9 Pro Tips – Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2016

Are you a real estate agent looking for marketing ideas in 2016?  In this article Travis Balinas Product Marketing Manager at OutboundEngine puts 9 pro tips together for you.  These items combined with the My Visual Listings virtual tour platform provides killer marketing presentation and technology to assist today’s realtors to sell more homes faster!  read on…

“I recently put together an infographic that outlines how agents spend their marketing dollars and compared it to where they’re getting their leads from. As I researched this topic, two things became very apparent:

  1. 75 percent of a real estate agent’s business comes referrals and word of mouth.
  2. But agents are still spending way too much money on new lead sources, rather than investing in their existing clients.

Simply put, if most of your business is coming from your past clients and it costs you six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, then you should focus your efforts on marketing to your past clients.

The post I wrote last year titled “7 Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2014” quickly became the most viewed post on our site (over 20,000 unique viewers). So for 2015, I came up with 10 marketing ideas that agents can use to really help grow their businesses.

1) Be Mobile and Responsive

In 2014, I stressed that going mobile was important in terms of you posting to your social networks while on the go. This is still true today, but this year, I want to stress the importance of being mobile accessible.

You cannot avoid it anymore. Your website and emails need to be designed for all devices and screen sizes and be responsive. Sixty-six percent of emails are opened on a phone or tablet. Facebook has more than 650 million daily active users on mobile devices. And mobile traffic to websites now accounts for almost 30 percent of visits. In short, there are plenty of reasons why you need to be sure that your business is mobile ready.

How It Helps: Being mobile-friendly ensures whoever reads your emails or visits your website has a good experience and that this experience creates a positive perception of your business.

2) Use GIFs in Email

You’ve all seen GIFs before; they’re those soundless graphics that automatically play on a loop. They’re great for getting a quick laugh, but these days, they’re more often used to caption a situation and convey human emotion without using words. For example…if it’s Monday morning, and I’m having a tough time getting motivated, I might text or email this GIF to my friends:

Marketing ideas - GIF use in email

Did you know that you can use GIFs in email too? Our friends at Litmus have put together an awesome guide to using GIFs in emails. While you shouldn’t use them in everything you send, they do add a comical element you just can’t get from static images.

Even though GIFs have been around since the late ‘80s, they’ve had a resurgence in popularity. GIFs are a fun way to help show off the human side of your business.

How It Helps: GIFs can be used to give your business a touch of character and personality, and they may actually increase your click rate.

3) Automate Your Content Marketing and Sourcing

When crafting the perfect email newsletter and sharing content with your social networks, coming up with topics to write about and things to share can be challenging. You want to send your email subscribers informative/entertaining content with the purpose of helping them, not selling to them, and you want your social feeds to be filled with the same. However, getting this accomplished is no small task.

For email newsletter content, there are companies like Scripted and Contently that will connect you with freelance writers to do the writing for you. However, if you want to have the emails written, designed and sent for you automatically, we’re the only company that can do that for you.

To find content to share on social media, there are two tools I use: Zite and Flipboard. Both are news and blog aggregators that are topic based. Just plug in what you want to read about, and they’ll display an up-to-date visual collection of articles. Buffer has a great list of newsletters to sign up for and tools to use for content sourcing too.

How It Helps: Automating some (or all) of your content marketing and sourcing can help free up your time to focus on more important things.

4) Experiment with Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse is a new app that Instagram launched this year. Using time-lapse photography technology and impressive image stabilization software, it essentially puts a few thousand dollars worth of video editing software and expertise in a single app on your phone…for free.

Hyperlapse’s biggest claim to fame is the image stabilization power it has. Take a look at this quick video that shows the difference:

I see Hyperlapse as a unique way for agents to liven up the content they share to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and also as a way to (almost) literally liven up their listings.

You can use Hyperlapse for quick home walk-throughs to show off a lot of space in a short amount of time. Maybe use it to do a quick drive through the neighborhood, giving your listing’s viewers an even more in-depth view of the area. Or my personal favorite, if a house you’re selling has a killer sunset or sunrise, take 10 minutes to film it and include it as part of the listing. Here is an example of what this could look like:

How It Helps: Hyperlapse gives your business and listings a little flair and edge that not everyone else is offering…yet.

5) Avoid Zillow/Trulia

Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia aside, paying for leads from these websites is expensive and not that effective. On average, agents spend $320 per month on leads from Zillow, and it’s estimated that leads from these websites convert to new business only one to four percentof the time. Not the greatest use of your marketing dollars.

Zillow and Trulia provide a service that many casual home shoppers want: a consolidated list of available homes for sale in a centralized location. However, most agents (with good reason) don’t like the idea of their listings being submitted to these services only to then have to pay to be featured as the listing agent. There are some multiple listing services that are now sending limited data to these services to attempt to remedy this problem for their agents too.

How It Helps: Spending your money on new leads isn’t as cost-effective as investing in your referral business through your existing clients.

6) Boost Your Facebook Posts

Facebook has made a lot of changes this past year and the big one was the reduction of organic posts from business pages in the News Feed. (I’ve written about why this isn’t a bad thing for businesses here.) The upside is that they’ve made it very easy to spend a little bit of money to get guaranteed exposure.

A few times each month, go to your Facebook Business Page and find a blog post you’ve written, a video you’ve posted or something that is worth making sure plenty of people read or see. For example, our real estate customers might boost their posts that link to their email newsletters. All you have to do is click “Boost Post” and enter your parameters. That’s it!

Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2015 - Boost Facebook Posts

Start experimenting with $5-$10 boosted posts to your existing Facebook fans. This is a low-cost way to get high traffic from your posts.

How It Helps: When people like or click boosted posts, it tells Facebook that they’re interested in your brand and posts from your company will appear more often in their News Feed.

7) Utilize Browser Plugins

There are some awesome plugins out there that you can use for your business to help automate some of your marketing activities. I touched a little bit on this in my post last year, but I cannot stress enough just how much time these little tools can save.

Being on the go a lot, real estate agents can really benefit from using browser plugins to help automate some of their social media. To save you time when looking for things to post to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, here’s what I would do.

Use apps on your phone or tablet like Zite and Flipboard. When you find an article you like, save it to Pocket. From your computer browser, you can open all the posts you bookmarked and then schedule them through Buffer. In less than 10 minutes, you can have a week’s worth of social media posts scheduled and ready to go!

How It Helps: Being able to find content while playing on your phone/tablet at night or on the go and then having it ready to post from your desktop browser is a huge time saver.

8) Revamp Your Email Strategy

In my post last year, I mentioned that you should stay in touch with your past clients through email. This has not changed a bit and should be a foundational element of your marketing strategy.

You need to make sure that the content that you’re sending is both personal and something that the recipient wants to read. Good content marketing is meant to help, not sell to, your clients. Send consistently timed emails with compelling content to your audience to brand you as an industry expert and increase your sphere of influence.

Earlier this year, I wrote two posts that are worth checking out to help you fully understand how email marketing working and how to make the most of it:

  • Building Inbox Credibility: How to Get into Inboxes (and Stay There)
  • What Is Email Automation and Why Can’t You Do Without It?

How It Helps: Email is the best way to stay in front of your past clients and is a smart investment because they’re your best source for new business leads.

9) Grow Your Email List

Sending emails to your past clients is a must. But you can also use those same email newsletters to keep your name in front of potential clients as well. That’s why you should always try to snag email addresses in any situation.

The easiest way is to have your lead capture form front and center on your website. Here’s an example from sites we create for our real estate clients:

Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2015

We’ve covered a wide range of ideas on how to grow your email list before. The two big takeaways are: never be afraid to ask for an email address and always work on growing your list, no matter the situation.

How It Helps: You never know where your next sale will come from, but if you’re continually in front of a large audience, your chances of landing a new client are much greater.

Wrap-up

Your time is valuable and limited; embrace marketing automation tools that help offset the amount of work that you have to do. As you make your 2015 plans, remember these three important things.

  • Your marketing needs to be less about you and more about your clients.
  • You need to humanize your brand and make it accessible through mobile.
  • And whenever possible, look to marketing automation as a way to help save you time while increasing the effectiveness of your efforts.”

Source: Outbound Engine.com

The following article 9 Pro Tips – Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2016 was first published to http://myvisuallistingsprovider.com

6 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Santa

Even you an entrepreneur can learn something new, that’s probably why you are successful in this part of your life.  You know you don’t know everything, you now you can always learn more.  This article made me think of this aspect of learning and striving to be your best.  We look forward to an amazing 2016 with My Visual Listings virtual tour real estate marketing platform.  Enjoy.

When you think of history’s greatest entrepreneurs your probably includes Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs but if you stop there you’re leaving out a big name: Santa Claus.

Since the third century BC the man, myth and legend known variously as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, La Befana, Yule Tomten and Christkindli has been an amazing entrepreneur each and every startup founder can learn from.

1. Nobody tops Santa for customer loyalty.

Mr. Claus certainly picked on large market when be decided to embark on his annual journey. There are approximately 2.2 billion customers in the world. And even though not every child believes in Santa, one estimate was at 1 in 5, that’s still a large market that any entrepreneur would love to have.

But, a large market isn’t just enough to justify Santa’s entrepreneurial spirit. He effectively segments his customers between who’s naughty and nice. What makes this segmentation so successful is it’s simplicity. If you want to be bad, Santa isn’t going to waste his time on bringing you the toy that you’ve dreamt about all year.

As for the children who made the “nice” list, Santa takes the time to listen to them. Whether it’s a bicycle, game system or puppy, Santa listens to each and every one of his customers and delivers what each one wants every December 24th.

 Why your business needs to do this: To become a successful entrepreneur you too need to have a large, targeted market that can support your business. Additionally, you should segment your customers so that you can make your loyal customers your first priority. Finally, and most importantly, you should always listen to the wants and needs of your customers.

As CD Baby founder Derek Sivers once said, “The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.” And, Santa, has certainly made his customers happy over the years.

Related: What Content Marketers Can Learn from Santa Claus

2. He knows the value of diversification.

One of my favorite holiday films is the “The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus.” The movie documents Santa’s humble start with just one simple toy — a replica of his pet cat. When the children enjoy the figure, they want other presents. Santa makes good on this suggestion. He begins to diversify his operation so that he can offer children across the world a wide range of presents.

Why your business needs to do this: Don’t paint yourself into a corner by only offering one product or service. You don’t want to suffer the same fate as Blockbuster. Instead, look for ways to diversify your business by offering related products, opening up an e-commerce site, or tapping into overseas markets.

3. He takes breaks.

After spending much of the year preparing and delivering presents to children all over the world in just one night, Claus takes a much deserved break to recoup and recharge. Don’t be surprised if you spot Santa surfing or relaxing on the beach and spending some quality time with Mrs. Claus following the holidays. The man works hard. He deserves a much-needed break from his workshop at the North Pole.

Why your business needs to do this: Entrepreneurs are notorious for working excessive hours and rarely taking any time off. In fact, according to a 2013 survey, 43 percent of small business owners are taking less vacation time than five years ago. It’s gotten so bad that even I had to make a New Years resolution to take a vacation.

Taking a break from work should become a priority for entrepreneur. Without taking some take off, you aren’t giving your body and brain to recharge. Stepping away from the business can also help you become more inspired and discover new perspectives on problems that have been blocking you from success.

4. He’s recession proof.

Even turbulent economic times can’t stop Santa Claus – not even the Great Depression. While children may not receive as many gifts as they would like, Santa is still able to give them a present when they wake-up in the morning. It’s the magic of Santa that “keeps them from imagining the worst.” Santa is a necessary part of the holidays, who doesn’t have to rely on huge marketing budgets and is willingly to cutback on the number of presents he delivers when times get tough.

Why your business needs to do this: Recession proofing your business is a challenge, but if you want to prevent the economy from impacting your business, you should focus on selling an essential product or service and tighten your budget so that you don’t spend money on items that aren’t needed. You can also embark on a creative guerrilla marketing campaign – just like Jolly St. Nick who doesn’t have to pay for all the free advertising that he is given during the holidays.

Related: How Much Would Santa’s Salary Be?

5. He’s been indispensable for a long time.

Why has Santa been able to remain relevant after all of these centuries? It’s because Santa makes children happy and inspires them to become better people. Furthermore, children need to believe in Santa if they want to use their imaginations to be creative and solve problems. Jacqueline Woolley, professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, conducted research that discovered believing in Santa “exercises children’s deductive reasoning abilities and their use of evidence.”

When it comes to a child’s happiness and imagination, Santa has definitely cornered the market. That will continue to make him indispensable for generations to come.

Why your business needs to do this: How is your business inspiring its customers? What are you offering that makes you a part of their lives? What sets you apart from your competitors? Answering these questions will your business indispensable for its customers. Just like Santa has become one of the most important components of the holidays, your business should make it’s way into becoming a part of your customers everyday lives.

6. Santa built a solid team that stays with him for the long run.

Santa Claus didn’t become such a legend on his own. He has a skilled and talented team to backing him. There are the elves making the toys. There are the reindeer pulling his sleigh. Santa, like all successful entrepreneurs, surrounds himself with the right individuals to make his operation run smoothly. Additionally, he has a knack for using the unique talents of specific team members — we all know the story of Rudolph. Without his helpers, there’s no way that Santa could create and manage such an efficient business.

And, he also shows appreciation for his team members. He’s known to share his milk, cookies, and carrots with reindeer while making his legendary global trek.

Why your business needs to do this: As a business owner, it may feel like the weight or the world rests solely on your shoulders because working alone has several drawbacks, such as decreasing productivity and morale. Having the right team in place ensures that you produce quality content and products, as well as reducing the pressure of meeting deadlines and goal projections.

Happy Holidays!

Source: www.entrepreneur.com

6 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Santa See more on: MVL Provider

Free Software for Editing Photos

Windows Photo Gallery

  1. http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/photo-gallery

Gimp (free photo editing for detailed edits like removing camera in mirrors or auto blending 3 bracketed images)

  1. Gimp download https://www.gimp.org/downloads/
  2. Blending Plugin for Gimp http://tir.astro.utoledo.edu/jdsmith/code/exposure_blend.php 
    1. Read How to Install Gimp Plugins to Gimp

Advanced Renamer (for Re-ordering images and Re-naming before uploading in proper order)

  1. http://www.advancedrenamer.com/download

Free Software for Editing Photos is republished from My Visual Listings Virtual Tour Business

Camera Settings for Shooting Real Estate Photography

DSLR Suggested Camera Settings for Shooting Real Estate Photography:

Image Quality: JPEG NORM
Image Size: Medium (3696+ by 2448+ pixels)
White Balance (WB): Auto (or set your own each time manually with a white card)
ISO: 400 (Disable Auto ISO when on tri-pod)
Focus: Manual (Infinity at all times)
Metering: Matrix
Auto Bracketing: As needed for shots with extreme lighting differences (3 shots on a timer)
Timer: Set to 3 shots (for exposure bracketing) OR 5-10 seconds to move to light up a dark room using flash

Camera Settings for Shooting Real Estate Photography Find more on: http://www.myvisuallistingsprovider.com

Own Your Own Business using Real Estate Photography

Want to be your own boss?  Set your own hours?  Work hard and reap the benefits of your own efforts?  You’ve found the vehicle with My Visual Listings.  If you don’t know photography don’t let that be a hurdle, the photography is easy.  My Visual Listings has the resources and the knowledge to train you in this aspect.

Selling and marketing is what is important.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can become successful  go here:  Learn more about your Photography Business Opportunity

We will get right back to you!

Thank you!

My Visual Listings USA

 

 

The following post Own Your Own Business using Real Estate Photography was first seen on http://myvisuallistingsprovider.com/

5 Things Your Real Estate Photographer Wishes You Knew

We came across another great reference to the importance of professional real estate photography and had to share.  Just a great point that things have changed.  Prospective home buyers are online, using google, and inspecting homes on the internet.  Read more here.

Folks, it’s 2016 (nearly!). Contrary to what you might have heard, a buyer’s first impression is no longer that special moment when they first pull up to check out your curb appeal. In fact, more often than not, they’ve already checked out your place from front to back online—and for all you know, they may have decided to cruise right by.

Most buyers spend weeks perusing online listings, making Pinterest dream boards, texting must-see homes to their agent, and, well, judging.

And what is the key difference between a home deemed a HILF (home I’d like to finance) and one doomed to be mocked on social media? Photos.

Photos are the curb appeal of the digital age, and those shots have to be good.

Freaking out? Don’t. Check out these pro secrets instead.

1. It doesn’t matter how many megapixels your (or your agent’s) smartphone has

To get a good photo, you need the right equipment, including a high-end camera and some full-featured editing software.

The bigger sensors of a professional-grade camera capture more information, which results in richer, more flattering photographs. Part of that is the technique: With HDR (high dynamic range mode), the camera takes multiple exposures to maximize the quality of the final photo. Yes, you can do HDR with your cell phone, but trust us—it’s not as good. And the right editing program such as Photoshop will make those photos look their very best.

Unless you already have the equipment—and the know-how—it might be more prudent to hire a pro.

2. Your knickknacks aren’t photogenic

Prospective buyers don’t give a hoot about your knickknacks.

Hide yo’ throw pillows and hide yo’ ceramic pigs. All those knickknacks that make your house feel homey (to you, anyway) won’t translate well online.

“Photos tend to look best with the least amount of stuff as possible,” says Darryl Glade, CEO- professional real estate photographer.

Aim to store away everything personal (even wall art) before your photo shoot—don’t forget the small kitchen appliances and, yes, your shampoo. You want your house to convey a model home feel.

3. Dirt really shows

HD cameras pick up all the little stains you’ll try to hide.

HDR photos are a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the camera captures everything. On the other hand, the camera captures everything.

A missed stain on the kitchen floor, dust on the mantel, slight discoloration in the carpet—it’s all going to show in the photos. Happily, a pro can edit most of those things out, but your house needs to be as clean as possible before the shoot.

Seriously, we want to be able to eat off those floors, soldier.

4. It isn’t just the weather on the big day that matters

You’ve had the foresight to check the weather: clear skies on the day of your shoot. But what about the day before?

“If your yard maintenance crew comes Monday, and there is a storm Monday night, maybe it is a good idea to reschedule your Tuesday photos so that the yard is in perfect condition for the shoot,” Glade says.

Wait, is there a house through all that fog.

5. Little things can make—or break—the photo

The ceramic pig is in the closet, the house is spotless, and there hasn’t been a windy day in weeks, so you’re ready to go, right?

Not so fast. The day of your shoot, do a final sweep and look for anything you might have missed.

“During your run-through, pay extra attention to blinds, curtains, bedspreads, and shower curtains, making sure they are in place and smooth,” Glade says.

And don’t forget the bathroom. “Make sure the toilet lids are closed. Refresh the toilet paper rolls,” he says. “These little things can make a big difference!

Source: Realtor.com

The following post 5 Things Your Real Estate Photographer Wishes You Knew is republished from My Visual Listings Provider

Look Sharp: Professional Listing Photos Sell For More Money

There is really no question that professional photography sells, period.  Top agents use professional photography on every listing large or small because it’s just good marketing.  Agents that consistently use a photographer and virtual tours will just do better than the next agent.  They look good, have a better presentation and utilize technology.  They have a method, and a big part of that method lies with the technology that My Visual Listings provides.  Check out a My Visual Listings Virtual Tour sample here: http://www.myvisuallistings.com/pfsnb/196431.  Here is a great article on real estate photography that remains true today.

From Instagram to Pinterest to Snapchat, digital photos have become their own mode of online and mobile communication. With 92 percent of home buyers using the Internet as part of their home search, listing photos are a critical factor in the selling price of your home, how quickly it sells, and whether it sells at all.

pro-vs-amateur

Positive First Impressions Pay Off

For homes listed between $200,000 and $1 million, Redfin found that homes with listing photos taken with DSLR cameras sell for $3,400 to $11,200 more relative to their list prices. At the high end of the spectrum, professionally photographed homes for more than $1 million sold at prices similar to those with amateur photographs. In Los Angeles, Redfin real estate agent Eric Tan says, “professional photography and even photo post-processing are expected on million dollar homes.” While million dollar homes take longer to sell, DSLR photography still helps these luxury homes sell faster than than they otherwise would.

For each price range, the dollar figures indicate how much closer to list price professionally photographed homes sold versus amateur photographed homes.

For each price range, the dollar figures indicate how much closer to list price professionally photographed homes sold versus amateur photographed homes.

DSLR Photos = More Money, Less Problems (Selling)

Across all price tiers, homes with DSLR photography were more likely to sell within six months than homes with point-and-shoot photos. In the $400,000 to $500,000 price range, 64 percent of homes with DSLR photos sold within six months, compared to 46 percent of homes with point-and-shoot photos. For those difficult-to-sell million dollar homes, 35 percent of professionally photographed homes sold in six months, compared to 30 percent of homes with point-and-shoot photos.

For each price range, the percentage indicates the difference in the likelihood that a home will sell in in six months when shot with a professional DSLR camera versus a point-and-shoot camera

For each price range, the percentage indicates the difference in the likelihood that a home will sell in in six months when shot with a professional DSLR camera versus a point-and-shoot camera

Sell Your Home in a Snap

Since professionally photographed homes are more likely to sell in general, and to sell for more money, it’s not surprising that these homes also sell faster. Because online searching and browsing is such a critical part of the home-buying process, it follows that a better-photographed home will sell faster because more people are enticed to visit the home and people know what they are getting before they even set foot in the home. Across all price ranges, homes with professional photos sold faster. In the million dollar range, professionally photographed homes sold four days faster, and those in the $400,000 range sold three weeks faster than their counterparts with amateur photos.

For each price range, the days indicate how much faster a professionally photographed home sold compared to a home with amateur photos.

For each price range, the days indicate how much faster a professionally photographed home sold compared to a home with amateur photos.

Look Sharp, Get More

For this latest study, Redfin dug a little deeper, looking at photo sharpness. Photo sharpness can be thought of as detail added to a picture by using a good camera, lens and lighting. Whether it’s a crisp reflection in a mirror, or bright flowers in the front yard, a sharper picture will show a house in its best light. We used some fancy math and image processing via OpenCV to group our photos by a sharpness percentile. The sharpest 10 percent of photos sold at or above list price 44 percent of the time, while listings with average sharpness sold at or above list just 13 percent of the time.

Better looking, sharper photos are more likely to sell above list price

Better looking, sharper photos are more likely to sell above list price.

Two Professional Photo Success Stories

If you are looking for a few more examples of great listing photos that sold fast and at a good price, here are two homes listed and sold by Redfin from 2013.

This professionally photographed 3-bed, 1.75-bath home in Renton, Washington was listed at $329,950 by Redfin agent Monique Losk. Within five days of coming on the market, the sellers received a $332,450 offer and the home sold nearly one percent above the asking price.

high-quality-professional-photo-1

high-quality-professional-photo-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

This professionally photographed 2-bed, 2.5 bath home in Redmond, Washington, was listed at $449,950 by Redfin agent Loren Ellingson. The sellers had four offers within five days of placing the home on the market, and the 2-bed 2.5-bath home sold for $480,000 which was nearly seven percent above the asking price.

 If you’re selling your home, be sure you have professional photos to ensure an ideal home selling process even if you’re selling your own home. And, finally, we’ll take an opportunity to mention that Redfin pays for professional photography for all clients as part of the listing package for selling your home.
Source: Redfin.com

The article Look Sharp: Professional Listing Photos Sell For More Money Read more on: http://www.myvisuallistingsprovider.com/