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July 25, 2016

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Updated: 39 min 25 sec ago

Facebook Marketing Tools to Grow Your Business

12 hours 12 min ago

Drew Heasley

By Drew Heasley

Everyone is on Facebook, and as a real estate agent, you go where the people are.

So you probably already have some type of Facebook presence, either through your personal page or a business page that you’ve invited all your friends to like. But you need more than just likes to generate business through Facebook. Here are some of my favorite free and low-cost marketing tools that Facebook offers.

Facebook Live:  This live streaming video feature is one of Facebook’s most recent additions and it is free to use. No surprise here; it was only a matter of time before Facebook would dive into live streaming, especially after seeing the success that Periscope and other live streaming apps have had. Agents are using this live video feature to broadcast brokers opens, open houses, or give a quick sneak peek of a new listing to their friends. It’s also great for showing local places or local events. When it comes to Facebook marketing, think local. This leads me to me the next great source of business on Facebook…

Local Pages:  This is something I wish I had discovered sooner, because it does take some time to develop. Like an existing community page that has large membership, and simply come from a place of contribution. If you search your area on Facebook, you may be surprised how many well-established and active pages or groups are already up and running. If someone asks for a good plumber, send them your best guy. If someone lost their dog, help them out and share the message to your followers. Do this long enough and you won’t have to beg the group for business, they will be happy to refer you to friends and family. Eventually, you will simply become known as the local real estate go-to person. It will take minimal time and effort, but don’t expect to get rewarded your first month – it’s about building relationships and staying consistent.

The other approach, which I prefer, would be to create your own new local page. You could name it “your town real estate,” or “your town homeowners/residents.” If you farm a large community or neighborhood, create a group or a page just for that. The easiest and obvious place to start would be the area you live. You might be shocked how many people are curious about their local real estate and want to see periodic listings and market updates. To build this type of group without spending any money would take a long time, but it is possible. Once your page is established, use Facebook’s ad manager to target people in that zip code or area your page is dedicated to. These are also great places to run ads for your new listings. You get eyes on your new property and people start following your page. The best ways to do this are to create a post that requires a comment and or a like. For example on a coming soon listing, ask, “How much will this be listed for?” Or on a pending listing, “How much did it sell for?” This creates tons of free organic views because once a person comments on the post, it will show up in his or her friends’ newsfeed. Hopefully others be inclined to like/comment and create a snowball effect. Other ways to build a page from scratch include: posting really interesting or exotic local homes, celebrity homes nearby, unique homes to the area, and bank owned/foreclosures seem to draw a lot of attention. Get creative.

@GaborfromHungary, 2013. Morguefile.com.

Real Estate Groups:  Like community groups, Facebook many real estate related groups established by agents that can help with everything business related. I would highly recommend you check out the group Lab Coat Agents. I have no affiliation with them, I’m just a member and huge fan. This is a group of 35,000 real estate agents from across the country all sharing ideas on how to use technology to increase business. It will change how you spend your time on Facebook. If you are really into cold calling, FSBOs, expireds, etc., then join groups that focus on lead generation, objection handling, or script practicing. Also seek out and  join referral groups or consider creating your own. Network with other agents who are likely to refer business in your area: city to suburb, beach/lake homes, second homes, etc. Joining groups is free and it will be time well spent.

Facebook Ads: Facebook has managed to become a more user friendly marketing platform then Google Ads. Setting up a Facebook ad campaign could not be any more simple. If you need help, Facebook has endless resources. One of Facebook ads’ best features is the amount of targeting it allows you to do. My target-audience changes for each ad, depending on the property I’m listing. Facebook lets me target, “likely to move” and “first-time homebuyers” among tons of other real estate related topics. It lets me exclude, “recently moved” or “real estate agents,” as well as the obvious targeting like, geographic location, age, and other demographics. If you’re wondering why this is so important, it’s very simple: money. The fewer people I advertise to, the less I pay. And more targeted advertising provides higher returns. Some of my most successful campaigns include: rent vs. buy information, foreclosures, coming soon listings, and anything with video. If you are going to run these ads, think about creating a landing page or a well-designed website to help capture those leads. It can really increase you ROI. You can run these either from your business page or your local page. In my opinion, the latter has a much better return on investment.

The best Facebook marketing tool is the one that you will actually use. Pick one or a few that you think would work for you and your business and your market. If just being yourself on Facebook and engaging through your personal page is getting you tons of business, great, keep doing it. But if you aren’t getting the business you hope for or are looking to expand your business I hope these ideas will give you a boost in the right direction.

Drew Heasley is an agent with Keller Williams Exton/West Chester in Pennsylvania. Connect with him on Facebook: facebook.com/chestercountyrealtor, or through his website: searchchestercountyhomes.com.

Test Your Business By Taking a Vacation

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 19:15

Nico Hohman

By Nico Hohman

You’ve been in business for a few years now and everything is going well. You are hitting your numbers, achieving your goals, and you are making a mark in your local community.

As a real estate agent you are always on. Your phone is always on. You are always on your email, and you are always ready and willing to take on the next client.

But is that really the best way to run your business?

Sure, you may be hitting your numbers, achieving your goals, and making a mark in your local community, but is that all you are doing? These things are great to achieve on a micro level, but what are you missing on a macro level?

The only way to test your business to see if it’s working – to see if it’s really profitable – is to take a break from your business.

And what better way to take a break from your business than to take a vacation?

Taking a vacation offers several benefits to both your personal life and your business.

From a personal perspective, taking a vacation is an excellent way to release stress, open your brain to more creative thinking, and immerse yourself in experiences that are new and that might even make you uncomfortable. Getting yourself out of your comfort zone is an excellent way to get your life back in order or on a new track.

From a business perspective, taking a vacation offers several important benefits.

First, when you are working every day in your business it’s tough to plan two weeks into the future, let alone two years into the future. But when you stop working every single day, you can more clearly see what your future in the business will be like.

@fayedes, 2016. Morguefile.com

Secondly, when you take a vacation it forces you to have systems in place to operate your business when you aren’t there. Realistically, you should plan a vacation a few weeks to a few months in advance so you can prepare for an extended absence. Let your clients and vendors know that you will be unreachable for two (or hopefully more) weeks. Have your email and phone away messages set. Have a lead generation and project management system ready to go whenever a new or existing client has a pressing issue. And most definitely have someone you can rely on to help manage your business while you are out.

Finally, when you take a vacation, it helps you realize who the people are that you really want to be working with. If you get three phone calls a day from a client or vendor whom you already made aware that you will be on vacation, it can be tempting to pick up the phone and answer their calls. But the best thing to do is not answer their calls. If, like in the previous step, you have all of your systems in place before you go, you should not need to answer a single phone call or email while you are away. And perhaps when you get back to working full time, it might be best to have a conversation with your clients and vendors about expectations and limitations that they should have for you and your business.

If you think that taking a vacation seems like an impossible task, you are most likely the best candidate to test your business and take a vacation.

And once you’re on vacation, remember, taking business calls and checking your email while you’re away is not a badge of honor. It is nothing to be respected or bragged about. Honor your vacation time and it will pay you back in the long run.

Nico Hohman is a Tampa-based real estate pro with NextHome Discovery who works on renovation and rehab properties. Learn more about Nico at hohmanhomes.com or connect on Twitter: @thenicohohman.

3 Steps to Run Your Business Like a CEO

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 12:30

Brandon Doyle

By Brandon Doyle

Taking your business to the next level might mean a shift in thinking to focus on the bigger picture. A balance between  day-to-day work and your larger goals can be a difficult one to strike, and it’s easy to fall into the pattern of taking care of the details with little time left to think more strategically. Here are three practices to implement today, and on an ongoing basis, to shift your mindset from simply running your business to being the CEO of your business.

1. Review the past and project into the future.

@LiaLeslie 2016. Morguefile.com

CEOs are not only prepared to speak intelligently about their market and business today, but also to make educated predictions. Your ability to interpret the data you have and extract insights and ideas is a major competitive advantage. Review your numbers at least quarterly to answer questions about where your business is coming from, what strategies are performing well, where your biggest expenses are, and how you performed against your projections. Use that information along with what you know about the market and your peers to make short-term and long-term forecasts and plans for your business. Performing high-level analysis arms you with the proactive mindset to take informed and strategic action.

2. Track what’s important.

As CEO of your business, you need to decide what’s most important and then ensure you have the systems and processes in place to track those metrics on a regular basis. From customer satisfaction to ad spend and lead conversion, make sure you’re getting the data you need to make informed decisions about where and how to allocate your resources. With the vast amount of information available, it’s easy to get bogged down with reports that ultimately mean nothing to your business. Start by asking the most important questions and tailor your reports and analysis to obtain that data before digging into the rest. The best insights come from asking the best questions, so start with what you need to know first.

3. Continuously develop your product.

Leading companies and CEOs look ahead to the next phase or version of their product. In real estate, your database of relationships is essentially your product. How are you investing in growing and improving the performance of your database? Take time to plan the strategies you’ll use to develop and nurture your list of contacts as well as the ways you’ll measure the results of your efforts.

Commit to working on these three objectives on a regular basis and block that time on your calendar. The time you invest working on your business with the mindset of a CEO will lead you to the decisions and opportunities that create long-term success.

Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. He is also coauthor of the book M3Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent available now on Amazon. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.

 

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The Reality of Real Estate Success

Mon, 06/27/2016 - 15:12

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

So you want to be a multi-million dollar real estate agent.

The TV shows make it look easy. Simply sell one or two (multi-) million dollar listings and you are on the fast track to your first Aston Martin, Maserati, or some other luxury item of choice. And for some, it may be that simplistic. But in reality, most agents have to do a wee-bit more.

I am not here to rain on your parade and crush your optimism. Instead, I want you to be prepared (any Scouts out there remember this quintessential motto?) for a road that may require more effort.

Do you know the right questions to ask while planning your future as a real estate agent extraordinaire? Here is an infographic I created, which outlines critical areas that new real estate agents should be prepared to tackle  – from work ethic to lead generation to business planning – and questions they need to realistically answer in order to succeed.

Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate broker and business doctoral candidate who trains agents and brokerages on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

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5 Ideas For Your Next YPN Event

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 14:11

If you’re looking to strengthen member participation, breathe some new life into your YPN, or host an event that’s off the hook, then glean new ideas from successful events organized by networks throughout the country.

1. Trivia Night

The San Antonio Board of REALTORS® YPN hosted “Trivia for TREPAC” on June 23. The trivia night featured food, prizes, and an auction to help raise funds for the Texas Association of REALTORS® Political Action Committee.

YPN’s Trivia for TREPAC was a success! Thanks to everyone who came out t2 supper this great event! #SABOR #TREPAC pic.twitter.com/lEPfyWBKA3

— SABoard of REALTORS® (@SABoardREALTORS) June 24, 2016


2. Take ‘em Out to the Ballgame

On June 16, the Burbank Association of REALTORS® YPN rented a party bus to take members to a Dodgers game.

What happens on the party bus, stays on the party bus… The #YPN #Dodger night was a success! pic.twitter.com/o5v5zvzjdO

— BAOR (@burbankrealtors) June 17, 2016

3. Breakfast of Champions

Chicago REALTORS® YPN hosts a monthly networking breakfast featuring presentations from industry leaders that touch on various facets of real estate. The group’s most recent breakfast was Wednesday, June 29: http://chicagorealtor.com/event/ypn-june-breakfast/

@_AmirSyed_ of @perlmortgage at today’s @ChicagoREALTORS #YPN bkfast, “when you make a friend, you make a fortune” pic.twitter.com/WcCPfk5btU

— Jessica Kern (@jesskern) May 25, 2016

4. Neighborhood Food Walk

The San Meteo County Association of REALTORS® YPN organized a local “Byte of Burlingame” food walk in early June, inviting members to eat their way through three bar-crawl style stops. The event also featured an aerial photography demo.

#SAMCAR #YPN Byte of #Burlingame is THIS THURSDAY (June 2) Get your tickets at https://t.co/lummettfzs pic.twitter.com/bLIZgKZoqB ttp://twtd.b

— Burlingame News (@burlingame_news) May 31, 2016

5. Good Ol’ Fashion Yard Games

The Fort Collins Board of REALTORS® recently held their second annual Yard Games event on June 28 featuring adult big wheels, a food truck, and games such as corn hole, washers, ladders, and more.

Don’t miss out on FCBR’s 2nd Annual Yard games featuring good ol’ fashion networking while playing cornhole &… https://t.co/2FqCJuycDu

— NoCo YPN (@FCBR_YPN) June 21, 2016

 For more event ideas, or to share your own event, check out YPN’s Idea Bank.

It’s Time to Focus on Goal Achieving

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 15:26

John Blom

By John Blom

I’ve taught a few classes about business planning, and always I like to start with the quote by Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” Usually, less than half the room gets the joke, but the idea conveyed should be at the foundation for every organization and at the core of every leader.

Leaders, whether in business, at your local REALTOR® association, or in your community, need to know their desired “destination” or outcome if they want to be effective. However, goal setting is only the beginning. “Goal achieving” requires identifying what steps need to be completed to accomplish the goal and monitoring your progress along the way.

Two years ago at our association’s strategic planning sessions, the concept of hosting a candidate forum emerged. The idea was to create an annual event where we would invite those running for local or state office to come and talk about small business and housing issues.

John Blom speaking at the Clark County Association of REALTORS® Legislative Candidate Forum. Photo courtesy of John Blom.

The board adopted the idea into its strategic plan, but for the next two years there was no progress in making the event a reality. As easily happens, we set a goal but did not move to the next phase of “goal achieving.”

Following the Leadership Summit at NAR in Chicago last August, I started thinking about the one or two things I hoped to accomplish this year serving as president of the Clark County Association of REALTORS®. Hosting the candidate forum was one of my priorities, so beginning in the fall, our association executive and I began discussing what steps we needed to take to have a successful event.

Some of the preparation work was making basic decisions: when to hold it, what races to focus on, who would moderate, and how to pay for it. We researched potential venues and the affiliated costs. The budget committee agreed to include some funding for the forum in this year’s budget. The government affairs committee provided input as to the timing and which races to include.

Clark County Association of REALTORS® Legislative Candidate Forum. Photo courtesy of John Blom.

Once we determined the specifics, we identified what other actions needed to happen and when to make the event a success.  Last week, everyone’s hard work came to fruition when we had more than 20 candidates from six different races on the stage of a local historic theater talking about affordable housing, taxes on small business, and quality of life issues.

We have received positive feedback both from candidates and attendees, many of whom said they hope we make this an annual event. As I’m sitting here writing out the process, it all sounds really simple. That’s often the case, though, isn’t it?

Complicated obstacles are usually not the reason behind unrealized goals, it’s the mundane day-to-day activities that are necessary to run a business or association get in the way. Accomplishing what’s important requires seeing beyond what’s urgent.

One way to do this is setting aside time each week to think about the long-term goals you have in your life. Identify what needs to be done this week to stay on track to achieve your goals. Prioritize those activities in your schedule throughout the week.  Incremental progress each week quickly adds up and you will be amazed at what you are able to accomplish.

As Yogi said, knowing where you want to go is a critical first step. By keeping that goal in focus and making steady progress, you will greatly increase your effectiveness and a leader in your association, your business, and your community.

John Blom is a broker for the Hasson Company REALTORS® working in the Portland/SW Washington market. He is also the 2016 president for the Clark County Association of REALTORS®. You can find him on Twitter: @johndblom, LinkedIn, on his website johnblomhomes.com, or e-mail him at johnblom@hasson.com.

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Why Real Estate Websites Need Community Pages

Fri, 06/03/2016 - 13:42

Kyle Hiscock

By Kyle Hiscock

It’s 2016 and almost every real estate website is equipped with an IDX feed which provides the viewer with information on MLS property listings that are currently for sale.  This is certainly a great feature that a real estate website should have, but ultimately this is not something that is going to “wow” the user.

The primary reason a real estate agent has a website is to build credibility with consumers, which in many cases will lead to a consumer becoming a lead, and hopefully at some point becoming a client.

One of the top ways to build credibility with local consumers is to show that you’re the local expert. Showing local consumers that you’re the local expert can be done by creating detailed community pages about your local neighborhoods and towns. Not only does a detailed community page show local consumers you’re a local expert, but it can also generate high quality leads.

Read on to find out what a community page is, why community pages are a necessity for a real estate website, and how to get your community pages noticed.

What is a community page?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that community pages are not created to showcase the latest and greatest homes for sale in an area.  A detailed community page should be packed with information about the area on a variety of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Schools
  • Climate
  • Restaurants
  • Overview of the housing market
  • Economy
  • Transportation statistics
  • Parks
  • Healthcare facilities

By providing this information to local residents or people who are thinking about moving to a community it shows that you have taken the time to understand the “ins and the outs” of the local community.

For example, if someone is thinking about moving to Rochester, N.Y., information about the local the economy and job industries, things to do in the area, real estate market information, and other detailed information about the area would be very helpful. If someone decides that Rochester is the perfect place to call home, and the information you provided about the area was one of the resources they used to make their decision, the chances that they’ll call you if they need to buy a home are extremely high.

Why is a community page necessary for a real estate website?

The number one reason why a community page is necessary for your site is the organic search engine traffic it can generate. A well designed community page can and will rank high in search engine results for some excellent local keywords.

@GaborfromHungary, 2015. Morguefile.

The best way to understand the power of local community pages is to put yourself in the shoes of a local buyer or seller.  If you are a homeowner in Webster, N.Y. and you’re looking for a real estate agent to sell your home, an obvious place to find one is the internet. A simple Google search of “Webster NY real estate agents” would provide hundreds of results. If a seller were to find your detailed community page on the first or second page of search results about the Webster community, there is a good chance they would click on your site and contact you – or at the very least, ask you some questions or setup an interview.

How to get your community pages noticed.

Creating spectacular community pages and expecting them to be found online with no effort is not going to work. It’s important after you create local community pages that you know what real estate marketing strategies to use for getting them noticed, otherwise spending the time to create the pages is a waste.

One of the best places to get your community pages noticed is on social media. In virtually every community there are local Facebook groups that welcome posts about the area. These Facebook groups are a great place to share your community pages and provide an excellent opportunity to show residents that you’re the local expert in your area.

If the information that you provide is helpful, the possibility that the local residents share it are strong. Recently, I shared a page from my website about the dog parks in Rochester, N.Y. to a local Facebook group that was shared dozens of times. While this is not a page about a local town, it does provide helpful information to residents and reinforces that I’m a local expert in the Greater Rochester area.

Final thoughts.

If you haven’t taken the time to create local community pages for your real estate website, do it immediately. The payback, without a doubt, will be worth all of the time and effort you spend creating them.

The results may not be immediate, so don’t get discouraged. However, if you take the time to create community pages and use the proper SEO techniques and marketing strategies, you will see results.

Kyle Hiscock is a top Rochester, N.Y. real estate agent with Nothnagle, REALTORS®. He actively writes helpful content on his popular Rochester Real Estate Blog, and is passionate about staying up-to-date on the Rochester real estate market.