It’s no secret: There are countless real estate agents — of all ages and in all markets — who simply aren’t savvy when it comes to online real estate marketing. That’s not to say many of them aren’t working to improve their understanding and implementation of digital marketing tactics to help grow their businesses. Nevertheless, a lot of agents and brokers are struggling to catch up.
RE/MAX Ability Plus Realtor Libby Cyman, based in Indiana, admittedly isn’t an internet marketing expert. But with her Placester real estate website, she’s found the tools and training she needs to improve her day-to-day marketing and use her technology more efficiently.
In this one-on-one interview, Cyman details her love of online marketing, how she makes the most of her website for her particular brand, and the benefits of working with marketing-savvy folks who can provide the necessary guidance to advance her business.
Placester: Tell us a bit about your background. When did you first get into the real estate industry? How long have you been with Ability Plus?
Cyman: I have been a RE/MAX agent since 2000. I started with RE/MAX Ability Plus, and I am still with RE/MAX Ability Plus…I get great amounts of training and education from my broker in meetings, and when they keep me abreast of what’s going on and through in-house presentations. We also have an event coordinator and design team at the office that help with marketing materials, and a marketing trainer who helps when we need assistance.
Placester: What about your specific niche within the industry? What kinds of clients do you mostly work with? Which market do you mostly operate in?
Cyman: I do the vast majority of my business by referral, and I predominantly do my business in Hamilton County, Indiana. That’s not to say I won’t go to faraway places for business other than Hamilton County. It just means I go where my clients take me. Wherever they are, I am.
Placester: You’ve said you don’t consider yourself an expert marketer. Does your brokerage help you accomplish some or most of your marketing?
Cyman: Yeah, they help a lot. I do postcards to all of my clients, for instance. We have an in-house postcard program I take part in at Ability Plus that’s really just a way to touch base with my clients. We also do events through our office that I participate in that allow me to invite my clients. We did a celebrity baseball game at a local stadium in downtown Indianapolis.
Again, my business is referral-based, so I never did much on the internet myself. I still don’t do much on the internet. The only thing I really focus on online is my real estate website. I don’t use it to get leads and clients, necessarily. Rather, I use it as a primary tool to send things to leads and clients who do ask for information.
I look at my Placester website as something that solidifies me as an agent, rather than a lead-generating tool to get more business, because that’s not who I am. I don’t go out and talk to strangers. I don’t solicit business off the internet. I’m a meet-you, greet-you, nose-to-nose, eye-to-eye kind of agent. It’s just who I am.
Having said that, it’s important for me to keep my Placester website updated and jam-packed with good stuff that people care about and want to use. It’s important for me to be able to refer my clients to it, so when they ask a question, I can say, “All that information is on my website.” It’s easy for them to use, and it’s easy for me to use.
Placester: You invested in one of our coaching subscription add-ons. How has speaking with our team helped you make the most of your site and given you guidance with other marketing activities?
Cyman: I predominantly spoke with three people at Placester during my training, and I cannot even begin to tell you how much I learned about using the Placester platform, because I still don’t yet just how much I’ve learned. It’s so extreme.
Everyone I spoke with was incredibly helpful. They are incredibly patient, which was good news for me. If there was a scale of one to five, with one being very knowledgeable about online marketing and website setup and five being least knowledgeable about that stuff, I’d be a minus five, so it was great to hear them talk me through everything. When you’re learning as much as I learned, I needed refreshers as well, so it was wonderful they put everything in writing for me after each of our conversations in follow-up emails.
I also go to meetings where INTEGRA leadership helps teach me about my Placester site, and they’re wonderful explaining everything to the entire team. There nothing like the one-on-ones I’ve had with Placester, though, because I walk out of those INTEGRA meetings and I know what I need to do next with my site, but I don’t know how to do it until I speak with Placester. In half-hour meetings, I discover cool things I can post to my site and how to do so. I feel like I’m knowledgeable about setting up my site and online marketing for once in my life. I don’t know the first thing about SEO, but I know I will when I’m done with my next training session.
Placester: In what specific ways have you optimized your real estate website with fresh content your audience will find useful?
Cyman: One thing I have done is a real estate glossary, which I thought was wonderful. I refer first-time home buyers I work with to the glossary, since we speak an entirely different language in the real estate industry and they need to know certain terms.
I also have a city guide on my website, so when people come to me and say, “I definitely plan on moving to Indianapolis soon, but I want to learn more about the city and where to buy.” I just point them to my site and tell them, “I know where everyone should live in the city and what to do once you get there.”
I recently started to offer school information on my site as well, but there are definitely other pieces of content I have not accomplished yet, like adding local crime statistics to my site. Those are on the way.
Placester: How do you continue to evolve your real estate website and add more pages and content that can position you as a go-to agent in your market?
Cyman: If there’s one thing I really want to add to my site that’s not there yet, it’d be detailing what’s going on in the community. I’d love to link all of the events going on nearby on my site. If I could link to local events that are happening, that’d be great.
The good news is I put time in my calendar to work on my site about twice a month, so I can add things like these pages and updated content to the site. I’ve realized even if you want to do something small to your site, it doesn’t take hours and hours. It requires 10 minutes. I think that’s the beauty of being able to update my website to this point: It doesn’t require hours, so I do it whenever I have free time.
Read part one and part two of our interview with fellow RE/MAX INTEGRA professional Carrie Klein, who discusses her real estate marketing philosophy.
Are you new to online marketing like Libby Cyman? If so, how are you working to learn about and enhance your online presence? Share your thoughts with us below!