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The Future of the Real Estate Industry – Part Two

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It’s obvious that the real estate industry is changing. And it’s changing more rapidly than ever before. But where is it going? And where does it need to go?

I touched upon things such as Barrier To Entry, Oversight and Enforcement in part one of this three part series. Here’s part two…

Technology

Emerging technologies, social media and social networking are just some of the things that have and are continuing to change the way consumers interact with agents and conduct their real estate business. Most “old timers” either don’t get it or don’t want to get it. They have plenty of referral business built up over the years and they’ll do just fine without doing anything differently. That’s ok! I applaud them and hope I can say the same for my referral business 20 years down the road.

But what about all the first and second time home buyers and tech-savvy consumers who want an agent who speaks the same language as them? Their reliance on the internet and technology for research and purchasing goods is unprecedented. Just look at CarMax, Zappos, eBay, Amazon, Overstock, CarFax and the thousands of on-line forums about various products and services.

Though we’ve come a long way, we haven’t quite figured it out (yet). The technology companies who happen to focus on the real estate commodity don’t get real estate. And the organizations and associations within the real estate industry don’t get technology. There needs to be a healthy and good marriage of the two for it to work.

We need to educate and promote technology and current trends to agents and brokers. We need to stop calling everything new “mumbo jumbo” or a “fad”. Perhaps it is a temporary thing, but it works because it’s what consumers want and need right now. Will it change down the road? Absolutely. But more than likely, it will involve some sort of new technology so the RE industry better get used to staying on top of technology whether they like it or not.

We have to realize and come to terms with the technological and social needs and savvy of today’s (and tomorrow’s) consumers. We have to communicate with them on their level and give them what they want otherwise our value proposition and relationship with them will erode like an unkept beachfront.

Marketing

DISCLAIMER: Not all markets are the same so the “new” type of marketing and advertising that works in metro areas such as mine (DC/MD/VA) may not be as effective as traditional marketing in other, smaller towns/areas. The DC metro area is fairly tech-savvy and local statistics show that 49 percent of consumers found the house they ultimately bought online, 32 percent found it through their agent, 15 found it by seeing the yard sign, 3 percent found it through print media and 1 percent found it through an open house.

Marketing is becoming synomymous with technology because technology has dramatically changed the way marketing is done and its cost. The ROI on traditional marketing such as print advertising, post cards, billboards and grocery cart ads is dwindling while the ROI on “new” forms of advertising and marketing such as social networks, social media, property web sites, virtual tours, slideshows and blogging is increasing dramatically. As Inman News said, “The dependency on print ads is unquestionably over.”

If you are to have an effective marketing campaign, you have to reach out to your target audience and then engage them. If over 85 percent of buyers and sellers are going online for information about real estate and 49 percent of buyers found the house they bought online, then you should be focusing your personal branding/marketing and listing marketing efforts online. That’s how you target them.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the dependance of the internet by real estate consumers and if you’re late to the party, you may miss a large chunk of current and future business. One big part of that is Google. Google rewards those who have been focused on their online presence longer and “who have done no evil” and they’re not quick to elevate newcomers to the first page of results. There’s more to SEO than that, but that’s one important piece of the puzzle when it comes to getting in the game early and being ahead of the competition in the future.

How do you engage them? Be yourself and don’t try to sell them, definitely not on a social media, social networking or blogging platform. You can have your “salesy” static web site, but save that for other uses. Your marketing efforts should be focused on “engaging” consumers, not “selling” them. And if you really want to know the ins and outs of how to engage consumers, there are plenty of excellent people to learn from right here on AG as well as across the rest of the “RE.net”.

(Part three coming after Turkey Day)

Danilo Bogdanovic is a Real Estate Consultant/REALTOR(R) in Northern Virginia and author/owner of LoudounScene.com and LoudounForeclosures.com. Danilo serves on various committees with the Dulles Area Association of REALTORS(R) and the Virginia Association of REALTORS(R).

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Chuck G

    November 24, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Danilo,

    Standing ovation here for your insight on technology. It’s clearly not a fad — it has changed the RE industry permanently, and for the better. Just as it did the way we buy books and get restaurant ratings.

    Most important, your points on blogging are spot-on: Educate, engage, but don’t hard-sell. Technology gives us the perfect pulpit to show what we know, NOT that we haven’t learned anything at all.

    great stuff…

  2. Jim Duncan

    November 24, 2008 at 8:31 am

    The one point I would raise is one of possible semantics. Internet advertising is “traditional marketing” – there are just different varieties/flavors of tradition, depending on the market.

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 24, 2008 at 9:05 am

    I’m with Jim – we keep calling other methods “traditional”, but how much longer will we do that just to discriminate both methods?

    I personally do a combination of print ads and most is Internet Marketing – I think the combination of the two will be the “norm” for those of us that are still alive in the industry.

  4. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 24, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Jim, Ines – I agree that the term “traditional” now includes online/internet methods and most of those that read AG/blogs would probably agree. But there are many agents and brokers that would still disagree or not agree with the importance of online marketing.

    And thank you Chuck!

  5. George McCumiskey

    November 24, 2008 at 9:41 am

    You’re absolutely right about the need for AGENTS to conform to what the potential home buyers want and how they prefer to do business. It’s a real timesaver to wade through the preliminaries online and then connect irl.

  6. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    November 24, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Danilo – you are definitely right, the way I look at it is this: the more agents that don’t see the importance of online marketing, the bigger the share for us (I know….a bit selfish….but it works in business) 😉

  7. Danilo Bogdanovic

    November 24, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Ines – Not selfish…just smart business.

    George – Great point about making things more efficient, but not replacing real life interaction.

  8. Anthony Longo

    November 24, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Awesome Post!!!

    The disclaimer under your marketing headline is unreal. We are excited to have launched the DC marketplace and really look to ‘turn it on’ tech-wise Dec 1. (Baltimore to launch this week). Looks like if these stats are accurate, with out biz model, this will be a hot market for us!

  9. bryanslist

    November 24, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Great information.

    Couldn’t agree with you more about the importance of engaging consumers.

    Reading through all of this information about SEO, online RE advertising, etc. this same message echos true in the majority, which is to provide a service to the greater majority/greater good and you thus reap your own ROI.

    Keep up the good work!

  10. Vicki Moore

    November 24, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Every field – including law – has idiots. As a professional organization or as individuals pushing our organization – we have to do something to give the consumer reason to believe that we’re not all bumbling idiots.

    One bad apple and all that. When one agent screws up that story gets told a thousand times and now we all look like money-hungry jerks.

    You can’t educate someone into being ethical and moral. It’s inherent. We need that kind of test.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.

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Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

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Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.

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Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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