You do not have to do this process alone, but when you’re first starting out, the budget for an online marketing team and additional resources may not be the main focus. . .
And That’s Okay!
Online marketing doesn’t have to drain your wallet. There are many low-cost marketing techniques to get your business out there — and while they may take a little more effort and time at first — the return can be magnificent.
Here are the tools that are are recommended for you to apply in your online marketing business model to make the most out of your online marketing:
1. Choose Your Website Platform ($)
When you are online marketing, it is extremely important to have somewhere that your visitors can land. If you are blogging and posting on social media, but you don’t have one main source that your visitors can go to, the work you are putting in will not have the full potential for leads, as it would if you have a solid, content-filled website for them to land on, click around, and register for something that peaks their interest.
Using Your Brokerage Provided Website
When you join a brokerage, you are typically provided with a website that you can use right off the bat. This website typically includes:
- Contact Information
- Lead Capture Form
- Property Search
- General Buyer/Seller Information
With this website, you are able to generate leads, but not to the extent that you could be. It does not provide full customization options that will help you be successful in online marketing.
Using a Managed WordPress Website Through GoDaddy
WordPress is a fantastic tool to utilize for online marketing. With WordPress, you gain the ability to:
- Create custom pages for your website
- Customize your website menus
- Customize your look, theme, and layout
- Add Tracking & Analytics codes to track your website visits and conversion
- Add media (videos, documents, images, etc.)
- Create blog posts directly on your site
- Add plugins for third party programs to help optimize your website
- Add IDX widgets to display listings from the MLS
- and more!
Through GoDaddy, a domain name is under $5 for a year and the Managed WordPress is under $10/month to maintain.
A big plus to having WordPress, in addition to the previously mentioned benefits, is that if for some reason you need to cancel your GoDaddy account, you can still keep everything on your website and transfer it to another hosting platform, if need be.
2. Choose a Strong IDX Provider ($$)
Having an IDX solution on your website allows for visitors on your website to click around to listings pulled from the MLS and potentially register for more information on your website.
Many of our clients use either IDX Broker or Wolfnet 3.0 for their IDX Solution, although these are not the only solutions available
IDX Broker is either $39.99/month for the Lite Version, or $59.99/month for the Paid Version.
Wolfnet starts at $49/month and goes up from there.
3. Choose Your Blog Platform (Free – $)
When you are choosing a blog platform, be sure that you aren’t just going straight for the free platform, as it may not be a reliable source according to Google, so it will not help you rank as well as a paid platform.
If you have created a Managed WordPress website, then you already have a blog and there is no need to keep looking, although posting to multiple blogging platforms is beneficial in online marketing to help get your listings and blogs seen by more people.
ActiveRain is free to sign up for, but if you want your posts to be seen by people outside of the ActiveRain Community (which you do), then you will need a paid subscription.
**Pricing may vary**
ActiveRain is a highly suggested blogging platform (especially if you are not using Managed WordPress). Google sees ActiveRain as an authoritative website — meaning that Google trusts ActiveRain as a resource, so it will rank ActiveRain posts higher than standard websites with no authority.
Get More Blogging Platform Suggestions and Tools to Utilize — along with step-by-step guides on how to use them — with The Ballen Method Curriculum — Your Complete Guide to Generating More Leads Through Online Marketing
4. Set Up Your Social Profiles (FREE)
Social Profiles are essential to online marketing in today’s world. These may include:
- Google +
You want to make sure that you are putting your name out there on all of the social media platforms so that the person who only uses Twitter can find you, along with the Facebook goers and Instagram posters. You don’t want to keep yourself from generating leads by not promoting your business on certain social media platforms. Leave yourself open and available to them all, so that you are not missing out.
5. Classified Ad Platforms (Free – $)
Classified ads are utilized to promote your business, but also provide valuable information to a client. These typically include some sense of urgency to act now.
If you have a WordPress website, this should be the first place that you post your Classified Ad. You always want your posts to be on your website first, then branched off and blasted through third party platforms.
This website is free to post your Classified Ad on
You can use ActiveRain not only as a blogging platform, but as a platform to post your classified ads onto. It is free to sign up for, but if you want your posts to be seen by Google (which you do), then you will need to sign up for a paid membership. **Pricing Varies**
Merchant Circle is free to sign up, but offer paid options depending on your needs.
6. Press Release Platforms (Free – $)
Press releases are written from a third-person perspective and are meant to be more informational, rather than providing a “click here to contact” or sense of urgency to take charge type of post. They are intended to create buzz and awareness of you and your brand, but not seem “salesy” or as if they are promoting your business — rather it is seen as someone stating simple facts about a transaction, interaction, new team member, etc.
Just like with Classified Ads, you want to make sure you post your Press Releases on your own website before posting to third party platforms.
ActiveRain is a blogging platform, so you can definitely utilize this tool to post your Press Releases.
This website is another authoritative website to publish your press releases on. There is a free version, although it may not be the best solution to utilize for the best results. The paid versions start at $30 and go up to $100.
Merchant Circle is not just for classified ads, but can also be used for Press Releases.
Just like Merchant Circle, ClassifiedAds.com can also be used for Press Releases, not just Classified Ads.
7. Tracking Tools (Free – $)
It is extremely important that you have a tracking tool in place for your online marketing in order to know how your blog posts, press releases, classified ads, listing marketing, social media posts, and pages are converting. Tracking tools will allow you to see:
- Website Visitors
- Unique searches that brought visitors to your website
- Bounce Rate (if people are clicking on your site, or leaving after viewing only 1 page)
- Click Rate (where people are clicking on your site and how many things are they clicking on/interacting with)
- and more.
There are two recommended tracking tools (although they are not the only options):
Google provides a tracking tool that you can add to your website. Although Google Analytics is extremely resourceful, it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate. This is a free tool.
Clicky is a more user-friendly version of Google Analytics. It provides you with a visually pleasing and easy to navigate dashboard and tabs to find what you are looking for when tracking your website. Clicky has a free version, but it is recommended to at least have their lowest paid plan. Plans start at $9.99/month.
8. CRM/Database Program ($ – $$$)
In order to properly track and keep in contact with your leads, you will need a database program. These programs allow you to see and communicate with your leads, organize your contacts based on interests, phases in the communication process, and more. Here are some that many of our clients, as well as our company, utilize or have utilized:
Contactually starts at $35/month and goes up to $125/month.
Infusionsoft is the program that our company currently uses. It is not going to be the best option if you are just starting out, but may be a fantastic tool once your business has reached a point where you need more automation and tracking in your marketing. Pricing starts at $199/month and goes up to $599/month depending on your needs.
9. Email Distribution Channel ($ – $$$)
If you are going to be keeping in communication with multiple clients and want them to stay engaged, you are not going to want to be writing multiple manual emails daily. You are going to want an email automation system.
BombBomb is an email marketing tool that integrates fantastically with video marketing. You can send solo emails, as well as set up drip email campaigns that you can put contacts in to keep their engagement at a high level. Pricing starts at $39/month.
MailChimp has free options, but has paid options available depending on the # of Subscribers, # of Emails you will be sending, etc. It allows for a simple drag & drop email editing format.
Built into the Infusionsoft CRM, you will find campaigns that you can set up triggered by certain actions in the contact’s history (tags applied, purchases, forms completed, etc.). This allows you to easily manage your drip email campaigns, email open-rate, click-throughs, and more directly within your CRM Database. Infusionsoft starts at $199/month and goes up to $599/month depending on your needs.
10. Add a Personal Touch ($)
Keep greeting cards on hand to send a personalized message to your contacts on special occasions. You can pick cards up at your local department store or online. There are also some great resources that work well into some CRM databases to help automate the process.
Send Out Cards
Send Out Cards is a fantastic resource for sending out custom cards to your contact. They do have some integration options with CRM’s through third party channels. Pricing varies by card/gift that you would like to send.
11. Lead Funnel ($ – $$)
Depending on the CRM that you choose, you will need to find a way to integrate your leads into your CRM database without having to manually add them into your database. Now, if you are on a budget, you can manually add them, but you will want to automate this process at some point.
Pricing is going to vary on a funnel system. There are a few that our team utilizes:
LeadPages is a tool that provides you with easy to customize landing pages, lead capture buttons, and lead capture links (that you can utilize in your email campaigns). It integrates with multiple CRM Databases. Pricing starts at $300/year and goes up to $2,388/year depending on your needs. Most people will not need to go higher than the Standard plan which is the $300/year plan.
Parsey is a tool that funnels contacts into your CRM from your emails. You can set up Parsey to recognize emails, phone numbers, names, and more and have that content import into your CRM directly. Parsey pricing starts at $19/month and goes up to $149/month depending on your needs.
12. Content Creation (Free – $)
When you are utilizing online marketing Blogging and content creation is an extremely important factor. Without content, there will not be anything for visitors to be interested in or click around to on your website. If you are not going to be writing the content yourself, consider these content creation options:
Crowd Content allows for you to order content by the article. Pricing varies depending on what quality and word count you request when ordering the content. The average Ballen Method recommended article runs about $19/article.
Fiverr & Rev
These 2 websites are resourceful for having audio transcribed into text. If you are someone who can talk about a topic easily, but get writers block when you try to put it to pen and paper, then this is a great solution for you. Record yourself talking about whatever content you want included in your blog, send it to one of these sites, and have them turn your audio into text that you can then place on your website.
Ballen Marketing is my online marketing team that I am sharing with you to help you create valuable, SEO Optimized websites and content to help you dominate search engines. The team can set up your website, create custom content, create branded images and logos, and more. For questions, contact our team at 702-917-0755.
Learn how to utilize these online marketing tools with The Ballen Method Curriculum — a step-by-step guide to online marketing with result-proven methods found from years of online marketing testing and measuring.