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.

3 Winning Strategies for Real Estate Agents on Facebook

iHomefinder - 3 Winning Strategies for Real Estate Agents on Facebook Blog Image - 20170627Social media can help you grow your list of prospects and keep you top-of-mind until buyers and sellers are ready for a transaction. Here are some key strategies for Facebook that will help make your efforts more productive.

You can achieve some great results by using some of the best Facebook posting strategies to retain and grow your followers. Consider the following three strategies for Facebook:

1.Be creative – You can do more than just post listings

If you were not a real estate agent, and just about to buy or sell your first home, what would you like to see? Would you be satisfied with home listings? Deciding to buy or sell a home is a big step for many people, and their looking for design inspiration, industry news, home repair guides, and everything that gets them excited about buying or selling their home.

This means you can get creative in your posting. Share relevant articles about buying or decorating a home. Share some inspiring images and videos. You can establish your Facebook page as the home of valuable local real estate information.

2. Be informative, but don’t brag

You should post things on Facebook that show off your experience and knowledge, but you don’t want to make it look like you’re bragging about yourself. That’s not the kind of agent most new homebuyers want to work with.

It’s a fine line to walk, because agents often think they’re just being a good salesperson or trying to be excited about real estate. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to cross the line and create the wrong first impression.

The key is to humanize yourself. Ask questions and share relevant experiences while still maintaining a professional, knowledgeable tone. When you tell your honest story, your readers will start to feel like they know you and not just an agent.

Make no mistake, this kind of posting may take a little extra time and thought, but it significantly increases the chances that people will engage with you on your Facebook page.

3. Commit to posting often (at least 3-5 times a week)

Due to Facebook’s algorithms, there’s a chance your followers might not see everything you post. You can work to counter this by providing new and unique posts at least 3-5 times per week. Posting often will give your followers the chance to see relevant content, and increase their confidence that you’ve got your head in the game.

Buyers and sellers are on Facebook every day and they want to know their agent has joined the party.

These three strategies for posting to Facebook as a real estate agent can take some time and effort to get everything just right, but the potential benefits will be worth it. Your efforts can make you more visible on Facebook, and more people on your page will engage.

You will create a Facebook environment in which people will be more likely to “Like,” Comment, and Share. With this kind of engagement as a foundation, you can use your page to engage more people and turn a Facebook contact into a real lead.

Looking for more Facebook resources for REALTORS? Check out the Field Guide to Facebook for REALTORS® from the National Association of REALTORS®

iHomefinder - Online Review Infographic Guest Post Header Image - 20170607

How Online Reviews Can Either Make Or Break Your Business

Online reviews help us decide where/what to eat, what to watch, what to buy and what to sell. They have become an integral part of who we are as a consumers and business owners. They have a huge impact on how well businesses do or don’t do. They have become the go-to way to make decisions about places we have never been and with the seemingly endless amount of options we have as consumers nowadays, they are one of the only ways to narrow down our choices as consumers. The infographic below shows how consumers read and use online review sites in numbers.

iHomefinder - Online Review Infographic Guest Post - 20170607

Facts: 68% of millennials trust online reviews most, as opposed to 34% who trust television advertisement and on average they produce an uprise of 18% in sales. In addition, 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business which means these decisions being made are made quickly, without much hesitation.

Impact of reviews: Online reviews have a huge impact on both businesses and consumers. The impact can be positive or negative. For example, for every star a business gets in their rating, their sales revenue will increase from approximately 5-9%. At the same time, 22% of consumers will not purchase a product after reading just one negative review about it.

Impact of reviews by industry: The top five industries to be affected negatively by online reviews are: restaurants, hotels, doctor’s offices, hospitals and hair salons.

Fake reviews: A common misconception about online reviews is that they are all genuine reviews. This is simply not the case. Only 27% of consumers will trust an online review if they think it is authentic even though a whopping 30% of online reviews may be fake. In fact, New York regulators settled with 19 companies for $350,000 in total fines in a crackdown on fake reviews.

Travel, Health, Restaurants & Jobs: User reviews are used widely by travelers and 59% of consumers say that review sites have the most influence on their booking decisions. Another industry where online reviews are extremely present is the health industry. A whopping 84% of patients say that they use online reviews to evaluate doctors. In addition, restaurants are another industry where online reviews are highly prominent. 61% of consumers have read online reviews about restaurants. This is more than any other business. Lastly, when people are searching for a job, it has been found that 83% of these job seekers are likely to base their decision on where to apply on company reviews and 76% of professionals claim to research a company online before considering a job opportunity.

Best online review sites by industry: There are tons of online review sites in the internet world but they are not all created equal. The best online review site is also different depending on what is being reviewed. For jobs, Glassdoor is in the top spot. For tech, CNET Radio is best. For hotels and motels, Trip Advisor is your best bet. For movies, IMDB. For restaurants, Yelp is number one and for health, Zocdoc comes in first.

Case study analysis: Through some case study analysis we found out just why some of these websites are the best. We found that restaurants that boost their Yelp rating by one star can increase their revenues by 5% to 9%. Furthermore, 98% of consumers found that TripAdvisor hotel reviews accurately reflected their actual experience and 61% of Glassdoor users report that they week company reviews and rating before making a decision to apply for a job.

Influence of social media on online reviews: It has become quite apparent that social media now has a huge influence on consumers nowadays. In fact, 55% of consumers use Facebook as a place to learn more about brands and when retailers replied to negative reviews on social media and online ratings sites, a third of customers either deleted their original negative review or even replaced it with a positive review.

Zapier Beta Available

zapier

iHomefinder is currently in Beta on Zapier!

What is Zapier?
Zapier automatically moves information from one web app to another to make you more productive. More than 750 apps are currently supported and anyone can set it up without a developer.

What can I do with iHomefinder and Zapier?
With this Beta release, a new lead registration can be used as a trigger for an action you specify (a "Zap" in Zapier lingo) within another app of your choice.

Why would I want to use Zapier?
With the huge range of supported apps, we think you'll find ways to make you and your team more productive.

Here are some categories of apps that are particularly useful for real estate professionals:

CRM | View apps >
Email Newsletters | View apps >
Drip Emails | View apps >
Google | View apps >
Team Chat | View apps >

How to Get Started

Our Knowledge Base article provides the following information to get you started:

  • A link to get the beta iHomefinder Zapier app
  • Instructions for setting up the iHomefinder app to automatically pass information to the app of your choice

Get started >

We can't wait to see what you do with it!