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Many businesses focused on the lucrative LGBT demographic conserved their budget dollars during 2008-2009 in response to a slow economy. That was probably wise and prudent, but those who hold back now risk losing precious business as the outlook improves..
Penny Wise or Pound Foolish?.
Keep in mind that while the expression “cash is king during a recession” is true, it is also often erroneously applied. The whole idea is to leverage saved cash into affordable investments and new resources that will multiply in value as the economy brightens..
Wait too late to get back up to speed, however, and it can mean lagging behind the pack as others capture a lucrative market share and keep it. Because it costs so much more to play catch-up, those who get a delayed start can wind up spending all the money and resources they acquired and conserved during the downturn just to get back to square one. Meanwhile as their own name recognition fades, others who have consistently kept their brands in front of the LGBT audience will surge ahead..
LGBT home buyers across the country will rush to close deals before April 2010, for example, in time to take advantage of rare perks like the first time buyer tax credit and another credit for those who own a home but buy another one. But those real estate professionals who have cut back on branding and advertising campaigns to save a few pennies will feel multi-million dollar foolish if they miss the boat – as competitors who are more forward-planning steal their 2010 market share..
Those who gear-up in anticipation of improved opportunities, on the other hand, will find themselves on the fast track toward not just recovery – but the kind of sustained success that will continue to reward them for years to come..
Yards Signs Relocate Online.
As we enter a new decade, the key to any powerfully successful marketing strategy will be innovative technology. Numerous surveys, research reports, and expert prognostications already confirm that smart Realtors are already making the move to social networking and virtual marketing. Realtors are going online, of course, because that’s where the buyers are..
Today’s typical Internet user in the USA, for instance, now spends five or six hours a month on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. That’s more than an 80 percent increase compared to similar usage statistics compiled in December, 2008. Meanwhile use of social networking to market properties surged by an estimated 40 percent in 2009 and is expected to continue to grow in the months and years ahead..
A 2008 study by the National Association of Realtors revealed that more than 90 percent of home buyers under age 45 used the Internet as a source of information while searching for a home. This new breed of buyers typically spends more than a month doing background research on the Internet to compare listings, shop for a qualified real estate agent, and study various mortgage options – before ever contacting a Realtor. So real estate professionals who are highly visible on the Internet have a much better chance of getting valuable early leads to qualified LGBT clients..
Where to Carve a Niche.
The largest LGBT real estate presence on the Internet has long been GayRealEstate.com (GRE), a huge – and hugely popular – LGBT network that spans the globe. But in response to the seismic shift of real estate marketing from print media to online social media, the site got exponentially bigger and more magnetic in late 2009 by expanding, upgrading, and increasing the reach of its entire operation. GRE now targets LGBT buyers and sellers in every region of the country, so real estate professionals can go online to capture clients who may live just down the street from them..
GRE also saves real estate agents from having to concentrate on keeping up with high-tech changes in the social networking landscape (which can be a full time job all by itself). The site uses Twitter, for example, strategically “tweeting” every few hours to drive more LGBT traffic to its member sites. GRE also maintains the top-ranked LGBT real estate blog (http://www.gayrealestate.typepad.com/), and adds fresh content on a daily basis. The blog alone enjoys more than 1,000 unique views, and others are attracted to the real estate professionals in the GRE network through a dynamic Facebook presence (www.FaceBook.com/GayRealEstate.com)..
Agents who register on GayRealEstate.com are also provided with the added bonus of expert technical assistance in creating their own blog, Facebook, or Twitter account and then linking it to their GRE profile page..
One successful Realtor who recently migrated to GayRealEsate.com, for example, is Madison Hildebrand – star of Bravo's hit reality TV series “Million Dollar Listing.” Although Hildebrand is a household name and a marketing genius in his own right he fully recognizes the value of affiliation with GRE as a way to reach millions of members of the LGBT community..