3 Ways to Make Your Real Estate Newsletter Your Best Sales Tool

Posted on: March 3rd, 2012 by
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If you follow this blog regularly, then you know I write a good deal about email marketing for real estate.  The reason is this process is critical to the success of everyone’s real estate business.  Email marketing is a very effective way to keep your name in front of prospective buyers and sellers on a regular basis.  Email marketing makes it nearly impossible for someone on your email list to say, “I completely forgot you are in real estate, and I just referred my sister to Sally Glutz, Realtor with XYZ Realty.”  Even if your email is not opened and read, email marketing is effective because you are still putting your name in front of a prospective client.  When your email is opened, you want to be sure you’ve got the right stuff in it.  So here are some tips for you to make sure you are ready to dance when someone on your email list asks you.

1. Snippit in the Bud – To increase your response and engagement try to give several article abstracts grouped into sets of topics that are of interest to your readers.

2. Be Easy – To share, that is.  Every marketers’ dream is to share her information with one person whe then shares it with 10 others, who then shares it with 10 others, and on and on. This is much more simple to do today than ever before as most email providers have added social media sharing options that you can put into your content.

3. Be Content – No, not the feeling.  I probably should have labeled this paragraph “Be the Content Provider.”  Don’t have your newsletters just feature your listings.  The truth is you aren’t going to sell very many of your listings directly through your newsletter, but you will sell many of your listings indirectly by having a newsletter full of very valuable content that most consumers want to read and share.

Give these 3 ways of improving your email newsletter a try to see if your newsletters get better open and engagement rates.  Maybe I should have given testing as #4 in this list, but test #1 against your current format and see which performs better.  Then test #2 above and see if you have more clicks on your newsletter links than your old format.  Then try #3.

You should constantly be striving for the impossible 100% open or engagement rate.  If you have any other suggestions to share with us, then please do so in the comments section below.

Building Trust Through Branding in Real Estate

Posted on: March 2nd, 2012 by
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A few months ago, I read a question posted on LinkedIn that asked, “How can one build trust through branding in a real estate business?”  I found the question and answers to be very interesting, so I printed the Q&A and put it in my folder of articles to refer back to later.  I stumbled across the Q&A again today, and I stopped to re-read the article because the question is quite intriguing to me.  “How can one build trust through branding in a real estate business?”  There were 7 answers to the question and 1 spam post (gotta love those spammers).  The answers ranged from extremely well thought out to just downright idiotic (of course, that is my opinion).  Here are some of the answers that stood out to me:

Judy H. wrote, “I have read case studies in branding where the Realtor themselves was the brand and because they specialised in a niche – eg families or pets, and advertised heavily, became the trusted go-to person…”

Alexander J. wrote, “… Trust is built through the interpersonal relationships established between agents and clients.  Good experiences are what get passed along to future clients and result in referrals…”

Tracey B. wrote, “…The brand is the total experience customers have when engaging with that product or service.  In order for a real estate business to build trust through their brand they need to deliver on whatever their promise is…”

Mugdha K wrote, ” You can’t build trust through branding in any business.  Trust lies in the actions of the brand, the way they do business…”

I have my own thoughts about the answers to the question above; but, since none of the answers were from Realtors, I am more interested in learning your thoughts or opinions.  Can one build trust through branding in real estate?  If so, how?  Please leave me a brief comment below with your insight.  I am looking forward to reading your responses.

Facebook’s Latest Update Has the Business World Up in Arms

Posted on: March 1st, 2012 by
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Every time Facebook makes changes to its layout or policies, folks get a little riled up.  The fact is we, as a society, resist change.  That is why some of us still have the “BIG hair” hairstyle from the 1980’s that we wear with pride.  Well, this time Facebook is making changes to its fan pages by requiring all fan pages to go to the new timeline format.  This change has many business owners/Facebook administrators up in arms.

Today, I want to give you a quick breakdown of the major changes you can expect within Timeline:

1.       Cover Photos – Now you can add a big, beautiful Timeline cover photo to your fan page.  I’m not sure just yet how this can benefit those of us in real estate other than to perhaps feature a picture of a different listing there every day or week.  Nonetheless, this opportunity to add some color and dramatics to your fan page can make your fan page look more like a website, at first glance.

2.       Page Tabs – The page tabs are now more prominent and will display at the top of each page.  This better placement will likely result in more clicks.

3.       Page Tab Icons – Now you can easily change a page tab icon by hovering over the page tab photo and then going into edit settings to change the icon photo.

4.       Default Landing Tabs – Gone!!!  Businesses did this to push people to “like” their default landing page.  Those days are gone, but luckily “Fan Gate” pages are here for a while longer.  So now to use Fan Gating, you will need to point a Facebook ad or link to the specific tab from your web properties.

5.       Pin a Post – Now you can pin a favorite post of your page at the top of your page.  This is something that is pretty exciting.

6.       Wider Page Tabs – Another pretty cool feature of the new Timeline is that Page Tabs are now wider.  This will give businesses more room to use on their fan pages.

My personal opinion is this… The new Timeline has some great new features to offer, but we do lose some functionality with the extinction of default landing tabs.  The new Timeline pages will be more attractive visually; however, I find them hard to navigate.  In fact, if my company website was laid out the way a Timeline does, I would have fired my designer.  No, I’m not all against the changes, so at this point I have to say that I am firmly uncommitted regarding Timeline.

I would love to hear your thoughts – good, bad, or indifferent – about Timeline and/or my comments.  If you like it, then please tell me why I should like it too (I really do want to like it).  If you don’t like it, then please tell me what you don’t like about it.

6 Twitter Tips for Real Estate

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by
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There are so many aspects of Twitter that most Realtors don’t understand.  Heck, I definitely understand not understanding.  In principle, Twitter is the simplest social network out there.  Just type in 140 characters or less into the tweet box and hit “Enter.”  I don’t know how anything can be more simple.  Now, actually getting someone to read that tweet, click on that link, retweet your tweet, reply or comment back, or favorite that tweet is a different story.  This is where  Twitter “loses” most of us – it is Twitter lost me for a while.  So, today I want to share with you a few Twitter tips I’ve learned to help you master Twitter.

1.       Use Queued.at – This puppy allows you to enter your tweets and have them go out at the most likely best times.  Pretty cool stuff!
2.       Use Tweriod – This app will analyze the last 200 tweets of each of your last 5,000 followers to give you a graph of when your followers are on Twitter the most.  This helps you to know when to tweet.
3.       If someone popular on Twitter retweets you, then make a note of the time and day this happened.  Be sure to tweet other things that person may like around the same time for a couple of weeks to see if she will retweet you again.
4.       The time of day you are most active on Twitter may be a great time to tweet your best topics.  You are not the only one who does things the way and times you do.  Try it and see for yourself.
5.       If you are about to attend an event and you want to tweet about it, then do it right before, during, or immediately after the event.  This will spark more interaction with your followers than doing so a day before or after the event.
6.       Join the Phenomenon – There is something on Twitter called the #FollowFriday Phenomenon.  #FollowFriday is the movement by many Twitter users of adding followers on that particular day of the week.

Try a few, or all, of these tips to soup up your presence on Twitter.  If you have a cool Twitter tip, please leave a comment with it below.

3 Ways for Realtors to Use LinkedIn to Improve Their Business

Posted on: February 28th, 2012 by
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Today, I want to have a heart to heart with you about our red headed step child.  No, I’m not talking bout Google+, but that was a very good guess.  I’m talking about Linkedin.  Of course, we all know LinkedIn, but we don’t show LinkedIn the same love that we do most of the other social networking platforms.  If used properly, Linkedin can be an incredible tool to grow your real estate business.  Here’s how you can use it to make more money this year.

1. Make Lots O’ Connections – LinkedIn is the only social network I know of where people use the site to do business.  When you get on LinkedIn, you do so with the mindset to do business; whereas, you get on Facebook or Twitter to play games or just shoot the breeze.  This makes doing business on Linked in much easier.  Realtors should use LinkedIn to connect with others in the industry (mortgage, title, homeowner’s insurance, etc) with the prospect of doing future business, look for vendors – database management companies, virtual assistants, etc – that you can outsource services to later.

2. Recruit Other Agents – I know most real estate offices pay their agents a percentage of the total commission or a flat fee for any closings from an agent you recruited to the company. Why not use LinkedIn to recruit other agents to your office and earn some cash off of someone else’s hard work?

3. Grow your Online Reputation – Not many tools can get you more or lose you more business quicker than recommendations.  Online recommendations through LinkedIn are very powerful business building tools.  The easiest way to get recommendations is to actually write a recommendation for someone first.  Trust me, 90% of the time that person you wrote the recommendation for will return the favor and write a recommendation for you.  Ask for a recommendation (or better yet, provide a recommendation) for home inspectors, mortgage partners, closing attorneys, surveyors, past clients, etc, etc.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool that is grossly under utilized in the real estate industry, but there are certain benefits for the agent who uses it well.  If you want a 4th secret way to use LinkedIn to grow your business, then connect with me on LinkedIn here, and I’ll send a private message with top secret way #4.

5 Characteristics of a Great Real Estate Facebook Fan Page

Posted on: February 25th, 2012 by
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We all know what a great real estate Facebook fan page looks like when we see one, but we often don’t stop to think about what separates a good Facebook fan page from a great Facebook fan page.  Good fan pages are very well designed and aesthetically appealing, and great fan pages are that with that little extra something something.  If you really want to make your fan page stand out from the crowd, then implement these 5 characteristics into your fan page design. 

1. Purpose – Each tab within your page should have a singular, very clear purpose.  Your “Listings” tab should feature your listings.  Your “Welcome” tab should introduce you to your fans. I know this sounds elementary; however, it is so important that it must be mentioned.

2. Perspective – Your fan page should visually make a statement with awesome graphics, video (if you have a good meaningful video), or even a Twitter stream.  Be sure these elements add to the value of the page instead of detracting from the message of the page.

3. Freshness – Just like bread, your Facebook fan page tabs can get stale.  You must update your “Listings” tab, and your other tabs as well.  When you sell a listing, be sure to mark it as sold or delete it completely from that tab.  When you get a new listing, make sure it is included in your “Listings” tab.  Don’t let your fan page become a ghost town.

4. Branding – I’m not just talking about using your company colors, but also font, logos, images, etc. All of those things should be consistent on your fan page tabs just like it is in all of your other marketing efforts.

5. Offers – A great fan page tab captures a fan’s attention and tells fans of exciting information waiting inside for them.  “Like/Reveal” tabs allow page administrators to restrict content to only those who have “liked” a page.  So, you have to “like” the page to get the goods.

Keep these 5 characteristics in mind when creating tabs for your Facebook fan page.  Having a great fan page on Facebook can be just what you need to increase the number of “likes” you have and therefore increase the amount of interaction you have online with prospective home buyers, home sellers, and referral partners.

4 Ways to Build Your Real Estate Email Marketing List

Posted on: February 24th, 2012 by
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Sometimes I put the cart before the horse.  I’d like to say I do it on purpose, but that is not always the case.  Last week, I wrote about 4 ways to beef up your real estate email marketing campaign.  Well, I had a few agents comment that they do not do any email marketing currently, and that’s when it hit me.  That is when I realized I needed to write a blog to explain to those agents some ways to build their list.  For those of you who do market via email currently, read on through this short blog to see if you can pick up another tip or two.

So, here are 4 tips to build your real estate email marketing list:

1. Be very upfront about how their info will be used by you.  This is very important!  If you start off on the wrong foot and lie about how you will use their email addresses and names, then you will NEVER make a sale to them.  I promise you that you will make a ton more money with your list by selling homes to your subscribers than you will by selling their info to some spammer or marketer.  You must address the potential subscribers fears before you will ever get their info.

2. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.  In order to get their email address you need to let them know what’s in it for them.  Why is it beneficial to be on your email list?  Will it make them more savvy home buyers or home sellers?  Will it save them money? You gotta make it good to get the goods.

3. Consider giving them some sort of a bonus upfront .  How about your latest ebook?  Don’t have one?  Then how about a weekly list of foreclosures in their area?  Or a coupon to the local yogurt shop?  Or a free bowling pass?  Yes it may cost a couple of bucks upfront, but you will make that money up (plus a lot more) when those email addresses turn into sales.

4. Give them the answer to their problem.  That is what they are searching for, and if you can’t show them how you can help them by answering their questions, then you’ll never get the info you want.  In addition you should be able to show them what they are missing as well if they don’t register.

If you build it they will come!  Sales that is.  By concentrating on disclosing your call to action and privacy policy, you dramatically increase your chances of getting lots of subscribers.  If you have a top secret way of getting new subscriptions for your email list, then please leave those tips below in the comment section.

6 Tips to Improve Your Real Estate Video Marketing Results

Posted on: February 23rd, 2012 by
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Video has become an incredible way to trump all of your other SEO tactics because of the incredible importance that Google is placing on video right now.  This trend is not expected to end any time soon, so now is the best time to start your video marketing efforts.  Yesterday I gave you 3 ways to get over your fear of video marketing.  Today, I want to give you some tips on how you can improve your video marketing results. 

1. Be sure your videos offer great value to your viewers.  Don’t just do a video for the sake of doing a video.  You’ll lose viewers and never get them back again.  Show them or tell them a way they can save thousands of dollars buying or selling a home.  Do videos on Frequently Asked Questions or questions buyers and/or sellers should ask when preparing for their purchase. 

2. Be sure your videos include a call to action.  Think about what you want your viewers to do after they watch your video.  Do you want them to visit your website, call you, sign up for your newsletter or free report?  Whatever you want them to do – ask them to do it before your video ends.

3. Be sure your videos have a clear message.  Do not try to cover 10 different topics in a 3 minute video.  That video should cover 1 topic and only 1 topic.  The other 9 topics will make 9 other videos.  Now you are wondering when you’ll have time to do all 9 of those videos instead of wondering what the first video topic is about, aren’t you?

4. Be sure you tag your videos with relevant keywords in your video titles and descriptions.  Also, include your URL at the end of the video on the bottom of the screen.  Before uploading your video to YouTube or your site, change the file name of the video to your keywords and the subject of the video.  If your video is about saving Dallas home buyers thousands of dollars then name your video file “savingdallashomebuyersthousands.wav”

5. Be sure to upload the video to your website as well as YouTube.  Feature your videos above the fold on your home page so viewers don’t have to scroll to find the videos.

6. Be sure to keep your videos short and to the point.  Your goal should be to make the video no longer than 2 – 3 minutes.

Try the 6 tips above when working on your real estate video marketing for optimum results of your time and efforts.  If you are just getting started with video marketing, trust me.  It gets much easier the more you do it.  In just a couple of months, you’ll be a video pro.  If you use the tips above and SEO your videos a little bit, you’ll see that you’ll start to dominate Google as well.  Once you’ve dominated Google searches, your sales and listings will soon follow.

If you have some great video tips that you would like to share with the group, then please do so below.  We would all love to hear your stories.

Getting Over Your Fear of Video Marketing for Real Estate

Posted on: February 22nd, 2012 by
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I’m noticing a trend.  Are you?  Have you noticed all of the YouTube videos showing up on pages 1 and 2 of Google lately?  You knew Google would do it, and they have.  After Google bought YouTube several years ago, you had to believe that Google would start putting more emphasis on video in search.  Well, it looks like the day where Google has just become completely infatuated with video is upon us.  So, what does this mean for the average Realtor?  Well, it means if you are not currently involved in video marketing then you need to go ahead and start… today!

“But, I have a ‘radio face'” is a response I get when I bring this up to a lot of agents.  I’ve got to be honest – some of them really do.  Not to worry.  This problems with insecurity is easily solved whith a screen recording software, like Jing.  Simply prepare a Power Point slideshow and record your screen as you read the slides and be sure to ad lib so you don’t put your viewer to sleep.

“But my voice sounds like a Smurf’s voice.”  I’ve got a solution for that as well.  If you have a “not for radio” voice or are kind of monotone, like I am, then you can actually hire someone to read your script and record your video for you.  Check out www.fiverr.com and search for someone to read your script for $5.00.  They’ll email the video back to you when they are done, and you are ready to upload the video to YouTube.  Problem solved!

Be yourself!  Yes, it is ok to have a script and read it.  Actually it can be very helpful because it will keep you on track and prevent you from rambling.  There is one major problem with reading from a script – The Robot.  The robot is that person inside all of us who detaches from the outside world and shows no emotion, enthusiasm, or passion.  Be careful not to lose those things when you are reading your script.  Loosen up and have fun with video.  I think some of my best videos are the ones where I’m just talking to the camera like it is my best friend who just asked me a question.

Try these tips to get your feet wet with video.  After you get going with video the next step is to get that video to move up in Google to page 1 and get more sales.  We’ll talk a little more about those things tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you have a video marketing success story, please share it with us below.

How High is Your Real Estate Website’s Bounce Rate?

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by
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So yesterday I wrote about 2 ways you can lower your website’s bounce rate off page, and today I am going to give you 3 ways to lower your real estate website’s bounce rate on page.

Let’s get right into it!

1. Purpose Your Page.  Each page of your website should have one clear purpose.  I’m not saying that you cannot have secondary purposes on your page, just be careful that the reader knows what the particular page is about.  Don’t let your opt-in boxes, e-book offers, resources, etc. get in the way of the primary purpose of that page either.

2. Clean Up Your Page’s Layout.  Visitors to your site want to find the information they are looking for in just a few seconds.  If they don’t then they will bounce!  Concentrate on your page’s information into one easily noticed spot on the page so visitors don’t have to search the page to find it.

3.  Match Each Page’s Title to The Purpose of That Page.  This should go without saying, but a web page’s title should tell visitors what to expect on that page.  If you have an “About Me” page, then don’t use that page to feature your new e-book or your new listing.  You can make separate pages for those things if you choose to.

Take 30 minutes over the weekend to make the above changes to your real estate website if you need to. Once you do this, then you should see your website’s bounce rate start to drop and hopefully see your sales start to increase because you’ve created a site where visitors spend their time.

If you have any other suggestions or ways to lower the bounce rate of a website, then please share those ideas below.  Your input is greatly appreciated.

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