Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)

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Unexpected (Active) Rain -- Why We Are Hired and Illogical Logic

I estimate that twenty percent, or more, of my inspection work comes from my firm's online presence. Sure, the bulk of my work still comes from referrals, mostly from past clients or real estate professionals, but I think I can make an argument that I have achieved some modicum of success with my efforts at online marketing. I want to share with you a few things I have learned while working in the rain.

I find that, as my marketing efforts evolve with the changing and highly competitive marketplace, I am amazed by things I discover about the general public. Some of it makes sense, some defies reason. There is one big discovery I made, almost two years ago, that becomes more important all the time.

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Active Rain serves many functions and, while it may not be all things to all people, it comes close to that lofty goal in my book. What can it do for you? Active Rain is a high visibility, and neatly organized, site that will host your blog posts.  Active Rain can dramatically enhance your online marketing efforts. Playing in the rain helps a person achieve his or her marketing goals by providing strong search engine optimization (SEO).

I have had realtors tell me that competitors in the market become discouraged with their search engine optimization. I have been told that some inspectors have said: "the King of the House guy gets all the google." That is not exactly true -- another local AR member gets some of it and it does fluctuate a little bit. But I have great SEO and, as I have confessed before, the power comes from Active Rain. It is the driving force being used in conjunction with key words, back links and a quality main website.

The way I look at it, Active Rain is an awesome vehicle that gives a person potential, but that person has to go to the effort to make it work. A realtor asked me the other day how much my dominant SEO cost. The answer was zero in dollars but lots in sweat equity. To be successful in the rain, and online, you have to work diligently, stay up with and get in front of your competition, use effective key words and be consistent.

SEO juice, as I have stated before, comes from the power of the rain. Since I have written a post that discussed that topic, I want to head off on another track.

Speaking of tracks, I track where my business comes from.  When I book a job, I ask how the client found me and why I was selected. Some of the answers are no-brainers -- what you would expect. In that category, we have the following:

#1  reason -- you were at the top of the search engine maps page

 #2  reason -- you dominated the organic results at the search engine. This often has subtle overtones. For example, they visited my web page, and/or my Active Rain page, and liked my qualifications and my sample report.

#3 reason -- through the online search they found stories, about my firm, in the print media.

Bellingham Herald article

Bellngham Business Journal article. (The reporter found me, in the first place, through Active Rain.)

Now, all this seems logical, so far. Let's briefly look at some of the funny reasons I have been selected. Some of them make sense, others are a stretch.

#4 reason -- spelling is good

I had two people, in one week, tell me that they hired me because they scoured my sample report and they did not find spelling errors. In one case, the lady was an English teacher and she wanted an inspector who could spell. Drag your cursor over the spelling bee below who will tell you more about the importance of good spelling.

#5 reason -- I like your truck and sign

They thought I had a cool truck and they liked the logos and the name of the company. (I have yet to be hired out of love for my snappy green outfit.)

#6 reason -- love them furry creatures

I have been hired because they liked animal photos or stories in my blog. In a related vein, some of those people said they also liked the humor.

  

#7 reason -- nice gap between two front teeth. (Yes, now we are getting into weird) 

I was hired once because the client liked the gap between my front teeth. He saw the gap in my website photo. As he got out of his car, he smiled, pointed at a gap between his own teeth and said -- "that is a main reason I hired you. We both have gaps between our front teeth."

 

#8 reason -- the best is yet to come or "no action yet but wishful thinking on my part"

Now that I know what people are looking for, I have been highlighting a new photo of myself. I think it has everything people desire. This is strong marketing stuff folks.

 

Feel the power -- (1) it is very "green", like the wildlife photos, it makes me organic and at one with the earth; (2) the gap in my teeth is prominently displayed (crucial to marketing); (3) the king is clearly detail-oriented as the head is well-centered in the pumpkin. Honestly, this has all the things clients are looking for, except one. It is lacking in humor, but sometimes you have to take the serious approach.

All joking aside, you never know why people will hire you. It may be for illogical reasons. One fact remains: If you do not keep your company profile out there (online) for people to see, then nothing will happen. The public will never find you, so they will not sample your presentation and style to determine if they like you or not. That gives you no chance at their business.

Bottom Line -- Use the power of the Active Rain wisely. This site gives you the tools and power you need to do an awesome job of marketing your services. However, you are the marketer -- the one who must make it happen. While Active Rain helps people find you, you have to sell them, impress them. Make the sale! Make sure that your online image projects your best qualities. Do not waste the power of the rain. What is waste? Waste is when you are found online, but potential clients are non-plussed or turned off by your online image. You cannot please all the people all of the time, but give it your best shot.

Have fun in the rain, but remember that this ain't no silly little game. Give Active Rain your best efforts so it can be your "rainmaker."  This site, I guarantee it, can be a money maker for your firm. Keep that in mind and your banker, and your significant other, will be glad that you did.

Steven L. Smith

 Bellingham WA Home Inspections

  

Steven L. Smith

If you enjoy nostalgia and music of yesteryear, click on Elvis' gold record to visit This Day In History. To explore The Stories Behind The Music blog posts click on the electric guitar. 

 

        

 

 

 

 

Comment balloon 37 commentsSteven L. Smith • October 25 2008 04:13PM

Comments

Steven (LOL), Thank you! You have written an excellent piece on internet marketing. If I lived in Bellingham, I would be calling you.

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Chartwell Kansas City Realty) almost 10 years ago

Maria,

Thanks. I ain't in Kansas anymore.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Steven, I love your post. So true, hey if I ever have anybody looking for a home inspector in Bellingham I know to call King of the House Home Inspection! Errr... I just noticed a spelling error on the AR Channel... LOL - Marekting... Oh, and one more thing, I am with the advertising in a car and how it looks, I have seen some horrible car decals and would never call them. And the other day at a traffic light I saw a car next to me (home inspections) and the car looked very nice with the advertising and the guy driving looked ok too. I almost rolled down the window to hand out my card and tell him to call me. However, as I was digging for a business card the light changed, and off we went. I did catch his website which was part of his decals. ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Bumpkin? Pumpkin?----I like it---how about the tooth fairy?  Your last couple of posts have been into "gaps"----similiar too?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Brian and Rita, thanks for the comment. As the spelling bee says, spelling is important.

 

Chuckie B, I noticed the importance of gaps in my life the last few days.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

BTW - I didn't not see if the guy in the car next to me had a cap between his front teeth. LOL ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

If he had a cap, he needs to get rid of it. The space is what gives the clients confidence.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Steven, you're sure to get featured on this one.  It brags a lot about the Rain and how it has been important to you so it will be scooped up!  And it is deserving, gap tooth and all! 

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 10 years ago

Barbara,

Nutsy and I ain't no suckups

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Told you so!  There it is a featured blog.  I need to have you write me a suck-up blog so I can be featured!  Congratulations.

Posted by Barbara S. Duncan, GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR (RE/MAX Advantage) almost 10 years ago

Barbara,

You were the first to tell me. By the way, expect Nutsy to be home by Halloween. He is about done in Algiers. The terrorists are on the run.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

I like this it is funny and informative. We have been here for a while now and have no plans of leaving. . 

Posted by SacramentoCommercialLoans Bank Turn downs welcomed, Quick closings 916-847-7212 (Sacramento commercial loans) almost 10 years ago

Steve~ If you were in Owensboro, Kentucky ~ I would be calling you for inspections.  Loved your story and thought the gap between your teeth part was particularly amusing!  Too funny.  I wish I could figure out the SEO part and be as good as you are! 

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) almost 10 years ago

Working with people in this industry, there can be dozens of reasons why they chose to work with you over another. The gap in the teeth one is definitely not one I would have thought of, but that makes sense. You want to work with people who are most like you. To that guy, you were it! ;)

It's those niches that can really get you far. Those people are like you, like you, and trust you, and hopefully will also want to work with you when the time comes to get a home inspection, or sell their home, or whatever service one may provide.

Thanks for sharing, Nicole Weidauer

The Egerer & Weidauer Team, Keller Williams Realty North Seattle

Posted by Nicole Weidauer (Keller Williams Greater Seattle) almost 10 years ago

Great blog Steve and congratulations on being featured. It is like many things in life .... the more you put into it the more you get out.

Sean Allen

Posted by Sean Allen, International Financing Solutions (International Financing Solutions ) almost 10 years ago

The green suit is hot.  :)  Great post - thanks for the info!

Posted by Darla Jensen (Edina Realty) almost 10 years ago

Steven,

You bring up an excellent point about AR's effectiveness. Just signing on here won't do anything for you. You have to work consistently, that is blogging and participating, to gain high Google and other rankings.

Posted by Esko Kiuru almost 10 years ago

Hi,

Been away all day. Unusual, thanks for the comments, I appreciate them.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Vickie,

I appreciate the thought but I think that is farther than I should be driving.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Nicole,

I guess that is part of the point, put your whole portfolio forward because you just never know what someone will be impressed with.

Sean,

Thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate your loyalty with the comments.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Darla,

Just today I went out and bought a blue one. The green was full of holes.

 

Esko,

That is for sure, it takes work to make it work.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Indeed.  Folks comment on the fact that "I kept running into you on the Interent".

I tell them, "That was my plan".

Folks like humor too. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) almost 10 years ago


All I can say is keep up the good work......I don't think that home inspectors in our area are very proactive with marketing their businesses online.

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) almost 10 years ago

You're a good example for all of us! 

Posted by Marcia Kramarz, CDPE,LMC,CBR (Re/Max Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

You're out there alright, not many home inspectors are. You seem to enjoy your work also. I would use you if you were in my area. I love the animals also so that's a plus.

Posted by Charles Stallions Real Estate Services, Buyers Agent 800-309-3414 Pace and Gulf Breeze,Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services Inc) almost 10 years ago

I love that ActiveRain is not only a tool for driving business, but terrific for networking and learning. I used to read a lot of articles in magazines, but the disadvantage there is that you only get the viewpoint of the author, and major effort is required to ask a question of the author. Here, I find a lot of good information in the responses to a post as well as in the post itself.

Posted by Jennifer Mallory, Nyack NY Real Estate Broker Associate (Keller Williams Hudson Valley Realty) almost 10 years ago

Lenn,

Yes, I know what you mean. People not familiar with SEO will comment on how lucky I am to rank so high. I tell them that it is not that easy. I actually try to get that ranking....big shocker.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Diane -- Thanks for reading the post, glad it was of interest.

Marcia -- good to have you drop by my post.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Joyce, If I was in your area I would love to work with you.

Jennifer, that is a really good point about being able to see the various opinions.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Hi Steve, inspectors in our area are not keen or appear to be keen on promoting themselves online. Of the few I invited, only one accepted my invitation to join AR. So, I applaud your good work, and willingness to share how to make the best of AR.  As a Realtor, I could certainly learn from you.

Posted by Sherry Peckhoon Sim, Broker/Owner, Covering the Beautiful Central Coast (Sims & Company) almost 10 years ago

Sherry,

As the competition in the market increases, and more people find their own inspector, being  online becomes more critical.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

I also have had many people hire me because of the professionalism of my marketing materials and the lack of spelling errors, bad grammar, and dead links in my reports and on my web site.

Posted by Not a real person almost 10 years ago

Russel,

That is a very true statement, and the benefit of good marketing. People think you are professional in large part because of how you present yourself.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

will you come be my marketing guy?  I love this article- you are so humble (for a King), love the serious side.  be good  cheryl

Posted by Cheryl Willis, MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law (RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI) almost 10 years ago

Cherly,

My assistant Nutsy will work marketing for a fee. He is the most handsome inspector in the country, Canada too.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

I miss read your 'fee' for 'free'- see how we see what we want too. I like you and your side kick!  cw

Posted by Cheryl Willis, MO Broker - Mt Vernon, Monett, Aurora, Barry & Law (RE/MAX Solutions- OZARK MISSOURI) almost 10 years ago

Cheryl

You can pay him in cashews, so it is pretty close to free.

Posted by Steven L. Smith, Bellingham WA Home Inspector (King of the House Home Inspection, Inc.) almost 10 years ago

Participate