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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 ratings 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 knowing that my Realtor is the best. But as a consumer I can tell you – give me what I want – tell 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

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

How to optimize your marketing to reach each generation

(MARKETING) Knowing how each generation is interacting with marketing content will help you keep your edge in your chosen markets – here’s your update!

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In the last few years, a higher premium has been set on presenting your content appropriately to your audience. In order to do this, you must really learn about the demographics of your audience as a way to speak to them in the most effective way.

We can do this by looking through our follower list, determining the audience that would most benefit from our audiences, and opening the floor for questions. Sometimes we rely on studies and other collections of data to show us what certain audiences dig and don’t dig.

Such was the case with Koeppel Direct’s roundup regarding optimizing your content for every age group. They broke it down in such a way that helps us look at different generational online uses.

First up, we have our Baby Boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964. According to the data, they make up 74 percent of the US population. Sixty-seven percent of that population uses smart phones, while 57 percent use social media. The favorite platform of Boomers is Facebook, with 31.9 percent using the social media site.

It’s recommend to tailor content for Boomers in the following ways: make your content text-light (300 words is the preferred article length of this generation), videos that are heavy on information (slower-paced is preferred over fast), and Facebook-optimized content (57% will visit a company’s website after seeing them appear on social media, and 34% will make a purchase).

Next on deck, Generation X. This group was born between 1965 and 1980, and make up 66 million of the US population. Eighty-five percent own smartphones and 75% use social media (with 45 million Facebook users and 23.5 million Instagram users).

The content recommendations for Gen X are: longer-form video (30-second mobile video ads are preferred over ads that are shorter), tablet-optimized content, and 48% are more likely to buy from a company that offers instructional videos.

Now, everyone’s favorite, Millennials! These peeps graced the earth between 1981 and 1996 (May of ’94 brought you yours truly) and they make up 71 million of the population. Ninety-two percent own smartphones and 85 percent use social media (with 59 million Facebook users and 43 million Instagram users).

Unsurprisingly, two out of three Millennials prefer online shopping. The recommended content comes in the way of: shorter-form video (10-seconds preferred), interactive content (it’s all about the experience! Even with campaigns), email campaigns (Millennials spent 6 hours a day going through email, with 77% wanting to receive business communication by email).

Additional tips include: personalizing content, using less text, and sharing mobile coupons and rewards.

Finally, we’re at the end of the alphabet with Generation Z. Zs were born between 1997 and 2012 (so they were learning to walk during the peak of Friends) and make up 60 million of the population. A whopping 95 percent have access to smartphones.

The favorites of social media include: 73 percent on Instagram, 69 percent on Snapchat (noted to be more popular with girls), and 80 percent say that social media influences their shopping (thanks, Insta models!)

It’s recommended to use: online video ads (56 percent take action after seeing a video), video marketing (85 percent use YouTube), and socially conscious content (94 percent feel that companies and brands should take stands on environmental and social issues).

The roundup also notes that in 2017, it was determined that the average human attention span is eight seconds (which is a 33 percent decrease from 2000).

There was also a 99 percent increase in branded video content views on YouTube over 2016.

In 2019, 80 percent of all web traffic so far is video. Think about that one.

This information is ever-evolving and helpful to keep an eye on. However, it’s important to note that this is a sample of these generational populations, and not every item applies to each population member. Do your own research to really get to know your audience!

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Real Estate Marketing

Quokka: Retargeting ads for people who ignored your email

(MARKETING) A new startup named after our favorite animal amplifies your ad efforts even after being ignored. Sweet!

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Potential customers who ignore your emails just aren’t the obstacle that they used to be. If you’re tired of sending out countless emails and receiving nothing in response, Quokka’s ad retargeting service may be the solution for you.

Aside from having the objectively cutest animal of all time as their namesake, Quokka allows you to follow up with people who don’t respond to your initial emails. Instead of firing off an additional email, however, Quokka’s response is a bit subtler: it shows retargeting ads to the offending customer. This method gives your product or service a second chance without giving the customer the opportunity to bin your follow-up email sans a read.

Quokka also provides you with statistics regarding how many emails were sent out, how many were opened, and how many customers are available for retargeting based on those numbers. This information is provided on an email-by-email basis in their easy-to-use interface.

Once you’ve allowed a certain amount of time to pass, you can plug your mailing list into Quokka and select a platform on which you want to display the retargeting ads. Quokka will determine who on your mailing list didn’t open the email and then show them your ad on your selected platform (e.g., Facebook). While social media ads haven’t been faring particularly well as of late, we may see Quokka find its niche in other marketing venues.

As it sits, Quokka plugs into your Facebook, MailChimp, and Campaign Monitor services. Based on comments from the platform’s founder, Quokka’s future includes additional integration with existing marketing platforms. Ideally, Quokka will eventually be usable with the bulk of mailing services and marketing automation, but getting the app to that point will undoubtedly take some time.

2018 marketing practices already look like they’re going to have to evolve away from some of the pre-established paradigms, and Quokka appears to be one appropriate answer to the underlying “How?” question here. As customers become more suspicious of ads in their inboxes and ad-blocking software use continues to grow, services such as Quokka may be viable solutions for those hoping to reach the most stubborn demographic.

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