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5 Tips for Better Video Engagement

December 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

5 Tips for Better Video Engagement

Get better video enagement. Video hosting and marketing experts at Wistia.com recently released this informative article on how to get your video viewers to take action after viewing a video. While you may think it’s logical that someone who’s watched a listing video or virtual tour of your home will naturally pick up the phone or fill out a form to contact you, the addition of specific calls to action can have a dramatic increase in the effectiveness of your video marketing.

We encourage you to read the entire article, but if you’d just like the highlights, here are the top five tips for driving engagement with your videos:

1. Include a clickable link at the end of your video.
2. Offer some incentive for video viewers only.
3. Ask for (and listen to) viewer feedback with comment forms.
4. Link to more information sources from the video (downloadable PDF flyers, MLS info, blog posts about the neighborhood, etc.)
5. Encourage people to share the videos with social networking widgets (for Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Read the entire article online here:

How To Get Viewers to Engage and Convert With Your Online Video

http://wistia.com/blog/how-to-get-viewers-to-engage-and-convert-with-your-online-video/

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Market Others to Market Yourself

August 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Praise local businesses, receive local recognition.

Have you ever noticed that though the internet gives people a free forum to express their ideas and opinions 9 times out of 10, they use it to complain?

If you want to differentiate yourself online, one of the easiest ways is to use it as a channel for praise. Praise what you like and ignore what you don’t. There’s no value in expressing negativity online, while there’s a considerable upside to singing the praises of others.

What’s more, it’s a great marketing strategy for your business. It’s no secret that people like to work with positive people. A great way to spread your positive image is to go out there and use all of the web tools at your disposal to shower praise on the businesses and people you support.

Become a testimonial machine! Make a list of all of the small businesses in your community that you support. Where do you love to eat out? Is there a local fishing shop you support? Bike store? Who are those “Main St. USA” business owners that make you proud of your community?

With that list in mind, look for opportunities to express your support for them online. Get on Facebook and record a video testimonial with your webcam. Write a post on your blog describing who in your community makes your year brighter. Put together a simple PDF document that you give to clients, listing the businesses in your community you love and why.

When you project this positivity and enthusiasm for your community, you’ll receive the positivity in return. Genuinely marketing for others is a powerful tool.

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How to Get More Views for Your Real Estate Videos

July 28, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Increase exposure with these 7 tips.

The value of video in real estate marketing is well-established. From introducing yourself to clients online to providing in-depth tours of your premium listings, video is one of the best ways to leverage your marketing efforts online. They’re shareable, they’re engaging, and they’re also reported to help with your overall visibility in search engines.

Shooting a video isn’t enough to get it viewed, though. There’s no “build it and they will come” magic at work here. In order to make sure the videos you post get the exposure you’re looking for, you need to place them in a way which gives you the best shot at earning additional traffic.

This article by SocialTimes, “7 Little Known Tricks That Will Get You More YouTube Views” provides actionable, tactical tips. The ideas include:

1. Annotations across videos (the habit of linking one video to other videos with clickable, in-video notes)

2. Playlists (videos chained together… imagine, all of your listings in a playlist)

3. Subscribers (getting people to subscribe to your YouTube channel)

4. Bulletins (updates pushed through YouTube to your subscribers’ YouTube home page)

5. Video responses (posting a video in response to a video)

6. Community (commenting and subscribing to others’ channels)

7. Topical content (a video about what’s going on right now)

For a closer look at each of these tips (as well as examples of how they work), read the original article on SocialTimes:

http://www.socialtimes.com/2011/03/get-more-youtube-views/

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The Four Fundamentals of Client Communication

May 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Appreciate / Educate / Entertain / Reflect & Think

Four Fundamentals of Client Communication

Effective Client Communication Leverages One or More of Four Fundamental Approaches

Agents who have perfected the “long sales cycle” approach to building lifetime rapport with their contacts do not rely on a steady bombardment of advertising and marketing messages.

In fact, a thorough analysis of their communication reveals that each exchange they have with contacts meets one (or more) of the following criteria from a client’s perspective:

1. Appreciate me

2. Educate me

3. Make me reflect / think

4. Make me laugh (entertain me)

In the best case scenario, a message will actually satisfy all four.

The acid test for any message— from a voice mail to an email or letter—is whether or not the communication will in some way improve the recipient’s day.

The goal is never to prompt immediate return, rather, the communication should create an impression of the agents thoughtfulness, trustworthiness, wisdom, wit, or character.

In keeping with the philosophy of differentiating advertising from rapport- building communication, it’s crucial to understand that agents dominating the top 1% of their markets do not undercut the goodwill of their message by simultaneously including slogans, excessive signatures, listing information, postcards, or other direct marketing collateral.

If the recipient perceives the message to be a trojan horse for self-promotion, the intent to build rapport is largely undermined.
Almost all agents with a loyal client base indicated that using market data to satisfy the second quadrant, “Educate me,” came with a few caveats:

1. Real estate-related market data was never sent without an express request from their clients to regularly receive the information. (Permission.)

2. Any market information is always prefaced by an insightful executive summary. (Interpretation.)

3. Concrete examples of how market data may tangibly impact the lives of the contact and/or the contact’s loved ones is offered. (Relevancy.)

Without meeting the criteria of permission, interpretation, and relevancy, the wholesale dispensing “market condition reports” is often perceived as noise and/or advertising.

Agents with an excellent communication track record often cited a “swipe file” or “idea folder” which enabled them to quickly and efficiently craft personalized communication that met all four of the rapport-building fundamentals. Doing so enabled them to leverage the success of past letters with new clients, resulting in both efficiency and efficacy in their communication strategy.

[Click here for a free copy of the 26-page report from which this post was originally taken, "6 Key Findings: How Successful Agents Build a Referral-Based Business"]

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ROI vs. The Rule of Reciprocity

April 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

What do we risk losing by obsessively tracking return on investment?

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
–Jimmy Johnson

Be golden, get golden. We live in an age where increasing importance is placed on tracking the return on investment (ROI) in almost everything we do. It’s a side effect of living in a digital world. Google, for example, has built an empire by tracking and monetizing every question you ask them and link you click. Software tracks web traffic and the number of leads we receive online. Marketers use special call capture systems and variable 1-800 numbers to know which ads make the phone ring. The phrase “data driven decision making” is more common than ever.

While “metrics” can often help us save time and money, we have to guard against becoming too obsessed with tracking direct return on investment. If we do not, we risk losing our humanity, the very thing which builds strong communities in which there is an implicit belief that doing good in the world ultimately results in getting good in return.

Call it karma, the Golden Rule, or the Truth of Reciprocity, but to be extraordinary, you must make the leap of faith that while you cannot measure the hundred of small, thoughtful efforts that take up a little of your time and energy, they will come back to you– either directly, or indirectly, in the form of making the world a little more civilized, and someone’s day a little brighter.

We’ve written in the past on the concept of greatness through “winning by inches,” and it remains true today. Real estate is fundamentally a client service and relationship marketing business, and if you wish to succeed, you must be comfortable “letting go, and letting good” happen in your day-to-day life.

Lead with a little faith in people. The best systems for staying in touch with clients come down to making a concerted effort to practice random acts of kindness. Referrals hinge on the “extra” that elevates you from ordinary to extraordinary, and you can’t spend all your time keeping track of who’s scratched your back today. Give it away, and you’ll get it in return, guaranteed.

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Successful Real Estate Agents Understand Marketing & Advertising are Separate from Long-Term Relationship Building

February 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

One common trait among agents with a loyal client base is an understanding that advertising and rapport-building are distinctly different activities. While advertising has a place in an overall marketing plan, it is considered a completely different channel and applied accordingly.

The typical mistake lower performing agents make is confusing every opportunity to communicate as an opportunity to advertise their services. This “while I have your attention” mentality is responsible for more damage to agent/prospect relationships than any other mistake, save complete unresponsiveness.

Clients and prospects quickly come to regard the agent as self-centered and begin to anticipate that every conversation with the agent is ultimately a pretense for “who do you know who needs real estate services?” It’s an agent-centric approach versus a client-centric approach.

This bad habit in agents is by no means malicious. It is learned in part through a kind of antiquated coaching which assures agents that building a client base is “all a numbers game.” Additionally, it is learned through imitation.

Most consumer advertising is based on this kind of message saturation. The problem is one of perspective. Can agents genuinely expect to sell professional real estate services the way soap, cell phones, and junk food is advertised? Top producers say: Absolutely not.

If an agent communicates with prospects and clients the way commodified products are advertised, they quickly face an audience which:

1) Interprets the agent’s message as interruptive and self-motivated

2) Comes to equate the agent’s services with other exchangeable, commodified services (and is therefore driven to find the cheapest suitable option)

So what is the alternative?

Agents with deep experience have learned over time that substantial wealth in real estate depends upon adopting the successful habits of “long cycle” salespeople. A “long cycle” or “nurture sales process” is common among salespeople who earn a living selling big-ticket investments, such as enterprise software and hardware, for example.

The path to these six-to-seven figure sales isn’t a matter of a postcard, website, and a single meeting. In order to earn the business, the prospective client must:

1) Perceive a friendly familiarity with the salesperson in which interactions are pleasant or helpful

2) Trust the salesperson to act as an advisor, guiding them towards a good decision

3) Feel confident presenting the salesperson to others when called upon to validate their decision

4) Anticipate that the salesperson will be available throughout the purchase process and the life cycle of the purchase

When these four criteria are met, a substantive professional service relationship is given chance to grow. This is why, from the point of personal contact forward, top producers immediately shift to a rapport-building communication strategy which works to support one or more of these four criteria with every interaction.

Traditional advertising, in no way shape or form, contributes to these four criteria. While advertising may have played a role in a general awareness in the marketplace, it is likely not even the source of lead (more likely the lead came from referral).

In fact, after the point of personal contact, continued advertising may actually damage the relationship, undermining the objectives of a nurture sales cycle. With each mass-market or direct mail (or email) transmission, the prospect quickly begins to feel that any deeper business relationship they have with the salesperson is potentially false, as each ad indicates the valuable client has been tossed back in the general prospecting pile.

“Don’t they know me?” “They’re already working with me, why would they send me this?” “We had a conversation last week about this, and I already said I wasn’t interested.” What’s more, the advertising (however briefly) distracts the prospect, interrupts their day, and diminishes their receptiveness to the agent’s overtures in the future.

Attention is currency, and savvy agents spend it wisely.

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How to Protect and Enhance the Effectiveness of Your Real Estate Email Marketing

November 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Grouping Your Contacts: A Must for Email Marketing
Don’t shotgun every email to everyone in your list.


One of the biggest mistakes real estate agents make with their email database is high-frequency, inappropriate communication. When we say “inappropriate,” we don’t mean pictures from a holiday office party– we mean messages that lack context, may not be relevant, or include an abundance of self-centered advertising.

The problem with the “send everything to everyone in my database” approach is that it encourages people to unsubscribe from your email messages or mark your name as “Spam.” Once that happens, your email goes right to their garbage bin, regardless of how on-point your message might be.

To remedy this problem, you should consider grouping your contacts and developing a strategy to mail your contacts by group.

For example, one basic segment you could apply is the “local” versus “non-local” group. You probably have a number of contacts in your database who don’t live within driving distance of any of the open houses, special events, or social gatherings that you may use as part of your overall business strategy. So why do you send them the message? Are you really doing so “just in case” they’re in town? Or are you inadvertently broadcasting the message that your “invitation only” event is actually a mass e-mailed spamvitation?

If you really want to give them the option to attend these events, consider sending a short message which invites them to optionally subscribe to these announcements. Doing so shows you value their time and that you hold their permission to contact them in high esteem.

Your contact database is the most valuable asset you own, and you must protect that asset by continuously earning the trust, and admiration of your contacts. Segmentation and data-refinement will allow you to communicate with a higher degree of relevancy.

Be sure to check out this related article: “Maximize Your List”:
http://www.fhfrea.org/maximize-your-list

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Syndicate your real estate videos

July 12, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Tech Tip: TubeMogul.com
Syndicate your real estate videos more effectively.

If you’re using video to market yourself and your properties, smart move! Did you know there’s an effective, free way to better syndicate your videos online? TubeMogul.com can help get your videos a wider audience, and most importantly, tell you more about how those videos are being viewed.

From their website:

“TubeMogul OneLoad is a free service that provides a single point for deploying videos to the top video and social networking sites. OneLoad distribution is accompanied by our powerful analytics showing you who, what and where videos are being viewed. In addition, TubeMogul’s InPlay(R) analytics (for supported sites), provide the most advanced suite of video analytics on the market. See real-time viewership, audience engagement, geographic tracking, stream quality and much more for your videos.”

Consider distributing your home tours, neighborhood profiles, and “main street business videos” (short clips which feature those small businesses which make your town unique) with TubeMogul. It’s also a great way to let clients know you’re going the extra mile to market their listing.

Learn more and take a test drive with a free account here:
http://www.tubemogul.com/

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Free Photos for Your Website

July 8, 2010 by · 2 Comments 

How to Find and Use Free Photos For Your Blog…
And Not Get Sued!

Free and legal photos…

You may or may not realize it, but just because a photo is on the Internet doesn’t mean you can use it for free on your own blog. In fact, if you use a copyrighted photo illegally, you could be facing an expensive lawsuit.

So where can you get free photos? Believe it or not, there are lots of photographers out there who want to share their photos with you. All you have to do is know where to find them and what the rules are for using their photos.

Flickr.com, a massive photo-sharing site, allows you to search for photos which have special usage rights under the provisions of the Creative Commons License. This means you can search for images which will not only fit your topic, but will also be free to share. Check out the information available on Flickr’s “Creative Commons” page:

http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

Also, here’s a tutorial which shows you how to search Google Images and find free images you can use:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-rZ8D1lqg0

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Open House Mobile Application

June 18, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Foursquare: Useful Open House Tool?
Could this game-like mobile app drive more people to your open house?

File under cutting edge: Foursquare.com is a mobile app that encourages people to connect people and help them explore their city. Foursquare allows users to “check in” to physical locations (bars, restaurants, shops and other points of interest) via their mobile devices to earn virtual — and sometimes real — prizes. Check-ins can earn you points of pride in the form of badges and mayorships, and even score you deals at some of your favorite businesses.

A creative real estate marketer should see opportunities to use this app to not only drive more traffic to their open houses, but also expand the number of friends and past clients they connect with on casual/social business “meet ups” on weekends. Offering incentives for “check ins” might just be a great way to connect with young, tech-savvy buyers.

To learn more about how Foursquare works for businesses, check out this page:
http://foursquare.com/businesses/

Even if you think Foursquare may be a little “out there” for your real estate business, you might it’s another great network you can use to get your name out in the community. It doesn’t get much more hyperlocal than this!

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