How would you like to increase your business garnered from your website by 27%? That’s right, 27%. I had to say it again because people often do not believe in testing or research to determine what works best for their business. In fact, many companies today “take the high road” and completely ignore trends and tactics that can improve their business because they get stuck with their fondness for what they have and stop moving ahead. Here is the example of how research and testing can drive improvements in company online effectiveness. Thankfully, the company the largest broker in the Neatherlands, so we can avoid domestic conflict. The company did A – B testing on their website. For some visitors, they added a java script popup window that asked a question – “We are so pleased that you are considering using us as your broker. Could you tell us why you would choose our services?” The rest of the consumers saw the site with out the java script popup. Interestingly enough, if you spend much time on Zillow or Trulia – you will find that they are constantly A-B testing their site features by diverting some of their traffic over to test sites. The results of adding the popup were overwhelming. The popup window increased home listings by 26.6%! The popup loaded 90 seconds after the visitor landed on the website. The coolest part is that they did not use it to drive traffic to a lead conversion form. They simply asked the consumer to make a self-commitment to the broker – also called a ‘self-generated” persuasion effect. It sets the consumer in more of a conversion-oriented mindset. Ok – on your marks, get set, go. Implementing this exact tactic is super easy. Java Script light boxes that pop up are cross browser compliant and mobile friendly. You can even get the code for free by doing a search for Java Light Boxes – I think the first result is Fancybox – which we have used and it is super easy. You simply design your box and paste the code into your site like adding a youtube video. It is that easy. If you use an open source website platform like Joomla or WordPress, you can find lots of plugins that do the same thing. This single idea can boost your online effectiveness by 26.6% if your results are […]
The National Association of REALTORS® is not necessarily the first place that REALTORS® would turn to get advise on Internet Lead Management, but they have stepped up to the plate as a resource. Quite nicely I would add. In a paper published this week, Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR, published a paper titled The Intelligent Internet Lead, Providing Context, Coaching & Confidence to Web Source Leads. Click Here for Download http://crt.blogs.realtor.org/2014/05/27/crt-white-paper-the-intelligent-internet-lead/ WAV Group has performed a lot of research on online marketing, mostly for the purpose of providing MLSs and brokers with good research for setting strategy and policy. Our discovery has led us to the primary issue that faces real estate today – more than ½ of consumer leads are never responded to, and when they are – the follow up efforts to convert the leads are too low to be effective. This paper from NAR attacks this problem. In an effort to Raise the Bar in real estate and support the service levels that consumers get from REALTORS® and REALTOR® websites like realtor.com, NAR has published this paper. Carpenter does a great job of outlining best practices for REALTORS® to follow and provides a plethora of online solutions that will support REALTORS® on their journey to provide better support to the online consumer seeking real estate information. “This is a real issue for professional real estate agents,” says Marilyn Wilson of the WAV Group. “REALTORS® can’t complain about intermediaries between them and the consumer if they are not going to close the gap and service the consumer.” Many agents are brokers are frustrated with third party listing websites providing online services to consumers. Regardless of the frustration, they continue to advertise listings online. Not responding to leads is pure insanity. In other industries before real estate, the failure to provide consumers with an online service level has led to the disintermediation of that professional. Spoiler Alert: If REALTORS® do not engage in the online consumer, they will lose their position as the agent for the consumer to someone or some service that will. If you have not tackled this issue in your business, download this paper and learn about some of the tools that REALTORS® may use to find the path to providing better service to consumers. Carpenter outlines 5 agent CRM solutions that will help with lead management. RE Technology provides […]
WAV Group partners, Mike Audet, Marilyn Wilson, and Victor Lund are founders of RE Technology and RETechnology.com. Today that site reaches 750,000 real estate agents and brokers though partnerships with more than 90 MLSs who deliver subscriptions to RE Technology as a member benefit. Each week, RE Technology publishes a notification to MLSs that lists the top 5 most heavily viewed articles of the week. This list goes out to our MLS partners who may, in turn, republish the articles in their own newsletter, blog, or develop content ideas for their training or communications programs. Below is the RE Technology Top 5 Articles for last week. How to Market Yourself on Facebook WITHOUT Annoying Your Family Learn from special guest Realtor® Shaun Nilsson as he diagrams his time-saving formula for attracting tons of clients through social media whole completely avoiding annoying your friends and contacts. We’ll show you exactly how to close more real estate commissions right now – using only your Facebook – while effortlessly projecting the confident business savvy of a seasoned professional. PLUS you’ll learn how to outsource your online marketing to others and avoid wasting even one more minute of your valuable time each day on it! The Home Across the Street is NOT a Palace If you post misleading pictures on the MLS, does it actually offer any benefit to you or your clients? 3 Simple Ways to Maintain Your Mac The most important factor in maintaining any computer and keeping it running efficiently is proper maintenance. Fortunately, Mac computers are very easy to maintain and keep organized since everything is stored under a central user library. Here are three easy tips to get optimal performance from your Mac. The Case for Shooting Your Own Real Estate Videos You know your clients better than anyone else. You know exactly what they’re looking for and how best to present it to them. Why waste your time teaching the stuff to a videographer who’s just trying to get your project off his/her plate? Do Luxury Clients Prefer iPhones? A new study shows that iPhones dominate in more affluent areas. That got us thinking–what else do luxury consumers prefer and which are the best channels to reach them? It’s (surprise!) not what you’d think.
How to Market Yourself on Facebook WITHOUT Annoying Your Family Learn from special guest Realtor® Shaun Nilsson as he diagrams his time-saving formula for attracting tons of clients through social media whole completely avoiding annoying your friends and contacts. We’ll show you exactly how to close more real estate commissions right now – using only your Facebook – while effortlessly projecting the confident business savvy of a seasoned professional. PLUS you’ll learn how to outsource your online marketing to others and avoid wasting even one more minute of your valuable time each day on it! 4 Great Mobile Apps to Help Real Estate Agents Succeed The power of the World Wide Web is now as portable as a a pocket watch, and this is changing the way real estate is bought and sold. How can you keep up? Here are a number of tools that may help you become a more productive and successful agent. 5 Things That Should Not Be on Your Real Estate Website Does your website feature your entire life story in one massive, typo-riddled paragraph? Is there – *gulp* – background music playing? If so, consider this article an intervention! The Hottest Tech of 2014 NAR REach’s class of 2014 debuted at NAR Midyear this week. Meet the 8 companies who are on deck to shake up the real estate tech scene this year! Krisstina Wise: The Birth of a Brand Krisstina Wise is the powerhouse behind GoodLife Realty, a brokerage that has redefined tech savvy and company culture. But you probably haven’t seen much of Krisstina in the last year … because she almost died. What could have been the end of her career (and possibly her life) actually became the start of something wonderful.
Beating Zillow at Their Own Game What if I told you that just about everything you find unfair about the way Zillow and Trulia display your listings can be changed? Guess what? An insider understanding of how these sites work has allowed thousands of listing agents to get hundreds of dollars worth of free marketing on these sites without paying a dime. What is Email Drip Marketing? Chinese water torture is a way to drive someone insane by slowly dripping water on the person’s forehead. Drop email marketing is a communication strategy that slowly drips email messages to prospects’ inboxes over time. Folks on the receiving end of either may feel tortured. But there is a positive way to drip that may be welcomed by the recipient. WordPress Basics for Agents Industry superstars like Nicole Nicolay have made WordPress a familiar term for most real estate agents. The price tag – a big, fat ZERO – has undeniable appeal for many agents. If you’re considering a WordPress site, there are many factors you’ll need to investiage. Today, I’m going to look at only two of the most important. The Biggest Marketing Mistakes (and how to avoid them!) After seeing a study on the biggest mistakes companies make with their consumers, couldn’t help wondering how many real estate agents were making these mistakes. And then I had an epiphany – most of these mistakaes could be avoided quite simply, by leveraging the right technology. 5 Reasons Electronically Signed Documents Might Just be Better than pen-and-ink Signing documents electronically is a necessity–a form becomes a living, breathing document when it’s signed. We’ve got some great reasoning to back up our position. Here are five of the best.
California Regional MLS and MLS Listings have reached an agreement to share MLS listing data. This is an important signal of MLS strategy in California for a number of reasons. These MLSs are planning to share data by sending data to each other for display in each other’s system and use by each other’s subscribers without the need to belong to both MLSs. Previously, CRMLS only pursued data sharing through CARETS™, a hub and spoke data share product developed by MRIS. Through this new sharing agreement with MLS Listings, CRMLS now has adopted three initiatives to create a statewide MLS system in California. The first is through mergers. The second is through their hybrid solution at allows any California REALTOR® Association to offer CRMLS service along with their current service. This hybrid solution is active between CCRMLS on the California central coast and CRMLS. The third is reciprocal data sharing where data is synchronized between cooperating MLSs as represented here with this agreement with MLS Listings. Why data share? The press release says that the data share is to promote “boundary free access to real estate data” when it refers to the largest data share in the nation – CARETS™. In areas where many MLSs share boundaries with lots of listings, a condition called Overlapping Market Disorder (OMD) exists. I am not sure if the term OMD first emanated from David Charron of MRIS – but that is the way I remember it. Where there is OMD, listings are entered into multiple systems and there are multiple dues. This drives up expenses for everyone and creates duplicate efforts to enter and manage data – not to mention how it throws off market share reports, market sales reports, property search on IDX powered websites and many other data driven business tools. Data sharing cures many of these issues. This was the reason CARETS was created in Los Angeles, but CRMLS is departing that program and effectively doing the same type of data sharing, but on an individual MLS by MLS basis. Why not support CARETS? CRMLS has notified the CARETS organization of Los Angeles area MLSs that it intends to withdraw from CARETS but enter into reciprocal data sharing agreements with any MLS in California that wants to share. The data share between these two entities is an extension of that strategy. Today, it is believed that direct data sharing is […]
Real Estate Digital Acquisition In May, Solutionstar entered into a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Real Estate Digital and its affiliate for $18 million in cash. RED, based in Aliso Viejo, California with 120 employees, is a fee-based real estate services company that provides online marketing, data, transaction management and digital media solutions. The acquisition price represents a 0.7x multiple on RED’s estimated full year 2014 revenue. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014 at which time Solutionstar will assume RED’s management team and employees. In online marketing, RED has created more than 25,000 real estate websites and provides technology services to over 300,000 agents, or approximately 30% of the market. In data services, RED has license to 98% of all Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”) listings. In transaction management, RED licenses end-to-end software to 125,000 real estate agents. RED is also a lead aggregator and provides search engine optimization services. RED will enable Solutionstar to diversify its revenue streams, gain access to a significant third-party customer base, and drive traffic to our websites. The acquisition enables Solutionstar to cross-sell services to RED’s existing third-party clients, while enhancing Nationstar’s purchase origination and servicing opportunities when properties are listed for sale. Over time, this acquisition should enable Nationstar to replace third-party vendors with enhanced RED-developed technology, resulting in both significant cost savings as well as new revenue opportunities. For additional information, please visit RED’s website at www.realestatedigital.com
There is a lot of confusion about real estate listing data today. I believe that the confusion is the cause of agitation that pits technology companies, consumers, real estate agents, pundits, MLSs, Franchises, and Associations of REALTORS against one another. For many, there is a belief that the listing data is free and access should be provided to all. The reality is that the listing data is legally bound to the real estate listing broker who is the custodian and responsible party for that data. Being a custodian, or the responsible party has nearly boundless latitude and altitude. Today’s real estate broker can do pretty much whatever they want with their data, subject to state and federal laws. The actions or permissions for data use are measured by the individual broker’s choices of privacy and values. The data is their asset, and how they treat that asset is their choice. What is really great about America is that in any given market, there is wide stratification of broker data management values. If anything, I would suggest that the pendulum is leaning toward uncontrolled and highly permissive use rather than tightly managed restricted use. An emerging trend in real estate is an growing attitude among the nation’s leading MLSs that the data belongs to the broker. There are two well-structured categories of data. The first category is MLS services that allow participants and subscribers the right to share listing data for certain purposes. Those purposes fall into three categories – MLS purposes accessed in the MLS system; IDX services for consumer display of another firms listing; and VOW services for virtual office client servicing. The second well-structured category is supporting the broker with the management of the data they own and control. Effectively, in this second category the MLS provides the firm with their data in a clean and updated format via a data feed or API to use as they wish. For the good of the people Sometimes, a Realtor Association, MLS, Franchise, technology company or other entity will endeavor to make an argument that broker data should be allowed to be used for a purpose leveraging the age old American notion that it is for the Greater Good of all. In today’s news I read an article about Turkey blocking YouTube and Twitter for the good of the public. Although there is a part of me that agrees with […]
If anything put fear back into the real estate industry lately, it was the sluggish first quarter performance. There are few valid explanations for it. Inventory is at a reasonable level and interest rates are low. People should be buying homes like they did last year. Rather than trying to figure it out, it is time to apply a healthy dose of resourcefulness into the business. The best way to do that is audit your expenses and your people. A typical story There are times when WAV Group finds significant problems in a business that management did not see. But that is rare. Most of our clients know the problem, but they lack the gumption to fix it. We interview directors and management as part of our strategic planning process. After about 3 or 4 calls, every other call begins to sound the same. Everyone knows what is in disrepair. The same thing happens with our customer satisfaction research. After the first day of the survey going live, little changes. The numbers just grow in support of identifying the company’s strengths and weaknesses. We do research, build consensus, develop action plans, and assign those action plans to individuals. The action plan becomes the key ingredient for making a company resource efficient. Audit Every year, WAV Group tackles this task with brokerages and MLSs. You would be amazed at what we find. Accounting departments are very good at paying bills for stuff that a business is no longer using. Now that the tax season is over, it is a fine time to take a close look at your budget and your business plan to make some critical decisions that will tune your business for success. It is also a good idea to create a calendar for contract renewals. You will want to provide yourself with a 120-160 day window if you are going to shop or replace a vendor. Regularly we see firms wait until the last minute and making a change becomes unreasonable. Oh, and make sure that you make contract modifications for favorable terms on agreements that you do renew. Performance Reviews A business needs to operate off of a sound strategic plan with clearly articulated goals. People and departments own those goals. They are tracked and measured. What we constantly encounter are people who play the blame game. They complain that because they are under-resourced, the goals are […]
We have had the pleasure of facilitating several strategic plans in the past few months with many of the nation’s leading Associations. We have seen an important theme emerge in many of these discussions – Professional Standards. While most organizations feel as though they are doing a good job of maintaining current expectations for professional standards, some weaknesses have been revealed. When asked, most organizations will readily admit that there are agents and brokers that are NOT upholding the Code of Ethics and standards of conduct to the level that most members are. Even though boards regularly admit that there are those among them that are not doing the right thing for their clients, most associations have NEVER or rarely dismiss a REALTOR® from duty. We say we live up to the Code of Ethics, but in reality there is a small percentage of REALTORS® in every community that are sullying the name of the entire REALTOR®. The sad part is that sometimes their tactics go unnoticed by their clients. Consumers do not clearly understand the real estate transaction and can be fooled into thinking they are following the proper course. Agents are the only ones that sometimes truly know if there is a problem and yet, as an industry we do not address the “problem-children”. How can we expect to create a strong trusting relationship with the public when we knowingly allow those with a lack of integrity to continue to operate? Isn’t it time for us to think about stepping up the game for professional standards? Here are a few suggestions to consider: 1. Anonymous Reporting of Complaints Agents are reticent to report their fellow practitioners. They are afraid of negative repercussions for their own business. They tell us that if I report unethical behaviors, other agents may target me unfairly. In most cases they remain silent. What if the industry adopted a “crime hotline” like Police Departments have to anonymously report a crime? How about creating a Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division that allow parents to report questionable behavior at a preschool anonymously? Both of these cases are handling delicate issues that would likely not be reported without the promise of anonymity. The cases could be referred to an investigative group that could look into the legitimacy of the claims without involving the original person that reported the problem. 2. Client Performance Transparency Doesn’t […]
With all the marketing tools at your disposable, what should you use to stand out from the competition? Staying ahead of the curve allows you to maximize your marketing ROI and attract new clients. We are all looking for the secret sauce – the way to differentiate our business from the pack and gain a strong leadership position that none of our competitors will ever be able to match. While we can dream, we can never realize this goal unless we continually look for ways to re-invent our business. To be a star in real estate, we always need to be evolving to stay ahead of the competition. If we simply rely on using the same tools and processes we always have used in the past, our chances of becoming a star are pretty limited. If you take nothing else away from this paper, learn from one of the greatest life coaches of all – Stephen Covey. He said, “Whatever you focus on you will get.” If we simply focus on the day-to-day issues and never step back and look for big leaps of innovation and breakthrough thinking, our business will never change. In fact, it will probably continue to weaken over time. So, if you want to grow your business and improve your position in the market in 2014 you should read on. WAV Group recently published a paper called Video Marketing: The Secret to More Effective Lead Generation. This paper outlines a simple but extremely important trend you must address in your business if you are going to be successful over the long run. You must tap into a very important consumer behavior that grows exponentially every year – watching videos. It’s so simple yet so foreign to many in the real estate business. It’s time to start engaging and captivating your audience with video – they are waiting for it. Did you know that 89 million people today in the United States are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos (ComScore)? That’s nearly 1 in 3 people in the United States. In case you haven’t built a mobile strategy yet, here’s a fact that should open up your eyes. Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic and up to 69% of traffic on certain networks (Bytemobile Mobile Analytics Report). Want your property marketing to go viral? Video is a great way to get lots […]
Longtime chief information officer, Gurtej Sodhi has been appointed to senior business leadership of the Crye Leike Group of Companies. His new title strings together Chief Information and Strategy Officer, and Corporate Executive Vice President. This new position at one of America’s leading brokers signals a new strategic direction for large firms. Sodhi’s responsibilities will reach over all of the Crye Leike companies including residential real estate, commercial real estate, mortgage, title, insurance and various other business units. “Information management is changing quickly in real estate and large firms with diverse business units require top level oversight to integrate an end to end customer service experience,” said Harold Crye, Chairman and CEO of Crye Leike Group of Companies. In this new role, Sodhi will be instrumental in tying the business objectives of each company, along with their operational data and technology solutions, into one cohesive environment. “Today, many of our business units operate in silos that share information, but there are clearly opportunities for maximizing business outcomes in profitability and customer satisfaction by dedicating resources to better integration,” said Sodhi. In addition to his daily responsibilities at Crye Leike, Sodhi represents his firm in various workgroups for The Realty Alliance and Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and many ad hoc MLS and data management committees for MLS’s and the National Association of REALTORS®. He brings a unique perspective as someone who aggregates data across more than 40 MLS’s in 10 states. He also understands that today’s brokerage must rely on home services offerings to remain successful in real estate, and is an expert at integrating the companies business units together for the benefit of the consumer. Appointing Sodhi as the leader of the strategy function for Crye Leike is a telling announcement. Information systems have become the cornerstone of success across all business units in real estate today. Managing the data and the systems that power a firm’s offerings are fundamental to long term success. WAV Group congratulates Mr. Sodhi, Mr Crye, and the entire team of Crye Leike as they embark on this new journey together.
The Austin Board of REALTORS® and MLS made the historic move to turn off listing syndication with Listhub. The choir loft was full of tenored voices eschewing every possible angle of opinion on the strategy. Well, the saga continues with this latest news flash. Austin has entered into a direct syndication agreement with Trulia, governed by a contract that all parties have agreed to. Brokers are in control of their data, and the agreement protects and governs the use and display of that data. Here is the press release. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Austin Board of REALTORS® Partners with Trulia to Protect Data Accuracy Publisher’s agreement to ABoR’s data integrity standards helps ensure accurate listing data for Austin-area homebuyers and sellers AUSTIN – April 30, 2014 – The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) and Trulia (NYSE: TRLA) announced today a data license agreement to help ensure accurate listing data for Austin-area homebuyers and sellers. Beginning May 7, 2014, ABoR will offer Austin-area brokers the option to advertise listings on Trulia in return for Trulia’s agreement to abide by ABoR’s data integrity standards, which exist to ensure brokers’ listing data is used in a responsible and ethical manner. “We’re excited that Trulia has joined ABoR’s commitment to improving the quality of listing information available to Austin-area homebuyers and sellers,” said Lisa Messana, Chair of ABoR’s MLS Advisory Committee. “By leveraging ABoR’s data quality standards, this partnership with a top listing advertising portal will bring the broad exposure that home sellers desire and protect against homebuyer frustrations from poor data quality.” ABoR created the data integrity standards to ensure that brokers’ listing data is used and displayed in a responsible, ethical manner. The standards address many common data quality issues for homebuyers and sellers, such as the display of outdated, inaccurate, and off-market listings, and are consistent with MLS rules and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Trulia is the first publisher to sign a data license agreement under ABoR’s new data integrity standards. “The Austin Board of REALTORS® has demonstrated leadership in the real estate industry by establishing standards that support timely, complete and accurate listings information,” said Alon Chaver, Trulia’s VP of Industry Services. “In addition to REALTOR® websites, homebuyers and sellers can now also trust that the Austin-area listings found on Trulia are accurate and up to date.” “We have found Trulia to be a highly collaborative partner willing to meet […]