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Real Estate Marketing

Open Design – rarely used in real estate, but boosts earnings

(OPERATIONS) Innovation is what keeps the industry alive, and Open Design improves the process, boosting the bottom line.

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As you begin executing your business goals set at the beginning of this year, it isn’t too late to considering embracing an emerging trend to help accelerate your innovations – Open Design. This refers to the practice of being transparent about the process of building products and services (without giving way too much of the final product).

It’s similar to the practice of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) in higher education—sharing information and problems about your expertise, for free, with an interested community.

In many ways, Open Design aims to break down siloed industries and workers. By sharing information about how and why your business does what it does, Open Design actually reduces the amount of work your employees may have to re-do. The open access of the design system allows them to work beyond the traditional confines of their roles.

As creative and often specialized fields like design become increasingly open, the amount of “tedious” work that used to require attention is lessening.

Some of these mechanical tasks are becoming automated as a result of collaborative efforts in Open Design across industries and other times it is the result of interdepartmental collaboration within individual corporations.

open design

This evolution makes sense: if your web team gets feedback from your sales team that a certain process isn’t intuitive and that difficulty creates a bottleneck—they’d act on that feedback and eliminate the blockage.

Abstract reports that companies that focus on the streamlining of their design systems have revenues 32 percent higher than those that adhere to conventional methods.

Taking advantage of Open Design systems would allow your entire team to focus efforts on higher level problems rather than recreating the wheel with mechanical (and often easily programmable tasks) each time they need to begin a project. These cumulative, increasingly efficient efforts, can help your business scale.

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AprilJo Murphy is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of North Texas. She is a writer, editor, and sometimes teacher based in Austin, TX who enjoys getting outdoors with her handsome dog, Roan.

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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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Real Estate Marketing

Ramp up your Twitter by letting Narrow take the reigns

(MARKETING NEWS) Let Narrow manage and moderate your Twitter. Using analytics and algorithms your only job will be telling Narrow what you like and the app will do the rest.

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Reaching your target demographic on social media can be difficult even when you know exactly who you’re looking for, to say nothing of when you can only approximate.

While this still isn’t an exact science, one app—Narrow, by a company of the same name—may be the solution to your Twitter campaign’s shortcomings.

At first glance, Narrow looks like another Twitter analytics tool; however, what sets Narrow apart from its competitors is its automation. In addition to finding and tracking your target demographic through a combination of location, keywords, and hashtags, Narrow will like and retweet posts from users that fit into your established demographic in order to redirect them to your profile.

If that isn’t enough to pique your interest, you can also use keywords to find relevant users’ bios and follow their profiles, which is a proven growth technique.

Naturally, Narrow keeps you up to date with built-in analytics that show which hashtags and keywords net the highest success, all while continuing to interact with users based on your informed input. The ostensible result is a higher level of engagement with your target audience, more followers for your brand, and a better understanding of your brand’s target audience.

After choosing a monthly payment plan—which come in flavors of $19/month for one Twitter account, $49/month for three accounts, and $99/month for 10 accounts—all you have to do is link your Twitter account(s), plug in the keywords and hashtags you want the app to interact with, and—no, wait, that’s all you have to do.

As one might reasonably expect, you can look into your progress on Narrow’s dashboard at any time, allowing you to drop unsuccessful keywords, prioritize the more successful ones, and view your overall conversion rates for each Twitter profile you manage.

It’s worth noting Narrow’s to-date involvement: according to the developers’ website, Narrow is used by companies like Forbes, MSNBC, and Entrepreneur. Given the bevy of useful resources this app boasts, you might want to consider adding your site to that list.

Narrow starts out at 19.99/month for one Twitter account. Even if you aren’t looking for a growth resource right now, do yourself a favor and head over to the site to check it out.

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Real Estate Marketing

How real estate agents are getting around the Do Not Call list

(MARKETING) Getting in touch with potential clients is the difference between sinking or swimming, so how does one go about getting around the Do Not Call list!?

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One of the major challenges for cold calling as a real estate agent is that pesky Do Not Call list. There is a list of expired listings daily that you intend on calling – it’s a part of your strategy to earn new business, and good for you for never resting on your laurels.

But there are so many laws regarding who you can call and when. And of course laws that restrict your calling anyone on the Do Not Call registry.

Now, these laws are not new, in fact, it has been illegal to call anyone on the DNC list for a decade and a half.

So what is one to do?

Some agents are getting around the DNC list and it is so very clever.

Here is the playbook:

  • Agent: rings a phone number on the DNC list.
  • Consumer: answers phone, “Hello?”
  • Agent: hangs up on the Consumer.
  • Consumer: curious, calls the Agent back. “Did you just call me?”
  • Agent: “Oh yes, I just sold a home in your neighborhood at 12% over asking price, I would love to talk to you about an opportunity to sell your home in this tight market where home sellers are coming out on top and-“
  • Consumer: “I am on the Do Not Call list, it is illegal for you to call me, please remove me from your list.”
  • Agent: “Well, actually, you called me.”
  • Consumer: hangs up, starts to Google how to make a complaint with the FTC.

Sound legit?

It absolutely is not, and the Federal Trade Commission would agree.

The truth is that there is no way around the Do Not Call list, and there are so many nuanced laws on the topic, that brokerages today pour more resources into digital marketing efforts that are less likely to be flagged for illegalities.

If you practice real estate, and you’re making cold calls, the best option is to register as a telemarketer (which you are acting as when making cold calls) with the FTC, paying subscription dues, and only calling numbers NOT on the DNC list.

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