The 7 best reasons for Realtors to Blog

By Jim Marks

1) It makes you think- It becomes really easy, as a Realtor to become an information “lemming.” You hear something about the market at a meeting and next thing you know, you are parroting it to your clients. Investing the time to actually WRITE about the market encourages new thought. You gather the data, and You create the information.

2) It makes you different, and different = better- One of the marketing theories I have been espousing over many years is how important differentiation is to Realtors. Realtors do what Realtors do. Do you? Don’t. Create your own marketing that is different than other Realtors and writing your own original blog sets you apart as well. YOu need to stand out in a crowd. Blogging will help.

3) Blogs get Read by other Realtors- and they comment. This gives you feedback, often valuable constructive feed back on your ideas. It allows you to wash your ideas through others so by the time you give your VALUED opinion to your clients. it is well thought out, and VALUABLE.

4) Traffic is good….for traffic.- A well read blog will bring more traffic to a Realtor than any “business card” type web site. You know the one. This is who I am (or was when the site was written) and this is why I am the greatest. A well written blog will receive traffic from competitors, clients, co-workers, and prospects. Traffic creates Traffic.

5) It PROVES you are an authority- What is a Realtor? An authority on Real Estate. How do I (as a prospect) know you are an authority? Well, pages and pages of posts and comments on the current market and what is going on in my neighborhood certainly helps show you are an authority… A canned listing presentation that is pretty much the same as other Realtors? Not so much.

6) It provides third party validation- Prospects are constantly faced with Realtors telling them how good THEY are. But how often does a prospect hear from a third-party how good you are as a Realtor? I well thought out, well written blog post will receive positive comments. These comments give your prospect the “right” to decide you are a great Realtor and he/she should choose you…. because others before him have agreed.

7) It is INSTANT, when your Prospects need it- Real Estate Buyers and Sellers (read: prospects) Love up to the minute information. This type of information is not available on most Realtor (business card) type websites. A a good property management company with blog allows them to subscribe and receive your up to the minute, valuable information. This makes you a valuable resource to your prospects and clients.

Return on Investment 101

By Jim Marks

Return on Investment-101

For most Realtors, Marketing is far and away their largest expense. I have had clients that invest anywhere from 10% to 90% of their Gross Commission Income on Marketing. This can be A LOT of money. One of my clients was spending upward of $500,000 a year on marketing when I found him, and with very little feedback on what was, and wasn’t working. “We want to be everywhere” was his motto. He knew he was profitable, he just didn’t know exactly why…
Return on Investment is quite simple, really. Your investment is the money spent on any advertising piece or marketing campaign. The return is the incremental, attestable Gross Commission Income that the advertising piece or marketing campaign creates.

Simple enough, huh? But how do you collect these numbers. This is the quandary. Tracking ROI can be a simple or complex procedure depending on the contact point(s) within your organization. If ALL phone calls and emails funnel through one initial point (you ) than recoding the SOURCE of those calls can be done with a bit of planning and execution. If you have a larger organization, however, with a support team in place, each person who handles initial calls or emails must be trained to ask the right questions, and record the proper response. But how do you determine WHERE those calls and emails are coming from? There are a variety of methods…
1. Simply ask. This is the least high tech and seemingly easiest. Simply ask each inbound call or email, where they saw the property or offer they are inquiring about. This method, however takes diligence, and support staff must be trained to ask the right questions until they get a proper answer. All responses must be aggregated each month.
2. Phone numbers. Some companies, and Realtors have phone numbers set up that all forward to their main line… these phone numbers can then be strategically placed amongst your marketing ads and programs. At the end of each month, you simply determine the volume of calls coming from each ad my matching the ad with the incoming phone bill. You must also determine the initial call for each client whom bought a home or listed with you.
3. Source Codes. A small source code can be placed on each ad or marketing piece. An alphanumeric code can be placed in a small box (that matches your theme) in the bottom right of your ads or marketing pieces. Each point of contact within your organization simply needs to ask, “I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. In order to better help, I would like to look at the same information you are looking at, would you please tell me the number in the purple box in the bottom right corner?
With any of these data gathering techniques, you will be able to create campaigns that differ, either slightly or greatly and use this information to make educated decisions on which publications, ads, marketing offers, or mailers are worth your investment and which are not…

Real Estate Marketing…Blind Faith?

By Jim Marks

I talk to Realtors every day… it’s what I do. I have the enviable job of pulling them, fighting, kicking, screaming and sometimes complaining into a 2007 marketing state of mind.

Real Estate marketing is a cattle rush… Realtors look at what, where and how EVERYBODY else is marketing and they jump in with both feet. If a few “top producers” start advertising in “over-priced homes weekly” because their advertising budget allows, many will follow and soon “OPHW” is the place to be.

But not even the Top Producers are checking to see if that publication is creating a return on investment. They just do it for the exposure…blindly and with little attention to actual return. I guesstimate that less than 5% of all Realtors even know what their return on investment is for their marketing programs… and the worst thing ? Out of the 1 in 20 that do? VERY few of them actually know WHICH portion of their marketing is working… which publication, which ad, which website, which call-to-action, etc.

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Now with the local merchants offer that we will sponsor opt in marketing, which also offers a wide range of drainage and building products of different categories, giving a builders supplier a special treatment with choosing different categories and products of the best quality. Including the test to create the interest in real estate marketing in the community.

Almost none would do a control test, with source information, etc… They may know what the ROI on their total marketing is, but on each ad? Hardly. The single most expensive cost of doing business with little or no oversight? Welcome to my world.

Over the next few weeks I will discuss the process of reeling in your out of control Marketing Budget, kicking the losers to the curb, and investing in marketing that will produce real incremental prospects. Investing in your business should not be stressful.

Follow along, take control, and get ready to market your way to success…

Next week-Return on Investment 101