Category Archives: marketing

How to Market Yourself Using Twitter

Need help getting started with Twitter?  Watch this presentation for ideas on how you can begin to use Twitter for marketing.

Why Real Estate is Missing from YouTube

The Tech Savvy Agent Channel on YouTube

A recent article on Social Media Examiner explored the marketing impact of YouTube.  Particularly compelling in that article were these YouTube usage stats:

  • In 2009, approximately 100 million Americans watched 6 billion videos on YouTube each month
  • Six out of seven U.S Internet users watch online videos every month
  • YouTube accounted for 70% of all U.S. visits to some 60 online video sites (Google was #2 with a 4.6% share)
  • In December 2009, U.S. Internet users watched an average of 187 videos per person
  • Sixty-two percent of YouTube viewers are over 35; about half have college degrees and incomes of $75,000 or more
  • In December, 2009, there were 9.7 billion search queries on Google, 3.9 billion on YouTube, 2.5 billion on Yahoo!, and 1.4 billion on Bing. (That makes YouTube the #2 search engine in the U.S.)

Yet despite the dominance of YouTube in popular culture and on the Internet, real estate professionals, for the most part, aren’t using it.

YouTube makes it easy to create a channel, allowing you to place all of your videos together in one place.  You can customize the channel with your company’s colors and logo, and you can upload the videos of your choosing to tell your story or showcase your properties.  Viewers can even subscribe, which allows them to stay up to date on your latest uploads.

Lots of companies and organizations have YouTube channels (click to view the YouTube Channel for Tech Savvy Agent, for example).  Yet despite the popularity of YouTube and the simplicity of the channel concept, there seem to be only a handful of agents, brokers or boards using YouTube in any organized way.  (One very notable standout is the Houston Association of Realtors, which regularly posts content to YouTube.  Click here to visit their YouTube channel.)

Most of us think of YouTube as the place our kids go on the Internet to watch silly videos.  And while that may be true, it’s also the venue more and more businesses and professionals are using for marketing and PR.  It’s a powerful tool that reaches millions of people. So why is real estate absent?

Floorplan Tools Help Agents Sell Homes

TechTools Tuesday:  Cool Tools to Sell Homes

Prospective buyers who use the Internet to preview homes are often want to know what the homes are like on the inside. Photos and video tours can provide some information, but often it’s still hard for buyers to get a feel for room dimensions and home layout.

click for FloorPlanner demo

Two web 2.0 products now give prospective buyers that sense of space and dimension by allowing agents to include floorplans with their listing information.

Floorplanner lets agents create and share interactive 2-D or 3-D floorplans.  Using point-and-click, drag-and-drop tools, agents can easily create floorplans of their listings that can be saved, sent, printed, shared, or uploaded to their website.  To get an idea of how it works, click and watch the video above or try the free demo on the company’s website.

The interactive floorplan tours offered by FloorPlanOnline® let prospective buyers see a floorplan of the home and then click on various spots on the floorplan to see a photo of that room.  As they say themselves, “there’s no more guessing which photos go with which rooms.”  The company offers several different products and levels of service.  A self-service options, for example, lets agents submit their own photos and floorplan sketches which the company transforms into Internet and social media-ready floorplans with interactive tours.  Or, FloorPlanOnline® can send a professional to the home to take the photos and sketch the layout.  Click here to watch the video on their Fan Page or visit their website for a complete rundown of their products.

Electronic Magazine Makes it Easy to Market Homes

Summer 2009 Real Estate Guide for Crested Butte, Montana.  Click the picture to see the Electronic Magazine.

Click the image to see the electronic magazine

I’m always excited when I see real estate professionals using Internet technologies in creative ways. That’s why I love these two examples of e-magazines created using Issuu.

Rated by Time Magazine earlier this year as one of the 50 Best Websites of 2009, www.issuu.com lets users publish electronic magazines like the one above created by Prudential Becky Hamlin Realty, Inc. or the one below by the Ogeechee River Group of Keller Williams Realty-Coastal Area Partners. I particularly like the one below because it’s published not by a real estate board or a marketing company, but by a real estate team, and it appears to be made using tools most of us have on our computers. Yet it looks good and it’s efffective.

That’s one of the beauties of Issuuit’s incredibly easy for almost anyone to create a professional-looking product. You create a magazine by uploading a document such as a Microsoft Word® file, a pdf, or a PowerPoint® presentation and Issuu transforms that document into a electronic flip book that appears on Issuu’s electronic “newsstand” and can be embedded in a blog or website. The other good part is that the basic service is free.

Click the image to see the electronic magazine

Click the image to see the electronic magazine

Although quite a few luxury home magazines and local property marketing publications have found their way onto the site, only a handful of agents and brokerages are using it.

That’s too bad because it’s a great tool that more real estate professionals should know about.

How Agents Can Survive in the “Free” Economy

chrome dollar symbolChris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, has recently published a new book, Free.

The Long Tail is about how businesses in the digital age are able to profit by storing an almost infinite digital inventory.  Think of Amazon.com where you can purchase almost any book that’s in print–regardless of how obscure the title.  No bricks and mortar bookstore could have an inventory that large.  But online booksellers (as well as online sellers of music, online movie rental companies, etc.) can do it because storing items in digital format is ridiculously inexpensive.

Anderson’s new book, Free, is about how computing capacity–the processing and storing of information–has become so inexpensive that it’s practically free.  The result is that “free” has become the new business model.  So many Internet businesses offer things for free that consumers have begun to expect “free.”

Free may be great for an Internet search engine or an online magazine, but how can real estate professionals make a living relying on free?

The key to finding your way in the free economy is to remember that free is not really free.  Readers of the online version of the New York Times, for example, read for free but someone pays–in that case the advertisers.

There are free software and services on the Internet, but they’re almost always supported by upgrades and advanced versions of the product that customers pay for.

Think also of buyers’ agents.  The buyer may think of buyer agency as a free service–and some agents may even market their services to buyers as free–but somebody pays, usually the seller.

In all of these instances, free is not really free; it’s simply paid for somewhere else.

Using that same principle, agents can also offer free services:  seminars for first time home buyers, classes on how to buy foreclosures, staging tips, even investment seminars that show people the wisest investments in the current economic climate.  Find experts to partner with who can teach such a seminar and invite people from your sphere and from your farm.

Free can be putting people in touch with each other. Help people you know find contractors, tell them about community events they might be interested in, even introduce one former client to another when you recognize they have something in common.

John Jantsch writes about how delighted he and his wife were to get free soup to go one time when they visited a new restaurant in town.  He asks the question of small business owners:  what’s your free soup strategy?

Everybody likes free stuff and it can be the perfect marketing tool.  Especially now, when the real estate market has suffered so much and many people have had to tighten their belts, it’s important to identify what you can give for free.

What Agents Can Learn from Twitter Success

Place SettingThe Boston Globe reports about a Cambridge, Massachusetts restauranteur whose wife posted to Twitter in December about the planned opening of her husband’s restaurant.  Jen Deaderick’s December 2nd post merely said: “Tupelo01239 is preparing.”  There were subsequent tweets about planning the menu, finalizing the decor, and putting other finishing touches in place, so that by the time Tupelo opened in April, a buzz had been created.  The place was packed on opening night and easily half of the people who showed up were there because they had heard about the restaurant on Twitter.

I recently blogged about the fact that Twitter is not as dumb as it seems.  As the Boston Globe article points out, Twitter is fast, effective and free; anyone can use it.  So here’s my question:  Is it possible for a creative real estate agent to generate the same kind of excitement about a listing as this chef and his wife did about their restaurant?