How can top agents boost their ROI when it comes to marketing?

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For real estate professionals, a solid return on investment for marketing is about more than just getting the most out of every dollar spent.

For real estate professionals, a solid return on investment from marketing is about more than just getting the most out of every dollar spent. It should also include a good return on the time being spent to prepare all the marketing materials. Fortunately, analytics may be able to help agents determine just how strong their ROI actually is.

The good news for agents is that there are plenty of options for not only getting their marketing materials in front of the people most likely to be enticed by them, but also examining just how effective those efforts have been, according to Inman. Facebook and other social media sites give advertisers like agents a bevy of tools they can use to determine just how effective every dollar they spend truly is, and this is especially true thanks to the ability to target ads to users in specific demographics or geographical areas.

Consider other types of returns
While ROI is often calculated in terms of dollars and cents, in today’s market it can come in other ways as well. For instance, when effective marketing turns into real estate sales, it’s easy to quantify; “I spent this much, and here’s how much I netted from that sale.” However, if that client then turns around and writes a glowing review online, it too can have a massive positive impact on future business, because consumers increasingly rely on customer reviews to make decisions about everything including which agent to work with.

Of course, it’s difficult to quantify just how much marketing activity is directly responsible for a positive review that, in turn, also leads to more business. However, gaining a direct lead from marketing activity can be a good indicator that their marketing efforts are paying off.

Can predictive data help?
Agents may also be able to benefit from using “big data” to cultivate predictive information that can inform more effective marketing, Inman noted, but acquiring big data often requires an additional investment. So the question for many agents becomes, “Is it worth it?” Many of these tools can use publicly available data to determine things like which area residents may be poised to buy or sell within a certain timeframe – which can certainly help to inform more direct marketing decisions that are more likely to pay off.

ROI should be continually evaluated to make sure that marketing efforts are effective and result in opportunities to connect with more clients.

What helps make a real estate blog stand out?

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More real estate professionals have come to understand the value of blogging to help push their sites up local search rankings and gain more traction with would-be buyers and sellers. However, there are certainly elements that separate a good blog from a great one. When agents know the difference, they can really unlock new potential for their web content to be shared and – potentially – connect with future clients.

The good news is there are plenty of little add-ons for blogs that can help them stand out from the crowd, above and beyond what even planned, well-written posts already provide, according to Real Estate Tech News. For one thing, it’s vital to have SEO-monitoring apps attached to your blog platform so that any posts are optimized to improve their standing among local real estate site rankings. Likewise, having the power of Google Analytics to see how visitors find each blog post – and the site overall – can help improve traffic as well.

Getting in touch
Beyond the basics, though, the point of a real estate blog is usually to both highlight current listings and entice potential clients to fill out contact forms so you know how to get in touch with them. Apps like Ninja Forms, MailChimp for WordPress, Constant Contact and more will achieve that end fairly easily.  Keep in mind, there are many options, so it would be wise to experiment a little bit and figure out which one works best for your specific needs.

Finally, it’s absolutely crucial to install a widget that optimizes your site for viewing on all devices, and mobile in particular. Because a growing number of home shoppers begin their search online using a smartphone, the ability to scale a site automatically to match whatever screen they’re using is a must.

Making it look good
Meanwhile, it’s also a good idea to consider the benefits of finding the best possible blog design that highlights just how beautiful the listings are, and one that makes the words pop off the screen as well, according to Athemes. While some WordPress themes cost money, many are available for free and can make content as shareable as possible. Of course, because these themes are available to everyone, it’s vital to find one that’s not being used by another local competitor already.

Consider the lifestyle you want to convey in your theme. Many themes are customizable to an almost unbelievable extent, while others are more basic and allow you to simply pick color schemes, fonts, and so forth. How far you want to take the level of customization should depend on your personal web expertise, but most themes are very user-friendly and therefore some experimenting will help you get acclimated. After that, you may be able to “set it and forget it.”

Remember, even one well-designed blog post can be the thing that helps a potential client – whether buying or selling – decide to do business with you. This kind of power to drive real estate sales should never be underestimated.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Master multiple tech options to boost real estate sales

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While the key to marketing is to be visible, it might not always be possible to be as “out there” as you’d like. With this in mind, it’s vital to keep up with the latest trends in emerging technology to highlight home features in a way that will appeal to would-be buyers.

For instance, wearable tech, like smartwatches, have started to gain a bit of traction among consumers, especially younger ones. As a result, it may be possible to incorporate these devices into online real estate marketing in a unique way, according to Inman. Some small drones now come with technology that allows them to “lock on” to a smartwatch or other wearable device and follow the wearer around. This technology may make it possible to give virtual guided tours of listings, using drones to guide the buyer through the property.

Other emerging technology
In addition, you could apply similar ideas to video tours compiled for virtual reality-enabled devices. This type of equipment can work for something as simple as a smartphone with a connected headset and can go a long way toward allowing a user – perhaps one who cannot attend an open house – to virtually walk through a listing and get a near-interactive experience.

Likewise, even those who can attend an open house may be able to get in on the virtual experience with a technology known as “augmented reality.” Many agents may have seen this tech reach immense popularity already with the popular Pokémon GO! smartphone app. In that game, the phone’s camera superimposes Pokémon into real-world settings, allowing users to feel like they’re catching Pokémon in their own neighborhoods.

Other tech companies are now undertaking similar efforts that could have an application in real estate: AR would allow people to superimpose furniture and other accessories into spaces at an open house to better personalize the experience. This way, they can get a clearer feel for what a home would look like when it is more suited to their tastes. That capability alone could revolutionize the way open houses work within the next several years.

Getting proactive
The key for real estate agents when it comes to utilizing this kind of technology might be getting out in front of local trends, according to Real Estate Weekly. Because technology like AR and VR is often somewhat inexpensive to implement, it can be wise to at least invest a few hundred dollars in these options or at least play around to see if they work for boosting sales.

“Technology has gone from something that can help you to something that is necessary,” Zvi Band, founder and CEO of Contactually, said at a recent real estate conference, according to the site.

Agents can use emerging technology to make themselves stand out from the competition and get an edge in local sales.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Using Drones to Highlight Property Features

droneMany real estate professionals who keep up with the latest trends in online marketing have probably noticed a lot of videos taken with drones lately. It should come as no surprise these aircraft are growing in popularity because they really can show off attractive properties. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind before agents incorporate drones into their own marketing efforts, including compliance with state and federal regulation.

The right shots taken with these unmanned aircraft can help a property stand out from the crowd, which can increase the likelihood of a real estate sale. But there are some tips and tricks those experienced with this kind of real estate marketing would impart to any new adopters, according to New American Agent

Where to begin
When it comes to using drones to get the perfect real estate listing videos and photos, experts recommend ensuring that adjacent features to the property also add positive interest to the subject property.  In some cases, a drone may show that the neighbors’ yards or other nearby features don’t paint a property in the most attractive light, and for these properties, it might be wise to avoid drone use. But when everything looks good, another potential benefit of aerial footage is the ability to provide perspective that highlights proximity from one home to another, as well as to main thoroughfares, schools, playgrounds, supermarkets and the like.

In addition, drones can be used to create videos that simulate the experience of “coming home” to a property, according to long-time real estate pro Bennat Berger. For instance, flying a drone down a street, up a driveway and to the front door of a home can help viewers feel like they’re the ones pulling up to a property, especially when they use the latest high-resolution cameras. Along similar lines, taking a drone all over a property at a low altitude can also highlight attractive features that might not show up as well with hand-held video cameras or photography.

Dealing with red tape
The Federal Aviation Administration recently changed some rules to allow drones use for real estate marketing, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, hopeful agents must navigate a number of issues first. The most important of those hurdles is agents will have to get a remote pilot’s license specifically for drone use, following completion of a test. After that, agents will have to renew their licenses every two years.

In addition, drones must be used during daylight hours only and cannot go more than 400 feet above a property. Operators will also have to be stationary on the ground during the flight and make sure they’ve carefully inspected the drone before putting it in the air. Further, agents will have to get homeowner permission to operate the drone on their properties.  Outsourcing drone footage may be an easier route, and there are a number of professional drone companies with licensed drone pilots that are available to shoot the aerial footage for real estate listings at a fairly reasonable fee.   As more and more listings with drone footage appear on the MLS, it’s clear that the results from listings with drone footage show a new level of professionalism and certainly help listings stand out from the crowd.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Highlighting a home with great photos and video

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Multimedia is crucial to marketing a home these days, as consumers want to really get a feel for a property before they even show up for an open house. As such, real estate professionals would do well to make sure they photograph and record everything like the pros to make online visitors feel like they get an up-close and personal look at a property.

Typically, when people shop for a home online, the pictures are going to be what draws them in initially. Agents know this to be true in general, but experts say industry-standard practices when it comes to photography and taking video might need to be spruced up a little bit to make a property for sale stand out, according to Trulia. In these cases, it might be wise to rely on the services of a professional photographer or videographer, or at least the same kind of equipment they would use, like professional cameras and tripods, rather than just taking pictures with a smartphone. The latter can limit your options for improving a photo in post-production.

Next-level tips
One of the big trends in real estate photography is to use drones to get aerial photos and videos, and if properties have scenic back yards, swimming pools or other water features that would show up well in this type of media, then those devices can be a great resource, the report said. However, if the areas around a home leave a little to be desired, even if it’s a neighbor’s yard, including those photos or videos isn’t necessarily a must. Likewise, within a home itself, there are bound to be some features that could use a little handiwork before a sale, they don’t necessarily have to be included in a photo or video tour.

Instead, it might be wiser to focus on a home’s attractive interior features. That photographic effort should probably include pictures with lots of natural light. It would be wise for agents to ask owners which parts of the house get the most light and at what times of day. Even if this is a photography project that takes several hours, getting the right kinds of photos can pay off by boosting the value of a real estate sale.

What else do pros do?
One of the big tips photographers recommend taking photos of a home’s nicer features from angles rather than head-on, Inman advised. This can help make a photo appear more “three-dimensional” even if it’s just on a smartphone or computer screen. And in general, the more pictures of each feature, the better off agents will be when it comes to finding the one that highlights exactly how beautiful a fireplace, breakfast nook or back porch can be.

Finally, it’s also a good idea to digitally touch up even the nicest photos before being posted. In much the same way as photo shoots involving models go through a round or two with photo editing software. Without going overboard, cleaning up a few elements of even the best shots can go a long way toward making pictures pop for their intended audience.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

September 2016 Marketing & Tech Stat

This month’s Marketing & Tech Stat focuses on key characteristics of homes purchased over the past year.  This is great content to share with your current buyers and anyone who is thinking about purchasing a home in the future.

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Click the links below to access the corresponding items:

PDF Version: If you have issues viewing the flyer, save it to your computer first.  This can be printed and then mailed with your business card.

JPG Version – You could use this graphic by saving it to your phone and uploading directly to instagram and other social media sites.

Click here to easily share this as a blog article on your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You’ll be redirected to AskHomesale.com where you can simply scroll to the bottom of the article and select the social network you want to share it to.

You can also access the ecard template on the Market REsource by selecting ecards and searching for “Market and Tech Stat – September 2016.”