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What’s Worth Knowing?

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howdoyouknow


Teach Me Something

There has been a lot of reference to how much can be learned if practitioners were to read industry blogs. However recently I’ve noticed that the RE.net has put more emphases on who’s blog is bigger…oops, I mean better. There is seemingly more in-fighting than valuable information in recent days. Therefore, I want to take a reprieve from that pattern.

As I’ve stated before, there are two books I think should be required reading for all practitioners. The first is the Swanepoel Report and the second is the NAR profile of Buyers and Sellers. I want to take a few points from those resources to get you thinking.

Why Such Concern?

Swanepoel’s Report said that “87% of Brokers (surveyed) feel that servicing smarter and more informed consumers are their largest concern.”

I have no idea why the industry fears such things. I don’t want information about the buying process, hidden from me as a consumer, why would we expect that the consumer wouldn’t want as much information as they could get? The consumer who has a good handle on the process, should be that much easier to work with. Having the knowledge doesn’t mean that they no longer have a need for an agent. To the contrary; the information is so overwhelming, they need to have someone to aggregate it for them. The fact that movie previews reveal the entire movie, doesn’t stop people from going to the theater to watch the entire movie.

Show Me The Numbers!

NAR’s 2007 report shows that when consumers (reported 87% use the internet in their search – I think that’s low) search the internet for real estate information, they found the following useful:

84% Photos (at least 6) – Yet the average number of listing photos are 2

82% Detailed Listing Information

60% Virtual Tours / Real Estate Shows / Videos

39% Maps of the area surrounding the property

37% Neighborhood Information

26% Agent Information

I think it’s easy to extract from this information exactly how an Agent should setup their webpages. I think it’s also easy to see why Blogs are such a powerful tool, currently. Most blogs that I visit have very basic information about the agent or author; they are generally full of real estate information. The blog writers talk about the area, how to search for homes, and why certain types of agency practices or benefits. Knowing what the consumer is looking for, should help decide what to write about.

What Is the Consumer Looking For?

Knowing what the consumer found useful is actually the second step, knowing what they started off looking for is also important.

95% were looking for Properties For Sale

21% were looking for Area Information

4% were looking for an agent

4% were looking for a particular Firm or Franchise

It’s interesting that almost all the static webpages I find, are page after page about the agent’s resume, yet only 4% of consumers are looking for such information. It’s an unfortunate truth that most consumes feel most agents are basically the same. We know that’s not true, but finding a clever way to correct that impression is a challenge for many.

Be Unique!

Statistics are only a guideline. They aren’t always reality, but it’s the best indication of what consumers maybe thinking. Each agent should take this information and work it into their own plan. It’s important to do what works well for you. A lot of practitioners are successful with their blogs, because they have created them and maintain them in a unique manner. That’s what’s working today, tomorrow there will be some new technique that some visionaries will create and adapt.

Whereas it’s good to know information, such as who consumers find you, it’s more important to know where the source is for that information. I’ve provided this information from the NAR Profile of Buyer’s and Sellers 2007. There is a considerable more that could help your business by reading such resources.

While you’re trying to explain to your sellers why you put so much effort into internet marketing, and so little in print media; it’s good to have these exact numbers and resources. This can help save you time and money with informed consumers who will trust a report more than your word.

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is TheAgentTrainer.com.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Chris Griffith

    May 11, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    ….and I read this in between adding listings to a point2 site to syndicate, craigslist and my blog, while watching Private Ryan.

    Excellent advise. Give the consumer what he’s looking for. That’s not that difficult, after all. Right?

  2. Scott P. Rogers

    May 11, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    >> “87% of Brokers (surveyed) feel that servicing smarter and more informed consumers are their largest concern.”

    Hopefully the “concern” just means that it’s “on their mind” — and it’s an indication that Brokers will put the majority of their focus on continuing to be able to offer great information, analysis and insight to these smarter and more informed consumers. How’s that for looking at the half empty glass as half full?

    >> 95% were looking for Properties For Sale

    I believe it! And measurement of consumers’ online behavior supports it. My brokerage’s web site (www.cbfunkhouser.com) sees between 90%-95% of the traffic on the site within the property search areas.

    Matthew — it would be great if you periodically provided some insight and commentary from the buyers & sellers report — it has some great information that I don’t go back to look at often enough!

  3. Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts

    May 11, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    You have made some good points. I believe you too. You have to have info and yet have your own style. Most of my cleints now come from my site so something must be working. its a lot of work to blog and maintain an updated site and that is why you do not have the competition that you would think.

  4. Barry Cunningham

    May 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Maybe my message gets diluted by angry comments but as I mentioned to you about RE Trends..it’s an amzing book and has so much data you are correct..it should be mandatory reading.

  5. Susan Hilton - Texas Aggie Realtor

    May 11, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Great advice! Working on posting a great deal more information about the area and our listings!

    Susan Hilton – Realtor & Sales Trainer for Century 21 Beal, Inc. #1 in Real Estate in Bryan and College Station Home Sales – Bryan College Station Real Estate & Community Blog

  6. Mack in Atlanta

    May 12, 2008 at 7:01 am

    You make a very important point that agents should quit designing their sites around me, me, me and start providing unique relevant information that addresses the site visitor’s needs.

  7. Matthew Rathbun

    May 12, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Thanks to everyone for reading and commenting.

    Barry, I want to say that it seems that I was able to make the same point you did, without the angry comments to get our readers to the same conclusion. I know I’ve failed in the past, but I am trying to work on delivery…

  8. ines

    May 12, 2008 at 9:35 am

    The informed consumer is our best client – finding that “perfect formula” for what works in your blog and to provide information that is useful to your audience is not easy, but it’s extremely powerful once you achieve it.

  9. Jacinda

    May 12, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I’d have to say the numbers by NAR are off. How are pics more useful than a virtual tour? Pics can be taken at certain angles to manipulate the room/area, which is great for sellers, but bad for people looking for something because they can show up, realize it’s really different, and be mad that they wasted their time. It’s tough to manipulate a virtual tour like that.

    I also think floor plans should definitely be up there. They’re incredibly useful when it comes to more limited spaces like condos and townhouses.

  10. Scott P. Rogers

    May 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Jacinda — I have to agree with the survey respondents that indicated that photos were the most useful. Multiple photos can be much more helpful than a virtual tour — though, I use both for marketing my listings. If an agent is going to manipulate the photo angles, they’ll manipulate the virtual tour too. And I DEFINITELY agree the floor plans should be included — even on single family homes, they are VERY helpful!

  11. Mike Taylor

    May 13, 2008 at 5:59 am

    I love it when other agents don’t get it and design a site around how great they are. That means buyers will come to my site and find listings and hopefully stay.

    The bar has been raised on what consumers expect out of a real estate website nowadays and your site doesn’t provide them what they want immediately you stand no chance.

  12. Ken Smith

    May 13, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    The top item on the list should be accurate information.

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Business Marketing

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?

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A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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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
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“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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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.

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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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