All Posts By

Mike Blaney

5 Marketing Mistakes Realtors® Make

By | Marketing Strategy, Realtor Marketing

Making a list of marketing mistakes that Realtors® make was not much different than a list that all businesses are guilty of. The good news is that you can correct or improve in all 5 of these areas without spending any money or even taking a lot of time.

It starts with a plan of the marketing activities for the coming year that will assist you in meeting your financial objectives, help you target your financial and time resources and act as a blueprint for the rest of your career.

1) NO MARKETING PLAN
A marketing plan defines and prioritizes your target audiences, so you can focus your marketing efforts where they will do the most good. It maps out how you are going to find and attract new clients. It reflects the benefits you offer that will be relevant and appealing to your target audiences. Your positioning is the basis for all your communication materials, advertising and contact points—and it can eliminate inconsistencies in your messaging and materials.

• Write out your marketing plan
• Set marketing goals and objectives i.e. add 4 new prospects to your sphere of influence per month.
• Set aside money for a monthly marketing budget – Start with taking 5% of your past year’s commissions.
• Develop a marketing calendar – a to-do list of all your marketing activities with implementation dates and who’s going to do them.

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Six Tips For Realtors® To Make Open Houses A Marketing Opportunity

By | Marketing Strategy, Open Houses, Prospecting

In real estate marketing one of the most debated topics is whether an open house is a useful marketing tool for selling the house and or gaining leads for the Realtor®. While I am not a Realtor® I have dozens of clients who swear by them to sell a house and generate leads using tools and techniques like the ones below.

For a Realtor® an open house is a time saver. You can show the house to prospective buyers without having to disrupt the homeowner through the week. Many Realtors® drive their clients to open houses on weekends as they do not have to make an appointment and can cover a lot of ground. So an open house can actually save you time.

If you are going to hold an open house then this article gives you 6 ideas that you can implement to make opens more effective at selling the house and generating leads.

Click Here For a PDF Version

1) OPEN HOUSE DIALOGUE

When you are at an open house you are going to be speaking to the most qualified prospects you will ever meet. 9 out of 10 times they are going to buy or sell a house eventually. Here are some of the questions you should ask them:

1) What brought you to our open house today?
2) How long have you been looking?
3) Are you currently working with other Realtors?
4) When would you like to be in your new home?
5) What price range are you looking for?
6) How long have you been searching for a home?

Ask them if you could add them to your email list and possibly send them links to properties they might be interested in. Then ask them if they would be interested in working with you.

2) OPEN HOUSES FOR NEIGHBOURS

I read a lot about how bad it is that open houses are being visited mostly by neighbours. Wait a minute. These are the same neighbours who own homes they may want to sell. Neighbours who have friends that might want to move into the neighborhood. Neighbours with kids of their own that are first time buyers or have parents that might be down-sizing.

For all of the Realtors that say open houses are a waste of time please take a new look. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to add people to your sphere of influence. Instead, make a point of inviting neighbors to a special preview just for them. Walk the neighbourhood and drop off a special invitation for them and their friends to come for 30 minutes before the public open.

Have coffee and cookies and make a production out of it because these are the very people who might be needing your services in the future and are a good source of buyer leads for the home.

 

 

 

3) OPEN HOUSE COLOURING

This recommendation is effective in two ways; it either entertains kids and gives the parents a chance to view the home and/or it impresses parents and creates a positive impression of you.

I recommend you print some stock coloring pages, add your branding discretely to the page and put them out on the kitchen table. Free colouring pages are available on the internet. For crayons go to a dollar store and pick up packages or 16 for a buck. I know most people don’t bring kids to open houses, but if they have kids they will be impressed you were thinking about them and I have seen people take the pages and crayons home for the kids.

If there are no kids offer the colouring and a pack of crayons to people. Guess what happens next? The kids colour the pages and it ends up on the refrigerator with all of the other artwork and your name is displayed for weeks on the fridge.

4) SELL THE HOUSE TO BUYER WITH HOME FEATURES SIGNS

If you are a Realtor reading this it might seem obvious that you should sell the house to the potential buyers, but are you doing it effectively?

Other than the owner you know more about the house than anyone else and you may have put some of the information into a Feature Sheet or an Enhancements and Improvements Sheet, but when the person most interested in buying the home is walking through it are they going to appreciate all of the subtleties of the home?

If you are walking them through the house and remember all of the features you can point them out, but here is a better idea. Type or write out the features on a small, plain index card or tent card and place or tape the Feature Signs around the house.

For example if there are self-closing drawers in the kitchen you could have a card that reads “I am self-closing – Try Me” taped to the drawer. If a closet door leads to extra large storage space place a sign on the door that reads “More than a closet – 80 square feet of storage“. Think of all of the buyers that wander through houses appreciating only the tip of the iceberg.

5) MAKE YOUR OPEN HOUSE AN EVENT

If you are in agreement that an open house is the best opportunity you have to meet prospective buyers than make every open house and event to impress prospects. I recommend you always have coffee, fruit, treats and candy to make your marketing stand out among all the other Realtors hosting open houses. If you branded material like pens and memo pads make sure you bring those too. Helium balloons on your open house signs draws attention to the home and shows you put a little more effort into your marketing.

6) GO THE EXTRA MILE WITH YOUR MARKETING

If we assume most people at an open house are eventually going to list their home then make the best impression you can. Subconsciously they are looking for the best Realtor to sell their home. Hand out colour feature sheets; preferably an 11” x 17” 4 page brochure. Print out a map of the area so you can point out where schools, shopping and churches are.

Bring a list of homes in the area that are in the same price range and offer it to visitors with your card attached. Ask a mortgage broker to provide what is referred to as an affordability sheet showing what their payments would be. Have an aerial view of the property and surrounding area. All of this extra effort will be recognized by sellers needing a good Realtor.

When you hold an open house it is your time to shine and you should not miss an opportunity to make a positive impression on people coming through the house. After all they are probably looking for a professional Realtor to list their home.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platforms for Realtors

By | Marketing Strategy, Prospecting, Realtor Marketing

There are more CRMs for Realtors than you might expect, but they target different production volumes so you have to know which one is best for your business.  Here is a breakdown of the CRMs and the level of production.

CRM’s for Low Production Agents

Wise Agent

LionDesk

ixact.com

CRM’s for Medium Production Agents

Firepoint

Commissions Inc.

Boomtown

Top Producer

CRM’s for High  Production Agents

Infusionsoft

Lasso

Pipedrive

Other CRMs to Consider

Less Annoying (Yes that is the name)

The Wise Agent

Realvolve

You can also check out more Realtor CRMs by clicking here or here.

5 Tips For Realtors® Prepping For an Open House

By | Realtor Marketing

I hear a lot of negative feedback about the effectiveness of open houses, but it may be the way these clients are approaching them. Are they fully prepared to show the home and demonstrate their knowledge? Because almost every open house visitor is a potential client.

There are 5 main topics of interest for someone visiting an open house.

1) What is the price?

It is easy to rattle off the price, but what if you had comparables with you that you used to establish the asking price. I recommend you make a list of houses in the area in the same price range.

2) How far is it to……? i.e. Schools, shopping, churches, transit, downtown and parks

Be prepared to answer all of these questions. We use Microsoft Streets and Trips to create a map of all of the above items, but you can also print out a map from Google Maps or have it live on your iPad or computer. It would be a good idea to have a list of schools, parks etc to give out.

3) How much are….? i.e Taxes, utilities etc

Make sure you have a current tax report and if the client can tell you what the heating costs are that would help out.

4) Can you tell me about…? Date built, size of lot, how long did the owners live here, why are they moving etc.

Make a list of renovations (improvements) with approximate dates. This list should include brand name appliances, cabinetry, stonework, light fixtures, architectural features, etc.

5) What is the area like?

Have information on the schools in the area, minor league sports teams, community events, the zoning, potential developments, potential improvements in the area.

It is easy to get an aerial view from the website of the city or municipality.

Here is a package of material we prepare for a client for open houses.

Click the icon like the one below for fullscreen.

 

 

80% of Consumers Love Chatbots According to Recent Study

By | Prospecting, Website Design

An article written by Matt Southern for Search Engine Journal states that according to a new study, 80% of consumers are having positive chatbot experiences. Read the whole article here.

Location marketing platform Uberall surveyed more than 1,000 adults throughout the US to find out how they feel about interactions with chatbots.

Some key findings include:

  • 40% are interested in chatbot experiences from brands
  • 36% of consumers think chatbot accuracy needs to improve
  • 38% of consumers think brands should use chatbots for deals, coupons, and promotions
  • Curiously, nearly 60% of those surveyed still lack strong enthusiasm for the technology despite their positive experiences.

36% of consumers think chatbot accuracy needs to improve

When asked what elements of chatbots needed improvement, 43% of respondents said chatbots need to work on their accuracy in understanding what customers are asking or looking for.

Other responses include:

  • 27% want chatbots to a get human customer rep involved where needed
  • 19% want chatbots to hold a more ‘human’-sounding, natural conversation
  • 10% simply want to see more chatbots, saying there are not many opportunities at the moment

For even more data about what consumers think of chatbots, read the full study here.

The Top 15 Open House Direct Mail Postcards That Work!

By | Realtor Marketing

If you are going to mail out or hand deliver a postcard to announce an open house you should ensure it is as well designed and effective as possible. You want people who receive the card to draw the conclusion that you are great at marketing homes so they may consider using you as their Realtor®.

Check out some of our designs below. Click the icon like the one below for fullscreen.

 

Top 10 Google Quality Guidelines To Help Google Find, Index and Rank Your Site

By | SEO, Website Design

I found an interesting article in Google Webmaster Guidelines that I want to share with you. You can read the article by clicking here.

From the article “These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here. It’s not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn’t included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.”

Basic principles

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

Top 10 Specific Quality Guidelines

Avoid the following techniques:

  1. Automatically generated content
  2. Participating in link schemes
  3. Creating pages with little or no original content
  4. Cloaking
  5. Sneaky redirects
  6. Hidden text or links
  7. Doorway pages
  8. Scraped content
  9. Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
  10. Loading pages with irrelevant keywords

And here are three more to add to the list:

  1. Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware
  2. Abusing rich snippets markup
  3. Sending automated queries to Google

 

 

How Many Words Does a Blog Post Have To Be?

By | Blogging

wrote a great blog post on Active Rain about this? Tammy states “The longer the post is, the better it’s laid out, and the more exhaustive in its information and authority, the more Google will find value in it and rank it well. Then when people come to the page, they can pick and choose what they want to read about and move on. But the next person may choose something else in the article to stop and ponder while the next person may actually read every word.”

So does every post have to be 2,000 words? Tammy says not really. “Sometimes, the words just flow and you need to say it all! That’s great! THAT’S the post you monetize and share over and over again. It’s okay to have a few short posts, especially if they are about events, local news, market reports, etc.. but then there are those posts that you feel should win an award!”

Where does the 2,000 word recommendation come from?

Tammy says “Well, it’s authority. Google knows just about anyone can throw out a couple hundred words. If you took the time to create a post with at least 2000 words, they assume it’s not garbage and they might rank it. If it turns out to be fluff and garbage, they will slowly start to de-value it. But if it’s NOT garbage and people actually like it, read it, stay on the site and page longer and comment on it, Google will assume it’s good information AND that the information in the post is ACTUALLY what the title and metadata say it’s about (no click-bait here). The more you promote it and talk about it and link to it and share it, the more important it will be.”

In my opinion a short post with a great title like “Vancouver New Listings for Houses For Sale” and a brief report about the new listings is sustainable and if you write short posts regularily you will be way ahead of your competitors who publish one 2,000 word blog post per year and more likely to be on page one of a Google search for “Vancouver New Listings”. Find the sweet spot in blog post length that inspires you to post more often. Make sure your title reflects what people are searching for and re-use the title words in the blog post as reinforcement.

The truth is not many Realtors blog so if you do your website will slowly rise to the top of the ranking.

Read Tammy’s blog post here.

 

Looking For A New Real Estate or Business Website?

By | Responsive Websites, Ubertor, Website Design, Wordpress

Over the past 18 years, Limelight Marketing has designed more than 500 websites using the Ubertor and WordPress CMS platforms. Wanna know more?  info@limelightmarketing.ca

Check out our Portfolio and Design Ideas

WordPress Websites

Ubertor Websites

 

 

Google Confirms Speed Update is Rolling Out

By | SEO

Google confirmed that the Speed Update scheduled for July is now rolling out for all users. This means page speed is now being used as a ranking factor in the mobile search results.

In their original announcement back in January,  Google said that only a small percentage of queries would be impacted, “those that deliver the slowest experience to users”. Slow pages may still rank highly if they have high quality, relevant content.

The move is separate from mobile first indexing and will affect all mobile sites, including those that haven’t yet officially been moved over to mobile-first indexing.

Google doesn’t give a specific speed metric that your site should be aiming for and John Mueller said sites could improve incrementally, so small gradual improvements to slow sites can help rankings.

Google has plenty of tools to help you improve your page speeds.

Test My Site is a simple to use mobile speed testing tool which gives a a general rating and an estimated percentage visitor loss figure due to loading speed.

The Page Speed Insights tool will test your mobile and desktop speeds and give suggestions for how to improve. See the Wordtracker case study on how we improved our speeds using this tool.

Google also refers users to their Lighthouse tool and the Chrome User Experience Report to analyse a page’s performance.