Thursday, 28 January 2016

How to tie it All Together with Social Media

When you devise a marketing plan for your listings, consistency and reaching across all available marketing channels can help you prepare a better campaign. To reach today’s tech obsessed consumer, social media can help tie everything together for a nicely planned real estate marketing campaign.

Consistency Across all your Pages

If you are using more than one social media page for your real estate marketing efforts, make sure you are consistent across every channel. You want to get your message out and use effective branding so people recognize you and your listing.

Get Creative

Social Media reaches a diverse crowd and invites sharing.
Although you want to present each listing consistently across the board, it is good to get creative and avoid using identical copy on each social media page. It pays to use slightly different wording, while keeping the images and links consistent. And don’t just stick to information about your listings. Keep up to date on what’s happening in the housing market and your neighborhood and provide links to interesting videos, house hunting tips, mortgage news, etc. so people can see you are an authority.

Full Guns Blazing

Remember that all of your marketing efforts work together. If you have a virtual tour or tours, include a link everywhere. If you used an eflyer post the web link on Facebook and other social media sites to share with groups, clients and other realtors. Realtour eflyers provide a web link that is clickable at the bottom of each blast. You can cut and paste this link into your social media posts so people can view the flyer as well as the virtual tour for an easy way to learn more about the property.

YouTube

According to a study by Google and The National Association of Realtors (NAR), YouTube is the top video research destination for house hunters. 51 percent of house hunters look for tours and videos on YouTube compared to just 33 percent on aggregator listing websites. As well brokerage sites were searched 10 percent less often than YouTube. Set up your own YouTube channel so you can post your tours with branding. Realtour virtual tours can be linked to your channel as well as ours for double exposure.

Post those Tours

The same Google/NAR study found that 77 percent of consumers who view a virtual tour on line will drive by the home to check it out in person. This shows how important it is to have a virtual tour for your listings. It is often the starting point for home buyers with 78 percent stating that they began their search with non-agent or broker sites prior to seeking an agent. You could stand to gain clients who will see your tours, be interested in your home and click your contact link or website to learn more about you. The good news is that 24 percent of home buyers will contact an agent the same day they start their search. The bad news is 40 percent see a 120 day lag between their initial research and actually contacting an agent.

Remain Engaged

If you are using social media it is important to remain engaged and ensure you are responding to any comments you might get on your posts. As well since so much of an agent’s business is dependent on referrals, being able to get plenty of Likes on your Facebook page will help you find new clients. The average number of friends on a Facebook account ranges from 350 to over 600 depending on age and the purpose of the page. If these large groups see the Likes from their friends, family and peers there is a lot of potential to generate some good leads.

Social media provides a unique way to interact with clients and fellow agents and even generate leads. Using it in hand with your other marketing efforts such as virtual tours and eflyers will help you prepare a well-rounded campaign that covers all of your bases. Realtour’s real estatemarketing suite makes it easy to create marketing campaigns and tie them into your social media efforts.


Monday, 25 January 2016

How to Better connect with New Millennials

Growing up, milllennials were faced with globalization, digital technology and economic struggles that have given them a very different view as consumers. As the largest generation in history they are now either about to enter, or are in the crux of, their prime spending years. 

Digital Natives

If you are not familiar with this term, it was coined by educator Marc Prensky. Millennials are the first “digital natives”, born into the digital age. They have always had the internet as a tool (and toy) during their life. Chances are you are a “digital immigrant”, the people in generations prior who have had to learn to adapt to the use of the internet and the digital age. As a digital immigrant it is often hard to understand just how organically tied to the internet the millennials feel. Using technology is second nature to them. They begin all of their major (and minor) purchase planning with tons of online research, and this is also how they will begin their house hunting journey.

Providing Resources

Millennials have different expectations then previous generations of home buyers.
Ask yourself how the millennials will find you. Do you have a website? Are you providing valuable information online that will help them in the buying process? Do you have testimonials from prior clients to help them see your value? Millennials want instant information about everything including reviews, listings, pricing and how to get in touch with someone who can help them. If you are not providing them with instant information, they’ll move on to an agent who is.

Social Networking

Social networking plays a number of roles in the millennials’ house search. First, it provides them with a tool to shout out to friends and family that they are house hunting. This means people in turn can reach out to them offering advice, congrats and yes, even referrals to the awesome real estate agent who just helped them find their dream home. Second, 34 percent of millennials will use their own social network to find new goods and services before buying. If you are liked on Facebook by tons of past clients, chances are you will end up being the agent of choice for that clients’ network of friends. Considering millennials average between 360 to 649 connections on their Facebook pages alone, that is a lot of potential referrals.

Crowd Pleasing

In hand with social networking, new millennials also look to their connections for approval, advice and buy in to the decisions and lifestyle they are leading. Over 70 percent say they will want to get their friends on board with their decision making. It is always good for you to be understanding of this process and to encourage them to use this major resource. Offer to share things with their friends such as professional real estate photos you have of the properties they are considering, or links to virtual tours friends can view. This brings you closer to them and shows you are willing to share what you know.

Connected

Being connected is a very important aspect of the millennials’ lifestyle. They want to know what everyone is up to, while sharing their every move with their circle of friends. They will expect you to connect with them both face to face, via social media, by text, cell phone and email. Remaining available and also keeping in touch in a timely manner is an absolute must in order to show millennials you are engaged. From sharing valuable information via a real estate newsletter, to providing them timely responses to their inquiries, staying in touch and remaining connected makes you accessible and desirable.

Millennials are not only obsessed with technology, social media and what their friends are doing, but also are reminded of the economic challenges of the times in which they were raised. This makes them a tech savvy lot looking for value, advice and peer interaction to help drive their decisions. Knowing how to become an important part of their network and meet their need for connectivity will help you provide successful services designed for their very specific needs.

Realtour has the real estate marketing tools that can help you tap into the digital age and reach out to millennials more effectively.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

How to get Positive Results for your Listings

It would be nice to think there is a magic formula that you could use to get the best possible results for your listings. Unfortunately it is never that easy as there are so many factors at play. The quality of the property, the demand in the area, the current housing market, price and even emotion are all factors that can make an impact when it comes to selling real estate. So you are probably thinking, “Tell me something I don’t know!” There are some formulas that do work better than others and by taking a look at the best results* from our clients’ marketing efforts we have been able to come up with a few helpful tips that can get positive results for your listings.
Discovering the magic formula for success can be easier than you think.

  • Eflyers: Although a lot of agents might be groaning and rolling their eyes at the mention of eflyers again, all of our top agents are using eflyers to generate more views for their marketing and virtual tours. It only makes sense that this push method of marketing generates more interest by getting your listings in front of buyers’ agents. And there is no secret that many agents don’t want to see it or hear about it. Even though it is in their best interest to get a first-hand look at hot properties hitting the market and the inside scoop on open house dates, reductions and more, they just don't want another email landing in their inbox. However, they are not the ones you want to reach. Don’t worry about the naysayers, they have already unsubscribed from all of the mailing lists. It is the ones who are on the list you want to reach, so sending eflyers is well worth the effort.
  • Repeat Campaigns: We were surprised to note that many of our top 10 listings* were sending out multiple campaigns for the same property. You are probably thinking, “Right, that’s what I need to do, drive people crazy with too many emails.” And frankly you would be right. However, the key to the success lies not in multiple email blasts, but more so on doing it when logic dictates. Remaining in contact with agents and letting them know of pertinent updates on a property works well. For example, you send out your initial eflyer and the buyers’ agent sees it is a good prospect for their client until they see the price. If you have a reduction in price, announcing the reduction will catch that agent’s attention and they will show it to their clients this time around.
  • Designated Property Website: This is a little option we offer agents for their virtual tours. It might seem like a wasted investment, however, the agents who tend to get the best hits on their virtual tours have often created a unique website URL specific to their listing address. A good reason this might work well is that buyers who see a property for sale and want details without talking to an agent will search by address on line. One of the first links they will see for their search will be the designated property website as it will be an exact match to their search.
  • Pro Photos with Aerials: This is for a listing with a nice property and intriguing landmarks. You might be of the opinion that the reason it is getting so many views, is because it is a specialty listing and you would probably be right. However, even a spectacular property that is not shot effectively will tank when it comes to views and interest. So aerial shots go a long way by showing an impressive view that better captures the property in all its glory.


Despite all of the factors that can help make or break a sale, there are some marketing approaches that can certainly raise the odds in your favor. Realtour offers the user friendly tools you need for affordable yet effective integrated marketing campaigns.
*Based on number of views per campaign

Monday, 18 January 2016

How to motivate More Buyers with Exciting Virtual Tours

If you are investing money in virtual tours but not seeing the results you had hoped, you might be missing the mark when it comes to composition. Here are some tips to help motivate more buyers by adding excitement to your virtual tours:

Hire a Pro Photographer

The best angle is captured by a pro.
There should be no compromise when it comes to this all important feature of your virtual tours. The images must be perfection if you want to sell houses. Your virtual tour is only as good as the quality of the shots you use. Choose wisely and invest in a pro photographer who specializes in HDR photography to capture the depth and drama of light. A real estate photographer will also know how to use the right angles to enhance room size, show off the rooms and features and to offer a polished look that will impress buyers rather than discourage them.

Keep it Short

Investing in professional images can sometimes make you feel like you have to use every single shot. However, you want to be careful not to let your virtual tour run too long. The better the images and the nicer the music the more likely people will be to continue watching, but let’s face it showing the same room over and over again with little difference in the angle or perspective does not an exciting virtual tour make. Choose the best shots and angles for each room and let the pictures do their job to show off the home for you.

Plan a Logical Path

The front entry starts a logical flow.
Nothing is worse than trying to view a virtual tour that does not flow through the home properly. Set the stage with stunning images of the exterior of the home, walking up to the front door and entering the home. Follow a logical path through the home so people get a feel for the flow. If the flow is not as appealing as it should be show the rooms in a more pleasing manner to make it easier to view the tour.

Add Captions

Captions might seem like too much work, but they help to tell a story. Captions allow you to set the stage for the buyer’s new lifestyle. Tempt them with words that reflect the beauty of the home and the comfort it offers. Ask them to picture themselves whipping up a gourmet meal for family in the state of the art kitchen and serving it in their formal dining room overlooking the professionally landscaped yard. Tell them to imagine waking up in the stunning master bedroom and getting ready in the well-appointed spa like master bathroom. Show off the extra rooms and let them know how they can use them so they can picture an office, a gym or a guest room. Captions set the mood and introduce an aspirational overview of the life they could live in this home.

Have an Exciting Finish

Showing off the property is easier with an aerial shot.
Make the finish exciting by adding some aerial photography to show off the neighborhood, special features of the property such as a stunning pool and landscaped yard, out buildings, lovely mature trees, etc. Consider doing some exterior twilight shots with the front of the house lit up as a warm welcome. Include some shots of the backyard, primed for night entertaining with flickering candles and the pool lit up to seduce buyers into seeing they can live the lifestyle of their dreams.  

Investing a little more time in hand with professional real estate photography will bring your virtual tours to the next level. They will excite, entice and best of all motivate buyers to want to see the house. Take a look at this tip filled tour.


Realtour offers the professional photography you need for stunning tours. All shoots include a free state of the art virtual tour and print flyer of your choice. If you already have your own professional photos, our virtual tour creator is easy to use and allows you to add music, branding and custom captions to enhance your tour experience. 

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

How to easily engage 5 Generations of Home Buyers

Engaging clients with information that appeals to their demographics is not always easy. However if you take the time to understand their needs it becomes easier to persuade them to list with you. Breaking down your clients into the five generations makes it easier to engage them with the information they need.  

1. Generation Y (32 and under) 

The Gen Y client is looking for a trendy, up and coming neighborhood, usually with a focus on an urban setting. This group tends to be first time buyers who would truly appreciate you taking the time to walk them through the buying process. This includes covering information of what they should expect for paperwork, showing them you really understand the neighborhood, providing information about their commute and going over what they should be looking for in a home. 85 percent of Gen Y will end up buying a previously owned home so sharing information such as articles or a real estate newsletter on easy DIY projects will help them see past diamonds in the rough. As well many might be concerned about the environment so green articles work well.

2. Generation X (33 – 47) 

This group buys the largest houses with an average square footage of 2100. Almost 70 percent of Gen X have at least one child and almost half place good schools as a top priority when it comes to their neighborhood. These families usually choose a home that is no more than seven miles from their first homes, often due to the fact they want their kids to be close to their current school. Sharing information with them about schools, or real estate newsletters with articles about education and family friendly living would be of the most interest to them.

3. Late Baby Boomers (48 – 57) 

Understanding each generation's needs makes it easier to engage clients.
This age group tends to be looking for a deal on their home. They often are shopping for a second home or even an investment property. If they are seeking their primary home, they usually intend to live there for an extended period of time of 16 or more years. Because this age group is more willing to compromise on condition to get a good price, they are often good candidates for foreclosed homes. Share information about the benefits of purchasing a foreclosure and the process in hand with long term benefits of purchasing this type of home. DIY quick fixes for rooms such as kitchens and baths are also helpful.

4. Early Baby Boomers (58-66) 

This is a group of home buyers who are at the stage in their life where their kids have left home and they are ready to downsize and often relocate. This means they are often looking for condos or town homes. They are interested in a quality home requiring little effort or work and are not troubled by the thought of a new location far from their current home. They want an energy/cost saving home that is affordable. Real estate newsletters about the benefits of condo living, tips for energy efficiency and what to look for when it comes to energy efficient features work well for this age group.

5. Silent/GI Generation (67 plus)

At this age, people are looking for their retirement home with a focus on smaller living spaces. The average reduction in the size of home purchased by this group is 200 square feet. They are not as willing to make compromises from their wants and needs lists and are also looking for a bargain, so often will put in offers below asking. Sharing newsletter articles about the different types of small home options, how to adapt to condo living, the different types of retirement communities and how to decorate and downsize for smaller homes are all ideal topics for this age group.

It requires some pretty targeted real estate brochures to provide the information each generation needs. Finding a newsletter service that covers these special areas and topics was close to impossible until the launch of Realtour’s Ready to Send Newsletters. We offer a unique collection of topics that are targeted to the five generations of home buyers allowing you to use keep in touch marketing to engage each age group. Our affordable subscription allows you to send individual newsletters to each client you are assisting with the information each generation requires. You can also send out group newsletters with general information to your entire client list all for a single low monthly price.  

If you would like more information on this unique real estate newsletter service please email amanda@realtour.biz.




Monday, 11 January 2016

5 Easy Steps that will Quickly improve your Brand

There are a lot of real estate agents in your area all vying for the same business. In order to help make yourself stand out from the crowd you need to work on your brand to make it more trustworthy, recognizable and effective. Here are five easy steps that will quickly help you improve your brand:
Your brand helps identify the type of real estate services you offer.


1. Identify your Brand 

First sit down and consider the brand you wish to create. Look at the area you service, the type of real estate you sell and the customers you assist. Do you specialize in elite, specialty properties or cozy neighborhood homes? Are your customers first time buyers, savvy investors or maybe you specialize in finding retirement properties for seniors? These details will help you create a brand that best reflects the type of real estate services you offer while appealing to your target market.

2. Customization 

Business cards that can be made online are a dime a dozen and don’t do much to customize your look. It is in your best interest to work with a graphic designer to come up with a customized look that will suit your brand, personality and business. Once you identify your brand share these details with a graphic designer who can translate them into a look that is unique to you. This will help establish a unique and professional brand that clients will trust.

3. Consistency 

Once you have customized your brand it is time to apply the look to your marketing materials. Consistency is the most important lesson of branding 101. If you are churning out real estate marketing materials with a different look every time, no one is going to know who is sending them. Instead, use your customized brand and apply it to everything you do from eflyers to virtual tours and brochures to postcards. Have your designer set up real estate marketing templates that you can use to create your flyers, brochures and all communication pieces for a professional look that is always consistent.

4. Maintain your Brand

Maintaining a professional image is very important to keeping your brand on track. Use real estate marketing tools that allow you to maintain your brand while communicating effectively with fellow agents so you can meet the needs of your clients. The marketing steps you take for one client are the footprints that will lead new clients to your services. Therefore you have to maintain your professionalism using the best possible tools such as professional real estate photography, virtual tours and eflyers that showcase properties and in turn showcase your commitment.

5. Listing Presentation

Using the same listing presentation for each client lacks initiative and is obvious to today’s savvy clients. Invest in a listing presentation that can be tailored to the needs of each client. You want to personalize the information for each listing presentation so that clients know that you are looking at their own needs. Using a template with your picture, logo and other agent information will tie in with your branding and add to the professionalism of your presentation. Using a template that is customizable with an image of your clients’ homes and their personal information personalizes your presentation to help you get new listings.

These five steps are simple, but powerful and will help you develop a brand that speaks volumes.

At Realtour we offer customized graphic design services for real estate agents. Our real estate marketing tools are easily adaptable to your branding needs and allow you to remain consistent with a professional look while reaching the right agents to sell properties.

Friday, 8 January 2016

5 Easy Marketing Improvements that will get More Listings

There are many things the modern client expects in hand with good old fashioned customer service. Even if you generate most of your business through referrals, you still need to win them over. Here are five marketing improvements that will help you get more listings:

1. Technology

Clients expect to see their real estate agents using technology effectively. This means keeping in touch with them through email, texts and your cell. They want to know they can reach you when they need you and also feel wanted when you reach out to them with updates and information.

2. Marketing Plan

 It is not enough to stake a sign on the front lawn and run an ad in the local papers. Today’s client wants to see a marketing plan that shows you are working on their behalf. That means outlining the approach you will take to announce their open house, show off their property and attract buyers’ agents. Your real estate campaigns should include:
Consistent branding is the hallmark of professionalism.


3. Proven Results 

This is where having a good marketing plan can come into play. Combining print and online marketing offers a ready-made way to show off your current listings and past efforts.  If you are combining a number of marketing tactics it is easier to demonstrate your efforts and success. For example, distributing real estate postcards or brochures announcing the homes you have recently sold can show you sell houses in their neighborhood. Having virtual tours and eflyers to show off can let people see you put everything you got into each sale. They can also provide some vital statistics to show clients what you are doing on their behalf.

4. Online Presence 

According to the National Association of Realtors, it is important for real estate agents to have an online presence. This is because 85 percent of real estate clients will start their search online. If they can find your listings online, view your virtual tours and read valuable real estate advice and testimonials on your website and social media, they will feel confident you are able to handle their listing.

5. Professional Listing Presentation

Last but not least, you want to wrap up all of your marketing efforts into a neat little package that makes it easy for clients to see your value. Having a customized listing presentation outlining your profile, your agency profile, your strategy for staging, pricing, marketing and negotiation and some testimonials to showcase your outstanding service makes it easier for you to show off your talent. You can also add personal touches such as a picture of the client’s home, their name and address and points specific to their area and needs.

The tools needed to communicate and market your listings have changed. Keeping up to date with the latest technology, using a combination of digital and traditional marketing tactics and above all else providing superior customer service provide the perfect reasons for a client to list with you.

Realtour.biz offers customizable listing presentations that are reuseable, digital and printer adaptable. We also have an entire suite of real estate marketing tools that are completely integrated for consistent branding and quality.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Why your Eflyers Might land in the Spam Folder

Email marketing provides real estate agents with an affordable way to reach a large group of buyer’s agents. However, if you are not careful, your own email practices could be the reason your open rates seem low. It is a common mistake to assume that if your open rates are low that it must be someone else’s fault. The fault usually lies in two common mistakes: 1) Using a stale mailing list or 2) Using email practices that land eflyers in the spam folder.

Spam Filtering

Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), have become exceptionally good at helping their clients avoid having spam or malicious emails appear in their inboxes. Unfortunately in hand with these precautions, many have become overly zealous in their efforts, using anti-spam programs that can weed out even the most innocent of emails.
This might seem like the cards are stacked against you as an email marketer. However, take heart in knowing that if you are using a legitimate email marketing service and following the best practices of knowledgeable email marketers, that your odds of seeing success in your email marketing campaigns get much better.
Understanding spam filters can help improve your open rates.

Tips to avoid Spam Filtering

Here are some tips to help you avoid undeserved spam filtering:
  • As excited as you are about the property you are selling, tons of exclamation points are not going to persuade agents to open your email. In fact, excessive exclamation marks, using caps and exaggerated subject lines are major triggers to spam filters that your email is not legit.
  • Examples of exaggerated subject lines include phrases such as “Once in a lifetime opportunity!” or “Don’t Miss Out!” Real estate agents want the facts about the property, not a sensationalized offer. Avoiding these tactics will let spam filters know you are trustworthy.
  • Within the body of the copy make sure you are not using exaggerated points. Avoid using words highlighted in caps, and as mentioned above too many exclamation points as this will set off alarms.
  • If you have the option to use your own artwork as one big image, or using a template that allows you to add text, use the template. Spam filters look for emails that are one big image with little or no text and will often filter them out simply because they can’t read the image.
  • If you are using your own list be careful that you have permission from each recipient to send them information. Old lists can also be a problem as the more bounces you get from old or invalid email addresses at a single ISP the more chance there is that the ISP will block anything coming from you.
  • If you want to send a proof to your client, broker or fellow agents do not use the word test in the subject line as this can also trigger issues with spam filters.

White Listing

An important thing to keep in mind is that even your own company’s firewall might view any of the above issues as spam. This means that you will not receive a copy of your email or even confirmation emails that your eflyer has been sent. In order to ensure that you are not blocked by your own ISP make sure that your email marketing service provider’s email address is “white listed”. You can do this by simply adding their email addresses to your address or contact list so that it is always accepted by your ISP.

Realtour adheres to all anti-spam rules to ensure your emails get through. Our list is checked regularly. We provide an unsubscribe option in order to keep our list up to date with subscribers who have chosen to receive emails coming from our IP address. Using our real estate email marketing service in hand with these tips will help ensure your eflyers reach as many agents as possible.

Monday, 4 January 2016

5 Reasons 2016 is the Year to Leverage Existing Clients

Your real estate marketing plan for 2016 should include investing dollars to leverage your existing clients. 88 percent of successful real estate agents believe that referrals are critical to their business and 83 percent also depend on repeat business. Here are five reasons that 2016 should be the year you start leveraging your existing client relationships:
Existing clients can generate 75 percent of your business.

  1. Tapping into 75 percent: Savvy real estate agents know that 75 percent of their business comes from referrals. It is time to start focusing on how you can keep in touch with clients so you are top of mind when someone they know is ready to buy or sell a home.
  2. Fearing Client Attrition: Learning to fear client attrition is a must for 2016. Keep reminding yourself that real estate agents stand to lose 20 percent of their client base every year for the simple reason they do not stay in touch.
  3. Satisfaction = Repeat Business: 84 percent of sellers would use their real estate agents again and 88 percent of buyers would do the same. The reason is simple: They trust they will do a good job. The numbers are the same for satisfied clients who are happy to refer their agent to friends, family and co-workers.
  4. Reaching Out: Many agents are hesitant to approach existing clients by email and instead focus their efforts on social media and/or advertising through print and digital media to drum up new business. However, reaching out to existing clients is easier AND 70 percent of consumers say they are happy to receive and read email that comes from a trusted business. 91 percent of consumers check their email at least once daily in order to stay connected.
  5. 40 Times More Effective: Email is 40 times more effective at generating new clients than Facebook and Twitter. It also takes less effort on your part if you are using a newsletter service that can send out a fun and engaging email on a monthly or quarterly basis. You can also add your social media links to the newsletter to help stay connected and encourage followers. 92 percent of small businesses find social media an effective part of their marketing plan.

Sending out a pre-written, branded real estate newsletter is the ideal way to keep in touch with clients. You will remain top of mind, avoid client attrition and also provide entertaining and relevant information that home owners will find engaging. This is an excellent real estate email marketing tool as it avoids “selling” and instead simply focuses on sharing news and information clients can actually use.

Realtour.biz offers an excellent Ready to Send Newsletter tool that allows you to include a personalized message to clients, add social media links and include your headshot, contact info and logo.  Customized headers and footers are also available.