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May We Please Start Saying 'My Pleasure' Instead of 'No Problem'?
Customer service in real estate is paramount. It's a key differentiator promoted by the vast majority of brokerages and agents. It's vital because real estate is a relationship business. I've written about this before, but growing up and working for my dad in the hotel business, I was taught how essential it was to provide exceptional customer service. That has made me acutely aware of the overall decline in excellent customer service in our society at large.
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Real Estate Journalists Heading to Austin
For more than 50 years, the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) has met three times a year to hold journalism conferences. Of all the events that WAV Group Communications attends, none pack more value into a few days than NAREE. The peer exchange is unmatched in our business. If you are not familiar with NAREE and you do corporate communications, PR, or real estate coverage as a journalist, blogger or author, this is a "must-join" organization. Membership information is here. Their gatherings, coupled with their annual NAREE Network Membership Directory that includes everyone's contact details and profiles, make your membership investment worth every penny. Since 1929, the non-profit NAREE has been a place where real estate writers, editors, columnists, authors, and communicators come together to learn, as well as exchange ideas and best practices and get to know one another better. More than 600 professionals—active (journalists) and Associate members (communicators)—meet three times a year, a winter meeting at the International Builders Show (IBS), a fall meeting typically help during the NAR Annual Convention, and one every spring. This year, the spring conference is in Austin, June 26-29 at the Hyatt Regency Austin on the banks of Lady Bird Lake. Yes, attendees will get a great view of Austin's famous "Bat Bridge." Awesome Austin NAREE was last in Austin almost ten years ago, in 2010. Former NAREE president Shonda Novak wrote the condo explosion in Austin, which has changed the city's skyline since then dramatically—from the 58-story The Independent (nicknamed the Jenga Tower) at the western edge of downtown to the 38-story Northshore, across from the Hyatt. On the docket, Novak reports, is the tallest building yet at 66 stories and to include apartments and office space. Austin is a hotbed of high tech, and it is home to top real estate innovators OJO Labs (AI leader), the Austin Association of Realtors®, and Redfin. This tech drives massive economic growth, impacting real estate on two fronts: the overall market and the significant number of hot real estate related tech startups. In addition to OJO Labs, according to BuiltinAustin hot real estate related tech startups include Opcity, Homads, ListingSpark, Rabbet (construction), RealHQ (Agent Pronto), RentHub, RealMassive (CRE), RealSavvy, REThink CRM, TenantCloud, and Turnkey Vacation Rentals. I love going to Austin—despite the horrific traffic to and from the airport during rush hour. Like its famous music scene, the food scene also rocks. My two top shares: Clay Pit for Indian food and Franklin's for BBQ (worth the wait and reopened a year and a half ago after a fire closed it for several months). NAREE Line-up The tentative NAREE Spring Conference agenda is online and will be updated as we get closer. The highlight for me comes Friday afternoon—the "Meet the Press" function. It's speed dating with reporters. NAREE attracts the "Who's Who" of reporters who cover real estate. Name a top US news publication or real estate trade and they are likely to have someone in attendance—or even several folks. NAR gives a Midyear Economic Forecast, and we typically get insight into cutting-edge firms. My colleague, WAV Group founding partner Marilyn Wilson, will be helping out on one of those panels. The annual NAREE Awards will be Friday night—honoring top reporting and now in its 69th year! The social aspect built into the spring conference makes it the most special NAREE event of the year and an excellent opportunity for newcomers. Wednesday and Thursday evenings, the NAREE current president hosts a hospitality suite with an open bar and delectable treats. Because of generous sponsors, there's often a giveaway item (or two) that you won't toss away but use. Bottom line: if you work with real estate journalists or are one, join NAREE and we'll see you in Austin at the end of the month! To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Office Safety: Dealing with Angry Visitors, Part 4
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Office Safety: Dealing with Angry Visitors, Part 3
So now you know the first two steps (see parts one and two) in dealing with an agitated person who visits your real estate office. You're aware of how to identify an angry person from a distance, and the non-verbal tricks that can help you de-escalate the situation. Now, let's talk about verbal strategy. What do you say to an upset individual to defray a tense situation? Watch this week's episode of "Real Answers" to find out. In the video above, you'll learn: Why validation is key to calming an agitated visitor Sample scripts for validating their feelings Why you need the person to be calm and rational, and how to get them there Next week, we'll explore the next steps in defusing the situation with your upset office visitor. Stay tuned!  
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Office Safety: Dealing with Angry Visitors, Part 2
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Office Safety: Dealing with Angry Visitors
For weeks, we've been sharing strategies that agents can use when faced with an agitated squatter. But what happens when the agitated person is a member of the public--and they're in your office? In this week's episode of Real Answers, brokerages, MLSs and associations will learn what NOT to do when an upset individual enters their office and makes a scene or starts a confrontation. This episode is the first in a series of four that looks at how to handle this potentially dangerous scenario. Tune in next week to learn what TO DO when confronted by an angry person in your office!    
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Real Estate Buyers Want More Process Content
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3 Uses for Microsoft Teams in Picking Up the Slack
For the past couple of years, almost everyone I knew used Slack for team collaboration. It was a powerful tool with tons of integrations with other applications and platforms. Slack's infusion of a new round of funding at $427 million last summer revealed some impressive stats. Slack reported that they had over 8 million daily active users with over 70,000 paid teams. Enter Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams wrangled its way into the collaborative chat market. Below are three ways that Microsoft Teams can make your real estate company more efficient through collaboration and transparency.
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Is Your Real Estate Seller Content Hitting the Mark?
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Upping Your Game with Real Estate Investor Content
What is so different about real estate investor website content? It's not as much about different topics as it is about a higher level of content treatment. Don't get offended, but some real estate investors are spending more hours in educating themselves each year than your Continuing Education requirements. They're using their money for courses and taking on risk, and the successful investors are constantly bulking up their knowledge base to reduce risk and increase profits. Do you really want to work with real estate investors? Perhaps you're busy enough that you don't have to. However, if you would like to build a client base of buyers and sellers who need very little hand-holding and bring you repeat business, then investors are desirable. Here are real estate website content hints to help you build an investor client niche.
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ERA Real Estate Launches IVR Enhancement to TextERA Platform
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Great PR Begins with Great Storytelling
What makes the difference between a good public relations campaign and a great public relations campaign? It's the story. If you don't have a great story to tell, you won't have great PR. It's that simple. The truth is, after three decades in this industry, most of the PR I witness is mediocre. Why? Because the stories are mediocre. I don't know if the companies or the products are just outright dull or the professional crafting the stories didn't work hard enough, but too much of what I read and see being done in PR today is milquetoast. And unfortunately, a lot of PR today that is being practiced is awful.
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Format for Writing Agent Bios
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What's the Best Way to Announce Leadership Changes?
The real estate industry is undergoing a massive transition in leadership. Top executives who have run major real estate brokerages, associations and MLSs for decades are heading for retirement. Moreover, at the beginning of any new year comes a flurry of new leadership announcements. What's the best way, from a public relations perspective, to announce a major leadership change?
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Best PR Quotes of All Time
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4 Types of Content Real Estate Pros Need to Use
What does your real estate content say about your business and brand? While you don't have to be a writing expert to create an excellent blog post, it's important to make sure that your content represents the best elements of your brand. That requires creating content that demonstrates your expertise, speaks to the needs of your audience, and takes advantage of trends geared specifically toward real estate clients. Creating different types of content allows you to connect with different segments of your audience, and keeps people coming back to see what you'll create next. Today, we're going to take a closer look at four types of content that are essential for marketing your real estate business.
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7 Communication Apps for Your Business
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How to Differentiate Your Content Between Social Media Channels
The number of social media users worldwide is estimated to reach an excess of 2.77 billion by 2019, so if you aren't currently incorporating it into your marketing efforts, you're going to want to start – ASAP. Not only does it give you access to this booming population of users and potential clients, but it also allows you to do so without breaking the bank, a major plus for any business. Although it is becoming a widely used marketing tactic, many professionals are spending valuable time posting on various social media channels while failing to generate the levels of ROI they are searching for.
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Let's Get Our Language Right
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Talking Your Way to Better Real Estate SEO
Weren't you proud when you learned something about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization? You learned about keywords, key phrases, and terms like "long tail." All of those articles and classes about the META content on your site and how to create effective titles and descriptions for SEO has helped you along the way. Well, we're popping your bubble now! First, getting on the first page of Google desktop searches has become very difficult just using the key phrases strategies. The big players like Zillow and Realtor.com are occupying a lot of first-page real estate, pun intended. That's the not-so-good news. But there is some great news too. How would you like to pop to the top for real estate SEO on the ever-growing number of mobile searches?
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Twilio Acquires SendGrid for $2 Billion -- Real Estate Tech Wins
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How to Create Content That Makes You Stand Out
The secret's out – content marketing works. So well in fact, that virtually everyone seems to have hopped on the content marketing train in some way, shape or form, meaning the amount of content floating around the online universe is exploding at rates that are tough to keep up with. For instance, within the minute that you spent clicking on the link to this article and reading the first sentence alone, 350,000 tweets were sent. By the end of today, 95 million new pictures and videos will be posted on Instagram. By the end of this month, 79.7 million new WordPress blog posts will be published. Have I scared you away from ever practicing content marketing? No? Good.
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What Is a Cloud Phone System?
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Working Your Real Estate Vendors and Lenders for Content
Where to get real estate website content is a question asked often in the search engines. You may be able to write some or even all of your content when it comes to ability, grammar, and spelling. Or, maybe you have someone to edit what you write. Before you spend money for content that often isn't of high quality, think about what your vendor and business contact partners can provide for you free--and gladly do it.
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The ABCs of Marketing Acronyms for Real Estate Brokerages
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The Emergence of Dark Social
I was starting to hit my stride helping companies integrate social media into their public relations programs when I was mugged by Dark Social. If you are not familiar with the term Dark Social, I wasn't either, until recently. At first, I thought Dark Social was somehow related to the Dark Web. Fortunately, I was wrong. Dark Social are those communications methods that involve direct communications with people so they are "social." But unlike social media, they are not out in the open. Thus they are "dark." This includes email, text and chat apps. The other reason it is called Dark Social: these communications methods are almost impossible to monitor. Website analytics or any dashboard can't measure it.
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Live Video Chat: The Way Modern Communication Is Supposed to Be
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Less Is More When It Comes to Your Corporate Boilerplate
Companies spend a lot of time and money focusing on their elevator pitch. As a PR professional, I can appreciate that and endorse the value of a key, succinct message to describe your company. My guess is so much focus has been placed on a strong elevator pitch because it's highly valued when a firm is out raising capital. I just wished more folks paid attention to their boilerplates.
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Should You Use Live Chat Apps on Your Website?
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The Most Dangerous Words in the English Language
Always. Never. Every. Everyone. Everybody. All. Must. These are some of the most dangerous words in our vocabulary. For writers and speakers, as my nephew in Alabama would say, these words are as about as useful as a steering wheel on a mule. That's because these words are typically perceived to be an exaggeration.
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Audience Engagement in a Noisy World
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Registration Marks Do Not Belong in News Releases
Allow me to share a professional rant. We have to stop listening to the lawyers on this one. Companies are habitually adding registration marks to their news releases. I confess. I have more than one client that requires them. But I have to stop, raise my hand and ask one question. Why? The answer I hear is that it is "required" for trademark, service mark, or membership mark protection. It's a registered word, and we own it. We have to protect our ownership, so put the damn circle "R" at the end of the name. End of story. But it is not. The most significant takeaway upfront is this: you will never see a registration mark in the middle of a story in the New York Times, USA Today, Time magazine, or any legitimate print news source. So, what the heck are we doing littering our news releases with them?
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What Is Public Relations?
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Evergreen Content for Websites, Breaking Content for Blogs
How can you generate more leads from your real estate website? One thing goes without saying: without great real estate website content, your lead generation strategies will not be successful. It's a fact, so instead of fighting it, just fix it with valuable evergreen content. What is evergreen content? As with trees, it's content that's green (relevant) year-round forever. It's not content that is specific to a date or dated event unless it's in a form that discusses a regularly scheduled event. Even then, the content should stick to what's relevant every time the event happens. Think about the value of internet content over time. You write an article, let's say about title insurance, and someone reads it years later. If it's still valid and informative, it's going to be just as valuable to your site and lead generation at that time. Your blog is where you can create more time-sensitive content, such as announcements of zoning changes, special events, etc.
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The Secret to Having the Best PR Program
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Effective PR Means One Message Does Not Fit All Audiences
Too often public relations activities rely on the "spray and pray" method these days. It's just too easy. First, there's the availability of cheap digital newswire services to blast out a news release for a few hundred dollars or less. If you want to get some quick online news cover and links to post to social media, it's just a few clicks away. Second, creating email lists of reporters and bloggers has never been more accessible. So much so, I would venture to guess reporters are suffering from unsubscribing fatigue. The cause may be that too many people who call themselves PR pros are either lazy or just don't understand one of the key tenets of effective PR: the medium, the message, and the target audience must match.
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Chat Bot 2.0 for Brokers
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Great PR Begins First and Foremost with Understanding the Media
For the last few weeks, I have been wearing the hat of a reporter. All I can say to the journalists whom I have worked with over the last couple of dozen years: I now feel your pain when it comes to unsolicited pitches from PR people. Moreover, I apologize on behalf of seasoned PR pros who would be as disappointed from this experience as I am. I now understand why many of you treat me with immediate suspicion and even an attitude of disdain if you have never worked with me before. It appears my chosen profession is still often, well, very unprofessional. It all comes down to one simple PR 101 lesson that I have found hardly any PR person whom I have interacted with recently follows: know the publication you are contacting BEFORE you pitch them a story, invite them to your press conference, or ask them to interview your CEO. Let me explain how I discovered this revelation.
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How to Choose the Right Phone System for Your Business
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3 Tips for Writing Great Real Estate Content
Whether you're an experienced real estate writer or just getting started, you've likely experienced writer's block. You sit down with all of those great ideas you brainstormed, grab a cup of coffee... and then, BAM! You just can't get the right words on the page. The good news is there are plenty of different ways to make your life easier when creating real estate content. Taking the time to learn about content creation, develop your skills, and practice regularly will have you blogging like a pro in no time! Below, our team offers these three tips to help you create great real estate content.
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Stop Struggling to Create Content: 5 Steps to Simply Get It Done
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The Ultimate Guide to Email Follow Up
Whether it's for business or for pleasure, following up via email is a timeless to-do for anyone wanting to stay top-of-mind with colleagues and friends. Email follow-ups are key to perpetuate business, especially with the reliance on referrals. With the busyness of our professional and personal lives, keeping in touch – especially with those you don't see on a daily basis – can be difficult, and sometimes we can lose business (and relationships!) because of that. You genuinely care about your clients; but even if you do send an email now and again, it can feel like they blend in with the rest of the emails piling up in their inboxes. However, there are a few easy things you can do to maximize your gain from email follow-ups and to make sure they don't go unnoticed. Here's everything you need to know on how to follow up:
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5 Technologies Helping Brokerages Crush Client Communication
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How to Identify, Optimize, and Upcycle Your Best Content
At first glance, real estate seems full of catch-22s. One of these catch-22s is the fact that many real estate pros find themselves too busy working leads to generate leads but need incoming leads to keep business going. That's why time management is such a popular topic in real estate. Managing your time isn't just about time blocking and routines. It's about finding opportunities to accomplish multiple goals with the same time and resources. One way you can do this is by repurposing your old content in new ways.
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How to Compete as Redfin Lowers Their Listing Fees
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Real Estate Definitions Handbook for Sales, Marketing and Tech Terminology
If you're a real estate professional in today's digital world, it's crucial that you adopt the technological solutions that are available to you, since we're living in an increasingly technological world. By arming yourself with a knowledge of relevant tech terms and tools, and harnessing the power of these solutions to improve your business, you can make processes simpler and more successful — both for you and your clients. A knowledge of tech terminology can also help ensure you stay on-par (or ahead!) of your competitors. Here are some of the most important terms you should know.
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The Complete Guide to Promoting Your Business with Texting
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Which Brokerage Intranet Solution is Right for You? (Part 2)
Yesterday, we took a look at the first of two intranet solutions for brokerages. Today, we're highlighting WOLFconnect, an intranet and "front office" platform from our 2017-18 Technology Guide. What is WOLFconnect? WOLFconnect is part of Lone Wolf's Complete Enterprise Solution, a full service brokerage platform that includes back office, accounting, website management, transaction management, and more. While WOLFconnect can stand alone, it is arguably more powerful when connected to the rest of the suite. WOLFconnect itself is a modular solution that offers five different modules that brokerages can purchase as suits their needs:
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Which Brokerage Intranet Solution is Right for You? (Part 1)
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3 Powerful Tools for Communicating Your Brand
To become a successful brokerage and Local Market Master, your brand needs to be consistently shared with your ideal audience in a variety of different places and ways. Three of the most powerful digital promotional and marketing tools that Garry Wise, co-founder of GoodLife Luxury and The Paperless Agent, and his team use to promote their brand message are: Facebook Google My Business Yelp This list is by no means exhaustive, but each tool listed above has a set of advantages and unique features, has a wide market reach, and is being developed to help businesses reach customers. By creating a local brand message you are able to: Give your customers a clear message of what you offer them; Show your customers how you are different and superior to others in the marketplace; Use to evaluate your marketing for brand consistency. With your local brand message in hand, let's explore the three most powerful tools for communicating your business' brand.
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Putting Storytelling Back Into a News Release
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Can You Sell More with Fewer Adjectives?
Among the 25 most commonly used words in real estate listings are descriptive words such as beautiful, spacious, luxury, huge, and must-see. Now, there's nothing wrong with these words. Consumers are familiar with them. But when it comes to listings, is familiarity a good thing? Home shopping is a frustrating experience. Listing after listing, picture after picture, consumers develop shopping fatigue. My theory is that listing descriptions can be a factor in this fatigue. Adjectives make listings vague and unclear. As a result, listings look the same during the home shopping experience—regardless of what they contain. Wordy listings full of adjectives and irrelevant information can take 30 percent longer to sell.
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Do Real Estate Professionals Need Grammarly?
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9 Tips to Improve Your Email Writing Skills
As a real estate professional, you could be handling countless numbers of emails every single day. These tips aim to help you write better, stronger messages. Why Email Writing Is Important It's not uncommon for email to be your primary method of communicating with your clients and other businesses. Yet there are many problems that can accompany this written form of communication. As it turns out, there are many people that are unaware of how to effectively write an email to have the effects they desire.
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Throwback: Why Classic Communication Skills Give You a Marketing Edge
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Manners, Please: The Best Way to Say 'Thank You' (Plus BONUS Email Templates)
This isn't the first time we've covered the thank you topic. Saying 'thank you' never goes out of style and we're always finding new ways to tell our network and customers thank you. Saying "please" and "thank you" were among the first manners that we all learned when we were children. It goes without saying, but expressing gratitude goes far beyond thanking our teachers, parents, and friends when we were kids. As we've grown up, saying "thank you" has taken on an even bigger role – especially in the business world. According to a 2014 survey by Ask Your Target Market, "81 percent of respondents agree that sending thank you notes is an important way to show appreciation." But it doesn't stop there. In addition to being polite and showing appreciation, saying "thank you" has a lot of other positive benefits both personally and professionally. According to Psychology Today, expressing gratitude has various benefits from growing new relationships to improving psychological health. So, if you are part of the 14 percent of people that say they never send "thank you" notes, it's about time you jump on the bandwagon. Take a look at our tips on the best way to say thank you and become a "thank you" expert: 1. Keep it short Everyone appreciates the effort that you go through to thank them because it makes them feel valued; however, it doesn't need to ramble on. Rambling is one of the most annoying email habits (check out 10 Email Habits that Annoy Your Customers to see what else is irritating your customers) so it's important to keep it short and sweet to truly make an impact.
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[INFOGRAPHIC] Pay Attention to Me: The Best Subject Lines
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What Real Estate Pros Should Know About Private Communications During a Showing
Those glued to HGTV well know the benefits of bugging a home with hidden cameras and listening devices during a showing. Opening the eyes of sellers and agents, these devices can point to overlooked or ignored strengths and weaknesses, making real estate selling a much easier endeavor. In the private sector, however, bugging could set you up for some ethical and legal pitfalls. Buggy benefits Bugs can give you timely, clear, honest feedback – the kind you're not likely to get from buyer's agents. Pricing feedback. Staging advice. Unappealing features (you know, the ones you've been nagging your sellers about for months). But while bugging can bring to light ways a home can be improved to boost mass market appeal, they can also reveal details that present ethical dilemmas. Bug bites What if you overheard a potential buyer touting their willingness to go over-and-above listing price for a home – but they later submitted an offer less than asking price? Would it be ethical to use this knowledge in negotiations? Turns out, just because you need or simply want this feedback doesn't make it legal.
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Leverage Facebook Messenger for Lead Generation and Conversion
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All of a Sudden the Future is Real: Are You Ready?
You go to a café, order a drink and sit down. You start working on your laptop. Your phone buzzes with emails, texts. You're connected to the office. Confident in your technology. But as you look around, you notice things. The barista has a sleek pink Fitbit, the new version. Every step she takes to the carafe and back sends her fitness metrics to the cloud and then to her own personalized tracking site. The front 'cash' rings in eTransfers with an iPad. Even if you wanted to pay cash, they probably don't have any change on hand. The café's music is voice-activated, run by Bluetooth through Amazon Echo. No wires. No worries. A gentleman leaving the café wears a digital watch. He communicates through the watch by tapping it. He gets to the parking lot, hops into a Tesla and reverses effortlessly out of his parking space. You wouldn't have even known his car was on for the lack of an engine noise! You look back at your tech and shiver.
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5 Ways to Communicate Effectively in Business
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Action Words That Generate Responses
We've all been there, sitting at our desks, writing an email or a communication for work and wondering if we're potentially using words that could keep people from opening our email or could also positively influence them as they read it. There's a reason there's plenty of articles out there that tackle this exact conundrum of determining the best words for generating a response from your contacts. Since its birth in 1991, the world wide web grows everyday. The internet, as of January 2017, has over 4.78 billion registered web pages and over 3.48 billion users. The email realm is even greater: by the end of 2017, it is estimated that there will be 4.9 billion email accounts with over 206 billion sent daily. The sheer size and scope of content available is daunting to any blogger or marketer trying to build, but there are methods on how to capitalize on the audience size the internet provides: call to action words. Call-to-action words, CTAs, are not just verbs, but rather words that will provoke responses. CTAs can be placed in blog titles, email subjects, and advertisements links, and they increase the likelihood of grabbing attention from cold leads, or people who may not have heard of you, your website, company, or brand. MarketingExperiments, an Internet-based research lab that specializes in optimizing sales and marketing processes, has found that CTAs can increase clicks by upwards of 110 percent. In the content world, language plays such a big role that it cannot be ignored; our customers must be convinced to respond. In the IoT – the internet of things – persuasion is the only way to appeal and gather popularity and recognition. In short, action words are the words that have more persuasive power than other vocabulary. After research and experimentation, we at Contactually found that these five action words and phrases are the most powerful in provoking responses and fostering genuine relationships in the wide world of Internet and email communications. Action words that generate responses: Check out One of the most common yet most persuasive CTAs out there. It invites people in a suggestive and welcoming way, rather than an aggressive one that could spur people away. Modern phrases are more informal, and they are growing in popularity because they work so well with the growing younger generations. Typical words to replace with "check out" are command words, such as "watch now," "click here," and "read this." This CTA is a friendlier command, and surely it will get more people to check it out.
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5 Easy Ways to Expand Your Business Network
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How to Reinvigorate a Past Relationship
The "Big Idea" behind relationship marketing is that staying engaged with key relationships puts you at a strategic advantage for your current business efforts and the task at hand. By consistently following up, keeping these relationships warm, and adding value, we are able to nurture new, repeat, and referral business opportunities. One of the hardest parts of this, however, is that pesky little word consistently. As much as we try: There are people who we forget about. There are people who we worked with at one point, then moved on. There are introductions we never followed up on, in-person meetings we never kept track of, etc. Bottom line, there are people in our past network that we rediscover the importance of. We all know that feeling – for whatever reason or another, you find yourself staring at a contact record for someone who you haven't spoken to in two or three years. If only I had stayed in touch! How to revive your past relationships: I could let your overwhelming guilt and shame invigorate your desire to make sure that you don't repeat your mistake again, but I'd rather provide a little bit more value to you. We see a relationship where our mindshare is completely exhausted – but how do we reconnect with them? Let's dive in.
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Content Curation 101: The difference between curating content and plagiarizing
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4 Ways to Keep Your Relationships Fresh Over the Holidays
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year! The winter holiday season is upon us! This means taking a few days off from work, singing some festive songs, and avoiding too much eggnog at the work party. Even though you may be taking some time off work soon, that doesn't mean you should take some time off from reaching out to your contacts. You can make sure you stay top of mind with your contacts even while you're on vacation for the holiday season. Read on for ways to keep your relationships fresh over the holidays: The first thing you must think about is your contacts. What are they doing during the holiday season? What would they care about? What's the best way to communicate with them during this time? Hint: they are very focused on themselves and their family, not you. It's harsh, but it's the truth. For most, the holiday season is an extraordinarily personal one. Almost everyone in every industry gets holiday vacation time. It's during that time that most people turn off their business minds and focus on the rarely given, but highly coveted, "family time." So, to maintain relationships during this family time, you must understand your contacts do not want another business pitch. Just think through how you would want to be approached during this same time. Below are my recommendations on how to keep relationships fresh during the holiday season: 1. Keep it personal As I mentioned above, the holidays are a personal time, so do not include your business signature or mention anything about your business in your email. You're approaching your contacts as person to person, not business to client.
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9 Sales and Marketing Buzzwords to Avoid
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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Business Communication Skills
In business, your communications can make or break important deals and relationships. So how do you communicate more effectively to your clients, partners and employees? Read on for five ways you can improve your business communication skills today. Expand Business Vocabulary Some of the best business communicators have a specialized vocabulary of jargon specific to their industry. This allows them to explain their vision no matter how complex or technical it is. Taking software-based business language training is a simple way to expand your niche vocabulary. So is reading industry-specific books, magazines or dictionaries. For a free option, peruse websites in your industry until the business jargon is hard-wired in your vocabulary.
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Chat Bots: Don't Miss Out on the Latest in Real Estate Tech
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The Convergence of PR, Traditional Media and Social Media
One of the most profound changes in the media we consume in recent years is going largely unnoticed. The convergence of public relations, traditional media and social media is causing lines to be crossed – or at least blurred – and that's making it nearly impossible to distinguish PR from traditional media or social media. It appears that this convergence is accelerating, and what that means is content today is often a bit of everything mixed together. Let me explain. Traditional media – newspapers, radio and television – once ran news only created by their own reporters or from wire services that also used only journalists. The role of public relations was to work with these journalists to "pitch" or suggest story ideas that would interest the reporters because it would be of interest to their readers or audience Today, as traditional media makes is digital transformation, it is morphing into something else. The online news sites created by traditional media still feature content written by journalists. But today only a portion of online news content is actually written by independent journalists. More and more executives, consultants and other experts are contributing blogs to online news sites. While their content may appear to be independent, much of this content involves skilled public relations professionals providing guidance, if not crafting the entire piece. Most importantly, for most readers, it is nearly impossible to tell what content was written by a journalist and content created by a non-journalist. This blurring of the lines between PR and traditional media is important, because revenue models today for news sites are driven by traffic. If a blogger has a bigger following than a journalist, whose content is more important or valuable for the media entity? Many of my journalist friends today are being forced to change, as well. Most wear two hats: journalist and blogger. Often they are not the same in terms of the content that is created. What they write for the paper may be one thing, and what they write online another.
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Don't Bounce Back: 5 Tips on How to Write Better Emails
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5 Surefire Ways to Keep Your News Releases from Being Used
Why does your news release meet with silence while your competitor makes headlines regularly? There could be more than one answer to that question, but the place to start is the quality of your news releases. Some basics: News releases differ from advertisements, where someone is paying for the time or space to say something, and blog posts, where you can also say pretty much what you want because it's your website. In both cases, readers know that they are reading an opinion that may be factual but lacks the credibility that comes from being published by a respected outlet as a news story. A news release is a first step towards getting a news outlet interested in covering something positive about your organization. Its end goal is to generate a news story, not to be used verbatim. Because they are usually well-written and well-researched, they are often used as stand-alone documents on blogs or in social media. As noted above, news releases that end up as blogs have less credibility than those that end up as news stories. Journalists are looking for news that will interest their readers of information they can use in the jobs or personal lives. They care about its quality, newsworthiness, legitimacy and appeal to their readers. A good news release can be a journalist's best friend, but beware if your news release even suggests that it is not going to meet the outlet's standards.
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10 Email Habits that Annoy Your Clients
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Does Your Email Blast Stack Up?
MLSs and brokerages struggle constantly with how to build communications that break through to their agents. Sometimes, it's hard to know how your marketing efforts stack up against others, so I thought I would share this study to give all of us some perspective. As all online marketers know, open rate and click-through rate are two key metrics that need to be closely monitored to ensure that you getting the bang for your marketing buck! According to a recent study called the 2016 Email Marketing Benchmarks Study, published by IBM, the average click through of emails sent in the United States is 18.3 percent. The strongest performers on average enjoyed an unprecedented 41.6 percent click through rate. So how does your email blast compare? What are the key drivers of open rates? Headlines, timing and targeted relevance are key, according to the experts. At our sister company, RE Technology, we have found that click-through rates are strongest when there's a compelling message tied to real estate success. REALTORS® are sales people and they love to be sold to. Don't be too cerebral or technical with your message. Don't be too verbose, either. REALTORS want the quick answer – give them a reason why they should take time to click on your message.
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The 6 Simple Truths that Inspire Audience Engagement
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Get People to Do What You Want: How to Create Effective CTAs
When was the last time you made an ask of your contacts within an email? Whether you wanted them to sign up for your latest webinar or check out a blog post you were featured in, you probably created some sort of call-to-action, or CTA. How effective was your CTA? How many of your contacts actually followed through on the action you asked of them? If the number is low, it may be time for you to reassess how you create your CTAs and even what they look like. Better yet, think about the last time you got a promotional email in your inbox. It had a compelling enough subject line to get you to open it, and once you opened it, did you click through to shop or open their website or sign up? Or did you open and close it back out in quick succession? That compelling CTA—or not so compelling one—is a great starting point for creating your own call to actions in your emails. Keep in mind the three factors that go into creating a successful CTA: color, message, and placement in your email. Creating a more effective call to action... Before you start your CTA creation, think about what you want your contact to do. It's a call to action, and you want your contact to take immediate action, so what's going to get them to do that? Because, we'll bet that the basic 'click here' won't entice too many folks in to actually clicking there. You need to give them a reason to click, so what will they get out of it if they do go ahead and click?
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7 Crucial Metrics to Measure for Follow-Ups
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The Future of Engagement: Content for One
In the last year, we've been hearing a lot about "engagement" from our clients and partners. It seems to be the singular focus in the real estate industry. But what exactly are we talking about when we talk of engagement? The Fourth Wave We are on the crest of the next wave in the industrial revolution (labeled "Industry 4.0") which will fundamentally transform the way consumers interact with every business, brand, and corporation. As marketers, we now have the opportunity to completely change how we speak to–and with–consumers. Last week, SugarCon keynote speaker Dr. Catriona Wallace discussed this seismic evolution in her talk on the future of the customer experience.
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How to Make Yourself Unforgettable to Your Network
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[Infographic] Blueprint for Creating Real Estate Content
If you want to achieve online success with your real estate website, then creating engaging and well-optimized content is a key consideration. Otherwise, the chances of your real estate website or blog being found by potential customers via search engines is next to none. Search Engine Optimization helps you to improve your brand's visibility thereby, making it easier for both search engines and potential customers to find you online, helping to bring more traffic and leads to your site. Follow these simple steps, and you're on the way to creating content better than your competitors.
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Tips for Text Message Marketing for Real Estate
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The Perfect Follow-Up Email
"I appreciate the email follow-up. If it's any representation of your agency, then I am sure you exceed expectations..." This is an actual reply to the drip campaigns that Ryan Poppe and Jeff Brown, real estate agents in Durango, CO, are sending from Happy Grasshopper. The best part is it's not the only one. They get replies like this weekly. Ryan took the time to reach out (thanks, Ryan!) to let us know about all the replies his emails have been getting. This is what the perfect follow-up reply looks like:
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5 Email Templates to Recruit Top Real Estate Agents
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Brokers Can Help Agents Drive Success through Communication Support
There are plenty of agents who are excellent communicators – verbal, written, social, visual. But there are more agents who are not, and as their broker it is important that you take care of them. Communication is a large beast with many heads that mean different things to different people. There is a significant science behind it, but brokers do not need to be scientific when it comes to supporting agents with their communications challenge. The first way for brokers to support agents in communications is to supply content that they can send to their customers. If you leave the responsibility up to the agent for writing, many agents will not dedicate the time. We also recognize that writing content is sometimes a challenge for the brokerage to master. In the early days, many lead generation and marketing platforms were an open vessel that brokers needed to fill with content for drip marketing. If the broker did not get around to it, that vessel never sailed. Today, many solutions offer expertly written content into their products on delivery. You can use it or modify it. It's your choice. Making communication tools easy to use is the second way that brokers can support agents in success. We call these triggers or campaigns. Certain events in homeownership, or the process of buying or selling a home will naturally trigger communications between the agent and the customer. A single event is a trigger. A series of triggered communications constitute campaigns.
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Improve E-Mail Open Rates by 40% with Personalization
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Is Real Estate Still in a Slump?
After the crash in the housing market, real estate was hit by the worst recession in our nation's history. Frankly, brokers took a beating and operated at a loss for a number of years. Since the low point, things have been steadily been improving. There was a lot of speculation that the foreclosure volume in the hardest hit markets were clogging up the supply side. As we turned the corner, these distressed properties were slowly released into the marketplace and they were mostly absorbed. There was a two to three year heyday for brokers and agents who specialized in REO properties. Looking at the production of many of the REO specialists, that business has largely fallen back to normalized levels. CoreLogic reports that the volume of "underwater" mortgages has been on a steep decline and is also returning to normal levels. That is pretty good news. It allows homeowners to trade homes without taking a loss. However, this is not opening up inventory levels for most areas of the nation. For many, inventory is still very low and that is having an impact on pricing. Home values have seen double digit increases, as supply has been so limited. That is expected to flatten out this year, largely because of affordability. Wages have not increased in line with housing values. The biggest slump we see in the market is driven by expansion. The demand for homes is outgrowing supply by double digits in many areas like the San Francisco Bay area. People cannot find housing and there is not enough new inventory being built. Pacific Union held a housing summit in November 2015 that looked at the three year forecast for housing in the Bay Area – this was my chief takeaway. See more here.
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Using Market Data to Drive Media Coverage
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"Sexy" Sells in Luxury Real Estate Marketing Verbiage
It's no secret that sex sells. And sexy verbiage? It's making the luxury real estate market hot. What words are steaming up the proverbial windows in the luxury market? According to real estate selling tips following a study by Realtor.com, the words "sexy" and "seductive" are often used in higher priced homes. What about love? Well, as the old rock song goes, "love" stinks. Of the 1.6 million homes in the Realtor.com study, "love" is often used in the property descriptions of lower priced homes. Hot – and not – verbiage and median asking prices: "Lovely" – $264,000 "Love" – $250,000 "Loving" – $195,000 "Sexy" – $620,000 "Seductive" – $640,000 "Romance" – $820,000
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How You Should Be Talking to Your Clients
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Content Marketing, Step 3: When to Speak
This is the third installment of our series on content marketing. One of the hottest topics in marketing today, content marketing continues to be a discussion topic of our clients, prospects, and partners. In previous installments, we discussed Who to Talk to in your content marketing and What to Say. Today, we’ll tackle the timing issue: How frequently should you be pushing outbound content? When is the best time to speak to prospect? At what point in their sales cycle (or even their day) should you reach out? We all know by now that Americans' attention span is now less than a goldfish. A goldfish has a 9 second attention span, but we can’t focus on anything longer than eight.This is who you’re going after – someone who is ready to click, read, or turn to something else at a moment’s notice. Someone who, in just eight seconds, must understand that you’re saying something compelling (read: informative, interesting, entertaining, or utilitarian) that resonates with them personally. Targeting them at the right time will go a long way in making sure you achieve your objectives.
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Content Marketing, Step Two: What to Say
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Do You Have a PR Plan for 2016?
Public relations may be one of the most underappreciated and misunderstood tools in the average real estate brokerage's marketing arsenal. Yet, the more you understand public relations and how it can be fully integrated into your marketing plans and sales activities, the greater your ability will be to make both more effective. As we begin a new year, ask yourself this question: Do you have a PR plan for 2016? What is PR? It's no wonder most people are confused when trying to describe what PR really is. Trying to find one universal definition is futile: there are dozens. Here are just a handful of definitions from PR practitioners that show you the breadth and depth of what PR actually is: "Public relations is the art and science of sharing genuine, credible, relevant news and information to grow, maintain and protect brand acceptance, awareness, reputation and sales, when appropriate. Public relations creates measurable, fact- based conversations, events and activities conceived to generate positive, third party endorsements and target audience buy-in." –Deborah Weinstein "Public relations is a highly strategic discipline that's integrated with marketing to achieve business goals. It positions companies and spokespeople with key audiences, whether internal or external. Public relations complements an integrated marketing campaign with measurable results garnered through media relations, social media, thought leadership, industry analyst relations, investor relations and/or special events." – Jayme Soulati
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Spam Emails vs. Email Marketing: Know the Difference
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The Importance of Knowing Your Audience
Content is king, and while much of our success here is owed to our content, we'd be remiss to overlook the driving force behind a successful email. It's not always what you're sending, as much as it is who you're sending it to. Identifying your audience and messaging them appropriately is the real reason behind a high open rate...and we'll tell you how to do it. The first thing we ask our customers to do when they join Happy Grasshopper is to separate their database into two groups: People you know, and people you don't. Sure, this seems simple (and, in truth, it is), but the results can be very, very powerful. Answer us this: Do you speak to strangers on the street the same way you do with friends, family, or the people you work with? Probably not. So why are you emailing everyone the same way? You shouldn't be...
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[CHEAT SHEET] Finding Inner Peace in Your Inbox
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Hire a Curator
A quick Google search brings up the definition of curator – it is a word derived from the Latin word curare – meaning, "take care." A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, this word has a connotation of maintaining historical things because it is an official position in museums, but that is not the context intended here. The role of a curator in today's business is to keep things current. WAV Group Communications starts projects with an audit. We begin by understanding the variety of audiences that the company engages. We then take a look at how MLSs, technology companies, or brokerages are communicating with their audiences. What we find is typically dated, stale, and gross. Under the watchful eye of a curator, this never happens. A curator scours every touch point with every audience and keeps it clean and fresh. Agent images are always uploaded and there are no grey skulls. Old logos vanish and are replaced with new ones. Documents that have not been used or updated in years are refreshed. Social media updates happen every day. Press releases happen monthly. Intranets are hydrated with how-to tips, community stories, and celebrations. Consumer sites have daily contributions and newsletters go out on a regular basis. A curator is not necessarily the person who creates all of this content. It's a management and supervisory position that draws communications from across the enterprise to leverage the expertise of the organization. They find out from the help desk what the most common calls are and create a task to create training materials. They speak to leaders about successful strides in the business and work with a PR firm to distribute a press release. They monitor social media and build reports on reach and study effectiveness, and so on and so forth.
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Be a Better Communicator: 18 Resources that Can Help
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Effective Out of the Office Email Responses
We've all been on the receiving end of two types of bad emails over the holiday season: boring out of office auto email responses, and those massive large-scale newsletters trying to sell you something. Neither one is exactly inspiring when it comes to responding or remembering to continue the conversation after the holidays. If anything, you're running far, far away from your inbox for those very reasons. Here's the thing, though, the holidays are exactly the time that you should be reaching out to your network and staying in touch (despite those disconcerting OOO email responses.) While it may seem counterintuitive to be upping your communication efforts with your network over the holiday season, we can assure you that some well-placed, genuine communication over the holidays can be enough to keep you top of mind when the New Year rolls around. Read on for our reasoning and some of our favorite and very effective OOO auto-email responses.
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5 Elements You Need to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Outreach Message
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Brokers Need to Sharpen Their Value Story
WAV Group is re-launching a number of brokerage brands today. Re-launching a brand does not require a brand to change, but the brand communication changes. We review how the brand is communicated everywhere, but especially where the brand has the greatest reach – in your technology applications. A brand re-launch begins with a strategy to tell the story about why your brand is a good choice. We identify why your managers (employees) work for your firm so competitors do not hire them away. We define the reasons why agents (contractors) work for your firm so they cannot be recruited away. But, most importantly, we identify why consumers trust your firm so they do not wander elsewhere. The single most important place to reinforce your brand is in your presentations. What is the story that you tell managers when you are recruiting? What is the story that managers tell agents when they are recruiting? What is the story in your listing presentation that agents are conveying at the kitchen table? In most cases, the brand story is old and tired. When I show the story to principals, they are appalled. Firms forget to update their brand story. Moreover, everyone's listing presentation is looking the same these days, and that is a problem for brands. WAV Group thinks that brokerage firms should perform a hygienic cleansing of a brand every year. We are happy to help. Marilyn Wilson of WAV Group is among the top marketing professionals in our industry. Before her decade-long experience as a founder of WAV Group, she was the EVP of Marketing for Fisher-Price, one of the top 10 international brands in the world.
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