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10 Technologies and Tools for Real Estate Agents
Armed with high tech tools and technologies, real estate agents have ventured out in the virtual world to simplify their lives and attract more customers. Read on for our picks of the top 10 tools and technologies that can boost your performance in real estate. Ten Tools for Real Estate Agents 10. Boomerang: Boomerang is a tool for Gmail users who want to keep track of the important mails and manage their cluttered inbox. It helps you compose a mail and schedule the time when it should be sent. It even offers reminders in case you get a lead. Setting up the Boomerang email scheduling tool allows you to mark mail to be sent at a later date. The Boomerang button next to a message brings the mail back to the inbox with the reply from the recipient. 9. DocuSign: Real estate work involves a lot of documents and paperwork that can be really cumbersome to manage. This is where DocuSign comes into the picture. It manages and integrates with the major CRM systems allowing you to save the documents on cloud storage. This simplifies data storing and retrieval considerably. An effective, reliable and responsive tool, DocuSign helps in exchanging documents and get past records with just the click of a button. 8. Evernote: Evernote helps users keep track of their expenses and other important pieces of information. A great platform to store all your tax files, documents and client information, Evernote offers cloud storage facilities at a very minimal charge (about $5 a month). From old receipts to important deals, you can manage it all here.
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Promotion is Key to a Successful Original Content Strategy
I have repeated this statement so many times, I feel many of you are sick of hearing it. I'm going to say it again though: "Creating a blog is 20% of the work you need to do when promoting your services online. Actually promoting that blog post is what 80% of your time should account for." Easier said than done, right? Well, today my friends, you're in luck. As promised in my last post, I'm going to give you a few proven, realistic ways you can promote your online content, and get that exposure your great material so richly deserves. 1) Your WordPress blog is GREAT, but don't ignore other blog options Even if your website is set up on the very best WordPress set up, with the most killer theme, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't consider other blogging platforms. There are two, very easy to use platforms that can supplement your blogging efforts that will bring you great exposure. ActiveRain and Tumblr are great examples of this. ActiveRain is a Real Estate community blog that gets lots of eyeballs (both industry people and homeowners). The platform has an HTML authoring option, so it's super to post to your ActiveRain blog quickly, right after you create your blog in Wordpress. Simply copy the HTML of your post and paste it into the window. Set your keywords and then save it. As a last step, select "Edit Post" and then add a link to your original WordPress blog post. That's it!
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5 Simple Steps to Making the Best Real Estate Videos
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A Primer for Blogging
Guest contributor Chris Brogan brings us this post: If you would like to get further into blogging, here is a brief primer: 1) Get a blog. (Easy: tumblr.com, wordpress.com, blogger.com.) *RE Technology note: see more real estate blogging tools in our product directory.* 2) Pick an area of focus, but one that has broad sides. (Mine: helping people do digital business in a human way.) 3) Start writing. 4) Start by planning to publish 1 post a week. (RE Technology note: Need help with this? Read our June Blogging Plan) 5) Get daring and try for 2 posts a week (eventually). 6) Make the posts more than 100 words and less than 1000 words most days. 7) Spell-check. 8) Delete the sentences that don’t matter. 9) Realize that posts that are helpful to others get shared more than posts that are merely interesting. 10) Never write a “sorry I haven’t written” post. Ever.
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June Blogging Plan: 8 Topic Ideas
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4 Functioning WordPress Themes for Real Estate
Ricardo Bueno is back with another great post from the Diverse Solutions blog. The truth is, you can take almost any generic WordPress theme and design a good looking real estate blog with it. What you need to identify is, does this theme contain all of the features that I require in a functioning real estate website? Or do I have to download a series of plugins and customize it to make it work the way that I want it to? So here’s where I would start… Take a look at a series of real estate websites from your competitors and elsewhere, then ask yourself: What do you like? What don’t you like? What do you wish worked better? …from there, you can start to shop around for a suitable real estate theme that has everything you need it to do. What Do You Want a Real Estate Website To Do? Add an IDX Quick Search: You can add the Diverse Solutions IDX Plugin to just about any WordPress theme. It works right out of the box and it inherits it’s layout design from your theme’s design. If you’re not ready to purchase an IDX solution however, there’s a few WordPress themes that have functionality built-in to add your own listings manually. It’s labor intensive, sure, but it works.
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Who Should I Host My Blog With?
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How Do You Market Yourself as a REALTOR®? Web? Print? Cheesy Billboards?
In a recovering real estate market, agents must spend wisely when marketing themselves to potential homebuyers. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, 90 percent of homebuyers used the Internet in their home search. Therefore, the hilarious billboards may have worked for Peter Klaven’s real estate business in, “I Love You, Man” but those billboards wouldn’t work for today’s REALTOR®. Here are a few simple and beneficial ways to market online:
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Helpful Hints for Real Estate Blogging
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Online publishing using Scribd
Many real estate agents to not have a website, or do not have a website that allows them to easily publish documents and market reports that are useful to consumers. Short of getting a new website, there are free tools that you can use. My favorite tool for publishing documents to the Internet is a service called scribd. You can use scribd for free by creating an account at scribd.com, or signing in with your Facebook account. Scribd is a social network for documents. Scribd is a pretty cool website in a lot of respects. They call themselves the world’s largest social reading and publishing company, which is likely true. They claim 70 Million readers every month, and more than one billion pages of documents are stored there. Not only is it a popular place, but it is used by CBS News, Tribune companies, Forbes, Ford Motor, Facebook, The New York Times and bunches of other companies to post and research information. It is a good place.
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Mastering Your Blog Timing
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The Science of Timing: Blogging
How many times a day or week should you blog to keep people interested? Do you know what time of day is best for blogging? Does it matter? The answer is simple: there is a science to blogging. With millions of bloggers, how do you make your message rise above the digital noise and gain traction within your industry? When are people listening? Don't worry, there are answers to this based on scientific research. Modern day blogging has evolved into a science. If you are interested in keeping a client and subscriber base informed and engaged with you and your message, it is well worth your time to invest in learning some of the research behind the science of blog timing. HubSpot social media scientist Dan Zarrella discussed his research on timing. He has conducted research on the Internet for the last 2-3 years. Of all the subjects he researches, the science of timing is the number one piece of data consumers want to know. He researches and identifies best practices. This webinar presents all the data to date that Zarrella has studied. It covers three marketing mediums businesses use for inbound marketing: social media, email and blogging. This article focuses on blogging specifically.
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The Queue: Groupon and How Facebook Marries Wordpress
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Social Media: The Art of Building Awareness and Capture
We use social media tools for different purposes. We might use it for distribution of media, for marketing, for customer service, for promotion, for communication, and most likely, for all of the above. How you use it depends on your end goals, obviously. But most times, people are being thrust into using social media without really knowing what the goals are, and without knowing what kind of workflow should accompany the use of the tool. Instead, they swing by Facebook to see if anyone commented on the wall update, and they visit Twitter to reply to a few things, retweet a few other things, and they end up feeling like they’re not sure why they’re doing this, let alone how it’s going to serve the cause.
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How to Show Facebook Comments on Your WordPress Blog
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Website Writings 101
In my last post, I talked about the human attention span (or lack thereof). Now that I have your attention again, I'll get started before I get side-tracked myself. Perhaps you simply prefer the 'DIY' approach, or perhaps hiring a professional web content writer isn't an option – regardless of the situation – a website needs words. Furthermore, a website needs more than just 'fluff' and generic content to capture the reader's attention. While some of us are more proficient with words than others, no matter how word-savvy you are, there are a few things everyone should keep in mind: The Landing Page The About Page Cut to the Chase
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Fannie Mae Look-Up Tool
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Have Writer's Block?
One question I get consistently any time I talk to people about real estate blogging is, “What do you write about and where do you find the time?” And a darn fine question it is. Actually, it’s two questions. We’ll attempt to tackle the first one now, ans the second one in a follow up article. What to write about Here is where I differ somewhat from many “blogging experts”. Personally, I don’t think a real estate blog needs to be exclusively about real estate. You don’t need to go all “hyper local” to have a successful real estate blog. “Blasphemy!” someone is saying.
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The Two Best Tools for Blogging
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Want to Increase Traffic to Your Home For Sale? Ask a REALTOR®
Q: "My house is listed for $339,000. We bought it three years ago for $368,000. There is a house directly across the street from me similar in amenities but 1,000 square feet smaller, listed at $249,000. (They bought it for $280,000 around the same time.) My question is, I see a lot of traffic at that house compared to ours. We listed on Sept. 24, and only have 5 brochures removed from our free info box so far. That house has already received an offer, but it was turned down by the sellers. We would like to increase the traffic to our property. Aside from our REALTOR® posting it on a multiple listing site, what else can we do? Would an open house help?"
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Set Blog Goals, Set Traffic Records!
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Tech-ing It To the Next Level
Branded web site. Check. Facebook fan page. Check. Document management solution. Check. Featured listings and listing syndication. Check. WordPress blog. Check. If you currently have a technology list like the one above, instead of adding the latest and greatest technologies, perhaps the best way to spend your time is to educate yourself on the technologies you already have.  With technology, consider the old adage "Less is more".  It is better to become an expert in a few technologies, than someone who uses dozens of technologies to half of their potential.  Maybe it's time to take it to the next level. REALTOR® Magazine recently posted a helpful article detailing nine strategies real estate agents can employ to do more with the technology they already have in their arsenal.
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Food for Fodder
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7 Reasons Why Your (Future) Clients Care that You are a Real Estate Blogger
In the collective discussion that took place on this topic, there was lots of writing on why blogging helps you gain the trust of your audience, and how blogging helps you connect to your potential clients, but pinning down why they should care took some time to uncover. Paula Henry from IndyRealEstateTalk.com broke through with the concept that a well executed real estate blog gives clients a sense of the agent “beyond the slogan.” Many real estate agents use slogans such as: “Knowledge Is Power” “Service You Deserve. People You Trust” “Experience Is The Difference” “Always There For You” “We Care” “Your Local Expert” …and so on. Without the substance to back up these slogans, they are nothing more than sentences.  Your clients and potential clients are in fact looking for an agent that has superior knowledge, rich experience, is trustworthy, offers excellent service, knows the area and cares about them. It is through blogging that your audience is able to recognize that you are the embodiment of the aspects they are looking for in the agent that will guide them through the most important financial decision of their lives.
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Get Plugged into WordPress with the Latest
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How to Target Your Marketing Efforts and Master Your Business Niche
If you want to make more money in today’s competitive environment, then you need to master your business niche. Let me show you a perfect, prime example of niche marketing at its best: The AARP card appeared in the mail again. This time I actually opened the envelope and reviewed the material included with the invitation to join. Offers of insurance, magazines, on-line registrations and general information related to aging spilled out across the table. Everything in the packet maintained the specific intent of enticing a middle age person to join the group dedicated to senior citizens. A scant five years ago, I wouldn’t have acknowledged the promotional material. It would have been swept into the nearest garbage can as I briefly wondered why this organization wasted its marketing dollars on me. Now, as I scan the introductory letter, the supporting messages delivered in the envelope are beginning to make sense. I’ve discovered that the magazine is dedicated to providing me with information on medical advancements for cholesterol control, suggestions to slim the middle age bulge and tips to improve my memory. That last one caught my attention. Startled, I realized that I aged into the targeted demographic of The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and didn’t feel it coming on. When, for god’s sake, did I stop being 35? AARP knew it would happen and patiently primed the pump for several years as it waited for me to emotionally recognize that my body and brain would change. My perspective would alter and this organization graciously waited until it was needed. Now, that’s niche marketing!
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Blogging Brainstorm Contest for REALTORS®
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Real Estate Blogging: Quantity, Not Detail!
Beginning a blog is hard. What do you write? How long does it have to be? Does it fully capture who you are and what you can offer your readers without making you sound lame? Jim Cronin of Real Estate Tomato hears these types of questions all day long, when working with real estate professionals who want to begin to blog. In answer to these frantic, initial questions, here's what he has to say: "The following is based on a phone rant that I have let loose so many times that I’m starting to feel myself on auto-pilot, almost thinking about something else, as I explain the basic formula to guaranteed blogging success. It struck me that I need to write this down before I mistakenly consider it to be no longer relevant. The fact is that it couldn’t be more relevant for new and struggling real estate bloggers. I am adding this article to the Pre-Class Homework that all of our new clients will receive, for it is the foundation of their path to blogging reward.
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AgentPress: The Ideal Theme for Real Estate Bloggers
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What’s in Your Real Estate Tool Kit?
It’s surprising to me that REALTORS® are unaware of items to have in their coveted real estate tool kit. It doesn’t need to consist of a bunch of disjointed tools like in recent history. Make it is easy for yourself and utilize the technology that is now available to you. Can you believe there are still some REALTORS® out there with a Hudson’s map in one hand and the steering wheel in the other? Yes, it’s sad but true. Time to get with the program all you real estate professionals and check out these latest time savers and productivity gainers. Without a system that automatically assumes mundane non-revenue producing tasks, you might as well be an order taker. The following tools are great finds for your real estate tool kit.
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