Posts by Jess Maria

Jessica Maria is an avid business and lifestyle writer on subjects ranging from technology to real estate to immigration. Her work has appeared in magazines in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, the UK and the UAE. She lives in California’s wine country, with her husband and two young sons.

Single Property Websites Generate Leads

Leads are the lifeblood of any real estate business. Success comes from selling a listing. Listings come from finding a home seller who wants you as their real estate professional representative. You need leads to find and attract the right sellers, and later you need leads to find and attract the right buyers. Single property websites generate leads that cover both needs, in myriad ways.

Leads are the lifeblood of any real estate business. Success comes from selling a listing. Listings come from finding a home seller who wants you as their real estate professional representative. You need leads to find and attract the right sellers, and later you need leads to find and attract the right buyers. Single property websites generate leads that cover both needs, in myriad ways.

It will come as no surprise that Listings Unlimited is my favorite single property website engine. It is packed with lead generation tools that are designed to attract home sellers and home buyers, every step of the way. And, as one of our users recently told me in an email, “The major KEY is the sellers LIKE them … Thus more listings.” It all starts with the seller, does it not?

One of the newest lead generation tools is part of an exciting new partnership with Porch.com. Porch.com is dedicated to connecting home improvement professionals with home owners, buyer and sellers. This works well for us, because we are dedicated to connecting those home buyers and sellers with you, the real estate agent.

So, how does this partnership generate leads? It’s simple. Under the listing price on your Listings Unlimited single property websites, we now give visitors the option of clicking a link to be taken to Porch.com to view what is called a Home Report. In order to access the home report, they’ll need to enter a valid name and email address. Those contact details are passed on to the listing agent, meaning you gain access to every single potential buyer who shows enough interest in the home to request the Home Report.

What is a Home Report? It’s a comprehensive timeline history of a home and its repairs, created through tax and permit records. Porch’s research in this area is so extensive, that they have $2.5 trillion worth of tracked home improvement projects already in their system. Homeowners in 62% of U.S. cities and towns are using Porch. There are over 130 million projects and insights on Porch—including cost, history and more—making Porch’s Home Reports increasingly accurate and relevant. Now visitors to your single property websites can access them quickly and easily, and we’ve given you one more lead generation tool for your arsenal.

And don’t forget all the other lead generation possibilities with Listings Unlimited’s single property websites:

Free listing updates, which allows visitors to fill out a form to request email updates of new listings that match their specific criteria.

Viewing scheduling, which allows prospects to request a viewing of the property at a specific time and date, and the ability for website visitors to easily request additional information about your listing.

CRM, which allows you to view all your website leads, convert them to contacts, and export them to 3rd party software platforms like Outlook, Constant Contact and more.

Mobile Guestbook, including with every single property website as a lead capture form. This encourages the mobile visitor to leave their contact information so you can follow up with them directly.

Smart Lead Capture, which allows you to capture leads by offering your clients the ability to text for more information about a home listed for sale. Prospects get instant property details via text, and you get an instant lead.

Instant SMS Leads, which ensure all leads are sent instantly to a text enabled cell phone. This program, called Lead Alert, automatically converts any lead to SMS and transmits it to your cell phone so you can follow up immediately.

The Dos and Don’ts of Sharing Your Listings on Facebook

You know the saying, “change is the only constant in life?” Greek philosopher Heraclitus was not talking about social media when he wrote it, but it definitely applies. Facebook, in particular, has released multiple updates that ultimately change our user experience and how we market listings and our real estate business. Essentially, Facebook is currently implementing plans to improve users’ News Feeds by reducing the organic reach of posts that are too promotional, or seemingly irrelevant to the user. Before you throw your hands up and say you don’t want to play anymore, take note: Facebook drives HALF of all referral traffic to property websites. Don’t panic; just follow our Dos and Don’ts for sharing your listings on Facebook. Your goal should be developing personal relevance for your Facebook audience.

You know the saying, “change is the only constant in life?” Greek philosopher Heraclitus was not talking about social media when he wrote it, but it definitely applies. Facebook, in particular, has released multiple updates that ultimately change our user experience and how we market listings and our real estate business. Essentially, Facebook is currently implementing plans to improve users’ News Feeds by reducing the organic reach of posts that are too promotional, or seemingly irrelevant to the user. Before you throw your hands up and say you don’t want to play anymore, take note: Facebook drives HALF of all referral traffic to property websites. Don’t panic; just follow our Dos and Don’ts for sharing your listings on Facebook. Your goal should be developing personal relevance for your Facebook audience.

When best practices are followed, Facebook can be a valuable real estate tool, producing a substantial return on your investment in the form of likes, shares and comments—the currency of influence on Facebook. After all, 82% of people think Facebook is a good place to interact with brands according to research by Lab42. Each like, share or comment your Facebook business page elicits increases your circle of influence, spreading your marketing reach and generating more leads. Facebook provides daily opportunities to keep your name in front of former and potential clients, and cement your reputation as the go-to real estate expert in your community.

If poorly used, Facebook can also be a huge time drain providing little return on investment. As a real estate professional, your Facebook interactions should be more personal than transactional. Understanding how people use Facebook and what makes them take a moment to like, share or comment on a post is the trick to using this social media tool to build your real estate business.

In analyzing more than a million posts to the top 10,000 Facebook pages, social media guru Dan Zarella has collated hard data that provides a foundation for our new set of …

Posting your Listings on Facebook – Best Practices for Real Estate

The DOs:

  • Share your listings in an engaging way, such as: “Mr. and Mrs. Kline have just listed their beautiful 3-bedroom in Bennett Valley. Please stop by our Open House this Sunday!” Include a link to the property website.
  • Tag the home seller or buyer – so they will see, like and share your post.
  • Reveal some of your thoughts or what you like best about the listing. Share a unique feature or tell what the sellers fell in love with when they originally purchased the home.
  • Engage your Facebook community with questions and ask for feedback. Question posts have 92% higher comment rates than non-question posts. Posts that have a question located at the end have a 15% higher overall interaction rate and a 2x higher comment rate than those with a question asked in the middle of a post.
  • Short, pithy statements of about 25 characters (half a tweet) receive the most likes. Posts with fewer than 80 characters received 66% more engagement than lengthier counterparts. But posts around 450 characters get the most shares.
  • Ask yourself if your post is relevant, helpful, or entertaining. If the answer is yes, post it!
  • Use photos and videos to increase interaction on your page.
  • Let your personality shine through.
  • Consider paying to promote your most important posts. Sometimes this can provide a big win and it is worth testing in your real estate business.

The DON’Ts:

  • Avoid “sales-y” words. Stay away from other promotional buzzwords, too (such as: like, buy, for sale or act now).
  • Be careful not to over post your listings. This is a sure fire way to lose engagement and have your “friends” hide your posts from their timeline. The number one reason 73% of social media users “unliked” a brand on Facebook was because the brand posted too frequently.
  • Don’t forget to include a comment. Posting your listing without including your opinion can be interpreted as spam.
  • Don’t ignore your audience. Anyone on your page is a potential client. Respond to comments promptly – it shows how you’re likely to handle things as their real estate agent.

Don’t forget that Facebook for Business offers a great Page posting tips and best practices page of their own, with great videos, tips, tricks and stats.

What’s new for you in 2015?

January has always been known as the month for resolutions. It is also a great month for predictions. I love seeing what experts anticipate for the coming year in areas like technology, marketing and real estate. Each new year is full of possible, and things unknown yet to come. So, what’s new for you in 2015? Where will your real estate business take you? Will you (continue to) embrace digital technology and social media marketing to better market and sell your listings? Will each of your listings have its own single property website? We’d love to be part of your resolutions.

January has always been known as the month for resolutions. It is also a great month for predictions. I love seeing what experts anticipate for the coming year in areas like technology, marketing and real estate. Each new year is full of possible, and things unknown yet to come. So, what’s new for you in 2015? Where will your real estate business take you? Will you (continue to) embrace digital technology and social media marketing to better market and sell your listings? Will each of your listings have its own single property website?

I’ve been scanning 2015 prediction lists, and when I do I end up smiling. Mobile, social media, video – they’re all buzzwords again. And we’ve got you covered in all directions.

We are looking forward to an incredible year. Before I go back to our more typical posts next week, I just wanted to take a moment to talk about what we’re doing and what we’re excited about at Team Properties Online. We live and breathe real estate and technology. Getting to put them together has been fun for over a decade now.

We are committed to a bigger and better 2015, and we’re excited to have you on the journey. One of our tasks as an online real estate marketing firm is to watch trends. Video is not a trend. Video was the future. Now it is the, well, now. In addition to our top-of-the-line single property websites and agent websites, we are offering new video solutions in a big way. In addition to our easy-to-use Video Builder solution, we are in love with Virtuets, our video marketing, website content and property videos solution. You can incorporate Virtuets Video for Real Estate into any of your Properties Online products or services, dramatically increasing their impact. Have a look HERE for sample content to see just what I’m talking about. You can be using these videos on your real estate websites right now! Articles and video are now the most popular formats for content marketing, and as you can see, we make sure you can do both.

Did you know that the 45-55 age group is now the fastest growing age group on Facebook, and that Facebook adds 600,000 new mobile users every single day? Did you further know how easy it is to put your listings on Facebook with our Facebook App? You see, we have everything you need linked to everything else you need.

A whopping 91% of customers say they’d give referrals, but only 11% of sales people ask for them. Crazy, right? Did you know that when you use Properties Online for your agent and single property websites, we have a feedback and referral system built right in? You hardly have to lift a finger to get the results and information you need. We like it that way, because we know you’re bending over backwards for your home buyer and home seller clients.

What I’m getting at is that I hope we are part of your New Year’s resolutions for 2015. I hope you want to join us on the fabulous journey that is real estate and website technology. We’d truly be honored to help your business grow this year.

Reasons to Feel Thankful

… But when we allow ourselves to stop and focus, we can identify reasons to feel thankful. That’s what I’m doing this Thanksgiving week, and I hope you’ll join me.

As those of us in the U.S. near the Thanksgiving holiday, there is an implicit reminder to pause and take stock of what we have, and what each of us has achieved so far this year. We look toward the nearing end of 2014 and back at 11+ months of hard work, commitment to our ventures, our families and our various priorities. On the hard days, when it feels like there will never be enough time to get everything done, when personal problems impact professional responsibilities (or vice versa), it’s easy to get weighed down by the little and not-so-little things. But when we allow ourselves to stop and focus, we can all identify reasons to feel thankful. That’s what I’m doing this Thanksgiving week, and I hope you’ll join me.

Sick of the daily grind? Work is hard, and real estate professionals know that as well as anyone. When you’re working for yourself, there is no cushion. But the market has improved dramatically this year, which means your customer base is growing. And there are close to 2.4 billion people in the world living on less than $2 a day. Work may be tiring, but it’s the kind of tiring that rewards us with food to eat and a safe, comfortable roof over our heads. I’m grateful for that.

And lastly, something so simple it’s profound. I found this in a blog post by James Clear, and it’s worth reading. More than once.

“ … As adults, we spend a lot of time talking about all of the things that we have to do.

“You have to wake up early for work. You have to make another sales call for your business. You have to work out today. You have to write an article. You have to make dinner for your family. You have to go to your son’s game.

“Now, imagine changing just one word in the sentences above.

“You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.

“You get to wake up early for work. You get to make another sales call for your business. You get to work out today. You get to write an article. You get to make dinner for your family. You get to go to your son’s game.

“I think it’s important to remind yourself that the things you do each day are not burdens, they are opportunities. So often, the things we view as work are actually the reward.”

Mindfulness helps remind us of the many reasons to feel thankful that each of us has. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

It’s Time to Up Your Game. Are You Ready?

William Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

I can’t help but think of that quote when I look at statistics on real estate marketing – particularly what buyers and sellers want and how many real estate professionals are able or willing to meet that demand. Home buyers and sellers are consumer. They, like all consumers, want accurate information immediately, in ways convenient and flexible to their ever-changing needs.

William Gibson once said, “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

I can’t help but think of that quote when I look at statistics on real estate marketing – particularly what buyers and sellers want and how many real estate professionals are able or willing to meet that demand. Home buyers and sellers are consumer. They, like all consumers, want accurate information immediately, in ways convenient and flexible to their ever-changing needs.

Did you know that, according to NAR:

• 92% of homebuyers used the Internet as an information source
• 73% of homeowners say they’re more likely to list with a realtor who offers video
• Only 4% of agents actually offer video as part of their marketing package to home sellers
• 75% of Internet homebuyers drove by or viewed a home they saw online
• 43% of buyers first found their home on the Internet
• 56% of home buyer prospects expect to be contacted within 30 minutes of expressing interest in a property

According to Forrester Research it is 50 times easier to achieve a page 1 ranking on Google with a video. And NPD tells us that mobile and tablet shoppers are three times as likely to view a video as laptop or desktop users.

If your response to this is “So what?” you have got to get with the program! Mobile is here. Which means your websites (agent website, single property websites, etc.) better have responsive design. Your clients—homebuyers and home sellers—want you to respond to their needs FAST. Meeting that demand requires an investment in technology, like Smart Lead Capture. And video simply must be part of your real estate marketing offering.

I’m reminded of another quote, this one from Albert Einstein: “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.”

It’s time to up your game. Are you ready?