Virtual Results Blog

Getting the consumer to act on your website!

By Colleen Kulikowski on January 24, 2014

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

Improving your Conversion

On your website, there needs to be a variety of  Calls to Action to get home buyers, sellers and investors to call, click, or self-identify or just to look at properties.   There are several types of Calls to Action you can have on your site.  Big or small, they play a huge part of the conversion on your website from viewer to prospect to client.  However, as client interaction isn’t an exact science, you may need to experiment until you get it just right. Here are a few of the most popular types of Calls To Action

Text

The simplest way to call the reader to action is via the text you use.  These calls to action are simple.   They are a sentence in your text asking the reader to call you for more information.  For example:  Call “Your Name” for more information at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

Links

Links can be considered Calls to Action, as they entice the reader to click to do something.   Much like we discussed in our how to make your posts sticky, these links direct consumers to read more.   Keeping them on your website longer and creating the raving fans you desire!

Buttons/Graphics

Your Virtual Results site has many buttons or graphics that call the reader to action.  Buttons have a higher conversion rate than text or links if they are done right (bright colors, attention grabbing phrases, etc).   They do not have to be sexy, they just have to provide a compelling reason for the consumer to click on them.

Besides the buttons on your website, you might like to try a call to action on a page directed at home sellers like this:

calltoactionIt is simple, direct and when I use it, site visitors click on it to get more information about selling their home.  I even get phone calls as a result.   One important thing to remember when creating Calls to Action: Expectation is Everything. Make sure your call to action links to a page that contains the content they expected to see based on the wording of the Call to Action.

Can there be too much on a page?

Like most things in life, there can be too much of a good thing.  Consumers can be overloaded with too many choices.  You will want to make sure you utilize your Calls to Action strategically.   A busy page will have a negative effect on the consumer.   Consumers are more comfortable making a decisions with limited choices. It doesn’t hurt if you experiment with a Call to Action on your website.   Like all things with your site,  you will discover what works through trial and error. You may need more try different styles, phrases and locations before you find the one that works for your site.

This post comes from one of our members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group.   Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

 

 

Make Your Posts Sticky to Retain Website Visitors

By Colleen Kulikowski on July 26, 2013

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

shutterstock_102628259Sticky Posts Means People Stay on Your Website Longer

By Colleen Kulikowski

You have some content on your site and you are not seeing a lot of traffic, and little conversion on your contact forms.   You can’t figure out why you do not have more traffic and leads.   Well it is simple, you need to make your blog posts sticky.   Regularly, I have agents ask my why I get so many registrations on my website and how I make my phone ring.   The answer lies in my sticky posts that keep people reading and building a confidence in my abilities as a Realtor.

“Sticky?” you ask, what does that have to do with more leads?   It has everything to do with getting your site more visitors and over time more leads.  This is an investment in the future!

It All Begins with the Post

Making a post sticky is really simple process.   You start with a well written post.   Something that a consumer wants to read is timely and is not overly contrived with SEO tricks.   I find that always having something for them to click makes a post very successful on a site.   Don’t forget to add a group of listings that relate to the article in some way, even is a group of properties that you like.    You probably are doing these things, but what really makes a difference on your site is links — both Internal and External.   Links are the simple to create, and done well will serve you well over time.

Internal vs External Links

insert_link

There are two types of links you will place in a blog post — internal and external.   They are both created the same way and the difference is as easy as their description.  Internal links are links that you link in your website.   External links to a site other than yours.  To create a link, select the text you wish to place a link, select the link button and insert the link.

A post that has 250-300 words should have 3 internal and 2 external links.     A good rule of thumb, the first link should link to another post or page on your website and then alternate between the internal and external links.

Why you ask?   Well consumers can’t resist clicking on those links and the search engines like to see that you recognize good content and that you have additional content on the subject you are discussing.   As a result, you want to have them stay on your site and relevant links will do that.   Don’t just place any link in, make sure it is relevant to what you are writing about.

Is It Too Late To Add Links?

I can hear the questions that you are thinking, you have an existing blog with 20, 30 or more posts.   Did I miss out when I didn’t put the links into my posts?   It is never to late to go back and update your posts.   I regularly look back at posts and add links, then bring it forward when I am looking for some new content to share on my site because I am too busy working with clients at the moment.   As you build content, there will be times you will think back to previous content.   That is a good thing, your Blog is ever evolving and will grow as you do.

This post comes from one of our members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group.   Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

 

Three Types of Posts You Need on Your Real Estate Website

By Colleen Kulikowski on July 07, 2013

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

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Here Are Three Types of Posts That You Should Write

By Colleen Kulikowski

Right now, I have over 2,000 blog posts over several of my websites.   Recently, I shared the foundation of those sites is is my Market Reports.   I find that at times it is helpful to have a great variety of posts on your site.   This time of year you have a lot going on and some great topics can be timely for many buyers.

Answer Those Questions

In many areas, parents are looking for homes now because the school year is ending and they want to be moved and settled by the time the school year starts in the fall.   You also have parents looking to purchase a home or condo for a college bound student and parents faced with an empty nest thinking about down sizing.

Families come in all shape and sizes, and they all need information on buying and selling homes.  They are first time home buyers, move-up buyers, down sizing, they may be relocating or investing.   They have lots of questions, these questions are a wealth of topics for you to write about on your site.

Use Thought Provoking Titles

Title a post in the form of a question and in the post answer that specific question.   Great questions include:

  • Should I stay in my current home or move up?
  • Are there any grants for my community?
  • How can I help my parents stay in their home as they age?
  • How can I reduce the anxiety of our move on our kids?
  • Should I purchase a condo/home or have my child go into the dorms?
  • What are the pros/cons to purchasing a condo for my college bound student?
  • What should I know about buying a home while selling my current home?
  • How safe is that neighborhood?  –Now before you have a heart attack about Fair Housing, I have a post titled that and in it I share every resource that they can research that question along with an explanation why I cannot answer that question.

A great source for these questions, are the Q&A on Trulia.com or Zillow.com’s Advice tabs.    I like to answer the questions on Trulia, because I can place a link to my answer on MY website.   If there is one consumer asking the question, you know that it is possible that they are starting to ask that question at Google.   And a post that it titled in the form of a question is more likely to rank when someone wants to know about the topic.   But be warned!   If you write about it – they will come.   Even after reworking a post that answered a question about Rent to Own, I get at least 2-3 phone calls from people that want to Rent to Own and are frustrated.   I can’t help them.   So learn from my experience.

Financing Topics

Another great series of topics that you should have on your site are focused on financing.   Consumers are confused and need help understanding the complexities of financing their home purchases.   But don’t forget to cover the following topics:

  • Types of Loans – Conventional, FHA, VA etc.
  • Credit Scores
  • What you need to bring to your mortgage professional
  • Alternative financing options
  • Grant programs available to your community

Investors and Commercial Real Estate

The last area you should consider writing about is what Investors are looking for.   But be warned, you may not want to work with Investors.   Especially those that just watched an infomercial where they can purchase homes for $10,000 and have them cash flow $900 a month.     Although, you may want to work with parent investors, looking to purchase a multi-family home for their child to live in while they are going to college.   You may want to write to the small mom and pop shops that may be looking for a new location.

Don’t forget to place a search in the bottom of each post you write!

This post comes from one of our members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

Penguin 2.0 and the Misconception of what it does…

By Jim Marks on May 24, 2013

PenguinPenguin 2.0 #4 is live! and there seems to be a misconception on what that means. As you know, Penguin was Googles filter overlay to reduce the positive impact SEOs were getting from spammy, paid or low quality links.
Matt Cutts, the GOATSEO (God of all things SEO) created a video stating that Penguin 2.0 will be “more comprehensive,” and that this version of Penguin “goes deeper” and will have “more of an impact” than Penguin 1.0.
However, what I am reading is that “goes deeper” means that Penguin 1.0 only impacted the home page of a web site. That is simply not true. For those that had the unfortunate experience of being effected… the whole site was compromised…not just the home page.
I am certain that when Matt said “deeper” Matt meant that Google will crawl deeper into their OWN index. They will look much closer at the link quality of all links and apply new rules to what is a spammy or purchased link and what is a quality link. Matt commented that they are working on ways to ensure that paid links are do not pass page rank.
I am certain that this will be talked about in detail over the next few weeks as we see the effects of Penguin. My guess is that MOST legit SEOs cleaned up their sites before, during and after Penguin 1.0.

Driving Traffic to your website with Market Reports

By Colleen Kulikowski on May 14, 2013

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address. 

 

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Why I love Real Estate Market Reports

 

By Colleen Kulikowski

With a little planning you can drive significant traffic to your website.   Today, Market Reports are the backbone of my website.

Not sure where to start? I have been in your shoes wondering, “where am I going to start to build content for my site?” I get it!  It can be overwhelming to create effective posts.   You want a great real estate resource for potential home buyers and sellers. The good news is that good content doesn’t have to be complicated!

In July of 2006 I wrote my first post.   I labored for days on what I was going to first write about.  Once I decided on Market Reports, it took me a couple of hours to create a simple market report.   Today I maintain more than 80 market reports and each one takes me less than 5 minutes to update.

These market reports are some of the most popular posts on my site and they can be on yours too!  A small investment in time on your part can pay you big dividends in the future.

Market reports are simple to create and update.   Run some stats off of your MLS and publish.   Just remember to give credit and use a disclaimer if required.

To get you started, here is the format I use (see the live report here). Feel free to use it as a template.

The Real Estate Market Report Example starts below: 

 

Current Conditions – North Buffalo – Multi-family Conditions

May 12, 2013

  • There are 21 active listings with an average list price of $140,020 ranging from $59,900 to $289,900
  • There are 31 pending/under contract sales and in the past 30 days there has been 9 closed sales with an average sold price of $135,106 spending an average of 21 days on the market
  • Year to date there has been 30 closed sales with an average sold price of $127,958 spending an average of 36 days on the market
  • In 2012 there were 93 closed sales with an average sold price of $120,308 spending an average of 28 days on the market

Selection of Homes for Sale

2013-05-14_1017

(Insert a photo or IDX script here that links to you the homes in your area. An example is above)

Past Market Conditions 

 

March 19, 2013

  • There are 15 active listings with an average list price of $127,445 ranging from $55,000 to $179,900
  • There are 26 pending/under contract sales and in the past 30 days there has been 2 closed sales with an average sold price of $99,500 spending an average of 14 days on the market
  • Year to date there has been 15 closed sales with an average sold price of $167,653 spending an average of 37 days on the market
  • In 2012 there were 93 closed sales with an average sold price of $120,308 spending an average of 28 days on the market

February 20, 2013

  • There are 10 active listings with an average list price of $147,387 ranging from $64,900 to $229,900
  • There are 26 pending/under contract sales and in the past 30 days there has been 5 closed sales with an average sold price of $161,480 spending an average of 51 days on the market
  • Year to date there has been 12 closed sales with an average sold price of $119,748 spending an average of 36 days on the market
  • In 2012 there were 93 closed sales with an average sold price of $120,308 spending an average of 28 days on the market

For more information call YOUR NAME HERE

(888)-Your-Phone 

*Add any required disclaimers!  

The Real Estate Market Report Example ends here.  

 

Don’t be afraid to come up with your own market reports.  My report above may not work for you.   Just remember it should be easy to compile the details so you are not spending hours producing the report.   You may run reports at the zip code level, price level, county, or subdivision.  You may write one for the City, and have other market reports for the city by price point.    You may choose to report sales by number of bedrooms, or the square footage.   There is no right or wrong choice, just be consistent in your reporting.

Market reports over time build credibility for you that you know what is going on in the market.  On the upside, you actually know what is going on in the market and can see trends as they happen.   Often because I am looking closely at the numbers, I can speak naturally about what is going on in the market.  I also use these stats in a community mailer that I do into specific neighborhoods.  These reports have a specific URL that I point directly to the online version of the Market Report.

Google likes the market reports because they are updated on a regular basis and are modified on a regular basis.   By placing IDX search scripts or links on these reports you give dynamic and relevant content to Google and users!

Wondering if you should try to create a market report? What do you have to lose?   Get started with Market Reports today and build not only content for your site, but knowledge to help you with your business.   It sounds like a win/win for you!

 

This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address. 

Editor’s note: Popularity of this post inspired Virtual Results to host a Webinar on the same topic. We’ll post the video below when it becomes available. But the best news is that several members took action and posted their own local market reports – some for the first time! Member examples include Janis Borgueta’s Town of Newburgh NY Real Estate Market Report and Angela Morsa’s Current Market Conditions for Blue Bell 19422 - great work everyone!

 

 

 

Jim Marks Named As Leading RE Conference Speaker

By Blogger on January 31, 2013

Jim Marks Speaker Real EstateLeading RE will be hosting its conference February 24-28th and we are excited to announce that our very own Internet Marketing Authority, Jim Marks will be the Social Media and Inbound Marketing speaker at their event!

Preparing for the more than 1,500 real estate professionals expected to attend the conference is not something Marks takes lightly, knowing that the his insight into technology and consumer habits is critical to real estate agents, whether they be individual agents, brokers or relocation specialists.

Jim Marks seeks to drive traffic and conversion to real estate professionals by inspiring them with techniques based on proven research gained from millions of clicks and strategies that will cause their clients to engage, call, click, interact, and subscribe.

Jim firmly believes that, “Agents don’t just need more tools, they need knowledge and a road map to success.” In his speaking, Jim’s goal is to get attendees to be “inspired and to leave with that grand ‘Aha!’ moment that will cause change in the way they run their real estate business and really, their lives.”

Jim Marks will be speaking alongside industry greats and conference keynote speakers who include Pulitzer Prize columnist and author Dave Barry, television personality and author Joan Lunden and Shawn Achor, author of the international bestseller, “The Happiness Advantage.”

We hope you enjoy his fun, no-nonsense approach and solid takeaways. Come back after the conference and share with us what you learned either in the comment section or by contacting Virtual Results directly. We’d love to hear what you think!

Wired For Success #1-Internet Marketing Notes

By jonathan on January 24, 2013

Here is the Presentation!

 

To Install Google Chrome CLICK HERE!

If you need further directions CLICK HERE!

For Directions on how to install Chrome Extensions, CLICK HERE!

 

To add EXTENSIONS:

Click on the 3 white bars at the top left of Chrome>Click on TOOLS>Extensions> Now Scroll to the BOTTOM of your Extensions list and click, GET MORE EXTENSIONS.

or go to this page

 

For Directions on how to install Chrome Extensions, CLICK HERE!

 

To Listen to the Re-broadcast:

CLICK HERE to REGISTER NOW

 

 

Here is a list of the extension that Jim Marks listed in the Webinar.  Please ONLY load the Extensions you think YOU WILL USE:

Socialba!

Evernote

Clearly

Mighty Text

Pinterest

Instagram

Buffer

Google Chrome to Phone

RoboForm

Thank you for Attending the first webinar in the 2013 PNC Wired for Success series.  They WILL pick up speed.  Its going to be a great year!

If you have any questions:  Feel free to email us at support@virtualresults.net

 

Exciting New Feature: The NEW Admin Menu

By Leah Marks on January 16, 2013

A Brand New Layout for the Virtual Results Admin Menu!
NewAdminMenu

From new features to new themes to new services, Virtual Results is always looking for ways to keep their sites on the cutting edge. So we have decided to start off 2013 with a bang!

Introducing an Exciting New Feature: The new Admin Menu!!
Throughout the next week, VR will be activating a brand new upgraded Admin Menu to your dashboard! This new admin menu is sleek and clean with additional integrated functionality, such as direct access to your IDX, Market Stats and Email Marketing accounts, training webinars and our continually growing support center.

Here are some of the improvements to our new Admin Menu:

  • Accessing our Support Center

The Virtual Results Support Center is constantly growing and contains wonderful tutorials, webinars and articles that will help you manage your site and its content. Now you can access our support center directly from your dashboard. Learn how to add items to your menu, create new content, utilize SEO plugins, edit your sidebar and footer, activate more features, tools, and so much more!

  • Using your Complementary Accounts

There are so many wonderful features that come with your Virtual Results account. We have set up a direct link to some your complementary control panels, such as your IDX dashboard and Altos Research login. For example, your Altos Research account is more than dynamic charts. It also provides branded statistical reports and full market analysis, lead capture tools, branded marketing, and one-on-one coaching. Yet many people never get around to using these tools. We hope the new design will inspire you to take a more proactive look at all the services that come with your site.

  • Managing Your Content and Understanding Your Settings

With our new layout, you will find it much easier to manage your content and settings. Everything is organized and simplified, making it easier for you to find and manage the tools and features that come with your Virtual Results website. For those users who have been more proactive in managing your site, these changes will allow you to maneuver more easily and rapidly. For those of you just starting out, it’s never been easier to learn! This is a great time to learn how to add and manage content, and how to fully exploit the valuable lead generating tools that come with your Virtual Results account.

  • Introduction to the New Admin Menu Live Webinars

Ready to learn more? Great, because it’s time to explore your new Admin Menu. These 30 minute sessions will include a short walk through of your new admin menu and a Q&A session with Leah Marks, WordPress expert and Customer Support Manager. There are three sessions scheduled for your convenience, listed below. Register Now!

 

Monday, January 21 – 12pm (PST)/ 3pm (EST) – Click Here to Register

Thursday, January 24 – 10am (PST)/1pm (EST) – Click Here to Register

Friday, January 25 – 2pm (PST)/ 5pm (EST) – Click Here to Register

NEW FEATURE: Blog Post Thumbnails

By Leah Marks on July 12, 2012

Virtual Results announces a brand new feature for AgentPlus clients – The Blog Post Thumbnail

We are happy to announce the development of a new feature, the ability to display a thumbnail image in your blog post excerpt. Activating this feature is a great way to spice up your site, offer a better user experience and add some great images to your blog and to your home page. This is an important feature because adding images to your articles will increase the number of page or post views exponentially. This is a visual culture, where the world’s largest social network, Facebook, and 2nd largest search engine, YouTube, have found success primarily due to their focus on multimedia. Those browsing the web are more inclined to stay on a webpage that contains images, rather than just text. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product they’ve already seen, rather than one that’s just been described. The value of images on your site increases every day. Plus it’s just fun! And it has the potential to make your site look amazing!

And the Virtual Results Community Agrees.

Virtual Results has activated this feature on the following sites, with great results! Take a look at the websites below:

Casa Bella Boca
Search Minnneapolis Condos

Need More Information?

If you would like more information about this feature, please contact Virtual Results at support@virtualresults.net.

If you would like this feature activated on your site, please complete the form below and the VR Support Team will be happy to set it up for you.

Blog Post Thumbnail Signup

Please activate the Blog Post Thumbnail Feature on my site!

 

This is just one element out of many we are planning to launch in the coming weeks and months and we are excited to show you the new features and tools we’ve developed and are continually developing that will improve the site aesthetic and functionality. So stay tuned!

Hear It Direct Shows Real Estate Agents What Consumers Want From Them

By Admin on May 11, 2012

Real estate professionals will hear directly from the consumer – the people who want to buy and sell homes – at a unique forum, “Hear It Direct” in Dallas, Texas on May 21st, 2012 at the Dallas Marriott at Legacy Town Center.  Hear It Direct is designed to create the consumer as the keynote speaker of the event –unlike most events in the real estate industry.  Featuring panels of real home buyers and sellers from all over the U.S., Hear It Direct targets what consumers want and expect from agents.  The unfiltered discussion is set up to discover how to really focus and best address the needs of consumers in today’s housing market.

Hear It Direct’s concept reshapes the real estate business, creating a consumer-centric, consumer driven approach to home buying and selling.  Agents and market forecasters can gain insight and learn how to create value and trust through attending this groundbreaking one-day experience.

Developed by real estate leaders Sue Adler and Robert Hahn, Hear It Direct, was created to share the new consumer-driven real estate model with the industry.  Hear It Direct, Texas is the second in a series of events delivering the message of what people want from real estate tools, the agent they work with, and the home searches they conduct on their mobile devices.

Sue Adler was recently recognized as one of the leading women in the real estate industry by the Women’s Council of Realtors® and has been one of the top selling Realtors in New Jersey since 2005.

Tickets and an informative custom research report plus a DVD series recapping the event will be made available through the Hear It Direct website at http://www.hearitdirect.com/events/. To learn more about Hear It Direct, please contact 973.869.9357.  The Hear It Direct conference is scheduled for May 21st, 2012 in Plano, Texas at the Dallas/Plano Marriott at Legacy Town Center located at 7121 Bishop Road, Plano, Texas 75024.  The event runs from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and will include a networking Happy Hour afterwards.  The cost for the entire day is $99.