With approximately 95% of home-buyers using the internet to help search for a home, as a Realtor you also need to engage online to gain clients and assist them with buying and selling a home. This will involve communicating with a single client directly via email and sending them links to listings, Google Maps, vendors services and blog posts etc, covering all the information they need to know to facilitate the home searching, buying and selling process. Engaging online to build awareness about your services may also mean starting a blog, or sharing content via social mediums like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Some of my clients choose to share these links using a FREE short-link or tiny-url service like bit.ly. They do so, for one main reason, it makes long links short. Shorter links are beneficial for several reasons:
- they wont wrap onto two or more lines in an email and possibly break in the process
- Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so with a shorter link to share you can say more about why you are sharing it
- shorter links just look a lot better, everywhere
For example, the link to this blog posts is long at 150+ characters:
With bit.ly, I can shorten that link to bit.ly/YZ2aM8 = much better for sharing!
For the annual price of purchasing a URL ($10-$12 for a .com), and a one-time FREE set-up, you can use a bit.ly account to help brand your online communications & sharing, a small price to help reinforce your Real Estate Businesses’ brand in the online, and offline world.
For Example, I previously owned and used the short-url “sbrp.us” for my Real Estate Photography & Floorplan business. Using bit.ly and this short URL, I could share a link to this blog post that would look like: http://sbrp.us/YZ2aM8
Branding a business is a slow and continuous process that allows clients and potential clients to become increasingly aware of who you are, what you do and what you represent as a business. By using a branded short url in social media and email in the online world, as well as in printed documents like listing fliers in the offline world, a simple URL can be one more part of your business’ brand make-up. Eventually people will see that branded short-url and connect that to your business in their thinking, that is the power of branding!
Creating your branded short URL
As you’d expect, bit.ly already have a short-url pointing to a support article explaining how its all done, see: bit.ly/ZBXYnu
The key is finding a short URL that can effectively brand your business as a Real Estate Agent. Some examples from outside of Real Estate that I think work well include:
Here are 2 simple options for Realtors:
- use your name (or part of it) with a .me domain. For example, ahughes.me is available for me
- if your websites’ .com URL is short, pick-up the .co variation
Or get creative… for example, I could use ahugh.es — visit domai.nr to work-out what is possible.
Branded Short URL FAQ’s
Q: Can i use my website domain as a short-link domain with bit.ly?
A: No. You need a separate URL.
Q: Can I set it up so that the root short-url re-directs to my main website?
A: With bit.ly, this is possible, but they charge an exorbitant monthly fee for the priviledge.
Q: Is there any way to customise what the short link looks like (e.g.: yoururl.com/123MainSt to point to a Virtual Tour)?
A: Yes and No. With bit.ly, the answer is no. In a future post, I will walk-through another service, YOURLS, that enables you to do this, but this option is quite involved to set-up.
If you take the plunge and set-up a branded short URL, please share in the comments what URL you chose and why.
More Marketing Tips & Tools for Real Estate Professionals…
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