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My Plan to Conquer the Phoenix Real Estate Market

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“You’re right. I can’t actually back that up.” – Dr. Evil, after telling Austin Powers that he was AP’s father.

Similarly, I can’t possibly back up a boast to dominate the Phoenix real estate market, not when there’s such a wide array of luminaries here in the Valley (including two Agent Genius contributors, Russell and Jay.)

In fact, the mere knowledge that I’ve sold several percent the amount of homes that Russell has this year is a major cause for celebration, considering my advertising budget is a decidedly smaller percentage than his. This is 2008, after all, the year to celebrate minor victories and survive.

Plans Are Being Made

This isn’t to say I don’t have plans in the works though I seem to have more plans than time. I’ll share them here so long as you promise not to tell Russ and Jay what I’m doing. They probably stay up many nights wondering WWJD – what would Jonathan do – as it is and I’d just as soon let them wonder.

Agreed? Good.

Last month I had the brilliant idea of beginning a Phoenix real estate wiki. This was to be part reference material, part time saver (so I don’t have to keep typing the definition of absorption rate) and part Google juice on steroids.

Naturally, I wrote entries for the “A”s and quickly ran out of time. I’m working on getting back there but with kids out of school, vacation coming up and these pesky buyers actually expecting to look at homes (the nerve of some people!) it’s been hard to get back.

Which is unfortunate because I’ve come to realize this is a long-tail monster lurking in the wings.

Communities at Your Fingertips

I’ve had more than decent success with some niche sites focusing on particular neighborhoods – Ventana Lakes, Westbrook Village and Arrowhead Ranch. But what if I was able to skip a step, stop searching in vain for the rare useful URL that hasn’t been purchased, and simply provide much of the same information on one or more pages of a blog?

Anthem is my first experiment and I’m nowhere close to finished. Still to come are specific searches, or at least Diverse Solutions modules, for the condos on Galivan Parkway and eventually another module that’s just for golf course lots (I’m waiting for a change in Diverse Solutions’ search to do this one.)

Floor plans? I’ve got those and will add those soon. A photo page? Not high on my list, purely for time and gas-driven reasons, but absolutely within the realm of possibility.

And this is just Anthem.

Picture a Goodyear page with separate sub-pages for Pebblecreek, Estrella and Palm Valley. Or a Scottsdale page with different condo communities featured along with Grayhawk, DC Ranch and McDowell Mountain Ranch. The possibilities are endless.

Sadly, my time is not. And that’s why this hasn’t happened quite yet.

But it will. Oh yes, it will. Just don’t tell Jay and Russ.

Mooo-ha-ha-ha … mooo-ha-ha-ha-ha …

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Erion Shehaj

    June 14, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I definitely dig the idea. What (plugin, widget) are you using to make this happen?

  2. Jonathan Dalton

    June 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Which part, Erion? All of the listings widgets and modules and such come through Diverse Solution’s IDX product. As for the rest, that’s just little ol’ me.

  3. Mariana Wagner

    June 14, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    How would one start a WIKI? I am pretty sure that is one of the coolest ideas I have heard in a long time, Jonathan.

  4. Jonathan Dalton

    June 14, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Practice, Mariana … wait, no. That’s how you get to Broadway.

    In this case, I just started typing. It’s not a pure wiki in that readers can’t add and edit their own content. I think that can be done through WordPress but that’s a little too large a can of worms for me to open right now.

    For those who want to see something added (once I’m done with the main topics, that is), they’re welcome to send the suggestions through the comment form on the right side.

  5. Jonathan Dalton

    June 14, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Once I add the comment form, that is

  6. Paula Henry

    June 14, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Jonathan –

    I think I already said it once – but I think your Wiki is a very cool idea! I won’t tell Jay or Russ, but I have thought about one for Indy. Like you I have more plans than time.

  7. Jay Thompson

    June 14, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    I’d like to read this post, but was told I can’t….

    But if I could read it, I’d mention the WP FAQ plugin I’ve played with a little here. It might be able to be used for your “wiki”. There is also a WP glossary plugin here, but I have not used it or looked at it at all.

    I suspect there are plugins available for true wiki’s as well. I set up a wiki separately once from the blog and it was so overrun with spam that I took it down. With the interaction available on a blog , I’m not sure that a full-blown wiki adds all that much. I do like Jonathan’s glossary / wiki thingy though.

  8. Russell Shaw

    June 14, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Crap! My stats are already down and now this.

  9. ines

    June 14, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I also like the wiki idea…..very clever! and the long tail advantages…..love those!

    As for the neighborhoods – I know Mariana has also created separate blogs for different neighborhoods – I decided from the beginning to set them all in my one miamism blog with some static content (that google likes) and could updated content constantly, which I do.

    Time management is a huge issue for me as well – so many ideas, so little time….and we still have to sell real estate.

  10. John Wake

    June 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Jay,

    What do you think would work best, a separate Anthem blog or a few Anthem pages on an already popular blog?

  11. Shailesh Ghimire

    June 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    This is great – and you’ll need a lender page on your wiki won’t you? Well, let me share with you how I plan to dominate the phoenix lending market… Mooo-ha-ha-ha … mooo-ha-ha-ha-ha …

  12. Jay Thompson

    June 16, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    “What do you think would work best, a separate Anthem blog or a few Anthem pages on an already popular blog?”

    Very difficult question to answer John. Partly depends on how one defines “work best”. From a purely SEO perspective, I think adding pages on an existing blog (assuming it has some “authority”) would work better (or at least faster) than starting a separate blog.

    On the other hand, there is much to be said for a “dedicated” neighborhood blog. It may be more initial work and time to get well ranked and establish readership, but once that hurdle was cleared, it might be ultimately more successful simply because it would attracted a very targeted readership.

  13. Jonathan Dalton

    June 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    I think it depends what the overall plan is … if you have the time and information to dedicate to a neighborhood-specific blog, do it. I have local sites on WP platforms but I rarely use the blog function just because there’s a lack of time. It hasn’t hurt for Westbrook or Ventana Lakes one iota – I’m top of Google for both.

    Can a couple of pages on a larger site work? Possibly. Probably depends on how competitive the search terms are.

    Google “Fountain of the Sun” and my Phoenix Retirement Real Estate site is on the first page. I’d like to see it higher but I haven’t dedicated even a fraction of the time the site really could use outside of listings. But with a little more work, and less than what you’d need for a full-blown hyper local blog, I probably can get above the fold.

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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Business Marketing

Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.

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Man browsing Yelp for his business listing in open office environment.

We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.

In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.

In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.

You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.

How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.

If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!

In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.

So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:

  1. Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
  2. Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
  3. Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.

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