A television personality in Tbilisi—in the country of Georgia—read a newspaper ad from Sophie Fueguel at PropertiesMiami.com encouraging investment in Miami real estate. She then flew to Florida, where Fueguel showed her multiple properties. The TV personality ended up buying a single-family house and an apartment and plans to spend more money for more homes this year.
Della Booth of TIME Realty Services in Punta Gorda met a German accountant during a 2006 trade mission, and they connected again on LinkedIn. Years later, a LinkedIn connection of the accountant’s found and reached out to Booth. She ended up selling him 36 properties.
Christian Bohyn of Windmaker Realty in Orlando uses MeetAlfred to automatically send texts to prospects. After a Belgian real estate agent received a few such messages, he reached out to Bohyn and asked him to sell two pieces of land in Hollywood.
These three stories offer a glimpse into the many ways Florida real estate professionals market themselves to global buyers. Since travel during the pandemic is still difficult, it pays off to adopt a variety of strategies, especially virtual methods. Read on for 18 online tactics to try.
1. Earn a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation. “Globally, real estate practitioners gravitate toward those who’ve earned their CIPS,” says Rory Dubin of EXIT Real Estate Gallery in Jacksonville. “The CIPS [program] consists of multiple courses, several of which cover various regions of the world; and earning the designation also comes with many additional marketing opportunities. Plus, CIPS designees are invited annually to enter a lottery for the opportunity to visit one of several embassies in Washington, D.C., during the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Legislative Meetings every May.”
2. Get a Global Real Estate Practitioner (GREP) certification. “GREP is a one-day certification that can be earned online or in a classroom. Although not an NAR credential, this accreditation and course opens the path for actual travel to countries of interest among its members with a real estate focus,” Dubin says. The class has two core components, Launching Your Global Real Estate Business and Exponentially Growing Your Real Estate Business.
Buy ads and share listings
3. Advertise in your target city’s main newspaper. Fueguel runs ads in a major Tbilisi, Georgia, publication. “A customer won’t use your services if they see you one time. They need to see you repeatedly. Focus, and you’ll win,” she explains.
4. Use geotargeting. This platform allows you to deliver content to users based on their geographic location, Fueguel suggests. She runs ads on Facebook/Meta, Google and Bing.
5. Post your listings. “One of the important benefits of earning your CIPS is the opportunity to place your listings on worldproperties.com,” says Bohyn. “This global listing site allows users in more than 100 nations to search by country, region, state or city using many other search criteria.” Ileana Bogaert of RE/MAX Affinity Plus in Marco Island uploads her listings to RealKnu, Proxio and other international property platforms.
6. Use a referral network, such as NAR Strategic Partners. This network operates in more than 75 countries and will help you connect with qualified real estate professionals, Bogaert says.
7. Establish a team of experts. These partners will help you handle global transactions smoothly, suggests Dao Alderman of Keller Williams Realty in Tampa. “Oftentimes, these professionals are also a source for business referrals,” says Kymbat Iglikova of Premium Properties Real Estate Services in Orlando. Include a real estate attorney, immigration attorney, CPA/international accountant, title company, investors, lenders, builders and developers.
8. Sign up for partner newsletters. Cast a wide net, considering all the professionals you work with, such as CPAs, immigration attorneys and title companies. Then reshare their content with your clients and prospects, either on your platforms or via emails, says Iglikova.
Be active on social media
“Having a social media presence is vital if you want to reach customers overseas,” says Iglikova. “According to Global Stats, 81.48% of the population in Europe, 76.77% of the population in Asia and 68.17% of the population in South America use Facebook,” she adds.
9. Use the preferred platform for your clients. Use the most popular platform in your target country, says Iglikova. As examples, she mentions Kakao Talk and Kakao Story in Korea, Mixi in Japan, VKontakte in Russia, and Telegram in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Of course, WhatsApp, Skype and WeChat are also popular platforms.
10. Share concise information. Post stats or high-quality video tours in foreign languages or with subtitles, suggests Iglikova. This content should provide information about the current state of the market or a project or property you’re working on. “It’s easy to create groups on WhatsApp, WeChat and Telegram for sharing files, photos and property video tours,” she says. Plus, the quality of video tours won’t get distorted when you send these materials on WhatsApp or Telegram, she adds.
Florida Realtors opens doors to the world with events designed to increase your international influence.
11. Schedule posts ahead of time. Iglikova uses Canva, Ripl, BombBomb and Mailchimp to automate posts and emails, especially for prospects and customers in different time zones. Bohyn buys curated content from RISMedia that helps him post relevant articles automatically to his Twitter feed and LinkedIn profile.
12. Use lead-generating software. Bohyn uses the MeetAlfred program, a multifunctional LinkedIn automation tool, to connect with LinkedIn prospects automatically. If they accept his invite, he can connect further by email, text or LinkedIn mail (which is critical in Europe, where there are restrictions and huge fines for sending unwanted solicitations).
13. Consider LinkedIn Premium. Boyhn creates lists of prospective contacts, such as real estate agents or investors who are contacts of his existing contacts, or CEOs of large companies that do business in the U.S. Once he creates these lists, he uploads them to MeetAlfred. MeetAlfred then begins interacting with these contacts.
14. Host an online class. “You can put together a virtual seminar for clients who want to invest in real estate or relocate and open a business,” says Iglikova. “Your team can help them navigate strategically.” During your seminar or call, “explain what to expect,” says Bogaert, detailing the differences between real estate transactions in their country and the U.S. Be sure to share a copy of a sales contract in their language, if possible, she adds.
Join these groups and network
15. Local board or association global business councils. Through groups such as Florida Realtors®, attend virtual or in-person trade missions, suggests Dubin. Even during the pandemic, “Florida Realtors and many associations hosted successful virtual events and trade missions to different regions,” says Iglikova. Don’t miss the Florida Realtors’ Global Business Committee meetings in January and August—you can attend as a guest if you’re registered for the Florida Realtors convention, but not a committee member, adds Dubin.
16. Global Real Estate Professional Network (Facebook group). “This group is fantastic for networking globally and occasionally allows virtual conference attendees to present residential and commercial properties of interest,” says Dubin. “Admin Tahir Qureshi has held Facebook Live/Zoom Global Connectivity Conferences [10 as of the end of 2021] on a variety of topics. He’s had speakers from around the world present on the state of the real estate market in their country. One of the criteria for being accepted into this group is to have already earned your CIPS [designation].”
17. REAL Estate Pros Without Borders (Facebook group). “This private group with more than 2,300 global members conducts web conferences and is administered by Olesya Drozdova and Spencer Hoo, both global real estate practitioners you should get to know,” says Dubin. “They’ve had fantastic participatory webinars.”
18. Local AREAA or NAHREP chapter. “Both the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) are open to all real estate practitioners, not only those of Asian or Hispanic national origin,” says Dubin. “They offer trade missions to other countries. Plus, AREAA has a network of partner industry vendors and officers and hosts the annual Global & Luxury Summit.”
“One may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work required to operate in the digital global community,” says Iglikova. “But, with the right tools and motivation, it’s achievable. Doing this has broadened my horizons and elevated me as a professional and person.” Execute these marketing strategies and you’ll build up your international clientele. #
Dina Cheney is a Connecticut-based freelance writer.