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Updates from May, 2011
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By Wendy Lowe
RISMEDIA, July 26, 2010—Mention e-mail marketing to real estate agents and you may find that many are still hesitant to move away from their tried-and-true snail mail methods. Others, however, are rapidly discovering that e-mail marketing is just about one of the most effective means of generating sales.
Want proof? When Shop.org surveyed retailers for their State of Retailing Online 2009 report, they found that e-mail was the most-mentioned successful tactic overall. The Ad Effectiveness Survey commissioned by Forbes Media in February/March 2009 placed e-mail marketing second only to SEO for generating conversions. And, research conducted in 2009 by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) demonstrated that e-mail out-performs all other forms of direct marketing.
The bigger question, of course, is why? Out of all the hundreds or even thousands of messages consumers are exposed to each day, why is e-mail marketing so effective?
There are several reasons, and real estate agents who embrace these principles will quickly find themselves joining in the chorus of praise. (More …) Print This Post
WASHINGTON – May 19, 2010 – Real estate pros can make quick fixes to instantly attract buyers who are serious about a transaction, according to Errol Samuelson, president of Realtor.com® who spoke at the National Association of Realtors recent Midyear Legislative Meetings & Expo.
Samuelson offered solutions for building a web audience, making contact with leads, developing meaningful communication, cultivating leads and clients, and following up after the transaction.
Here are his top five:
1. Audience: A changing dynamic between the buyer and real estate pro is evident in NAR statistics: In 2001, 48 percent of buyers purchased properties their practitioners found for them. That figure dropped to 36 percent last year.
“You have a larger audience out there of people finding homes themselves and bringing them to their agents,” Samuelson said.
The Problem: Finding content and resources to add to your website that meet the needs of the audience you’re trying to connect with.
The Fix: You can look at real estate sites in three distinct ways. A “type A” site publishes content and news stories. It generates lots of traffic, but visitors tend to read one article of interest and leave the site. “It’s a great way to build brand; a great place to build awareness,” Samuelson said.
The “type B” website offers a lot of market stats and trends. Again, this site will get hits, but visitors may not always be potential buyers.
A “type C” site specializes in searches and listings. These sites tend to keep visitors engaged for longer periods of time – often the visitors are in the early stages of looking for a home.
Samuelson says the key is to know what to expect from these sites and create a blend of all three.
2. Contact: People are twice as likely to phone an agent rather than use e-mail when looking at homes online, Samuelson said. With a mobile app, the potential client is 10 times more likely to call vs. e-mail.
Why is mobile so important? “This is one of the fastest product adoptions ever,” Samuelson said. There were more than 1 billion app downloads in the fourth quarter of 2009 alone.
The Problem: When a potential client does make a call, Samuelson said statistics show agents only answer 30 percent of the time. Furthermore, 45 percent of the calls go to voicemail (over half won’t leave a message), 17 percent ring but voicemail never picks up, and 8 percent get the wrong number.
The Fix: With the shift to mobile devices, answering the phone becomes more important than ever, Samuelson said. If you can’t be there to answer, make sure someone can. And be responsive to voicemails right away.
3. Communication: First-time buyers made up 47 percent of the market last year. Your job is to communicate with relevance to the people who are buying.
The Problem: Call reluctance. The main reasons for call reluctance, Samuelson said, is that practitioners don’t know who they are calling or what to say.
The Fix: Approach communication as a way to help potential clients understand the home buying process. Realtor.com offers a first-time homebuyers’ guide you can find at http://www.realtor.com/freetraining/midyear.
Don’t forget to put your contacts into a database – it’s too hard to do it any other way, Samuelson said. Track who opens your e-mails; list interest signs and personal interests, too. This way you’ll feel more comfortable engaging them on topics they prefer, Samuelson said.
4. Cultivation: To cultivate is to grow.
The Problem: Not tailoring your approach to grow relationships with potential clients in ways that are lasting and meaningful.
The Fix: Samuelson said that mixing up your forms of communication can make a huge impact on interest level. Sure, use regular phone calls and e-mails, but also send quick messages on personal matters. Use market trends as a conversation starter. Meet in person for coffee; introduce the human element.
And don’t forget to ask for feedback on the job you’re doing. The idea of authenticity is important when providing relevant information that’s fact-based.
5. Transaction: The close of a sale is not the end of an agent-client relationship – it’s just another phase.
The Problem: Practitioners get overwhelmed dealing with the transaction or don’t have a system in place to continue their interaction with a client. According to the 2009 NAR Buyers and Sellers Survey, 21 percent of homeowners don’t hear from their agent again. Approximately 43 percent hear from their agent occasionally, 13 percent monthly and 9 percent weekly.
The Fix: Continue your cultivation after the sale, which is becoming easier than ever with social networks and blogs.
Source: Erica Christoffer, Realtor® Magazine
© Copyright 2010 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688 Print This Post
RISMEDIA, May 19, 2010—Technology comes in many shapes and sizes. When it fits, technology automates everyday routines, so we may focus on what it is as professionals we do best.
Per usual, time is money, so speed-to-market must be considered when reviewing all new technologies. What is the implementation and training period? Is this something that everyday businessmen and women can use today?
What matters most is what works best, and the fastest to help you achieve your goals. All things considered, here are five of the fastest ways Realtors can put technology to work for themselves today.
Get Relevant in Your Social Media
We know you love your kids. We all do. But is baby Bobby’s third birthday really relevant to the online audience? Facebook and Twitter all have righteous applications written for business. Don’t waste your audience’s precious time. (More …) Print This Post
By James Kingery
RISMEDIA, March 25, 2010—For starters, going paperless is a good thing and any organization “over the hump” will tell you the same. The benefits of paperless operation are well documented and include the elimination of filing cabinets and offsite storage, reduction in supply expense, faster access to files and information, elimination of lost files, elimination of lost documents from within a file, reclaimed office space, secure agent access to transaction files, compliant records and much more.
More elaborate advantages come in the form of workflow, standardized processes for your specific requirements, coverage strategies and virtual operation. So what problems will we face implementing a paperless solution? How can we assure a successful launch? What expectations should I set? (More …) Print This Post
By Mike Parker
RISMEDIA, March 3, 2010—Everyone wants to somehow profit from the Internet. These days – with 80+% of all homes sales beginning on the Internet, the ‘wants’ has changed into ‘must.’ Any agent who is not making a significant percentage of their sales from Internet activity is missing out on more commissions than they can imagine as well as continuing up that traditional methods trail that surely is becoming a dead end.
That’s part of the reason so many methods of trying to succeed online are out there: everyone is looking for the ‘Silver Bullet’: the one thing that will make them successful. (More …) Print This Post
By Seth Kaplan
RISMEDIA, February 22, 2010—During the last four weeks we have looked at the evolution of the cell phone from a functional utility to a cultural phenomenon and discussed how over the course of the last 10 years we have gone from struggling to find a cell signal to sending hundreds of billions of text messages per month. Our mobile devices never leave our side and the evidence shows that has caused a shift in the way we communicate—making mobile truly the medium the of the moment.
Simultaneously, during the same four-week period out in the real world, two events have taken place that will undoubtedly alter the way the world’s economy and infrastructure operate in the years to come; The World Economic Forum and the Mobile World Congress.
The World Economic Forum took place recently in Davos, Switzerland (January 26-31). CBS’ 60 Minutes did a feature on the forum in which they stated, “Nowhere in the world can such a concentration of power be found than at the World Economic Forum.” A few of the heads of state and captains of industry in attendance included President Bill Clinton, computer tycoon Michael Dell, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt. What surprised me was not who attended this premier who’s who event, but that just two weeks later (February 15-18) in Barcelona, Spain, both Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Google CEO Eric Schmidt were in attendance again for the Mobile World Congress – as key note speakers. Print This Post
The answer is quite simple: maximum exposure to potential buyers through advanced marketing strategies. By utilizing the MLS, in combination with a targeted Web strategy and search engine positioning, we can offer marketing resources most sellers don’t have to build a website and implement an in-depth strategy to expose their home to the most potential buyers.
By taking your offline farming strategy to your website, you will be able to grow your listing inventory, market share and show your sellers your unique position to expose their home to potential buyers looking in their community.
What’s the Purpose of Farming?
The purpose of farming is to have a “bull’s-eye” focus on a core area in your marketplace where you build long-term relationships with homeowners. The goal of this strategy is to be the real estate agent that comes to mind when they think “real estate.” Print This Post
RISMEDIA, February 8, 2010—The numbers don’t lie. The facts are clear, people are just not communicating verbally as frequently as they once did. Text messaging, e-mail, Internet and social networking sites are all so readily available to us through our beloved mobile devices that we don’t need to either. We can communicate with five people, in five minutes, five different ways without ever making a phone call.
So in today’s fast-paced, real-time world, is the shift in the way we communicate and interact with one another simply a byproduct of that? Sure it is; as individuals, we use the technology that is available to us to make our lives easier and more efficient. However, in business, we must recognize the shift, quickly adapt, and market our products and services through the “mediums of the moment” in order to capitalize. (More …)