In the Spring of 2011, Rosemary Joles had an epiphany. She realized that if she was really going to “make it” as an A-list realtor in the San Diego market, she needed a better way to do one important thing . . .
Show buyers why La Mesa is a GREAT place to live.
Rosemary is a small town girl. She grew up in a farm community in Wisconsin. She understands the advantages of small town living.
That’s why she loves La Mesa. In fact, she and her husband Todd live here. You get to know people in a place like this. Make friends. Build a life. The pace is slower. You can think . . . it’s comfortable.
But the attraction doesn’t stop there. La Mesa offers plenty of other things. It has culture. It has a food scene. It has an arts scene. It has antiques and burger joints and good schools. Drive the streets and you’ll find shops and churches and a beautiful library. And best of all, it only takes ten minutes to pop downtown and see the Padres play at Petco Park.
But how could Rosemary communicate all of these benefits to buyers without sounding salesy?
Then it hit her . . . she COULDN’T TELL them . . . she’d just have to SHOW them. That’s when she decided to start a blog.
Pictures were the key. She’d fill her blog with images of happy people living the great life that La Mesa has to offer. Pictures of life in a small town, so visitors could understand how it FEELS right away.
She’d show them all kinds of cool things like:
- A 1958 Impala cruising the main boulevard on Thursday night
- A wiry little leaguer dropping his cap as he struggles to catch a fly ball
- An acrobatic drum major doing a front flip as he leads the high school marching band in the Fourth of July parade
- A frosty glass of ice tea beckoning on the front porch beside a swing
She had ideas galore. It was time to take that first step.
Starting the Blog
So, Rosemary enrolled in an online class. Her expectations were high, but the instructors made things too complicated. So rather than stress, she ditched the class and decided to wing it. Thankfully, WordPress provides lots of tutorials and Rosemary is pretty intuitive.
Success! It felt good. Things were in motion, but what was next?
The Blog as a Tool
Now that she had a platform, Rosemary began to capitalize on this new opportunity.
Stage One: she formulated a target driven editorial calendar. She loaded her content with tips to help sellers and buyers take the next step. Some of those topics were:
- Personal inspiration ideas
- How to prepare your home for sale — staging and landscape tips
- La Mesa neighborhood tours
- Tips on financing
- Featured homes
She tranformed her blog into a goldmine. Even the other realtors were starting to read it.
Stage Two: add resources.
Features on Her Website
Rosemary developed a calendar, but she didn’t stop there. She included:
1. A Home Search Tool: Someone looking to buy a home in the community could go on the search tool to compare prices, neighborhoods and other features like school districts before they ever picked up the phone to call her.
2. SEO Keywords and Plugins: Rosemary made sure that keywords and calls-to-action were in place, so people could find her on Google searches, and know what to do next.
She made sure there were lots of places on the website with contact info — her email, her phone number and an embedded forms — so people could reach her easily.
And finally, a stroke of genius . . . she posted her signature publication.
3. From the Front Porch Journal: The trademark of Rosemary’s website is her monthly journal. It’s literally a home buyer MAGNET.
She and her contributors discuss all sorts of real estate topics: housing, finance and moving tips. She even features recipes and local events. Her readership has grown to the tens of thousands.
Growing Her Reach — The Livin’ in SD website
As time went on, Rosemary began to realize that in addition to La Mesa, she was also serving a completely different market. So, she started a second website — Livin in SD — to cover the rest of San Diego. This blog is a little more upscale and a little more sophisticated. Not everyone has kids in little league. In fact, this market is so diverse she’s focusing a larger proportion of her time here.
The SD blog spotlights beach communities, tech communities and the downtown lifestyle. It mirrors Livin in La Mesa but is written to a wider, more economically diverse buyer.
Both sites link to the other and are loaded with pictures, events around town, and important things buyers should know about living in San Diego — America’s finest city.
2014 Five Star Real Estate Agent
Jump ahead three years, and San Diego Magazine listed Rosemary as a five-star realtor. That designation is the result of independent surveys sent to new home buyers who have just closed on their homes.
Awareness of her client’s experience — beginning with the initial search and lasting through the close — has helped Rosemary elevate her customer’s experience. An award like the five-star is proof she’s on the right track with her business, including her blog.
The Future of Her Blog
Rosemary has made lots of smart choices along the way, and she’s not done yet. She’s running a Christmas 365 daily calendar. It’s about doing “Christmas” style good deeds for others all year long.
She has an IT consultant for times when a little tech help saves on stress. Life is good.
The small business owner can certainly learn much from Rosemary’s blogs. My biggest takeaway, though, has little to do with the blogging and everything to do with relationship building.
She began her blog because she wanted a way to reach her clients on a more meaningful level. She wanted to cultivate an understanding of who she is, and what she can do to help families find wonderful places to live.
If you aim for the heart, instead of the sale, you’ll succeed — and more importantly, make a few friends along the way.
That’s certainly been Rosemary’s experience. I’d love to hear about yours. Leave a comment in the section below.
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Photo courtesy of Livin in La Mesa.
How One Realtor Used A Blog To Grow Her Business by Rita Mailheau