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Realtors can learn from architects and builders’ website designs



Looking outside the box for inspiration

Many Realtors are currently in the market for a new website or blog and because real estate is a time intensive career, many don’t have time to research trends or be experts in usability, color trends, modern features and the like, and therefore fall back on the least expensive template design they can find on Google and hope the phone will ring.

Obviously, this is tantamount to putting hot pink flyers that say “I’m a Realtor and junk, call me and stuff 813-555-RLTR” on car windows at the mall. Can you say marketing fail? A hot pink flyer on a hood is just as obnoxious as a website that looks like MeeMaw and the crew put it together on Geocities circa 1997.

Therein lies the problem with the typical course of a Realtor who researches real estate wesbites- they look at what their competitors have and there’s a good chance their websites suck, putting the “researching” Realtor in a bad position, unable to stand out, and likely held back by a poor marketing effort they never intended to fail at.

Looking outside for inspiration

The problem with looking for website inspiration outside of the real estate industry is that it can be confusing and overwhelming. There is no need for a real estate website to look like a dating site or an e-commerce site, but to have a similar framework to an architect or new home builder makes great sense- the DNA is similar.

Architects’ websites

First, let’s look at two architects’ sites to see which you like better (click either picture below to visit the live site):

Which of the two is superior? Which are you more drawn to? We assume we can all agree that collectively, we lean toward the large picture as the landing page rather than the tiny, oddly placed crooked pictures.

What are architects selling? Their design, their services, their project management skills, but most of all, an amazing finished product. Architects are often selling to commercial developers and residential homeowners alike and when we see bad web design, it leaves us as consumers asking if their horrible outdated web design is reflected in their architecture?

Architects that have quality websites are a great place to gain inspiration for your own website be it a new site or a next generation site. They invoke feelings of enthusiasm with big pictures, large fonts and a focus on their products rather than their personality. Architects have to be a trusted resource as a Realtor does, so it’s not a stretch to look that direction.

Inspiration from builders

Again, let’s look at two websites and think about which one we are more drawn to from a consumer’s perspective:

One of the above sites is modern and one is outdated. One has a comfortable welcoming feel and one looks a little like a fancy Excel spreadsheet with colors and a few pictures (and a LOT of words). The colors and navigation of Pulte is far more in line with modern web design than the Centex site.

Builders are selling in an extremely similar way to Realtors and Realtors often sell builder inventory. Websites with larger fonts, an emphasis on the homes, and easy navigation without hundreds of words per square inch will perform better as consumers become more educated.

Not only are consumers becoming more educated, smartphones and tablets are making websites look outdated really quickly as developers focus on apps for these devices that are consistently slick, streamlined and easy to use. So take a hint from the Portuguese architect and Pulte builders and focus on large, inviting photos with modern fonts and easy navigation and whatever you do, don’t let your website look anything like this.

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  1. Kris van Gool

    June 22, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Builders and Architects are a great resource for building your knowledge base and learning more about their industry. They are also great for contacts.

  2. Eric Holmes

    June 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Simplic, Magnifolio, Carousel, Auzora, Mephisto, Entrepenuer and Awake. What do those words have in common? Their wordpress themes I've purchased over the last year trying to accomplish this goal. I've spent hours and hours trying to figure out the different themes, sliders, short codes, blah, blah, blah. etc. Portfolio sites don't necessarily translate very well because we also need to be able to add property details and descriptions which can be long depending on the property. The moral to this brief story is that in the end it's infinitely easier (and cheaper when you figure in the cost of time) to let go of the reigns and hire a pro. Go sell houses. Let someone else worry about the kerning of Helvetica Neue and Cascading Style Sheets.

  3. Robyn Schnadelbach

    July 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Lani, I am glad you have brought this up. I too, like Eric Holmes, have gone through countless wordpress themes still not completely satisfied. The architect and builder website approach is something that definitely got me thinking. As odd as it may sound, I came across a wedding photographer website recently that I loved. It was different that any other wedding photographer website I have ever seen. Rather than putting thousands and thousands of her photos, she posted videos revealing her personality and how she works. It has got me thinking if an approach like this may work for Realtors. So much of why people may want to work with a certain Realtor is not only their expertise but if their personalities. This is the wedding photographer website I am talking about. I would love to here your thoughts about this approach too! Rather than displaying countless listings, something like this could display who we are and how we work.

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.



no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using you can use and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…



Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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Business Marketing

The use of offline marketing can still be advantageous in a digital world

(BUSINESS) Offline marketing is usually skipped over nowadays for the sparkly, shining ‘digital’ marketing strategies, but don’t forget the roots.



offline marketing billboard

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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