Real Estate CRM Primer

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This fall we'll offer a new real estate CRM product with deep integration with iHomefinder IDX. Through this unique integration with our industry-leading IDX, you'll be well positioned to accelerate your performance and growth.

Why use a CRM system designed for real estate professionals?

While CRMs are typically used by larger teams, they're also well-suited for smaller teams and high-performing individual agents and brokers. To offer insight into some of the benefits you can expect, here's a short sampling of some key features that will be offered:

  • Track lead follow-ups
  • Schedule appointments and tasks
  • Consolidate leads from a variety of sources
  • Route leads to colleagues using rules you define
  • Manage team accountability
  • Project revenue by tracking your transaction pipeline
  • Place leads into predefined buyer & seller drip email campaigns

We will announce a release date for this new product this fall. To receive our latest news and updates, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter.

Property Search Features in Optima

Adding Property Search Features with OptimaOptima adds a wide range of property search options to your website to help buyers and sellers find properties quickly. This article provides a summary of the key property search features and customization options.

Add Property Search Pages

Add website pages containing Basic Search, Advanced Search, and Map Search options.

For WordPress Websites

Add IDX pages to a WordPress website: Learn how >

For Non-WordPress Websites

Add IDX pages to a non-WordPress website: Learn how >


Add Property Search Widgets

Offer additional search options within widget areas on your site.

For WordPress Websites

Quick Search widget: Learn how >

Address search and listing ID search widgets: Learn how >

For Non-WordPress Websites

Quick Search widget: Learn how >

Address Search and Listing ID search widgets: Learn how >


Add Markets

Display galleries of listings that match the criteria you choose, using basic or advanced search options. Select from locations already defined in your MLS or draw on a map to define locations.

MarketBoost provides additional market data that positions you as the local expert. Learn more about MarketBoost >

Accounts with MarketBoost

  • Create Markets in your account
  • Add your MarketBoost Markets to your site
  • Add email subscribers to your MarketBoost Markets

Learn how >

Accounts without MarketBoost

For WordPress Websites: Learn how >

For Non-WordPress Websites: Learn how >


Customize

Select which cities are available for search, set default price ranges, property type labels and more:

Learn how >

Set up the Location auto-fill option to recognize additional locations as users type in the Location field:

Learn how >


Add Community Pages and SEO City Links

Add links to listings in cities you choose (available for WordPress in Power and Broker plans).


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Try it free for 30 days.

Free Trial

Add IDX Search and Lead Capture to Your Website

iHomefinder - Adding Optima to Your Website Graphic - 20170807Optima transforms your website into a marketing machine with industry-leading features to attract new leads and convert them to clients. You can add Optima to WordPress or non-WordPress websites, such Wix, Squarespace and custom HTML sites.

Looking for a competitive edge? Make sure you include MarketBoost with your Optima account for hyper-local website content and automated email campaigns.

WordPress Websites

If your website runs on WordPress, all IDX pages provided in Optima reside directly on your domain and you don’t need to worry about applying HTML styling. Our clients love how Optima looks “out of the box” without requiring any styling or custom HTML.

Our Optima Express Setup Guide provides step-by-step instructions to get you up and running quickly with Optima Express on a WordPress website.

Non-WordPress Websites - Custom HTML, Wix, Squarespace

If your website is not on WordPress, check out our video below for a quick overview of the options for adding Optima.

Our Optima IDX Quick Start Guide provides step-by-step instructions to get you up and running quickly with Optima IDX on a non-WordPress website.


Don't Have Optima?

Try it free for 30 days.

Free Trial

14 Real Estate Promotion Ideas You Might Not Be Using

iHomefinder - 14 Real Estate Promotion Ideas You Might Not Be Using Blog Graphic - 20170724You’ve likely been to the conventions, listened to webinars and took a class or two on how to use social media to attract and retain clients, and distinguish yourself from other realtors.

The traditional tactics of mailing fliers, handing out business cards at networking events, staging open houses and posting listings online are not enough anymore.

Real estate agents need to be social media and internet savvy as well as personable. Buyers and sellers are spending more time online which means real estate agents need to mix tactics to reach new prospects. Here are 14 new and old-school real estate marketing ideas and tactics you can use to make yourself known and therefore get more leads:

  • Create blog posts that answer common client questions
  • Set up Local Community web and Facebook pages
  • Send hand written notes
  • Create infographics to share on social media
  • Include Virtual Reality tours throughout website and in blog posts
  • Sponsor local youth sports or community events
  • Use Snapchat to build an audience
  • Use Instagram Stories to market your listings
  • Call past clients
  • Pop-ins – drop a small gift off to a past or potential client
  • Use Facebook ads to market to specific prospective buyers
  • Optimize your website for local search by registering your business on Google My Business (don’t forget to also include reviews from past clients)
  • Hold client appreciation events
  • Attend community events to build brand awareness and relationships

Try out some of these tactics to see how they work for you, and check back on our blog often, for more tips!

Virtual Reality for Real Estate – What Can It Do for You?

iHomefinder - VR for Real Estate Blog Graphic - 20170720

What if you could introduce potential home buyers who live hundreds of miles away to some of your top properties without anyone physically travelling to the property?

What if you could literally help them visualize what the home would look like with all or a few of their own personal touches?

Virtual reality (VR) is gaining a lot of attention as a potentially powerful tool in the real estate industry, because it has the ability to help you to market your listings to a broader audience and convert more leads.

Is Virtual Reality Here to Stay?

A lot of technologies seem like “the next big thing,” but then they disappear and no one really talks about them anymore. (Remember when 3D TVs were all the rage?)

VR technology is getting a lot of attention right now, but it’s understandable that someone might be a little hesitant about it. It’s natural to wonder if this is really a technology that can help your real estate business, or if it’s just another passing trend.

Let’s take a look at recent history and see what that can tell us about the future of VR.

The dream of VR has been around for decades, but the technology for a usable implementation simply didn’t exist.

Over the years, there’s been a few attempts to push VR into the mainstream, but nothing really took off. Not until 2012, at least, when the Oculus Rift kicked off the current wave of VR enthusiasm.

Back in 2012, the Oculus company went to Kickstarter, where they raised $2.5 million for the Rift’s development. Apparently, bigger companies started seeing the potential in it, because two years later Facebook purchased Oculus for $2 billion.

No one invests that kind of money in something they believe is just a “fad.”

Since then, a number of other companies have jumped on the VR bandwagon, including Sony, HTC, and Samsung.

That’s at least four major products from four major companies out on the market.

It’s safe to say that this is a technology that has fully captured people’s imagination.

And that means there’s a great opportunity here to use VR to market your listings to an audience that isn’t limited by distance.

The Virtual Client Experience

Many of your potential clients simply don’t have the time to go from house to house, all the way across the city, trying to find the one place that meets their needs.

Now, you can give them an opportunity to explore every corner of these homes without ever leaving their living room.

Most home listings these days are accompanied by dozens of pictures that, in a way, take a person through the home. And “virtual tours” are something that many agencies have tried in the past.

But that wasn’t a “virtual reality experience.” It was a string of images connected together to allow a person to click direction buttons and “move” through the home. It was like a very localized version of “Google Street View.”

360-degree cameras have allowed even greater fluidity for these virtual tours, but as long as you’re clicking things on a computer screen, it’s hard to call it virtual reality.

A true VR experience is very different, and it’s something that you simply have to try for yourself to understand its true appeal.

The sensation of really being there is undeniable.

And so is the convenience of exploring multiple new homes from the convenience their own house.

Imagine the potential of showing potential clients from all over the country a beautiful home, as if they were actually walking the halls themselves. There’s some power there, but the potential goes even further.

Now imagine giving your clients the ability to change the colors, lighting, flooring, and furniture, and see the changes on the property in real time. How much easier would it be to nurture your leads when they can immediately see what the home will be like after they add a few personal touches?

The Potential for Marketing

This type of client experience opens up avenues for marketing that agents simply haven’t had access to before.

Consider a case where you are selling a larger home in the million-dollar range. This is likely the kind of home that will draw national – if not international – interest.

VR technology will allow an agent to show the home or property to these buyers, providing a full experience, allowing them to explore the home, without having to make plans to travel to the location and check things out in person.

 Not Just for Games

The VR experience is often associated with the gaming industry. It’s unavoidable, since this is often the flashiest way to show off a new technology.

But the utility of VR technology goes far beyond that, and it’s creating some great opportunities in the real estate world.

Your clients don’t even need a full, expensive VR headset to virtually explore your listings. In many cases, a real estate VR app and a smartphone with the VR viewing accessory is all they need to transport themselves into one of your amazing homes.

Making social connections in VR, guiding tours through a render of the home, and helping them visualize a property with a few important upgrades or changes could transform the way we look at marketing home listings.

How to Close More Real Estate Deals with Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger Blog Graphic

You may have a powerful tool for closing more real estate deals right at your fingertips – and you may not even realize it.

Facebook’s Messenger app is an extremely popular way for users to connect. In fact, in the first 6 months of 2016, it was downloaded nearly 60 million times. It even crossed the 1-billion-download mark more than a year ago.

In other words, that’s a lot of people with access to – and a willingness to use – a simple and intuitive messaging app.

And where there are people, there is an opportunity for you to connect with them.

Facebook certainly understands this concept, which is why they recently launched a new ad feature which is still creating great new opportunities for those in the real estate business to start generating and closing more leads.

What Is the New Ad Feature?

This new feature for Facebook ads lets you use Messenger as the click’s destination, rather than traditional website content.

Why connect your ads to Messenger? Because Messenger combines a lot of the benefits of email, text messages, and social media all at once. And this, in turn, gives you the chance to generate leads that are a little warmer or a little more likely to take the next step through the sales funnel.

How Does It Work?

Consider the follow scenario. You’re already using Facebook ads to build awareness for your company. You’ve had some success making contact with Facebook users who are just starting to think about buying or selling a home.

When the first see your ad, they’re very likely still sitting somewhat comfortably at the top of the sales funnel. It’s hard to call them a lead at this point, because even if they clicked your ad, they’ll make it to your website, but they won’t necessary go any further than browsing some images.

This is a standard part of the process. At this point, you’re just trying to grab their attention. Facebook ads are particularly good for this since they make it so easy to segment your audience.

Now, the question is how to take them further than that initial landing page. How can you encourage them to take the next step and become a real lead?

What if you could do more than send them to a static landing page from the ad? Landing pages can be very effective when they’re designed correctly, but it’s hard to address everyone’s concerns with a single page.

By sending your potential leads to Messenger, you can create a far more personal experience and create an opportunity to discover their individual needs and how you can help them.

How Effective Is This Strategy?

Incorporating Messenger with your ad campaign can be an effective lead generator because, once you’ve earned their attention with a quality Facebook ad, you can now deliver an experience that is much more personal.

Does a personalized experience really matter that much at this point in the sales funnel?

The simple answer is: yes. It’s critical at this point because the biggest differentiator between you and your competition is, well, you. How will you work with them? Do you have the kind of knowledge that they need? Are you personable and friendly?

These are all questions that can be answered through Messenger. And this will help keep you top-of-mind when they are ready to take the next step toward buying a home.

When you can speak directly to your potential leads, you can get an immediate feel for their needs and show how you can address them. Some studies have shown that, as a result, you can get even expect much better responses to your follow-up outreach.

Combining Targeting and Engagement

Facebook ads have always provided an unmatched ability to target very specific audiences. Now, with this new feature that allows you to connect those ads to Messenger, you can take the opportunity to engage with your potential leads.

This will also make it easier to focus on generating quality leads rather than spending too much time trying to sort through all those website visitors who aren’t quite ready to move through the sales funnel.

You have a powerful lead generation tool right at your fingertips. By combining the precision targeting of Facebook and personalized engagement that’s possible with Messenger, you can see a real difference in your results.

How to Get Started with Facebook

Are you ready to test these waters yourself? There are a few steps to getting started, but they are all relatively straightforward.

You start by creating your ad.

The next step is to select your audience, when and where to run your ad, and define your objective, budget, and format (Carousel, Single Image, Single Video or Slideshow.)

Once you’ve chosen the Page you want to connect and the campaign name, you will be able to choose Messenger as the ad’s destination. You will also be able to choose a welcome message, so they will automatically receive a warm welcome. (You can get full details on the process here.)

It isn’t hard to get started with Facebook ads and Messenger, and there’s a great opportunity here to reach your clients in a more personalized way. If you’re looking for a new way to expand your reach, this may be the solution for you.