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Top Real Estate Marketing Trends for 2020

 

In this ever-changing digital marketing landscape, marketing professionals recognize that online marketing will continue to be one of the most important channels for your overall marketing strategy moving into 2020.

With all of the advancements in video, live streaming, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, messenger bots, etc., online marketing continues to be one of the most prominent tools when it comes to marketing your business.

However, several things have changed in the past year. Social media algorithms continue to dominate the conversation with users seeing a massive decline in overall engagement, reach and followers on their brand and business pages. Instagram rolled out beta testing on “hiding likes” in the U.S. – which means users who are part of the test will no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos in the feed and on profile pages. However, they will still be able to see how many likes their own posts received.

Facebook rolled out their “Special Ad Category” which requires all U.S.-based housing, employment and credit advertisers to select the “Special Ad Category” option in Ads Manager when creating ads. This feature now restricts several ad targeting options — removing the ability to target ads by age, gender, zip code, multicultural affinity or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics — to prevent advertisers from running discriminatory ad campaigns.

In addition, we’ve seen a shift in consumer behavior. Over the last five to seven years, the average consumer needed 16 touch points before pulling the trigger and making a purchase.  Today, it is estimated that the number of touch points for that same consumer has increased to 33.

So, with the constant changes, increased competition, and consumers needing ever-increasing points of contact before saying yes, it is more important than ever to remain ahead of the game in terms of your digital marketing strategy.

What does all of this mean for Realtors? We’ve put together a list of the top five real estate marketing trends we see as being key for real estate agents in 2020.

  1. Streaming Video Ad Engagement

Video was a digital marketing must in 2019 and that trend will continue to increase in 2020. Marketers report that more than 74% of U.S. consumers 13 years of age and older watch streaming or online video weekly with 41% watching daily. What’s even more staggering is that of that 74%, close to 80% will watch online ads in exchange for free content. From listing videos to video testimonials and live streaming open houses via Facebook/Instagram Stories and IGTV, video marketing is not going away and should remain at the top of your to-do list in 2020.

  1. Chat Marketing: Messenger Bots

Chat Marketing is dramatically changing the way businesses acquire, retain, and service their customers. We saw massive growth in chat marketing in 2019 with real estate agents using messenger bots as one of their initial touch points to prospective clients, as well as immediate follow up to those searching for more information about a particular listing. With the rise in popularity of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram’s Direct Message platform, we recommend real estate agents look for a CRM solution that can utilize, store, and segment various interactions through these messaging apps.

  1. Social Media Stories Are Here to Stay

If you’re looking to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website or landing pages, reach new audiences or initiate higher engagement with your followers, then Facebook and Instagram stories is a must for your overall marketing strategy in 2020.

It is estimated that there are more than 300 million accounts using stories on a daily basis so it’s important to develop a solid strategy that focuses on current, relevant content and immediate feedback from clients. Posting live during an open house or showing unique behind-the-scenes footage can encourage more people to attend. Use polls or the countdown feature to build anticipation for an upcoming listing or development project. When using stories to promote an open house or new listing, we recommend you show your face so that audiences have the opportunity to get to know you.

Lastly, be sure to incorporate the location stickers and three relevant hashtags to help your content get discovered locally.

  1. Your Email Marketing

With an increased focus on privacy, you may have noticed a significant decline in your campaign’s open and click through rates this year. You are not alone. Despite these current stats, email is still an incredibly effective tool in real estate to remain top-of-mind amongst your clients, nurture prospective leads through the sales cycle, drive traffic to your website, and deliver timely, relevant market data or blog content.

Our recommendation for 2020 is to ensure your audience lists are up to date and that your campaigns are mobile friendly. Also, make sure you are personalizing your email content based on data from website visits, click-through history, and email preferences. Finally, remember that the quality of your email marketing campaigns always trump quantity. Do not spam your audience as this is not an effective strategy to convert or maintain existing clients.

I hope you found this information helpful. By turning these trends into action, I am sure your real estate business with thrive in 2020. If you have further questions, or need assistance with developing your marketing strategy, please email us at hello@onyx-communications.com. Good luck in the new year!

Original post written by Carole Gurule, Onyx Communications

End of the Year Goal Planning

 

As the end of year approaches, many begin looking to define their next year’s goals. Recent studies show that about 3% of adults have clearly written goals and accomplish 5 to 10 times more than those who do not. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction, it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding. As someone who has been actively business planning for 10+ years, I can personally attest to the power of the physical act of writing down a goal. It helps clarify the things you truly want to accomplish; and by writing it down, you no longer have an excuse to forget about it.

We reached out to a few West Valley agents to get their take on this subject, but most do not participate in goal planning. Those that do say it’s propelled their business to new levels and can’t imagine not using it. Below is what Karen and Mike Baron from Infinity and Associates shared with us, followed by my personal goal planning steps.

‘Goal planning has always been a part of our business model. We do goal planning throughout the year, on a monthly basis, and have five year and long-term goals that we aim for. We use a white board to look at different scenarios. Before starting real estate, we read “The Millionaire Next Door” and have based part of our finance and goal planning strategy on that. Use a day planner and actually write everything down on paper! Review it weekly and train your brain to say it to yourself out loud. Have lists and check items off, and even if you don’t do something because you decided it wasn’t necessary, at least you didn’t forget about it.  We started using the Panda Planner for tasks and goals and it helps us to understand life balance.

Now here is what I do for year-end goal planning. First things first, to accomplish your goals, you need to know how to set them. I’m sharing three steps that will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.

 

Step 1: Set Your Goals

Identify clear, concise and SMART goals that motivate and excite you – SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. In more specific terms, your goals should be clear and well defined, include precise figures and dates, are possible to achieve, are aligned with the direction you want your personal and professional life to take, must include a deadline and, last but not least, must be written down so that they inspire you to take action.

 

Step 2: Create a Business Action Plan

Now that you’ve identified and written down your goals, it’s time to put a plan in place to achieve them. To get yourself into the business planning mindset, start by conducting a review of your current or previous year. Some great questions to ask yourself: What did I accomplish? What are some roadblocks or challenges that got in my way? What opportunities did I miss? What did I learn? It is important to review what worked last year and to know your basic numbers (i.e. average days on market, listing to sale ratios) before you begin planning for the year ahead. Once you know your stats, begin writing down the individual tasks you need to carry out to achieve your objective, and in the order you need to complete them. Keep this list close by so that you can easily mark off tasks as you complete them.

 

Step 3: Track & Measure Your Results

How do you know if what you’re doing is yielding positive results? Using a suitable tracking system – whether that be a simple tracking form or a CRM platform to record your results – will allow you to track your progress and make necessary corrections throughout the year.

 

I hope you found these points helpful. By following these three steps, I’m confident you can set goals with certainty and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.  If you’d like a copy of the forms I use for my personal and business goal setting, please email me at matt.askland@cardinalfinancial.com and I’ll be happy to share them with you. Good luck!

 

 

Helping Your Clients Build Their Wealth

 

If you’ve seen one home valuation tool, you’ve seen them all, right? At least that’s what I thought until I recently came across a new asset management tool that not only provides home valuations, but also provides detailed wealth management tips and statistics that my clients have found invaluable. Moreover, this tool has helped to build and strengthen my database by keeping my clients engaged and better informed.

Introducing Homebot
Homebot is a true home valuation and wealth management game changer. With this unique automated tool, you can build lasting relationships with your clients as their go-to expert, maximize your new purchase clients, and drive repeat and referral business.

How does Homebot work and how is it different?
Firstly, it is a free revolutionary home valuation tool that delivers a monthly digest to your clients that contains their personal financial data, as well as provides actionable home wealth information. From personalized calculations to help your clients save money and pay off their loan earlier; to customized refinancing scenarios and real-time savings; to advanced market rental data and monthly cash flow calculations for potential vacation home rentals. The options are endless and the feedback we’ve received from our clients currently using Homebot have been tremendous.

Evidence of Success
Just this past month, we successfully helped two families pull cash out of their homes to make improvements. This was a direct result of the loan-to-value calculations they received via Homebot in their monthly digest. No matter what your client’s needs are, this tool will help them effectively manage their most important investment.

While Homebot continuously works behind the scenes to create current data for your clients, it’s even more powerful when you use your client list to gain insights into their interest rates, estimated equity, and purchasing power. The customized market analysis that your client receives is not like anything you’ve seen – it offers detailed information about how to use their equity position to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. In addition, with Homebot’s timeline-style activity feed, you can get to know which of your clients are most engaged in their Homebot digest with behavioral insights.

You can also use HomeBot as an engagement tool by importing your prospect list, giving valuable insights to renters and first-time home buyer prospects. Take this tool a step further and place the HomeBot form/widget directly onto your website to capture new leads from prospects who are curious about their home value, rental potential or market conditions. When a person fills out this form, they will see their own home report and the lead is automatically added to your HomeBot database.

What Agents are saying about Homebot
Below are a couple of reviews from local Valley agents that are using HomeBot and the success they’re seeing within their sphere:

“I’ve tried handfuls of automated home value tools over the years and they all have downfalls, but what I love about Homebot is that it is a tool that doesn’t just give home values. It actually shows my clients why the value matters and what can be done with the equity. I’m passionate about helping my clients build wealth and generational wealth through real estate, and this is the first tool that seems to supply that guidance to the average homeowner.”  -Ben Graham, Graham Group, Revelation Real Estate

“Looking for a great way to stay in touch with your clients and keep them up to date on the home values and choices they have? HomeBot is one of the key touchpoints I use for my clients. Homebot allows them to view at-a-glance, where they are with their equity and refinance options, and ultimately helps their lender and I work together on a financial plan to get them where they want to go.” -Beth Cooke, Keller Williams Sonoran Living

How much does Homebot cost?
It’s actually quite reasonable, especially if you partner with your preferred lender. If you’re an agent and don’t have a preferred lender that offers Homebot, give me a call and we’ll be happy to assist. If you’re a lender reading this, we highly recommend taking advantage of this incredible tool. To learn more about Homebot, feel free to visit their website at https://homebot.ai/.

 

 

 

How Can I Effectively Market Myself Online as a Realtor?

Guest Post By: Carole Gurule, Onyx Communications

Here’s the thing: 2017 wasn’t just a big year for Arizona real estate. It was also a big year for online marketing – meaning, a lot has changed in recent months. Facebook’s Newsfeed got a complete revamp, Instagram quietly rebooted its algorithm to kick spammers to the curb and Twitter, well, let’s just say…they’re on major bot patrol.

Not surprisingly, we’re getting a ton of questions from our mortgage and real estate clients about how they can remain relevant and ahead of the curve with their online marketing strategies. The most important thing we can tell you is this – right now, it’s all about a return to the essentials.

Here’s what you need to know.

When it comes to social media, we truly believe the basics are best.

No matter what anyone tells you, remember this: You really don’t need to be on every single social media platform. In fact, we advise against it. We’ll spare you the full geeky details, but social media these days really is all about quality over quantity. Top platforms like Instagram and Facebook are even rewarding profiles with active and engaged communities over those with just sky-high follower numbers. To do social media “right” as a Realtor, you need to be authentic and consistent.

Not sure where to start? First, identify one or two channels that make the most sense for your brand and audience. Instagram is great for eye-catching homes and visuals while Facebook is the channel-of-choice for longer-form content. LinkedIn should be a part of your strategy if you’re looking to increase business from industry peers or related professional networks.

No matter which channel you choose, be a true resource for your community. That can include past and current clients, future homebuyers and even other real estate experts.

Congratulations, you are now a storyteller.

Nobody, I repeat, nobody follows a Realtor on social media just so they can be sold to all of the time. Or, if they do, then they’ll follow you just until their home is bought or sold and then they’ll drop off the digital planet. To keep people engaged longterm, your social media should focus more on storytelling.

Google, Facebook and Instagram even favor websites and accounts that are creating unique and quality content. Your social media, blog posts and even online advertising should connect potential clients to the heart of what you do and who you are – to the human aspect of what you do.

Allow your audience to get to know you before you serve up a sales pitch. Mix in some raw and relatable content – your recent professional wins and struggles or some behind-the-scenes glimpses into #realtorlife – along with free resources that will make their home-buying or -selling process easier.

Give them plenty of reasons to come back to your social media profile or website before, during and even after working with you. This way, you’re nurturing a long-term relationship, increasing the chances that they’ll reach out the next time they need a Realtor or, better yet, recommend you to their friends and family.

We can’t say this enough – it’s time you got ready for your close-up.

Did you know? Homebuyers are 600 times more likely to click on a video in an MLS listing than they are to click on a photo. Think what a smart video marketing strategy can do for your sales goals! Now, we recognize that professional listing videos can be an expensive investment so that’s why we recommend a two-pronged strategy.

Use Facebook Live video to give a quick and interactive glimpse into a new listing. Give followers a heads-up that you’ll be going live on a certain day and time by publishing the information alongside a gorgeous professional photo or virtual tour of the home. Encourage them to tune into the live Facebook tour with questions or requests of which features to highlight in your video. Once the live recording is finished, pay to boost the post on Facebook in order to expand your reach.

If you’re going to invest in professionally-produced video, we also recommend doing a biopic – essentially, a story-like promotional video of your brand. Post this video in a prominent location of your website, do a blog post around it in order to boost SEO and publish it on your social media channels. If you’re publishing to Facebook, this is another case where you’ll want to relegate a bit of advertising dollars to promote to a wider, targeted audience.

Studies show that 92 percent of consumers looking to buy or rent a home start their search online. With a strategic approach, consistent message and thoughtful consideration of the buyer and seller needs, online marketing is an essential tool to growing your brand and expanding your client base.


Carole Gurule is the founder of Onyx Communications, a consulting agency specializing in marketing for the real estate, hospitality and lifestyle industries. Follow Onyx Communications on Instagram and Facebook.