Posts Tagged as Property Website

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.

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!

Could You Be Stealing Stock Photos?

Lawyers and artists are on the lookout for stock photos users who don’t pay for the photos on their blogs and websites. Could you be stealing stock photos?

I’m part of a couple of different business groups, and in the last two months, a serious but surprising topic has come up among the group members three times: My professional peers were contacted by lawyers telling them that they’d used an image on their blog without paying for it or citing its source. If this is something you’ve ever done, say, scrolled through Google images to find what looks like a great pic to include with your latest blog article, you could be the next facing legal action. So, I have to ask – who took the photo in your blog post? And did you pay for it? Could you be stealing stock photos?

“Come on,” I can practically hear you saying, “I don’t want to/can’t afford to buy a new image every single time I post a new article to my blog.”

Well, I have two responses to that. 1) It’s a lot more affordable than you might think (and a LOT more affordable than legal fines), and you can rest easy knowing you’re covered, if you do purchase all your images; but, 2) There actually are many free resources for images that you can use safely.

Designmodo recently published a Carrie Cousins’ article on great places to source free stock photography. Titled 16 Places to Find the Best Free Stock Photos, it’s just that – a comprehensive and fabulous list of 16 separate sources of free stock imagery.

Cousins’ selections include:

1. Raumrot
2. Unsplash
3. Little Visuals
4. Gratisography
5. Free Refe
6. Jay Mantri
7. Magdeleine
8. Foodies Feed
9. Picography
10. Im Free
11. Death to the Stock Photo
12. New Old Stock
13. SuperFamous
14. Public Domain Archive
15. Picjumbo
16. The Pattern Library

I’ve personally used Death to the Stock Photo ever since I heard about the photo sharing site months ago. I look forward to trying some of these other options, too. Tell me, where are your favorite stock photography sources?

The Zillow-Trulia Merger & Your Real Estate Business

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will a Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

Last week, Zillow revealed publicly its intent to buy Trulia for $3.5 billion. Obviously this news (and the rumors we’ve been hearing for some time) are hot topics of conversation in the real estate world. The consolidation will allegedly take place whilst still maintaining the distinct identities of both Zillow and Trulia. Only time will tell. But what will the Zillow-Trulia merger mean for your real estate business?

On July 28th, Zillow announced via a press release that “it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Trulia, Inc. … in a stock-for-stock transaction. The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.”

Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow, stated: “Consumers love using Zillow and Trulia to find vital information about homes and connect with the best local real estate professionals. Both companies have been enormously successful in creating compelling consumer brands and deep industry partnerships, but it’s still early days in the world of real estate advertising on mobile and Web. This is a tremendous opportunity to combine our resources and achieve even more impressive innovation that will benefit consumers and the real estate industry.”

Pete Flint, Trulia’s CEO, then commented: “Trulia and Zillow have a shared mission and vision of empowering consumers while helping real estate agents, brokerages and franchisors benefit from technological innovation. By working together, we will be able to create even more value for home buyers, sellers, and renters, as well as create a robust marketing platform that will help our industry partners connect with potential clients and grow their businesses even more efficiently. Our two companies share complementary employee cultures with innovative, consumer-first philosophies and a deep commitment to create the best products and services for our industry partners.”

By the (self-reported) numbers:
• Zillow reported a record 83 million unique users across mobile and Web in June 2014.
• Trulia reported a record 54 million monthly unique users across its sites and mobile apps in June 2014.
• Approximately half of Trulia.com’s monthly visitors do not visit Zillow.com
• Approximately two-thirds of Zillow.com’s monthly visitors across all devices do not use Trulia.com.
• “Maintaining the two distinct consumer brands will allow the combined company to continue to offer differentiated products and user experiences, attract more users and maximize the distribution of free content across multiple platforms, apps and channels.”

The Zillow-Trulia merger might not create the “pricing power” juggernaut that many people fear. We’ve been reading comments by agents and brokers all over the web, and the fact is that many MLS boards and independent agents are starting to pull their listings – they simply don’t want to have to pay to advertise next to their own listings. There are also frequent rumblings about the data and Zestimates on Zillow being inaccurate.

Citron Research cites a deal struck between Realogy and Zillow/Trulia. Realogy—the world’s largest real estate agency, comprising Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s, ERA, Century 21 and Better Homes—secured a lucrative deal for its agents that “prohibits all other agencies from advertising on their listings” at a cost of less than 95% what any other agency pays. What’s more, Realogy is aggressively pursuing their own online offering that will compete head-to-head with Zillow-Trulia in the consumer-focused online real estate space, with a new product expected sometime in 2015.

“We believe that there is a space in there that we can compete in. It will have features like Zillow and Trulia. It will have features that you wouldn’t put on a real estate brokerage website. An example of that would be Zestimate that Zillow uses. There are certain features that we believe we can effectively do and be able to cast a net outcome, a consumer-oriented facing website arena and be able to capture leads, reviewing [scrub then] as I described, and then put them in the hands of our sales associates so we create the business opportunity,” NRT CEO and President Bruce Zipf is quoted as saying on May 9th during a Realogy Investor Day Q&A.

Rascoff, Zillow’s CEO, has been quoted as saying, “It ought to be quite clear to a listing agent or a broker that it behooves their seller to have their listing displayed on Zillow and Trulia or sites that Zillow powers.”

Indeed, Zillow powers some of the internet’s major property search engines, and together with Trulia will indeed have a massive reach. But for how long, with competitors like Realogy making such significant strides, technologically and on behalf of its agents at the bargaining table? And how long before Keller Williams, Remax, Berkshire Hathaway, or other agencies demand and negotiate the same deals Zillow-Trulia have granted Realogy?

Many real estate professionals feel a loss of power in the face of the deal, which cements a growing resentment at having to pay Zillow to advertise their listings. Online forums reveal many of these agents calling for boycotts, while still others agree there isn’t another viable option.

Inman News contributing writer Joseph Rand writes in his Op-ed “Why Zulia doesn’t mean checkmate,” that: “The bottom line is that Zillow needs listings more than listings need Zillow. Which means that Zillow needs the people (brokers and agents) who take those listings more than they need Zillow.” I’d venture that he is bang on with that assessment.

Where does your business fit in? Do you use Zillow to obtain leads? One thing I can say with certainty is that this isn’t over, and we’ll be talking about the Zillow-Trulia merger for some time to come. How do you feel about all of this? I’d love to hear your thoughts from the proverbial trenches.

Promote Yourself by Video to Increase Exposure and Sales

Mobile Technology for Real Estate Agents

Mobile technology is particularly exciting for real estate, because it allows the agent or broker to operate in real time, providing top notch service and response.

Real estate professionals have never been, as a whole, early adopters of technology, despite proven benefits. But falling behind when it comes to applicable technology can cost you money, and a lot of it. Mobile technology for real estate agents is a hot, growing field. What do you know about it?

The average real estate agent is in his or her mid-50s (57, to be exact). This is a contributing factor to the prevalent use of outdated technology in the business. But realtors are adopting mobile technology. Smartphones are commonplace. Tablets and iPads are growing in popularity. These devices enable location aware applications at very reasonable price points, designed for use on systems most people are already familiar with. It’s win-win-win-win!

Mobile technology is particularly exciting for real estate, because it allows the agent or broker to operate in real time, providing top notch service and response.

Handy SMS mobile tools like Smart Lead Capture allow real estate professionals to market their listings and capture leads over mobile devices. With smart lead capture, agents and brokers can capture leads by offering their clients the ability to “text for more information” about a property listed for sale or rent. The system stores and displays all of the property information and displays it to the prospects in a manner that best fits the user’s mobile phone. Information can be sent as a text message or over the internet via a mobile browser.

You can also ensure you never miss a text lead by setting up SMS Auto-Responder technology. Similar to email auto-responders, SMS Auto-Responders allow you to send an automated response via text message as soon as a prospect utilizes your text for information service provided by Smart Lead Capture. You can write custom messages for each of your listings, and they’ll be sent automatically.

Over half of prospects (56%) expect to be contacted within 30 minutes of expressing interest in a property, according to NAR statistics. This kind of high expectation leaves no margin for error. Taking advantage of the many affordable mobile technology tools now available to real estate professionals helps you close the gap, more and more.

Mobile applications like Lead Alert send instant leads via SMS (text) message, so that follow-up can happen in real time. Respond while a prospective buyer’s interest is at its peak – while they’re standing in front of the property or clicking through its individual property website.

We could spend weeks covering mobile technology for real estate professionals (and maybe we will!), but this is a great place to start. There is no shortage of awesome applications and new developments. Just a little investment will take you and your real estate business a long way.