Gain new business by improving your local footprint online.
What is Local SEO?
Local SEO stands for local search engine optimization. It is the process of refining and optimizing your online presence to gain local website traffic and ultimately more business. Taking advantage of local SEO best practices is particularly important for smaller businesses that rely on nearby customers for the bulk of their revenue. Here are a few ways you can use local SEO strategies for your benefit.
Google Reigns Supreme
While Google has lost some luster over the years, it still reigns supreme with local SEO. Begin your efforts by claiming and then optimizing your Google “My Business” profile. As you know, Google makes a point to identify and catalog as many businesses as it can across its services. Business leaders can claim ownership over these listings and then modify the available information fields. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity to improve how your business is displayed across one of the most popular websites in the world. Ensure that the following is complete and correct:
Your Google “My Business” profile will also include the option for customers to leave reviews, and it is not a bad idea to ask satisfied customers to leave a positive notice regarding your services. Responding to reviews that people leave is similarly important, as it indicates that you are a responsive organization that cares deeply about the customer experience you provide.
Deploy Location-Based Keywords
Businesses like title agencies should also incorporate location-based keywords into their web properties, as their customer base is often defined by a fixed geographical location. On your website, for example, don’t merely refer to yourself as a “title agency.” It is not specific enough and won’t do much from an SEO perspective. Instead, add in mentions of your city and state, and be sure to use a keyword explorer tool to assess metrics and get help selecting your phrases.
There are countless local directories that can be found online, and they represent another opportunity for small businesses like yours to enhance their digital presence. From Yelp and Yellow Pages to Foursquare and TripAdvisor, utilizing digital directories can boost your agency’s visibility and enhance your credibility, especially once you make sure all information is consistent and updated.
When you think about businesses that are deeply intertwined with their local communities, few spring to mind faster than title agencies. After all, these are the firms that secure the very properties that make up a community in the first place. It only makes sense, then, that title agencies should prioritize local SEO to boost awareness, position their brands and grow their profitability. And by following the best practices listed here, you’ll do exactly that.
Connect with your audience through visual storytelling
Humans are visually oriented creatures. Time and time again, data shows that people engage more powerfully with visual media than other forms. Take social media as just one example. Using video on social media generates an incredible 1,200 percent more shares than text and image content combined.[i] With those numbers, brands can’t miss the opportunity to engage in more visual storytelling. Here’s how to do it.
Empower your team on social
When looking to expand your visual storytelling, think outside the box. There is only so much you can put out on your corporate social media channels. That’s why you may want to consider asking your team to share your brand’s visual content on their personal channels.
You can take a variety of approaches. Some companies create an entire formalized employee social media program. Others simply notify the team whenever an important and visually dynamic post could benefit from some amplification.
If you feel strange about asking your employees to share your content – don’t. Many people enjoy sharing information about workplace wins, and many others desire to build their own industry thought leader credentials. Engaging with your team to share on social media can be mutually beneficial.
Consider new channels
For some time, the social media landscape has been changing. The big players in the space, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have slowly been fading in influence and relevance, eclipsed by new kids on the block such as TikTok.
One of the benefits of this new breed of apps is that they make it easier than ever to engage in highly visual storytelling through built-in video production and editing tools. Their massive audiences (almost 45 percent of Americans have a TikTok, for example) also don’t hurt!
Find overlooked hosting opportunities
Once you have visually engaging brand content, share it far and wide. One obvious place is on your website. You don’t want to go overboard with this, of course. Too many videos and images can potentially compromise your website’s performance. Yet a few strategically embedded visual assets can create a more compelling experience for your visitors. Visuals are also a much more effective way to disseminate critical information about your brand. Studies show, for example, that viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10 percent when reading it in text.[ii]
Look for easy, low-cost solutions
Anytime you prepare a piece of content, ask yourself if you can make it more visual. Then, find the low-cost online tools you need to produce it. One of the best things about our digital economy is that it has never been easier for businesses to create high quality visuals.
From icon libraries to infographic makers to explainer videos, converting static text content into something more visual is a breeze. In doing so, your content will not only make a better first impression but also pay lasting dividends. Hosting visually-rich, educational and evergreen content on your website, for example, can work wonders for your long-term SEO and domain authority.
Get visual and reap rewards
In a cluttered market, the more visual a brand the better its prospects. Of course, like anything else, creating meaningful visuals requires some time and effort. But the rewards are worth it. By enlisting your team, utilizing low-cost digital tools and staying open to new platforms, you can position your brand to be more engaging and successful than ever before.
Forming strong connections with real estate agents is a must in any market
For title insurance agents, few audiences are more important than the real estate agent audience. Without building strong, reliable and mutually beneficial relationships with these companies and individuals, cultivating demand and growing profits becomes much more challenging. But like any target audience, successfully marketing to Realtors requires developing tailored strategies and tactics. Here are a few tips, tricks and best practices to get you started.
Build your Realtor buyer personas
Begin by identifying and building your buyer personas. If you’ve never built a buyer persona before, we have written a blog post on the topic that you can refer to here.
A good buyer persona includes much more than general demographic information. Do not merely focus on things like location or age, but also on psychological factors like hopes, behaviors and pain points. Taking time to consider these factors will make it easier to reach your target audience and connect with them in a profound way.
Remember, the more specific the better. Real estate agents are not monolithic as a group. Segment your audience and build as many buyer personas as you need to run a successful campaign. It may seem like a lot of work, but it will pay off later!
Leverage owned, paid and earned media channels
Once you have a clear idea of who you are trying to reach, then it is time to think about the owned, paid and earned media channels you will leverage to reach your audience. Let’s go through what each of these means:
Owned media: Owned media refers to any media that you own, like your social media channels, email marketing platforms, blog and, of course, your website.
Paid media: Paid media encompasses any media exposure you pay for, including search and social media advertising, as well as sponsored content placements.
Earned media: Earned media includes media mentions that are neither paid nor owned. Some examples are op-eds, press releases and guest blogging.
Meet your customers where they are with research
Understanding your available media channels is just half the battle. You must also supplement this by effectively using research to decide which channels you will use and in what way. Without doing this up-front legwork, your marketing efforts will amount to the old saying: “throw it at the wall and see what sticks.” Here are a few ways that you can start using your paid, earned and owned media strategies in an intentional and impactful way.
The online media ecosystem for Realtors is vast. Take advantage of paid (such as ad placements) or earned media tactics (like writing and pitching an op-ed) by looking into publications that are highly popular within the real estate industry.
Like pretty much every person on the planet, real estate agents rely on Google to find answers to important professional problems. By deploying paid strategies like search engine marketing (SEM), you can put yourself in front of active prospects. This is another area where your potential success with a particular media channel will hinge on research. Be sure to deploy free tools like a keyword planner and check Google Trends for valuable data on keyword search volume.
In terms of owned media, your biggest asset for attracting Realtors is likely to be your website. While nearly every company already has a website, far too many have not incorporated standard search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, which can lead to a loss in potential web traffic. Consisting of both on- and off-page tactics, SEO is a must for anyone looking to attract a specific audience such as Realtors. Refer to our previous blog post on the topic for more information.
Social media marketing is yet another opportunity to reach real estate agents in a strategic, targeted fashion. First, the data shows that 77% of Realtors leverage social media to connect with important audiences such as millennials.[i] Additionally, according to the National Association of Realtors, almost half of real estate businesses agree that the social media channels resulted in the highest quality leads.[ii] Unfortunately, social media is becoming increasingly a “pay-to-play” arena, which we have also written about previously. Yet a minor ad spend can often prove advantageous for those attempting to reach niche audiences, as the major platforms allow you to micro-target through useful criteria like job title, location, profession, industry, etc.
Find the right strategies and reap the rewards
I won’t sugarcoat it: creating successful digital marketing campaigns is not easy, particularly if you are looking to reach a specialized audience. Yet in most markets, the real estate agent audience is too important to ignore. When done successfully, you’ll be able to meet these audiences where they are and create powerful, mutually beneficial relationships on which to build a successful, long-lasting business.
Don’t miss out on this unique marketing opportunity.
When thinking about how to market your agency, it can sometimes be helpful to take stock of your “digital real estate.” It’s simple. Every company has a certain amount of media that they “own.” Some well-known examples include social media feeds, websites and blogs. In any marketing campaign, maximizing your digital real estate is key, and that includes looking for marketing opportunities in unexpected places.
One opportunity that often goes overlooked is email, specifically your firm’s professional email signatures. More than 330 billion emails get sent every single day[i], and each one of these represents a chance to create a unique touchpoint with potential customers. Here is how you can start optimizing this part of your digital real estate and get your key messages in front of more people.
Make them complete and unified
The first and easiest way to optimize your staff email signatures is simply by including all relevant contact information. Typically, this includes:
Work phone number
Company social media feeds
Of course, it is not enough to merely include all relevant information; you also want to ensure that each staff member’s email signature is formatted uniformly. To achieve this, document each element of your agency’s email signature format and circulate it accordingly. Consider working with a graphic designer on a mockup that new employees can refer to as they onboard.
Fold this mockup into your firm’s style guide. Like any other piece of digital collateral, the signature needs to be aligned with and reflective of your overall brand.
The rationale for taking these steps is two-fold. You convey a stronger sense of professionalism. You also verify that interested prospects will have all information they need to connect with you and perhaps do business in the future.
Promote, promote, promote!
While completing your signature is a great first step, it is only one part of a larger process. Email signatures can be much more than basic contact information. They can also be a place to promote your events, products and special deals.
The best way to do this is by deploying a visual element like a logo, image or GIF. Typically, these visual elements appear in a long, rectangular format, often around 700×200 to be precise. Once again, working with a graphic designer can be helpful here, as they assist you in making sure your graphic is attention-grabbing, branded and sized correctly.
Get those clicks
Perhaps the best part of optimizing your email signature is that you can embed hyperlinks to achieve key marketing objectives. For example, if growing your social media following is an important goal for your agency, include logos for each social media site where you have an account and link them back to your firm’s profiles.
Repeat this process for other objectives. Want to expand your newsletter distribution list? Place a link in your signature. Running a promotion? Include a banner image and hyperlink it to a special landing page on your website.
The data suggests that taking these simple steps can pay off handsomely – with some figures showing an increase in your email marketing CTR (click-through-rate) of up to 10%.[ii]
Don’t leave money on the table
These days, every company must be on the hunt for untapped marketing opportunities. After all, finding innovative, appealing and unobtrusive ways to message your initiatives is essential to standing apart from the competition. Your firm’s email signature represents a golden opportunity to reinforce your brand’s professionalism and competency, and message your products and services. Doing anything less is leaving money on the table.
It is safe to say that public trust in institutions these days is at an all-time low. According to recent reporting, only 7% of Americans have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the news media,[i] with only about a third saying they trust the U.S. Congress.[ii]
When it comes to the business world, the perception amongst Americans is no better. Only 14% of citizens find big businesses to be trustworthy,[iii] while over 70% have little faith that brands will deliver on the promises they make. One conclusion that can be drawn from these statistics is that displaying authenticity in your marketing has never been more important. In this blog, we will talk a bit more about why authenticity matters, as well as how you can weave it into more of your marketing initiatives.
The Power of Authenticity
Why does authenticity matter? Well, because it can make a real difference in dollars-and-cents. 86% of customers are on the record stating that brand authenticity is important when deciding where they are going to shop.[iv] In addition, Gen Z, one of the most powerful up-and-coming consumer groups, wants to purchase from companies that support social and environmental issues over those that do not.[v] What is abundantly clear is that companies must put authenticity front-and-center to compete in the marketplace today and tomorrow.
How You Become More Authentic
Luckily, there are a variety of easy steps business leaders can take to start promoting brand authenticity:
First, clearly define your values. After all, being authentic means that you are what you say. But you can’t live up to what say you are until you define it. And no, that doesn’t mean simply just listing your products or services. Instead, develop a comprehensive brand story, including a “promise” for how your company will help customers live better lives.
Next, communicate your story. You have likely already heard about content marketing: a strategy for using content to draw people to your website and convert them into leads. However, you can also use content marketing to highlight your brand story and promise. To do this, reduce how often you’re hard selling and produce more educational content. This can solidify your reputation as a helpful resource rather than merely a money-making entity.
Consider reviewing and revising your brand’s image – including fonts, colors, slogans, logos and imagery. So much of how human beings perceive others depends on non-verbal characteristics. Think about what’s right for your target clients. If you want to position your business as a socially conscious enterprise that Millennials and Gen. Z. will love, then those principles must also be reflected in your brand aesthetics.
Put the human at the center of your communication. It isn’t good for companies to drift into cold, impersonal communication – which certainly doesn’t scream authenticity. Always remind your customers of the real humans working hard behind the corporate veneer, figures who are passionate about helping them solve problems. There are variety of ways you can do this – from taking people behind the scenes of your business to running employee spotlight features on your blog.
Authenticity is the Way of the Future
In our digital-first economy, customers are growing increasingly savvy, and unsurprisingly, this has changed their expectations. It is no longer sufficient to have good products or service; customers are also prioritizing companies that are invested in improving their lives and communities. Just like any other market trend, companies that don’t adapt do so at their own peril.