I am on a recent journey that I feel many other small business owners find themselves on. How in the world do I position myself online to stand out while showing professionalism, experience, and a genuine personality? I am not a robot, and I am a talent you should consider hiring. I personally have chosen a profession where everyone and their brother can enter my business and take a 3-month course and compete against me. Real estate agents grow on trees. Over 50,000 competitors exist in my little state of Maryland alone and to the general public we can all look very similar. Your industry might be similar.
I can speak to real estate at least as that is what I have known for the past 15 years. After many years of being in the business and seeing folks come and go and watching those at the top remain there year after year in my industry, you can see the difference. Thousands enter and thousands exit while the top 100 stay the same it seems. The dedication, sacrifice, and challenges you will need to overcome to be a top performer consistently is not to be understated. Selling one house is the easy part it seems. Conveying that confidence and the network you gain by choosing the right agent/company is vital. Now how to do that online with people you don’t know?
I don’t have the answer. Sorry, that might not be a good thing to admit in a blog post about the subject, but I don’t. This is more of a rant if I must admit. What makes me feel better is I don’t think many others have it figured out either. I have spoken to several website and SEO (search engine optimization) companies lately and they charge a small ransom for their expert opinions but most of them don’t know my industry that well. Would they know your industry any better? I hope so. For now, we have decided to switch website platforms that can showcase our entire market of homes for sale in a way that simulates the big dogs in the space like Zillow… who have billions to spend… while being a “professional business card” online when someone looks us up.
I have started to rely on the advice of some of our clients that are consultants in this space that serve much larger businesses that have deep pockets and budgets. They seem to offer very basic and sound advice. Be a human online. Be what the bigger companies you compete against can’t be in your hyper-local marketplace and do the things most others feel uncomfortable or unwilling to do that are a similar size to you. That translates to YouTube videos, blogging, posting consistently, getting reviews, getting backlinks from other local businesses to your website and the like. Yuck, that sounds like a lot of work you say. It will work though I have been assured. It takes a brave soul to be vulnerable online and face potential criticism. I am not good at it personally yet; I want to be liked and don’t want to show up poorly. I am committed to getting better though. So here I go on my own personal journey as a small business owner, I wish you the best luck on yours.