Posts by Vered

Vered DeLeeuw is a professional writer and blogger. She writes about a wide range of topics, including high tech, real estate, marketing, and parenting. Vered lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco, California.

4 Key Features of Effective Real Estate Sites

There are 4 key features of effective real estate sites that every agent should start with.

Creating a real estate site is an important step in establishing yourself as a savvy, experienced real estate professional that can add lots of value to their clients. But not all real estate sites are created equal. There are 4 key features of effective real estate sites that every agent should start with.

To be truly effective, a real estate site should include the following features:

1. An effective agent site should be optimized for Search Engines
To make the most of search engine traffic, you need to have control over your meta tags. Ideally, the company who hosts your website should submit it to major search engines to make sure it is indexed quickly and properly.

2. An effective real estate website should include built-in social networking tools
These tools enable you, and your website visitors, to easily add your website to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. The best websites also enable you to build widgets that get automatically updated whenever you add or remove a listing. These widgets can be posted to social media outlets including a blog if you have one.

3. An effective agent site should include real-time lead alerts
Immediate follow up on website visits is extremely important. The best agent websites include tools that send your website leads, in real time, to your text enabled cell phone.

4. An effective real estate site gives you easy access to the website’s statistics
Websites are live creatures that require constant tweaking and monitoring. But the only way you can improve your website’s performance and its appeal to prospects is by having access to statistics that show you how people behave on your site. Quality agent sites include live stats that allow you to track where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your site. This enables you to tell if a marketing campaign is working.

In addition, your agent site should have a built-in Google Analytics tool that enables you to easily install Google Analytics on your website. This is an invaluable tool that can provide you with lots of info on your site’s performance.

Remember: it’s not enough to have an agent website. Make sure you sign up with a company that provides high quality, professional looking, effective websites.

Social Media Marketing for Real Estate

Social media marketing is essentially word of mouth marketing, but it is done on a much bigger scale thanks to the Internet.

Social media marketing is essentially word of mouth marketing, but it is done on a much bigger scale thanks to the Internet.

The idea of social media is that you simply talk with people – you reach out and network and have discussions just as you would have in a real life business function. The fact that it is online social networking extends your reach far beyond your immediate area, and makes networking much easier, because it can be done from your home computer, your laptop, tablet, smartphone or from the office desktop.

The secret to having a successful social media marketing campaign is to be genuine, and this is true for any type of social media campaign, including real estate. Reach out to relevant people – don’t just follow anyone – and initiate real conversations. Try to be as helpful as you can! Many business owners are using Twitter Search to create an ongoing search for a certain keyword. Every time someone mentions that keyword on Twitter, you get the opportunity to respond.

For example, if you specialize in Phoenix, AZ, homes, you might want be alerted when people mention “Phoenix homes” or “Phoenix real estate” on Twitter. See if you can help or contribute to the conversation, and after you have contributed, follow that person.

This strategy will help you build a social media account that is not just active and vibrant but also very effective, because it focuses on your target market.

Drip Email Marketing for Real Estate Agents

Drip email marketing programs enable you to automate your email marketing.

When working to grow your business, one of your biggest challenges as a real estate professional is the typically long buying cycle in the real estate market. Unlike an e-commerce merchant, for example, who offers items on the web and pretty much either sells them immediately to those who land on her site or not at all, your sales cycle takes time to mature. Drip email marketing for real estate agents can make a significant and positive difference to your sale cycle.

The time lapse between the point at which a person contacts you, whether via referral or through your website, and until they actually buy a house, is usually at least several months, and sometimes even longer. That’s why your goal as a realtor is not just to generate leads, but also to nurture them until they are ready to buy.

Lead nurturing means staying in touch, contacting your leads (which include past clients) periodically, and providing them with valuable material. You don’t want to nag! You want to establish yourself as someone who is willing to assist even before they officially become your clients. One of the best ways to do that is to send prospects periodic emails with relevant info such as buying and selling statistics in their area, a list of homes that might be of interest to them, or tips on buying and selling a home. But managing such an email campaign manually, when you have more than a few leads, is time consuming – so time consuming in fact that if you don’t automate your email marketing campaign, chances are you just won’t do it!

Drip email marketing programs were designed to help. These programs enable you to automate your email marketing. Instead of doing it all manually, you enter each new contact into the program’s database, then determine how often you want to email them and with what content. The system does the rest, freeing you to focus on generating new leads and on closing deals.

Considering the high value they give you, drip email marketing programs are surprisingly affordable. Drip365, for example, one of our favorite drip email marketing programs, costs just $19.95 per month, and offers a free 30-day trial.

Why a Real Estate Blog is a Good Idea

We all know by now that having a real estate site is an important part of any realtor’s marketing strategy. An agent website is at least as important as any other marketing material you may create. It enables you to showcase your knowledge and expertise and – with proper optimizing and social media marketing – to attract new clients.

But what about a blog? Should you write your own real estate blog?

We believe that you should. Read on for some reasons why a real estate blog is a good idea.

A blog serves two main purposes:

1. A real estate blog enhances your agent website and gives you an opportunity to further demonstrate your knowledge, in a fresh, real-time format. A blog is published chronologically, which enables you to publish your thoughts and observations on real estate topics as they become relevant. It is much easier to update a blog than it is to update a web site!

2. Adding a blog to your real estate website will make your site more search engine friendly, because the more text your site contains, the more search engines have to work with, and the higher are the chances that your site will rank well in the search engine result pages for your main keywords.

For most real estate professionals, the main issue with starting a blog is probably lack of time. But a blog doesn’t have to take too much of your time: after all, you are not a professional blogger and the blog is a nice addition rather than your livelihood. Try to commit to publishing a weekly blog post with your thoughts and with updates, but if time is an issue, a monthly blog post is fine.

Preparing Your Sellers for Home Showings

Selling a home can be a long, complex process. If only selling a home was easy! But the reality is, selling a home is anything but easy (hey, that’s why sellers need your expertise!), And while you as a real estate professional are well aware of this fact, not all home sellers realize just how much effort selling their home would require. It is therefore your job, as their agent, to prepare your sellers for home showings.

Preparing the home for the sale is different than preparing the sellers. Preparing the sellers is more about emotional preparedness. The most important thing you could do is to have a conversation with the sellers about the psychology of buying a house – instead of  telling the sellers what they should and shouldn’t do, explain how buyers act and react to different circumstances and how the sellers’ behavior could therefore have a real impact on the sale process.

Above all, you want the sellers to be flexible and to realize that they will need to accept that some showings are going to be scheduled at the very last minute. They also need to realize that agents and buyers won’t always be on time, and that it’s important that they are not present in the house during showings, since this could be a serious turn-off for potential buyers who would feel uncomfortable truly exploring the home in the sellers’ presence.

As much as the sellers are attached to the house and feel that it’s “theirs,” they need to realize that once the sale process starts, their home becomes a real estate property that needs to be sold. Their stuff, their presence and their opinions are not necessarily helpful and could in fact interfere. The more emotionally detached the sellers can be about the process, the easier it will be on them – and on you.