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Does your website need a facelift? Take the test

Even new websites may be missing some basic elements – take the quick test to see if you have any more work to do on your own site.

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website facelift

website facelift

Some sites are good, others are ineffective

Throughout my many years of assisting real estate agents with their marketing efforts, I have seen a number of real estate agents’ websites. Some are great. They have clear call to actions, quality content, an eye-catching aesthetic and they’re easy to navigate.

Others have a website that is, for lack of a better word, ineffective. The site doesn’t have the power of speech that is needed to get today’s consumer interested in finding out more about what they have to offer as an agent.

Take the test

Before deciding whether or not you need to give your site some serious work, answer the following questions:
•    Do you have a blog?
•    Do you have testimonials on your website?
•    Does your site include a community or news section?
•    Is there clear call to actions on your site?
•    Do you have a section of your site where viewers can opt-in to email updates?
•    Do you offer video content?
•    Do you have a mobile version of your site?
•    Does your site encourage feedback, commentary or sharing?
•    Does your home page change often?
•    Do you use analytics to view how visitors use your site?

If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then I have news for you: your website might need a little bit of improvement. Before you go about making the necessary changes to your site, however, it’s important to understand why you need to make them. I’ll take it one update at a time.

Understanding why changes must be made

The blog. If you don’t have a blog either built in to your website or linked from your website, this is the absolute first thing that you need to change. Blogging will increase your website traffic, boost your rankings in search engines like Google and Bing and give you authority in your industry. If you’re not blogging at least once per month, you need to start. You’ll soon find that you will get more traffic to your website and more leads coming in.

Testimonials. People like to hear what others have to say about your services, so having a testimonials page is crucial. It gives your website visitors the opportunities to find out more about how you do business and hear your success stories. You should be asking your clients for testimonials after you’re finished working with them and always add new ones to your site.

Community information. As a real estate agent, you want to establish yourself as more than just a housing expert. Remember, you’re assisting people as they move to a new community. You should be marketing yourself as a neighborhood expert in your area. That’s where having community pages, all of which are optimized with keywords and hyperlinks, will be helpful on your website. You can market yourself as an expert and boost your SEO at the same time.

Clear call to actions. When you first visit a website and are looking for service, you want to know what it is that makes the business you are looking at stand out from their competition. Whether you offer first-time home buyer seminars or a complimentary coupon book, you need to advertise what makes you special on the front page of your website so people will see it right when they first visit. Once the calls to actions are clicked, there should be the section where your website visitors can “opt-in” to your newsletter and email updates, as well. This will bring you more leads.

The latest technology. There are two well-known facts about today’s consumer. The first is that they’re more visual. People are more responsive to video content than they are to written these days, hence the success of sites like YouTube. The other well-known fact is that people are using their mobile devices and tech tablets more than their laptops. With that in mind, you need to tweak your web content to keep up with the trends. Offer video content that is easily accessible to website visitors and make sure you have a mobile-friendly version of your site or app for smartphone and iPad users.

Switching it up. You should always be adding new content to your website. Whether it’s through updating your blog regularly or creating various monthly promotions, it’s the little changes that will keep visitors coming back for more. One way to monitor the changes you could or should be making is by using analytics programs to see your website’s stats. You can monitor the activity on your site and see what its visitors are really doing. Using these as a guide, you can make certain features of your website more prominent and make the appropriate changes.

Now that you know why you need to make these changes, make a plan, get in gear and start giving your website a little TLC. It will take your site from ineffective to a fully-functioning roadway between you and your leads. No excuses. Now that you know what you need to do, it’s time to start doing it!

Carrie Gable & the Real Estate Virtual Assistant team at RealSupport, Inc. work virtually for many top real estate agents & brokers nationwide, offering marketing campaigns, branding, website & logo design, listing marketing efforts, lead management, technical support, marketing presentations, social media setup & management, copywriting, blogging and much more.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. genemundt

    July 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Excellent reminders in this article @RBergeronMRED Thank u for tweeting!

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Business Marketing

Facebook adjusts how much repeat video views matter

(MARKETING) For video creators and marketers alike, Facebook updates can mean a world of difference. What’s new now?

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mid-roll facebook video

For Facebook Video, intent and repeat viewership matter. Recently, Facebook updated video distribution methods to build more effective monetization tools and improve viewing experiences for users, namely regarding video distribution, ad breaks, and pre-roll.

Most video watching on Facebook takes place in the news feed, making this a great place to reach target audiences. It is the primary hub of activity, featuring status updates, photos, app activity, and video posts.

New ranking methods promote videos people seek out or want to return to, like serial episodes from creators regularly publishing content. Partners fostering communities by actively posting weekly or daily content get a boost as well.

If content publishers link a Show Page with their regular Page, they can distribute episodes directly to followers. This makes it easier to maintain and grow audiences, connecting users with relevant content.

However, although New Feed is a popular zone for creators and publishers, Facebook expects video engagement to eventually move to Watch, the platform for shows. In Watch’s Discover tab, shows people come back to will be prioritized for more convenient access.

After all, News Feed isn’t the easiest place to go for returning viewers since they have to sift through a constantly changing barrage of status updates. Watch offers a place more akin to YouTube, where episodes and content are contained in one place.

Creating a Facebook Group for the show adds another level of engagement, providing viewers a social viewing experience to connect with other fans.

Putting videos and content in an appealing, easily accessible area makes your viewers likelier to stick around. Grouping similar content will encourage binging, keeping your viewers in one place to engage with your content.

If content is difficult to find, or re-find when showing friends, it’s less likely to spread.

Revisions to Ad Breaks will hopefully drive up engagement as well. Previously, videos were eligible for Ad Breaks if they were at least 90 seconds, and the ad could show up as early as twenty seconds into the video.

Starting in January, videos must be at least three minutes long to have an Ad Break, and the break won’t come until at least one minute has passed.

Although Ad Breaks benefit content creators with a share of the revenue, disruptions to already short videos can drive users away. Delaying the break may improve viewer satisfaction, keeping people watching longer.

Creators now have an Ad Break insights tab to better understand video monetization performance, tracking impressions and clicks per minute.

Additionally, Pages with over fifty thousand followers can now have Live Ad Breaks. Smaller Pages and Profiles aren’t eligible since Facebook determined these publishers are less likely to comply with their monetization guidelines. Plus, their audiences are typically smaller, meaning it’s more difficult to gain significant revenue from Ad Breaks.

Facebook also plans on testing six second pre-roll ads, but only in places like Watch since viewers are already actively seeking out this content.

Combining metrics tracking insight and updated distribution tactics with intentionally crafted content may promote repeat viewership, leading to more success for publishers.

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Business Marketing

How Snapchat earns over $1M a day on just one lil’ feature

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Marketers are jumping on the bandwagon, giving Snapchat more and more money – but what little feature rakes in so much cash!?

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snapchat 3d filters

Although Snapchat is still struggling to net a profit, they make a million dollars a day with branded AR lenses. If Snapchat can remain crazy popular with its users, this may help the company get out of its revenue slump.

Snapchat’s shares dropped 22 percent since their March IPO, and their Q3 earnings saw a revenue loss of $0.14 per share with the slowest user growth ever. But there’s still growth, and Snap has never really been profit focused anyways.

CEO Evan Spiegel certainly isn’t worried, publicly at least. Spiegel’s product strategies have been mirrored by Facebook and Instagram, and a huge chunk of teens prefer Snapchat over these other social media giants.

Which is why Snapchat can charge upwards of one million dollars a day for augmented reality lenses. Snap’s popularity, especially among teens and young adults with disposable income and social influence, bodes well with media agencies.

AR lenses are one of many features offered on Snapchat, allowing users to superimpose augmented reality images on pictures and videos. If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet, the dancing hotdog is a testament to how easily an AR lens can turn into a meme.

In September, Snapchat introduced sponsored 3D World Lenses, giving advertisers the opportunity to feature targeted campaigns on the platform. Bladerunner 2049 was the first campaign at the launch, and since then Budweiser, BMW, and McDonalds have jumped on the bandwagon.

Pricing varies depending on when the lens goes live, if it’s a “premium” day like a holiday or anticipated movie release, and the targeting criteria of the agency. If a lens is specific to a region, for example, it’s not going to cost as much as a nationwide campaign.

In a report from Digiday, one NYC-based ad executive stated AR lenses are currently Snap’s most expensive ad product, and for some agencies it’s offered as a standalone purchase. Others reported Snapchat offered a “holistic media-buying plan,” including stickers and filters as well as AR lenses.

James Douglas, SVP and Executive Director of social media for Society explained Snapchat Ads are all about media negotiation, with some of his clients signing annual media contracts, while others may try out shorter stints.

“If it’s a well-known consumer packaged goods company, Snapchat may quote $200,000 for an AR lens, but not on a premium day,” he stated. “Snapchat is very flexible to negotiate media investments with agencies, and I like that.”

According to a Snapchat spokesperson, the base price for a 3D lens running up to 12 months is $300,000. However, the final price depends on if the lens is based on audience impressions or a national takeover on a premium day.

While the AR lenses are not necessarily driving sales for featured brands, users are completely engaged with lenses. Featured lenses are widely shared among users, and screenshots of particularly popular, interesting, or funny lenses end ups shared on other social media platforms.

Even if the lens is being mocked, that still leads to impressions since ultimately the ad is being spread when people send Snaps to friends and feature lenses in Snapchat Stories.

Right now, Snapchat is doing all the engineering for AR lenses. Agencies provide the ad assets and Snapchat creates the lens. Future plans involve opening up creation to select brands, as Spiegel announced in November.

Snapchat is testing a pilot program with Lens Studio, a self-service toolkit allowing advertisers to create their own lenses in as little as an hour. Eventually Snap plans on offering the AR toolkit to advertisers for free, but for now it’s only available to top clients.

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Business Marketing

Pantone’s 2018 color of the year (that you’ll see everywhere now): Ultra Violet

(MARKETING NEWS) Check out the Pantone color choice for 2018, and prepare to see it splashed across the internet and in print.

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pantone 2018

Much ado about a hue. Over the past year, Pantone encouraged us to reconnect with nature and once another through the promotion of Greenery, the fresh yellow-green color of 2017. It’s now time to take our personal and business potentials to a whole other level, as inspired by Ultra Violet, PANTONE 18-3838, which is the 2018 Color of the Year.

Now technically, Ultra Violet isn’t a shade of purple as the Pantone color square suggests. In fact, Ultra Violet is a spectrum of light waves that can’t be detected by the human eye in natural circumstances. But that’s kind of the point. Pantone purposefully selected this color to encourage inventiveness and imagination.

The color purple has long represented individuality and artistic expression. Think Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix. When Ultra Violet was dubbed the iconic color of 2018, this symbolism was not overlooked. They are using Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple, to encourage individuals – and companies – to push boundaries and blaze their own trail.

Ultra Violet can have mystical and spiritual undertones, too. It’s been associated with mindfulness practices such as meditation, which can be a way to detach from today’s non-stop, information overloaded environment.

As a reflection of this new Color of the Year, we will likely see bright nail polishes, funky home décor, and vibrant fashion bring Ultra Violet into the marketplace. However, while material goods and designer’s color schemes are splashed with this dramatic shade of purple, Pantone encourages brands to use this color to inspire consumers to push for a better, and brighter future.

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute.

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