If you’re a new player in the startup world, meaning that you have a startup you’d like to promote, then you probably have the basic idea of the possible ways to do it. Like advertising through AdWords, for example.
However, there’s a lot more channels of promotion that are equally effective, and some of them are actually pretty low budget, so you don’t need any serious founding just to be able to get started.
This is something that the 21st century has made available. Not more than ten years ago promoting anything on the internet was a lot tougher. Of course, solutions like AdWords were much cheaper, but you still had a lot less possibilities regarding the available channels of promotion you could choose. Nowadays, the game is completely different.
But first of all, what do I mean by a real estate startup?
Actually, nothing specific. If you have a new company that does any kind of business in the real estate market or in any submarket then it is a startup. Especially if you see the internet as a viable environment for promotion.
For me, whatever your story is, one of the best steps to take first is:
Launch a website/blog
If your startup doesn’t revolve around any specific website on its own then create a blog to give the whole thing a more online-friendly nature.
If, on the other hand, your startup is essentially a website then I would advise launching a new blog anyway.
The purpose of your startup can be very specific, but a blog can speak to a broad audience and be of much help when building your brand. These days, running any kind of business without a website (or a blog) can be really difficult.
This is due to the fact that people spend a lot of time online … browsing websites and interacting with their followers on social media. Joining the game and hitting people where they are is always a good idea.
This sounds a little vague so let me elaborate. Even though you’re running a business, you shouldn’t speak to people as a business. Do it as you – a flesh and blood human being. Use your real name as often as you can.
A couple of guidelines:
- Sign every email with your name, not with your brand name.
- Don’t speak of yourself as “we,” use more “I.”
- Respond to comments on your website as yourself.
- Sign every press release with your name.
I guess that all of the above can be summarized as “adding some personal touch.” I know that you want to expand your business, but people don’t actually like to deal with businesses, they like to deal with other real people.
Create personal social media profiles
This somewhat connects to the previous point.
Keeping things too professional is often a mistake many new brands make.
The thing with social media is that official brand-focused profiles work only for the big players. For instance, if you’re Coca Cola then people will follow you because you’re Coca Cola. But if you’re a new real estate startup then no one knows your brand name, and it will take some time to change this.
In the meantime, you’ll find it a lot easier to get followers by using your real name and creating personal social media profiles. Again, people like to do business with other people.
And also, just a side note, please don’t tweet only promotional messages. First, provide value, then try to get something out of it for yourself.
Search for connections on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is greatly underestimated these days as a promotional tool. Many people forget that it still is the top (and biggest) professional social network around.
As far as I can recall correctly, the managers from all Inc. 500 companies are present on LinkedIn … yet not on Facebook.
If you craft your LinkedIn profile to reflect the nature of the work you’re doing in your startup, and also provide some good reasons for reaching out to you, one day you will find one or two business proposition messages in your inbox…
For instance, you can mention some promotions, or deals you’ll be sharing in the near future and how your new partners can benefit from taking part in this process.
LinkedIn is a lot easier to use for finding partners than any other social network. People are simply business-focused on LinkedIn as opposed to entertainment-focused (Facebook, Twitter for the most part, etc.).
The idea of guest posting is a big deal in blogging, but it can also be used successfully for real estate startups, and actually people doing business in any other market as well.
The whole thing is pretty simple. You write an article, offer it for free to another website (preferably a big and popular one), and in exchange you get the possibility to link to your own site (startup site or blog).
The promotional essence of this lies in the fact that if people find your article interesting, they will feel compelled to pay you a visit and maybe even take some further action (depending on the nature of your startup).
You still have to spend some time preparing the articles, though. Or finding a freelancer who will write them for you. Whatever you do, don’t buy bundles of articles for $5 a piece or so. Such content is not of good quality, and no website owner will ever agree to publish it.
Join Yahoo! Answers
Yahoo! Answers is a very interesting place. Basically, it’s a crowdsourcing platform that revolves around questions. Everyone can ask any (and I do mean any) question, and then other users get to answer it. The best answer gets saved at the top of the page.
If you want to use it for promotion, you should spend an hour per day, or per week, depending on your strategy, and search for any new real estate questions. If you manage to answer a number of them, some of these answers should be marked as the best ones. If you provide a link to your site along the way, it will be exposed to every new person visiting this question or trying to ask a similar one.
This won’t bring you thousands of visitors a day, but the ones that come will be highly targeted, which is always a good thing.
As you can see, there’s only one paid promotional method on this list – launching a website/blog. Apart from this, everything else requires only the investment of time.
I know that in some scenarios time is a lot more important, and if you’re in such a situation, you can always hire someone to take care of these tasks.
Now, the above methods are not that obvious, which means that you have to get a little creative before you can figure out how to use them for promotion effectively. The sole fact that you’re on social media, or writing some guest posts won’t bring you massive results, everything’s about how you’re doing it rather than what you’re doing.
Now it’s your turn to speak up. Even if you’re not in the real estate market, what other cheap promotional methods can you think of that could turn out to be effective?
Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance blogger and writer. Currently, he’s all about providing blogging advice to real estate business owners, and getting the word out about Fort Worth real estate.