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A new breed of Single Property Websites for Real Estate

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Single Property Websites and the iPhone

From the very first time I read about using single property websites on a dedicated domain to market real estate, I thought the idea was absolutely brilliant. Today, I think single property websites can revolutionize the real estate business. The overwhelming majority of real estate agents reading that previous sentence are nodding their heads in agreement – for all the wrong reasons. “Sellers love ’em” – is the reason they often cite for shelling out ten bucks on a subpar pre-packaged solution. Which is to say that the tool itself doesn’t do much, but it’s shiny enough to make a Seller reward your “cutting-edge” marketing with a listing.

They are shortsighted. Single property websites look good but they generate too little traffic too late. By the time the brand new site starts to climb Google rankings, the home has either sold or it has been pulled off the market. Even if the site contributed to the Buyer picking your listing over others, it is rendered useless after the transaction closes. But as negative as all this sounds, they are revolutionary in much the same way the iPhone was to the smart phone sphere. Two words: User interface. Think about this with me for a second: Every other marketing method an agent may use, leaves a prospective buyer unsatisfied and wanting more. See real estate sign on the yard? Call the number to get more info. Picked up a flyer from that finicky box? Three little pictures and a paragraph – call or click for details. Called a 1-800 property hotline? Descriptions sound great but I can’ t see any photos. Real estate agents have the brass balls to call this information squeeze, “lead generation” but it’s nothing but inadequate marketing. Enter a well built, seo optimized,  single property website. Think about it from the perspective of a prospective buyer looking in the neighborhood and the price range of your listing. In this one website, they can get every piece of information they need to make a decision on whether they’d like to see that home in person. Thirty high-quality photos? Check. Custom Google Map? Check. Property Specs and Descriptive copy? Check. Extensive School system info? Check. Neighborhood market stats? Check. Embedded Virtual tour? Check. It’s the only marketing medium that puts the consumer in control and you control the medium. You can make sure that those photographs are professional quality shots. You can ensure that the copy sheds a light on every selling feature of the home. You can “set the mood” for the consumer by defining their user interface and that my friends is huge!

Next: I’ll show you how to build a single property website that’s a powerful asset.

Houston Real Estate Rainmaker and Uberproud Father/Husband (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not skinning cats or changing diapers you can find me on Twitter or Facebook. I blog about marketing, social media and real estate. I might not always be in agreement, but you can rest assured I'll be honest. Oh, and I can cook a mean breakfast...

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    March 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Boom. Can’t wait to see how you build the Killer Bat Signal. Bring it Bro!

  2. CindyinIndy

    March 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I am still puzzled by “finding” that killer website. How many people type in the address of “that house”. I think a blog on the neighborhood might be a better answer and then a specific IDX for active listings in that neighborhood.

  3. Erion Shehaj

    March 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Cindy

    In my next post in this series, I’ll go over how to build a killer site for that property to get it sold. But that’s just part of the story. I don’t blame you for feeling puzzled – I have felt the same way for quite some time. But I think I’m on to something here. So next, I’ll make a case for how to eat everybody’s lunch in the long term/strong> using SPW as part of a long term marketing strategy.

  4. Mark Towler

    March 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I have been looking at SPW lately. There is a huge price difference in the providers. I am also interested in any new concepts.

  5. Leslie

    March 2, 2010 at 12:08 am

    I’ve been making single-property sites for a couple of years now. They take time to create but I think engaging the buyer with information I control in one location is advantageous. A beautifully-presented site results in multiple buyer views and quicker emotional attachment to the showcased property. However, other than winning the listing, I don’t think it’s much of a lead generation tool and you are right about the poor Google rankings. I am interested in your ideas to improve this and how you see these sites contributing to the big picture.

  6. Michael Sosnowski

    March 2, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I agree that most buyers do not type into G the property address. However, we have been building individual websites for properties – right within our own site. The URL includes the property address and the individual page includes all important info about the property. Why pay yet another outside company to do this for us??? And best still, if you do a G search for the street and state (no need for actual street number) the URL is normally included in the top 5 or 6 returns. Normally you will also see a result from Trulia as well, and the unfortunate thing is we as realtors have created our own competition, like Trulia, which is really to bad. How crazy is this – I’m competing with Trulia (or realtor.com or zillow.com) with information I gave them. Yikes!

    I am looking forward to the post about “building” the killer individual website.

  7. Joe

    March 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

    We love single property websites, however, we usually use previously done sites then add the new property to the site, thus allowing for quicker ranking for the search engines. I have not considered their impact on mobile phones.

  8. Jeremy Isaac

    March 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    We’ve used single listing websites with significant success. A few key points to consider:
    1. Host the “single listing site” on your main website to generate search results much quicker since you main site should already have the trust of google.
    2. The do a redirect from the vanity domain of 1234streetname.com so you can use this in other marketing.
    3. Most importantly, use all your other online marketing to drive traffic to the single listing site. We typically use the “virtual tour” link provided by our MLS and most of our online syndication partners to direct that traffic to our single listing site.

  9. Michael Sosnowski

    March 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Just to follow-up on Jeremy’s comments. As I mentioned above we host the single sites right on our own server and in many case do redirect. As an example go to G and type in Anchorage Place (you don’t even need a town name or state) and our own single site is first. If you really want to get fancy, begin to post these in FB or on your blog and Y-Tube and if you do it right these posts will appear in G at the top of searches. Why pay more cottage industry businesses who are trying to make money on the backs of individual agents when you can do these types of things yourself?

  10. Brian Rutledge

    March 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Instead of expending all that effort on a dedicated site for one property, why not build a website with a search optimized IDX? If you do it right, you’ll effectively have the SEO power of a single property website for every listing in the MLS.

  11. real estate marketing results

    March 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Awersome post I love your comment on ” I think single property websites can revolutionize the real estate business.”

    thanks for the great info above.

  12. Erion Shehaj

    March 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Getting found on the search engines is an important thing – but not everything.

    My focus is on what happens after a prospective buyer lands on your site – Will you keep them glued to the screen, page after page or will they leave unsatisfied in search of what you could have offered them?

    That’s the question.

  13. Michael Sosnowski

    March 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Not all states allow for customized IDX, unfortunately. I am sensing, however, some kind of attitude that we cannot build a good custom site (and know what to do with that). Obviously you do, so why not share?

  14. Brian Rutledge

    March 2, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    @ Michael Sosnowski – You are right, not all boards are receptive to the idea of you optimizing the data you pay for 🙂

    Sorry if I you sensed any attitude, I didn’t mean to imply any. Some of the best SEO’s I know are Realtors. I do have quite a bit of experience in this area. I’ve owned an SEO company since 1998, and I now own a software as a service company that sells, no surprise here, a search optimized IDX, but I didn’t want to come on here and hawk it. I simply wanted to say if you are going to spend time, money and effort on something, do it on your own domain. There are many (well, a few, anyway 🙂 good indexable IDX systems to choose from with varying price ranges and features. Choose one of those, and build long term SEO value on your own site, not on a disposable domain.

  15. Missy Caulk

    March 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I look forward to your follow up post on how to build them .

  16. Matt Stigliano

    March 3, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Erion – How can you tempt me with knowledge and then make me wait until next post to get it? Looking forward to seeing what you propose. I have been thinking about designing a template to work around to make adding a single property site easy and efficient (of course, not every site will have the same exact content, so it’s not quite a template site in that sense).

  17. Bruce Lemieux

    March 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve struggled to optimize my single-property web sites for some time. I’ve concluded (for now) that Jeremy’s approach is absolutely the way to go (create page in your site, setup single propery URL and redirect, and reference property address in all marketing).

    The challenge, as I see it, is to effectively reference the page in all MLS-driven listings and syndicated listings. I can add my page to some sources like Trulia, but can’t figure out how to do this from the MLS listing. Ideally, my page would be the virtual tour in my MLS which would then be pushed out to the zillions of IDX-based sites (and syndication in the case of my MLS). But, since my listing page has personal branding, this isn’t allowed by my MLS (which makes sense, I suppose).

    One help would be to utilitize a syndication service that pushes your page out to Zillow, Trulia, Googlebase, etc in one click. ListingHub does this for MLSs and many single website providers do their product. Anyone know how to “mass self-syndicate”?

    • Martin Dorgan

      March 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Bruce,
      I may be way off base here, and you may already know about Point2NLS. But they are the website provider I have utilized for my websites. One of the key reasons is that they syndicate my listings, and other agents(member) to many, many Real Estate portals and sites. And they offer single site domains for listings as part of their service. I haven’t tried it yet but fully intend to soon. And I’ll be waiting to read part 2 of this blog to enhance the single address sites, and anything else I find beneficial within the responses found to the article.

  18. Michael Sosnowski

    March 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    The hair on my neck stands up (a little) when I get into discussions about Trullia, Zillow, Yahoo Real Estate and the rest. They are the competition for online traffic! No matter how you try to rationalize, that is just the way it is. When it comes to syndication services, I personally try to avoid them for the simple reason it is all about them and not about you. As much as we hate to do it, we post listings on these other sites, but try to do so where we can control the data – after all, it is ours!

    Okay, I am not off my soap box.

  19. Erion Shehaj

    March 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    @Matt
    Kinda liking this teasing thing 🙂

    @Michael
    I don’t see syndication to Zillow or Trulia as feeding the competition at all. I just think they’re highly ineffective – Most of the time, listings on these sites get negligible “clickbacks to the source site” which is the whole purpose of syndication after all. That said, (a little) more exposure is always better than less for our clients in the end.

  20. Michael Sosnowski

    March 5, 2010 at 9:00 am

    This has been an interesting post. What I mean about competition is this. If you do searches at your local level for real estate, Zillow, Trulia, etc take up space in the SERPS that local real estate websites should be in. Why is this? First and foremost we have “given” these websites 2 things. First of course are our listings and second, with agents spending time blogging and whatnot on them, we are giving them authority – authority we should be focusing on ourselves at the local level. Most agents are not really honest with themselves with how much business they get from these national sites, let alone what they get from their own sites. Since they really, in most cases, don’t know how to do real estate online at the local level, they have “grabbed” at the hope that these national companies would give their listings “exposure”. But the sad fact is that these companies are all about generating revenue. Once Trulia gets sold to Yahoo, that will be interesting to see what happens to their search results. This sale is going to happen because we as agent put Trulia in business.

  21. Bruce Lemieux

    March 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Your right Michael – The sites with syndicated listings collect tons of listing data to draw visitors and then generate revenue by selling ad space and products to agents. They know that the data quality is horrible, but they don’t care.

    I think they all have a very dishonest business model since they proclaim to be consumer advocates. If they were truly out for the consumer, they would do a much better job of keeping their data current (which is impossible since it’s not MLS sourced), and put disclaimers on their sites saying “consumer beware – our listing data is incomplete, inaccurate and not a great place to find a home”.

    Still – it’s a disservice to your clients to hold back your listings since consumers still go there. And as far as SEO, individual agent websites are like grains of sand on a huge beach. We can’t possibly compete with these guys for SEO. We must accept that fact.

    I think that the best we can do is to incorporate listing information into our sites to make the best use of the content, get links from these sites when possible, and understand that others (many others) will look to profit from our clients listing data as well.

  22. Brian Rutledge

    March 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Bruce, great points, but you should know that individual agent sites can absolutely compete SEO-wise with large national sites. If you have a reasonably search friendly indexable IDX and are willing to do a little legwork building a few links to that site, you will easily compete for property addresses, mls numbers, neighborhoods and zip codes. Even if you look at “short tail” keyphrases such as city+real+estate you often don’t see the Trulia’s and Zillows there.

    As an SEO for (non-real estate) companies that compete with local based websites, I can tell you that small, local sites are a huge problem for national sites. Google loves local sites, and wants to show local sites in the search results…you just have to provide relevant content (MLS listings) to index and point a few links there so Googlebot can find it.

    That said, if you have the time and money, there’s no reason not to syndicate the content to the national sites and, as Erion discusses above, create single property sites. It’s a pretty big kick to see that you control the top 2, 3 or even 5 results in Google for one of your listings.

  23. Erion Shehaj

    March 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Bruce

    The success of Zillow and Trulia in and of itself is proof that it’s not just about raw data but what is done with the data that matters. Instead of complaining that aggregators are enriching themselves through our listings, we should ask ourselves “why are they winning the traffic in the first place?”. If it’s all about the sheer data, local MLS(s) and their data feeds should win every time. The answer lies in the comparison between the way Zillow and Trulia render the data and “feed” it to the consumer and the way local MLSs do. It all comes back to the user interface. And when it comes to that there’s just no comparison right now (with few exceptions).

    • Bruce Lemieux

      March 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      (My last comment is in moderation due to a weblink – so this is a repost)

      Erion,

      I agree – Trulia and Zillow do a superior job of presenting data to consumers. And, since they do a great job of presenting listings, I do what I can to make sure my listings look good there. Anything to help my clients sell their home.

      My gripe with them is different. The *quality* of the data they present is really, really bad. Here’s one analysis of their data that I completed a few months ago – bit.ly/6SYIw8

      These companies present themselves as a consumer advocates, yet they knowingly mislead consumers by presenting listing data that isn’t close to being accurate. They knowingly do this so they can sell ads and products to Realtors. It’s dishonest and I don’t think much of them as a result.

      But – back to the purpose of your topic – I’m a big fan of single property websites am working to maximize the mileage of these for my clients and for me to attract leads. I look forward to your ideas. Here’s my latest iteration – www dot CoralGablesWay.com. I welcome any/all feedback.

  24. Ed Kohler

    March 7, 2010 at 11:17 am

    While a single property website may generate traffic through Google, by far the most valuable traffic you can get to a site like that (during the sales cycle) is from people who are standing in front of the property with a smartphone, or those who write down the address of the property and later type it into their browser. At least, that’s the type of traffic that seems to convert to leads at the highest rate among the sites I track.

  25. LesleyLambert

    March 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I use SPS for all of my listings. I like them for a number of reasons, but am very intrigued by what you have to offer by way of added service to the buyer’s landing on these pages.

    I am also interested in learning what companies you are using for your SPS? I see above several have them integrated into their own site…can anyone elaborate on that?

    Good stuff!

  26. Martin Dorgan

    March 16, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Very informative! Thank You! I will follow this discussion, I believe a few of the comments have provided real insight(Sorry, it’s too time consuming to back track and keep acknowledging everyone)
    I hope when the new part 2 comes out that specific providers are mentioned, to help cut down on the research to find them?
    Like how to make your website/Listings or singlesite viewable on cell phones? Who are the recommended or cheapest providers of the services?

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Business Marketing

TINA.org is helping the FTC crack down on Kardashian-esque influencers

(MARKETING NEWS) The Kardashians are just five of the seemingly endless amounts of influencers companies are using for marketing but TINA.org is over their tactics.

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A brand could find no better influencers than the Kardashians – the family who proved that you can get famous just for, well, being famous. Each Kardashian sister has an astronomical number of followers, making them obvious trendsetters.

That’s why brands pay the Kardashian sisters – Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie — tens of thousands of dollars a pop to post pictures of themselves on social media using their products.

Perhaps you find it hard to believe that the Kardashians stop by Popeye’s Chicken to grab a to-go meal before boarding their private jet. Regardless, the Kardashians, and the brands who pay them to pump their products, would prefer that you believe that these endorsements reflect the Kardashian’s actual preferences, rather than the paychecks they receive for posting them.

The Kardashians have been attempting to make their endorsements seem more “authentic” by totally disregarding Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules that require influencers to disclose when their posts are paid endorsements.

In August of 2016, Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) filed a complaint about the Kardashians to the FTC, saying that the (in)famous sisters had “failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections to brands or the fact that the posts were paid ads, as required by federal law.”

After receiving a finger-wagging from the FTC, the Kardashian sisters corrected less than half of the posts, generally by adding #ad to the post. The remaining posts, according to a recent TINA.org follow-up investigation, either have not been edited at all, or contain “insufficient disclosures.”

For example, some posts now read #sp to indicated “sponsored” – as if anyone knows that reference. In another tactic that also got Warner Brothers and YouTube influencer PewDiePie in trouble with the FTC, the Kardashians are posting their disclosure information at the bottom of a long post so that users will only see it if they click “see more.”

The Kardashians have also been posting disclosures, but only days after the original post. Considering that the vast majority of viewers comment on or like posts within the first ten hours after it’s published, most of them will never see the disclosure when it’s tacked on days later.

Some of the “repeat offender” brands, who came up both in last year’s complaint and in the recent review, include Puma, Manuka Doctor, Jet Lux, Fit Tea, and Sugar Bear Hair. This time around, the Kardashians have also failed to disclose sponsorship on posts promoting Adidas, Lyft, Diff Eyewear, and Alexander Wang.

TINA.org found over 200 posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat where products are promoted without the Kardashians letting on that their raking in big bucks in exchange. The organization has notified the Kardashians, the brands they represent, and the FTC.

The FTC has recently been cracking down on deceptive influencer marketing, targeting not only the brands, but the influencers themselves.

In April, the FTC sent letters to 46 social media stars reminding them of their legal obligations to disclose, and followed up with 21 letters in September warning the influencers that they had until the end of the month to disclose sponsorships, or face legal consequences.

“The Kardashian/Jenner sisters are masterful marketers who are making millions of dollars from companies willing to turn a blind eye to the women’s misleading and deceptive social media marketing practices,” says TINA.org’s Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “It’s time the Kardashians were held accountable for their misdeeds.”

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Business Marketing

Dove dropped the olive branch with new ad campaign

(MARKETING NEWS) With any ad campaign there will be misses but take a note from Dove’s playbook and learn how to not repeat mistakes.

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Dove’s latest Facebook ad really hit the mark for whitewashing in advertising. The ad, since removed, essentially implied their soap could turn a black woman into a clean white woman.

In a three-second video on the company’s Facebook page, three women transformed into the next when they removed their shirts. The first transition caused an uproar: a woman of color lifting a brown top over her head to reveal a different woman, who is very, very white.

Although the white woman then lifts her shirt to reveal another woman with darker hair and a darker skin tone, the initial transformation is problematic in its implications of whiteness as cleanliness.

Dove has since removed the ad and issued an apology, stating in a tweet “In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”

Wait, haven’t we been here before? At this point you’d think skin care companies would have realized a little more delicacy is required when rolling out ad campaigns. Remember Nivea’s disastrous, short-lived “White is Purity” mishap? How about Dove’s other blunder in their 2011 VisibleCare ad?

These featured another series of three women standing in front of close-ups of skin, with the darker skinned woman in front of the “before” label, and the woman with the lightest skin by the “after” picture. Although Dove didn’t intend to imply white skin is cleaner, oops, that’s what happened anyways.

While Dove has gotten many things right in terms of inclusivity and featuring models of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, there have also been several instances of intentional racist missteps. Let’s use this as a teachable moment for handling marketing mishaps.

Whenever an ad campaign offends people, the company’s response can make or break the business. If you find yourself in the midst of a marketing crisis, you can take some mindful steps to manage the situation and begin repairing your public image.

First, acknowledge the problem and issue a genuine apology that gets to the core of what your audience is saying. Dove recognized they upset people, and instead of taking a defensive “sorry you felt offended” stance, took responsibility for their actions. Once an apology is issued, explain the original intent to provide context for the situation.

Dove meant to create an inclusive campaign featuring a diverse cast of women. Lola Ogunyemi, the first model featured in the now controversial shirt ad, has even defended the ad. She stated, “I can see how the snapshots that are circulating the web have been misinterpreted, considering the fact that Dove has faced a backlash in the past for the exact same issue. There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage.”

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Business Marketing

Aori helps you pack a punch with AdWords

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Aori is the newest tool designed to help anyone using AdWords to kick more butt.

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Search ad campaign managers constantly wrestle with the best way to organize their keywords into campaigns. Most of these decisions strive to balance the time needed to manage the campaign with efficiency of campaign expenditures.

Take the SKAGs strategy, for example. The SKAGs (Single Keyword Ad Group) system is setup to trigger a unique ad for every single keyword by placing each keyword in its own group.

There’s lots of literature touting the benefits of the SKAG system. Generally, the hyper-specific match between ads and keywords improves click-through rates.

This leads to higher quality scores, which leads to lower costs for click, which leads to lower costs per conversion. The tradeoff with this system is the setup. You could be looking at hundreds of keyword groups to set up and maintain, and that’s a lot of work for a small business or startup.

This is where Aori comes in.

Their system helps to automate the process of setting up a SKAG system for your AdWords campaigns.

According to the website, the tool’s primary function is to automate keyword generation. Users enter a set of “root keywords” and common keyword extensions, and Aori will automatically generate all possible combinations of those keywords for your campaigns.

Additionally, through Aori, users can create ad templates using a “dynamic keyword insertion tool,” to enable you to utilize the strongest ad copy across multiple phrases.

In what is the least clear value point of the whole pitch, Aori also uses what they call a “unique bid-optimization algorithm.”

There is almost no detail to be found on how the algorithm works. If the tool handles all bid management for you, this could be a handy tool for PPC novices who are less familiar with the process and lack the time to learn it.

Aori appears to run cheaper than the others we know of, but that may be due to the level of automation available. For example, Aori requires the user to feed it keyword inputs, both root and extension words.

It’s also important to understand where a SKAG system can and can’t work. It is likely a better system for smaller campaigns where ad testing wouldn’t yield statistically meaningful results.

Because every keyword group targets one phrase, you can’t readily say that improvements in ad copy will translate to other campaigns.

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