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Real Estate in 2010, Google, Technology, and Your Real Estate Business

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Be not afraid

google-fearA lot has been made of Google’s play into the real estate space that you heard about first here on AG.  A few folks balked at our assertions that the U.S. Real Estate space was a major target for the likes of Google when we asked the simple question of whether it was a real threat or an opportunity for agents.

In our opinion, the changes you’re seeing are opportunities for agents to gain market share for their listings as well as themselves, but first, one must recognize how to take advantage of them.

Google has no intention of brokering transactions, it simply wants to be the world’s information provider, and for the time being it is.  We believe the real threat here (The Big Story) is to media sites like Realtor.com, Zillow, and Trulia, as well as local search portals.  The problem for Google is that we don’t know that Google’s market share in search won’t be eroded over time, but for now Google is wearing the bullseye.

Bing by Microsoft is also a retail marketplace of its own that should not be underestimated- in fact, it’s gaining in popularity as a friendly results engine designed to deliver consumers to answers, retailers, and yes, service providers just like you. Bing will get a lot more focus in 2010 as it rolls out new opportunities for you to get beside competitor results, but for now continues to tweak and develop itself in the search arena.

What’s so fascinating about the nearly 70 changes Google has made this year is that you have to believe that the odds of 75 percent of their launches are just that- launches that won’t go very far with a throw everything at the wall approach to finding the sticky– that approach rarely works so deciphering what’s real and what’s smoke and mirrors will be the real test over the next several months.  My money is on Google Goggles, Google Wave, and Real Estate Search, and the rest?  Well, it may be too early in the game to tell.

Think big picture

What’s most important for you, the common agent to remember, is that you’re an entrepreneur first and foremost. You’re in business for yourself, and what is crucial is that you look upon these chances with a big picture mentality, not fear.  Take each tool for face value and forget how this disrupts you as a business.  In fact, what makes more sense is to ask yourself how you could wield it within your own business to disrupt your competitor.

As an example, we all know now that Google provides an opportunity to upload and feed listings into it- that’s great to some and oh so scary to others, but to me, this is a great place to fine tune your AdWords campaign.

Actionables

Have you considered creating specific Google ads especially for specific listings on a mico-level?  Now that Google AdWords launched geotargeting, it makes no sense to make ads broad to the U.S. real estate market, but should be fine tuned to the neighborhood the home is located in.  The landing page should be directed to a blog post about the property, not to the MLS, not to Google, and not to a media company- we need to capture results on the homepage, do we not?

By doing this, your ad shows up consistently beside listing search results within Google targeted exactly to local consumers seeking out neighborhood information. This is also a play for listing consumers doing homework around their future listing as they try to evaluate the value of their home- they’re seeing your listings popping up within their search results for competitive properties only to realize that apparently you’re on your Google game.

Another opportunity I’m seeing right now is high jacking Google ad spaces on local blogs within your own market.  Say for example that a local blog serves Google ads, then target that blog’s subject matter. If you’re blogging about local restaurants, then create ads around your own like content. Waste of time? No way.  Just make sure you’ve fine tuned your blog and your post to welcome these new visitors and invite them to subscribe, as well as register for newsletters.

It’s only getting better for the little guy

That’s just the tip of the iceberg! Those were just a few examples of a few ways you can capitalize on the popularity of blogs, as well as begin to make yourself known within the world of real estate search by Google, as well as find yourself planted legitimately even within your own competitor’s sovereign website.

2010 is going to be a great year for the real estate practitioner, just you wait and see.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    December 22, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Yep. This is the kind of article that sends little whirling cogs and gears spinning in my head. The future of the future is glowing.

    Cheers to your health Benn. Be well.

  2. Sal Antsipenka

    December 22, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    I use it all: blogging, video marketing, social networking, web 2.0, articles, PR, several websites, my own real estate marketing portal, bookmarking, back linking etc. etc. SEO results for my real estate business are excellent. Major work out though is to convert all these leads to sales. Internet buyers have no loyalty whatsoever and normally contact a gazillion of agents about the same property or price range. First came first served doesn’t work here. It’s the matter of persistence, atittude, likability, interesting follow up and many more factors. So rock on!

    • nate secor

      December 27, 2009 at 9:57 pm

      I am interested in feedback from those that are using it all. I have a pretty good system in place using stealth sites. Add words, and SEO optimized blog posts all feed into stealth informational (fill in) page. I can get up to 10 leads per day, but only converted about 3 sales in 09 with this stuff. Is anyone converting like 20 + sales this way? Granted I have added a couple solid investors to my sphere with this stuff, but am just figuring out how much time to spend with it. 09 sales were roughly 3 from internet, 12 from relationship made with REO broker, 6 from sphere, and a couple more I can’t identify while writing this.

  3. Joe Loomer

    December 23, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Awesome Ben, the possible applications of Google Goggles and Wave (or their competitors versions, if better) in our industry is nearly mind boggling.

    I know why Ken’s picture has him wearing shades now – it’s the future…..

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    p.s. I hope you and Lani have a truly wonderful Christmas. Getting on Agent Genius and reading the incredible posts you and your authors provide has changed my life – no joke. As someone who is starting the journeyman stage of his second career, the education I’ve gotten from this website surpases nearly every other book, post, course, mentor, site, video, or other source I’ve gone to since retiring from the military in 2003. You and Lani rock, thank you.

    • Benn Rosales

      December 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

      Joe, then it’s all worth it, all of it. 🙂

  4. Doug Francis

    December 23, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    So, what we need is a strategy to leverage the Google tools that are out there without breaking the adword bank, and maintaining our existing efforts to sell homes (read: make $$$). It sometimes seems like these Google ideas have been coming at me at 250 mph since January 1, 2009!

    Joe’s “mind boggling” comment and Ken’s “spinning…head” image are pretty accurate.

    • Benn Rosales

      December 23, 2009 at 8:46 pm

      Doug, I’m not a big adwords fan at all, in the past it has just seemed to random to me. But contemplate an ad for a listing as part of your listing package that is exactly targeted by neighborhood using geo targeting and price point. I think what you end up with is gold where in the past it was more of a shot in the dark.

      • Doug Francis

        December 24, 2009 at 11:42 am

        You know, I can actually grasp that concept. Finally, my subscription to AG is going to pay off!

        A great Christmas present… and strategy for 2010.

  5. David Pylyp

    December 24, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Always a great read.

    The concept of micro specialization tailors very well with the LOCALISM that is practiced on AR. Thank you for a redirect for the Holiday season.

    All the best for your continued success in 2010

    Google me
    David Pylyp
    Living in Toronto

  6. Nick Nymark

    July 31, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Anybody ever heard of Kontera or know anybody who has used it as a form of advertising? If you have never heard of it just do a google search for it. Any feedback would be great.

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Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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