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New marketing models for finding buyer-clients
credit. If you’ve written a post about that,
                                              give them the link.

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Rebac Newsletter


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January article in Today's Buyer's Rep a publication of REBAC at NAR.

Published in: Technology, Design
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Rebac Newsletter

  1. 1. TODAY’S Volume XIX Number 1 January 2010 BUYER’S REP A p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e R e a l E s t a t e B u y e r ’s A g e n t C o u n c i l , I n c . A w h o l l y - o w n e d s u b s i d i a r y o f t h e N a t i o n a l A s s o c i a t i o n o f R E A LT O R S ® New marketing models for finding buyer-clients By Richard Silver, Salesperson, Bosley Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Richard Silver sits as a Director-at-Large with the Toronto Real Estate Board and is a member of the MLS and Technology Council at CREA. His Web site is and blog is The world has changed since I first entered the real estate business. Personal networking is still crucial, but the tools have changed: It seems that who you know, who you golf with, and what boards you sit on don’t matter nearly as much as they used to. This is partly because buyers now have different motivations. Their top priority is finding someone who really knows the market they are most interested in. Being the “go-to” person is key. Buyers are also changing in terms of how they like to communicate and how they prefer to search for homes. The Internet has had a huge impact on both these activities. Buyers are looking online first and want to see who stands out in a market as giving them the best information and advice. BY THE NUMBERS LOOK INSIDE... I’m guessing I’m not the first agent who has told you that business is done differently now. If you remain skeptical, however, consider this data from the Innovative Marketing National Association of REALTORS®: According to the latest NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2009, 90 percent of buyers used the Internet as an information source in their home search, up 30 percentage points during the Course Reboots! page 3 past six years. First-time buyers were even more likely to use the Internet. Blogging Rules: Join the It’s hard to look at this data and ignore the importance of establishing and Conversation Online maintaining a meaningful online presence. But what exactly is a meaningful online presence? I’m referring to much more than a Web site, which tends to be page 7 filled with relatively static content. Participating in online social media networks and posting new, important content on a regular basis, especially through a blog, allows you to actually engage in online conversations. You are much more likely to connect with buyers this way, rather than relying solely on your Web site. Continued on page 4
  2. 2. New marketing models for finding buyer-clients Continued from page 1 Here’s another important fact from highlighting your conquests, I advise answers to these questions, along with NAR research: 66 percent of buyers agents to make sure their site does your regular material. only contact one agent during their a good job of answering consumers’ search process. Granted, personal four most important questions: WAKING UP TO DYNAMIC CONTENT referrals play a very important role in I had a Web site years before I had a this statistic. But if most buyers begin 1. What is the current inventory of blog. Before I started blogging, I dabbled their search online, doesn’t it also stand homes in the neighborhood? (and with adding a little statistical information to reason that many of them are making display them with excellent and about our market to my site in the form that first contact with an agent via numerous photos) of short and poignant factoids. Once I the Internet? did that, I noticed something that really 2. What is the consumer’s home worth? got my attention: The number of visitors It doesn’t really matter whether buyers hitting my site went up 20 percent and meet you via your blog, or your Web site, 3. What’s happening in the real estate the bounce rate (how long someone or your Facebook page, or your Twitter market? (market statistics, tax stays on your site) also improved posts. The real point is that if buyers use benefits, etc.) significantly. the first qualified agent they meet, and if they are using the Internet more than 4. What’s happening in the community? This really convinced me of the any other information resource, don’t you (lifestyle elements, including importance of adding fresh content on want to be the agent who buyers find first schools, restaurants, etc.) a regular basis. Blogs are the easiest and connect with when they begin their way for an agent to do that. I happen search online? Of course, doing a good job of answering to use Wordpress for my blog, which is these four “simple” questions can very user friendly. But there are other WHAT IS A WEB SITE GOOD FOR? require a lot of Web content. If you have platforms that also allow you to post blog Web sites are an essential component a blog integrated into your Web site, then content without learning anything about of your marketing efforts. Rather than you can use your posts to provide many programming and html code. for building your online presence Step 1. Do your homework. Step 3. Launch your own blog. Step 5. Focus and develop systems to Dig into a good introductory reference Now it’s time to finalize your own blogging keep it all running smoothly. book like Blogging for Dummies so you plans and launch your blog. Your options Don’t assume that you need to develop can become acquainted with blogging include joining one of the real estate agent unique content for all these platforms. terminology, content considerations, ways networks mentioned above, or creating a Your blog is most important. From there, to create a blog, blogging etiquette and stand-alone blog using Wordpress, you should decide to participate actively more. REBAC’s new Real Estate Marketing Blogger, or other free or low-cost options. on at least one social media network. Take Reboot course is another great way to If you choose this route, you may still want advantage of syndication tools (see related learn more. (See page 3 for details.) to get help setting up the technical and item on page 5), which make it easy design aspects of your blog. Spend 30 to to expand your efforts by automatically Step 2. Start small. 60 minutes each day for the first month reposting content on multiple platforms. developing content for your blog. Join one of the blogging sites geared If you are not comfortable writing, you may Step 6. Remember that you are a real specifically to real estate professionals, prefer video or audio blogging. Find the estate professional. such as ActiveRain (, platform that works best for you. RealTown ( or on REALTOR. Respond to all comments on your blog or com ( Read other agents’ other social media outlets the same way blogs and begin commenting on their Step 4. Expand into social media. you would to all e-mails and phone calls. posts, so you’ll develop a better feel for Spend one month becoming familiar Remember that you are still obligated by blogging in action. Also find and follow at with each of the major social networking the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and must least two independent blogs by other real sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn and follow all Board/Association rules and estate agents. Twitter. It doesn’t matter which order regulations. you approach them, but make sure you devote time to build your profile, expand your connections, and participate in 4 TBR • January 2010 conversations.
  3. 3. credit. If you’ve written a post about that, give them the link. Assuming they view your post, you now Free! have a potential buyer who not only appreciates your help directing them Timesaving tool to valuable information, but they’ve probably spent a little time viewing other One on pages on your blog, or your Web site— multiple social networks which can help convince them that you really know your market. Once you become actively involved Once they are ready to start their search in earnest, NAR data suggests that it’s in blogging and very likely they’ll consider working with social networking, you. You have become their “go-to” you will likely find person. You will often find that buyers that it takes time have read your blog and therefore know to sign into and your thoughts on certain issues. That’s post content on all why they want to work with you. the platforms you participate in. is designed The other benefit of blogs is that they to greatly simplify the process. dramatically improve the odds that Make one update and buyers will find you when they begin pushes it out for you, allowing you searching online. Again, this is because search engines favor dynamic content to simultaneously update your Personally, I keep my blog and my online posts based on specifications over Web pages that never change. Web site separate, but often copy and you control. (This technique is also Make sure your posts include the paste some of my posts onto my site. called syndication.) same keywords that homebuyers use Again, this is relatively easy to do if for searching, to help ensure that your your Web site includes a good Content pages float higher in their search results. Nearly 50 social networks are Management System—or if you have a personal assistant or site administrator supported, including Facebook, Regarding keywords, it’s also important Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace, who does this for you. to note that you shouldn’t use acronyms plus several blogging platforms, that are familiar to someone in the real instant messaging services, and OTHER BENEFITS OF BLOGS estate industry, but are not familiar to Agents often ask me, when do you social bookmarking sites. You can consumers. For example, if you work have time to write a blog? I reply by create posts from your computer or in the Houston area, don’t use “HAR,” asking them: When do you have time but rather “Houston area REALTORS®.” your phone. to answer the same questions, over and Search engines will rank this keyword over, with your buyers? phrase much higher, since it’s what Potential downside? Be careful consumers are more likely to use. about sending overlapping Admittedly, the first 100 entries for a messages to many of the same new blog are daunting. But once you’ve HOW DO SOCIAL NETWORKS FIT IN? friends, colleagues and contacts built a solid collection of material on all on multiple services, which can Even though social networks play an the most important topics and questions, be perceived as annoying. Also, important role, I firmly believe that a blog it becomes much easier. And for each don’t forget that social networking is the most essential component of your question that a buyer raises, you can professional online presence. It’s the hub sites were originally developed as point them to specific posts that answer that sits in the middle, with other online two-way conversation platforms, that question in detail and with good communities acting like satellites orbiting not one-way broadcasts. Using back-up. around it. social media purely to push out This is how online conversations that messages, without any commitment Major social networks like Facebook, to engage with others, can seriously begin on social media networks can LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent for evolve into business opportunities. For harm your online reputation. expanding your connections. Each example, imagine chatting on Facebook platform has a different flavor. Once with someone in your local market who To learn more, go to you dabble in them, you’ll find some is interested in learning more about more appealing than others. Also, don’t whether they can take advantage of the overlook smaller online networks that extended and expanded homebuyer tax Continued on page 6 TBR • January 2010 5
  4. 4. Continued from page 5 may be directly connected to your local community—or consider launching one of your own. Ramp up the power If you do a really good job on your of Outlook e-mail with Xobni blog, you can use other networks to further leverage your online presence. For example, maybe you’ve decided to use Facebook primarily for posts and comments that are of a more personal Imagine that you received an e-mail from a prospective homebuyer. nature. That’s fine, as long as you’re Then imagine that alongside their message, you could also view a smart and sensible. small preview into their life. What if you could see their profile photo on But when you add a post to your Facebook, their current company and position via their LinkedIn profile, blog, you should also post about it on and other similar details? Facebook, sharing a link back to your blog. This is how you can use other social networks to help extend the reach Would this kind of information give you an immediate advantage in of your blog. Put another way, I look to terms of understanding a little more about who you are corresponding the social networks to syndicate the blog content I write. with and how you might be able to make a stronger connection with them? Would it also make it easier to link up with them via an online Even if you decide to concentrate on social network? one social network more than others, it’s important to establish a presence on all the big ones. Different buyers have Well, you don’t have to imagine it, because this is exactly the type of different communication preferences— intelligence you can gather—and much more—when you install Xobni including various social networks as well as phone, text and e-mail — so you (think Inbox, spelled backwards), an add-on program for Microsoft want to make sure you are accessible Outlook. The Xobni panel also displays phone numbers, a list of through all the major channels. Be other messages and attachments you’ve sent or received, and related flexible, so you can connect with your clients the way they want to connect. appointments—a real time-saver since you don’t have to navigate away And ask them about their preferences from your Inbox or go searching within it. from time to time. DON’T DELAY ANY LONGER There’s a free version of Xobni, or you can pay for It’s a new year. What better time to shed various software enhancements. some of your old outdated habits and start new ones? If you haven’t already Go to for details. shifted gears and stepped up your efforts to modify your marketing focus and priorities, there’s no time like the present. Things have changed. If you’re still doing the same things you’ve always done, this is probably the right time to consider rebooting your marketing strategies and exploring ways you can make a stronger connection with today’s buyers. Now is always a good time to learn something new. Re-invent yourself! 6 TBR • January 2010