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Real Estate Marketing

Top 5 false claims real estate pros use in their marketing

(MARKETING) Some real estate pros are known for making sweeping proclamations about their quality without backing it up. Let’s discuss this annoyance, Andy Rooney style.

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I just wanted everyone to know that I am the “Number One Executive Evers,” I also help lead the “Number One Fastest Growing News Organization” in the world. We have the “Highest Reader Satisfaction On The Web,” and I was voted the “Best Wife In The World.” There, I said it.

What’s that you say? How can you disagree with my claims? I put them in print, they must be true!

Alas, some of these may not be true, much like blatant imaginative statements made on real estate websites and business cards worldwide. Is this the stuff your marketing is made of? As most of you know, I’m not a Realtor, but I am a consumer who long worked 70+ hours at a boutique firm. With that,

I give you my Top 5 Offensive (and often false) Claims (pro tip – avoid these claims):

>CLAIM #1- Top Realtor

This is a personal favorite – simply Google “Top [insert your city here] Realtor” and the results are endless. How is it possible that hundreds of people are ALSO the “Top Realtor” in your city? This claim is frequently used because it is subjective, but when everyone claims this ranking, it falls on deaf ears!

So, what does your claim mean? Are you the top highest producing, the top recruiting broker in the city, or do you claim the top closing ratio? All of us here know that fluff is abundant on websites and canned material still rules the day, but if you have to fake it… it ain’t that good.

CLAIM #2- Your Neighborhood Specialist

There are many specialists out there, and several Realtors can specialize in the same subdivision, but don’t close your eyes, point at a map, and pick a spot to farm, thus claiming your “specialty.” That would be like ME saying that I am THE Scripps Ranch, CA specialist (yet I’ve never been there and besides, the Bergs have it on lockdown).

I got a flyer on the door the other day. This Realtor claimed to be my neighborhood’s specialist and “Top Realtor.” Strange- I have never seen a sign in anyone’s yard with your name on it here – not once. Hmm… a look at the MLS and… nope, you haven’t had a listing in this subdivision since it broke ground four years ago, so my bet is that my neighborhood looked sexy and you wanted to be invited to the party. Fine, but don’t make false claims – your market will see right through you.

Please don’t say you are a specialist unless you really are! I would hate to go to a gastroenterologist only to learn he’s actually a pediatrician.

CLAIM #3- Top 1% of Agents

Top One Percenters get under my skin in a big way. Locally, there’s a super smarmy Realtor whose website features a clip art illustration of a guy with a huge screw in his back saying “don’t let this happen to you” followed up with his doctored photo, his name and claims to be in the “Top 1% of Agents Nationwide.”

I know he is a major producer, so I might believe him, but where does he get this number? Where does anyone not actually in the Top 1% get this number? If I were a Realtor and I was in the Top 1%, I’d be linking to every flashy site that mentioned my honor, lest consumers think I’m using a subjective term.

If you have a claim to fame (as I know some of you do), don’t just say it- back it up!

Your consumers would like to know – what are you the “Top 1%” of?!?!! Put “Top 1%” on your business card, but let people know what you are the best at (Top 1% of new home sales achieved in May 2016, Top 1% of Realtors who have been in the industry for under 12 months). Otherwise, to the consumer, it is fluffy fluffy fluff fluff.

CLAIM #4- Fastest Growing Company

This isn’t exclusive to real estate, but it is abused frequently in the industry. Look, there is a grassroots brokerage here that has cute marketing and is up to four agents; they claim to be the “fastest-growing company” in Austin… how is this measured? By percentage? If you have two people in a company and add one person that year, your company has grown by 50% – woo hoo!

Wait, should I be impressed with that? Be careful of how you market your growth, don’t just make blanket statements.

CLAIM #5- Highest Customer Satisfaction

How is this measured? Did your assistant call after each closing and ask, “yes or no, were you satisfied with Mr. Realtor?” or is it based on a national survey, an Internet Poll, an obscure rating website, or is it an honor bestowed upon you by a builder or your local Board? If you have proof, back it up, otherwise, knock it off.

The takeaway

The words “top,” “best,” and “specialist” are frequently abused in the real estate lexicon. Many Realtors have beaten these dramatic claims to death. Consumers do like flowery speech and if I were buying/selling, I would love to know that my Realtor is the best. But as a consumer, I can tell you – give me what I want – tell me what you are the best at!

Blanket statements can come across as lies, so be specific! As Seth Godin says, “just saying it doesn’t make it true.” In your marketing and on your website, link to the sites that have given you honors, OR simply state, “Top Producing Re/Max Agent in Michigan!” Period.

This editorial was first published here in June of 2009.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Marketing

If a true AI takeover is on the horizon, this is what you must do to survive

(MARKETING) Quality marketers are constantly evolving, but getting your head around AI can be a challenge – let’s boil it down to necessary skills.

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Woman leaning on a glass wall separating her from wall of data servers managed by AI.

When Facebook and Twitter were born, a new era of social media was ushered in, opening the gates for new areas of expertise that hadn’t existed before. At first, we all grappled to establish the culture together, but fast forward a decade and it is literally a science with thousands of supporting AI technology companies.

So as Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes over marketing, doesn’t that mean it will replace marketers? If you can ask your smart speaker in your office what your engagement growth increase was for your Facebook Page, and ask for recommendations of growth, how do marketing professionals survive?

Marketers will survive the same way they did as social media was introduced – the practice will evolve and new niches will be born.

There are 7 skills marketers will need to adapt in order to evolve. None of these are done overnight, but quality professionals are constantly grooming their skills, so this won’t be stressful to the successful among us. And the truth is that it won’t be in our lifetime that AI can quite process the exact same way a human brain does, even with the advent of quantum computing, so let’s focus on AI’s weaknesses and where marketers can perform where artificial intelligence cannot.

1. Use the data your new AI buddies generate.

In the 70s, the infamous Ted Bundy murders yielded the first case that utilized computing. The lead investigator had heard about computers and asked a specialist to dig through all of their data points to find similarities – a task that was taking months for the investigative team. After inputting the data, within minutes, they had narrowed their list of suspects from several hundred to only 10.

We’re not dealing with murderers here in the marketing world (…right, guys?), but the theory that algorithms can speed up our existing jobs is a golden lesson. As more AI tools are added to the marketplace to enhance your job, experiment with them! Get to know them! And continue to seek them out to empower you.

Atomic Reach studies your content and finds ways to enhance what you’re delivering. CaliberMind augments B2B sales, Stackla hunts down user-generated content that matches your brand efforts, Nudge analyzes deal risk and measures user account health, and Market Brew digs up tons of data for your SEO strategy.

See? Independently, these all sound like amazing tools, but call them “AI tools” and people lose their minds. Please.

Your job as a marketer is to do what AI cannot. Together, you can automate, do segmentation and automation, beef up your analytics, but no machine can replicate your innate interest in your customers, your compassion, and your ability to understand human emotions and predict outcomes effectively (because you have a lot more practice at being a human than the lil’ robots do).

2. Take advantage of AI’s primary weakness.

As noted, you have emotions and processes that are extremely complex and cannot be understood by artificial intelligence yet. Use those.

How? Compile all of the data that AI offers and then strategize. Duh. AI can offer recommendations, but it cannot (yet) suggest an entire brand strategy. That’s where you come in.

And more importantly, it cannot explain or defend any such strategy. One of the core problems with AI is that if you ask Alexa a question, you cannot ask how it came up with that information or why. This trust problem is the primary reason marketers are in no danger of being replaced by technology.

3. Obsess over data.

AI tools are young and evolving, so right now is the time to start obsessing over data. What I mean by that is not to use every single AI tool to compile mountains of useless data, but to start studying the data you already have.

The problem with new tools is that marketers are naturally inquisitive, so we try them out and then forget they exist if they didn’t immediately prove to be a golden egg.

Knowing your current marketing data inside and out will help you to learn alongside AI. If you aren’t intimately familiar, you won’t know if the recommendations made through AI are useful, and you could end up going down the wrong path because something shiny told you to.

Obsess over data not by knowing every single customers’ names, but be ready to identify which data sets are relevant for the results you’re seeking. A data scientist friend of mine recently pointed out that if you flip a coin five times and it happens to land on tails every time, AI would analyze that data and predict with 100% certainty that the sixth flip will be tails, but you and I have life experience and know better.

Staying on top of your data, even when you’re utilizing artificial intelligence tools will keep you the most valuable asset, not the robots. #winning

4. Don’t run away from math (no wait, come back!)

One of the appeals of marketing is that math is hard and you don’t need it in a creative field. But if you want to stay ahead of the robots, you’ll have to focus on your math skills.

You don’t have to go back to school for data science, but if you can’t read the basic reports that these endless AI tools can create, you’re already behind. At least spend a few hours this month on some “Intro to Data Science” courses on Udemy or Coursera.

5. Content is God.

We’ve all said for years that content is king and that feeding the search engines was a top way to reach consumers. You’ve already refined your skills in creating appealing content, and you already know that it costs less than many traditional lead generating efforts and spending on content is way up.

Content can be blogging, video, audio, or social media posts. Artificial intelligence will step in to skyrocket those efforts, if only you accept that content was once king, but is now God. What is changing is how customized content can be. For example, some companies are using AI tools to create dozens of different Facebook ads for different demographics, which would have taken weeks of human effort to do in the past.

Because content is what feeds all of these new smart devices, feeding your brand content effectively and utilizing AI tools to augment your efforts will keep you more relevant than ever.

6. Get ahead of privacy problems

Consumers now understand what website cookies are, and know when they’ve opted in (or opted out) of an email newsletter, but to this point, humans have made the decisions of how these data choices are made. Our teams have continually edited Terms of Service (ToS), all done not just with liability in mind, but to offer consumers the protections that they want and have come to expect.

But AI today doesn’t have morals, and consumer comfort is not a factor unless humans program that into said AI devices. But it still isn’t a creature of ethics like humans are. Ethical challenges going forward will be something to stay ahead of as you tap into the AI world. Making sure that you know the ToS of any tool you’re using to mine data is critical so that you don’t put the company in a bad position by violating basic human trust.

The takeaway

You’re smart, so you already knew that the robots aren’t taking your job, rather augmenting it, but adding AI into your marketing mix to stay ahead comes with risk and a learning curve. But seeing artificial intelligence for what it really is – a tool – will keep your focus on the big picture and save your job.

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Real Estate Marketing

The best real world marketing examples from truly successful companies

(MARKETING) Harry Dry has created an approachable resource on marketing, with articles covering subjects from titles, to SEO, and even video games.

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Harry Dry marketing site

Anyone who’s ever had to sit down to write a marketing email to a few thousand strangers to convince them to buy, participate, or give, knows what an absolute pain it can be. There are all sorts of factors at play when you send out an email campaign, often leaving questions unanswered. For example “if you can even get a click into the email, how do you keep their attention and generate the right response?”

London marketing writer, Harry Dry, has some thoughts on topics like this that are sure to pique a marketer’s interest, and they’re all found on MarketingExamples.com, a site Dry launched last June to organize his weekly marketing advice e-mails into one categorized, searchable resource.

With more than 50 articles posted since the site’s inception, Dry has covered areas like SEO and signaling, ad strategies (such as PPC and email campaigns), branding, and even content and conversion.

Here are just a few topic-specific links Dry has covered on his website:

Marketing tools are damaging your SEO. And how to fix it provides a step-by-step how-to on working with analytics to improve and change things up.
How Fortnite changed the way video games were marketed isn’t just a trendy nod. Instead, it looks at how to use the creator’s (Epic Games) strategy of flipping the standard growth funnel.
How to write a landing page title is a nice do-this, not-that reminder about going back to basics.
• And while it’s an old example, How to get Tom Hanks on your podcast just showcases once more, in perfect Corona font type, what an awesome guy Tom Hanks really truly is, while simultaneously nudging you to think creatively about your approach.

Dry keeps it simple too, peppering each post with engaging real-world examples. And while he hasn’t reinvented the marketer’s wheel, he has created a good go-to resource for case studies, ideas, and basic advice.

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Real Estate Marketing

Proof that influencer marketing actually dates back hundreds of years

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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