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Real Estate Marketing

Dark data may be the key to unlocking your brokerage’s potential

(MARKETING NEWS) The key to a solid marketing campaign could be dark data if anyone can figure out how to actually use it.

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One trend that marketers and entrepreneurs alike are trying to utilize is the mining of dark data from social media. It may sound like something a supervillain in a made-for-TV movie may use to “hack the mainframe,” but it may be the crux of your next marketing strategy.

Research firm Gartner defines dark data as “information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”

This data is frequently unstructured, making it difficult to utilize effectively. Structured data is easy to analyze, it populates spreadsheets after a customer enters their information on your website and other clear roads of analysis.

Unstructured data, in contrast, is information that may be collected but its not utilized effectively. Almost 90 percent of unstructured dark data falls through the cracks and is never put to use. One big source of unstructured data is social media posts.

Customers will share insights into your business and brand through their posts about their purchasing habits. This is frequently done through not just through the selfie, but the captions associated with the photo as well.

A picture can tell a lot of information to people (what times of items you sell, their quality, and their overall experience) but the caption can help you understand more what their attitude towards those events are.

A picture may show an attractively plated meal, but the caption may talk about how there was a long wait for the food as well as poor customer service. These captions, and subsequent comments, can offer a keen insight into what people like and dislike about your brand called sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis can be utilized to understand attitudes toward your brand, and there’s multiple ways you can go about this. One method of analysis is through the building of word clouds which examine the most used words in a few days of dark data. Pro-marketers can easily pull dark data from those who like or follow a business’ social pages into software which can do the legwork for you.

Brokers have some options that are less sophisticated but can still do sentiment analysis of dark data effectively.

The IProspect blog suggests to use “a blend of monitoring tools,” many of them free, to complete a sentiment analysis.

A better understanding of dark data means you aren’t limited to just basic social media analysis tools. With these concepts, you too can illuminate your dark data and shine some light on future prospects.

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Alexandra Bohannon has a Master of Public Administration degree from University of Oklahoma with a concentration in public policy. She is currently based in Oklahoma City, working as a freelance filmmaker, writer, and podcaster. Alexandra loves playing Dungeons and Dragons and is a diehard Trekkie.

Real Estate Marketing

How to get a 9 star rating on Zillow when you’re limited to 5 stars

(MARKETING) When you’re limited to just a few stars on Zillow or similar sites, how do you prove to the public that you’re worth many more stars?

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Let’s say that you ask all of your customers to rate you on Zillow. Let’s say that you think it’s the best site since sliced bread (or you hate it, whatever, that matters not in this scenario).

But let’s also say that you’re either an overachiever or a smartass and you believe that your five star rating is simply too low and that you have actually earned more stars throughout your stellar career.

What do you do? How do you break out of the “Five Star Zone” without paying people to rate and rank you and without bribing Zillow?

You get creative.

Enter Frank Llosa, Esq., Broker of Frankly Real Estate, who is both hated and revered for his endless pushing of the envelope. Years ago, he figured out a way around the five star rating system on Zillow without any cash exchanging hands.

How? Behold:

Llosa did this stunt long ago, but Zillow never shut him down (and if they had, he’s used to his shenanigans being stifled).

Will Zillow shut you down if you try this? Probably.

While hilarious, it does prove that the web doesn’t limit the creative, rather, it unveils the endless opportunities to capture consumers’ attention – wouldn’t you take a second look at a 9-star agent on Zillow? I sure would!

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Old School Marketing

This simple questioning technique will help you convert more sales

Will you read this article? According to the latest research, if you got as far as reading that question, the answer is more likely to be, “yes.”

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Will you read this article? According to the latest research, if you got as far as reading that question, the answer is more likely to be, “yes.”

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that asking someone a question about a behavior made much more of an impact than telling someone what to do.

Just asking someone a question about a behavior increases the likelihood that they’ll do it.

It’s called the question-behavior effect. According to lead researcher, Eric Spangenberg, the question-behavior effect is most notable when the question encourages behaviors that are already socially celebrated. For example, will you try to eat healthy in 2016? Will you exercise today?

Exactly why questions are more effective than statements remains unknown, but it probably has to do with the mindset of the answerer. If someone tells you, “you should volunteer for this charity” you are more likely to bristle at being told what to do, rejecting the authority and advice of an outside opinion.

But when asked, “will you make a donation?” even if you don’t answer right away, you become more open-minded to the possibility.

Your options become expansive, rather than set, which makes you feel empowered and self-confident that you can make a positive decision for yourself.

The study also found that the effect was strongest when questions were administered through a computer or on paper, rather than orally, and when the question called for a direct “yes” or “no” answer. Perhaps having to type out or write down an answer made people feel more accountable to following through with the behavior.

Could you use the question-behavior effect to improve your business? (You see what I did there?) Asking an employee, “will we see your report in time for the deadline?” may just increase the chances that you will. And perhaps asking if your customer wants to purchase your product will put them in an open-minded state to say yes.

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Real Estate Marketing

The white-boxing trend is back in real estate

(REAL ESTATE) White-boxing refers to emptying out your entire house instead of staging it like an IKEA display, and some are opting for this when selling.

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Staging your home for sale is a hilariously convoluted process that can involve anything from vacuuming your sofa to renting a whole house-worth of furniture to ensure that the feng shui (or whatever) matches up with the price tag. If your client is in a slightly less pretentious mood when it comes time to sell, consider white-boxing.

Far from being a racial slur, white-boxing refers to emptying out every space in a house to present clients with a blank slate. The idea is that no furniture is better than outdated or ratty furniture (your horse-hair blanket is hurting more than it’s helping, Kyle), and clients may even be able to save on some renovation costs along the way.

White-boxing also allegedly allows potential buyers to envision freely the space as they prefer it rather than emphasizing a style which may not appeal to everyone in the market.

Buyers who are interested in touching up or renovating their home may also be more attracted to a white-boxed house due to the open nature of the presentation. By that same token, though, white-boxing makes it much harder to hide blemishes and other flaws which can turn buyers away — if a home is a bit quirky, you may want to stick to a traditional form of staging or address the problems before the house goes on the market.

There are a couple of key things to note if you’re thinking about white-boxing a home.

Firstly, the home’s location and/or view should be the main selling point if you’re in a high-end market; otherwise, you may end up with a string of snooty customers wondering why there’s nowhere to sit. Similarly, you should avoid white-boxing a client’s home if it’s particularly cozy — empty rooms can appear even smaller than they actually are, so you may have to rely on the existing furniture to close the deal.

Hiring a staging professional is always ideal and is proven to increase the bottom line, but in some instances, white-boxing (you know, the way you used to sell homes) is a growing trend that has some upsides to consider.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you commit to a staging style — leaving a dining room set in the middle of an otherwise empty house is super weird, and the inverse is just as unnerving. However, if you’re looking to cut down on staging costs and your client’s home has little to hide, white-boxing may be the right choice.

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