Niche Marketing – Real Estate Farming

Niche Marketing - Real Estate FarmingHow to do real estate farming in a niche marketing way. Learn the internet marketing way to increase your farming leads and dominate your area.

In a previous post, Real Estate Marketing To A Farm Area, I talked about how to pick a real estate farm area, some marketing tips and what not to do. Today we are going to get more in depth and less “realtory” about it all focusing on the internet marketing aspect of real estate farming!

Too often we treat realtor marketing like it is in a class all to itself. That is just not true. Real estate marketing is just like every other marketing on the planet and is in some ways much easier than other types of marketing.

Local Marketing

Let’s start with what real estate farming is. It is picking a geographic location that you are going to market to. This includes an area like a city or town, a neighborhood or even a subdivision.

The smaller the area that you pick, the easier it is to dominate it in the search engines and the more “real” leads you will get. Think about it, someone who is searching for “Denver real estate” is casting a pretty wide net, someone looking for the “Cherry Creek real estate area” is getting more refined and if they are searching for a subdivision in that area they are probably pretty close to buying or selling sometime soon!

Picking A Real Estate Niche

Niche marketing in the internet world is about choosing a small-ish target and then focusing all of your energies on that target. One of mine is “realtor marketing” so I write posts like this that will rank well in the search engines AND be helpful to Realtors. That distinction is super important. If you are just picking a niche and then not producing great content that people doing those searches will want to actually consume, you are wasting their time.

So how should you pick your niche? There are a couple of ways that work well:

  1. Pick an area that you like. This one seems random but might be the most brilliant way. Niche marketing means that you will be spending a lot of time making videos, doing open houses and focusing on an area and if you LOVE being there it will feel like play instead of working.
  2. Pick a high turnover area. The highest turnover areas tend to be the ones that are in the median price ranges that are attractive to move up or first time buyers. Only you will know these “hot” areas where the homes sell often and you can generate a lot of sales and buyers.
  3. Pick a high cost area. Farming for luxury homes is a fun and profitable prospect. You don’t have to sell hundreds of these homes to make a high income and once you have dominated these kinds of keywords and social sites, you are in the drivers seat for generating high cost, high quality leads.
  4. Other. There are a million ways to choose your niche. You could pick working with only sellers in a geographic area, only first time homebuyers, just veterans, commercial or a million other criteria. Whatever you choose, you have to make sure you do enough local marketing to dominate that market.

Keyword Selection

In our post 100 Great SEO Keywords for Realtors, we break down the keywords that people use for searching real estate terms, but that is just half of the equation. The other half is knowing what the local terms are that people are using for searching.

For example, here in Denver a lot of the agents are using “Front Range” in their marketing which is a term that describes all of the cities along the Eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. It is a local term and seems like it would be great for covering a wide area. Unfortunately there are only 30 searches per month for “front range real estate” which is definitely not enough to target as a niche. “Denver Real Estate” has over 8,000 and “Cherry Creek Real Estate” has 320 (still not great but 10 times more than front range real estate!)

Dominating A Real Estate Keyword Or Ten

I am a firm believer in picking three keywords to target at the start. You should definitely have a big one would be a stretch to reach (like Denver Real Estate), then a couple like “Cherry Creek Realtors” or “Wash Park Homes For Sale”. But real estate is super cool in that you can target tens or even hundreds of keywords easily just by taking videos and pictures as you drive around on your listing appointments or buyer showings.

This video about “Stratford Lakes” Real Estate has had over 400 views. While it is a pretty basic attempt, it has resulted in closed buyer business and has established Tena as a keyword holder for that subdivision.

This video has given Deb a foothold in the St. Petersburg, FL area and has resulted in at least two closed deals that we know about.

As you can see, these are just 41 and 33 seconds each. I think anyone has to agree that taking 33 seconds to make something that could earn thousands of dollars of commissions is a high quality use of time!

Keyword Tracking

Once you pick a keyword or three, you will want to start tracking your rankings for that keyword and see how you are are fairing in the search engines. We recommend a couple of different ways to do this:

Google Webmaster Tools – This is a great way to find out what you already rank for and can target how to rank even better for key terms.

Proranktracker.com
– A really neat site for seeing your current rankings for targeted keywords. They will send a daily email about how your keywords are ranking.

Social Media Marketing

So we have hit on keywords for your website (which you can use for your videos also). Now let’s take a quick peek at social media and the similar and different ways that you can target your keywords to maximize your efforts.

Google+ – Some of the results that appear in the “real” Google Search Engine come from posts on Google+. You can use your same keywords in those posts that you are using in your website.

Hashtags – Start checking out Google+, Twitter and Pinterest to see which keywords match your real estate marketing niche. To give you an idea, there is a #denver #realestate and #cherrycreek hashtag. Now, this will probably work less effectively for subdivisions but is still well worth figuring out. I love using hashtagify.me for finding new and relevant hashtags.

Top Realtors – If you would like a customized real estate farming strategy for your team to implement, give me a call today to find out more! 727-415-9165

We Wrote The Book On Marketing To A Farm!

Real Estate Marketing To A Farm EbookHow To Find, Grow & Reap The Benefits of a Geographic Farm…Find out tips and strategies to cultivate a successful real estate farm area. While researching for this title, we were surprised to discover how little real information there is out there about how to farm a neighborhood.

Included Topics:

  • What Is A Farm, Choosing a Farm & Farming For Sellers
  • Newsletters, Postcards, & Brochure Boxes
  • Website, Video, Email, & Social Media
  • Open Houses & Door Knocking
  • Creative Farming Ideas

Looking to take your real estate marketing to the next level? Start here

Marketing Tips For Real Estate Teams

Marketing Tips For Real Estate Teams | Realtor MarketingMarketing your real estate team is a bit different than just advertising for a single agent. There are a number of different considerations that you should make sure to take a look at and have a rock star plan in place for how to accomplish your team goals.

Being A Real Estate Rainmaker

When you own a real estate team, oftentimes you are the sole person actively generating leads for your agents. You need to be directing marketing activities that will provide leads for them to follow up on.

You can also provide materials that they can use to talk to their sphere like “send me your referrals letters” and even real estate related stats that they can send to their friends and family via email.

Whatever you do, it is your (or your admins) responsibility to track each lead, asking for accountability from your agents. Some will say that “internet leads suck” or some will not want to do floor time. We have found that the teams that take these things into consideration and dole out the leads their agents believe in most will have the best results.

Should You Merge Your Clients

Some of the agents that join your team will have a database of their own. With all the tools in place now to sort and sift contacts, you should ask or require that they add their contacts to your database, assuring that you will release them if they leave and that no one else on the team will get those leads without their permission.

One reason for this is consistency. Realtors have every intention of marketing consistently, but then they get a couple of buyers and a few deals under contract and the marketing goes out the window until that cycle ends and they need someone to work with again.

If your admin or in-house marketing person is consistently doing mailings, reaching out on social and emailing great information, why not include your agents’ sphere contacts. As long as this is part of the interview process for joining your team and you have a rock solid plan in place for respecting their contacts, it should not be a problem.

Make sure to ask them to report any leads that via phone calls or in person meetings they have so you can track incoming leads and the sources.

Client Database Versus Marketing Database

While we are talking about databases, lets look at how you handle your marketing database versus your “in contract” database. Today’s top agents are using their databases to track the entire transaction, most of them have some sort of client portal and basically your closing coordinator is a whiz at keeping tasks and closings on track.

A super strong marketing database will be a little different. It has to have a way to collect email addresses off of the internet in exchange for something great (like a free report on which remodeling projects make the most money back – prospecting for sellers!)

It also should be where all your Zillow, Realtor.com and Craigs List leads go. These are really internet leads and you may have to nurture them for weeks or even months before they are ready to talk to an agent. Sign call leads that are not ready to work with an agent should be here too!

Functionally what you want to do is have a plan for contacting all of these people every week forever. Your leads, your agents’ leads and every other contact that you can find should be included. We recommend two different databases for this. mailchimp.com if you are just getting started or Infusionsoft if you are going to be doing a lot of internet marketing.

Team Photography

You might have thought that this is the old, “picture of your team” but no! This is the new, “make sure your team is taking pictures ALL THE TIME!”

Most teams are set up so that the Rainmaker is the listing agent or owner and the agents on the team work with buyers. As such, they are spending time driving around and getting the chance to snap photos of interesting houses, local attractions and even “selfies” of themselves working with happy customers.

You should have a dropbox folder where your agents can upload all these fun pictures for you to use in your marketing! These types of photos are great for sharing on Pinterest, your Website and Facebook. Just have them name the pictures what they are like this: clearwater-beach-at-sunset.jpg.

Should You Market Your Agents?

One last thing to consider is really important and can have a huge impact on your business. When you have a real estate team, you can handle your marketing in two ways:

1. Only market the team leader. This is a great way to keep consistency and to know that all your marketing efforts are headed in the same direction. The problem with this method is that many people will only want to work with you and there could be an awkward changeover point where they find out they will be seeing houses with a different agent. Not un-overcomable, but something to consider.

2. Market your agents. Here is another potential problem. If you are marketing and supporting your agents, sharing them on your social media, blasting them in your email newsletter and featuring a separate page for each one on your site, you can find that they are receiving leads that you are not aware of.

Now, we aren’t saying that the agents are being sneaky, just that they consider that phone call a one time event and your marketing person or admin considers that marketing time well spent and will put them in the database and drip on them forever!

If you can get your agents to report every lead they receive and ask for phone, name and email address, then YES! Market them.

We believe that all the little ships rise up together and that trusting and counting on your whole team (admins, marketing peeps, agents and closing coordinators) is the very best way to get leverage so you can do what you love!

If you would like to talk with us about how to structure your team’s marketing, check out our Realtor Marketing Strategy page to find out more!

Realtor Marketing – AgentMatch, What It Means To Your Marketing

Realtor Marketing - Agent MatchThis is a post about “Who moved my cheese”, the fact that everything changes and that you CAN win at any game in which you know the rules!

So Realtor.com rolled out AgentMatch in two marketplaces, Las Vegas and Boulder which is just around the corner from me. Basically, it uses the sold data on properties to “match” your search to the “best” agents in the area.

Wanting to know more, I put out a call for a Realtor that would talk about this with me who actually worked in the Boulder market (many of the agents I hear yelling are not actually in a market that has this yet) to get his opinion. His name was Jason Sater, with Coldwell Banker and these are a few of the things that he said:

  • Agent match is in Beta right now and may not roll out to the whole country. In addition, agents could do the same function in Zillow (loading in their solds) for a while now so not sure why all the hub-bub.
  • Jason has seen a nice mix of teams and individual agents ranking in the searches he has done. It seems like the top agents are represented but also some of the other agents in the area.
  • It does seem like you could manipulate things like DOM just by deleting the listing, reposting and setting as sold more closely together.

What I find interesting is that Jason is not actually freaked out at all. He is pretty calm about the whole thing and is really just trying to get his arms around what it will actually mean for his business. Make sure you check out his Boulder real estate website!!!

This is what AgentMatch looks like…

Agent Match Boulder COI started with a search that seems to be in “North Boulder”. Now, as a consumer I did not know that it would be North Boulder and I am not sure I would have noticed. The portion contains some normal market statistics:

  • Number homes on market
  • Homes sold in the last six months
  • Average sold to list price
  • Average days on market

Marketing Tip #1

The first thing that jumps out at me if I was a listing agent in this market is that there is no absorption rate shown (maybe because it is a hard concept to explain to consumers). BUT absorption rate is a much more practical number than simply average days on market. So No. 1, when going on listing appointments I would ABSOLUTELY print this top part out and bring it with so I could talk intelligently about it. Panic-ing agents worry that they are not on the bottom showing up as “best”, I would worry about being the most knowable agent sitting at their kitchen table.

Next there is a dropdown and while it defaulted to Agents with recommendations, I could also choose:

  1. Agents with recommendations
  2. Homes for sale in this area
  3. Homes sold in this area
  4. Average days on market
  5. Average sold price to ask price

Marketing Tip #2

Real estate agent selling tips [Ebook]They just dropped a big hairy clue here. If you are a Realtor in this marketplace you need to get more recommendations…and not just ANY recommendations.

According to a great article by Inman, the recommendations have to be made on RealSatisfied.com which seems to have a relationship with Realtor.com (my words not theirs).

So following the bunny trail down, you probably need to find out more about RealSatisfied.com. It looks like they have a free plan that lets you get up to three recommendations. Now, that may or may not be enough to get you on the top 16 in your marketplace, but I have to think it is a good place to start. I would DEFINITELY set up an account and get my three favorite customers to give me referrals…I would go to their homes and beg if I had to.

So here comes the hard part. If you need more than 3, you have to pay $79 a year for unlimited. Sigh. I am so sick of people charging realtors for tools they have to have for their business…BUT if this rolls out in your marketplace, better to have it than not.

Looking at the numbers

When you are using data, it is easy to get confused (and manipulate it!) Because they are looking at recommendations here, we can extrapolate that R Tim Goodacre must have the most reviews in RealSatisified. OR it could be that ALL 16 have great reviews and they rotate the top agent. OR, OR, OR…what it does mean is that we need to take a closer look at all the data…

So now let’s see what each criteria results for the top 8 agents for each category:

Recomm Listings Solds DOM Sold/Ask
Goodacre Goodacre (6) Goodacre (4) Goodacre (32) Ratay (103%)
Hobson Bell (4) Hobson (4) Herz (36) Herz (101%)
Franco Franco (3) Franco (2) Westfall (37) Caulfield (100%)
Ratay Kidder (3) Ratay (2) Meko (40) Hinkleman (100%)
Huffman Hinkleman (3) Westfall (2) Hill (45) Soklin (100%)
Kidder Hillman (2) Meko (2) Hobson (49) Hobson (99%)
Hinkleman Meko (2) Caulfield (2) Soklin (49) Franco (99%)
Bell Hobson (2) Huffman (2) Franco (52) Westfall (99%)

Some observations:

  • If you look a this data, Mr. Goodacre seems to be a rock star in all areas except for list to sale price. The problem with data is that one bad sale price could skew the whole thing and he DID make the list at number 16 with 86% for four homes sold. I challenge any realtor to think that this is a “bad” number. It is a real number!!! But then again, is the public educated enough to know that this one statistic is not enough for them to choose or reject Mr. Goodacre.
  • The three top List to Sold gals sold 2, 2 and 1 property each in the last six months. That high list to sale price is nice, but are they carrying a high enough inventory to be a successful agent? Hard to tell by looking at the numbers.
  • I did another search that turned out to be in the “Central Boulder Market”…only Goodacre and Hillman came up on this one in 15th and 13th places respectively.
  • While I don’t think having listings outside of your farm or neighborhood area hurts, what HELPS is to be the neighborhood or geographic location expert. I would NOT split up marketing dollars for prospecting postcards over that line. I would make sure to know what the boundaries of the areas where and stay inside them for maximum effect.

So, should you be freaking out that your Realtor marketing is going be decimated by AgentMatch, um…no! But are there things that you could do even before it gets to you to improve your chances? Heck yes!!!

Real Estate Marketing | 100 Great SEO Keywords for Realtors

Real Estate Marketing | 100 Great SEO Keywords for RealtorsGreat keywords for Realtors include ones targeting buyers, sellers, FSBOs expireds and more! Here are my top real estate marketing search terms for my Realtor friends, broken down into categories.

If you think that there is something I am missing, please let me know in the comment section! Number amounts are the search volumes monthly

For Sellers

Most Realtors SAY they are prospecting for sellers but use all keywords that are for buyers. If you are a listing agent, please consider some of these for your website!

Realtors and real estate agents

  • realtors (9.1 million)
  • realtor (6.1 million)
  • real estate agents (1.8 million)
  • real estate agent (1.2 million)
  • top real estate agents (49.5 thousand)
  • top real estate agent (33.1 thousand)
  • best real estate agents (40.5 thousand)
  • best real estate agent (33.1 thousand)
  • best realtor (22.2 thousand)
  • find a realtor – how to find a realtor (15 thousand)
  • find real estate agents – how to find a real estate agent (8.1 thousand)
  • how to find a real estate broker (6.6 thousand)
  • finding a realtor (4.4 thousand)

Selling a home

  • selling a home (550 thousand)
  • sell your home – how to sell your home (74 thousand)
  • sell house fast (40.5 thousand)
  • sell home fast (33.1 thousand)
  • selling house fast (27.1 thousand)
  • ways to sell your house (14.4 thousand)
  • sell my home fast (9.9 thousand)
  • home selling tips (8.1 thousand)
  • marketing your home (6.6 thousand)
  • sell your home fast (6.6 thousand)
  • selling your home fast (4.4 thousand)
  • staging your home to sell (720)
  • cost of selling your home (480)
  • house selling tips (8.1 thousand)

Short Sales and Foreclosures

  • foreclosure (2.2 million)
  • foreclosures (1.8 million)
  • home foreclosures (450 thousand)
  • short selling (450 thousand)
  • short selling (450 thousand)
  • short sale process (22.2 thousand)
  • short sales process (18.1 thousand)
  • foreclosure or short sale (18.1 thousand)
  • short sale vs foreclosure (6.6 thousand)
  • short selling your home (1 thousand)

top-suggested-resource

Get the book!

Real Estate Marketing To A Farm EbookHow To Find, Grow & Reap The Benefits of a Geographic Farm…Find out tips and strategies to cultivate a successful real estate farm area. While researching for this title, we were surprised to discover how little real information there is out there about how to farm a neighborhood.

Included Topics:

  • What Is A Farm, Choosing a Farm & Farming For Sellers
  • Newsletters, Postcards, & Brochure Boxes
  • Website, Video, Email, & Social Media
  • Open Houses & Door Knocking
  • Creative Farming Ideas

Looking to take your real estate marketing to the next level? Start here

out top suggest next step resources

  • for sale by owner (1.22 million)
  • fsbo (135 thousand)
  • property for sale by owner (201 thousand)
  • properties for sale by owner (135 thousand)
  • sell your own home (9.9 thousand)
  • sell your own house (8.1 thousand)
  • selling your own home (6.6 thousand)
  • selling a home on your own (6.6 thousand)
  • for sale by owner listing (6.6 thousand)
  • for sale by owner listings (5.4 thousand)
  • listing property for sale by owner (1.6 thousand)
  • selling your house by owner (720)
  • selling your home without an agent (320)

Seller Tips

  • tips to sell your home (49 thousand)
  • short selling a home (27.1 thousand)
  • what is short selling a house (22.2 thousand)
  • tips for (on) selling your home (3.6 thousand)
  • tips to sell home (3.6 thousand)
  • tips to sell your home (1.9 thousand)

For Buyers

  • house for sale (on) (13.6 million)
  • buy home (1.2 million)
  • buying a home – home buying (823 thousand)
  • real estate listings (450 thousand)
  • real estate listing (135 thousand)
  • find real estate (110 thousand)
  • cheap houses for sale (74 thousand)
  • buy your home (40 thousand)
  • house 4 sale (33 thousand)
  • real estate agent listings (27 thousand)
  • big houses for sale (22 thousand)
  • find real estate for sale (9.9 thousand)

Condos, Townhomes and Villas

  • condos for sale (1.2 million)
  • condo for sale (1.2 million)
  • villas for sale (368 thousand)
  • villa for sale (301 thousand)
  • townhomes for sale (246 thousand)
  • townhouse for sale (201 thousand)
  • town homes for sale (165 thousand)
  • town houses for sale (135 thousand)

MLS

  • mls listings (550 thousand)
  • multiple listing service (60.5 thousand)
  • multiple listing services (49.5 thousand)
  • mls multiple listing service (49.5 thousand)
  • mls real estate listings (27.1 thousand)
  • real estate listing mls (14.8 thousand)

Buyer Tips

  • when to buy a home (1.2 million)
  • how to buy a home (1.2 million)
  • home buying tips (9.9 thousand)
  • tips for home buyers (3.6 thousand)

First Time Home Buyers

  • first time home buyer (301 thousand)
  • first time home buyers (301 thousand)
  • first time home buyer programs (49 thousand)
  • first time home buyers programs (40 thousand)
  • first home buyer tips (2.9 thousand)
  • first time home buyer tips (2.4 thousand)

Foreclosures

  • foreclosure homes (550 thousand)
  • foreclosures for sale (135 thousand)
  • foreclosure listings (110 thousand)
  • foreclosure listing (90.5 thousand)
  • list of foreclosures (90.5 thousand)
  • list of foreclosures (74 thousand)
  • foreclosure homes for sale (74 thousand)

Misc Interesting Words

  • list of real estate agents (18.1 thousand)

Realtor Marketing – What Should Be On Your Real Estate Website

Oh my friends doing Realtor Marketing…you are killing me! I have talked to literally hundreds of Realtors about their marketing and there are just some super-weird things that drive me nuts about you (the collective you, not you personally…:) The biggest thing to me is your internet presence and what should be on your real estate website!

Generally I try to tell you things that you should do in no particular order, but for this one, I am going to break it down from most important to least important…

5 Things You MUST Have On Your Real Estate Website

  1. Somewhere for them to sign up to your email list
  2. An intro video of you talking
  3. An about us page that talks about how you help them (NOT about how you are great at playing guitars or any you, you, you at all really)
  4. Customer testimonials (bonus points if they are video testimonials)
  5. Neighborhoods that you farm

But wait, where is the MLS search? Don’t I have to have an MLS search?

Real estate agent selling tips [Ebook]Yesterday I was talking with an agent and she was working on her site. She had spent a good deal of time and money to get it up and running and was considering whether to hire us (who do realtor marketing) or to hire a company that could integrate her database with her MLS search. In talking with her, I found out that she had between 50 and 75 searches a month on her MLS search. Sigh.

Having a back end system to track 50 searches a month will not add anything to her bottom line. And according to the latest numbers, Realtor.com gets 20 MILLION unique visitors a month, Zillow.com has had as high as 30 MILLION visitors a month, and Trulia.com gets about 22 million visitors a month. Homebuyers are NOT generally going onto Realtor websites to search for homes.

Another thing that chaps my hide is that most agents who are building big websites are listing agents (we all know that the money is with the listings). These agents say they want to get more listings but have a huge search box on their front page, prospecting for…wait for it…buyers! Ack.

So yes, I say that having an MLS search embedded on the home page of your website is a waste of time and money and is about number 25 on my top things a real estate website needs to have. Now that we have that out of the way, back to our regularly scheduled program…

What you SHOULD have on your real estate website >> Somewhere for them to sign up to your email list

This is the whole enchilada! Going to all the trouble to get someone to your website and then not having an amazing offer for them to sign up for is just silly. You should have a relocation guide, or a report like 5 Ways To Sell Your Home Fast, or (if you are prospecting for FBSOs) 7 Secrets FSBOs Don’t Know That Realtors Do!

Any of these amazing offers will compel someone to give you their email address and thus give you the chance to market to them forever. Want more about this? Check out post:

Realtor Marketing – Should You Use WiseAgent, Top Producer or InfusionSoft?

Next up – An intro video of you talking

Having an intro video is vital to getting another human to like you. Human beings are genetically predisposed to wanting that connection and you can accomplish that with a video of you talking. One of our clients HATES seeing herself on video, but got over it fast when she started getting commission checks! Check out the Irish Realtor and her amazing video intro

As you can tell, it is not perfect, she is squinty, BUT she is expressly telling people that they can call her! That is so impactful in this world on online-only communications!

An about us page that talks about how you help THEM

I follow an ad guy who talks about NOT we, we, weeing all over your site visitors. Back in the day, I went to a Hobbs Herder event and they were selling 10K packages to brand Realtors. You would tell them what you like and they would develop a whole marketing plan based on you and your interests. One guy liked playing the guitar and another liked his dog. Sigh.

How much time would you have to spend reading about how your accountant’s childhood or his love of fast cars and loose women? I jest, but think about it. When you are a hiring a professional to work for you, you want to know what they can do for you. Yes, you might like to know that they graduated from Harvard or that they have been in business for 20 years, but those are one liners to find out AFTER you have decided to work with them.

Your website should be all about THEM and how you can help them sell or buy a house. Why your processes and practices mean that they will have a smooth, stress free closing and that it will not consume their life.

Customer testimonials

The internet is full of liars and we know that anyone can write anything they want on the internet. That said, we still appreciate knowing what other people think and this is why testimonials are so powerful to marketing. Just knowing that someone else who worked with you and had a good experience is enough to tip the scales and get them to pick up the phone.

Now, let’s get back to the, anybody can write anything on the internet. What about if your testimonials were videos? Real people talking about how you helped them to get their dream house or sell their home fast and for top dollar. How you held their hand or were supremely professional. These types of testimonials are more powerful than anything you say, ever.

One of our clients uses his Zillow Testimonials on every page of his site. This third party endorsement helps this Tampa Bay Realtor show that working with his team is easy and productive.

Neighborhoods that you farm

Last but certainly not least is having specific pages about each area that you farm. Think about it, if someone is looking for Denver Real Estate, they are probably just at the early stages of their hunt. Drill down to a suburb like Westminster and they are getting warmer, BUT when they hit the subdivision level, they are ready to buy or sell.

These people are the cream of the crop and you should have a page just for them, with a video and possibly a number of pictures of that subdivision so they can feel like they landed in the right place.

Wrapup

I could go on all day about realtor marketing and what you should have on your real estate website. I KNOW, some of these things are so ingrained in the Realtor community that my ideas may seem shocking or even crazy, but just think about it before you slip back into, “but everybody does it that way”. If everybody is doing something, sometimes stepping out of the box helps you to reap great rewards!

Realtor Marketing – Should You Use WiseAgent, Top Producer or InfusionSoft?

Realtor Marketing – Should You Use WiseAgent, Top Producer or InfusionSoft?So today’s post is for my bestie, the fabulous Deb Ward (send her all your referrals for the Tampa Bay area because she lets me call her out to your benefit!)

So you are just getting into real estate or your are thinking about changing your real estate database over to something new. You have heard at conferences and from your broker that the best two on the market for realtors are WiseAgent and Top Producer so you figure they will be good enough. Sigh…

So what is so wrong with using a realtor database instead of a “real”, internet marketing database like InfusionSoft, iContact, Office Auto Pilot or any of the others out there on the market? Here is my take at 40,000 feet (read first and then watch the video)

1. Realtors have been told for eons that they need a realtor solution. They like marketing tools specifically made for realtors without looking around at their fellow realtors. These tools are made for the lowest common denominator, the agent who can barely work her cell phone and who is using the company website. Some of these dears are AMAZINGLY successful, but they are not exactly cutting edge on the technology front!

2. Having your listing process or closing tasks embedded in your real estate database might be a good idea, but most of the realtors I have talked to lately are using a third party closer or are using a system embedded in their broker site or MLS. The last thing you want is to have all your closing tasks in your marketing database (in my opinion). Your marketing database is bring in leads, lots of them, and then nurture them until they become real prospects.

3. Having a database that is a marketing database instead of a realtor database means that you will have actual tools for prospecting, building your website, collecting leads, sending autoresponders and generally doing real marketing instead of just tired old drip campaigns that annoy your prospects.

4. If you are primarily a listing agent, why the heck do you make the main focus of your website data capturing buyers likes and dislikes?

So finally to realtor marketing databases….

Deb is currently using WiseAgent and there are some good things in there for realtors…but darn it, I don’t care about realtor stuff, because she is my friend, I care about her getting more real leads, having more closings and making more money. That’s it. I don’t sugar coat it with her and so I am going to give you the real deal info too!

You need to start internet marketing right now! You need to have programs and campaigns specifically designed to prospect for people that you want to work with. If you are working with buyers, you need to make sure that you marketing is geared to fulfilling their needs, sellers need something different and you want to make sure to satisfy that too!

Some examples for buyers include… free relocation guides for buyers, a native’s tour of your town, top restaurants in the area, subdivision info, etc.

Some examples for sellers include… tips for home staging, honest talk about pricing, a checklist of what to get fixed BEFORE you list your house, etc. (ohohoh thought of another one! how to list your house so that you get cash offers instead of having to deal with Jumbo loans)

Do you see a theme here? If EVERY OTHER REAL ESTATE WEBSITE in the world has listings or heaven forbid an offer for a free CMA and you have real information that would actually help them, who do you think is going to get that phone call to come list me….:)

So what are we going to start with? A FSBO email marketing autoresponder. The FSBO signs up to get tips and tricks on how to be a better seller and Deb gets the chance to start a relationship with them without having to lift a finger!!! (find out how to do a campaign like this yourself at Tools for Realtors – there is an opt in form on the right)

So what are the steps?

1. Make a series of videos (as you can see in the free course, we didn’t go high tech here…just good solid info from Deb!)
2. Set up a web form to capture data (in the video below) and then
3. set up the email followups

That is it! I KNOW the first time you see this it seems like it is SO many steps but never fear, the first time you do anything it is hard, after that you do a system and then just start banging them out.

this is recorded in real time….:)

So, to wrap up. Your website should be made to do just one thing, capture leads from people who want to work with YOU (not just buy houses). You need a database that has internet marketing capabilities (I recommend InfusionSoft because of the ease of use and that handy dandy campaign builder), then you need to do some follow up emails, ensuring you stay top of mind when they are looking for a real estate agent to hire!

(that IS an affiliate link for InfusionSoft! I SO love them…:)

Resources from this post!

How To Set Up A FSBO Email Campaign – Tools For Realtors
Come To Clearwater – Clearwater and St. Pete Real Estate
Raj Qsar – Orange County Real Estate
Smart Passive Income Blog
Perry Marshall Adwords
Chris Brogan
InfusionSoft Database for Realtor Marketing

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Unfriending Your Real Estate Clients – Realtor Marketing

Realtor marketing question – should you be unfriending your real estate clients on Facebook? This week we got A LOT of questions asking about a post that one person had written, suggesting that if you have friends on Facebook you could be, scary music sounds go here, ruining your real estate career and putting your license at danger of being revoked.

Realtor Marketing Unfriending Your Facebook ClientsFirst off, I hear a “sky is falling” thing EVERY day. Earlier this week was that Realtors should stop using Facebook as a lead generating tool, talk to people who they like, are a client or might be a client.

On Wednesday I got a frantic call from another client who said, “DID I KNOW THAT THERE WAS A FACEBOOK PHONEBOOK AND THAT EVERYONE’S NUMBER IS LIKE PUBLIC?!?!?!” I did know that and so what. If you are in business in general, your number is on your website, on your business cards, in your ads and generally available for, huh, people to call you. If you are a Realtor, your number is generally in eight inch high numbers on each of your yard signs.

So let’s address this new “calamity”. Per Facebook’s terms of service, “You will not post anyone’s identification documents or sensitive financial information on Facebook.” There. If you are a Realtor, do not post identification documents or sensitive financial information on Facebook. This will protect you from violating your terms of Facebook service.

Here is one person’s opinion that got everyone in an uproar:

For example, what are your obligations in terms of protecting your clients’ private information? Do you need a disclosure that says that if a client becomes your Facebook friend that Facebook may distribute their contact information including their cell phone number to third-party advertisers? Could you be sued for violating client confidentiality?

The bottom line here is that if you are doing a transaction with a Facebook friend, the smart move may be to unfriend your clients immediately. For friends who do become your clients, the moment you enter into an agency relationship, you may need to remove that relationship from Facebook as well.

If your clients ask about your decision, explain to them that you are concerned about protecting their privacy and that you will be communicating with them either through a transaction tracking platform, e-mail, phone or text messaging. http://lowes.inman.com/inmaninf/lowes/news/137520

BIG DISCLAIMER – you are a grown up, if you agree with this writer and want to unfriend all of your clients, do that. If you read my opinion below, you lose the ability to sue me for saying what I believe, should you do something stupid and lose your license.

So what does that mean to Realtor Marketing on Facebook. Nothing. If you are a normal agent, you have clients on your Facebook and you talk to them about your dog, the weather, showings you have done, listings that are neat, etc. THEY know that per the terms of service they should not post sensitive financial information on the Facebook and I am sure YOU know that you would not be putting their closing updates on their wall for the world to see. Additionally, THEY have posted whatever contact information that is relevant to them on THEIR page and you do not have any control over that.

Like everything else in life, this requires a little common sense. I would not post updates to their file on Facebook, I would send them an email or use a transaction software. If we are negotiating a contract I would not post it on Facebook, I would give them a call or send them a PDF.

I see things come through on Facebook every day. Yesterday one of our client’s client posted that he wanted an update on the showings on his house. Since the client instigated it online IN PUBLIC, the agent could have answered, but I wouldn’t do it there. I would say something like, “hey I will shoot you an email with an update” and get on with my day.

Facebook for realtor marketing is like everything else in life, have a little common sense and you will be fine!

Realtor Marketing | Real Estate Email Newsletters

Realtor marketing is a funny thing, especially real estate email newsletters. I get hundreds of email newsletters from agents every year and most of them are WAY off the mark as far as good marketing practices and just plain old sales techniques.

Realtor Marketing - Real Estate Email NewslettersToday we are going to tear up Danielle Sharp’s email newsletter! She is a fabulous Cape Coral Short Sale Realtor, but not such a great email marketer (AND she has a thick skin so her feelings will not get hurt!)

Basically Danielle is doing everything wrong from her subject line, to content to delivery method and we are going to go over all that and make sure you know WHY they are all wrong and WHAT to do to make them better!

Real Estate Email Newsletter Subject Lines

As you can see from the picture, the subject line of the email was “newsletter”. Now that is factually correct, but doesn’t really give me a reason to open it other than that I like Danielle and am on her list. I have seen other subject lines such as “Monthly News From The Irish Realtor” or “Jason Lee’s Financial Newsletter”. Each month (or week) the same email subject line. Yawn.

What happens when you send the same email month after month, your readers get fatigue and stop being excited to read what you wrote. So what are some good email subject lines?

  • Check out these “SPOOKTACULAR” properties – Lori Crawford, Trinity Realtor, has a sense of humor and sends out the best real estate newsletter email subject lines. She reports that people email her back with funny comments and she has even had showings because people looked at her listings, imagine that!
  • Pinellas Home Prices Take A Nosedive, What is the market coming to? – we are going to talk later about market statistics BUT if you lived in that county, town or subdivision, wouldn’t you be interested in knowing what that is all about? You could add a “call me for a free CMA” to get even more out of the news!
  • Want to know how many homes sold in Denver last month?
  • 3 Things You MUST Do Before Putting Your Home On The Market
  • Top 5 Things That Most Buyers Miss In A Home Inspection

You get the drift. All of these headlines are a REASON for me to want to open the real estate email newsletter BEYOND the fact that I like the agent. Using these kinds of teasers will increase your open rates and make doing that newsletter less boring because you know that people will be reading.

Real Estate Email Newsletter Mailing Companies

Real estate agent selling tips [Ebook]Most Realtors want to use what is easy to send their newsletters, whether it is effective or not. Database companies like Top Producer, Wise Agent and MyRedTools are not set up to be email newsletter distributors. Their skills lie in being REALLY good contact databases. If you are going to take the time to write a great email newsletter I STRONGLY recommend that you pick a true email company like Mail Chimp to do your mailing.

Their ONLY job is to send email newsletters and they are very good at it. They make sure that they stay off of blacklists and that your messages will get delivered. Now, it does mean another $20-ish going out a month BUT that is just a cost of doing business. Trying to jury-rig something that is good enough is a waste of time and energy if the emails never get delivered.

Additionally, they send out HTML emails (the pretty ones that open up right in your email client). Danielle resorted to sending a PDF of her newsletter. Now I don’t know about you but I have heard HUNDREDS of times not to open up attachments, so she might lose some people there. I also am super busy and tend to just glance at a message to see if it would be something I would want to read, she would lose those people also as they probably don’t have to time to download and open a PDF (if there is anyone reading this who is NOT super busy I have some work that I would like to offload on you!).

Real Estate Email Newsletter Content

This is a HUGE bone of contention for me! Realtors LOVE to send out recipes, health tips and other such fluff in their email newsletters and I contend that they should stick to real estate and home related topics because they are not chefs or Martha Stewart. Danielle said that she was still going to have a section for fun stuff she found that was not real estate related – can’t win them all!

So what should you talk about in your newsletters?

  • Market statistics – EVERY MLS on the planet publishes last months market statistics. How many homes sold, how many condos, what the median price was, etc. Make a nice format for these types of things and then send them monthly with a little overview from you about what they all mean. You can talk about seasonality to sales, absorption rate, all the things that you know and never let the world hear!
  • FAQs – Your email sent mail folder is FULL of questions that you have answered for prospective sellers and buyers. Include the question and answer to one of these a month.
  • Featured Clients – People love to read about other people! Write a case study about that first time homebuyer you just closed or the short sale couple you helped. This is called social proof and makes people want to work with YOU rather than all the other agents who send newsletters.
  • Articles about the national real estate market
  • Articles about the mortgage market - you can even get your mortgage guy or gal to help with some of the content!
  • Home Inspection Tips
  • Staging Tips

There are literally HUNDREDS of things that you can mail out. Oh, oh, oh, if you have a blog, why not post a blurb about recent posts with a link to the article. Drive to web baby! AND if you have Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, links to those go in the template of the email also.

There you have it, my rant about real estate email newsletters! If you have any good suggestions, let me know, if this sounds like too much work and want us to do it for you, check out our Realtor Marketing Services page!

Disclaimer – there IS an affiliate link to constant contact and a couple of gratuitous links to realtors I think are doing a good job!

Real Estate Marketing To A Farm Area

Real Estate Marketing To A Farm AreaReal estate marketing to a farm area means that you are picking out a geographic location such as a subdivision or a small town and focusing on making a name for yourself in that area, becoming the defacto Realtor of choice.

I would like to say from the start that I am PRO farming as a part of your real estate marketing efforts! Having a farm is a way to lay claim to an area which you become EXTREMELY familiar with and which becomes easier to service because of economies of scale!

How To Pick A Farm Area

This is a tricky one! If there is a super high end subdivision in your area, it would seem like that would be a farm area of choice for the aggressive Realtor. Couple of things to consider there though:

  1. How many homes sell per year in that farm area
  2. Can you afford the higher costs you will incur to sell million or multi-million dollar properties?

My trick was always to pick a subdivision with a high turnover rate that was in the high first time homebuyer or low move-up buyer price range. Targeting this price point will assure that you will have a ready, willing and able pool of buyers to purchase all those listings you get!

Economies of Scale With A Farm

I briefly touched on this, BUT there are HUGE economies of scale when you have a farm area. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • You can service all your brochure boxes at once (yes in a farm you want to have a brochure box so that all those lovely neighbors can see your name in print!)
  • You can organize neighborhood open houses with your own listings
  • You can stop by and see sellers with one drive
  • When advertising, they will all be able to go into the same types of publications
  • You can cross sell your other listings when getting buyer calls
  • If you pay to have flyers distributed, you are only looking at one route
  • You can develop email and mailing lists to that one area and save the cost of purchasing them
  • You will know all the problems and benefits of the community (for example, one area that I worked had dysfunctional gas tanks in the ground that HAD to be removed prior to the sale. It was MUCH cheaper and less stressful to tell the sellers that BEFORE we listed the house rather than when under contract!)

Effective Real Estate Marketing To A Farm

There are many things that you can do when marketing to your farm, some more effective than others either monetarily or time-wise. I am sure to catch flack for where I put some of these but here are my suggestions!

  • Sending just listed or just solds – NOT just for your farm area but include your farm in EVERY mailing you send. This will let them know that you are an active agent!
  • Neighborhood Newsletter – it is VERY easy to get the mailing lists for homeowners. Some MLSs provide tax records or if not you can buy them from a list broker. Remember that you want to get the OWNERS for listings and the RENTERS for buyers!
  • Brochure Box Flyers – I HATED brochure boxes, they were always empty and the most likely to trip me up, BUT they are great for branding yourself with neighbors! Make sure to list all your other homes for sale in your farm on the back so that you can cross-promote them all.
  • Open Houses – Make sure to do LOTS of open houses in your farm area. This is a way to meet the neighbors and to get their contact information. Tell them that you have a great email neighborhood newsletter and get their email address! Once you have a bunch of emails you can send your hard copy newsletter quarterly and the email newsletter on the off months.
  • Farm Signs – If you Realtor Association allows it, brand yourself as the neighborhood expert with sign riders or custom signs right for that area. You can call yourself the neighborhood expert BEFORE you are, there are no “expert” police!
  • Special Features – Let your farm know that you are willing to let them know BEFORE homes in the area go on the market. They might not buy but they will appreciate knowing what is going on (neighbors ARE nosy!)
  • Neighborhood Videos – Get a flip camera and drive around your neighborhood, recording interesting details. These videos can be posted on youtube.com, Twitter, Facebook and your blog.

Time Wasting, Soul Sucking Real Estate Marketing To A Farm

  • Setting up a community page on the Facebook – This is one I hear A LOT! The thinking is that you are going set up a community page and then the people who live there will flock to it and you will be able to market to them. First, once you get them to join your page, you cannot get their emails out of Facebook to add them to your “real” mailing list. Second, you have to know them BEFORE you can invite them to your page so why not make them a “friend” on Facebook and get them to “like” you regular business page. This sounds like A LOT of work for very little reward!
  • Sending Calendars, Magnets and Stickers – Ask any big-dog listing agent how many listing agreements they have signed with other agents calendar magnets hanging on the fridgie right behind them! They will tell you a lot! I firmly believe that Realtors should send real estate marketing pieces like market statistics and neighborhood news, NOT calendars, recipes or stickers.
  • Setting Up Neighborhood Yard Sales – ALL my KW friends like this idea! Hold a neighborhood yard sale for the homeowners and they will list their house with you…sigh…not sure I get the connection! The time taken organizing that sale could be used to door knock, do open houses, lick and stick postcards, any number of things. For heavens sake, you are a Realtor NOT an event planner!

Okay, let me have it! If you are a Realtor with real estate marketing ideas that I missed, please let me know! If you pet real estate marketing project got shot down and you have had great success using it recently, post a comment and let me know!

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  • What Is A Farm, Choosing a Farm & Farming For Sellers
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Realtor Marketing – Realtor Videos and YouTube

Realtor Videos are one area that I see agents missing the boat on. It amazes me that there are these FABULOUS opportunities out there to get traffic to your website or blog and so many agents are not capitalizing on this opportunity.

Realtor Marketing Realtor VideosI think that one of the reasons that Realtors do not make videos is that they do not want to be on camera. This is an easy peasy one, very few people want to “see” you. They are looking for information about an area or a house, not for the smiling face of the Realtor. Additionally, our voice always sounds funny when we are not hearing it inside of our head. This one you are just going to have to get over, remember that what you are hearing on the video sounds like what everyone else hears all of the time!

Some Suggested Realtor Videos That You Can Put On YouTube

Realtor Videos Of Your Farm Or Target Market Area

There are GREAT opportunities to drive around and take videos of your farm area. Make sure that you talk about the subdivision name, what kinds of housing there is (single family, condos, villas), and what amenities are offered. Here are two great Realtor Videos of their farm areas:

What you will notice about each of these is that they are not perfect BUT you get a flavor of the area, you get to see the neighborhood AND you get to “meet” the Realtor! These realtor marketing videos were placed on YouTube and then embedded on the agent’s blog!

Realtor Videos Of Your Listings

What if you could show how great your new listing is? Well you can! Follow Deborah Ward of Deborah Ward and Associates around her Placido Bayou home for sale in St. Petersburg, FL.

What you will notice about this is that she is not pumping up herself, she is simply showing you around a property, BUT by SEOing the YouTube Video and the blog post, we can help her rank higher for the search term “St. Petersburg Waterfront Pool Home”!

Some other Realtor Video Marketing Ideas

  • Get testimonials from your past clients – hit them at the closing table when they are happiest!
  • Introduce yourself or your team members
  • Show off area attractions, making sure to include real estate related keywords
  • Make videos to send to buyer prospects and post them on YouTube


Basically there is ABSOLUTELY no down side to making your own Realtor Videos, just grab a Flip Camera or your iPhone and start shooting!

20 Percent Of Marketing Works But Which 20 Percent

I have heard that 20 percent of marketing works, but which 20 percent is working is often a really good question! There are no hard and fast rules about how marketing works, but we CAN track the results of that marketing.

20 Percent of Marketing WorksIn the old days, we knew some good numbers about marketing, send out a mailer and get a 2 percent response rate. Follow it up with a phone call and increase that number to 4 percent. Ah, the good old days!

Recently I sat down with a prospect who was throwing numbers around and he asked me point blank, how many percent of the people who will use our service are going to come from Social Media. I told him in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, I do not know. Understandably, he wanted to be able to quantify any investment he would make in marketing, but guessing and throwing around numbers before we knew more about how it would play out is silly to me.

The way I quantify my success in marketing is how many new prospects are created, how many turn into clients, and how well their retention rate is. Lets break those down:

  • How Many New Prospects – Marketing is all about getting new opportunities. I have heard all the mystical stories about how millions are made online without ever having to talk with anyone, but most of my clients are in the service industry or small business owners. I have NEVER sold my services without talking with someone or meeting with them at least once. My prices are not inexpensive for small biz owners and I understand completely that they want to know that there is a real human who knows her stuff at the other end of the line. Those new opportunities that marketing creates are part of the activity of getting new clients. You are just trying to get X number of people to show an interest in your product or services.
  • How Many Turn Into Clients – Even if you have 1,000 leads a day (from my mouth to God’s ear), if you don’t have a followup program to remind them that they are interested, you cannot sell them. To me the beauty of newsletters, twitter and facebook is that you can stay in front of your prospects without SELLING SELLING SELLING. I generally get a new client every time I send an email, BUT those people first got onto my email list through my blog, a speaking event or through social media. Additionally, when you follow up with a phone call from time to time, your conversion rate will climb exponentially.
  • How Well You Retain Them – Keeping your clients happy with your business starts before the sale. If their expectations of what you are going to do for them are not in line with what you actually produce, you will spend a lot time getting new people into the system and spitting them back out. Not good for your bottom line OR reputation!.

Here is a funny Dilbert that shows this PERFECTLY

Tracking marketing results

Marketing does rely on a good product and consistent message, and just being the one talking the loudest will not win! So which 20 percent of marketing works?

To me the marketing that works best is a consistent message, over time (NOT expecting immediate, glorious results), with a clear product offering. I cannot tell you how many small business owners (1) are not sure of what they are selling or (2) change their offerings as often as they change their clothes. Do not get me wrong, I have launched some products that died an ignominious death, BUT I have never changed my target audience or providing the best, most time-relevant offerings possible.

Hot Small Business Marketing Help

Hot Small Business Marketing Help is a mix of the latest posts that we just LOVE, selected resources that we think are hot and a mix of our products and affiliate products that we recommend. This is meant to be an overall resource for small business, entrepreneur and realtor marketers.

Small Business Entrepreneur MarketingGeneral Small Business Tools

Small business owners often have a hard time with basic business focus. These products and services will help you to get a better idea of the basics of your business so that you can succeed at marketing.

Blog post – Small Business Marketing Focus – I have to say that this is the ONE thing that most small business owners miss. From the comments on this post, having a focus is worth SO MUCH more to your business than anything else you can do for marketing efforts.

Small Business Online Help

Blog post – Small Business Internet Marketing Tools – Some of our favorite tools – this is a MUST read for anyone who needs some tips and tricks about internet marketing for Small Biz.

Blog post – Writing Evergreen Blog Posts – Writing evergreen blog posts is not sexy BUT it will make a HUGE difference in how well your website will rank for key terms you need to dominate.

Blog Post – How To Have A Custom Facebook Business Page – Facebook Custom Business Pages are becoming a must-have for small businesses.

Recommended Marketing Videos Resources

I sign up for more training in a month than most of you probably do in a year. I think that learning one new thing a day will make a huge difference in your success. That having been said, I know of a number of totally free marketing resources that you can access anytime you like for FREE!

Free Resource – Gary Vaynerchuk Keynotes – Gary is the author of Crush It and has great content in his keynote speeches that is so worth hearing!

Free Resource – Offervault Recorded Webinars – There is SO much great free information on Mark Roth’s website. It has a free member section that contains webinars on all kinds of internet marketing, NOT just affiliate stuff.

Small Business Marketing That I Pay For or Recommend

It can seem like everything you need is on the internet for free and what kind of schmoe would pay for anything anymore? Well I AM frugal but found out a long time ago that it does pay for information that I don’t know OR for things that will save me time and heartache. These are all things that I use in my business which cost money, but that I think are worth it!

Paid Tool – SEMRush – I had been using another keyword research tool which I liked very much. I got all that info and more for half the price using SEMRush. Worth taking a peek.

Our Products – DIY Small Business Videos – Our membership site has small business marketing videos that are updated monthly. On these videos I tell you the new things that I have learned and which I think can help you grow market share. Check out all of our small business marketing products.

Paid ResourceConstant Contact Email – The reason I use Constant Contact instead of AWeber or another service is ease of use PLUS I did not have to have my list re-confirm the first time uploaded them. My list is NOT super sophisticated and has a hard time understanding why they have to re-up.

Design Resources That I Like

Idea Book by Chuck Green is a GREAT design resource. He has templates and all kinds of design resources.

I will be updating this post when I find new great stuff! If you have something to recommend please leave a comment and I will consider adding it!

Technical Resources

WordPress Site Optimizing Expert Shawn is who I call on when I am having trouble with my (or my clients) blogs. All wordpress blogs experience bugs from time to time and I can tell you that learning to fix them takes a rocket scientist! Shawn is quick and has great pricing. If your blog needs a tune-up check out his roadblock removal package!

Web Directories – this is one of the tools that we use to help grow our clients backlinks.

Realtor Marketing – Realtor Newsletter Ideas

Because I help so many Realtors with their marketing efforts, I KNOW that generating a monthly newsletter can seem like an overwhelming task. Here are my best Realtor Newsletter Ideas, in no particular order.

Realtor Marketing Email NewsletterRealtor Newsletter Ideas

Your Real Estate Newsletter should be a tool to talk with current, past and potential real estate clients. It is actually amazing that we can send an email or two a month and let everyone know we care and are thinking about them or to mail a newsletter into an entire neighborhood and in one fell swoop let everyone know you are a neighborhood expert.

Your Realtor Newsletter should contain:

  • Market statistics – If you are doing a market area it is fine to use MLS wide statistics. If you are farming a neighborhood, it would be best to chunk it down to just that area. You should also be sure to explain confusing terms like “absorption rate” in easy to understand english. A 10% absorption rate means that only 1 out of 10 homes are selling each month.
  • Listings – You should have listing ads in your newsletter. These should be listings be similar in price to the area you are mailing to OR a good move up price OR show that you are a luxury lister. If you do not have your own types of these listings, ask someone in your office if you can “borrow” theirs. Few listings agents will say that you cannot help to market one of their properties.
  • Real estate agent selling tips [Ebook]

  • An informative article – This is a big one in addition to statistics for making your readers feel they got a value for their time. It can be about current local market trends, national real estate news, home related items like preparing for winter, what hurricane season means to your insurance needs or even house care tips.
  • A picture of the agent – I am way happier with agents using a logo to represent their business, BUT this is one place that you can have something like a “Lori’s Corner” and get your face out there.
  • An article or ads from an outside vendor – Per RESPA you cannot charge for space in your newsletter BUT you can get compensated for the exact amount of space they use on a print document. So you could feature a mortgage lender on one panel of a three panel piece and charge him one-sixth of the total cost of the mailing. Make sure you take into account all the costs of the newsletter including labor time to put it together, time to copy and prepare it, copier costs, postage, cost of the list if you have to buy it, etc. To make it even more on the up and up, I had him make the check out to USPS to purchase postage, rather than having it made out to me. Covered us both business wise!

A database of clients is an invaluable tool for printing labels or sending emails. If you are using Top Producer or My Red Tools then you have the ability to generate lists of physical or email addresses. Not only did I email my newsletter to my database, at least 4 times a year I would mail them a hard copy version. Over 5 years after leaving the business, I would bet that some of them are still floating around in desk drawers!

Realtor Marketing Logos – Does It Have To Have A House?

Realtor marketing logos are a big deal in my world! I work with many Realtors and generally we start the branding process with a logo for the agent. The first question I get is…does it have to be a house?

Realtor Marketing LogosStarting out as a Realtor or even re-branding yourself in this new real estate market is always a challenge. When you are setting up your marketing plan, the most important thing you need to have in place is your logo. It determines the colors and theme of the rest of your materials. With that in mind, I thought I would show you some of our realtor clients’ logos and what the thinking was behind the design.

Does it have to be house?

I truly believe you should say EXACTLY what you are selling! It is all well and good to set up an elaborate branding campaign if you are a multi-million dollar company blowing into a new area, but for most small business owners, those marketing numbers are out of reach. For realtor marketing I am divided between two schools of thought…

  • If you are going to be doing a lot of realtor marketing and have a plan for how that is going to be implemented, you can make your logo any old thing you want!
  • If you are going to be using your logo on letterhead and maybe on a sign, then it would be best to stick to something that is recognizable as a house so that people who see it can immediately associate it with real estate.
  • Realtor Marketing Non House Logo Examples

    Realtor Marketing Logos Lori CrawfordOne of my personal realtor logo favorites is Lori Crawford, Trinity FL Real Estate Agent. Lori came to us knowing that she liked sand dollars and that this was the icon that she would like to have for her logo. She has ROCKED the marketing using her logo on everything from wine bottles to yard signs. The classic fonts and colors that we used for Lori make this a traditional logo that will serve her well in the upscale farm area that she works!

    Realtor Marketing Logo Grimes Home TeamAnother neat realtor logo was done for Garrett Grimes, of the Grimes Home Team. Garrett is very active in his kids sports, especial baseball. We played off of that look with a Grimes Home Team logo. This double entendre lets people know that Garret is a Realtor AND supports the home team. The teal color with white and black were favorites of this busy agent.

    Realtor Marketing Logos Come To ClearwaterCome To Clearwater was the name of my website when I was a Realtor in Clearwater, FL. OF COURSE this is my favorite real estate logo of all times. I liked the combination of a road to represent the “come” part paired with the beach and sunshine of Florida. The blue and gold combo is a popular color choice which is contemporary and up-to-date.

    Realtor Marketing House Logo Examples

    Realtor Marketing Logo Donna HastingsThe Donna Hastings Team was looking for a logo which would be simple but still show her real estate roots PLUS a tropical look and feel. Notice how the gold color paired with black instead of blue makes a tremendous difference in the feeling of the logo. Donna wanted a clean look which would go well with her high end marketing materials.

    Realtor Marketing Logos Palm Harbor Real EstateThis is one of my favorites! Palm Harbor Waterfront Specialist, Julia Fishel, was looking for something with a house AND an immediate visual that showed her commitment to selling beach and waterfront properties. The fresh sunshiney colors are a great combination and one that we have used in many of her marketing pieces!

    Realtor Marketing Text Only Logo Examples

    Realtor Marketing Logos Denver Realty and RentalsFinally, you can have a Realtor Marketing logo which only is text. Denver Realtor, Tena D. wanted to use her company name as her logo. Denver Realty and Rentals is a great example of simplicity and fun, with the classic color combination of black and red which works well with the black and white photography that we use in her marketing pieces.

Realtor Marketing Funny Realtor Postcards

Realtor marketing is generally a serious thing. That having been said, if you have the right personality, funny realtor postcards can be a great advertising tool!

Funny Realtor PostcardsWhen I was Realtor, I frequently used humor to make connections with my clients, prospects, sphere and farms. While I did not use comical sales verbiage often, when I did I got an overwhelmingly positive response! While this is primarily about postcards, the ideas that are here will work for door hangers, popby cards and even t-shirts or notecards.

When do funny realtor postcards work?

I have known some really serious realtors who would not dream of leaving their homes without their power suites, pumps and hairspray firmly in place. They fly through the day, decreeing things and are generally not all that fun-loving. Funny realtor postcards are probably not even on their radar.

Now me, I am the self proclaimed queen of corn and find any and all puns funny. The picture above with the saying “it is fang-tastic” always makes me smile – fang-tastic, get it?!?!?! Okay, back to serious realtor marketing then. So, long story short, if you are funny in real life then marketing based on puns, plays on words or funny pictures could work for you.

What types of headlines work?

There are numerous sales channels that you can use for funny realtor postcards including buyers, farming, holidays and more. Here are some ideas to get you started. If you have some more that I missed, please leave them in the comments!

  • Buyers – Looking for a new pad – pair with a frog picture
  • Buyers – Why the long face – Having trouble finding a great house? – pair with a horse face
  • Sphere – Help me CLEAN UP in real estate and enjoy this soap from Sister Agnes – we used this one to when we commissioned little soaps to give as popbys at Christmas time
  • Sphere – I will SPRING into action as soon as I get your referral…if you know anybody that is looking to buy or sell a home, please let me know!
  • Sphere – Don’t fall for any old agent, get the best – with pictures of leaves
  • Farm – Would you be my, could you be my, won’t you be my neighbor! – let them know you work their neighborhood
  • Farm – Isn’t it time to find out what your home is worth? – with a clock picture
  • Investors – Jump into the real estate market – with a diving picture
  • Fall – Real estate is kicking off the third quarter in sales, there is no better time to get back in the game. Winning interest rates, wide open inventory all add up to a touchdown for the “home” team!

Additional Funny Realtor Postcard Resources

Please visit our Realtor Marketing Resources page to find out what companies we recommend for Realtor Marketing services!

top-suggested-resource

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Included Topics:

  • What Is A Farm, Choosing a Farm & Farming For Sellers
  • Newsletters, Postcards, & Brochure Boxes
  • Website, Video, Email, & Social Media
  • Open Houses & Door Knocking
  • Creative Farming Ideas

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Realtor Marketing Is Social Media Necessary

Realtor marketing has come a long way from carrying around a huge listing book on your buyer appointments. BUT is all of the new realtor marketing hype important and is social media REALLY necessary.

Realtor marketing social mediaIf you listen to the hype, every agent must now spend as much time marketing as I do (and I am a full time marketer!) They must be blogging, tweeting, friending, getting on foursquare, emailing and more every day. Well, in the interest of letting you guys off the hook, that is not true!

Let’s take a reality check and talk about what you really must do to accomplish your profession…write contracts, show houses, attend listing appointments, attend closings. That sound about right? I have been a Realtor so I know what it takes to make money and not one of those things involve learning new technologies.

The sound of silence I am hearing from my fellow Realtor Marketing experts is overwhelming and if you are a realtor who wants to convince yourself that you are okay with not ever marketing again, stop here and you can feel vindicated.

The wonderful San Diego Realtor, Kris Berg, wrote an article today about whether social media marketing is bad business for Realtors. I agree with most of what she said BUT have a different viewpoint of the success.

I have talked to Realtors this month who have gotten listings through postcards, had come list me’s because of a blog post and one who does about 98 percent of her lead generating through blogging. I DO think that marketing works and that any agent who wants to stick their head in the sand and rely solely on prospecting or calling their sphere is a little naive.

That having been said, if you are a Realtor I think you fall into 3 different categories…let me know what you guys think!

  • New Realtors or Realtors in transition in this new market – If you do not have a bunch of listings or buyers in the car, your ONLY full time job as a Realtor is to get more of one or the other. I have seen agents who do not currently have a buyer and only have a couple of listings tell me they are working full time – doing what? If you have more time than money it is SO worth your time to learn how to use all of the social networks, set up your blog, mack out your company site, set up your emails, and generally get your house in order. I suggest doing this at open houses where you COULD get a client but that is up to you.
  • Seasoned agents or Technophobes with no clients or computer skills – In this day and age, if you refuse to learn the computer, you are falling further behind every day. It is not cute to see an agent who cannot even check her email or send a pdf for signatures. Today’s savvy buyers and sellers generally expect an agent to be proficient at the basics at least, so get out there and try some new stuff. If you don’t know how to do anything, hire the front desk person to teach you an hour a week. If you are truly that clueless though, the time it would take you to set up everything is lost time. Hire someone to set up your empire and then focus on learning to use it and grow your social networks until…
  • If you are a successful Realtor with buyers and sellers then your time should be spent with buyers in the car, on listing appointments (well you get the drift). If you like doing techy things, do them when you have time. My buddy Deb Ward loves tinkering BUT has people to load her listings and do her marketing tasks so that she can be doing Realtor work. I work with two other successful agents who know where their time is best spent so I take care of getting their “stuff” set up and updated, with anything they do as just gravy. We have made blogs for a bunch of Realtors, since learning to set them up has no value to them, while producing content is fun for them.

Today’s agent can feel like they are failing all of the time. If they are busy, the stress of dragging those properties, kicking and screaming, to the closing table is huge. If they are not busy, they feel like they should be doing more realtor marketing, most times they just don’t know what or how. Guys, give yourself a break! Whatever you are doing is fine, just remember to keep adding to that everyday and you will get there!!!

If you would like to find out more about our DIY Realtor Marketing or our Marketing Maintenance for Realtors plan, please give me a call!

Is Small Business Marketing EVER Done

I talk with small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors on a daily basis and what I hear most often…is my small business marketing EVER done.

Small Business Marketing QuestionsThis usually follows them telling me that they had a website built a couple of years ago and now people are telling them they need a blog. OR they are doing postcard mailing and everyone is telling them that is dead. OR they want to know if they REALLY need an email contact program because they kinda, sorta use their yahoo account for that now. Social media, social networking, article marketing….argggg.

Well I have good news and I have bad news….

The Good Small Business Marketing News!

If you are willing to be flexible and move forward with a light heart knowing that everything marketing will never stay the same again, you will probably kick the tail of all of your competitors who are out there moaning about how it used to be.

More good news…it doesn’t cost a fortune anymore to do small business marketing. Facebook and Twitter are free. There are apps and skins and gizmos that plug right into what you are doing now which make things easy peasy. You do not have to rely on direct mail costs anymore to reach everyone, you can email or blog or write articles (I am a HUGE proponent of direct mail BUT do not want that to be my only option!)

The Bad Small Business Marketing News!

Everything is changing. Once you get MySpace down and have a good following the gang moves over to Facebook Groups. Then they tell you that Facebook groups do not count anymore and you have to go to Fan Pages. Your website is outdated before it is done being built. You have to get new business cards with your Twitter name on them or you are a giant loser, oh wait twitter is gone and gazoombas is the next big thing (I made that last one up BUT I guarantee that there WILL be a next big thing!)

How the heck are you supposed to keep up with all of this?!?!?!

To my way of thinking there are two types of small business owners, those that like marketing and those that think it is a necessary evil. For those of you who like marketing, come back often and check out the super duper new stuff!

For those of you who do not, we are considering offering a monthly marketing manager model to keep you on the cutting edge of both the internet and offline marketing. I would REALLY appreciate it if you would take my 3 question survey about your small business marketing needs. It will take 2 minutes and is totally confidential! Click here to take survey

How to Choose the Right Keywords for Your Small Business

How to choose the right keywords for your small business is one of the most important things that you can do with your marketing efforts. This post features guest author Reid Peterson, Internet Marketing Educator at growthinharmony.com!

Keywords Small Business MarketingFor those of you that don’t know by now – your keywords do matter.

That doesn’t mean to choose a keyword like “Real Estate” because you are a real estate agent and you sell real estate. You would spend the rest of your life competing for a search result ranking that might make page 5. (if you’re lucky)

And you might think you’re clever and choose “Real Estate Denver CO” because you sell real estate in Denver, Colorado.

Guess what? Instead of taking a life time to rank high in search results pages, it may take a decade. (and if you’re a rock star- like one who would publish two or more blog posts per day, it you might get to #1 rankings in a year.)

Yes, SEO companies promise you page 1 rankings (and often #1 ) by tomorrow, but even if that is true (which I’m still waiting for someone to video blog their success of that), you would have to pray that the views of your website are converting to business. Are they?

So your website success (earning business from the people who view it) starts somewhere- where exactly is that “somewhere?”

It starts with keyword research and you have to be both very smart and creative about the keywords you choose. Here’s how to use your smarts and creativity to choose the right keywords for your business:

1) Know your customer. And I mean know them well- all five senses (maybe avoid what they taste like though.) You’ve probably heard that you must know your ideal customer’s needs (wants) but do you know how they react to the emotional umcomfortabilities that create their needs and wants? Yep, you must know that!

2) Listen to how your customer communicates. What words do your ideal customers use to speak or write? Those are your keywords right there! (I now feel complete but also compelled to write more)

3) Test the words your ideal customer uses. Now that you know what your customers say to express their needs, you have to see if there is enough search volume for these phrases. Google “google external keyword tool” for a free method of checking the search volume for these phrases. You can also use wordtracker (not sure if it is free) or a software that I think is inexpensive: Market Samurai (this is what I use and it serves me well.) When you select your tool, determine how many searches is enough for your business to prosper from.

4) Wordsmith the phrases that you select. You may have thought “Real Estate Denver CO” was a great keyword phrase because it has a specific location included in it, but guess what? Other real estate agents have also done the same thing. The competition is probably very high to compete for. Instead, get even more specific (and creative). People searching real estate online may be in the market to buy a home… Why not compete for the search term “buying a home in Denver?” (You may be surprised)

5) Use your smarts. Your final step is to analyze the key words/phrases that you’ve creatively crafted. Use analytics (in your head) to assess the relevancy of the phrases. Do they represent the language/communication of the community that represents your ideal client? If you were a good business person and listened to your ideal client speak emotionally about what they need, would you hear them say the keywords that you selected? If not, it’s time to go back to being creative and come up with new ones.

Going through this process of using your creativity and smarts will help you select the right keyword for your business; Ones that reflect the needs of your ideal clients. Also, ones that provide the comfort that your clients are seeking (which means sales for you!)

Reid Peterson teaches people how to market their business online. He teaches in focus group formats; empowering business owners to learn self SEO, Social Media, and Better Blogging methods. To learn more about Reid Peterson and how you can master your own online marketing, visit http://growthinharmony.com

Realtor Marketing Videos to Flip Over

Realtors who are marketing with videos are miles ahead of their competition. For the best Realtor marketing video camera, I can not recommend anything more highly than the Flip Video Camera!

So what does a realtor video look like? This is Deborah Ward’s video for the Sage Condo Complex in St. Petersburg Florida. It took her about two minutes to make and we put it on YouTube as well as embedding it on her Real Estate In St Petersburg site.

For a Realtor who is rocking the video scene, you MUST see Cyndee Haydon’s Sandbars to Sunsets blog. This Clearwater Beach Realtor knows her stuff when it comes to video marketing!!!

Realtor Marketing Flip Video CameraSo why should Realtors buy a flip camera specifically? Because they have opposable thumbs. Honestly, that is the sum total of learning to use a Flip camera. Click the red button once to start. Click the red button again to stop. Then plug into your USB drive and move it over. Upload to YouTube and that is it! I can not tell you the number of Realtors I have met who got a fancy HDR, high def or some other kind of picture taking monstrosity that they can not use because it is too complicated. Make your life simple and spend the $150 bucks on a Flip!

PS – There is an affiliate link to the Flip camera in this post and I will make a little bit of money if you click on it. If you do not want me to get it, go to amazon and type in the search yourself…:)

PSS – This is the kind of information we give over at the Marketing Artfully Do It Yourself Realtor Marketing site. For the rest of the month of March, if you purchase the do it yourself realtor marketing, I will upgrade you to the ultimate plan since we are still in beta phase for the lifetime membership!

Niche Marketing Know Your Audience

When I think about niche marketing I am as hesitant as the next person to eliminate any potential customers BUT it is totally necessary! If you try and please everyone, you will ultimately please no one and will have a hard time succeeding. So, what causes me to make that terribly bold statement?

Niche MarketingYesterday I was at a networking group with a copywriter who had just visited our group for the first time. She asked if she could bounce one of her products off of us and we said of course! She then proceeded to say that she was offering to review any communications that we would send out including emails, blog posts and marketing materials, making sure that they were grammatically and visually correct. Huh. Well anyone who reads this blog knows that is NOT a top priority for me…sigh. Just the other day I sent out a message that said my Free Website Class was being held on February 32nd.

Now don’t get me wrong! I am as driven to provide great information and content as the next gal, BUT being perfect all of the time is not one of my main goals. That having been said, Joy (my friend the Denver Bookkeeper) sitting next to me was thrilled that someone would help her make sure that everything went out right. Gotta say, I WANT my bookkeeper or my accountant or my lawyer to have a higher level of persnickity-ness about their communications than my marketer or my hairdresser.

I work on volume and if I had to have someone review every one of the 100’s of blog posts or articles or emails I do a year, my reach would go down and I would not have the level of success I enjoy now. That having been said, she could definitely have a great client base if she were to focus on providing service for people who ARE worried about doing things perfectly. Joy would be a great client, a doctor would be a great client, anyone who is in a professional industry probably shares some of that same fear of sending out a “bad” communication!

Yet still she tried to convince me that I was wrong and that I should be more concerned.

You CAN NOT convince someone to buy your product or service without A LOT work. She would do better to focus on providing great products and services to a smaller group of people who are receptive to hearing her message. This is niche marketing at its finest!

Now I am not picking on the new copywriter only…I talk to a lot of realtors every month and the first thing I ask them is who they work with – buyers or sellers, condo owners or single family homeowners, first time homebuyers or move up buyers. Invariably, most of them say ANYONE! Anyone who can fog a mirror is a potential client. ARGGGG. If they would just make a stand and concentrate on some kind of niche, they could do so much more and achieve even more success.

My niche market is working with small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors on their marketing needs. I know FOR SURE who my target market is, so reaching them becomes easier than if I said that ANY company in the world is my potential prospect.

Please do not feel that choosing a niche eliminates anyone else. I do work with larger companies which have a more entrepreneurial spirit or who have a real connection to who I am or what I do BUT that is my choice. Day to day I am blessed to work with dynamic, interesting and sometimes chaotic entrepreneurial souls who are making a difference in the world!

Realtor Marketing Most Real Estate Websites Let Realtors Down

Is your website submarining your realtor marketing efforts? Most realtors I know do not cruise the internet marketing sites and forums like I do so they are not aware of some the top things that effect their page rank or how high they are listed on google. Having worked with LOTS of Realtors with different brokers over the years, I can tell you FOR SURE that if you are using a website provided to you by Keller Williams, C21, Coldwell Banker or any of the other big guys you probably do not rank well for local search terms.

Different Realtor MarketingDo you know why? It is because google hates duplicate content! I wrote a post earlier in the week about Duplicate Content for Small Business Owners and MLMs but I didn’t want my Realtor buddies to think this was not about them also!

When we think of Google’s goals for their search results, this makes total sense. If you did a search for “real estate” and google returned 1,000 or 10,000 of exact same site with just a different realtor’s name on them, you would stop using google. This means that google is looking for new and exciting content that they can serve up to their searchers and that your cookie-cutter site will never be found!

At least those sites where free….sigh. My pal Deb Ward (Dunedin Realtor) has a fond wish that eventually she will have enough disposable income to afford a Number One Agent or other duplicate content website for her realtor marketing master plan. That is crazy in today’s day and age. Spend that money on a blog which you can optimize and then buy tons of content to plop into that site to help you rank higher in the search engines! I know I am fighting a losing battle when my best buddy still wants to throw me over for smoke and mirrors but I will just keep trying..:)

We have made a couple of really neat Realtor websites lately from sea to shining sea – Kathy Moore of Franklin Tennessee Real Estate News and Cecil and Charlotte Volsch of Homes For Sale Victorville California both launched recently with great content, keywords and IDX functionality!

If you DO have a duplicate content site from your broker, change it today as much as possible to help you rank better with the google. If you do have a little bit of money to spend on a website blog, give us a jingle today and we will see if we can build a site in your sales area or farm (we don’t make competing sites in the same area…:)

Facebook Marketing Getting Personal

Marketing Artfully was recently featured in New Business Denver for social networking (more about that coming later!) I have been getting some great questions about Facebook from the readers and when I answer them I will share with you, my loyal readers. The first question is one I get A LOT, can you keep your Facebook personal profile separate from your Facebook Business Pages? My question back is, should you?

Facebook MarketingHere is the question…

I just have a question for you – you recommend joining facebook, but you specified NOT to create a business account. I already have a personal facebook account that I’ve been intentional about keeping separate from my business. Can I create a personal account for my business instead of a business one- how do I go about this? I’m feeling so confused!

Facebook’s terms of service say a personal profile needs to be a human and that each human can only have one personal account. So in my case I am one human (www.facebook.com/tara.jacobsen) with one personal profile. Right now I have 1,532 “friends” of Tara Jacobsen. You should absolutely NOT set up your business as a person since it is not a human…:)

Facebook allows you to set up multiple Business Fan Pages, so since I have multiple sales channels I have one fan page that is my Marketing Artfully general fan page and one that targets Realtor Marketing. I also have ones for my other interests like Western Decorating and Photography Marketing, but since those are more personal passions I don’t spend as much time on them.

Now to be totally honest with you, it is VERY hard to find out that my pages are associated with my profile unless I deliberately try and show people. I can share my page posts on my personal profile BUT it doesn’t do it automatically and I don’t share every marketing post with my general friends, just the ones that I think will benefit the general population.

So if you are concerned that your “friends” will be inundated with marketing messages from your business page you are wrong. That having been said, it is VERY hard to get fans for your Business page if you are adamant about not combining the two pieces. It is SO much easier to make friends than fans and many times your friends are aware that you are passionate about your business anyways and probably would not be surprised to know that you like things related to your profession.

Hope that helps clear up some of the questions. My take on it is that the line between your public and personal lives are blurry anyways and the internet has made that ever more evident. If you are going to be successful marketing your business with Facebook I would just hang your love for your business out there and let the chips fall where they may. My husband (a programmer and FABULOUS photographer) keeps threatening to “unfriend” me because I talk about marketing all the time!

Do you love your small business

People who meet me or attend one of my training sessions are always blown away by how much I love marketing. Sometimes I get up at 4am because I can not sleep anymore thinking about all of the really neat marketing stuff I get to do that day. Do you love YOUR small business that much? If you do, great, move along with what you were doing before. If not, here are a couple of suggestions about what you can do to get motivated!

falling in love with your small businessGet Small Business Systems In Place

Sometimes I find myself wondering what I am going to do if I get more customers. It is a REALLY high quality problem to have, but if I can’t service them well, what is the point of having them. If you are concerned that you might get too many customers, here are a couple of ways to handle them…

  • Make sure you (and your employees) know what to do from start to finish on each project or sale. I KNOW that taking time to define and write down your systems takes time initially but it will serve your business for years in the future.
  • Know that you are going to be busy for a little bit, but then you can get more help. There is always an awkward stage when you go from the volume of leads and customers you are used to having to having A LOT more. Just know that eventually you can take all that extra money you are making and hire more help!
  • Make sure you are asking your helpers to do what they are good at! If your assistant is good at marketing, don’t ask him to call your accounts payables – those are different skill sets. Find a qualified person to do what they excel at and both of you will be happier!
  • Raise your prices! If you are in a service business and have WAY too much work, raise your prices OR vow to only work with clients you LOVE at the same price you are charging now..:) If you get too many leads or they are not the kind of clients you want to work with, refer them out.

Get more prospects and follow up

  • There is nothing that helps a small business succeed like lots of leads. If a business is struggling, in almost every case I can guess that it is because they do not have enough people to sell to. Marketing fixes this, networking fixes this, cold calling fixes this. Any plan you make that involves doing a specific lead generating task ALL the time (not just when you are slow) will assure that you have lots of prospects to sell to.
  • Brian Tracy says that the most important things to do is prospect, present and FOLLOW UP! Most small business owners have no system for following up with their prospects after the initial contact. This is one area that will make a tremendous difference in your business and which is WAY too involved to cover in a bullet point…:) Get a plan to follow up!!!!

Stop listening to the news and your peers

  • If you are constantly being bombarded with doom and gloom it is easy to think that all business is down. That is NOT so! I don’t watch the scary news but I do read a bunch of blogs by business owners who are excited about their business. They are growing, expanding their lines, hiring more people and basically thriving which helps reinforce to that little voice in my head that it IS possible.
  • I help with a lot of realtor marketing plans and if I could tell you the number of agents I know who think that the market is FABULOUS you would fall off your chair. The good ones are thriving in this market because there is less competition and skill matters more than ever. If they can be optimistic, surely you can!
  • The news says small shops are closing left and right…true but there are also prime locations that were unaffordable before that good store owners can snatch up now!

Really people, if you own your own business and are not thrilled to get up, stop it. Either figure out how to light the fire in your belly again or shut it down. If you are not enthusiastic about what you are selling, how is anyone else going to get fired up to buy from you?

Make 2010 the year to get happy about your business!

There is no one marketing thing that works

I have been talking about this with humans A LOT lately so I am just going to get it off my chest here. There is NO ONE marketing thing that works! Facebook is not going to change your life, getting a blog or a website will not get you 1000 prospects tomorrow, new business cards – nope, print advertising – nitch, direct mail – nil, video – nada. Small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors need to get a grip on the fact that anyone selling them THE ONE THING that will take care of all their marketing needs is lying (and not just a little bit, a big fat lie!)

small business entrepreneur and realtor marketingThere are a bunch of small business owners who are sad. They do not like doing marketing much and prospecting (calling) is out of the question for them. They are pining for the good old days when they could just place their yellow page ad once a year and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Realtors are looking for a time when sitting in the office meant that you got the next live buyer or seller that walked in the door for floor time. Pine away, those days are gone and yearning for them just means your small business is slower to get going in the new, more competitive marketplace.

Think about what has come and gone even in just the last decade…

  • I started 2000 arguing with business owners that having a flash movie between their website and the search engines was harmful (and expensive)
  • HTML built websites were hard to build, expensive to change and gave way to…database and frame websites that were hard for search engines to find!
  • No one even knew about google
  • Direct mail fell off the map in the latter part of the decade (smart marketers know that now is the time to get in when competition is low)
  • Advertising in newspapers stopped being the other easy way to market
  • Snazzy marketing materials and design became affordable at Vistaprint.com
  • Blogs showed up as a great way to get found by search engines and were easy to use
  • Social networking like myspace came and went and new ones like twitter and facebook took their place
  • AND people started using the internet to find small businesses instead of using..wait for it…the yellow pages!!!

Now-a-days small business owners have to be more marketing savvy. They do not have to learn HOW to do the actual technical parts but they DO need to know what works the best for their business AND get involved. I can guarantee that no one will love your business like you do so handing over your marketing to a snake oil saleman could be death of it!

I am putting this out there loyal readers – before you spend more than $1,000 on any type of marketing please post a link to what you are thinking about here. If I think it is great I will publish it and give  your marketer some great publicity and you the thumbs up. If I think it less than great I will message you behind the scenes and let you know my thoughts. I have talked to too many small business owners lately who are spending a FORTUNE on snake oil…:(

There is an affiliate link for vistaprint in this post, if you click that and then sign up I will get a little bit of money, if you would like to avoid giving me a little bit of money type it in manually.

Is Honest Affiliate Marketing An Oxymoron

I have a huge question for you! Is honest affiliate marketing an oxymoron? Is there a way to make a little bit of money and still keep your integrity? Should you care?

My Take On DISHONEST Affiliate Marketing

honest affiliate marketingAs you know, I am a big marketing reader and learner. I have taken courses from people who recommend cloaking and using pseudonyms and having software download on people’s computer to guarantee that I get the credit for affiliate links rather than someone else (like having dibs when we were kids).

I have even set up some accounts (like one) using a pseudonym. I got all stressed out like the rest of the internet world when I heard that review sites where getting banned from google (I have done some reviews!!! am I going to be sent to google hell?!?!?!)

My take on it was that it was A LOT of work to keep the “gray hat” stuff straight. It also took more work than I was used to because it was separate from my name and my marketing artfully empire. So I tried it and said no! But that having been said, it is very lucrative and if you are an organized snarky person it may be worth your time to do!!!

The sites that are being banned tend to be sites where the blogger “reviews” three products (all with affiliate links) without having used the products or knowing much more about them than they pay well. Unfortunately some good guys got caught up in this net too.

My Take On Honest Affiliate Marketing

So what is honest affiliate marketing and does it apply to internet marketers only? Is it worth your time as a small business owner or entrepreneur to learn? I think so but you tell me…

Example 1 – Copywriter extraordinaire – Nancy Juetten

Nancy Jeutten had a boutique, highly paid PR company before the market turned in 2008. She was not looking to become an internet marketer or affiliate rockstar but circumstances required that she become one! Now Nancy is a TREMENDOUS advocate for the people she promotes. She has an editorial calendar that offers just one spot per month for affilate marketing links and then the rest is promote her amazing prodcuts like her Free Ebook – 32 Articles to Unleash the Power of Publicity.

Example 2 – Dunedin Realtor Deborah Ward

Deb recommends a product called Infusionsoft that she uses to keep in touch with her clients. She thinks it is great and it works well with her real estate marketing efforts. She signed up for their affiliate program and gets a commission when she recommends it to her realtor buddies. Is that HONEST? I think so if she is actually recommending it AND I would think that anyone who signs up and loves the product would thank her for it!

Example 3 – Michael Martine Remarkablogger

Michael recommends the Headaway for WordPress theme. He uses it on his site and recommends it to his clients because he thinks it is the best thing for them (I recommend the Genesis Theme because I like that one the best). If he TRULY feels that theme is great and that it serves his clients well, is it wrong for him to get a little bit of money if someone buys it? (please note Michael’s clarification – “I earn a percentage of sales for the work I do with them.”)

Marketing Artfully Examples

So I DO do affiliate links for products and services that I think are beneficial to my readers. I make sure to note that I may get a little bit of money if someone buys the products when I blog about it (this relatively new as that rule was not in effect until recently so older posts do not include it). I also tweet links for people to find great information, products or free stuff. Let me know if you think I am out of line…

  • James Wedmore has AMAZING YouTube training videos. I have purchased his products in the past and been happy. People have purchased his products through affiliate links of mine in the past and not asked for a refund. I plan on tweeting this out to people who follow me on the interwebs. Is that honest?
  • My friends send me affiliate links when I am going to buy something they recommend. My buddy Cyndee Haydon (Clearwater Realtor) and I were talking the other day about something she had tested and she said she would send me her affiliate link to buy it – I was not offended, I was just happy to know about it AND that she would get a bonus for telling me!
  • I bought Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It! AND got to see him in person (it was fabulous!) I think everyone in America should read it and then become motivated to do what they love like I do. Is it appropriate to include an affiliate link in my recommendation?

I KNOW there are hundreds of other examples out there of dishonest affiliate marketers but I tend to think that most small business owners and entrepreneurs could find SOMETHING that they could recommend that would make them some money. Especially if they are doing it in an honest and above board manner…I welcome your thoughts!!!!

I have literally millions of affiliate links in this post (okay, like 4) and some links to my friends websites which gives them google juice. Soooo…if you click on some of the links in this article I may make a little money, if you rather I didn’t, type in the URL manually!

Internet Marketing – Making the most of your marketing efforts

internet marketing successWhen you start internet marketing, or real life marketing for that matter, you are all fired up. You are going to tweet, and facebook and get a blog and free websites and and and…. Then one of two things happens A) nothing works because you did one thing on each of those mediums or 2) you get lots of business so you stop doing what worked!

The other thing I hear is that small business owners, entrepreneurs and realtors don’t have the time to do this kind of marketing. They are too busy running their businesses to do lead generating to get more sales. Sigh. Their ONLY business is getting more customers and prospects! If they have no customers they have no business! So what is a smart marketer to do?

First – Determine what you like to do!

If you like to sit in front of the computer, make sure you are spending your time wisely…

  • Watch TV and follow more people on twitter
  • Take the time to write thoughtful blog posts instead of watching HGTV or Spike
  • Set up multiple twitter accounts in the niches you would like to target
  • Set up multiple blogs in the niches you would like to target
  • Answer your emails
  • Stop removing yourself from lists
  • Set up google alerts to get the latest information and inspiration on what to talk about
  • Get a database like aweber or constant contact and learn how to set it up

If you hate sitting in front of the computer, take 15 minutes a day and do these things

  • Answer your emails from the night before (if it will take more than 1 minute to answer them then put them on your list of things to do and move on)
  • Follow 50 people on twitter using twellow.com
  • Go into Facebook and accept your friend requests then post your status and “talk” to a couple of people on your live feed
  • Add a link from google alerts about something interesting to your fan page

(membership site gang – watch out for a really neat video later this week that shows how to pick your best marketing opps!!!)

Second – Stop Whining

This one is going to be a little bit mean so if you are having a bad day skip it…:) I do SO many things on the internet. I do everything I have suggested and more. I have client work to do, I have articles and blog posts to write, for goodness sake I have over 20 blogs, 5 twitter accounts, 4 Facebook pages, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and think that there is too much to do – then I look at the time I am actually spending working. I mean nose down, no phone, no emails, no nothing, just work. It is about 8 hours a day.

Can you say that you are actually working 10, 12, 14 hours a day. Really? When you are honest with yourself, couldn’t you carve out an extra hour (or even 15 minutes) a day to schedule dedicated time to growing your business?

Third – Get help!

Okay, back to being nice..:) When I say help I mean whatever help YOU need. I don’t need much help with setting things up because I am good at it. I have been doing it A LONG time and some things that may seem overwhelming to you are not hard for me. That having been said, balancing my checkbook is too much for me. All those numbers, ick. So – here are some ways you can get help!

  • Hire an assistant (virtual or real) to do some stuff for you. An assistant is only as good as what you need though. I need someone who can make sure I am doing my client work in a timely manner, enter all the people I meet in my database and add people to my membership site. I cannot expect an assistant to fix my blogs when they break (I hire a programmer for that), I cannot expect my assistant to be an accounting wiz (I hire my CPA and bookkeeper for that). DO NOT give your assistant more than they can do technically and DO NOT try to farm out your internet empire to them. If you do not know what to do hire a marketing person to SET UP the systems for your assistant to manage.
  • Learn to use tools – All those twitter accounts I have, most of them update themselves automatically when I post on any of my blogs via twitterfeed.com. Updating all those Facebook pages is super easy with hootsuite.com. I use writers to help with the heavy lifting of content for my niche blogs. I use my database to talk with people all at once. I automatically follow people using socialoomph.com. All these things make it easy to manage multiple accounts BUT I had to set them up first. Get your online empire built the right way and managing it is easy for you or your assistant!
  • Schedule time – Do you see a theme here? If you do not put time in your calendar to do these tasks you will never get them done. Take the first 15 minutes or hour of your day, shut off your phone and do your online marketing (or if you are having an assistant doing it, stop bothering them with “real work” while they are doing it..:)

Anyways – if you are down here, you are probably interested in REALLY starting to do some internet marketing. Congratulations! Your business will thank you and your bottom line will thank you.

Big Changes Coming!

Hi All – Just wanted to let you know that are some BIG (exciting) changes coming soon to Marketing Artfully in the Small Business Internet Marketing, Realtor Marketing and General Marketing Info Arenas!!!

Here are just a few of the things we are going to be doing:

Creating a membership site where we can keep all of the great information that we produce like videos, teleseminars and content all in one place. YAY! OF COURSE, some will be FREE and some will be paid but all will be the same high quality info that we always give!!!! Just a note, if you were thinking about getting the social networking videos DO IT NOW! The price is just $24.97 for lifetime access and that will be the very first thing that gets updated in the new membership site SOOO you can get your social networking videos now before the price jumps to $47 on January 1st!!!

Changing around how Marketing Artfully is set up! I think that I will have to go back to the old layout so people can see the membership login area. I don’t know if you noticed but I added a search the site feature so you can find exactly what you are looking for easily from the hundreds of posts.

Telling you guys more and more specific information about internet marketing, keyword research and blogs. Some of you have been with me a LONG time and I know that you are not newbies anymore. For the new year I am going to be breaking out some tougher marketing concepts and pairing those with webinars and teleseminars!

Anyways – hope you all have a great Christmas (or similar fun holiday) and I will see you next week!

PS – If you have any burning requests for information, specialized seminars or how you like to buy stuff (one time fees or subscriptions), speak now or forever hold your peace!!!

Realtor Marketing – Direct Mail Postcards

Realtor Direct Mail Postcards
Realtor Direct Mail Postcards

The BEST marketing money I ever spent when I was an active Realtor was on direct mail postcards! I sent them out to my farm, to past clients and to prospects. To this day, two years later, I still get people who mention that they are sorry that I am not still sending them as it helped them keep up with the real estate market in the area that I farmed!

So why should YOU mail out realtor postcards? Here are my top five reasons!

  • They hang around A LONG time – people will keep them on their desk, bulletin board or refrigerator for longer than you ever though possible!
  • It reminds people that you are still in business – I know, you are a professional and should not have to say so BUT with the market the way that it is you never can be too sure.
  • You can market your listings – I know this one is not popular but it is true! Part of the reason you are paid commissions is that you market a property. I always made sure to put my client on the mailing list and boy did it make an impact that I was doing my job when they got it in the mail.
  • They help grow your farm – When you do consistent mailings into an area you become the defacto neighborhood expert even if you have never had a buyer or listing there!
  • Lastly, the cost has come WAY down from when I was doing it!!! – The price per piece, including addressing, First Class Postage, and Delivery is now $.40 per piece. Dang.

 

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That last one is a life saver!!! The one thing that I did not like about doing real estate postcards was the cost! First I had to order the printing, then I had to have a bulk mail stamp to save on postage, then lick and stick the stamps and finally schlep on down to the post office and make sure I had my postcards sorted the right way. Wow am I having a bad flashback!

The cool thing now is that you can order one or a thousand with no change in price – the weensy ones are forty cents no matter the quantity you order when you use www.BrokersHelper.com (KW Agents make sure you use My Red Tools for a little discount).

So as you are planning your marketing for the upcoming year, make sure that you consider adding direct mail postcards to the mix. Here are some of the top ones that I sent out with great results!

  • Expireds
  • Just Listeds
  • Just Solds
  • Neighborhood Info
  • Spring Ahead/Fall Back
  • Happy Thanksgiving
  • Funny Realtor Postcards (if you are not the queen of corn like I am don’t do these)
  • Future sellers drips
  • Farms
  • Under contract in X days

Ones I didn’t send

  • Recipes – I am a realtor not a cook!

Hope those help with your realtor direct mail marketing ideas – please feel free to comment if you notice one I may have forgotten!!!

Realtor Marketing – FREE Social Networking Workshop

This is quicky because there are only a few seats left! Join me Friday afternoon in Largo, FL for a FREE Marketing for Realtors Social Networking (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) Workshop.

You will walk away with your social networking sites set up (the right way) and tons of information about how to use these FREE tools to get more buyers and close more deals.

Super Secret Realtor Marketing Info About The Free Workshop

Realtor and Small Business Marketing Tip – Google Voice!

Google Voice - Realtor and Small Business MarketingSo you know I like make sure my realtors and small business owners know the latest and greatest marketing information so that you can take over and dominate your market! Well today’s topic is Google Voice!

I signed up for Google Voice a few weeks ago and got the notification the other day that I was in…YAY! The thing that I like the best about this is that they provide you with a local number to use on your marketing materials BUT you can also forward your messages from your cell phone to google voice, they transcribe it and record it and then text or email you with the message. You can also text right from the comfort of your desk chair.

The setup is super easy and only took me about 5 minutes to get up and running. The best part for me is that I was paying for this service with another company and now get it for FREE!

Hope that helps with realtor and small business marketing!

How To Market Your Small Business

Small Business Marketing Day!
Small Business Marketing Day!

People ask me all the time what I do to market my small business (and my Realtor Marketing clients). I KNOW when I hear those words that they want to know the magic bullet – the ONE THING that I do to achieve online success. The ONE THING that I focus on that makes the traffic and sales flow.

Well today is marketing day! I do lots of things on the fly, but today I have the luxury of spending all day marketing my websites, products and referral sites! I am going to be starting at 9am and only have one phone call to break up the day (and it is with one of my favorite people on earth so that is alright!)

So what is the plan? I thought that I would let you know what I plan to do and then I will pop back in and let you know what actually got done. Sometimes it is more and sometimes less, but without a plan I am going nowhere fast!

Marketing Artfully – Small Business Marketing Company
Fix social networking video landing page
Fix marketing artfully layout
Add ads to Marketing Artfully
Monitor new adwords campaign for article marketing
Set up twitter blasts for websites and blogs

Realtor Marketing – Trinity, Foreclosure, Dunedin and St. Pete Real Estate Websites
Set up twitter blasts for blogs
Add social networking buttons to each site
Either do posts or articles for at least two of them
Add MLS search button to all sites

There you have it! I am also listening to some training videos so may swap some in and some out but in general am going to be rocking the internet – watch out other marketing people, I am coming at you!

PS – So I never liked putting pictures in my blog posts because I am lazy…:) That having been said, since I load them onto facebook and the pretty pictures show I have been adding more – yay facebook!

Small Business Marketing – Success Is HARD!

When you think about small business marketing success, there is no magic bullet! I am sorry to be the one to tell you that, but I sick of hearing about “get rich quick” schemes.

I work in the trenches everyday with small business owners and they are busting their humps to succeed. They are learning new skills, networking online and in person, attending tradeshows and training events. They try and fail AND try and succeed!

Some people who make me proud:

  1. Deborah Ward – My real estate buddy who does stuff that I tell her do and never asks why. We are in the process of taking over the St. Petersburg Real Estate and Florida Foreclosures market.
  2. Cyndee Haydon - Cyndee is a Clearwater Realtor who has been working like a demon for 4+ years and now is reaping the rewards.
  3. Mary Dado - Mary and I work together to make blogs for small business owners but her company writes all kinds of business writing. She is working her tail off networking and following up. I am awed by her strength!
  4. Tara Becker – Tara has a great Denver Area Networking group. She is great at talking to people face to face and has grown an 8 meeting a month group. She is NOT a whiz at online marketing but she is learning and slogging through it.
  5. Kirsten McKay Smith – Kirsten of Passion Parties is running hard and has set goals that she is working towards. She is one of the few people I know who have as many things on her plate at one time as I do and I am so glad she is in my High D mastermind!!!
  6. Lori CrawfordTrinity Realtor, Lori Crawford is a great marketer. She is the only person I know who gets a lead EVERY time she sends her newsletter. Into every life some sanity must fall and Lori shows me what professionalism looks like.

I am sure that there are MANY MANY people who I missed but those are the ones that came to mind today. WHATEVER you marketing style is, take a page from one of these gals and JUST DO IT! Start a big audacious goal today, knowing that it will be hard but DO IT ANYWAYS!

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Eyejot – a free email marketing tool!

There are SO many free tools on the internet to get your marketing message out – Eyejot is a winner! One of my absolute favorite marketers – Brian P. Forrester of Mortgage Communication Spot sends out an eyejot most Mondays to tell his sphere important information about the mortgage industry. It takes him less than a minute to record and he reaches many realtors and home buyers with his message!

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If you want to get great updates from Brian, email him to get on his eyejot list…:)

Tracking your statistics – How can that help?

So I had a small business marketing seminar a couple of weeks ago with a focus on real estate professionals like Realtors, Mortgage Bankers, and marketing experts. One of the Realtors who attended (Cyndee Haydon – Clearwater Real Estate Specialist) has been tracking her numbers since the seminar and she is setting the world on fire! Her leads are qualified, consistent and…holy cow there are LOTS of them!!!

Now I cannot take any credit for the number of leads or the quality of them or even how she has developed the system to manage all these leads. What I can humbly attest to – Cyndee is now able to hyper-focus on dollar productive things that she needs to do and all the rest is just fluff. She is NOT answering stray and random buyer calls anymore. She is NOT spending tons of time with unqualified buyers. She IS focusing on her strengths which are generating leads, blogging, networking and all the other things that she is good at and likes!

My heart is SO happy! Not only has Cyndee focused her business, but she tracks her stats so she knows how far she has come! She knows how many leads, where they came from, where they went AND will be following them to see the conversion to clients. If you do not track these numbers you will never know if you are getting better!!!

Just hearing that today made me want to be a better person and track my leads more! I am currently blogging between 1-2 times per day, everyday for a month (which will get ME more leads…:) but the next thing I am doing is setting goals and tracking ALL my leads!! How about you?