We’ve talked at length about the many ways that social media can help Realtors build their brand and increase sales. The hyperlocal web site is one hot new trend that takes social media into a whole new neighborhood, literally. Simply put, it’s a web site that focuses on a specific zip code, town, or community. What better way to introduce your prospective clients to a place they might like to call home?
Hyperlocal Realtor websites are what’s working in real estate right now. Gone are the days of having a website that covers large metropolitan areas with the idea that a large site can accommodate the needs and diversity of everything and everyone.
Obviously the hyperlocal phenomenon is perfect for attracting the attention of newcomers. But it’s equally important as a community service for people who already live in the neighborhood. Your goal is to become the go-to place for anyone who wants to know about the latest local happenings.
Here are the first five steps you’ll take toward making hyperlocal a part of your marketing strategy:
- Conduct a keyword search
- Answer the right questions
- Be colorful
- Socialize your content
- Leverage your audience
Conduct a keyword search
Before you can develop hyperlocal content, you have to know what people are looking for. Pretend you’re a total stranger who is contemplating moving to the mythical town of Oakville. Google Oakville schools, and you’ll come up with half a dozen sub-categories, including lunch menus, school holidays, school board members, and school district ranking. Try the same thing for Oakville restaurants, Oakville entertainment, and Oakville government. Very shortly you’ll have a list of topics which can become subpages on your hyperlocal site. Now you have a framework—what’s next?
Answer the right questions
Anyone moving to a new area wants to start with some basic information. This belongs on your home page, and may include things like a brief history of the area, its climate, and form of government. Add unique features and activities—things that set Oakville apart from adjacent towns or neighborhoods. Do you have a world-class golf course? A unique Fourth of July celebration or other annual festival? A picturesque waterfront? These things are not likely to change over time and can provide an informative, attractive backdrop for the rest of your site.
Now that you’ve set the stage, it’s time to put your readers into the picture. Describe the best local coffee house. Make the smell of fresh-baked gingerbread and roasting beans come alive. Talk about the colorful home grown fruits and veggies at the Saturday farmer’s market, and the Little League team that won this year’s area championship. Give everything that special “you are here” feeling.
Additional options to brighten up your site might include an events calendar, a community bulletin board, a listing of public works projects, discussion forums on local issues—anything that is both entertaining and informative.
Socialize your content
While you’re busy attracting prospective clients (more about that in a minute) you want to build a buzz among the locals as well. Once you get this going, newcomers and oldtimers can interact with each other in a way that benefits both parties (and you too, of course). In order to keep your content fresh and interesting, let your readers do some of the work. Offer a by-line to anyone who writes a good restaurant review. Encourage tips about gallery exhibits, plays and concerts, kids’ activities, or any local happenings of interest. Link everything to your Facebook and Twitter pages, of course, as well as posting relevant pictures on Pinterest.
Make it easy for people to interact with you, as well as with each other. Provide a “Quick Questions” link, where they can contact you for specific information and referrals to local subject matter experts. Be sure your site has a notification function. That way you’ll know when someone posts a question so you can respond promptly.
Leverage your audience
Of course the underlying purpose of your site is to attract new clients, both local buyers and sellers as well as relocation prospects. Once you’ve set up your site, you’ll simply add links to local MLS listings, your personal home page, blog, and other real estate-specific information.
In communities across the country, there is currently a void in the amount, quality and easy access to information that is truly local. By taking some simple steps to fill that void, you can perform a useful community service and build your business at the same time. Hyperlocal is definitely a win-win.