Posts by Jess Maria (page 2)

Why You Should Send Video Email

2014 marked a significant change for us at Properties Online, in terms of our e-communications, because it’s the year we started sending video emails. We’re hooked, and being in the real estate world, we know that what works for us may work great for you, as well. So here are my thoughts on why you should send video email.

2014 marked a significant change for us at Properties Online, in terms of our e-communications, because it’s the year we started sending video emails. We’re hooked, and being in the real estate world, we know that what works for us may work great for you, as well. So here are my thoughts on why you should send video email.

Digital video has been called one of the greatest tools a marketer can use. Research conducted by Comscore revealed that video consumption increased by 800% between 2008 and 2014. According to Google, video appears in 70% of the top 100 search listings. What does this all mean? It means that when people are online, from their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile phones, they are looking for videos to help them make decisions. So when people move from online search to their inboxes, you can give them what they want. In a sea of emails, you can make yours stand out by giving them video before they even have to go looking for it!

We use BombBomb’s video email service. One of the great things about BombBomb is that they understand the needs of the real estate email marketer. The service even integrates with Realtors Property Resource (RPR), which means you can attach branded RPR Market Activity Reports based on city, neighborhood, zip code, region, etc., to your video email. Including valuable market activity information along with video in your email means you are addressing even more needs proactively and readily, boosting your chance of hitting your target.

Tracking and scheduling functionality are not unique to video email campaigns, but they are fun and they are important. No matter how you send your email communications, you should be sure to have tracking, analytics and scheduling set up. Add video, and you’ll be able to see not only who opened your email or clicked through to your single property website, for instance, but also who watched your video. Did the recipients who played your video have a higher rate of click through to your property website?

You can record video on the go, which means you can be at a new listing, record a clip on your smartphone or tablet, and send it to a client simply and quickly. You can get notified when a recipient opens your email, watches a video, or clicks a link, which means you’ll be able to follow up with the most interested people promptly.

Real estate is a business built on relationships. It’s a people business. Including video in your email makes your emails more relatable, more personable and more relevant. You can talk to your prospects and to your clients. Actually talk. And more people will be listening. Vidyard statistics show that content without video attrcted an average click through rare of 6.7%, while email with video averaged a 10.3% click through rate, which is an overall increase of 54 percent!

Real Estate Concierge: Should You Hire One?

This week I’m doing things a little differently, by sharing with you an interview I conducted with forward-thinking Northern California-based licensed real estate agent Jenna Evans. Jenna, in true entrepreneurial fashion, used her real estate license and vast experience in real estate to create a new career as a Real Estate Concierge.

This week I’m doing things a little differently, by sharing with you an interview I conducted with forward-thinking Northern California-based licensed real estate agent Jenna Evans. Jenna, in true entrepreneurial fashion, used her real estate license and vast experience in real estate to create a new career as a Real Estate Concierge. Without further ado …

Q: What is a Real Estate Concierge?
A: “When I think of a concierge I imagine being taken care of, someone I can go to for help when unfamiliar or overwhelmed. I coined the phrase Real Estate Concierge to evoke this feeling, as well as to showcase the versatility and breadth of services I provide to real estate professionals.”

Q: How can I find one?
A: “As far as I know, I am the only Real Estate Concierge there is, but I’m hoping that will change. One can find a virtual assistant through a variety of reputable online companies, but VAs typically do not have the real estate experience or the personal connection my company offers. For my local clients, I also provide in-depth knowledge of our area, which proves invaluable.”

Q: What do you get asked to do most?
A: “Most real estate agents and brokers need help in their marketing efforts, which generally ranges from brochures to social media, marketing packages, designing a website, optimizing a website and blogging. These are all important tools every real estate professional has to focus some of their energy on in order to properly market their listings. Unfortunately, most agents and brokers do not have the time to consistently maintain these marketing platforms.

“Preparing a home for a photo shoot and staging are also big on the list of needs. I have a long history in high end retail, interior design, and photography. I have a strong sense of what looks good in a shot and which image is going to be best for a brochure cover. There is a lot to be said for good photography in your marketing pieces. It is best to get it done right the first time!

“Overall, I can and do act as a silent licensed partner just waiting in the wings to take on whatever needs to be done. I represent my clients at property showings when they have conflicting appointments or are unavailable. This helps them meet the demands and expectations of their buyers and sellers. An agent can relax and be in two places at once, maximizing their time and money.”

Q: Who are your clients?
A: “Most of my clients are focused on residential sales, although I do represent a few clients that sell businesses, wineries and land.”

Q: Who can benefit most from using a Real Estate Concierge?
A: “Any realtor or broker who is looking to grow their business, someone who may be strong in all other aspects of their business but does not have an eye for reading a home for the market, someone who has a good client base but not enough hours in the day, or a realtor just starting out that needs a little help in marketing their services.”

Q: How is it cost effective?
A: “I think if you look at the overall cost of hiring a full time, licensed, assistant, and all the costs associated with one versus contracting me on an as needed basis you can see the cost effectiveness pretty easily. I think flexibility is important, and I offer my services by project, monthly retainer, or hourly. There are no commitments and no hidden costs.”

Q: What should I look for when hiring a Real Estate Concierge or VA?
A: “I think you need to make sure they are licensed, detailed, well informed, educated, meticulous, intelligent, know the region well, and have an obvious willingness to help you and your business grow. This is not just a job for me. I am personally invested in each and every one of my clients and work very hard to help them achieve their own success.”

Q: What questions should I ask?
A: “How long have you been licensed? What do you know about my location? What steps have you taken to educate yourself on my business? I would like to see a few samples of marketing packages you have done, brochures, blogs you have written and social media posts.”

Q: How do I know if I need a Real Estate Concierge?
A: “If you are not 100% happy with your income vs. workload, you should look into hiring a Real Estate Concierge (REC). RECs can help with your time burdens and increase your income at the same time. If you find yourself spending over 50% of your time in the office shuffling paperwork or learning how to post your latest sale on multiple platforms rather than out showing property, you can benefit from concierge services.”

Q: Does a Real Estate Concierge have to be local or can he/she be virtual?
A: “I think it depends on the project or scope of work the Realtor is looking for help with. Ideally, hiring an REC service professional in your area would be best because they would be familiar with some of the key professionals, events, advertising opportunities and real estate market. But a virtual REC service professional can accomplish quite a lot on marketing packages, brochures, websites, social media, blogging, mailings, etc. I think it ultimately depends on the services required at time of hire, and you’ll want to weigh that when looking for the right person. If it’s something that doesn’t require a local body, you’ve just opened yourself to a much wider base.”

Q: Where can I find out more information?
A: Check out: http://www.evansrealestateconcierge.com/

Do you know someone who would make a great interview for the Properties Online blog? Let me know; I’d love to talk to them!

Get More Traffic to Your Blog

Blogging. Do you do it? As a real estate professional on the Internet, you’d probably have to be living under a rock to not have heard of some of its many benefits. It takes time, yes, but once you get into the habit it really isn’t so hard. What can be difficult is getting people to actually find and read your blog. That’s why I was so excited to see Josh Coffy’s FlightMedia Blog post “25 Bite Sized Action Steps to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog.” In his fantastic article, he outlines 25 relatively simple things you can do to get more traffic to your blog.

Blogging. Do you do it? As a real estate professional on the Internet, you’d probably have to be living under a rock to not have heard of some of its many benefits. It takes time, yes, but once you get into the habit it really isn’t so hard. What can be difficult is getting people to actually find, read and share your blog. That’s why I was so excited to see Josh Coffy’s FlightMedia Blog post “25 Bite Sized Action Steps to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog.” In his fantastic article, he outlines 25 relatively simple things you can do to get more traffic to your blog.

1. Coffy starts with a blogging MUST: Write killer content. He calls it “epic” content. Same-same. Call it whatever you want, but it has to be good. It has to be error-free, interesting and it needs to serve a purpose.

2-3. Next, he wants you to increase your tweeting and set up Twitter cards. Now, you might not be using Twitter yet. Maybe you think it’s not for you. But it really is a great tool for conversations and relationships. And Twitter can help you build you brand recognition.

The rest of Coffy’s list includes:

4. Email your list.
5. Practice good web design.
6. Thank everyone who shares your content.
7. Take the 30-Day Content Challenge. [What Coffy means here is challenging yourself to write a blog post every day for 30 days. It’s been shown to get results. In fact, he says that the first time he challenged himself, he went from 814 monthly visitors to 9,575 visitors by the 30th day.] 8. Create a social posting schedule and schedule your posts out. [Hootsuite is one of my favorites for this.] 9. Pin all your articles to a “Blog Posts” board on Pinterest.
10. Write an “Authority Roundup” post.
11. Ask a question in a Twitter auto-direct message and then respond.
12. Guest blog and accept others guest blogs.
13. Leave 100 comments on other blogs.
14. Host a giveaway.
15. Run some Facebook ads.
16. @Mention social influencers in your social posts.
17. Set email follow ups.
18. Cover relevant, trending topics.
19. Write headlines that get shared.
20. Practice good SEO.
21. Start a podcast.
22. Use Click-to-Tweet.
23. Keep your posts short.
24. Follow other people.
25. Interview influencers.

I love, love, LOVE this article!!! Read the entire thing—complete with all Coffy’s explanations for each tip—right HERE. That’s the best part, really. His explanations and reasoning behind each recommendation are pulled right from his own personal experience of what has worked.

Finding True Job Satisfaction in Real Estate

Real Estate is an entrepreneurial business. Each agent or broker who makes it, puts his or her heart, soul, spirit, effort, professional and personal self on the line every day. In some ways, this puts you a step ahead of the general population, because it’s unlikely you went into the risks of entrepreneurship for something you didn’t feel passionate about. Sure, some people are only in for the money, but, from experience, they don’t end up succeeding as well as those who do it for the love of the industry itself, the freedom of self-employment, and the ability to have just that little bit more control over their lives. With risk comes reward, and that reward is job satisfaction.

Real Estate is an entrepreneurial business. Each agent or broker who makes it, puts his or her heart, soul, spirit, effort, professional and personal self on the line every day. In some ways, this puts you a step ahead of the general population, because it’s unlikely you went into the risks of entrepreneurship for something you didn’t feel passionate about. Sure, some people are only in for the money, but, from experience, they don’t end up succeeding as well as those who do it for the love of the industry itself, the freedom of self-employment, and the ability to have just that little bit more control over their lives. With risk comes reward, and that reward is job satisfaction.

I recently saw a blog post on motivation by Chester Elton, co-author of What Motivates Me: Put Your Passions to Work, with Adrian Gostick, and it struck a chord. Elton wrote about his 20+ year career as a consultant, particularly the last 10 years, in which he and his team conducted three research studies on workplace trends, comprising more than 850,000 interviews. All those interviews, all that research, all that data answered some questions. More than that, it highlighted a “key difference in those people who are most energized on the job.”

So what is that key difference? Well, Elton says, “The happiest have aligned more of their work with their core motivations. As for those people who are most unhappy at work, as you might expect, their jobs are out of whack with what they are passionate about.”

One of the key findings is that most people who are unhappy and lack passion feel overwhelmed and powerless to change things, because many of them are waiting (without end) for a manager to step in and save things. But, guess what? As a real estate professional, chances are good that you are your manager. You can make changes and pursue your passion. You can do what you love every day and achieve true job satisfaction.

“In our research,” says Elton, “we have found that each individual is driven by a unique set, or blend, of internal and external drivers. Every person on this planet has a thumbprint-like makeup of what makes him or her most happy 9-to-5 (and in the rest of life); and those thumbprints vary considerably.”

Elton’s team of behavioral scientists mined a decade of data to identify 23 workplace motivators that ranged from creativity to impact, and developing others to money.

“The bottom line is this: If we want to be happily engaged in our work and performing at our fullest potential, we’ve got to look inside and understand a few of these specific motivators that drive us. All of us host a unique blend of motivations that should guide us in sculpting the work life that’s right for us,” Elton says.

Here’s the really great news: the happiest people interviewed didn’t make huge changes to their career paths, they didn’t up and quit; what they did was make strategic course corrections to the path they were already on. You’re on the right track. If you’re not totally satisfied, it may only require a little tweaking or modification. Elton and Gostick call this “job sculpting.”

“There are individuals and teams among us who are deeply fulfilled by their work, who are passionate about what they do, and are energized when Monday comes. So what’s their secret? In most cases, they have taken control of their careers. When our jobs give us the opportunity to do more of the kinds of things that satisfy our key motivations, we are naturally happier and more engaged.”

It’s not an easy process, but let’s face it – if you wanted easy you wouldn’t be self-employed; you wouldn’t have chosen a real estate profession. You make hard choices every day. It’s not too much to ask that you make decisions that put you on the path to real professional satisfaction. It will spill over into all areas of your life.