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Real (Estate) Talk: How a Single Mom and New Agent Achieved Success in 6 Months
How did you feel when you first started in real estate? If you're anything like Tina Minshall, you probably felt worried—worried about building your pipeline, worried about supporting your family, and worried about navigating the ins and outs of the industry. As a new real estate agent and a single mom to an autistic son, Tina had those same concerns. But those concerns quickly receded as Tina built a real estate family of mentors and caring clients. In just six months, she has created an impressive book of business and far exceeded the goals she initially set for herself. How did she do it? In a recent video interview with Bondilyn Jolly of Elevate and 3sixtyfive.agency, Tina shares the secrets to launching her business and achieving success so quickly. Tune into this interview for an inspiring conversation and some key takeaways. Here are a few highlights: 1:50 - On creating one big, happy real estate family: "My family is first. However, my clients become family most of the time, which is awesome. And I've managed to integrate my son into some of those families." 2:55 - Tina's secrets to work life balance: "Be you, be human … You just can't pretend your way through it." 4:30 - Tina on the technology that drives her success. "I understand that social media is where it's at, or video is where it's at. None of that is my gig. I like to meet people and sell houses, but I understand that I have to do all of it." She uses the Elevate platform to automate her social media and blog posts on busy days, generate leads, nurture leads, and more. 6:55 - Tina shares how Elevate saves her time, but also lets her personality shine: "Elevate lets me be me when I want to be...me. I don't want a stuffy, everyday Realtor's site or image or anything like that. I need me to come out. I have a personality, so people should know that." One of her goals is to change the public's sometimes negative perception of REALTORs. 9:45 - Tina on her #1 piece of advice to other real estate agents: "Be you. Be human." Watch Tina's full interview for more great advice:
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How to Achieve Success through Intent: One Real Estate Entrepreneur's Story
"Relationships are the driver for me in everything that I do," says Molly McKinley. You may recognize her name as a former technology executive in the real estate space. In fact, it was Molly's relationship with real estate professionals during her time as a tech executive that, in part, led her to start a company of her own, Intentionaliteas, an "intentional gifting platform" that helps agents "stay in flow" with current and past clients via automated gift giving. Molly is the first guest in a new interview series, 24/seven with Bondilyn Jolly, that explores "the person behind the professional." In each episode, host and real estate technology entrepreneur Bondilyn Jolly delves into what makes each guest tick—and what inspiration agents and brokers can learn from them. The series is produced by 3sixtyfive, a creative marketing agency that serves real estate professionals. Each episode delivers content via podcast, video, written interview, and photography. So what's Molly's secret to being remarkable at business? "Being thoughtful," she says in this episode. "We as human beings are just hardwired to connect with each other and that's the part that most people are trying to shortcut." But thoughtfulness takes time, and it isn't always easy, so she wondered how could she create thoughtfulness for people in their businesses so it's not just about technology, but "good, old-fashioned emotional intelligence." Hear more about how Intentionaliteas helps real estate agents achieve just that, Molly's spiritual approach to life and work, her dreams, greatest fears, and hopes for the future in this episode of 24/seven. Visit the official podcast webpage to listen to the interview and explore bonus content. You can also watch the podcast at the video below or stream it on your podcast app of choice: Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Castbox, Transistor, and Listen Notes. Podcast Timeline 0:12 - Bondilyn introduces the podcast and its first-ever guest, Molly McKinley. 3:13 - Molly shares her spiritual and intent-driven approach to work and life. 8:21 - Molly talks about how she first conceived the concept for Intentionaliteas. 10:00 - How working with real estate professionals during the previous five years influenced the creation and concept of Molly's business. 11:48 - Molly explains the basic idea behind Intentionaliteas, and how it automates and simplifies the gift-giving process for real estate agents. 14:05 - Molly shares her greatest fear going into starting a new business from scratch. 16:42 - How authenticity, right living, and not sacrificing her core principles are central to Molly in life and in business. 19:48 - Bondilyn and Molly discuss being mindful and being at a point in life where everything needs to align. Molly talks about how the technology she uses aligns with who she is, and how she uses it to manage and run her business. 24:37 - Molly offers advice to others who are looking to start a business or make a leap of faith like she did. 28:05 - Molly introduces us to her new podcast, Afternoon Tea, which features conversations for and with women in business. 30:35 - Bondilyn wraps up the podcast and points listeners to bonus content related to this episode (see below). Next Steps Listen to the full podcast and explore bonus content like photos, a written Q&A, fun facts about Molly, and more. Visit the Intentionaliteas website to learn how to automate thoughtful gift-giving to your clients Visit the 3sixtyfive.agency and Elevate websites Stay tuned for the next episode of 24/seven with special guest Brenda Thompson!
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New Thought Leadership Series: 24/seven with Bondilyn Jolly, with Guest Molly McKinley
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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with a Realtor Who Escaped an Attack
"It was almost like there was enjoyment watching me squirm." That's what Debbie Morrisette, a North Carolina Realtor, had to say about the predator who tried to attack her last year. In this exclusive video interview, Real Safe Agent CEO Lee Goldstein speaks with Morrisette to learn more about the attack—from the first phone call, to the first meeting, and to the incident itself. Morrisette also bravely talks about the aftermath of the attack on her career. For eight consecutive years, she had been the top producing Realtor in her area. "This year, I'm probably not even half of where I was last year." Watch the video above to hear her story—and her advice to other agents and association leadership.
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Digital Marketing Strategy Wins Agent 3 Transactions from 1 Inquiry
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Think Your Lead Generation Is Expensive and Ineffective? Watch This Short Video for 3 Lead Gen Tips from Industry Experts
Lead generation: two words to strike unease in the heart of any dedicated agent or broker. Funneling potential clients into a sales cycle takes time, energy, and resources... and then comes the actual nurturing of the lead to convert them into a customer. Technology continues to change the way we market ourselves to clients. Lead generation has moved from the tactile world of newspaper listings and flyers to a digital landscape with seemingly endless options. And yet, navigating this terrain of resource-hungry advertising platforms can be treacherous on all sides, especially when only an average of 2% of leads are ready to move to contract within 30 days and it could take up to seven years to close a deal for the other 98%! If it seems like a daunting task to come up with new leads, you're not alone. Many agents face similar issues in their campaigns to create business through lead generation, whether they hire a service or pursue new leads themselves. Recently, Bondilyn Jolly, VP of Marketing at Elevate, an online lead generation and marketing provider, sat down with Denis Pepin, Broker/Owner of United Real Estate Professionals in Huntington Beach, Calif. to talk about common lead generation challenges and their solutions. Here's the video and recap: Problem: Lead generation is expensive. Solution: Generate new leads from your current clients. As an industry average, for every $1000 spent on lead generation, only $10 is spent on lead nurturing. Disrupting this statistic will set you apart from other agents who simply walk away after a deal closes. Actively maintaining a relationship with past clients positions you at the top of their minds when someone they know starts talking about moving. According to NAR's 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Profile, 90% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend to a friend—take advantage of this fact. Problem: More leads exist than actual business. Solution: Lead gen that specializes in analytics could provide higher quality leads—meaning, customers that are more likely to buy. Investing in companies like Elevate that work closely with dedicated and experienced marketing professionals to add value to their lead gen services can help ensure you're seeing a profitable return on your dollar. Problem: Most agents do not have a system to effectively handle and nurture inbound leads. Solution: As part of your sales funnel model, it's extremely important to send potential clients down a tested, proven track towards contract to get the most out of your leads. If you're losing clients at a certain step in your cycle, don't keep trying the same methods over and over until you wear yourself out—change your approach! The best thing to do when you're feeling stuck is to find a reliable, consistent company to work with that responds to agent/team needs.
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Market Dominant Yet Still Marketing: One Agent's Secrets to Success
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From Restaurants to Real Estate: How One Entrepreneur Closed 79 Transactions in 1 Year
When changing economic conditions pushed Mike Novak and his wife out of the restaurant industry, he responded by getting his real estate license and closing 79 transactions in his first year. In this interview, Novak—now Team Leader at The Novak Team by eXp—shares how he and his wife started over in a new industry and and built a new brand, and the role that online leads and branding played in making a fast comeback. You had a 400 employee restaurant chain—now you are starting all over in real estate. What happened? My wife my owned a chain restaurant company and Washington state changed the minimum wage in November of 2016 from $9 an hour to $15 an hour and we ended up losing over $50,000 per month. I got my real estate license and we had a great comeback, doing 79 transactions our first year with just my wife and I. After losing that other company, we didn't want to have employees and the responsibility of providing for other people, so we just tried to do it ourselves for as long as possible. But we quickly found our ceiling and that ceiling was about 12-13 transactions a month. We then added an admin and then we started adding buyer's agents. Eventually, we stated to expand further using pay-per-click ads, Facebook, and then finally realtor.com. How long have you been using realtor.com® as a lead source? We're going on about 10 months—so not that long. We've been really big into pay-per-click and Facebook leads, and we wanted to get some more leads that are closer to actually being ready to make a move. That's when we explored realtor.com®. How did the leads perform? Since we've brought them in, we've closed a lot of deals with, so we keep expanding it as we keep seeing more and more success. Also, I might add, a lot of the buyers we get are sellers as well. Do you use realtor.com's branding tool, Local Expert™ to support this? We went and signed up for the entire county. I think it is going to be impactful for listings. Sellers use realtor.com to scope out their neighborhood and so that's going to present opportunity for listings. You mentioned that you wanted to shift to leads that were closer to a transaction. Did you notice these were further along? Oh, absolutely, yes. Most of the realtor.com leads are zero to 30 days away from being ready to meet with an agent, whereas pay-per-click leads are usually between 8-12 months, and Facebook's like 15-18 months. What do you do to warm up these inquiries so you can close them? We shift the conversation to the person and not the property. We coach them on this. Our communications are, "We want to talk to you about the reason you're thinking about making a move and the impact that would have on your life." That's going to allow us to build a connection and get away from just answering that the house is about three bedrooms or two baths and, yes, 15 million square feet. We try to take the normal agent that is taking a phone call in and they're giving answers and responses on the property and flip it around to talking about the person. How about if they are not quite ready to move? With all of our leads, regardless of being realtor.com® or Facebook, we throw them into our CRM and then we will retarget them on social media. If there's a match between the email address that we received from realtor.com and their Facebook email address, we'll get back in front of them that way with some video content. Then we'll also try to figure out what their timing is and follow up with them. We organized leads by A-B-C-D. As are ready to go right away. Bs are a little bit further out, like 30-90 days. Cs are 90-150, and Ds are 150+. Have you measured your success? $400,000 of GCI last year came from this. We're definitely recruiting with this success. Instead of waiting 6-9 months to get a closing, when you have a newer agent that needs to put food on the table in three months, that's going to make them feel real good. Learn more about Local Expert™ can help you build your business here.  
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Make Giving a Part of Your Business Strategy
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Why an Up-to-date Agent Profile Helps You List More Homes
Your customers are likely checking you out before agreeing to an appointment. Sellers want to see what else you sold--and buyers want to read what your previous customers have to say about you. Greg Drake makes the effort to ask his customers why they chose him, and found that what they read on his profile pages made a difference. He has figured out how to make sure his reviews get read--in particular by people on the verge of listing or buying a property. Drake has won awards for his five-star customer service. Here is his opinion on how this drives new business. Realtor.com's Local Expert product and your realtor.com profile are meant primarily to get your brand out there where people are shopping for homes. But can you point to actual business this brings? A couple of times this this year, I've had people click on the Local Expert ad on realtor.com and then they went to my realtor.com profile and reviewed that. They then contacted me and I got two listing appointments from it. One was a sell and buy, so I effectively got three sides from that combination of the Local Expert and the realtor.com profile. I know this because I stared asking how they got to me or chose to work with me. I asked them saying, "I know you're interviewing agents, why did you choose me?" Why do you think seeing this makes them inclined to work with you? One of the big things was they saw my Local Expert ad on realtor.com and they felt very comfortable with that backing from realtor.com saying, "Here is your local expert." They felt that it added extra credibility over the other agents that they were interviewing so it was that edge that got the team to where they needed to be to get the listing. It was extremely helpful. So they check you out when comparing agents. How are they going about their research? People find our team through Local Expert at or they'll look at the profile on realtor.com and they'll also go to my LinkedIn. I get a report on how many people have looked at my profile in the last week, and with LinkedIn I can see who is looking. I find a lot of people will do that—they'll do some of the research on realtor.com and go to LinkedIn as well. They look at everything to make sure they are choosing the right agent. They want to feel that the legitimacy and the credibility is there before they'll engage with you or they'll meet you. This occurs with a Connections lead when they say "I want to see this house today." Do they still look you up once you speak with them? You go out and meet them at the house. They don't know you and you don't know them. You're trying to gain rapport and gain credibility. I'll find that they will later go in and look at LinkedIn and then they'll look at my profile on realtor.com. I've asked them, "What guided your decision to work with me after you've seen houses with multiple other agents?" It came back to their research into our credibility and the sales volume and things like that, which show that I am an experienced agent and I know how to get the job done. They also see the recommendations, and from this they felt comfortable with me. That's what gave them the kind of edge to say, "Yes I want to work with you." Being able to bring in buyers is always interesting to sellers. Do you use this advantage when making a pitch for a listing? I bring up Local Expert in listing presentations because it's a key factor for people searching for that. I'm going to show up in your ZIP code as the Local Expert. They're going to contact me to find out more about your home, and who knows your home better than I do when I'm listing it? I can best answer the questions to find out what they're looking for. I can convert that inquiry into a showing, which is a benefit to you versus that lead going to someone who you know doesn't know your home who can't sell your home for you because they don't really know anything about it. Sellers understand it and they'll go online and they'll test it to see who are the couple of people that show up as a Local Expert in this area. To them, they see the value in having the Local Expert marketing the home. They feel comfortable going with me versus somebody who doesn't have that exposure. Greg Drake is the Broker/Owner of Realty Professionals, LLC. He provides a superior level of informed and professional residential real estate services to buyers and sellers in the Denver metro area.  
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Building Your Brand and Referral Business with Ad Retargeting
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How to Work Your Way into the Plans of Potential Sellers
In this interview, Jesse Zagorsky of Z-Team Real Estate in San Diego shares the branding secrets that win his team more seller leads. Let's dive in: You implemented a branding component as another dimension to your online advertising. How does branding fit in or add value to your direct marketing? The branding portion is all about repetition and top-of-mind consciousness. But it's not just about them seeing your brand. I actually love combining branding with any sort of online outreach. The branding just supercharges all of your other marketing efforts including all the lead generation you do. When a consumer has an inquiry about a specific property—and if they get connected with you—that's just the start of it. When that consumer continues to research, it triggers something in their memory because they've already been seeing your branding. It's one of the things I love about the Local Expert product. The consumer is shopping on realtor.com and they're looking at houses. When they're searching in one specific area and you're the "Local Expert" in that area, they're seeing your face and branding over and over again, which is how you create that top of mind consciousness. Lets talk about the local part of this. Are you trying to reach a specific group or your whole county? If my goal is to put my brand in front of every person in San Diego County, that'd be unrealistic. Typically most agents—including myself—start to niche down, whether you're picking a geographic area or a type of market segment you're going to work with. With generalized broad brush branding, it's hard to really track return on investment because some of it is going to people that you know aren't thinking of moving. In fact, you're not even registering on their radar at times with old school direct mail postcards and things like that. Whereas with digital, if someone is actually ready to make a move, they typically go online first. They start in the research phase just browsing at houses. In the beginning, they might not be that focused. But when they get closer to that transactional phase, that's typically when I find that the majority of the clients are looking on sites like realtor.com. So when they are looking there, that's when I want my branding to definitely be in front of them. That's where I want a heavy amount of repetition because that's going to get me the biggest bang for my buck in terms of return on investment. We noticed you connect your branding to your customer recommendations. How does this benefit you? The branding is that that really important piece to get you and to get your reviews in front of people. This is really to establish credibility in the eyes of the consumer. This hasn't changed in the last 30 years. People do business with people that they know, people that they like and people that they trust. When they send in an inquiry, they may not even know that they're getting in contact with you. Other times, they may be specifically reaching out to you because they've seen you over and over again. The trust also somewhat comes from repetition, but that's where these reviews are so important. They establish credibility. In our current society, people don't even buy a pack of gum without reading reviews. It's just social proof—the third party validation has become the most important currency in terms of establishing credibility and having someone trust you. It's really one of the most important pieces of branding. Since you manage to get the attention of home shoppers, can you use that when doing a listing presentation? The branding piece is probably more important on the listing side than working with buyers. It is important and buyers will Google you—they'll look at reviews on realtor.com. Buyers do research, but sellers do even more. I feel like really vet and check out the agent that they're going to work with. On the listing presentation, when in front of a seller, I present with, "You probably have already researched me, but in case you haven't seen it, let me show you that we are on the number one search portal online, realtor.com. We are a featured Local Expert, which is going to drive more buyers to want to be in contact with us." This is really what they're looking for to sell their house—reaching more buyers These tools allow me to establish credibility. For a seller, it's so important. I find more and more sellers these days are looking for credible local experts—people with really detailed local market knowledge. Do you actively market these services when prospecting for listings? From a marketing standpoint, in order to "sell your home for the highest possible price," sellers intuitively know they need the maximum exposure. They need the most amount of eyeballs on their house by being able to feature their property in a prominent spot. When someone is searching for local homes in an area on realtor.com, you can make their listings stand out at the top of the list and be prominently featured. This is something you can drive to in a marketing piece. I have a few different lists of neighborhoods of people who are potential sellers and I run ads to reach them. Even from direct mail, you could drive it via a piece with a unique selling proposition. "Look, we will feature your home in a top position on realtor.com, which is going to get you more buyers. More eyeballs equals a higher sales price—give me a buzz so I can tell you how we do this." It seems you have this well integrated. Does having this buttoned up help you with recruiting and retention? Anything you can do that differentiates from your competition is always a valuable recruitment tool or retention tool. You need to be seen as credible to the agents on your team who are thinking of joining, or if they're going to stick around, they have to believe that you have credibility. Being the featured local expert in your town definitely helps establish credibility and is a great retention tool.    
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Mission Focused: Behind the Scenes of a Top Team
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Real Agent Story: Online Branding Key to Winning New and Past Clients
How are real estate agents building their business online? To find out, we've been speaking with successful Realtors. Today, Delaware-based agent Debbie Phipps shares how she reaches buyers, sellers, and past clients through lead generation and strategic branding on realtor.com. Your branding on realtor.com—is this a tool to secure listings? I use realtor.com® Local Expert as an important element in my listing presentations. I log them onto realtor.com® and I show all of the exposure and how it drives everything to my DebbiePhipps.com site. I have a 15-inch laptop I bring to the presentation. I talk about realtor.com®. I tell everyone that it's the only site that's affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®. I recognized early on that this was where I should focus my marketing dollars because the site would be there over the years. The other sites don't have the same correctness and accuracy and the amount of people looking at them. Other sites come and go. But realtor.com® will always be there. I tell my potential listing clients that this particular program I use gives them maximum exposure that is better than you could ever get with any other agent. Of course, it's a tool to make sellers understand the exposure you are giving them; but it's also a presentation tool. While presenting, I show them an example of a listing. I put in the appropriate Zip codes, so they see that my listing and my links to my website where they are featured are coming up 50 percent of the time as they scroll through three or four pages. If I get an appointment where I don't have the Zip code, I will still be able put it in nearby areas. Usually they're very impressed when they see how their home will appear on realtor.com®. Does this help you on the buying side? I use the featured property piece of the Local Expert for listings and the other piece of it as a way to help us close our leads. When the realtor.com® leads come through, they recognize me as someone that's a local expert. I have worked primarily in New Castle County, Cecil County, Chester County area most of my life. I've been in this business 30+ years. I want past clients to know how to find me. So past customers are reminded by your branding? You can't imagine how many calls I get because people remember me from our past association. When it comes to selling their house, they're still calling me. I keep my brand out there so that they can see I'm strong in business. Most people say they would use their agent again. But although they were happy with the agent they used last time, most don't even know what their name is now. If they can't remember their agent, how could this help draw them to you? Are they seeing your branding? As an example, I recently went to a $550,000 listing in our average $250K marketplace. They didn't know me at all, but they were impressed with my marketing. I am always marketing my brand through my website, social media and print ads. It is not easy to measure, but you eventually can see the effect. My marketing appears in quite a few places, but the realtor.com® Local Expert really grabs their attention. Many of my listing leads say, "Oh, we saw you on the internet," and when I drill down, they saw me on realtor.com®.    
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5 Tips for Winning More Listings with Your Property Data Tool
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Kendrick Realty Clones Business Model to New Locations
At RE Technology, we love to bring you success stories from fellow real estate professionals. Kendrick Realty has a GREAT story about how they were able to significantly dial up the success on their lead gen efforts in 2018. Check it out! In early 2018, the founders of Kendrick Realty, Lucas Monroe and Dan Sundberg, started to expand their lead program with realtor.com. At year-end, we checked in on their progress to see what they learned while driving agent- and office-expansion through their realtor.com lead solution.
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20 Years of Staying in Touch Leads to Multiple Transactions
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Create a Conversion Funnel to Turn More Facebook Leads into Clients
In a 2016 interview, Matthew Nicolas and Reid Boles shared how they use Top Producer® CRM and StreetText to stay ahead of their competition by generating high quality leads on Facebook and implementing systems to turn those leads into clients. One year later, Stephen Whiting of StreetText sat down with Matthew to discuss their results and the Facebook lead gen strategy that is making them stand out.
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Agent tried online leads and received a lead that closed on day one!
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How Digital Ads Helped a Rookie Realtor Sell 100 Homes in 2 Years
Realtor Kevin Johnson has never held an open house, never mailed a postcard, and never door knocked--yet he's closed nearly 100 homes since he started selling real estate in August of 2014. "I've never done any of the things that all the training programs tell you that you should do," Johnson says. "When I first got into real estate, I was like, why would I do that? The largest block of buyers is Millennials and they're not going to open houses, they're not checking their mail, right?" Rather than rely on traditional real estate marketing practices, Johnson leverages a more modern form of lead generation to grow his business--digital advertising. He says that this method brings him three to four leads per day. Johnson used digital advertising in his previous career in hospitality, and was already familiar with its benefits. But it was serendipity that introduced him to the advertising tool that he uses in his real estate practice. "When I came into real estate, Century 21 had just started their partnership with Adwerx," he says. "I remember getting an email from Century 21 about it and thinking, 'God, this is ridiculously cheap compared to what it takes to go out and hire a digital agency.' So I started with them and it has worked out amazingly well." Lead Generation Success with Adwerx So what is Adwerx, the tool that Johnson attributes his success to? Well, perhaps you've noticed that certain ads seem to follow you online. You visit a website once, and then you see that brand's ad on various places across the web for days or weeks after. This is called retargeting and it's one of the most effective forms of online advertising available today. Adwerx offers this kind of advertising to real estate pros. Adwerx offers four types of retargeting ad campaigns--listing ads, zip code-based branding ads, sphere ads, and agent recruitment ads for brokers. Johnson utilizes all four for different purposes, and estimates that he has a total of 10 to 12 different Adwerx campaigns running at any given moment. "I use the zip code ads to generate initial interest in an area that I'm trying to farm," he says. Next, Johnson uses Adwerx sphere-of-influence campaign to target his database of 6,000 people. "I take my sphere campaign a step further by breaking up my database into buckets of buyers, sellers, and rent-to-own leads. Then I target those people with different ads and different calls-to-action based on which bucket I've put them in." He updates the contact list he uses in his sphere campaigns every week, and adds tracking codes to the URLs so he can better measure his results, which, according to Johnson, "have been great." And though Johnson is mostly a buyer's agent, "for the listings I have had, I've used the listing campaign, which is an awesome tool," he says. Johnson also recently started his own brokerage with United Real Estate, and has been using Adwerx's recruiting ads to market to top performing agents in his area (see his sample ad below). The ads are targeted only to agents whose contact information Johnson uploads to the Adwerx platform. Best Practices for Effective Campaigns During our interview, we got Johnson to spill a few of the secrets he employs to get the most ROI out of his Adwerx campaigns. Here are his top tips. Keep an eye on your visuals and call-to-action. "This is so critical," Johnson says. "Realize that your ad is going to appear on a website like CNN or MSNBC or Forbes where it's going to blend with a lot of other things. So think about what color will make your ad pop yet not be offensive." Once your ad has caught the attention of a lead, it's crucial that it tells the viewer then next step they should take--whether that's checking out a listing, searching for homes on your website, or downloading a free buyer's or seller's guide. "Make sure that your ad sends consumers to a specific landing page--not the homepage on your site, but a clear, concise landing page that's tailored to the ad's call to action." Realize that your landing pages are the difference between success and failure. Is your ad getting clicks but no leads? That may be a sign that "your landing page sucks," according to Johnson. "Your landing page should allow visitors to do only one thing--and that's give you their email address." Johnson uses a psychological design trick to help make sure this happens. "On my landing pages, I've removed the navigation on the top and the bottom so literally the only thing you can do is sign up or search for homes." As we mentioned above, Johnson sends consumers who click on his ads to a landing page tailored to that specific ad's call-to-action. "My 'search homes' ad takes them to the IDX sign-up form, so they actually have to sign up to search homes on my website," he says. Another landing page offers bullets summarizing his rent-to-own program and a short form that leads can fill out to see if they're qualified. "It's little things like that--download my seller guide, download the buyer guide, etc.--that make all the difference." For landing pages that offer a free download, Johnson recommends displaying a message after leads submit their information that tells them to check their email for a download link. "That way, you know you're getting a valid email," he says. "If you just say, 'Okay, great, here's a download now,' there's no incentive for them to give you a correct email address." Johnson says it doesn't matter to him whether or not he can get a lead to respond to an email. His main purpose in collecting email addresses is being able to remarket to them via Adwerx sphere ads in the future. "I have a separate sphere ad campaign running just for people who downloaded the buyer guide." Periodically update your ads to optimize performance. Johnson scrutinizes his ads after a month. "Am I getting the right clicks to impression ratio that I want to see?" he asks. "If not, I need to tweak my ad, and keep tweaking it until it works. And I refresh them; it helps a lot." From CNN to Starbucks--and beyond! Johnson has simple advice to agents and broker who may be considering Adwerx for lead generation: Just do it. "It's the easiest thing ever," he says. "In all seriousness, you can't afford not to do it. Think about running one Adwerx campaign. It's 10,000 impressions per month. Can you, for that $50, $60, or $70 per month that it costs, mail that many postcards out? You can't, that's the answer. Even if you could, there's no way to track anything. With Adwerx, you can track your messaging instantly." But perhaps the most profitable thing that Adwerx does for agents is increase the visibility and prestige of their personal brand at an affordable price point. "I had someone at Starbucks just a couple of weeks ago, go 'You're Kevin Johnson, right?' I've seen your ads. You're always on CNN. You must be really successful to be able to advertise on CNN.com,'" Johnson says, laughing. "I said, 'Why, yes, I am.' "A lot of people think that running your Adwerx campaigns on sites like CNN is really expensive, so that adds to your stature as an agent." Johnson says that Adwerx is a 24/7 reminder to your audience of who you are. Even if a prospect is not ready to buy now, that consistent exposure to you and your brand will ensure that you're top of mind when the time comes for them to choose a Realtor. "That's truly the key to it," says Johnson. "If you want to capture mindshare, stay top of mind. I was top of mind with that gentleman at Starbucks. He saw my face, my face was in my ad, and he knew who I was because he sees me on CNN all the time." Johnson has one final piece of advice for his fellow agents: "If you want to be successful in the future, you cannot do what agents have done all these years. Rick Davis at Century 21 said that the next super agent wasn't in our business two years ago. And the reason being is that they're not hindered by the rearview mirror. They don't know how it's supposed to be done. They're going to go out and chart new paths, and it's going to be successful," he says. "And that's what I've tried to do. If I want to stand out, if I want to be above average in my income, I can't do what everyone else is doing. I've got to make my own swim lane and do my own thing--and Adwerx has helped me do just that."
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How Technology Training Revolutionized One Realtor's Business
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5 Best Practices for Advertising on Property Portals
Husband-and-wife team Eric and Janelle Boyenga were among the very first agents to start advertising with Zillow. A decade ago, portals were still new and agents were beginning their first tenuous steps into online marketing. "Years ago, and still even now, we'd spend money in different places and just see what sticks," says Janelle. "If something stuck, we'd spend more money." Zillow was one of the places that stuck. They joined the site in February of 2006 with an initial investment of $1000. In the 10 years since, Zillow has consistently been their best source of leads and business growth. "Zillow really catapulted our business," says Eric. "We get a lot of leads--somewhere between 100 to 200 leads a month. If we had Zillow 20 years ago, we would be where we are today 10 years earlier because you can really speed up your growth." Over the past decade, the Boyengas have perfected their Zillow game and they now share their knowledge with other agents as trainers in Zillow's Accelerate Program for Zillow Premier Agents. They shared their favorite best practices for leveraging Zillow during our interview. Best Practices for Leveraging Zillow Providing great customer service is the best way to make the most of your investment in advertising with Zillow, according to the Boyengas. "A lot of Realtors don't understand what clients are looking for and don't take online client contact seriously," says Janelle. "They're looking for a Realtor that's professional, and so many times agents don't even respond to clients when they email them or text them--and all they want is your help!"
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Ask an Expert: Answers to Your Top Real Estate Marketing Questions
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New Ways to Build Your Personal Brand
Have you ever noticed that certain ads seem to follow you online? You visit a brand's site once, and then you see their ad on various places across the web for days or weeks after. This is called ad retargeting and it's one of the most effective forms of online advertising available today. While online retailers have successfully used retargeting for several years, this technology was largely unavailable to the real estate industry--until recently. In late 2013, a company called Adwerx launched a tool that lets agents quickly and easily create ads that follow likely real estate consumers as they surf the web. Before Adwerx's debut, agents were frequently limited to purchasing pricey advertising through their brokers or outside vendors. Many of these solutions had a steep learning curve that scared off all but the most tech savvy agents. And none offered agents the high ROI that results from retargeting's potent combination of repeat ad exposure and laser focus on audience. But simply retargeting ads to the right consumer isn't enough to ensure success. What is being advertised is critical, as well. Adwerx discovered this through trial and error. In its early stages, the company served ads of individual listings. When that strategy produced lackluster results, the company pivoted and began offering ads for the real estate agents themselves, showcasing the agent's headshot and contact information. This updated focus gave agents a new channel to build their personal brand within their community. Adwerx has grown by leaps and bounds since launching their agent branding solution. To learn more about how the company is shaking up advertising in real estate, we chatted with the man at the helm, Adwerx CEO Jed Carlson.
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Mobile App Prevents Agents from Becoming Crime Victims
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A New REALTOR® Shares 3 Ways RPR Helps Her Business Grow
If you've attended a real estate conference in the last ten years, you probably know of Nicole Nicolay or "NikNik." She spent over a decade speaking to agents about how to leverage technology at events like Inman Connect, NAR Annual, REtechSouth, ReMax R4, Century 21 Annual, BHGRE Fusion and launched Inman's popular conference series Agent Reboot. But more recently, you may not have realized that she has become a licensed REALTOR®, joining the family business after her second startup company, Agent Evolution, was acquired. For Nicole, the transition has been all about family. Not only has becoming a REALTOR® afforded her the opportunity to spend more time with her husband and kids, but she also gets to work with her parents. "Real estate's been in my blood because my parents have been REALTORS® for most of my life, and so I've witnessed their hard work and their business from a wide range of angles over the last 30 years--from answering phones at their office, to walking their geographical farm, building their website and developing their digital marketing strategy," she says. When it comes to selecting tools to help her run her business, Nicole's background in training agents gives her a distinct advantage. "When I stepped into my own business, I wasn't swayed by the shiny objects or applications out there. Although I see some great advantages to using certain vendors and tools, I'm really able to pick and choose the ones that fit my business." One of those tools is Realtors Property Resource® (RPR). In a recent interview, we asked Nicole how she leverages NAR's free member benefit in her business. She offered so much wonderful information that we had to split this article into two parts. In part one, Nicole shares three ways that RPR's desktop application has helped her as a new agent.
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How One Realtor® Leverages RPR for Lead Generation
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Follow the Leader: Tom Gonser
When I say "DocuSign," what comes to mind? You know immediately that I'm talking about electronic signatures and transaction management. You can probably visualize the DocuSign interface, the familiar fonts and colors. You may even have an emotional reaction, most likely a positive one. These are the signs of a winning brand. What may surprise you is how quickly DocuSign was transformed from a bright idea into a household name. We talked to Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tom Gonser to understand how this happened and to generate some ideas you can use in your own business. The DocuSign Magic DocuSign has undeniable appeal in a multitude of industries, but it seems particularly successful with real estate professionals. We asked Gonser to explain this "magic." "Real estate has a paper problem, perhaps more so than any other industry," he says. "So they were primed for a paperless solution. Secondly, we made DocuSign a really familiar process. Other companies were offering really complicated software; we focused instead on making it feel natural. We invented the yellow 'sign here' tab. Additionally, we worked with the documents real estate professionals were already using, and that flexibility was incredibly important." Gonser also credits DocuSign's mobile technology with creating the DocuSign appeal. "Today, consumers are incredibly mobile and so are agents. It's really important to provide the entire process on a mobile platform." He continues that the cross-industry use of DocuSign makes consumers and agents more comfortable. "People are using DocuSign in many contexts, not just in real estate."
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How a Top Agent Goes to the Next Level
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Secrets to Success with RPR®
Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) is a free member benefit from the National Association of REALTORS®. The compelling cost-benefit ratio and impressive functionality create an appealing package, one that we were interested to see "in action." So, we've spoken with a variety of agents around the country to learn how they are using RPR® to be more successful. Our series of articles sharing what we discovered begins today. Ressie Wilson is an agent working with RE/MAX® Allegiance in Washington, D.C. Within just a few moments of speaking with her, it becomes obvious that she's an especially articulate communicator and someone with an excellent understanding of her local real estate market. Interestingly enough, these are two of the things she seems to use RPR® for the most: communication with clients and educating herself (as well as consumers) about real estate. Busy Agent Summary We understand that you're busy, so we're going to provide a quick summary here. In one minute or less, these are the things you can take away from Ressie's success with RPR®: RPR® helps build your clients' confidence in you and your own confidence in your decisions. Give your clients a choice about the kind of information they want to receive, and then deliver. (Spoiler alert: they'll probably ask for "more, more, more.") Use the RVM to guide uncomfortable pricing discussions with sellers. Take an active role in ensuring an accurate RVM. There are plenty more tips for success - read on for the full story. We also recommend getting better acquainted with RPR® in our product directory.
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One Agent's Advice for "Selling With Soul"
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Real Estate Blogging Success Profiled
Lori Turoff of Hoboken, NJ Website: HobokenRealEstateNews.com Tomato: How long has blogging been a part of your real estate marketing strategy? LT: Well, ever since we first connected way back in late 2007. I had been running my own travel business at the time, had been a corporate lawyer and an MBA in finance so I was no stranger to complex spreadsheets. We had recently moved to Hoboken from Manhattan, where Barbara Corcoran had founded The Corcoran Group Brokerage and she was something of an icon in the NYC real estate world. In 2004, the year I got my real estate license, she wrote (and I read) a book called If You Don't Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails, also know as "Use What You've Got." Well, let's just say her book got me thinking about what my best attributes might be and how to use them. Few agents – actually no agents in my market, had my combination of education, legal background, financial savvy and entrepreneurial experience. There were my ribbons! The other thing I kept hearing at real estate seminars was "become the local area expert" if you want to be successful. It didn't take me long to realize that blogging was the way for me to 'show my ribbons.' Ten years and one blog later, I truly do have a reputation as the local market expert.
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Why Being Liked Matters
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Follow the Leader: Top Agent Justin Havre on the Value of Technology
Justin Havre is a real estate agent from CIR Realty in Calgary, Alberta. CIR is the largest independent firm in Canada with about 650 agents. With his team, Justin Havre & Associates, he has been number one or two in his brokerage over the last three years. To put that in perspective: in 2011 they were number one, closing 171 sides with an average price in Calgary of about $430,000. I sat down with Justin recently at a technology conference put on by his web technology provider, Real Estate Webmasters, to find out how technology fits into his success. One thing that became clear immediately was Justin's intent to make technology an integral part of his business from day one. Before real estate, he worked in the cable industry on the technology side, but, after some time, decided that he wanted to make a change. He set his sights on real estate. He chose CIR Realty (Canada's largest independent brokerage) because of the great virtual tools they offered and their overall commitment to technology. Everyone in their office, he pointed out, does their own documents online, manages their deals online--including deal processing--right down to payment of commissions. It was exactly what he was looking for.
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Follow the Leader - Stewart Morris, Jr.
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Real Estate Coach Radio Daily
Guest Contributor Bernice Ross of Real Estate Coach Radio brings to us today a quick but highly informative radio show. This great show includes an interview with Janet Choynowski of Immobel.  Today Bernice discusses: Social Media is Global Media 95/5 Facebook Rule Two easy Real Estate Video Tips Continue to the next page to take a listen . . .
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Bringing the U.S. Housing Market Back TOGETHER!
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Who is Doing it Right? A Best Practice Interview with Successful Top Producer
When looking at local websites in real estate that demonstrate great marketing strategies, SellingSaskatoon.com is a great example of real estate best practices. I caught up with the man behind it, Cam Bird, for an in depth Q&A session – to talk about marketing, selling homes, and everything in between. So without further ado…let’s get started!
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Part 2: Build a Mountain of Compliments!
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The Queue: Live from the Keller Williams Family Reunion
I have to say that the Keller Williams Family Reunion conference was a blast. In this week's episode of The Queue I was able to interview several industry thought leaders and get the inside scoop on some innovative new technology solutions. This week I cover Ben Kinney, Stefan Swanepoel, eEdge, Tiger Leads, Howard Tager and more.
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Secrets to Making Market Analytics Work For You
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Google SEO Guru Interview
If you have a website, and have been discouraged by how far down on Google searches your website gets listed...consider learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This technology separates the pile of agent websites, pulling the most SEO savvy to the top! Don't be left out! The guru of SEO is Google. If you want to learn about SEO, follow Google. More specifically, learn from Google's SEO expert software engineer Matt Cutts. Cutts is known as the face to Google's SEO and is someone you want to pay attention to. Stone Temple's Eric Enge recently interviewed Matt Cutts and made this interview available online. Continue to read the full interview transcript, and learn why SEO matters and how it works...
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Twitter… Facebook, Not Just for Kids
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