Web forms as Lead Generators

March 31, 2008

mouse.jpgIn this month’s edition of Michael Russer’s ‘Ask Mr. Internet‘ column in the National Association of Realtor’s online magazine, he discusses how to generate leads from your web forms.

In fact, this is not the first time he has discussed the value of web forms in generating leads.

Back in August of 2007, he wrote an article entitled ‘Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse’, which offered techniques to get prospects to interact with your Web site by crafting appealing incentives that will set you apart from the competition.

To get consumers’ attention nowadays you need to step it up with an “irresistible offer” — the term I use for a special package, piece of information, document, or item that will be viewed as extremely valuable by your customers.

Examples of an irrestistable offer include:

  • Local real estate market report
  • Free home price evaluation (i.e. What’s my home worth?)
  • Neighborhood discount coupon book
  • First-time buyer teleseminar

This month, he offers three strategies to help get your web visitors to interact with you. 

The forms on your Web site shouldn’t be an intimidating barrier to having online consumers engage with you. Instead, make them your welcome mat, a friendly inviting threshold that will help turn casual visitors into serious clients.

Strategy 1: Tell them they don’t have to complete it.

Strategy 2: Reassure them of their privacy

Strategy 3: Give them visual cues to complete your form fields 

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Real Estate Boards Benefit from MLS Data Consolidation

March 26, 2008

inman.gifAnne St. Dennis, manager of industry relations, communications and public affairs for the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board, was recently interviewed on InmanTV.

During the interview, Anne provides insight into how real estate boards can benefit by working together to consolidate their MLS systems.

She discusses her experience in consolidating data standards in the province of Quebec, leading to improved services among board members.

In reference to mls.ca, she dispels the myth that Canada has a national MLS, describing the website as a property marketing and consumer search site.

A true MLS is one which is used for use solely for real estate board members (i.e. brokers and sales reps).

Services of an MLS include tools that help real estate agents, such as:

  • Advanced search tools for researching sales history
  • Statistical reporting
  • Agent website solutions
  • Personalized hotsheets
  • E-mail functions for sending CMAs, online reports and presentations
  • Other customizable reports 

Century 21 reaches out to Consumers with Web 2.0

March 19, 2008

c21.jpgWith many real estate agencies stuck in the Internet dark ages, it is refreshing to see how companies like Century 21 have enhanced their web presence with consumer-friendly initiatives.

Take Century21.ca, for example. Their website was recently recognized by Joel Burslem, founder of Future of Real Estate Marketing, as one of his favorite real estate search experiences on line today.

It includes a blog and an awesome new Google map search functionality, which displays the locations of their listings. 

Meanwhile, Century21.com just launched its own YouTube channel. Aimed at sellers, buyers and enthusiasts, the Channel will provide the opportunity for customers and agents to create and submit user-generated content. 

“The CENTURY 21 System understands that in order to serve our clients and meet the demands of today’s market, we must lead the industry with the most current home buying and selling platforms,” said Robert Schwartz , vice president of national marketing for Century 21 Real Estate LLC. “During the next year we will continue to build on this momentum with additional Web-based innovations to help our agents and our clients navigate the world of real estate in a digital era.”

At Base10, we promote the use of web 2.0 and thats why we have an integrated set of features in our UniqueHomeSites.com product, which allow Canadian real estate professionals to better serve consumers through compelling web content.


Facebook Marketing for Real Estate Professionals

March 13, 2008

facebook.gifJoel Burslem, on his the Future of Real Estate Marketing blog, recently describes how Facebook does not allow real estate professionals to post their listings on its free marketplace.

However, Facebook does permit the display of listings on their pay-per-click Social Ad network.

Social ads are basically small advertisments that are visible to users as they browse Facebook to connect with their friends.

Each ad consists of a small photo, a brief text, and a hyperlink to more details – ideal for a property listing!

The good thing about a Social Ad is that you specify how much you want to pay when people click on your ad.

It also allows you to target Facebook users by age, gender, location, and interests, which means your ad will only be displayed to those most likely interested in what you are selling.

You could even try targetting your selling clients’ social network so that they (or their friends) will see their home on Facebook! 

With Facebook, you can also build a customized ‘Page’ for your business, where you can post photos, video, announcements, etc..

Benjamin Bach, a commentator from Kichener-Waterloo on the agentgenius.com blog, provides some advice to real estate professionals on how to enhance their social networks and generate more leads via Facebook.

He suggests building a profile with your target client or market in mind and warns of the negative impact a bad profile can have in today’s information age.

Bach explains, “There is one Broker / Manager of a real estate company here who currently has this up on his profile: “Dieter is a High School Stoner.””

Dieter could be the best agent in town, but would you really want to list with him if this was all you knew about him?
 


Real Estate Agencies in Canada Need a Competitive Edge in 2008

March 10, 2008

key.jpgIn a recent poll conducted by Royal Bank of Canada, home buying intentions among Canadian consumers have slipped to their lowest level in years, as reported on GlobeandMail.com.

Across Canada, home buying intentions slipped by 5 percentage points year over year to 23 per cent, according to the Ipsos Reid poll. The number of respondents who said they were “very likely” to buy dropped from 9 per cent last year to 7 per cent in 2008, the lowest level since the poll was started 15 years ago.

When asked how likely they are to purchase a home within the next two years, here is how Canadian’s responded:

Very likely: 7%

Somewhat likely: 16%

Not very likely: 28%

Not likely at all: 49%

Total vote: 3,022

With fewer home buyers, sales representatives will not only have greater difficulties in selling their existing listings in 2008, but there will also be greater competition among agents for new listings as people stay put in their homes.

At Base 10 Web Solutions, we offer real estate sales representative in Canada a ‘unique’ way to stay competitive with our single property website solution – www.UniqueHomeSites.com. Our web-based site building wizard simplifies the process of building a professional-looking website within minutes.

Not only do single property websites tell clients that selling their home is a priority, they are packed with useful information for consumers, including photos, video, maps, a school locator, neighbourhood demographics, as well as an easy-to-remember domain name.    


Realtor Magazine Cover Story Discusses Blogs and Web 2.0

March 3, 2008

web20.gifThe latest issue of Realtor magazine features a cover story attempting to clear the air about how real estate professionals can market themselves on the Internet by leveraging web 2.0 technologies.

In a nutshell, web 2.0 refers to the latest trends appearing on the Internet, including blogs, social networking sites (i.e. Facebook), and other web services such as YouTube.com and Google mapping.

By embracing web 2.0 (in particular blogging), real estate professionals can establish a powerful web identity that allows them to appear more prominently in web search results, thereby attracting more potential clients to their services.

The Realtor Magazine article points to Theresa Boardman, a real estate professional in St. Paul, Minnesota, as a blogging success story.    

Looking for a way to increase her online visibility, Boardman turned to a tactic then still relatively unknown to real estate professionals. She started her own blog, a Web-based daily chat with her customers, potential customers, and anyone else interested in hearing about real estate in her St. Paul, Minn., market area. “At the time, I couldn’t find any examples to follow,” she recalls.

Today, her StPaulRealEstateBlog.com site pops up first on a list of Google finds when you search for “St. Paul real estate.” She’s getting between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors a week to her blog, and that’s translated into new business.

At Base 10, we have been able attract a huge number of visitors to our blog, simply by posting content that we believe is relevant to our single property website clients. Not only does this make our existing clients happy, it has also generated new business for us.

As a real estate professional, imagine you  created a blog discussing local market conditions, neighbourhood news, or other items that give you credibility as an expert in your selling area.

Now, if you are thinking “I wouldn’t know what to write about on a blog”, then check out this great post from the Real Estate Tomato blog, which puts things into context by drawing comparisons with other industries.

They also have a series of other relevant posts to help get you started with a real estate blog, such as:

9 Examples Of How Blogging Will Have You Overcoming Real Estate Objections
The Secret To Developing Real Estate Blog Content
How Often Should I Blog?
Who Are You Blogging For?
Giving Away Trade Secrets?
Of Blogs and Bricks