online marketing

Online Marketing

We’ve all been the unhappy recipients of unwanted junk mail and Internet advertisements, yet online marketing has been hailed as the Holy Grail among Realtors for turning up sales leads. However, statistics show that scattershot online marketing does not necessarily translate into sales strength. By hyper-focusing outreach efforts on online portals, agents are missing valuable opportunities to not just create leads but actually increase sales. Agents can optimize their reach and revenue by remembering the roots of marketing principles and embracing an integrated plan that engages more offline strategies. To be sure, the prospect of influence through online channels is enticing, especially when the cost is little or none. Websites are reasonably economical to maintain and Google Analytics is very accessible, with the basic services offered for free. Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter also have analytics tools that seem to deliver a sense of outreach impact. Yet the fact is that only 15 percent of sales are the result of online outreach across all channels, including social media. So, what do these analytics tools really tell Realtors about the sales effectiveness of any particular online marketing strategy? It turns out, not much. While the internet provides numerous marketing channels, online analytics tools cannot account for the funnel effect of offline marketing or overall strategy performance. Google Analytics, for instance, doesn’t reflect the root cause of a potential client’s interest in an agent’s online presence, like whether a lead viewed an agent’s Facebook page or website as a result of seeing a yard sign, meeting an agent at an open house, or following up on a recommendation from a friend. Effectively, online analytics blind agents to many of the offline opportunities and leads, which account for 85 percent of all sales overall. Each online channel delivers a different set of demographics, but also leaves some out entirely. According to the Pew Research Center, while each social media site is differentially popular amongst various ethnic groups, all are skewed demographically toward the younger generations or, in Realtor-speak, potential first-time buyers. Other market segments are hardly represented at all. For instance, almost 75 percent of seniors (age 65+) do not use social media. In light of additional facts that more than half of home buyers age 50+ owned their previous home and nearly two-thirds of sales are the result of repeat business or referrals, clearly, there’s a significant lead pool that […]


Syndicate like you Facebook

by Victor Lund on November 20, 2015

By now, everyone has experienced social media. The pinnacle of social media is Facebook. One of the early criticisms of social media marketing is that it is essentially spamming your friends. Posting the same thing every day is not going to make it more interesting. There is a lesson to think about here…let’s switch sites. Every month, MLS systems are estimated to send out 200 million emails to consumers notifying them of new and updated listings. I think most people refer to them as auto-alerts or auto-notifications. That number of 200 million grows larger when you include the number of notifications that go out through mobile apps, broker sites, agent sites, buyer tools, and even portals. Guess what? You are publishing the same thing every day! Oops. Lets go back to social media… The most effective way to engage an audience in social media is to curate your content. Experts talk about publishing strategies that include variation, emotion, etc. Advertisers do this too. Changing things up is a hedge strategy against ad fatigue. In parlance, it’s a campaigning strategy. Lets go back to listing notifications… Depending on the market, properties across America typically trade within a window of 120 days. Most of the time, the photos of the property and the description text remain static and unchanged throughout the listing term. The only part of the listing that changes is the price. How can we create a campaign strategy for listing notifications? Think Differently… WAV Group has written about the strategy of using price changes to trigger email alerts in the past. Lower the price by any amount and every system will trigger an email alert. The more price changes you have, the more direct marketing gets triggered to the people who have saved searches for the property you are marketing. This boost in audience impressions drives more engagement, or leads if you prefer. But the risk is spamming or lead fatigue. The audience will begin to ignore the effort if you do not switch things up a bit. Use the Facebook Lesson If you are going to use this strategy of price changes to market the property, think about what we know about social media spamming and advertising fatigue. Curate the information to keep it fresh. At the very least, be sure to change up the primary photo. By the way, experiment with interior shots; they often get more […]


It’s November, the beginning of budgeting and planning for a successful 2016. WAV Group studies the online effectiveness of many of today’s leading brokers and provides audits and advisory services on optimizing these programs. The true measure of online effectiveness is closing a transaction. Unfortunately, we have observed that closing a transaction is coincidental to online marketing and not a direct correlation. The relationship between an agent and a consumer is akin to dating. Both parties must be attracted to one another. There needs to be a connection and the development of things like trust and confidence. It’s a dating game where decisions are based upon emotion rather than facts and numbers. If I were to build a lead conversion team for a real estate brokerage today I would start by doing a personality profile to find the types of agents who are easiest to like and trust. Smoke that in your lead management pipeline. Obviously this does not work for real estate because of the democracy of a brokerage culture. We are all equally qualified, right? If you agree that you cannot force a relationship between a willing buyer and a random agent who gets a lead, then you can position the process of online marketing differently. Online Marketing is for Sellers, Recruiting, and Retention. Online marketing is for sellers. During a listing presentation, the agent explains that buyers always use the Internet in the process of looking for property. Your firm will place the property on all of those popular-kid sites. This is so easy to do and say that I doubt any seller would be “like-wow! That’s amazing.” So you need to do something different than blast listing syndication because everyone does that. Heck, it’s a free service from every MLS in the nation. That is why I am so bullish on Buyside – it allows the agent to tell a seller how many buyers they are working with today who is looking for a home like theirs. If I am hungry to sell my house, I would choose the agent who has 10 buyers in their hand over an agent that plans to go shake the bush to find one. Show results from online marketing, not your online marketing plan. Tell the seller “every agent you interview is going to tell you about how they are going to plaster your home all over the Internet. I […]

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RE Technology’s Top 5 Articles of the Week

by Victor Lund on September 23, 2013

Does Your Website Capture Leads or Let Them Get Away? Getting visitors to your site is only half the battle of online advertising. If your website does not convert even the highest quality visitors to leads, your online lead generation efforts are doomed to failure. Your website needs to both engage your visitors with the information they are looking for and ask for their contact information so you can reach out and turn them into clients.  5 Reasons to Use a Virtual Tour In conversation with Tim Denbo of VirtualTourCafe, we asked a simple question: “Why should agents create a virtual tour for heir listings?” Tim obliged with a compelling list of substantive reasons. If you’re not using a virtual tour solution, here are five reasons you may want to reconsider. PPC – Overlooked and Underrated When you talk to real estate professionals or business owners who have been unsuccessful with PPC, they usually say something like “it cost a lot of money and I didn’t have good results or generate leads.” They’re not inaccurate, just uneducated in how to do PPC right, and one other very important bit of information. They’re not aware of Google’s Ad Quality Scoring and how it changes everything. E-Marketing 101 If you asked agents a decade or so ago, most would likely say e-marketing meant somehow placing your listing on a silly thing called the Internet. Just five short years ago, many agents wouldn’t know what a text message was. Yet now, we can’t imagine leaving the house without our smartphone. Checklist: Are You Using These Tools for Customer Service? Our business is all about referrals, and gaining referrals is all about providing optimal customer service. I’ve talked to David Lester of Sequent Systems, an efficiency expert of sorts to get his top tools for customer service – and I’ve compiled them into a checklist so you can see how well your practice measures up.    


Mobile Passes Print in Consumer Engagement

by Victor Lund on December 12, 2011

WAV Group joined the parade of consults declaring the death of print media in late 2006. Inman News confirmed its death during their conference in San Francisco in 2007 (one of my favorite events of all time). Believe it or not, print actually made a bit of a comeback in 2010. Nevertheless, the Internet is the place that consumers increasingly spend their media time. The new news is that people are actually spending more time on their mobile phones today than they are spending interacting with print media. According to eMarketer,  time spent on mobile devices is now an average of 65 minutes a day, compared to 44 minutes a day for print (newspapers and magazines combined).  Last year, both media segments were tied, but mobile grew by 30% in 2011. Here is the weird part – someone forgot to tell the people who are creating the advertising budgets. Today, companies spend an average of 25% of their marketing dollars on print according to eMarketer. Mobile gets less than 1%. Sound familiar? That was about the same ratio that we saw back in 2006-2007 when marketers began to shift dollars online. Today, marketers still only spend about 21% online – still less than print. The majority of money is still spent on Television – about 50% for most marketers.