Agents who are using the best in mobile technology and tools will always have a huge advantage compared to those agents who don’t. The best tools save time and make agents more productive. Here are 10 of my favorites. Let’s dive in.
Sign legal and transaction documents digitally from the local coffee shop or on vacation at the lake. Doesn’t get much better than that!
2. Mobile Printers
A lightweight and portable printer allows you to print documents in your car. Here are a few on Amazon.
Read virtually any type of digital document from anywhere on your iPad or iPhone. Goodreader allows you to read/edit documents, create annotations, markup and highlights. Described by Mashable as “the Swiss Army Knife of awesome” this is a great tool that you’ll use every day.
4. Cell Phone Hotspot
For an extra $20 a month on your cell phone bill you can have internet access on your laptop or tablet when you’re not near a WIFI signal via a hotspot. The ability to connect to your MLS wherever you happen to be is a huge advantage. Especially when your competitors have to wait to get back to their office to make updates to a client’s CMA. Talk to your cell phone provider for specifics.
5. 1Password app
There are hundreds of sites you use each month, which means hundreds of passwords to remember. You could use the same password for all of them but this isn’t secure. A better way is to use the 1Password app to keep track of your passwords. It’s ultra secure and works on smartphones, tablets and computers and supports Apple’s TouchID on iPhones. An essential tool for agents.
I love Mint.com and use it every day. Mint’s great for budgeting and keeping track of business receipts and expenses. It’s easy to setup and best of all it’s free.
7. Dropbox Pro
For $10 a month, you get 1TB of space, which is plenty of room to put all your transaction and client files and have access on the go wherever you are.
8. Smartphone Flashlight Feature
Agents are always crawling around dark basements and that handy flashlight app on your phone will save you a cobweb in the face. If your smartphone doesn’t have a flashlight feature, there are free apps that will enable it.
9. A Responsive Website
A responsive website simply means that your website looks great on mobile devices like phones and tablets. Did you know that today 1 in 4 real estate website visitors come from a mobile device? This is huge! Be sure to make sure that your IDX website is responsive. If it’s not easy to navigate on your phone it might be time to start looking around for a website that is.
The ability to do live updates to comparables while standing in your seller’s kitchen during a presentation has serious WOW factor. Signup for a free 30 day trial and check it out for yourself.
Ever wonder if people are clicking on what you share on Facebook? Or if blogging on Active Rain is helping your business, or just wasting your time?
These are some of the questions a URL shortener can help you answer. Instead of guessing whether your marketing is working, a URL shortener can help you better understand what works, and what doesn’t.
What are they? How do they work?
A URL shortened link enables you to see when people click on your marketing links that are on other websites. When someone clicks on your link that’s been shortened, the click is recorded and the user is quickly forwarded to the intended URL. The person who set up the shortened URL (you) can see where and when the link was clicked. This is really helpful for understanding your marketing efforts when you don’t have access to analytics.
Knowing this click data can help you begin to understand things like:
– The best time of day to share content on social media sites.
– Whether people are interacting with your marketing efforts.
– The types of headlines and content that seem to interest your followers most.
Let’s try it
Click on “Shorten URL” and you’ll see a new link appear.
This new link is what you’ll now use in your marketing efforts. Now when someone clicks that link you’ll know it.
Below is an example of what that might look like. Below you can see that at 1:49pm, 7 people clicked on our link. Pretty awesome!
You send out your e-newsletter every month to 400 people. Using a URL shortener you learn that only three people clicked on your content.
Hmmm, that’s a bit low. Wonder why.
How can you improve?
Perhaps what you are sending isn’t relevant to your sphere. Perhaps your emails aren’t being opened.
Could you write a better subject line? Could you alter the types of content you’re including? Or should you work on something else that will be more impactful to your business?
The most important thing is that you don’t blindly do what “you’re supposed to.” Just because an agent on Active Rain “got the listing” doesn’t mean you will.
Trust the data, not anecdotal stories.
8 places you should use short URLs to get smarter about your marketing
1. Email Signatures
3. 3rd party sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Active Rain, Yelp, etc
4. Blog posts
6. Web Advertising
8. Print materials like listing flyers, postcards, door hangers, etc
Keep in mind that when using a URL shortener on print collateral it will be much harder to gauge effectiveness because people will still have to manually type in a URL for you to see any meaningful feedback. But let’s be honest, flyers disappearing from the yard sign isn’t exactly meaningful feedback either. For all you know the neighbor kids are taking your flyers to build paper airplanes.
So while not perfect, a URL shortener on a flyer or postcard can give you some feedback, and some feedback is better than zero feedback.
Double down on what works
URL shorteners aren’t a silver bullet by any means, but they are a tool that gives you some insight into your marketing where you didn’t have it before. Instead of blindly following “what works, maybe” use data to discover what actually works.
And when you figure that out, double down and forget the rest.
The most successful agents are the ones that keep their marketing efforts running at full throttle even when they get busy juggling multiple buyers and sellers. Here are 7 easy things you can do to help your marketing efforts and keep your pipeline full.
1. A Recap of Neighborhood Real Estate Trends
Create and send out neighborhood market presentations, like this. Your goal is to get potential sellers thinking about what their house might sell for. Email the presentation to your contacts who live in the neighborhood or post a link on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Track Views with a URL Shortener
2. Respond to the Leads You’re Already Getting
According to research by the WAV group, 48% of buyer inquiries on sites like Zillow.com, Realtor.com and Trulia.com, are NEVER responded to, and the average response time to leads was over 15 hours!
“These numbers reveal a staggering failure of real estate professionals to serve the consumer. But this failure actually represents an important opportunity. If brokers and agents take steps to rectify this problem, and respond more effectively to consumers, they are opening the door to a great increase in revenue.” – Victor Lund, Parter at WAV Group
Agents often complain that leads from the portals aren’t “quality” and cite that as their excuse for not responding in a timely manner. But what does quality mean exactly? Someone that is pre-approved, knows the house they want and is ready to put in an offer?
Ha! Dream on.
A lead is simply a person who is interested in buying or selling in the future, and they’ve given you a job interview.
It’s your job to nurture them so when they are ready to transact, they choose you. Responding quickly makes a great first impression, and it’s really not that hard.
You get an email lead from Zillow. You have an email auto-responder set up that lets the person know that you’ll be in touch soon.
Here’s one you can use:
Thanks so much for reaching out. Right now I’m in a meeting with another client, but I’ll give you call in a few minutes as soon as I wrap things up here.
Talk to you soon,
P.S. Check out some of the nice things some of my past clients have said about working with me.
Pick up the phone and call, the sooner the better. If you’re pressed for time ask a few basic questions to qualify the lead and then ask for an appointment to meet if appropriate. The entire conversation should take less than 5 minutes.
Nice work, you’re doing better than 99% of your peers.
3. Follow Up with Clients Post Transaction
In an industry where a large percentage of your of business comes from word-of-mouth, it’s critically important to stay top of mind with your past clients.
If they had a great experience buying or selling their home they will refer you to their friends and family! Make it as easy as possible for them to remember the positive experience that they had. Set a reminder on your calendar to check in 1, 6, 12 and 24 months out.
Pick 1 day a month and schedule 30 minutes to sit down and make contact with your past clients. An email/text/phone call/card doesn’t have to be huge and time consuming task. Something short and sweet is all that’s needed.
Hey Mark, just wanted to check in with you to see how the move went. Hope you’re loving your new place!
To make the process even quicker pre-write several email templates for the emails that you know you’ll be sending over and over. That way all you have to do is copy and paste, change the names, personalize a bit and hit send. Really fast, really efficient.
Here are a couple examples of email templates you could pre-write:
– 1 month “How was the move?”
– 3 month “Checking in email”
– 12 month “Happy move in anniversary email”
– Client’s Anniversary
Batch ‘Em to Save Time
To save time, schedule 20-30 mins each month to write out all of your client check-in emails.
Because you’ve pre-written email templates, you can send out the 15 emails you need to send this month in about 10 minutes.
4. Like, Comment, & Retweet
Stay top of mind by interacting with people on social media sites. This isn’t the time to push the fact that you’re an agent, they probably know you are.
What you’re trying to do is keep building that relationship. People like other people who they can relate to. Get excited about the things that other people are excited about. Baby photos, sport team rants, vacation photos, engagements, new jobs, whatever.
Make a point to interact with 10-15 people a day. Do it all at once, first thing in the morning or after dinner in 5 minutes.
5. Engage with People on Twitter
Here is a tweet from a man who will be looking for a home in Seattle very soon. You can use Twitter’s search to find people just like James who are talking and asking questions about real estate.
6. Fringe Questions
People are asking other types of questions online that are related to buying and selling a home, but are more on the fringe. Questions that are really important and factor into where they buy or when they sell. This is a perfect opportunity to offer up your expertise.
Questions about schools, crime, commute times, zoning, public transportation, development, etc. One great thing about responding to questions online is that your response can be found over and over by people who are searching on Google with similar questions. This is basically free marketing. Do it once and it lives on forever.
Here are a few sites you should check out to get started.
7. Start a Blog
The benefits of blogging can pay huge dividends. There are countless stories of businesses using blogging and content to pull in prospective customers with compelling content. I won’t go into all the reasons and tactics here. If you want to you can read about that here and here.
Every post you write has a chance to drive additional visitors to your website which leads to awareness and a thought leadership opportunity for you. It does take bit of work to get started but once you have 20-30 posts all driving 25-50 visitors to your website each month the traffic can really start to rack up.
A couple is thinking about buying a home in 12 months. Besides square footage, a view and the number of bedrooms there are a TON of other things that they will consider. Factors like commute times, proximity to recreation, schools, property appreciation due to community improvements, restaurants, coffee, grocery stores or the potential for rental income.
Chances are close to 100% that they are going to be searching on Google for the answers to those questions. By blogging, your posts with answers to their questions can show up in search results, showcasing your expertise over and over again.
What should I blog about?
Write about real estate and the activities that people who are moving care about. A couple ideas to get you started.
– Zoning changes
– Guides for people who are moving to your city
– The best coffee shops, bars, food trucks
– Parks, hiking in Seattle
– Finding a Vet
– How to find a good electrician
– The pros and cons of buying a condo
– Renting vs buying
– Upcoming neighborhoods
– Do you really need 20% down
– How much home can you really afford?
– Simple/Easy/Cheap things you can do to increase the value of your home
It’s easy to get started
If you don’t have a blog yet check out one of these.
Keeping your pipeline full doesn’t have to be time consuming or overly complex and these 7 tips will help you save time and make your marketing more automated. No these tips wont guarantee that you’ll always have people lined up who are ready to transact. But they’re a great start. Be consistent and keep at these every week and every month. The long-term effects will be more referrals and happy repeat clients.
Last week I was emailing with Kevin Scott, a Branch Manager and Broker at Windermere Real Estate. I noticed something brilliant in his email signature! In addition to the default contact information, Kevin included links to testimonials and case study presentations that he created using TouchCMA.
Why I like the testimonial presentation
Kevin’s calls to actions in his email signature are casual and it’s something that a prospect could easily click on without feeling like it was forced. After clicking on the “See what our clients say” link, Kevin’s prospects are presented with several powerful testimonials that paint him in a really good light.
For a Buyer or Seller thinking about working with Kevin, this is the kind of content that informs decisions. Kevin has established himself as a trustworthy agent, and all it took was an clever email signature link!
Social proof is huge! Think about looking for a new restaurant on Yelp. Are you going to try a 2-star restaurant or the place with 4.5 stars and raving reviews?
No one wants to make the wrong choice. Having positive testimonials and reviews tell your prospects they are choosing wisely.
Why I like the case study presentation
After reading Kevin’s case studies, one thing that sticks out in my mind is that Kevin doesn’t just say he’s a great broker. He proves he’s got what it takes.
Every agent promises, “I’ll sell your home for the highest price, quickly.” “I look out for my client’s interests.” Kevin is taking it to the next level in by showing me his expertise instead of just declaring it.
Upgrade your Email Signature
It’s easy to update your email signature with your testimonials if you know a bit of HTML and have a couple clients who will give you a nice referral.
Sign in to TouchCMA for the Web and create a new presentation. If you don’t have a TouchCMA account yet, sign up for a free 30 day trial. Disable all of the default pages, and add custom pages to your presentation. Next, add your content then publish and view your presentation in a Web browser. From there just copy the presentation’s URL into your email signature.
Protip: Use an HTML link to hide the long URL, replacing it with a hyperlink of nice text similar to what Kevin did in his email signature. If you struggle with HTML, use a link generator to receive the code you need.
The combination of sight, sound and emotion that online video provides makes it the most powerful marketing tool available. It’s an excellent choice for showcasing neighborhoods, virtual home tours, client testimonials, new listings, your brokerage and even yourself right inside your TouchCMA presentations.
The Time is now for Using Video
Consumers are watching online video in droves. In fact, the average American now spends more than 21 hours watching online video each month1.
Growth rates for online video are impressive. Internet video traffic will be 69% of all global consumer internet traffic in 2017, up from 57% in 20122.
Marketers Recognize the Value
Video has rapidly become indispensable to markers across all industries. An astounding 93% of all marketers use video in their online marketing efforts3.
Real estate is no exception. YouTube.com is the top destination for video viewing on the internet with over 131 million monthly U.S. visitors4. Finding an agent and agent related searches on YouTube has grown 46% year-over-year5. Real estate professionals not only recognize its reach, but are leveraging it in their marketing effort by posting millions of videos6.
Use Videos in Your Interactive Presentations
Engaging your clients and prospects with video presentations is easier than you think. Once you create your video, simply host it at a video hosting site such as YouTube or Vimeo and then embed it into your TouchCMA presentation using a custom page.
This really is just a simple copy and paste job. The video hosting sites provide a unique embed code for each of your videos and you past that code into a TouchCMA custom page. This puts their player with your video right into your presentation.
Good luck with your video presentations!
Sources: 1comScore, August 2013, 2Cisco 2013, 3eMarketer 2013, 4comScore, October 2013, 5Google Internal Data, Q3 2012 (via N.A.R.), 6YouTube Search Results January 30, 2014. Neighborhood video image courtesy Karen Ranger.
Technology is expanding our ability to communicate with our social and professional communities. As real estate professionals, we want to keep our sphere of influence connected to us and interested in what we have to tell them. SLR, point-and-shoot and smartphone pictures and video are growing to be a larger part of our overall communication plan, whether it’s a professional video of a listing, an informal video of a community attraction that you want to add to post online, or pictures for your blog.
Although new technology presents opportunities to capture and include different and compelling visuals to your various online communications, the quality of the media that you include is still a critical consideration in your overall content output. Even if it’s not the formal glossy marketing assets that a brokerage may provide, you still want to be sure you are including visual media content that helps your cause, not content that may hurt it.
This post is focused on the informal media that you use to communicate ideas, community events or attractions, or a spur of the moment notable, all of which you can capture with your smartphone, and all of which can be quality visuals, if you are an informed smartphone camera user. Continue reading