My friends over at the RedX Expired Listing Lead Service have been doing a great job in some recent marketing endeavors, and I think I can leverage their activities to share some quick recommendations on how to better attract survival listings in this challenging market. Some of the ideas will translate to direct marketing, but a few may not. However, I thought I would list them out.
1) Discounted service (in this case 30%) in exchange for a larger commitment.
More and more we hear clients asking for a discounted commission in exchange for your dedication and hard work. If you are negotiating a discount in commission, get a bigger commitment for up-front expenses. If the client is taking your money on the back end, let them pay up-front for some of the marketing expenses.
2) If you are promoting yourself online, go where the traffic is.
I posted this on my Realtor Leads Blog, but if you see a politician making commentary on the recent sub-prime meltdown, comment on their site and be sure to include backlinks. They get plenty of traffic and may even improve you page rank.
3) Use multiple media.
If you don’t have a YouTube channel, a MySpace page and a presence on Facebook, it is time to register. Once again, be where your clients can find you.
4) Touch a prospect or partner many times.
RedX sent me a promotional flyer and sales PowerPoint to me today detailing their products and reiterating their promotion. This is part of a larger touch system where every time I take the time to touch them (call, respond to an email, click on a promotion) I receive one or two additional touches with appropriate calls to action. A REALTOR analog would be presenting to a local business group, getting the contact information for all of the attendees and sending out thank you cards with a referral request. Follow that up with an email reminding them of the specific takeaways of your presentation and an additional offer to do business.
5) Add a call to action on your email.
What’s the difference between an email signature that says “Barrett Niehus, REALTOR” and a signature that says “Barrett Niehus, REALTOR, Learn how I can save you $10,000.” A call to action can do a lot for a communication.
Friday, December 21, 2007
My friends over at the RedX Expired Listing Lead Service have been doing a great job in some recent marketing endeavors, and I think I can leverage their activities to share some quick recommendations on how to better attract survival listings in this challenging market. Some of the ideas will translate to direct marketing, but a few may not. However, I thought I would list them out.
It occurs to me that next year is an election year and almost every candidate is trying to leverage the internet to gain attention and push their political platform. Most of the tools that they are using leverage Web 2.0 social technology which means there are plenty of high traffic areas to post. If I were me, which I am…. I would start posting comments around the candidates blogs. The sites likely rank high on the search engines, they have tons of traffic, and backlinks from these sites just might be useful.
On a completely separate note, RedX has authorized a 30% discount off of their expired listing real estate lead service through the end of the month. This is a huge offer to save money and have those all important listings flowing through your door.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
My friends at RedX are busy for the holidays and they have sent some great tools to help educate REALTORS about how to attract clients and listings through the RedX expired listing lead service. Personally, I am glad that they now include FSBO listings as a component of their service because it does expand the pool of potential new clients. After all, in today's market, you need as many active listings as possible, just to survive.
On the viral marketing front, I am implementing a number of touch programs to hit contacts multiple times through multiple media. For example, I am in the process of setting up auto-responders so that those REALTORS that attend a webinar receive three follow up communications with additional information, discounts and calls to action. I am going to start fully leveraging the signature function of my email with an active call to action, as well as begin posting educational videos on the 4MySales section of YouTube. Finally, the webinars themselves are going to be better utilized to educate real estate agents about how to attract leads and convert them to listings.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
I received a call today from the expired lead listing company that I have been working with for some time. They offered me a great promotion to share with all of the readers of this blog; a complete waiver of the $150 startup fee for anybody that signs up through this link: http://www.theredx.com/signup/4mysales.html Not a bad offer considering that the only way to survive right now as a Realtor is to attract as many listings as possible.
I’ll talk about viral marketing at a later date. I gave a seminar this evening and used the YouTube video entitled “Cool Wedding Dance” that is making the rounds on the mainstream media (Today Show, daily news, CN?N, etc.) Either way, there is a big world of marketing out there to explore…..
Friday, August 10, 2007
I can across this promotion this morning and I think it has the potential to be a great idea with a little additional directed promotion. The idea is the “Damn Receipt Project” and essentially it is an attempt to create a link between people who have receipts in their pocket and advertisers that want to target their specific brand to the owners of those receipts. The concept as described in the Damn Receipt Blog is
“Damn Receipt is a brand new original and buzzy project where advertisers fromThe creator of this project is trying to create a link between advertisers and those individuals who have receipts in their pockets (it doesn’t mention what types of receipts.) The concept is that the advertisers will reimburse the receipt owners the amount on the receipt in a direct marketing approach instead of spending their cash on mass media.
all horizons catch attention and promote themselves by refunding people's
shopping receipts (rather than spending large amounts in impersonal
There are a number of holes in the idea, specifically because it does not specify the types of receipts, and therefore provides no targeted demographic for the prospective marketing company’s advertising spend. However, overall, it could be a great campaign idea for individuals or companies that want to really target their prospective clients.
So how would you adopt this idea for your own use?
There are three components that I would put into place before launching this type of campaign.
1) Identify and create a cooperative marketing partnership with a company that wants to use this type of marketing. It may be difficult to get a national chain to participate, but you could get local businesses to participate and take the campaign online and offline. To save on the ad spend, arrange the promotion so that one receipt per day will be selected for reimbursement.
2) Identify exactly what type of client you are looking for and what receipts they are likely to have. Reimburse only those and spell that out explicitly in your campaign materials; once again, online and off-line.
3) Launch the campaign both online and off-line by letting local media and press know. Co-opt with your marketing partner to print cards, flyers and collateral. Announce the campaign in your local and online newspapers, and let some local bloggers know about the campaign. When you launch, go off with a rocket using multiple promotional mediums.
Finally, before you begin on this type of promotion, make sure that you explicitly spell out the rules of the promotion and have written agreement with your marketing partner.
TAGS: WOM, buzzy, co-operative marketing, damn receipt, word of mouth, promotional campaign, promotional idea, online newspaper advertising, local wom
The top returned searches for 4mysales were:
4MySales - MyBlogLog
digg / 4MySales / news / dugg
4mysales · 2k Bloggers - The Face of the Blogosphere (a blog of ...
4mysales's Participation » Netscape.com
4MySales Real Estate Agent Success - Feeds - Netvibes ecosystem ...
Barrett Niehus (4MySales and Expired Listing Leads) - Real Estate ...
4MySales REALTOR Marketing Blog
User:4MySales - InmanWiki
So what does this mean? Essentially, it means that as you work on promoting your blog and expanding your presence online, register for all of the online social networks that you can. After registration, identity those that naturally rise to the top of the search engines and spend your time syndicating content on those sites. Social networks are generally very search engine friendly, and in addition to creating social links (and traffic) within the community, you increase your search engine visibility.
TAGS: viral, wom, seo, online social networks, real estate references, viral traffic, returned search
Monday, July 30, 2007
Instead of giving your clients the same old “just moved” or “our new home” change of address cards, why not create a photo-collage (photomoasic) of their new home made up of pictures of the new residents, the various rooms of their home, as well as your picture, logo, and offices? The photomosaic can be embedded into your standard change of address post card, or if you are feeling unique, you can have a copy of it framed as a personalized closing gift for your clients. Personally, I would recommend you do both.
So how do you create a photomosaic closing gift? Actually, it is really easy. Purchase of download a dedicated photomosaic software. (Here is a list of them) and when you are ready, take a picture of the property in question (preferably with the new residents posing in front) and a number of other “family” pictures of the house and the new residents in it. Apply all of these photos to the software and send the output to a professional printer for conversion into postcards and farmable art.
As a follow-on, email your client a copy of the graphic with a thank you note. They will likely send it to their friends and family. Separately, ask if you can do it for them and get a list of email and mailing addresses. This is a great tool for referral marketing.
TAGS: photomosaic, photo collage, closing gift, referral tool, referral marketing, list of photomosaic software, just moved postcards, change of address cards, framed closing gift, unique closing gift
Help others find this article: Digg It!, Reddit or Bookmark it
I’m still gathering data for the Viral Book Project, but as I continue to surf, I come across more and more great sites that catalog different viral marketing techniques. One of the most recent is a site called the Adverblog which reviews a number of cool commercial viral campaigns.
So as I was perusing through the list of interesting viral marketing campaigns that the bigger corporations are launching; (check out the BMW promotion) it occurred to me that you can garner a lot of traffic by attaching your message to these other promotions. Now I’m not advocating literally attaching your URL to any of the forwards that you receive; although that in itself is an interesting idea. I am however advocating spoofing current media, and actively participating in online conversations about a campaign at the root of the campaign by leaving comments on the blogs that are sponsored by the company.
Here’s my idea for the day….
Aleve has just launched a viral marketing campaign using a number of Web 2.0 tools. Leave comments on each of the tools about the campaign. Do the same thing for the recent Viragra and Transformer campaigns.
Choose a hot local topic for the week, (for my area, the Orange County courts are having all of their traffic tickets processed in a small office in Mexico and there is no end to the discussion about identity theft and security risks to blog about.) Blog about the topic, post reader polls and create a widget or badge to express your opinion that like-mined visitors can also display. Also, express your opinion in the comments sections of the local online newspapers.
TAGS: viral, orange county mexico, widget, badge, viral idea, local newspapers, transformers, bmw campaign, Adverblog, viral opinion, online campaign
Help others find this article: Digg It!, Reddit or Bookmark it
Friday, July 27, 2007
It’s Friday and I have reading about viral promotion all week. I’m a little burned out and it is time for a distraction. Therefore, it is time for a Friday afternoon meme with a twist; it’s all about your peers and online activity. Instead of tagging bloggers, the tags are part of the meme. The rules are simply that if you get tagged by the meme, complete the questions with one word answers on your own blog. For an added level of interest, hyperlink each of your answers.
The questions are:
What blog do you read most? Bloodhound
What’s your best source of online news? Digg
Which blogger do you ping most often? Tomato
Which blogger would you like to be? Seth
Which blog do you look to for inspiration? RSS
What’s your favorite online network? ActiveRain
What’s your favorite widget? Mybloglog
What’s your middle name? Alan
Who do you “see” online most often? Brian Brady
Who do your friends talk about? Zillow
Where do you post your tags most often? Technorati
Your favorite blog software? Wordpress
The blog software that you started with? Blogger
What is your first daily read? Mashable
What Web 2.0 tool are you least impressed with? Twitter
When do you blog? Day
What’s your industry? Marketing
Last book you read: Thunderstruck
What do you do when you are not blogging? Sail
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Still working on finding applicable ideas for great viral marketing campaigns. In this search, I did come across a great list of viral articles and ideas at Wilson Web. The article catalogs 105 viral marketing articles and data from some of the great online marketers. I’ll be doing some reading this evening to find some great suggestions.
On a completely unrelated note, you can now view the 150 top marketing blogs at Todd And’s blog. If you are looking to learn about online marketing, the top 150 is a good place to start. I’m going to overwhelm my feed reader.
Tags: Todd and, top 150, Advertising Age, viral campaign, Wilson web, vox
In my search to find some great new content for the Viral Book Project (keep submitting ideas to me, I need more contributing authors) I came across Andy Sernovitz book
Word of Mouth Marketing which, just happens to be on the very topic that I am creating this e-book about. Anyway, there is a lot that you can learn about going viral from Andy’s book, but it amazed me that his Five Steps for a Word of Mouth program was reprinted in the blog space everywhere. I’m not usually a lemming, but some content deserves to be repeated. Here are the steps; taken from an article by Andy on Marketing Profs:
2. Topics: Portable concepts for people to talk about, simple ideas that are word-of-mouth friendly
1. Talkers: People who are more likely to relay your word of mouth message
3. Tools: Techniques and technology that make it easier for word of mouth conversations to take place
4. Taking part: Participating in the word of mouth conversation and engaging in a genuine two-way dialog
5. Tracking: Measuring the online conversation
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
- Drunk Lindsey Lohan trying to find a REALTOR to purchase the rehab facility
- Create a video that shows listing clients receiving their checks over and over. Nothing is more enviable than watching people receive checks for $400,000.
- A video collection of exploding buildings is always fun.
Flickr Viral Photo Ideas
- Pictures that have hidden messages for viewers to locate: Find the word (fill in the blank) in nature… Does that cloud say REALTOR?
- Submit your picture with my name written on your body part. The submitter with the most pictures wins an I-Phone.
- How about a collection of cars falling off of cliffs?
- I was forwarded a collage of poorly placed billboards recently that I had to forward to friends; the leader was a Big Mack advertisement right under a stop childhood obesity sign.
If you have ideas on different viral tools or campaigns, please let me known.
TAGS: viral ideas, viral marketing, viral campaign, youtube viral, flickr viral, Lindsey Lohan, I-phone giveaway, viral book, viral blogging
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Essentially, my goal is to get input from the best bloggers on the net on the best and hopefully easiest viral campaigns for you to create yourself. I plan to work with these great Web 2.0 thinkers to create an e-book that anybody can download as a source guide to crease effective viral marketing campaigns that drive traffic and increase notoriety.
Here’s what I am asking of you. If you have an idea, write it in your own blog and let me know where to find it by commenting on this blog I will link to the article on this blog and capture the article in the e-book. I may summarize parts of it on this blog as well. After I get fifty or more of the best viral marketing ideas and articles, I will aggregate them into an e-book which will contain the original articles, links back to the original authors and credit to that author.
After the ebook is complete, I will distribute a copy to all of the contributing authors so that they may distribute the book however they see fit.
The way I see it, there are a lot of general viral marketing ideas out there, but not much that is specific enough to be effective. Let’s create a tool that teaches the most effective techniques that will in itself be viral.
Submit comments to this blog linking back to your viral suggestions and I’ll do the rest.
TAGS: viral, marketing, web 2.0, viral blog project, e-book, marketing ebook, bloglog, blogger, viral project, wom, word of mouth
Friday, July 20, 2007
1. Active in blogging? Why not put as many popups on your page as humanly possible? Make it as difficult as possible for a reader to navigate away from your page and ensure that he will never come back! If you are not comfortable with popups, AdSense ads after every post and every type of widget that you can find will do the trick.
2. Too many comments? Turn them off, don’t respond when they are posted, and return fire with fire. People like to feel engaged when they read your content. Don’t let ‘em!
3. Got an RSS feed? Get rid of it, or better yet, find a blog that you absolutely hate and offer it as the feed through your site. It all looks like XML code until you plug it into a reader anyway. Your readers won’t know what hit them.
4. You have a bookmarking widget; Digg, del.icio.us, News Vine, Reddit? Aren’t there equivalent bookmarking tools for adult sites? Couldn’t you use the same graphic and just replace the hyperlink? Hmmm, if you want to get some hate mail, this may be the way to do it. When responding to the hate mail, please refer to item 2 above.
5. Member of MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Xanga, LinkedIn, MyBloglog and other networks that syndicate your content? This one’s easy, don’t complete your profile, syndicate content that is not yours, be un-genuine, and do not respond to comments. We keep going back to step 2 for some reason.
6. Overload your readers with useless bookmarks. Stop writing content and go hog wild with your Sumble Upon and del.icio.us bookmarking Wordpress widgets. Nobody likes going to a blog that has nothing other than a collection of non-related bookmarks. No content, just bookmarks; nothing slows down traffic like a great link farm.
7. DUMP THE TAGS!!!! Nobody will read your blog if nobody can find it. If you have a search term that inadvertently shows up under a Google search, repeat it in the text as many times as possible. A black-hat trick or two will also work to get you banned from Google.
8. All text and no pictures makes for a very boring and unpleasant blog. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and people love to look at and share video. Why do you think YouTube sold for a billion dollars? If you don’t want traffic, do not use flickr, youtube, or other multi-media sharing service.
9. Whatever you do, do not reference blog posts that you had writer earlier. This would entice readers to go further into your blog and spend more time there. Why would you want that?
10. This one I had to think long and hard about. How do you get blacklisted from as many sites as possible, kicked off search engines and banned from the internet? One word….SPAM!!!
TAGS: spam, banned, rss, ugly, kicked off, no readers, bad blog, bookmark widgets, digg, anti-comments, popups, tricks, reference, readers, ugly blog, mybloglog, wordpress, blogger, stumble upon
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Now there is controversy because the campaign is very contrived, but it is entertaining. My take on it however, is why not utilize their idea and create your own viral campaign? Anybody up for a viral scavenger hunt? Get a group of bloggers together, have them create profiles and posts across as many online social tools as possible, and have a wikki scavenger hunt. The first person to locate each profile, post a specific message to it, and document that you did it on your blog (hyperlinks, videos, pictures, etc.) wins!!!!
TAGS: viral scavenger hunt, wikki, aleviator, albert brigg, eve bloom, ning, wetpaint, video viral, wins
Posted by 4MySales at 10:59 PM
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
I have been searching the blog-sphere for great ideas to become more viral and I have to tell you that good ideas are actually pretty scarce. However, I found a great definition, the elements of, and seven ways to create a viral response.
WHAT IS VIRAL MARKETING?
By George Torok:
Viral marketing is apply named because, when done right, it spreads like a virus. The term viral marketing might be too graphic for some because it brings to mind the viral spread of disease such as the bubonic plague, typhoid, and AIDS.None of those viral diseases are nice things. But a virus in your marketing is powerful and can be hugely profitable.Viral marketing is about spreading your message through networks. Some networks are more efficient than others. Meetings, family gatherings, community groups, religion, phone calls, peer pressure, media, email and blogs. Viral marketing is by persistence, passion and purpose.The growth of almost every religion was the result of viral marketing. Every social change is the result of viral marketing.
By Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others, and few work as well as the simple Hotmail.com strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy:
- Gives away products of services
- Provides for effortless transfer to others
- Scales easily from small to very large
- Exploits common motivations and behaviors
- Utilizes existing communication networks
- Takes advantage of others' resources
SEVEN STEPS TO VIRAL MARKETING
By Dean Hunt
Trick 1: A Global Appeal
Trick 2: The Negativity Slant
Trick 3: The Killer Headline
VIRAL GOLD HEADLINE: “10 Step Guide to Thinking Like a Loser”
Trick 4: 10 Steps to Viral Heaven
Anything in list format is a surefire winner with the Digg and blogger crowds.
Trick 5: Stand out from the crowd
If you are struggling to think of ways to be creative with your
content, then grab a pen and paper and just start writing as many wacky ideas as
possible. Be creative, controversial, edgy, wacky, unique… try it all.
Trick 6: Curiosity Killed The Cat
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but with buzz
marketing it is a killer technique.
Trick 7: Image Is Everything
This is one of the easiest tricks. All you have to do is simply add an interesting
photo/image to your story. It is that simple!
TAGS: Dean Hunt, Front Page of Digg, Viral Marketing, Viral Buzz, Viral Techniques, definition of viral marketing, Dr. Wilson, George Torok, viral ideas
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
In this industry, news, opinions and research changes frequently and it is tough to stay on top of the newest methods to attract clients and customers. Thankfully, there are a number of peer leaders in the real estate blog space that consolidate the wealth of data that streams through the real estate industry. Here are a few of those blogs that I look to for guidance and answers:
Jim Cronin as the Real Estate Tomato:
If you are looking for updates and some great ways to promote yourself online, Jim and the crew that he runs with (Sellsius, Bloodhound, and Zillow can’t be beat.)
Sellsuis and Bloodhound Blog
You can pretty much stay up to date on what’s happening in the real estate
world just by reading the Tomato, Sellsius and Bloodhound.
Obviously the blog is slanted to provide updates on the Zillow platform, but it is also a great source of real estate news and opinion.
Ardell, Dustin and the Rainy City Guide
Let’s face it, the real estate technology revolution started in Seattle. I was told that this was due to the presence of Microsoft millionaires. Regardless, Dustin, Ardell and her associates are in the thick of the technology revolution and provide great insight into how to fully leverage web 2.0 technology for real estate.
This guy is prolific. If you are looking for market insight and updates in Southern California (that’s right, I live in So. Cal.) then Brian is your man.
Despite some recent criticism from a controversial marketing program, Mary, Jessica and the Fairy Blog Mother provide continual wisdom on how to attract traffic and promote your blog.
New technology is realeased every day to help get us closer to our friends, colleagues, clients and sales leads. Mashable catalogs and details every last one of them and is a great resource for the newest online network, instant messaging tool, or gizmo to connect you with your clients.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
In the world of leads for REALTORS, farming letters, and the ever-popular real estate flyer, many agents overlook the great benefit of a simple user-response survey as a great marketing tool. A simple survey has a number of benefits as is the only marketing tool that has the potential to provide you with direct feedback about you and the real estate products that you represent.
If you do not currently use surveys as part of your marketing system, consider that former and existing clients are going to be the best source of data on how to improve your service offering and the value of your brand. In addition, using a survey to prospect new clients is a great way to tailor your current offering to suite the needs of your market. Finally, regardless of who you touch with your survey, it is a non-intrusive way to remind your prospects about the services that you offer.
TAGS: survey, marketing tool, survey monkey, sales scout, drip marketing
Friday, July 06, 2007
Our friend Jim Cronin over at the Real Estate Tomato has re-published a great list from Teresa Boardman that provides 101 ideas on what to blog about in the real estate blogsphere. I have included part of the list below, but I did want to add that whatever topic you choose, you should use targeted keywords as part of your text.
For most of us, blogging is a great past time, but also a way to appear in high ranks in search engines as part of an overall promotion strategy. In addition, by blogging about topics and including search phrases that are more targeted to your niche (your long tail) you can increase your search ranking in the odd phrases that would not otherwise be obvious.
A great tool to help in this strategy is hittail.com which shows you the key phrases that are sending traffic to your site so that you can leverage these terms in future posts to get an even better ranking. My personal strategy in using this tool is to cast as wide a net as possible to service all aspects of the real estate industry. In that vein, I write about leads, expired listings, topics covering real estate heavy states such as Florida, California, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Utah (because I am from Salt Lake,) Washington, and any many other areas. In addition, my strategy is to cover topics that serve REALTORS, brokers and investors. Anyway, back to the point, service your long tail and make it wide.
Here is part of the list re-printed from Jim’s post.
Read the blogs and look for ideas to build on or spin a new idea from..
a picture write a post.
Take a walk
Pet friendly housing
A lender who did a great job
Things that go wrong with
real estate sales
Home owners insurance
Gardening and landscaping
Your city council
A new development
Real estate industry news - with your own unique commentary
Consumer hoaxes and scams
First time home buyer programs
Working with seniors
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Currently, I am seeing a lot of agents that are trying to use direct mail and introduction letters to prospect expired listings. My feeling toward this approach is that the prospects that are receiving the message are already disillusioned with real estate agents. Therefore, you need to be very careful about your value proposition and speak to the needs and expectations of your prospect in any form of communication. If you choose to use a letter of introduction to prospect expireds in any market, I would recommend that you use an approach that does not dismiss or diminish their current agent, but solicits them to think about, or learn new information that could help them overcome the difficulties that they may currently be experiencing. For this group, webcasts, podcasts, mailed reports, and learning programs work well to place you ahead of your competition. If you are up for the risk, a sell-by guarantee does wonders as well.
Personally, I would bypass the canned introduction letters for expired mls listings and make a personal introduction instead.
TAGS: expired listings, expireds, expired listings California, mls listings, letters of introduction expired listings, solicit, direct mail
Sunday, July 01, 2007
He described a number of techniques that I found very interesting and potentially very useful in helping REALTORS differentiate from the competition. The first technique was simply to change and update your voicemail with something interesting every day. I have a number of colleagues do this, and add news, market data, or simply the weather in their voicemail. The consistency with which they change their message has paid off for a couple of them with increased client referrals.
The other technique that I found specifically beneficial to real estate professionals was his technique of immediate follow up after a sales presentation. As soon as his meeting with a prospect is completed, he goes to his car and drafts an action item email on his blackberry. The email, which he sends to the prospect that he just met with, includes specific data on the agreed next steps that both he and his prospect are to take in preparation for the next meeting. In his email, he also includes dates by which each of the action items will be completed.
As an additional step, he immediately (while still in his care) drafts a hand-written thank you letter, puts it in an envelope with a stamp that has his picture on it (see stamps.com) and writes “Personal” next to the hand-written address. He drops the letter into the mail slot as he leaves the premises.
As I said before, spending the morning learning from Mr. Daly was a great experience. If you have the chance to get a copy of his books, or the privilege of seeing him in person, I highly recommend it.
TAGS: Jack Daly, Daily, Sales Speakers, Marketing Speakers, REALTOR Differentiate From Competition, immediate follow up, books on selling, closing tools
Saturday, June 23, 2007
The bubble has burst, but that doesn’t mean that there is no longer money to be made in real estate. It simply means that you need to be much more careful in your investment choice, and you may need to change your investment strategy.
Currently, foreclosures, real estate owned and bank property inventories are on the rise. This is simply due to the fact that for the short term, in many markets, the annual appreciation that we have enjoyed over the last nine years has stalled. However, because of this shift in the inventory status of banks and lending institutions, they are becoming more willing to negotiate and deal on their inventory than they have been in many years. If you are in a real estate market or area that has stalled, but still provides the fundamental economic drivers of property appreciation (job growth, education centers, industry, etc.) then buying short sale investments and negotiation pre-foreclosure purchases may be a great way to maintain and grow your portfolio.
For REALTOR investors, this is a great time to leverage those expired mls listings and those properties that are facing repossession as well. It all depends on your real estate investment strategy. Oh, yeah, don’t forget to use the IP Ware software to help evaluate your investments.
TAGS: real estate bubble, appreciation, short sale, real estate owned, economic fundamentals, expired mls listings, bank owned, real estate has stalled
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Recently, they approached us with a great offer to share with 4MySales members and readers of this blog. They have rolled out a new for sale by owner lead service and are including it with their current expired listing service. In order to get people started with the service, they are offering to waive the startup costs for readers of this blog and members of 4MySales. As a REALTOR, this should save you about $150 and give you access to a multitude of expired and fsbo leads. Also, I have heard a lot of good things about this new FSBO service, and it should prove to be better than the service that we currently include in 4MySales.
With that in mind, check out their service, and let me know your thoughts. Also, if you need help crafting introduction letters to expired listings, let me know.
TAGS: expired listings, fsbo, for sale by owner real estate, FSBO leads, real estate lead letters, REDX, THEREDX, 4MySales.com,
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
First and foremost, you almost never find a great deal if the property for sale is listed by a sales agent. The reason is simply that the property will likely be priced appropriately, and the sales price includes commissions that are payable to the agent. As a result, you will pay close to the fair market value for an investment property listed through a real estate agent.
With that in mind, where are the local investment opportunities? There are a few, but you need to know where to look. Personally, I like the for sale by owners, pre-foreclosures, bank REO’s and the ever popular divorce attorneys. Generally these groups represent a section of sellers that are motivated and ready to negotiate and sell.
TAGS: REO, foreclosures, pre-foreclosures, divorce attorneys, investment opportunity
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
The truth is that the real estate “land rush” of the late 90’s is over. As a result, the buy on speculation approach is no longer an acceptable way to invest in real estate. So instead, it is back to the fundamentals; which are simply stated as follows:
1) Make sure that your investment returns a positive cash flow. I have attended a lot of seminars over the past few years that preach buying income property with financing that returns a negative monthly cash flow. Usually the seminars teach that monthly net revenue of negative $200 or less is acceptable and that the investor should focus on appreciation. My personal position is that if you have a negative cash on cash return you should not do the deal.
2) Factor in vacancy rates. I cannot tell you how many associates, and even family members, that only focus on gross rents. As a real estate investor, you need to accurately estimate your costs.
3) Use other people’s money. Arrange your financing so that the bank, your backers, or partners with the deepest pockets supply the bulk of the funds. If you structure the deal properly, you and they will get the desired return on investment, and you will have the cash to do other things.
TAGS: real estate investment, seminar, basics of real estate investing, vacancy rates, vacancy factor, negative cash flow, cash on cash return, other peoples money
Monday, June 11, 2007
Last night I attended Jeff Adams webinar. Overall, his message was what I had heard before from many of the GURU's that promote systems to streamline the investment process. In his webinar, he presented a contact management tool, a direct mail resource and proposes to provide a "lead generation website" that you can use as a turnkey promotion tool. He also went into detail on how to use Google.com Adwords to promote the site that he provides.
I must tell you that as a marketing person, I am skeptical about how effective his system will be. So far I haven't spoken to anybody who has purchased his system, so I cannot relay whether or not it is successful.
Monday, March 26, 2007
With this level of frustration, you need to ask yourself, is this really worth it? The answer is actually more complex than yes or no, and actually hovers around the place of “it depends.”
Cold calling can be a great way to find new business and secure new clients. However, you should never waste your time calling a completely cold lead. If you look at your investment in time and the return that you receive, there are much more productive ways to spend your time.
Instead of trying to prospect cold leads, spend your time and resources developing cold leads into at least moderately warm leads before picking up the phone. My personal rule of thumb is that I never call an unsolicited cold lead until they have been exposed to my personal brand at least five times. In that vein, I use the 4MySales prospecting system to touch these cold leads with email, direct mail, new announcements, market updates and other bits of information. I make sure that each lead gets exposed to my message in some form or other at least five times before picking up the phone. After at least five exposures, the prospect is much less likely to just hang up on me, and may be familiar enough with me and my services to offer a good conversation, and even a possible referral.
Cold calling can be a difficult task and a daunting waste of time if the lead list is entirely cold. Take the time to warm up the list by sending out your message in a couple of different formats before taking the time to pick up the phone.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I just received an email from an agent friend of mine letting me know about a notice of default workshop that is coming up. I do not know if I will attend or not as it has been a while since I have dabbled in the field of pre-foreclosures and creative finance investing. However, it does raise the question, how can real estate agent capitalize on this new surge in NOD’s from “liar loans” coming due?
Many real estate agents actively prospect notice of default recipients. However, the pitch is typically the same. List with me, I can get your house sold before the bank takes it away. Unfortunately, many of these homes have larger amounts due on the loan than they are currently worth.
My recommended approach is to prospect to these people with the voice of help and reason. If you are not familiar with the process, learn about the process of forbearance to help the homeowner fend off the bank while he/she sells her home. Depending on local regulations, you may be able to charge for this service as a value add; in addition to giving the home owner more time to sell the home. Also, make friends with a few investors in the area who may be able to buy a property quick for the right deal. Regardless, when approaching a homeowner who is in the throws of foreclosure, approach them with the voice of honest reason and an offer to help.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I posed the following question the other day to a group that I was addressing: “How many of you currently prospect newlyweds and engaged couples as part of your marketing?” Although it was a small group, nobody volunteered that this was part of their target market. One person did volunteer that they have an active client that is in fact a newlywed, but none of the agents currently made this group part of their target market.
So what’s the takeaway?
This may be an un-tapped market to attract a fair number of prospective home buyers.
I haven’t worked out the details on how one would market to these groups, but there are a number of bridal fairs, boutiques, websites (theknot.com) and other resources where an enterprising real estate agent may prospect for the newlywed couple that is ready to start their lives together and move into their new dream home.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I was reading an article that I found particularly applicable in Broker Agent News. The article, How to Get More FSBO Listings, Without Pressure covers a basic approach to FSBO prospecting that will generally lead to a listing. The article review a few of the techniques that you should use when speaking to prospective FSBO’s, but it all comes down to a very basic premise; be nice, sincere, and offer benefit.
Many real estate agents aggressively prospect For Sale By Owner leads to get new listings. As a result, most FSBO prospects hear from multiple agents with the same pitch on a daily basis. Unfortunately the pitch is usually “Let me list your home and I will get it sold for you.” Now we all know that this is where the prospect usually ends up, but most FSBO prospects want to legitimately try to sell their home before they shift to using the services of a REALTOR.
Instead of starting your relationship with your prospect the same way all of your competitors do, start your relationship with your prospect under the premise “Let me help you sell your home.” There are a number of tools that a REALTOR can offer a FSBO prospect to help them market their home. These tools are generally well appreciated by the prospects who still eventually still end up giving an agent their listing. An example is a simple FSBO website that the prospect can use to create a presence on the internet.
Regardless of the tool, differentiate yourself from your competition when prospecting FSBO leads. Approach your prospects with a sincere offer to help them reach their goals. Statistics say that they will list with a REALTOR. Odds are they will list with the one that has tried to help them most.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
I had an interesting conversation with a colleague the other day regarding the calculation of their return on investment for their marketing activities. The conversation started because of the observation that one of the most media present agents in the area has ads appearing on every sign post, bus stop and street corner. Both my friend and I are doubtful that the agent is making a decent return on investment, but it was worth some time to do a few rough calculations.
This may or may not apply to you own investment in marketing, but here is my rough assumptions and calculation.
- Average take home per sale $10,000 (hey, it’s San Diego County)
- Monthly rent for space on a bus stop: $700
- Monthly mailing of postcards or letters: $2000
- Monthly cost of local media advertising: $1200
- Monthly online marketing: $200
- Area farming: $600
- Miscellaneous marketing activities: $2500
Total monthly marketing costs $7200
Now in general your marketing cost should be between 10% and 20% of your revenue; with some businesses investing as much as 50% of their income in marketing their real estate businesses. If we assume that due to the new shift in the market the agent has more listings than sales and is pushing around 40% of his revenue into attracting new clients; the agent should be collecting about $18,000 per month. Given the average commission of around $10,000, it should just take the sale of two homes to cover that agent’s investment in marketing. The agent has a lot of listings in the area so I have no doubt that they are at least selling two homes per month.
My math is most likely wrong, but it was an interesting conversation and analysis.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Jen Blackert posted an interesting article this week on Broker Agent News on ten easy ways to attract clients with your email newsletter. The article points out a very basic tentant of online advertising that is well worth repeating…. Humanize your communication. Whether it is online through podcasts and email REALTOR marketing tools, or off-line through flyers and introduction letters, humanize your communication to your target client. In this world of instant and anonymous communication, your most successful real estate marketing endeavors will be those that help you create a human connection to your target clients.
For Jen, her advice follows the basics of relationship building. Tell your client about yourself and educate them about who you are and the value that you offer. Share your interests with them (can anybody say real estate blog) and show that you care by asking for and responding to feedback. Clarify your communication and use terms that most lay-people would understand. Be genuine (first rule of blogging and online communities) and relate to your client’s interest, fears and concerns. Finally…. And this goes back to prospecting engines…. Stay in touch. Once you have a prospect, keep your brand equity high. Here’s the link to Jen’s article.
It’s amazing where organic online traffic comes from. I have been doing a fair amount of analysis lately and the highest traffic key word for the 4MySales blog is actually free real estate flyers The second keyword that drives most of my non-long tail traffic is free real estate letters. I, much like most in the blogsphere, am not sure why these specific terms are showing up in the first few pages of google and yahoo. I have tried to gear this blog toward exploring marketing tools for REALTORS and have spent a great deal of time discussing more abstract concepts such as prospecting engines, online social networks, and really using your computer to attract real estate sales leads. Well, I think it is safe to say that SEO is still an enigma.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I am trying a little experiment in search engine optimization to evaluate how blogging and different blog topics and entries show up on search engines. I am using popular search terms such as real estate Arizona and broker leads to evaluate search engine traffic. Here’s an overview of the experiment.
1) I have gone to Google Adwords to find the most well searched search terms that are related to broker leads and real estate marketing tools. According to google, real estate agents that are searching for leads, flyers and marketing tools search most often under the following search terms: real estate leads and leads real estate, marketing for real estate, real estate agent marketing, real estate internet marketing, direct mail leads, leads for realtors, realtor promotion, realtor promotional items and realtors leads.
2) Now that I have identified these highly visible search terms for real estate marketing, I simply add these terms to the vernacular of various blog posts. Over the next few months, look for these strategically placed realtor marketing terms. I will gradually be placing the terms and measuring traffic results through hittail and mybloglog.
I’ll let you know how it turns out. If the experiment is successful, there will be a bit more organic search traffic to the 4MySales blog
A lot of agents search for free real estate farming letters, or templates that they can modify to suite their own needs. This approach may have some benefit, but if you are trying to differentiate yourself from every other agent out there, I would recommend approaching your farming letters and your entire marketing plan from a completely different direction.
Most agents do not realize that it takes more than five exposures to their name and offer before a mail recipient will even recognize their name. If you don’t believe me, just think about how you answer most of your junk mail. In order to stand out from the crowd, take a much more strategic approach to your direct mail and incorporate it into a much larger marketing campaign. If you have an area that you are farming, try to find a way to expose every target client to your message at least five times in a relative short period. A simple way to do this is to send everybody on your list a direct mail message in an envelope. I recommend including a piece of candy or something in the envelope to ensure that it gets opened. The next week send out a postcard with an offer or raffle as your call to action. Next place signs at the entrances of the communities that you are farming (be sure to get the proper permits, or plan to have you signs taken down by the city.) For the next week, send out another round of envelopes and place your flyers on the bulletin boards of the local grocery and library. Follow that week with door hangers that have another call to action and offer.
This is a very basic approach to marketing, but it will start the ball rolling. The goal is to get everyone in the community that you are farming with your letters to recognize your name. After that, you just need to remain active enough in the area to maintain your brand awareness in the minds of your target client. By maintaining a top of the mind awareness with your prospects, you will ensure that you will be their first phone call when it is time to call upon the resources of a REALTOR.
So back to blogging and making posts. I still am struggling with getting enough time to pen something meaningful, but I did find a great article on how to create a great podcast. This article http://www.marketingprofs.com/7/collier6.asp was of specific interest to me since we are having great success with the 4MySales.com podcasting tool and helping real estate agents podcast their message to their waiting clients.
Stop in and create your own podmail in under five munites at http://www.4mysales.com/record_a_podcast.php
Okay, back to the article. It was posted on Marketing Profs and details the top ten steps to creating a great podcasts. I have repeated them below in an extremely abbreviated format, but read the entire article to get a better idea of the rationale behind each step.
So um…. Step 1:
DO RESEARCH – I am sure that we are acutely aware of topics that turn us on and topics that turn us off. Make sure that the topics that you choose to broadcast are of interest to your listening public. As an example, very few people are excited about hearing a list of current homes available for viewing. However many people are interested to hear about the current market, any planned buildings or re-zoning activity in their community, school updates, etc. Before creating a podcast, spend some time at Starbucks listening to what people in your community are talking about.
Determine the format of your show: Is it a talk show, interview, general commentary. Will it be raucous or generally subdued. Plan the format of your podcast the same way you plan the format of your blog. Make it real and make it genuine, but make it entertaining.
Determine what equipment you will need. Seriously, just try the 4MySales.com podcasting system. We put a pretty heavy investment in place to make it easy and user friendly.
Select the program that you will use to create your podcast. See step 3 above.
Write the layout of the show and begin rehearsing. Rarely will you be able to pull off a podcast in one take. For me, even voicemail is a challenge.
Record the main body of the show: My take on this is break it up into specific segments for ease of editing and recording.
If applicable, select beginning and closing music.
Select a podcast host.. So the article makes this point number nine, but step 8 in the article is related to step 7. With regard to a podcast host, dare I say 4MySales.com?
Promote your podcast. I recommend announcement emails (included in 4MySales) along with other means of direct promotion.
Overall, my advice is to read the article and learn about the value of podcasting. When you are ready to get your feet wet, visit us at 4MySales.com. Podcasting is only one of the many features that are included for less that $20.00 per month.
Monday, February 05, 2007
I’ll be the first to admit that I have not had a great deal of time to make posts this year. However, previous blog entries and other, less time intensive, marketing activities have managed to carry 4MySales through this period of inactivity. In looking at my hittail report this morning, I am pleased to announce that long tail keywords such as free real estate flyers, real estate marketing tools, real estate follow up letters as well as real estate agent online have contributed to over 62.6% of all of the generic search traffic to this real estate blog and the 4MySales.com Real Estate Marketing website. Hopefully I will have time over the next few weeks to start posting about real estate marketing again, however, it is still nice to see that blogging works as a marketing tool.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
What is known by all marketers, but not realized by many small business owners is repetition and measurement are the keys to running a successful marketing campaign. The primary focus of any marketing program is to get your target customer to purchase your product. However, many small business owners do not effectively utilize repetition to brand their product, and very rarely do they utilize any form of metric to measure the success rate of a program.
Statistics vary, but it takes the average person at least five exposures to a brand name or product before he or she will make the commitment to purchase it. In addition, it usually takes more than thirty exposures to a marketing piece before the customer can remember it at will. The simple lesson from these facts are that you must run advertisements multiple times, and consistently use the same or similar images to market your product. Run the same advertisement in multiple mediums, with the same logos, images, and themes as it has been proven to be the best mass media approach to marketing your product.
Repetition is the key to creating a successful marketing program, but how exactly do you measure the success? A successful marketing campaign develops awareness of your product which translate into larger sales volumes, but what part of the campaign has had the greatest effect on awareness and increased sales? To answer these questions, you must approach your marketing program with some pre-defined ideas on how you are going to measure results, and how you are going to differentiate the results of one marketing medium from another.
To define exactly how you are going to measure the results of a specific marketing program, you must evaluate the message of your campaign. You must determine exactly what is going to close your customer, and if anything in the message can be echoed back to you in a quantifiable form. Many times, you can include an offer, coupon, or discount in the advertisement which can be documented at the time of sale. This provides an easy metric for tracing the effectiveness of an advertisement. If a traceable coupon or discount is not available, you may need to rely on measurements of increased sales and statistical analysis to quantify the results of your program.
The two fundamental themes in marketing are repetition and measurement. A marketing program will be ineffective if it does not provide sufficient repetition and exposure. In addition, the program will be useless unless it can provide a quantifiable response. Both provide the foundation with which to build an effective marketing campaign.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
It’s been a month full of challenges and I have been asking all of my colleagues for a do-over for 2007. So far nobody has taken me up on the offer. In spite of the challenges, we do have some great news to share. Our FSBO system has been upgraded and expanded to provide even more leads. In addition we have set our new FSBO lead system up so that all our visitors need to do is request that the For Sales by Owner leads be emailed directly to them on a weekly basis.
The new tool is pretty slick. Just sign up for your weekly FSBO emails on the home page of http://www.4mysales.com/ Now on our home page you can create your own podcast to email to your clients and get a weekly list of FSBO leads.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
It’s the new year and everybody is having a sales. In real estate this applies to many of the vendors of different services; including those that help identify expired listing leads. I am of course speaking of the RedX expired listing lead service that interfaces with your MLS to provide a daily list of expireds that have been screened through the do not call registry. My friends at the RedX contacted me with a great offer and an invitation to let everybody know. For the time being… (February 15 to be exact) They are waiving both the setup fee (this saves you $150 right off of the bat) and providing a 30% discount off of the first three months worth of service. Essentially this means that their existing service which is usually priced at $150 startup plus $56.99 per month can now be enjoyed for only $39.99 per month with no setup fee. Not a bad new years sale with over $200 in savings for trying out their service.
If you are interested in signing up, here is the link to their offer: http://www.theredx.com/signup/4mysalesexpiredsale.html
It’s branded with the 4MySales logo as part of my agreement with them.
No what do I know about The RedX? I have worked with them for about two years and used to include their product in the 4MySales service offering. Logistically it was a nightmare getting customers signed up and serviced through both 4MySales and RedX so we eventually ended that arrangement. Anyway, their system consists of a contact management software that interfaces with your MLS. I believe that their system is set up so that you login to your local MLS, specify the search parameters and the returned data is uploaded into the RedX software where it is screened by the Do Not Call list and then compared to previous versions of the listing. Those listings that have had the information changed (telephone number modified so that the listing agent can protect his listing) are restored.
In essence the remaining call list is a clean list of expired listing prospects with the CORRECT contact information.
I am sure that there are many nuances that are included in their system, but I have not delved that deep into their software.
On a final commercial disclaimer note: I do have a commercial and affiliate relationship with these guys. They have a great product, but please do your own due diligence.
Posted by 4MySales at 4:28 PM