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Web2.0 Real Estate Reality Check

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onlineshopper_500.jpgI’m simply going to break down the anatomy of a real life transaction, my summary may surprise you:

Who shops online?

  • Apparently 88% of consumers shop online for just about everything, including real estate.

When do they shop online?

  • Generally at work. By my own appraisal of my family’s Internet use, we’re using the Internet to Google anything from coffee, restaurants, homes and more. Are we buying? Generally, no. Last year, shopping for my television was a seven month process. My car shopping experience has lasted well over 10 months. Why am I taking so long? I’m a typical procrastinator.

How many folks actually purchase online after shopping there?

  • Great question. Based on my own evaluation of myself, not often.

Why?

  • For my television, I actually had to leave the house- I wanted to see the picture, press the buttons, and decide how it would look on my wall or on my media cabinet.

Did I buy on my first trip?

  • No, I actually bought the very day the sales guy at Fry’s Electronics told me everything I needed to hear- price, quality, and that I was buying a television well under the value I found it for online. He sold me- he closed me, and I let him. Because like most of you, when I’m willing, ready, and able, it simply takes a great closer to box the deal into a pretty package.

What does this have to do with a home sale?

  • Buyers by their very nature are lookie lous. Everyone wants to look at the pretty pictures. Everyone wants to kill that lunch hour; hell, some of them want to kill the whole day, and in between a round of yahoo literati, they take a swing around craigslist, up the road to google, maybe even peruse the all common search phrase ‘search name of city homes‘, they may even pick up the phone and talk to an agent for a minute or less, all while balancing the boss’ needs or answering the other line. The fact is that 88% is just that- a nameless time killer that may or may not be buying sooner than later and at the same time are day dreaming of the new car they’ll search for next.

What’s the point of all of this, and what does it have to do with you?

  • Think back to the last first home buyer you had- remember how afraid they were? How long had they been looking before they hooked up with you? An even better question is- how long had they been thinking about buying? In my experience, the answer more times than not is, “a couple of years.” Other times, the answer has always been, “for a while.” When I would inquire further, I’d ask why they hadn’t purchased sooner (I’m always looking for the answers procrastinating buyers have) and the answer is almost every time an astounding “we didn’t know we could buy.” Credit, leases, income, and more are always in the top three reasons for procrastinating. I’ve met second and third home buyers that fit this same profile, and they’re all simply looking for someone who will relate to them and answer the questions they need answered.

I’m (not) a Realtor by profession, I’m (not even) a real estate agent. Further, I’m (not even) a guy who sells homes- I’m a closer. By knowing my buyers and sellers, I’m the reason they move from Internet entertainment and real estate porn to the closing table. I make their dreams a reality and their fears a thing of the past. I educate, I elevate, I build them into property owners- they are achieving a goal, and even more, they’re living the dream.

I can do what no real estate website in the world can do, I can do more than any a.v.m., I can survive what technology companies cannot. How? By leaving my office and engaging. I will survive down markets, 2.0 or not. Focusing more energy on the state of the real estate union will leave you current on feuds and statistics, but behind on the business of closing.

Web2.0 is only a tool, it is not the answer. 88% of consumers may shop online, but 98% of consumers I meet buy and or sell through me.

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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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Mariana

    October 25, 2007 at 4:40 am

    I am going to memorize this, ok? That was just unbelievably awesome. Thank you.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    October 25, 2007 at 4:42 am

    You know, I didn’t even scroll down to see who wrote this post. I could tell by the read it was you. Great job. And true to life.

  3. J. Ferris

    October 25, 2007 at 5:22 am

    I just sent this to my broker. VERY, VERY good post!

  4. Jim Duncan

    October 25, 2007 at 10:59 am

    Excellent post, and one that all those suffering from the effects of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt should learn from. Technology is a tool, but not (yet) a means to replace the experience of touching, feeling and smelling.

  5. Benn Rosales

    October 25, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Jim, this is as yet as it will ever be. Touching & feeling? There are 5 of those senses that must be pleased to give you comfort.

    An even bigger point is this I don’t think it’s just about the senses as much as it is about ‘affirmation.’ Wrap your mind around that one…

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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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Business Marketing

Simple logo creation tools perfect for any freelancer

(MARKETING) You already know that even if you’re a solo writer, or lone developer, you need a brand in today’s online world. If you’re on a budget, check out these logo creation tools!

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logo creation

Freelancing is a major part of the landscape nowadays. In that capacity, you’re running your own one-person business. As such, you need to brand that business. You know that, but let’s discuss the actionables.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “branding”, I immediately envision logos (which is super convenient because it brings me to my next point). You should absolutely have a logo as a freelancer, even if it’s simply just your name in a rad – but professional – font.

This will be useful on your website, social media, on invoices and beyond. You can even pop that bad boy into your email signature!

Ideally, you should hire a graphic designer that knows what they’re doing – you’ll get the best results. But if your budget is zero dollars, don’t you dare ask a professional for free work.

Instead, if you want to develop a logo for your personal freelancing brand on the cheap, check out five of our favorites below and see what works for you. The best part? These all have some free components.

  1. Picfont: Let me start with personal experience. My freelance logo (which is the cover photo of my Twitter), is literally just my name in a script-like font, and was made using Picfont. You can upload a blank background (or pick from fun royalty-free backgrounds) and choose from a variety of font options. Pick what you like, shape it out, download, and use. Easy
  2. Looka (formerly Logojoy) is also a great, easy-to-use online logo maker. You simply type in your company name/your name and go through a process of selecting colors and styles that you like. Looka then generates a selection of logos based on your choices. For an example, I created the logo for The Tidbit using Looka.
  3. Online Logo Maker: a wonderfully self-explanatory name. This logo maker is almost like a combination of Picfont and Logojoy. You can play around with different fonts, colors, and symbols to make a logo that fits you. This option also features high-quality Vector files.
  4. Canva is a great option because you can design a multitude of material (including flyers, presentations, graphs, etc.) If you’re planning to build a full-on portfolio with supplemental materials in addition to a logo, Canva may be your best bet as you can design everything to have a similar look – which is incredibly important for branding.
  5. DesignEvo: Their website describes it best, “DesignEvo is a free online logo maker with 8,000+ templates that anyone can use to bring to life a compelling, unique logo in minutes.” They have a drag and drop interface and hundreds of fonts.

Take some time to test drive these sites, play around with different logo types, and see which one gels best with you and your freelancing-self. Happy branding!

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Business Marketing

How to use offline marketing to your advantage in a digital world

(BUSINESS) We often become obsessed with new marketing strategies, favoring the internet over some traditional methods that continue to drive traffic timelessly.

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offline marketing open sign for small business

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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