution. Your real estate investing website is key to being online when a potential seller searches for you. Just having a website isn’t enough. You need a digital marketing strategy to ensure people can find your site and your business. Part of this includes claiming your Google My Business listing.
Search engine optimization is part of the strategy of ensuring that you can be found. This involves strategies that we’ve talked about (and will keep talking about) to help get found by Google and other search engines. There’s a lot of competition out there, but one benefit you have is that you are a local business. Local businesses have their own SEO strategies that they can follow. You can also tell Google directly about your business, through Google My Business.
Google My Business shows those little boxes on the search engine results you sometimes see when searching for something. This means that in addition to showing up in the search results, this gives you another chance to show up. You create this listing by claiming your business with Google. There are some optimization strategies that you can also apply. These increase your chances of showing up a bit more and can help attract people to your site.
Why Building Your Google My Business Listing Matters
Google My Business is a listing on Google of your business, contact information, reviews, posts, and more depending on how well you optimize your listing. Just like with your website, you want to consider the purpose of your listing.
Here are some of the questions to ask yourself:
What do you want your customers to know about you?
What do you want your customers to do?
Does your Google My Business listing convey what you want it to say about your business?
How quickly can a potential home seller reach you if they want to reach you?
You can even ask friends and family who don’t know much about what you do to look at your listing. Ask them what they know about your business. Ask them how easy it is to find your contact information.
Having all this information readily accessible on your Google My Business listing helps warm up leads before they ever get to your website. Sometimes, it might even be enough to convince potential sellers to contact you to buy their house or offer them other solutions. Much more powerful than a bandit sign when done right.
Your Google My Business listing also conveys legitimacy for you and your business. A good website can do much the same thing, but when your information shows up on Google, it provides a perception that you are a real business and that Google has vetted you (even if they haven’t.
Readily accessible contact information, reviews and information right there about your business tells people that you are for real and increases their chances of reaching out to help them.
Google My Business is part of an overall digital marketing strategy. In addition to its benefits on its own, it can help you in your Search Engine Optimization in your market. These are the strategies and techniques that you can use to get your information higher up in the search results.
Real estate investing is local. Local SEO is a subset of other SEO strategies and you approach it a little bit differently. All the normal SEO strategies will work but some additional strategies will give you a higher chance of showing up.
When a distressed seller is looking for help on Google, they will type in a search phrase (also called a keyword phrase) like “sell my house fast.” Google works to match what it shows with what they’re looking for. This sort of search normally indicates that they want to sell a house in their area and Google will try to show them results for that area, hopefully where you are.
By telling Google about your company and where you are, you will likely show up in those results. If they live in Kansas City, they aren’t looking for help selling their home in Chicago. Honestly, you probably aren’t interested in wholesaling a home in Chicago (with some exceptions.)
On those search results, they follow a pattern. The first part are the ads. Google wants to make their money too, so it shows first what’s important to it. Then, it will often show something called the local 3 pack. These are from the Google My Business listings and it is prime real estate. You want to be there and you need a well optimized Google My Business listing to be there.
All of this combined makes a good Google My Business listing as a powerful tool in drawing more eyes to your website, getting more calls and ultimately getting more deal flow. Oh…and it’s free marketing too. Not bad.
Creating Your Google My Business Listing
So, it’s next best thing after sliced bread but now what? Here’s how you can create your Google My Business listing.
- Click Start Now. It’s going to ask you for some basic information about your business, which you want to enter. Enter all of your core business information. More is better here. These are things like
- Company Name
- Address – don’t leave this out!
- Phone Number
- Any Attributes
- Now, as part of that legitimacy process, Google wants to make sure that you and your business are for real. They want to verify your business. This usually means sending you a postcard (real estate investors aren’t the only ones still using postcards for marketing.)
Important Tips for Your Information
For your contact information, this is important. Make sure that your contact information is EXACTLY the same as the information on your website. Google uses this as part of the information when it indexes your site and listing and it’s looking that your website and the listing are the same places. If they aren’t the same, then it could hurt your SEO.
Also, it’s better if you use a local phone number rather than an 800 number. This helps to support the local aspect of your search.
Picking Your Category
For your category, there is a list of about 3,000 categories to choose from, and you want to get it right. This helps to make sure you show up in the right searches. You can pick both primary and secondary categories, with up to three secondary categories. We’ve put together the list of categories, placing the ones that we think are most relevant for you at the top. (Make your own choice, though, and please let us know if we missed something.)
Unfortunately, as of the time of this writing, there aren’t categories for real estate investors, wholesalers, or anything close. So, you may have to take a look at the competition and see what they’re using (if they’ve even claimed their listing). Otherwise, you could start with something like real estate consultant, perhaps, or a real estate agency, if that’s accurate.
Not Great Options for Attributes for Real Estate Investors
Now we are on to attributes. These help provide a bit more color to your company. For example, a restaurant might have cuisine type, hours, a link to their menu. A hotel might offer free wi-fi, parking. You get the idea.
To keep you from keyword stuffing your listing, where you fill up the description with a bunch of garbage to try to show up in the search engine results, Google limits your options here. Just like with categories, we’ve assembled a list of attributes and ones that might affect you. Definitely, review them for your business. Remember to look at this through the eyes of a potential seller and what they would want, and what you offer.
Sadly, many will not apply to a real estate investor. Things like “Veteran-Led” or “Women-Led” could have value. You might also advertise any languages that you speak. Other than that, there are only a handful that might apply.
You Claimed Your Listing…Not Quite Done Yet
There you go, you’ve now claimed your Google My Business listing. Don’t Stop There!
This is where a lot of people stop. They do the basics and that’s it. Okay, that will help but you can’t get prospective sellers to the table by shouting your company name from the rooftops. You need to tell them more about you and your company.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing for a Real Estate Investor Business
This starts your chance to stand out from the crowd. It will take a little bit of work but it’s not hard and it can pay huge dividends. Plus, it’s a lot cheaper than printing signs or mailing postcards.
According to one study, listings with photos are 2x more likely to be considered reputable, which gets them 35% more clicks. What could you do with 35% more business opportunities to convert? Add a profile photo to your listing.
You should also consider adding a cover photo and a video. The latter could help you explain what you can do for them and start to build that relationship.
Ask for Reviews
You should ask your previous partners and sellers (where it went well, obviously) to take the time to review your company on your Google My Business listing.
This is pretty self-evident, but good reviews builds confidence. More confidence means more calls. That means more deals. More deals, means more reviews. You get the idea. Reviews are huge for building credibility and they can be a good place to send future prospective sellers too. You might even consider adding them to your site.
Another Case for SMS Marketing in Real Estate Lead Generation
Google has an option for potential sellers to message you. This lets you communicate via SMS with your clients. Many people would rather message than talk on the phone. Ultimately, if you want the deal flow, you want to be as accessible as possible for potential sellers.
Add Your Own Content
Add Your Own Content
You can add “posts” to your listing. This allows you to add a post of up to 300 words plus a call to action. Like with your site’s content, you can add content to start a dialog with potential sellers. Here are few ideas of things to consider:
- Add Content Summaries from Your Site – You could add brief summaries of content you add to your site and a call to action for them to read more which takes them directly to your site.
- Add Success Stories – Add success stories where you could help a seller out and what the seller gained.
- Local Market Trends – You can add local market trends like housing prices, foreclosures, closing times (you can close quickly right???)
Information like this sets the stage for your conversation with potential sellers and to draw them in to contacting you.
Tracking Success – DATA, DATA, DATA
Google My Business provides you a bunch of tools so that you can tell how well your listing is working. Then, you can use that data to make improvements. For example, here is some of the information that you can get from Google My Business
- How Sellers are Finding Your Real Estate Investment business (searches, etc)
- Actions that sellers are taking when they reach your site – are they reading the posts, do they go to your site, do they contact you
- Where sellers live (based on query information that it gets, so not 100% accurate)
- Total calls and time when they are calling
Basically, you can get an idea of the full life cycle of a potential seller on your listing. You can tell how they got there, what they did and if they contacted you. If they reach the listing, read a post and bounce, maybe your post isn’t hooking them.
If they make it through but don’t contact you, perhaps something isn’t building their confidence that you can help them.
Good use of the data provided by your Google My Business listing, especially when combined with what happens when they contact you and what happens from your website, will help you make decisions about how to refine your listing to make it more effect.
Building Your Google My Business Listing for Your Real Estate Investing Business
Google My Business is an important part of a local digital marketing strategy. It helps your SEO and, when well optimized, it can lead to more…leads. More leads=more deals.
Most businesses never claim their listing, so just by getting started you are ahead of the game. Other than some time, which is always valuable, it doesn’t cost anything so is some of the cheapest marketing around.