One of the ways that real estate professionals market their services is by positioning themselves as “local experts” — someone who knows the city/neighborhood/community extremely well.
I’ve always been torn about the value of this marketing technique. (In fact, I listed it as one of 5 marketing tactics that real estate professionals use that can hurt their business. See all five here: Free home valuations, claiming to give great service, doing kitcshy things like wearing a chicken costume, guaranteeing a home sale, and positioning yourself as a local expert). But among those five dangerous marketing tactics, the local expert one is the one I’ve been most on-the-fence about.
I think there can be value in positioning yourself as a local expert — just remember that you are serving the buying market and not the selling market. I think there COULD be value in this positioning but the real estate professionals positioning themselves as local experts often do very little to convince me that they are local experts. In the marketing I’ve seen from real estate agents claiming to be local experts, it all appears to be just a thin coat of marketing paint without any real substance behind it.
IF you are going to position yourself as a local expert than go all out and BE the local expert. Here are 9 ways to actually be the local expert:
- Shop at the stores in your area. Eat at the restaurants; get your hair cut at the salons; shop at the little mom and pop stores. Don’t just do it once to get a feel for the area… Become known by each store owner and their staff. Stop by and say hello without asking for anything back. Make it YOUR neighborhood… just Don Corleone and other mobsters do.
- Write the ebook about your local community. Check out this video to learn more…
- Write articles in your community newspaper.
- Write a series of definitive Squidoo lenses on your local area.
- Write magazine articles about your local area (depending on the magazine, they might be read by a wider audience but the fact that you’ve written them will help build credibility).
- Use Foursquare (connected to Facebook and Twitter) to actively promote your activity in the local area. Watch this video for more information about using Foursquare to become a local expert.
- Tweet regularly about news that is happening in the area. Become the “on-the-ground” journalist for that area.
- Monitor social media for mentions of your neighborhood and comment on them.
- Find local blogs and become an active commenter and guest poster
- Use Storify to tell the story of your neighborhood. Draw in information, videos, and social content that describes your local market.
- Start a website about where you live. (I live in the East Kildonan area of Winnipeg so if I were a real estate professional, I would buy EastKildonan.com or something similar, and create content that told stories about that area.
- Start a podcast and interview locals (business owners and residents) about the area.
- Start a Facebook page for your local area.
- Record videos of local sites and post them on your website or blog. Watch this video for more information about using video to become a local expert.
- Become active politically, advocating or lobbying for the area. If your area needs a new park, spearhead that effort.
- Walk the streets of the area you live. Wave to people mowing their lawns. Pick up the garbage.
- Organize a couple of events (like a street-wide garage sale or barbecue) — you don’t have to do every single street but a couple of them will make a big splash.
- Memorize the map: Know the streets — the active ones, the quiet ones, the one-way streets, and the shortcuts! (That’s how you can spot someone who really knows an area… if they know the shortcuts.
- Promote local charities.
- Visit local churches.
- Find out what fundraisers and activities there are in your area and promote them.
- Check out event websites (like EventBrite.com but there are several) and watch for what’s going on. See if you can participate in some way.
- Memorize the locations of parks and the names of restaurants and coffee shops.
- Offer to speak at local schools, Toastmaster groups, etc.
- Study the statistics — demographics, crime rates, average income, etc… and find ways to put a positive spin on these numbers if they aren’t all rosy.
Two things will happen when you adopt even some of these activities…
First, you will become the local expert of the area and people in the area will come to think of you as “their” real estate professional. They may get you to list their house and help them move elsewhere.
Second, outsiders who are looking to move into the area can’t help but bump into your name several times online and offline while researching the area. They may get you to help them buy a house in the area.