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Old School Marketing

Survey: online leads valued far less than organic, so what’s next for Z/T/R?

Online leads and organic leads have long been valued differently, but the Zillow, Trulia, and realtor.com type companies will be narrowing the gap.

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Despite pouring millions into online leads, brokers indicate that they gain little value from those leads compared to organic leads in their agents’ existing address books. In a survey by real estate marketing tech company, Imprev, respondents were asked what value they place on different types of leads, and the results might surprise you.

This year, agents and brokers spent over $33 million with Zillow and Trulia to secure new leads, but Imprev CEO, Renwick Cogdon observes, “A real estate agent’s best lead is organic. It comes directly from his or her sphere of influence, company or personal web site, and through local marketing, such as yard signs, flyers, and open houses.”

Organic leads vs. online leads

Fully 86 percent of respondents opine that those organic leads offer exceptional value, compared to 8.0 percent citing Zillow, 7.0 percent stating realtor.com, 5.0 percent citing Craigslist, and finally, 4.0 percent stating Trulia.

Breaking down organic leads, respondents said an agent’s sphere of influence ranked first, followed by the broker’s website, which was followed by local marketing (signs, open houses, etc.).

“Real estate leaders are telling us their agents already have the gold — they just need to mine it,” Congdon said. “The nurturing of organic leads from capture to transaction is crucial, and an area that I believe is not adequately embraced by the typical real estate agent.”

And the shocker? Social media beats out search portals

It is no surprise that one in three respondents indicate Craigslist offers “no value” as a lead generation source, but it might surprise you to learn that one in five believe their MLS/Association to be void of value.

You might also be surprised that 70 percent cited social media as having “exceptional” or “reasonable” value, compared to 58 percent for Zillow, 49 percent for Trulia, and 46 percent for realtor.com.

What does this mean for Z/T/R?

This year has been one of tremendous change in the online real estate media world, with Zillow on the verge of putting a pretty bow on their acquisition of competitor Trulia, and Move, Inc. (operator of realtor.com) being acquired by News Corp.

Online leads have become a staple of almost every single real estate practitioner in the nation, and these changes with the portals have these brands on their A-game (not much has changed recently, but we suspect some real innovation blossom from the ultra-competitiveness). But what every human can tell you, even Spencer Rascoff and Steve Berkowitz, is that a personal referral will always trump a cold lead, and no one suspects that will change, nor will the web alter that.

That said, the portals can (and we believe will) do a better job of getting consumers closer to the actual transaction and practitioners through big data mining and tech innovations. With Craigslist being more highly valued than Trulia with this particular group of practitioners, the time is now for that improvement, even if that gap may only narrow slightly.

The company surveyed over 270 broker-owners and top executives at leading franchises and independent brokerage firms that were responsible for nearly half of all U.S. residential real estate transactions last year.

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.

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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Old School Marketing

MailSnail helps you quickly design, send, and manage direct mailers

MailSnail is a new startup aimed at simplifying your direct mail campaigns and allowing a new level of customization; worth checking out.

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Although most companies have abandoned direct mail for more cost-effective email, you shouldn’t discount this valuable tool (most Realtors don’t). The majority of the people that get emails don’t actually open them or spam filters snag your email before it ever reaches the intended inbox.

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While direct mail is more expensive than email, it still works. Direct mail allows you to reach high level customers and prospects that don’t open emails. It also helps reinforce your email message and reminds your customers of the offer you may have emailed them. Plus, with fewer people using direct mail, you’re better able to stand out among your competition.

Direct mail simplified

However, direct mail is complicated. Many factors contribute to its success or failure, which makes it difficult to do effectively in-house. This is where new company MailSnail comes in. The startup takes the hassle out of direct mail. You don’t have to worry about finding a designer, a print-house, a mail-house, or even customers. MailSnail takes care of it all for you from their easy to edit design templates, to printing and delivery of your custom mailer.

MailSnail lets you craft your mailers to your specific needs. You can choose one of their templates and add content to create a custom mailer that fits you. You can also upload your own design.

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Schedule ahead of time, customize fully

MailSnail also lets you schedule your mailers ahead of time, so you can send your direct mail when you need. Other features the company provides is the ability to segment your customers for easy management and send geographically targeted mailers to new potential customers.

The startup also touts their ability to send a mailer to any size audience. Send your customized mailers to thousands of addresses or only a handful – it’s completely up to you.

MailSnail gives you the power of direct mail without the hassle. While the startup hasn’t officially launched, if you’re interested in trying the service, you can sign up on their site to get beta access.

#MailSnail

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Old School Marketing

There’s still one reason people look at newspaper ads; is your brokerage meeting their needs or ignoring them?

Most think the printed newspaper is on its way into extinction, but many wallet-holders are still flocking to newspapers, but why?

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We’re living in the digital age, so more likely than not, your business is relying heavily on internet marketing, leaving behind those old newspaper advertisements.

But wait, not so fast. According to the latest marketing research, there may still be some value to providing discounts and coupons via local newspapers. An August 2015 study by CreditCards.com found that newspapers are still the most popular source for discounts and coupons amongst price-conscious consumers.

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They found that 37.7 percent of female respondents, and 30.1 percent of male respondents cited newspapers as their go-to for finding discounts and coupons, compared to the internet, snail mail, email, or direct offers from banks and credit cards.

Breaking the stats down by age

However, the picture becomes a little more complicated when you break down the statistics by age. The CreditCards.com study revealed that consumers ages 18 to 49 are mostly getting their discounts from the internet. Youngsters under age 34 are also more responsive to coupons in their mailboxes than to newspaper coupons.

For all respondents over age 49, on the other hand, newspapers were their first source for coupons, leveling out the average such that newspapers still rank number one when all age categories are combined.

A similar August 2014 study by Valassis, a direct mail marketing service, found less variation across age groups, with millennials, gen Xers, and baby boomers all stating that they used paper coupons far more than digital ones.

Gender and income influences

Shoppers with higher incomes don’t seem to worry much about finding coupons and discounts, whereas lower income shoppers rely on them heavily.

Nonetheless, the CreditCards.com study found that 30.6 percent of female internet users use coupons when shopping for their day to day amenities. That’s nearly twice as much as men, of whom only 16.8 percent use coupons regularly.

An overlooked opportunity?

In short, it appears that supplying discount offers and coupons in your local paper may not be such a bad idea, especially if your customer base is largely female, and over the age of 50.

While advertising a multi-million dollar listing may not yield results, inserting a coupon for a free analysis or an offering to waive $500 off of closing costs, could be a tool your competitors are ignoring. Time to open up a newspaper to see if there’s opportunity for your brand.

#Newspapers

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