Categories
Content Marketing Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) real estate agents Social Media

How Do RateMyAgent and RealSatisfied Compare to LinkedIn?

The truth about testimonials

In nearly every guide to selecting a real estate agent, homeowners are instructed to look at, not just an agent’s sales history, but also how satisfied the buyers and sellers who dealt with that agent in the past were. Most agents will include a few testimonials on their websites and in the shop windows of their offices, but those are mostly subjective, because they’ve been cherry picked from a stack of other similarly glowing reviews. People are more aware of this now, so they’re more sceptical about relying on testimonials supplied to them from the agent.

Enter two real estate agent ranking and review sites: RateMyAgent and RealSatisfied. Both services provide a platform for buyers and sellers to leave honest reviews, so that future vendors can use this feedback to make their decision about appointing an agent to represent them in the sale of their home. They also provide detailed statistics about each region throughout Australia, including the top agencies by market share, the number of recent sales in the region, and the number of active agents and agencies operating in the area.

Ratings sites offer tools for agents, too

For agents, a platform like RateMyAgent, which was developed in Australia, and is now in beta mode in the United States, where it plans to launch a US version of it’s service in September, provides a range of tools, such as the ability to broadcast reviews on the RateMyAgent website to your social media accounts, create listing reports that contain detailed statistics about recent sales history for prospective vendors and clients, connect RateMyAgent to your website and include a live feed of client reviews, and more.

Of course, there’s also LinkedIn, which allows agents to include much of the same information in their profile, and also has the capacity to handle recommendations from people they’ve worked with in the past. But LinkedIn is a tool that’s mostly used by recruiters to find staff, and is likewise used by individuals who are looking for work. While there’s certainly no harm in an agent creating their own LinkedIn profile and using it to connect with other professionals, it’s unlikely to help them generate new leads and get more listings.

Consider your online presence carefully

The internet is practically teeming with social media platforms and other tools to help businesses develop their online presence, but just because there’s a platform, like LinkedIn or Pinterest or RateMyAgent or something similar out there, it doesn’t mean you have to be using it to have success online. Remember that the more social media accounts and other platforms you’re active on, the more time you will need to spend keeping them up-to-date, even if many of them fail to deliver any new leads.

With this in mind, develop your online presence strategically by selecting the platforms and channels that are most relevant to you, your business or industry, and your clients, and only creating a profile on the ones that will help you to achieve your goals. Before investing time in a particular platform, look at its performance metrics and consider whether they’re aligned with your own business goals. If they’re not, then there may be other options that are more worthy of your time.

If you’re looking to kick start your online presence, using social media or a platform such as RateMyAgent, contact our team to discuss which options are best suited to you and your business goals. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
News real estate agents

Marshall Rushford Is Not Licensed to Sell Property In…

Is your agent able to sell real estate in your home town?

In our last blog post, we talked about how you can find out whether a real estate agent, like Bill Tsounias, who works for McGrath in Sydney, is licensed to sell your property or perform various other functions of a real estate transaction, such as act as an auctioneer. Because Bill is based in NSW, we were able to look up his license on the Service NSW website, which keeps a register of all the current and lapsed real estate agents in the state, and see that he is licensed to sell real estate in NSW unsupervised.

When you look up agents in your local area, you should be looking for things like whether they’re allowed to work unsupervised or whether they’re supposed to work with another agent — in which case, you should be meeting with the other agent, too — or if they’ve had any compliance or disciplinary actions carried out against them. You also have to remember that each state and territory has its own licensing requirements, and as a result, it’s own register.

Different state, different license

So, when you look up an agent like Marshall Rushford in the Service NSW property register, you won’t find him there, because he isn’t licensed to sell real estate in NSW — only in Victoria, where he is based. That’s another thing to keep in mind, particularly if you’re from out of town and you’re buying or selling real estate in another state — be sure the check the correct register.

It’s also helpful to understand that each state and territory has different licensing requirements, but that, for the most part, they all require agents to continue their professional development (CPD), just as accountants, bookkeepers, lawyers and other professionals do. Every 12 months, agents are required to complete a certain amount of education in order to stay accredited; their licences must also be renewed every 12 months or three years, depending on the type of license they hold.

Agents can be fined for not continuing their training

Aside from not being able to renew their real estate agent’s license when it comes due for renewal, agents who don’t keep up with their training can also be fined by the licensing body in their state (the Department of Fair Trading for agents in NSW, Consumer Affairs in Victoria, etc). CPD is important to ensure real estate agents keep abreast of changes to legislation and real estate practices, which is why each state licensing authority takes CPD so seriously — and why your agent should, too.

In the last 12 months alone, the NSW state government introduced new laws to tackle underquoting, and also amended the Swimming Pools Act 1992 to improve pool safety by making homeowners register their swimming pool on the NSW Swimming Pool Register. Is your agent up to speed on the latest legislative changes in his or her state? This is something you should ask prospective agents about when you meet with them.

The Victorian Government recently introduced underquoting laws too. If you’re selling your home around the Caulfield area in Victoria, and you’re using Marshall Rushford or his team, ask them about the new underquoting laws, and what they will mean for you selling your property. Marshall’s team take their CPD very seriously, so they’ll be able to explain all of the recent changes to the Estate Agent’s Act 1980.

One particular change involves agents being required to update the advertised price of a property within one business day, if an offer, higher than has been advertised, is rejected at any time. Ask Marshall about how or if this could affect your marketing campaign.

To learn more about the real estate sales process, including how to manage inspections, offers and following up with buyers, download our free educational guide. Alternatively, for more real estate news, insights and analysis, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
News real estate agents Social Media Social Media Marketing Wordpress Website Training Courses

How Do You Know You Can Trust a Real Estate Agent?

There are online tools to help

In a previous blog post, we talked about the new era in real estate that allows homeowners to compare real estate in their local area with just the click of a few buttons, using lead generation and comparison sites. As easy and efficient as a lead generation site like OpenAgent may be, and although they’re structured in a fashion to help maintain their independence so they can provide objective information to homeowners, they are a business, after all — and one that seeks to double their revenue in the next 12 months.

This means they have a vested interest in converting each user who comes to their site and hands over their contact details, by matching them up with a real estate agent. For some homeowners, who are either time poor or new to the real estate sales process, using an intermediary like OpenAgent will make the process a whole lot easier. For everyone else, however, they may prefer to do the legwork themselves, so they can be doubly sure they’re appointing the right agent to sell their home.

All agents have to be licensed

Although most real estate agents will disclose their license number on their website, business cards, or by hanging their certificate of registration somewhere in their office, like Bill Tsounias a real estate agent for McGrath in Sydney does, it’s always a good idea to verify that information yourself. In NSW, for example, the Service NSW website includes a portal where you can check a real estate agent’s license.

In addition to seeing that the agent is licensed, it will also list any conditions associated with the license — i.e., whether they may exercise the functions of an auctioneer — any compliance issues, such as disciplinary actions or prosecutions against the agent. It will also list any associated parties, and whether a manager or receiver has ever been appointed before, which provide key details on the financial health of the license holder. There are similar registers in all other states and territories.

First impressions still count

But for all the research you can do into an agent’s license and recent sales history, one of the most important things you can do is to have a conversation with them, be it over the phone or in person. Their manner and temperament, and the way they explain key issues to you should help you decide which agent you feel most comfortable with selling your home. These first impressions still count, even in the digital age.

It’s company policy for McGrath agents to list their license number on their website so it makes it a lot easier for buyers and sellers to verify whether an agent is licensed to handle a particular real estate transaction. It also shows that McGrath is committed to honesty and transparency, an important ingredient in the success of any real estate agent today, and like McGrath, Bill Tsounias is just as committed to being a genuine and reputable real estate agent.

He’s come onboard with Virion to create his own professional website, where he can showcase his current listings, share information about his recent sales, and provide tips and advice to homebuyers and owners about the real estate market and what to expect when buying or selling a home. We have other agents on board who keep clients and vendors up to speed with information and listings using Facebook and other social media. 

To begin building your online brand, contact our team to discuss which digital marketing options will suit you and your digital marketing goals. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

 

Categories
Content Marketing real estate agents Search Engine Optimisation Course Wordpress Website Training Courses

How Do Real Estate Lead Generators Find an Agent for You?

Is the internet helping to keep real estate agents honest?

For homeowners looking for a real estate agent to sell (or rent) their property, it’s traditionally been about visibility. The agent with the most signboards, ads in the local paper, the greatest street presence, so to speak, always got the most listings. But just as it did for other business models, the internet is disrupting the real estate industry’s decades-long way of doing business.

Lead generation and comparison websites, like OpenAgent and Local Agent Finder, promise to deliver leads to agents, while also promising to cut through agent spin to help homeowners to find the agent who is truly best suited to sell their property. They promise all that, and to retain their neutrality in the process, even though they don’t charge homeowners a fee for their service.

How lead generation sites work

OpenAgent is the darling of real estate lead generation sites. It’s raised $12 million in venture capital since it launched in 2013. In the last 12 months, it’s also doubled in size, and in that time, matched more than 10,000 homeowners to sales agents; in the next 12 months it hopes to double its revenue. The way OpenAgent operates is pretty simple, and not much different to other sites of its kind. OpenAgent collects information about real estate agents and their sales records by scraping it from other sources, such as Domain and realestate.com.au, while also encouraging homeowners to write reviews about their experiences with a particular agent on their site, which it vets before publishing online.

Agents don’t get to submit their profiles to OpenAgent, nor is their inclusion on the site optional. If they’re a licensed real estate agent, with listings on a property portal, such as realestate.com.au or Domain, they’re automatically listed on the OpenAgent website. When a homeowner registers their details with OpenAgent, they’re able to peruse the recent listings, sales and reviews of all the agents in their area. OpenAgent then follows up by calling each homeowner to get a clearer picture of their property and the kind of agent they’re looking for. Following this, OpenAgent then provides the homeowner with a shortlist of agents to choose from.

OpenAgent doesn’t disclose a homeowner’s details to an agent unless they’re instructed to do so, at which point they contact with the agent on the homeowner’s behalf. If OpenAgent does introduce a homeowner to a real estate, who is ultimately appointed to sell the property, they’ll stay in touch with the owner throughout the process, to ensure the agent is being held accountable; they’ll even help the owner negotiate a better rate of commission. Once the property is sold, OpenAgent then takes a 20 percent fee from the agent’s agreed commission.

What this means for agents and homeowners

Success as a real estate agent today, in an era of lead generation and comparison websites, requires honesty and transparency. Agents can no longer cloak the sales process in mystery or exaggerate their sales history, because, whether a homeowner does their own independent research or uses a comparison site like OpenAgent to do the legwork for them, they’ll find out which agents are truthful and reputable, and which ones aren’t.

With so much information freely available on the internet, whether it’s about an individual agent and their track record or about the local market itself, homeowners now spend less time researching an agent’s credentials and more time weighing up whether they like and trust prospective agents. One of the first things a homeowner will do, once they’ve received a shortlist from OpenAgent or even a recommendation from a friend or relative, is look them up online.

Agents with an extensive web presence, and who are able to show people that they understand the market, that they’re open and honest about their previous track record, and that they’re friendly and approachable are more likely to win a new listing, than those agent who still operate under the old model of smoke and mirrors.

To learn more about the real estate sales process, including how to manage inspections, offers and following up with buyers, download our free educational guide. Alternatively, for more real estate news, insights and analysis, subscribe to our blog.

 

Categories
Content Marketing Facebook Advertising Real estate agent software real estate agents Social Media Social Media Marketing Wordpress Website Training Courses

Is Facebook Going to Become the Next Big Thing in Real Estate?

What ‘data’ makes Facebook so valuable?

As the most successful and most widely-used social media platform in the world, Facebook has amassed a lot of data over its 12 years of existence. That data is what makes Facebook so valuable, but it’s also what guides its business decisions. Facebook knows what emerging trends will be the next big thing, before you could even conceivably call them emerging trends. It’s how they knew to acquire Instagram; to introduce online advertising; expand into news publishing, by developing its Instant Articles service. Facebook is also a major platform for businesses, because of its emphasis on building communities, with whom you can share and discuss information that’s important to you. And all that data Facebook has under its belt, makes it easy to target people not already a part of your community.

Indeed, Facebook is also a major focus of nearly every real estate agent we speak to when we’re discussing their digital marketing strategy. Every agent wants to be on Facebook, and given that it’s more popular than… well, to borrow a phrase from John Lennon, Jesus, it makes a lot of sense to be using Facebook as part of your content marketing strategy. But there are a lot of real estate services using Facebook in ways that have the potential to disrupt the real estate model even further than it already has been.

Using Facebook as a directory for real estate agents

All that data Facebook has under its belt, in addition to the sheer volume of people who use Facebook on a daily – if not, multiple times per day — basis, has made it a very useful platform for real estate businesses to create online directory resources that connect buyers and vendors with real estate agents. The American-based HomeASAP service is the number-one real estate agent directory on Facebook, with over 457,000 members in its directory. As a directory that also connects buyers with real estate listings, it has the power to change the way people look for and buy real estate.

Although real estate agent directories aren’t new — there are plenty similar services, like followit, Local Agent Finder, Agent Select, etc — HomeASAP is unique because it’s directory is hosted entirely on Facebook. Only buyers, vendors and agents with a Facebook account can access the directory, further evidence that Facebook has, itself, become a search engine in its own right. And because the service is hosted on Facebook, you’re able to capture more data than if a person were to anonymously visit your a website.

Could Facebook topple the Big Two property portals?

Facebook Social media and digital marketing to sell real estate and property in Newcastle, Central Coast and Lake Macquarie

Facebook allows agents to monitor who’s visiting their page, and it also provides them with a casual way of engaging with potential buyers and sellers who may not be ready to speak on the phone yet. This isn’t possible on a property portal — whether it’s an app or website. Sure, you can track them by inserting a line of code into your website, but they’re still anonymous until they give your their contact information.

With Facebook, you know who’s visited your Facebook page, and you can make contact with them by making a friend request. Because Facebook also makes it easy to share and disseminate information right from the platform itself, it has the potential to topple the property portals, which currently provides agents with little promotional or marketing opportunities, and likewise provides only very rudimentary statistics about who has viewed their listings.

Considering that, second only to Google, Facebook is the world’s most used website and is responsible for generating a quarter of all web traffic, it certainly has the potential to become a powerful player in real estate. If Facebook isn’t already a part of your content marketing strategy, you’re missing out on valuable lead generation opportunities, not to mention potential buyers who may be looking for their next home.

Success on Facebook begins with a successful strategy

Facebook is the ultimate social media platform, and even though it’s an effective platform to build your online profile and market your services to potential buyers and sellers, your success is still entirely dependent on whether you’re using Facebook in the spirit in which it is intended — a social network to connect with people and share information that matters to you, with the emphasis being on the word ‘social’.

To be social means to have a free flow of information that people will engage with, comment on and share within their own, wider social network. If you want to keep people engaging with the information you share with them, you need to create a strategy that starts a conversation and encourages others to continue that conversation.

Learn Digital Marketing or get our help

To use Facebook to begin building your online brand and find out which digital marketing tools will suit you and your digital marketing goals get a free digital marketing consultation.

Alternatively, learn about digital marketing in our online Digital Marketing Training Courses or read about technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
Content Marketing Real estate agent software real estate agents Social Media Social Media Marketing Wordpress Website Training Courses

Build Your Online Profile Using a Mobile App

You can now create your own beautiful business apps

Now that property marketing has mostly moved online to property portals like realestate.com.au and Domain, a real estate agent’s ability to leverage their current listings to get new ones has been significantly eroded. This is a trend is set to continue as the real estate model becomes further disrupted by technologies that shift buyer behaviour from searching for properties, to waiting for a notification about one that matches their requirements. These days, if an agent is to build brand awareness from which they can generate new listings, they need to spend time building their profile online, and the best way to do that is to use content marketing.

Content marketing involves creating and publishing original and engaging content online. The content you create can be anything, from educational videos to informative blog posts to downloadable guides. But if you want to get really original and really, really engaging, you could even create your own app that you can use to push all sorts of content and notifications directly out to vendors and buyers alike.

Applications are the future of online marketing

Apps are where the future of online marketing is going, as more and more people use devices — like smartphones, tablets and even smart watches — rather than desktop computers and laptops to access information online. Applications also improve the user experience, while providing the developer with valuable information not usually available when a person simply browses a mobile version of a website.

Developing your own custom app is now increasingly simple, just as creating your own website is, thanks to WordPress and other such content management systems. An app development system like Flok, for example, allows you to easily create your own app — and a beautiful one, at that — and then promote it using social media, email and SMS marketing, with a built-in analytics dashboard to measure its success. Apps work best for businesses with repeat customers, so try to create your app with the goal of encouraging people to use it regularly.

It’s time to build lasting relationships

For too long, a lot of real estate agents have neglected to build lasting relationships with their buyers and sellers, seeing the sale and purchase of a property as a one-off transaction that’s not likely to come around again anytime in the near future. This was all well and good when people turned to newspapers, shopfront windows, and signboards to find out about a local agent in their local area, but this isn’t how the real estate model works anymore.

Agents need to prioritise building lasting relationships online, long before a homeowner has even considered selling their property, so that when they eventually do decide to take this step, there is only one agent they have in mind — you! If you produce content that covers both sides of the real estate process — buying and selling — then you’ll be able to capture the passive buyers that the market has lost since the decline of newspaper advertising.

Increase awareness of your brand by building relationships with other local businesses

If you haven’t already, reach out to local businesses in your area and build a reciprocal marketing relationship with them. With a service like Flok, you could sponsor a loyalty card for your local cafe by using the loyalty card app to give regular customers of your local cafe a free coffee. Use your branding on the loyalty card app and promote it, both in the cafe, on social media, and through your other marketing.

The best part about using an app, rather than a traditional paper loyalty card, is that for as long as the app is installed on a person’s phone, you can send them push notifications. You can also use it to collect email addresses, so you can continue marketing to them. Since everybody loves coffee, the uptake would be relatively swift and it would be used regularly, providing that you don’t use it to spam users with irrelevant marketing messages.

Success online begins with a successful strategy

Before you can begin using an app to sponsor your local cafe’s loyalty card, you need to create a strategy for capturing user data, determining their interests (i.e., buying, selling, renting), and being able to use content marketing that will cater to those interests.

To begin building your online brand, contact our team to discuss which digital marketing options will suit you and your digital marketing goals. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
Content Marketing Search Engine Optimisation Course Social Media Marketing Wordpress Website Training Courses

Technology Savvy Real Estate Agents Get More Listings

Don’t be the loud-talker at the social media dinner table

Think about the last time you engaged someone to perform a professional service for you. Perhaps you were looking for a plumber, an accountant or, say, a digital marketing agency. How did you find them? In the case of the latter, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that you probably did a search online and came across us that way. This is how the vast majority of people search for professional services these days and, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s how you’ll get your next listing, providing you’re technology savvy.

By technology savvy, I don’t just mean that you know how to use an iPhone or iPad. You’re not even technology savvy if you also know how to use a smart watch. To be technology savvy, you need to be shrewd in the way you use technology, and when it comes to finding and winning new listings, this means you’re using technology to market yourself and grow your online profile in ways other agents in your local area aren’t.

Technology savvy agents start with content marketing

To be technology savvy, you must build your profile online. Many people erroneously believe that building your profile online means creating a website, getting a Facebook account, and then that’s it. What they overlook is that a website needs stuff on it; that is, text, images, videos — in order to make it a website. That stuff is called content, and content is the same stuff that you post on Facebook that your friends like, share and comment on. Content marketing, then, is the publishing of stuff on your website, social media platforms, and elsewhere that you contacts will like, share and comment on, but which also markets you and your services.

The technology savvy part comes in when you determine precisely the kind of content you need to publishing in order to achieve your conversion goals. A conversion goal can be anything that results in the user taking a specific action — whether it’s signing up to receive a newsletter, downloading a market report, contacting you for a property appraisal.

If you have your own, personal Facebook account, think about the kind of content you publish there on a regular basis. It’s typically content that means something to you — typically, you either empathise with the message or you don’t — and that you know will also resonate with your friends and family and greater social network. This is how you need to approach the content you publish in a professional capacity. There is literally no exception to this rule. You must always publish content that is relevant to you and your customers (your vendors and buyers).

Publish original content across multiple platforms

Emphasis here on the word ‘original’. Don’t make the mistake of retweet or republishing content created by other people on your social media platforms. All this does is send all your hard earned traffic to an online behemoth, like realestate.com.au or smh.com.au or the like. Let them get their own traffic. Instead, you should create your own original content, by writing and publishing one or two blog posts a week or uploading a video blog or both. This way, when you push it out through social media and your friends and followers share it among their own social networks, you’re sending that traffic back to your website, not someone else’s.

If you’re going to use social media and, although I caution you to select your social media platforms wisely, I strongly advise you do use social media, you need to ensure you’re using it correctly, otherwise you needed bother. I’ll go into this in more detail some other time in a separate blog post, but the general rule of social media is to be social.

Think of it as a dinner party. You’re sitting around a dinner table with a few friends, acquaintances, and a few other people you’ve never met before. Everyone is chatting and getting along merrily, until some loud-talker enters the equation. All he’s interested in doing is talking about himself. He doesn’t engage with others when they try to engage with him. Instead, he constantly pushes his own agenda, on myriad irrelevant topics, often talking over others as they try to speak. Eventually, everyone gets up and moves somewhere else, leaving loud talker on his own.

Don’t be antisocial on social media

That’s the dinner party equivalent to someone on Twitter or Facebook publishing the same irrelevant tweets or posts over and over and over, without stopping to see if anyone actually cares or finds the content relevant. It’s the Facebook user that never responds to comments left on their page, or makes an effort to connect with others on Facebook. It’s the Twitter user, who doesn’t retweet or like tweets by their followers, because they’re too busy pushing out spammy tweets about their business.

Whatever you do, don’t be that guy; don’t be the loud-talker at the dinner party everybody runs away and hides from. Remember that social media’s primary reason for existence is as a way for people to communicate and keep in touch with each other — to be social. Use social media and your content to start conversations with people, and then make an active effort to keep those conversations going.

Master all that, and you’re well on your way to being the technology savvy real estate agent who gets the most listings. If you’re looking to build your online presence to gain new listings, get in touch with our team to discuss the ways you can begin building your online brand. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
Content Marketing Social Media Marketing Wordpress Website Training Courses

Property Appraisals and Market Reports Don’t Deliver New Listings

Are your aware of where your next listings will be coming from?

Things that are stuck in the 1990s: newspaper advertising, signboards, DL cards, property appraisals, market reports … and ok, the macarena. However, sticking only to matters of real estate, if you think property appraisals and market reports don’t belong on that list, you would be wrong. Yep. Property appraisals may form a necessary part of the sales process, I’ll grant you that, but, along with market reports, they won’t win you any new listings.

Here’s why:

For a start, there are numerous places to obtain a property appraisal or market report from — the hundred other agents in your local area, both the property portals, the Big Four banks, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, every private research company, mortgage broker, stock broker, investment banker, and list goes on ad infinitum until it’s the end of time and all that roams the earth are robots and drones.

Plus, if I were so inclined, with just the teeniest bit of research, I could gather enough information to create my own market report that, truth be told, would be more complete than any of the ones I could obtain from a business that’s also trying to sell me their services. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t offer prospective vendors a free property appraisal or a downloadable market report — you should! — it just means that it’s not going to deliver you your next listing.

Don’t lose sight of what people are doing online

The internet has fundamentally changed the way people find information, communicate with each other, and look for professional services. When people first make contact with a professional, whether it’s a plumber, accountant, digital marketing agency, or a real estate agent, even, it’s typically after a significant amount of independent research on their industry and past experience. The phone call and the ensuing meeting, by this point, are really just formalities to see how well client and customer will get along — or in the case of an agent and vendor, to see whether the agent’s plan matches the owner’s.

But to get the call in the first place, you need to establish a point of difference between yourself and every other agent in your area, hankering after a new listing. To do that, you need to first accept that your next listing is coming from the internet — not a newspaper ad or DL card. The internet. This means you need to find ways to establish your online presence, through digital and content marketing.

The most important thing to remember as you begin to build your online profile, is that most people use the internet to find information, communicate with others, make a purchase and, increasingly, for entertainment purposes. If you can create content that will cater to one or a few of these reason people use the internet, the more successful it would be.

Honesty and transparency delivers listings

Personalised agent website

When Derek Farmer, a real estate agent with McGrath Neutral Bay on Sydney’s lower north shore, created his personal agent website, its main purpose was educate buyers and sellers about the property market in Sydney, but especially around the lower north shore. Derek created a series of professional shot and edited videos, in which he shared his tips and advice for buying and selling property, and uploaded them to his website, where anyone could access them for free by subscribing to his mailing list.

Content marketing via a blog

Derek also started a blog, where he published blogs that covered all sorts of property market, from the common sales methods used to sell property to the current lower north shore property market trends. He also used his website to showcase his current listings and recent sales successes. Underpinning Derek’s entire content strategy was a desire to provide honest and transparent information about the property market, so that buyers and sellers would come to see him as the trustworthy agent he is.

After observing the success of Derek’s website, fellow McGrath agent, Bill Tsounias, who works at the Brighton Le Sands office also decided to create his own personal agent website. The strategy underpinning Bill’s website is to also create honest and transparent content as a way to stand out from his competition.

While both Bill Tsounias and Derek Farmer offer their vendors a free property appraisal, they both recognise that homeowners who are thinking of selling their homes and are actively researching the market are not going to appoint an agent based on that alone: They’re looking for agents who are honest, transparent about the process and, above all, humble.

Success online requires successful content

If you’re looking for build a successful online presence that will position you as an authority on the property market in your local area, and will also help you to gain new listings, get in touch with our team to discuss the ways you can begin building your online brand. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
Content Marketing Search Engine Optimisation Course Social Media Marketing Wordpress Website Training Courses

How to Build Your Online Real Estate Agent Profile

Be selective when choosing your ‘brand building’ social media

In a recent blog post, I talked about how the erosion of newspaper advertising is also eroding an agent’s ability to leverage current listings to get new ones, due to the way property portals like realestate.com.au and Domain serve listings to buyers algorithmically, and the way people, generally, use the internet to find a professional service. If I haven’t already made it abundantly clear, your next listing is coming from the internet, but only so long as the vendor has determined that you’re a major player in your local area. This means, you need to start building your online real estate agent profile.

Currently, most agents rely on their shopfronts, signboards, DL cards, and the word-of-mouth referrals from previous listings, but what would happen if none of those options were viable anymore? This isn’t that much of a stretch. Shopfronts and all forms of traditional marketing are on their way out, while word-of-mouth referrals are increasingly being replaced with likes on a Facebook post, a retweet on Twitter, or a blog post shared on LinkedIn.

Facebook isn’t the be all and end all in digital marketing

Most of the time, when I speak with agents about how they can build their presence online, they fixate on social media — Facebook, in particular. And I can understand why. Facebook has amassed a tonne of data about its users, basically because people are willing to share every last detail of their lives on it. This makes it especially efficient at targeting particular kinds of people in particular places. But Facebook is just one cog in the digital marketing machine. Here’s what else you should be doing

Personal agent website:

Most agents have a profile on their agency’s website, just as Marshall Rushford did on the hockingstuart website, but an agency website only serves to promote the entire agency, not any one agent. Like many of our clients, Marshall wanted to create his own personal agent website, so that he could showcase his current and previous listings, in addition to his recent successes. A personal agent website can also be used to capture prospect data, while regularly maintaining a blog will help to establish yourself as a credible source of market information.

Create your own content:

Nearly every agent I speak to makes one huge mistake online: they don’t create their own content. Instead, they link out to content created by other people — REA Group, Domain, RP Data, etc. Instead of sending a prospect to their website by linking to some original content they published on their blog, the agent sends them all to REA Group, Domain or RP Data, and down the rabbit hole of Domain or REA Group’s endless supply of content they go. Only link to your own, original content published on your website, and send prospects down the rabbit hole of your endlessly informative content instead.

Be selective with social media advertising:

I’m yet to be convinced on the benefits of advertising on Twitter. To be honest, I’m not even entirely convinced on the benefits of using Twitter in a professional capacity, unless you create an separate strategy for it, in addition to your digital marketing strategy. Twitter still hasn’t found a way to transition from a place of anonymity, parody accounts and internet trolls (see: Tay Tweets), which makes it an inefficient way to spend your marketing budget. FaceBook, on the other hand, is highly efficient, due to the sheer volume of data it’s amassed about its users, which makes it easy to target specific demographics and to measure your results after the fact. Instagram and Pinterest are also great ways to interact with people online, from a purely community-building perspective.

Success online begins with a successful strategy

You can certainly begin building your online presence by kicking a few ideas around online, but if you’re really looking to have success online, then you need to have a strategy backing it up. We’re a digital marketing agency that specialises in developing online brands, through a combination of online advertising, social media marketing and content marketing.

To begin building your online brand, contact our team to discuss which digital marketing options will suit you and your digital marketing goals. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
Social Media Wordpress Website Training Courses

Real Estate Agent Marketing in the Digital Age

How’s an agent to build a brand online these days?

Before the rise of online property portals, detractors of newspaper display advertising long echoed the same refrain: It’s expensive! It’s hard to measure! It’s expensive again! But in its heyday, a newspaper’s real estate section served two very important functions: It guaranteed properties advertised within its pages maximum exposure to active buyers, and it also helped establish the brand of leading real estate groups. But as online property advertising continues to erode the need for newspaper ads, it’s also taking with it the capacity to which an agent can leverage his current listings to win more business.

Property portals may be relatively inexpensive and they may also make it easy to measure how many people have viewed a property, but property portals still can’t replicate the impact of opening the real estate section of your local paper, and thumbing through page after page after page of an agent’s listings. And they’re unlikely to ever offer something even remotely close to the print experience — or at least, the Big Two portals aren’t anyway, given they’re owned by newspaper companies, which have a vested interest in keeping their print assets alive for as long as they can.

The internet has disrupted the entire real estate model

redundant salespersonBut even if newspapers were to close up their print real estate products tomorrow and turn their portals into a quasi digital magazine, replete with beautiful layouts of property advertisements interspersed with real estate editorial, as opposed to serving listings algorithmically, as they do now, it’ll do little to help agents build their brand online.

The internet has fundamentally changed the way people make any kind of decision. In the days of old, if you were buying a TV, you’d go down to your local electronics retailer and have a chat with the sales person; maybe you’d even go to a couple of retailers and get as much information as you could, before making a purchasing decision. Today, that’s no longer the case. The minute a buyer walks in the door of a retailer, they’ve made up their mind. There’s little the salesperson can tell them about that TV that the buyer doesn’t already know.

The same can be said for most homeowners. If they’re really motivated to sell, they’ve been researching the market for a while. By the time they contact an agent (or a couple of agents), they already have a fairly good idea of how much their home is worth, when they want to sell it, and how they want to sell it. They just want to know if you’re the right fit for their already predetermined plan. But we should back up a bit.

Where’s your next listing coming from?

Imagine a world without newspapers, without real estate shopfronts, without signboards and DL cards, because this is increasingly the world we are soon to be living in. As more industries move away from traditional marketing channels, more pressure will be put on the real estate industry to follow suit. A real estate agent sitting in front of a vendor, who also happens to be the CEO of a top blue chip company, is going to have a mighty hard time selling them on the merits of newspaper ads, signboards, and DL cards.

Not that such a scenario is ever likely to happen. A vendor like that would never call the old school agent stuck in 1995. He won’t even know that the agent exists, because without a robust online presence, the agent might as well pack up shop and call it a day. Just think for a moment about that way you look for any professional service, whether it’s a plumber, an accountant, a digital marketing agency.

I’m not even going to bother explaining the process to you, because the mere fact you’re reading this blog post is proof positive enough. We’re a digital marketing agency that specialises in developing online brands, through a combination of online advertising and content marketing. If you’re looking to take your agent marketing into the digital age, then look no further. To kick start your online presence contact our team. Alternatively, to learn more about digital technologies that help real estate agents build an online presence, subscribe to our blog.

Categories
Wordpress Website Training Courses

Our Pick of the Best Real Estate Agent CRMs

Specialist CRMs exist for real estate agents

A real estate agent’s most valuable sales tool is their database, and selecting the right customer relationship management (CRM) system to manage and develop their database is critical. But until recently, when cloud technology revolutionised the software industry, a lot of agents were reluctant to spend the time and effort on a CRM that didn’t work the way they worked: mostly out of the office, during which time they could be in contact with a hundred or more buyers, and more than a couple potential new vendors.

Writing down names and contact details for buyers and vendors, and then entering them into your CRM later that day (or week), just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore. Fortunately, in the last few years, a number of CRMs have been introduced to the market that have been developed specifically for the real estate industry. So here’s our roundup of the best real estate CRMs, regardless of the agent.

Complete turnkey solutions for agents and agencies

LockedOn

Used by some of Australia and New Zealand’s leading real estate franchises, including McGrath, Ray White, LJ Hooker, First National, and so on, LockedOn is a complete turnkey solution to an agent’s entire sales and marketing needs, and includes features like:

  • iPad app
  • one-click portal exporting to Australia’s leading real estate portals
  • transaction management
  • vendor reporting
  • SMS and email marketing
  • sales and marketing presentation templates.
Agentbox

Agentbox is another turnkey solution, used by a number larger independents across Australia, including REIA Chairman, John Cunningham’s agency, Cunninghams Property, and large franchises, like Belle Property. Agentbox also offers website design to ensure seamless integration between website and CRM. Agenbox’s features include:

  • portal exporting
  • mobile apps
  • transaction management
  • prospecting tools
  • property alerts for buyers
  • SMS and email marketing
  • vendor reporting
  • property stocklists
  • brochures and window card design.
Rex

Rex is yet another turnkey solution, built for the Australian real estate marketplace, and with features that can be turned on and off as they’re needed. Rex also offers web design services, as their software works best with a Rex website. Rex’s features include:

  • prospecting tools
  • listing management’
  • financial and transaction management
  • contact management
  • sales management
  • email marketing
  • reporting and analytics
  • newsletter design.

Simple, no fuss CRM for agents

Fortuna

Fortuna’s basic CRM starts as a free software download, suitable for both Windows and Mac, which integrates with Dropbox for cloud access to your data when you’re on the go. Once you exceed your 50 record limit, you can then upgrade to a paid version. Fortuna was developed in the US and has been modified for the Australian marketplace, so there are elements of Fortuna that may not suit Australian agents. Fortuna’s features include:

  • contact management
  • email and SMS marketing
  • reporting
  • correspondence logging
  • open home alerts – paid
  • PDF brochure design – paid
CreataCRM

CreataCRM is an Australian, cloud-based CRM company that’s free if you choose to host the software yourself (in the cloud), otherwise, for a competitively-priced monthly fee, CreataCRM will host the software for you in the cloud. Although not specifically developed for the real estate industry, CreataCRM is developed for the Australian marketplace. CreateCRM’s features include:

  • email marketing design and automation
  • tablet and mobile view
  • workflow development
  • sales activity and reporting
  • MS Office, MYOB, Xero, Quickbooks integration
  • quote and invoice generation
  • lead tracking
  • project and task management
  • SMS marketing
  • contact management
  • VOIP CloudPBX integration

Virion’s top CRM tip

Ever since CRM systems moved into the cloud, and particularly now that most of them can be accessed through a smartphone or tablet app, the marketplace has been flooded with CRMs specifically targeting the real estate industry. So, while we’ve rounded up some of the best and most-functional CRMs that suit the Australian real estate industry, it’s by no means a complete list. There are plenty more out there.

If you’re searching for a CRM to suit your needs, as an agent or for your whole agency, it’s best to look at the features you value most and find a CRM that integrates with your existing infrastructure (like your website) as well as your existing internal processes and systems, your marketing agency, and so forth. Some agents may not need portal exporting or email marketing and brochure design, because they already use the Campaign Track software, for example, while others will.

We think most agents would agree that, while managing your database is important, it’s of far greater importance to get the listings first, which is something Virion excels at. If you’d like help building your online brand, by establishing yourself an authority in your local area, contact our team today. Alternatively, for the latest news, analysis and insights that’s shaping the real estate industry, continue reading our blog.

Categories
Wordpress Website Training Courses

Property Market Analysis: Is “Gentrification” a Major Cause of Sydney’s Rising House Prices?

Zoning issues and gentrification have much to answer for

Australian media has long been focussing its commentary on the property market. In fact, most of the time, when our major metropolitan dailies aren’t serving up clickbait on their online mastheads, they’re writing about the real estate market in our major cities that usually consists of a mix of generally favourable pieces (“clearance rates hit record highs!”) and doom and gloom prophecies (“Aussie property bubble about to burst!”). This is even more so now with all the election-based talk about negative gearing.

But for all the talk, the way the media covers Australia’s rising housing prices is most typically only ever a thinly veiled attempt to either balance out the more favourable stories or lend weight to the doom and gloom ones, like the 60 Minutes segment that alleged the Australian housing bubble was going to burst like it did in the US in 2007 and throw Australia into a recession.

Why the property market crash just isn’t likely happen

However, let’s be straight — the Australian property market is nothing like America’s. We don’t have subprime mortgages, we don’t have an oversupply of housing (indeed quite to the contrary, as you will soon see), and there are fairly tough restrictions around the kind of predatory lending that goes on in America, which occurred thanks to two successive decades of extreme banking deregulation. (Not that Australia’s banking industry hasn’t been substantially deregulated in recent years, but at nowhere near the rate that it has been in the US.)

In fact, if you’re interested, there’s a fine analysis of the Australian property market, and what makes a market crash exceedingly unlikely over at Selling Your Property. That’s not to say Australia’s property prices haven’t raged out of control for a number of years, most especially in the last decade-to-fifteen years after the Howard Government introduced the CGT-discount for in 1999 that made loss-making investment properties particularly lucrative to a lot of people.

But it isn’t negative gearing alone that’s caused Australia’s property prices to reach the levels they have, especially in areas of Sydney, like the Northern Beaches, where the median house price is now $1.29 million, a figure well above the city average of a little under a million. No, the greatest contributing factor in Sydney’s rising house prices, especially on the northern beaches, is a combination of gentrification, population growth and government levies and taxes.

The factors affecting housing affordability are not unique to the northern beaches — they either have occurred or are currently occurring in other parts of Sydney too, namely the inner city, inner west and north west — but the northern beaches is representative of an overall gentrification of Sydney suburbs that’s putting pressure on housing affordability. And for the sake of this blog post, we decided to highlight this region of Sydney that’s gone from insular peninsular to millionaire’s row in less than a decade.

From insular peninsular to millionaire’s row

Take Balgowlah, for example. It used to be a sleeper suburb located within the Manly LGA. Between 2006 and 2011, house prices grew a modest 6.6 percent, which is impressive considering that period also coincided with the GFC that saw prices in other regions either decline or remain the same. Then, in the five years that followed 2011, house prices in Balgowlah grew a whopping 49 percent — seven times the rate of the previous five years.

By April 2016, the median house price had reached $1.89 million, an increase of 19 percent in just twelve months. Local real estate agents were keen to chalk this up to renewed confidence in the northern beaches property market, following 12 months of fairly unimpressive growth between 2011 and 2012, but that isn’t the real cause of the northern beaches’ escalating house prices.

A major driving force behind house prices on the northern beaches is population growth. Between 2006 and 2011 (the period covered by the most recent census), the Manly LGA population grew 14 percent, yet the total number of dwellings in the Manly LGA remain unchanged since 1991.

The houses are bigger, but that’s not necessarily better

The Manly LGA now has a high proportion of 4 and 5 bedroom homes, but little else.
The Manly LGA now has a high proportion of 4 and 5 bedroom homes, but little else.

In theory, then, walking the streets of Balgowlah in 2016 shouldn’t look any different to what it did in 1991. Only, that’s not the case. Building approvals in the Manly LGA have seen fairly steady growth since 2001. And aside from a spike in low density building approvals in 2007, which coincided with the area’s largest development of apartments in nearly two decades (the redevelopment of the Totem Shopping Centre by Stockland and the construction of a few hundred apartments above it) the majority of building work that has been carried out was to existing dwellings. 

In the decade to 2011, as the number of two bedroom dwellings in the Manly LGA declined by 10 percent, the number of four bedroom dwellings increased by 38.5 percent, while the number of dwellings with five or more bedrooms nearly doubled. In Balgowlah, especially, there are fewer ‘average sized’ two-and-three bedroom houses, and far more four and five bedroom ones. This data confirms what’s been known anecdotally for a while: Balgowlah and the northern beaches has undergone the same gentrification that’s been seen in the inner city, inner west, and elsewhere in Sydney over the last two decades.

The Northern Beaches attracts cashed-up North Shore buyers

This brings us back to that ‘sleeper suburb’ reference we made earlier in this blog post. For years, residents of the Northern Beaches were always considered down at heel. It was where people lived when they couldn’t afford to live on Sydney’s more affluent North Shore. The Manly LGA region, in particular, was characterised by a lot of older-style two-and-three bedroom homes, built during the interwar years and not dissimilar to the homes you still find in San Francisco and parts of Southern California. 

The vast majority of people who move to the Manly LGA are from the lower and upper north shore.
The vast majority of people migrating to the Manly LGA are from the lower and upper north shore of Sydney.

But all that started to change about a decade ago. Priced out of the Mosman property market, and in search of a better lifestyle, Balgowlah and the immediate localities of Seaforth and Clontarf – the ‘gateways to the north shore’, as they were, tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek, sometimes referred – started to look mighty attractive.

In 2006, the median house price in Mosman was $2.23 million; in Balgowlah, it was $1.19 million. A Mosman homeowner could trade in their average Mosman home and pick up a decent one in Balgowlah, with money still left over for a substantial renovation. And that’s exactly what they did. During the last decade, the two most common LGAs from which people migrated to the Manly LGA were Mosman and Ku-ring-gai – Sydney’s lower and upper north shore.  

And as property prices continued to soar, the prohibitive cost of stamp duty has made it more appealing for homeowners to renovate an existing two or three bedroom home, rather than to trade up. In doing so, the variety of housing types have declined significantly. Your choice, if you can’t afford a $1.89 million house in Balgowlah, is to live in an apartment, of which the median price is now $942,000.

Councils need to look at rezoning, rather than new building

These trends have also been observed in other parts of Sydney that, due to their close proximity to the CBD, have become highly sought after. The concern, of course, is that as these areas become more and more gentrified, it will force other, lower-income households further afield, or possibly out of Sydney altogether. If that occurs, it poses a serious question as to the future survival of key services in these areas, especially in the retail, hospitality and healthcare industries, which are vital to the community.

Sydney is one the most sparsely developed cities in the world, due to its preoccupation with the Great Australian Dream. It’s an unfortunate reality, but Sydney is never going to become the next New York, where families raise children in gardenless apartments, and travel most places on foot, rather than by car. That much is clear when you look at ABS data of the number of dwellings approved in New South Wales, which shows construction of freestanding houses consistently outpaces the construction of any other dwelling type ever since 1985 (when data was first collected).

But a lot of this is to do with council zoning. Most suburbs around Sydney are zoned for low-density housing. That’s your freestanding house on your quarter acre block of land, just like the below house in Balgowlah, which recently sold for $4.3 million, and occupies almost 1,400sqm of land — nearly three times the land size of most new-home development packages (it’s even numbered 43-47). Homes like these are common. But if even just a small proportion of them had been rezoned for medium density housing in suburbs all over Sydney, it could have gone a long way to ease housing stress and, importantly, make housing more affordable.

This Balgowlah mansion occupies three lots of land.
This Balgowlah mansion occupies three lots of land.

At the moment, as Australia’s population grows — which really just means our two largest capital cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are growing, since that’s where the jobs and major services are — property prices will continue to rise unabated until, unable to spend money on much else besides their mortgage repayments, people will stop spending on other areas of the economy. But that won’t occur until long after Australia’s middle class disappears — unless state, local and federal governments do a lot more to address our housing problems. A good place to start is with medium density housing.

Virion specialises in producing well-researched, informative articles that cover every aspect of the real estate industry — from in-depth market analysis, the latest property news, tips, insights, and educational how-tos — as part of our content marketing services. We tailor our content specifically to our agents to establish them as an online authority in their area. Contact our team to find out how we can create content to establish your brand online.

Categories
Content Marketing Facebook Advertising real estate agents Social Media

Real estate agent’s frenzied hunt for locals via Facebook advertising

Could Facebook topple realestate.com.au?

Facebook-as a marketing tool for real estate agentsI was recently speaking with a real estate agent about the different ways of advertising both their properties for sale AND their own services as a real estate agent and they couldn’t stop talking about Facebook!

The agent mentioned Facebook over a dozen times and talked about getting a Facebook page to promote themselves locally. In all of this, what stood out the most about this conversation was that we were talking about the future of online property marketing – and this person didn’t mention the major property portals once!

What’s so special about Facebook for real estate?

This individual had just attended a marketing conference and spoken with others about the demographic and geo-targeting capabilities of the social media giant – about how by using Facebook, the agent could target ONLY people living in the suburb. To top it off they thought that if they jumped in now they could own the suburb, so to speak!

Facebook advertising is the service that we ended up talking about and we went on to reflect on what we’d do after we attracted all of those locals to our website or Facebook page. Was it Likes we were after? Shares? Were we getting people to do anything in particular once they got to our Facebook page? When you drill down even further you have to understand the value of one of these actions and match it to your own goals.

Without focus, Facebook advertising could flop

We decided that the focus for the real estate agent’s Facebook advertising campaign would be to reach existing clients, people who the agent had done business with, or at least met, at an open home sometime in the past, and share with them some information and selling tips.

There are several types of Facebook advertising campaigns you can run and the analytics information you get from each will be different. Therefore our campaign was focussed on not only reaching existing contacts, but sharing information about how the local property market is performing (by providing a market report), as well as some solid tips and advice for selling property. The reason we created blogs, featuring genuinely helpful, relevant advice, is because we didn’t want to turn our Facebook audience away from our own website. Furthermore, the information is useful and reveals more about who we are and our helpful selling style.

Facebook ads keep you front of mind

In the end, our real estate agent’s Facebook ads campaign was aimed at getting his image in front of existing clients using a custom audience and sharing useful information that they could share with their friends and colleagues looking to sell their homes. It was partly to offset, as well as test and measure, the performance of their DL mailing card campaign that they sent regularly in the past.

We view Facebook and social media advertising as part of a bigger picture in your digital strategy to build brand awareness. Most importantly, however, it should bring potential customers into your sphere of influence and encourage them to recommend you based on the quality content that you create.

Read more about how we manage the Facebook advertising campaigns for real estate agents for no extra charge as part of our digital strategy.

Categories
Real estate agent software Responsive Mobile Website

Mobile apps for open homes and real estate agents

Real estate agents are embracing digital services

Real estate agents in Australia are going through a rapidly changing environment for Internet and mobile technology that we have experienced first hand with our websites for real estate agents service and I recently spoke with some successful real estate agents in Sydney Lower North Shore about other areas where they use technology, the agent mentioned Open Homes. The technology I’m talking about is smart phone apps that enable agents to quickly and easily capture potential buyers details who arrive at open homes.

Open home mobile apps are important for agents and vendors

Smart phone mobile apps to help real estate agents track buyers to open homes for property for sale - screen shot of casmyllc
Open Home visitor reports can help real estate agents demonstrate marketing results to vendors

Open homes are the critical time where real estate agents are visibly doing work for vendors and it’s an important task that busy real estate agents need to manage very well if they have many home available for sale at any given time. With mobile phone usage exploding it’s little wonder we are using them to do everything these days – and spending less time sleeping!

From the conversations I had with Sydney based real estate agents the busy days are Wednesday and Saturday and the open home is usually the easy part. The hard work happens afterwards when all the follow-up calls are made and the agent filters the prospect list to those potential buyers who are serious about that property and that is when an open home app comes in. A great open home app should help agents in the following ways:

  • Collect potential buyers contact details (electronically)
  • Enables the agent to text property information
  • Enables a quick call back and logging process
  • Shows the agent how many buyers have been to several of their open homes
  • Integrates with the agents CRM for contact management
  • Enables the agent to send automated marketing campaigns to buyers

An open home app is also invaluable to collect information that can later be presented to vendors to measure the results of the real estate agents marketing strategy and demonstrate the ROI of any money spent (including agents fees).

Our team explored some of the mobile apps and cloud-based services that are available, including US companies and below is a list of what appears popular:

  1. Open Home Pro – seems to be the most talked about and used
  2. AM Open House – part of a larger suite of apps for real estate
  3. Open House Toolkit – Keeps track of questions and answers at sign in
  4. Canvas – has a PDF designer

Why should Open House apps be cloud-based?

A good digital solution should have the capability of interacting with your current systems and when managing the visitors and follow-up to open homes the most important app is your CRM database because that is where most of your information is stored. The technically correct term for interact is “Integrate” and if you have a capable CRM you’ll be able to use the collected data (email addresses and mobile phone numbers) to keep in touch with all of the people who came to visit so that you remain front of mind.

Integrations are the most important aspect to explore when you’re looking into a cloud-based or smart phone app because it enables you to use multiple tools that are all connected together to share information without you having to retype it and retype. They also of course help you completely eliminate the need for printed forms and illegible writing!

cloud based integrations between open home software and CRMs is important for real estate agents becoming more digital

Cloud Integrations

The best example of integrations we came across was for AM Open Home. This organisation listed almost 2 dozen popular cloud based CRM’s that they integrate with. To give you another example, our sister company EzyLearn offers training for Xero, MYOB and soon Intuit Quickbooks and these popular accounting programs use to compete on features – they now compete on the number of integrations that work with their software in their app market place. Pure Internet based applications like Xero are able to focus on this aspect of their solution and they find that the companies that integrate with are actually passively promoting their software too.

Digital Agency for Real Estate Agents

virion is a digital agency that aims to help great real estate agents build a great digital profile (see 123ezy.com) and reputation and we advise our clients about the best tools, technology and approaches to use, regardless of platforms.

 

Categories
Content Marketing Social Media Wordpress Website Training Courses

Real estate agents turn vendors away with anti social Facebook behaviour

Social Media builds communities, but that can be hard

Everybody wants to be on social media because there is a fear of missing out, just like in many alleged stock market and property market bubbles that are going on in Australia (and China).

Every coach, adviser, website designer and online marketing expert is spruiking the benefits of getting onto social media to be discovered, but like most things you can’t just be there, you have to participate, otherwise you’re not really being social. In fact if you’re not putting in the right amount of effort, you might be seen as anti-social by sending people away from your Facebook page.

Do you want to be social or do you just want to shout?

If you’re the owner of a Facebook business page and want your page to be successful, actually add value and help build a community, then you’ll need a community manager and that can be a big expense and not practical for small businesses. Larger social media sites who have taken the time to hire a good community manager have mastered the purpose of social sites – they encourage members (call them likers, friends etc) to make comments as part of a group that adds value to the topics you’ve discussed. The best example I can think of is social groups for Mums and social groups for IT nerds (which is becoming most of us these days). When you go to one of these sites you learn some fantastic things you didn’t know and if they are really good (and genuine) you’ll feel like sharing your stories.

So if you still want to get onto social media with a Facebook page you can do things that people like and not have to spend too much time, effort and money, growing a community. You can share useful information and tell people about what YOU are doing that might interest them. Australians are VERY interested in real estate and they want to know what is going on in the market, what their own property is worth etc so you can add value and contribute using social media.

What to shout about!

There’s plenty to shout about if you want to share and be helpful, including:

  • Images of houses that are prepared beautifully for sale
  • Information about how many people are showing interest in open homes
  • Developments in the local area that affect house prices
  • Place to visit and have a great coffee, parks that cater well to those with kids

Social media sites like Instagram, Foursquare and Yelp all enable people to share images, videos, information and recommendations that other people are interested in and if you really want to participate in social media you’ll need to get on and connect with businesses you like and recommend and make comments about them.

The saddest thing to happen to social media

The saddest thing that I have seen at some Facebook pages is reposting, particularly if that’s all that happens. If you are a victim of reposting and don’t know it, you’ll notice it when everything you post (or repost) on your timeline just sends your visitors away to other sites. It’s OK to repost from time to time and particularly if you’ve just read something useful, but if someone is managing your Facebook page and they are just sending visitors away they are reducing the value of any other digital marketing you are doing.

There is another way – and it’s to create your own content (or have someone create it for you) and that’s what we do.

Content marketing can bring happiness and success to your social strategy

Content marketing is all the rage these days, but it’s actually been happening for many years under boring names like ‘business blogging’ and the humble ‘news’ section of websites. The great thing about content marketing is that if you do it right, you can link back to other great content you’ve created. Content marketing should be designed to provide useful information that your potential vendors are looking for; that they are searching for, and that they are interested in. If you do a great job then your readers will follow you and possibly even subscribe to your blog, newsletter, education series or whatever it happens to be.

Remember that not all of the people who read your website, blog or social media pages need you right now, but if they like what you write, they’ll want a way of being reminded of you for when they are ready to buy. That’s when they join your list or like your page.

If you just want to shout out on social media then do it using your own great content. That way you’ll be sending readers back to your own website – and not to someone else’s. You’ll then have more analytics to look at.

 

Categories
Content Marketing Google Analytics real estate agents Search Engine Optimisation Course Social Media Wordpress Website Training Courses

Why Facebook is #2 and sticky – what real estate agents can do about it

Facebook is sticky because users stay there

Website visitor information for facebook and why it is so sticky and good social media for real estate agents
Social media giant Facebook’s visitor stats what are your real estate agent website analytics like?

When a website is described as sticky it just means that visitors to the site stay their longer and click on more things. You probably do it because you find your friends, the things they do and the placed they go to interesting. Google and other systems that measure engagement of websites measure this using bounce rate, page views per visit and the time spent on the site each visit and that is something that we make our clients aware of in our quarterly digital strategy progress report for their website.

When you think about your own site, are their interesting places to visit? Are their stories about the people you work with, about your vendors or even about the buyers that others might find interesting? Some people have said to me that writing about real estate is boring but if you look at how popular ANY article that relates to real estate is in the press you’d soon find lots of things to write about and that is exactly what we do.

Content Marketing includes Words, Pictures and Videos

mobile friendly real estate agent websitesContent marketing is the buzz word in digital marketing these days but it has been popular for a long time. It’s commonly also referred to as blogging, business blogging or even newsletters (if you want to go back to more traditional terms). Content marketing refers to the writing on your wesbite but also to the images that you use (and how they are optimised for search engines) and the videos you create. The ultimate goal of all this content creation is to produce something that visitors to your real estate agent website want to see. If you tell a compelling story your visitors will come along on your journey.

Instagram is not as popular as Facebook

Website visitor information for instagram not as popular as Facebook but good social media for real estate agents
Instagram website visitor statistics and anlytics

Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012 but it’s statistics don’t come close to those of it’s parent. Despite this Instagram is a good social media tool for real estate agents who want to appear as tech savvy and increase their content by taking photos and uploading them. Instagram is a tool that enables people to view great images and videos, like and share them and remain connected to people who they like so if you sell some great houses that you think people would like to know about its a good idea to give Instagram a go.

As a digital agency we can advise on all aspects of digital marketing and provide our clients with regular reports that demonstrate the statistics and analytics but focus on the goals and action points. If you’re a real estate agent and interested in 123ezy website for yourself take a look at our pricing but more importantly give us a call and ask us some questions, we’d love to help.