As a real estate agent focused on getting business through the internet – I’ve had one eye on the real estate industry and another eye on SEO (search engine optimization) for quite a few months now. One thing both industries have in common are frequent conferences. One question that comes up is are conferences worthwhile?
I’ve wanted to go to a ReBar camp for a while – they are one-day conferences where conference “attendees” organize the topics – they call it an unconference. Of course like many real estate events – many of the people who volunteer and travel to the conferences have some sort of product or service that they are selling but in the real estate world outside of NAR and related association staff – it’s kind of expected. Outside of learning about technology and how to use the internet as a tool for the average agent’s business, one of the most valuable reasons to attend is to network with like minded agents.
Last week there was a ReBar Camp in Denver. A few of my friends were there. There is supposed to be one the day before the NAR convention in Novemeber – maybe I’ll get to that one.
One conference I know I’m not missing is the Real Estate Webmasters Summit. Yeah, I guess since REW is sponsoring the conference there will be information about their IDX and also how to best optimize their websites for search engines and more importantly web users – but after attending last year – the most valuable thing and I’ve talked about it before, was the friendships. I know I sound like a broken record – but there are relatively few real estate agents/brokerages who are building their real estate practice through primarily IDX lead generation.
If you are on the fence about the REW Summitt, it’s not super easy to get to Nanaimo, British Columbia, takes a little planning – it’s on an island – but it’s beautiful – really the location was one of the reasons the conference worked so well. The size was also a factor. Last year was a fairly intimate event which made it a very cohesive group. There was also a sense that what happens in Nanaimo stays in Nanaimo – not that we were talking about how to game the search engines or our competitors directly, just a sense of sharing of what worked for different people and their business without wondering who was lurking in the background.
Yeah, if you are active on forums and pay a bit of attention to the SEO world, much of the actual conference material MAY NOT be new, but there is value in face to face interaction and that IS the reason to make the trip. I’m looking forward to meeting again the friends I made last year and hoping to meet new ones. This is different than a lot of conferences in that most all attending do have similar goals. Even if you don’t have a REW website – meeting the people who are attending would make the trip worthwhile.