Giving cool real estate products, tools and news a Big Encore

Google + Local has gone through several name changes, but one thing has stayed the same — the websites’ approach to combining both internet marketing and social media. Related to Google’s social media site, aptly named Google +, this site may prove to be a very important piece of your online marketing efforts.

But, as with just about everything, there are a number of pros and cons to Google + Local. Here are a few of them:

 

 

Pros

- A Google + Local profile is easy to set up, and allows you to enter keywords to bring in your  target audience.

- You can link your business’ profile to your Google AdWords account.

- Your Google + Local profile will automatically come in near the top of a Google search for your specified keywords.

- You can add pictures to your profile in order to promote your listings.

- People can review your business, and you can respond publically to their comments, just like on your Facebook page.

Cons

- It can be tricky to set up your account, since Google needs to first mail you a postcard to ensure that your business is A) located where you say it is and B) truly exists. Why do they do this? To eliminate scammers and make sure that every listing is correct.

- Google +, the social media site linked to Google + Local, does not yet have the popularity (and therefore the audience) of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

- The multiple name changes can throw people off. The site was once known as Google Places, Google Local and Google Local Plus, before finally becoming (for now) Google + Local.

 

 

Real estate yard signs, fliers and open houses are some of the old fashioned real estate marketing tools that are still effective. After all, it’s hard to know which house is for sale if there isn’t a sign out front, and some business is still gained by people driving by. However, if you truly want to increase your sales and up your commissions, then you’ll have to not only have to embrace modern technology, but know how to use it to your advantage.

There are many technology-friendly tools that can be utilized in real estate marketing, but these five top the list:

1) Twitter – Set up a special Twitter account and use it to market your listings. When setting up the account, make sure to check the “Add a Location to my Tweets” box. This will help you find people in your area, and allow them to find you as well. Tweet information about properties that you’re selling, including pictures, prices, lot and building sizes and other pertinent details. If you’re planning an open house, Tweet about that as well. Soon, you’ll build up a sizeable base of Twitter followers – all of whom are potential clients.

 

2) QR codes & Text - There are downloadable QR code reader apps available for most smart phones. By placing a special QR code on every ad (yard signs, fliers, newspaper listings, etc) and using a service like StreetText, everyone who “clicks” on the code will be given information about the property that is far beyond what can be condensed into a simple advertisement. Texting works the same way, anyone can text for information using their phone. And the best part is they can do it from ANY phone. You can use these codes in your print advertising and outside your properties on the for sale sign.

 

3) Google Maps – The ingenious Google Maps system not only allows people to view the entire street that the property is located on, but it also shows several views of the property itself when you zoom all of the way into street view. If the property is located on a corner, you’ll be able to see several angles, including the front, at least one side, and the back, but if it’s nestled between other houses or buildings, only the front will be shown.  Nevertheless, between the “search nearby” and “get directions” options, Google Maps are something that it’s hard to do without.

 

4) Facebook – Creating a Facebook Fan Page for your business is a fairly simple process that can help your business grow exponentially. Because it can be linked to your personal Facebook page, you’ll have instant access to your network of friends, all of whom can become fans of your business as well. These fans will lead to others, and, well, the sky’s the limit! Cross linking to your Twitter profile and blog will also bring in outside fans (otherwise known as clients) and they’ll be able to write on your Fan Page if they have any questions or concerns. This is also a great way to spread the word about open houses.

 

5) A blog – Treat your blog like it’s an online office. Make sure that your email address, office address and phone numbers are clearly displayed on every page. Cross link your blog entries to your Twitter and Facebook pages, and provides links on each of those pages that lead back to your blog. While all of this may sound like a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be. Many blog hosting sites, like WordPress, for example, allow you to automatically send a link to Twitter and Facebook upon clicking the “publish” button.

 

These five items are just the tip of the iceberg as far as real estate marketing technology is concerned and are a great place to begin.

 

Used StreetText to double end a saleFor most Realtor’s right now the title of this blog post sounds like a really nice fairy tale, but doesn’t seem true. But the cool part about this story is that not only is it true, the Realtor had to do almost nothing to make it happen. I will let Dennis tell the story himself.

“I Put up the for sale sign with the StreetText rider on Tuesday afternoon. Got the first call from the Text Rider on Saturday afternoon. They contacted me directly on my cell phone from the contact information which they found on my StreetText Web Site. Showed the property Saturday morning sold it to them on Sunday night. And they were not even looking to buy a house. They thought this was house was in a great location, used the StreetText info for curiosity, got particulars on the property and pics and called me. All done in 48 hrs. and double ended the deal. Not bad for the first time I used a StreetText sign. It works.”

I am posting this article for two reasons. Firstly, I know a lot of Realtors personally who are working very hard right now and are not getting a lot of easy breaks. I hope this will encourage you to continue working as hard as you already are, you never know where a deal might come from. Secondly, I write about a lot of different Real Estate products, most of which are new and untried. They need to know that these products work before investing in them personally. I think that is wise. So I wanted to share this story, it’s about StreetText, a product that I have previously written about here and is obviously working for people.

 

StreetText mobile marketing for Real Estate

It’s true, StreetText.com, a SMS mobile marketing platform for Realtors has now added QR Codes and custom keywords.

StreetText is a very useful tool to enable Realtor’s to connect their listing information to their consumer’s cell phones.

StreetText’s tagline is “Tomorrow’s mobile marketing today!” and that is what they are offering. Consumers are rapidly embracing information technology. Asked if StreetText helped with his last listing, Geoff Treadgold, of Royal LePage Kelowna replied, “Absolutely, it was probably the thing that got me the listing, these people were looking for ways to get information out to buyers and this was probably the way to do it.”

We love it, keep up the good work StreetText.

Big Encore QR Code

Big Encore QR Code

The conversation is starting about using QR Codes as a marketing tool for Real Estate. Recently REMonline wrote an article on QR codes as an emerging marketing tool. They came to the conclusion that QR codes are valuable to Real Estate because they get the information to the consumer faster. “Whatever tool you can use to get information in front of a consumer quickly – and this tool does that – will undoubtedly result in more sales,” says Grey.

What are QR codes?

A QR code is a pixel barcode a user scans with their smart phone camera. If they have the QR reader application installed on their mobile phone, they will be redirected to a website immediately after scanning the QR code.

Why use QR codes?

QR codes are used to get information about the property to the buyer faster. Consumers like getting on-demand information and this is a solution.

What is the bad news?

QR codes are a great idea, but not a complete solution yet. Only 30% of Canadian cellphone users have a smart phone, and of those less than that are connected to a data plan. And of those, that do have a data plan, they still need to have the QR reader application installed on their phones. While this technology is growing it still is not a complete solution.

It makes sense to offer a SMS texting solution along with the QR codes to ensure that all cell phone users are able to access the information.

One of the perks of a phone plan expiring is the chance to upgrade our phones. It might not be too bold a statement to say that in some ways a Realtors’ business revolves around their phone. So this article is dedicated to the Realtor’s cell phone, a toast to what’s coming.

iPhone 5

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 Anybody?

If history plays out Apple will be releasing their new iphone around June/July. Each year since 2007 Apple has released their new iPhones around then.

Rumors are swirling around about network changes being made by major communication companies to bring the new iPhone 5 to their networks. We are still not 100% sure what it will look like yet, but given that it’s made by Apple, it will likely be very sexy.

A few features of the iPhone 5 – What make’s it so cool?

Thinner! With shiny glass back piece – 9.3 mm thick.

Face Recognition Security

Face Time (Video Chat) access on 3G AND 4G (available currently but only on 3G)

Custom SMS tones

Custom E-mail alerts with ability to assign different tones to each email address

A new, sleeker body design.

OLED screen.

Scratch proof and shatter proof screen

Wireless sync with iTunes

32G (basic) and 64G of memory. You’re sure to never run out.

Extended battery life = 14 hours talk time on 3G and 7 hours on 4G. Standby 600 hours.

Hi Definition audio.

Messaging indicator light.

True GPS built in.

White iPhone 4

White iPhone 4

A white iPhone? That does sound nice.

The white iPhone 4 is one of the most anticipated iPhones of 2010/2011. Rumors of it began surfacing early last year, but Apple is making us wait until the Spring of 2011.

What’s new?

A front-facing camera

The back sports a microphone

30pin connector for docking

A speaker

The top sports a second microphone for noise cancellation

Sleep/wake button

A headset input

Blackberry 4G (Triton)

Blackberry 4G (Triton)

Blackberry 4G (Triton)

Rather than reinventing the wheel, Blackberry is getting very good at refining it. Blackberry’s have become iconic for the mobile phone industry, much in the way that Porsche is for the automobile industry. Why change the design when you can improve it?

The new Blackberry 4G looks like they have succeeded again. It is expected to be 4 to 8 times faster than 3G speeds. Also, it will include a new Blackberry App’s store right within the phone, no more downloading apps from websites.

It’s rumored to be lighting fast and have a multi-touch navigation that makes it nearly impossible to make the wrong selection.

List of possible features:

Mini Camera on front for Video Chat

High Definition 5.0 Mega Pixel Camera

High Definition Camcorder

High Definition Audio

HD Memory Card

OLED Screen

Multi-Touch Navigation

True GPS

Youtube

Blackberry App World

Google Voice

Make free phone calls using Google voice

Realtors here’s a quick tip. As a Realtor, you already know how many phone calls you make every day. Now, when you are near your phone or laptop  you can make phone calls for free using Gmail. It’s called Google Voice, and you can access it from within your Gmail account. Using Gmail you can make local and long-distance phone calls for free.

Using Google Voice you can even set up voice mail, which you can then access from either the phone or the web. One of the best parts of Google Voice is that it saves your voice mail for as long as you want.

Getting Started

After logging into your Gmail account click on the link “Call Phone” on the left menu bar. It’s very quick to set up and use to make free phone calls across the United States and Canada. It’s a win-win. We give Google Voice a big encore.

StreetText

Street Text sign topper for Real Estate

What if your sign topper advertised your listing, attracted buyers and gained you more listings? And what if that same magical sign topper came from the same company that launched HousePal, a collection of local Open House websites. BigEncore explains how.

Marketing your Real Estate listing has moved beyond filling signposts with feature sheets. It’s gravitating towards mobile marketing, a texting solution, that not only provides the home buyer with the information they need, it also provides the Realtor with the buyers phone number.

Want to know more? It’s called StreetText and it’s exciting. StreetText provides realtors with Sign Toppers that are connected to a texting solution. The home buyer then texts the property code on the sign topper to Street Text’s national number and instantly receives all the basic property information including the Realtor’s phone number. Not only that, but the Realtor, instantly receives the texter’s phone number too.

In testing the product we found the texting solution, which retails for $15 per Realtor for unlimited listings, to be surprisingly effective. The sign topper is very readable and the pointed corner makes it instantly recognizable.

Art, one of the co-founders of the product, noted that the R&D time took about 12 months before coming out with the product. “We wanted to make sure that we were coming into the market with the right product at the right time. We did lots of user group testing and the feedback has just been excellent. We knew [mobile marketing] was an emerging market.”

The most important aspect of this product is that home-buyers are demanding solutions like this more and more. They are becoming accustomed to on-demand information, the faster a Realtor can make this possible for the home buyer, the better. They want to be able to stand in front of a house, look at the information, look at the price, look at the photos of the inside before going inside and now they can.