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Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate [#2]

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How Do I Use Blogging?

One of my favorite “uses” for a blog is to educate my readersmy clients and my potential clients (and maybe even the occasional agent). However, sometimes drumming up new and educational content on a regular basis can be a bit challenging. Yet, I am CERTAIN that you are still replying to phone and email inquiries on a regular basis, right? How many times do get an email asking a question, go to your sent box and scan for the last email you sent answering that question, copy a bulk of that answer and send it as the answer to the new inquiry.You THINK you are clever and saving time by recycling a previous email answer … but you can do better.

Here is post #2 in the “Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate” series:

Answer Real Estate FAQ’s Just Once

  • Write a list of all the FAQ’s that you answer on a regular basis. Some great FAQ’s could be:
    • How do you get paid as a Buyer/Listing agent?
    • What is up with [x] neighborhood? – I know you ALL have that “one” neighborhood that no one seems to “get”.
    • What happens once the contract is accepted (buyer/seller)
    • What are property taxes in that area?
    • Why do I need to talk to a lender BEFORE I look at homes?
    • How long does it take to buy/sell a house
  • Tackle each question, one at a time, and answer it as a blog post. Not only does this help you answer that FAQ once, but this can be an excellent source of “blog fodder” for your blog.
  • Link to other related FAQ’s at the end of each FAQ post. Once you have answered several FAQ’s, you can start interlinking them.

Wouldn’t it be nice to answer your frequently asked questions just once? Wouldn’t it be nice to say,

“That is an excellent question. In fact, I just wrote and published an answer to that very question.”

… and then direct them to the post that you wrote for their answers?

Survey says … YES! That would be very nice.

Using Your Blog to Answer FAQ’s Has Multiple Benefits

  1. You have just freed up more of your time to play on Twitter. No, I mean, you have just freed up your time to do MORE money making activities.
  2. You have impressed your client or potential client by directing them to something that YOU wrote and PUBLISHED.
  3. You have proven yourself as a competent and “on top of it” real estate expert – answering their questions before they even asked them.
  4. You have now pointed them to your blog. Chances are they will hang around there reading other things you wrote (like the posts that you linked to at the bottom of the post…). If they are not your clients yet, they may even jump on your IDX and look for homes … or request a CMA.
  5. You will now look at all the questions that people ask you as an excellent resource for blog ideas.
  6. You can now use your FAQ posts as a great “drip campaign” for your SOI (sphere of influence) and/or potential clients.

Even if all you do is answer FAQ’s on your blog (and maybe throw in a market report or two…) your blog will become a great and informative resource for your clients.

What are some of YOUR FAQ’s that would be a great blog post?

Other Posts in This Series:
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: Introduction
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #1 Use Blogging as a Farming/Niche Tool

Note: Next week’s Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate post will be written by the one-and-only Jay Thompson. I am looking forward to his contributions!

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Jim Gatos

    June 21, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    The ideas I am getting from you guys are mind boggling! Thanks!

  2. Sue

    June 21, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Your posts are very good. I am currently a one man show, however busting out!! I have a drip campaign, informative blogs and emails with links to school info, etc…I take the pre-setup emails and usually add something more personal before sending it out. I have had calls from potential buyers who called based on info they read on my blog. One woman who called said that someone she worked with told “her” about me based on a blog I wrote, so that is good. I can see where it would be beneficial for a client to have info on taxes, neighborhoods etc. … drill it down blogging. 🙂

  3. Ken Smith

    June 21, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I really like this idea. Talk about making you life much easier down the road.

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    June 21, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    awesome, awesome, awesome!

  5. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 22, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Great points. Education of the readers does several things for you: it establishes you as an authority on the subject and it gets people in the habit that if they have questions regarding the topic, they come to you for the answers.

  6. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 22, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Great points. Education of the readers does a couple things for you: It establishes you as an authority on the subject, and it gets persons in the habit that if they have questions regarding the particular topic, that they come to you for the answers (and you in turn help create a relationship with the person).

  7. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Jim – Thanks! … and to think we only touched on 2 ways so far.

    Sue – Yep! A blog can do all kinds of great things for your business.

    Ken – No kidding! I am ALL about making life easier.

    Matthew – Thanks!

    Jennifer – I believe our goal SHOULD be the go-to person for all thngs real estate.

  8. Holly White

    June 22, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Great Ideas!!! I’ve already used your first post and registered and set up my first neighborhood blog that is doubling as a single property website right now until I get more content, but it’s a start and it looks great. Thanks for the wonderful insight on this one. We could all probably lose our voices talking about these things over and over again. Putting them in a blog and directing customers to your site to review them and educate themselves is a stellar way of getting more activity on your site and at the same time establish yourself as an authority on the subject. Way to go!

  9. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Holly – Congrats on your new blog!

  10. Barry Cunningham

    June 22, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    we use this approach to generate traffic from consumers in our area on Trulia voices as well

  11. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Barry- Trulia Voices would be a great platform for FAQ’s. I imagine there will ALWAYS be new and “interesting” questions to answer.

  12. Perri K. Feldman

    June 22, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks. I had been hitting a wall and these are great suggestions. Thanks for stopping by, glad to have found your blog.

  13. Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts

    June 22, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    You always have some great ideas. A lot of my blogs are a result of questions that people always ask me. Its just putting them in words for everyone to see. The ones that do not ask still want to know.

  14. Lisa Heindel

    June 22, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Would you recommend individual posts versus perhaps creating a FAQ page for a blog?

  15. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Perri- Make sure you come back for future installments of this series…

    Eric – Thanks! You are right … Many people will have questions that they never ask.

    Lisa – I would definitely tackle each FAQ as a separate post, but then you COULD have a FAQ page with links to all of your posts on that page. You could then add to it as you wrote more.

  16. Mariana – Thanks for this post! I do answer certain questions over and over . . . and I am trying to set up neighborhood specific areas on my web site so I could certainly pull some of that information that I am already collecting for my blog. Keep ’em coming! (Just wish I has 20 more hours a day!)

  17. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Robin – I figure the more we can use our blogs in our businesses, then, ultimately we will HAVE more time.

  18. Glenn fm Naples

    June 23, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Prior to posting an answer to a FAQ from your e-mail, should you get the permission of the person asking the question?

  19. Mariana Wagner

    June 23, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Glenn – I have 2 answers:

    1. FAQ is Frequently asked questions, meaning that I get the same questions over and over. I can pull those questions out of my head, for the most part.

    2. If I get a particlarly interesting question I will NOT ask persmission from the asker. A question is a question. No, I will not say “so-and-so from this place asked this question…” If I make any reference to someone asking a question, it would be like, “I was recently asked a great question…”

  20. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    From a purely logistical standpoint, if you are running a WordPress blog (self-hosted, not wp.com) you can install the FAQ-tastic plugin. This lets you create a page, and “answer” FAQ type questions in the back end of WordPress. The plugin then generates a separate page for each question and compiles the links on your FAQ page.

    It’s a great way to collect all your FAQ type posts in one place. There are also some potential SEO benefits to having the page structure it uses. You can see an example on my blog here.

  21. Ken Smith

    June 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Jay can you control the URL’s of the pages when using the multiple page function or is it automatically the question? Would be nice to shorten those up a little bit.

  22. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    @Ken – great question. I just took a look. While the url defaults to the question, there is a field to enter whatever URL you want.

    Looks like I missed that when I originally did that first batch of questions… shorter would indeed be better.

  23. Mariana Wagner

    June 23, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Jay – That is an awesome tool! Thank you for sharing it.

  24. Ken Smith

    June 23, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Jay thanks for sharing the resource. Think there might be more then a few ways to use it.

  25. Paula Henry

    June 23, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Mariana –

    What an excellent series! I have done this several times with posts – definately love the FAQ plug-in idea. Looking forward to the next installment:)

  26. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    “Think there might be more then a few ways to use it.”

    I think so too….

  27. Chris Shouse

    June 25, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Excellent Post Mariana, look forward to the rest”)

  28. Ana in San Antonio

    July 1, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the tips, I’ve had a blog for about 2 months and I was already out of ideas.

  29. Sue

    July 11, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I must start writing FAQs on my blog. I think this will be key in bringing in more activity. I have to believe buyers and sellers are searching on various issues on a daily basis. I never quite understand the resistance buyers have to getting pre-approved.

  30. Brad N

    March 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Wow Great Advice

    Here is the issue, I am intimidated to start, Should I be? I have a blog attached to my website that is incorporated. I have this feature turned off atm. The sole reason is that I when I turn it on and look at it live, the Content is sparse.

    So it better to create a bunch of articles, save them in word and post them all at one time, or should I post them one at a time over several days/weeks. The advice here means that I now have several new articles to create

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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Business Marketing

Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

(BUSINESS MARKETING) The pay per click system Yelp uses sounds good in theory, but it may be hurting small businesses more than helping.

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Man browsing Yelp for his business listing in open office environment.

We all know Yelp – we’ve probably all used Yelp’s comment section to decide whether or not that business is worth giving our money to. What you might not know is how they are extorting the small businesses they partner with.

For starters, it’s helpful to understand that Yelp generates revenue through a pay per click (PPC) search model. This means whenever a user clicks on your advertisement, you pay Yelp a small fee. You never pay Yelp a cent if no one clicks on your ad.

In theory, this sounds great – if someone is seeking out your product or service and clicks on your ad, chances are you’re going to see some of that return. This is what makes paying $15, $50, or even $100 a click worth it.

In practice, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. When setting up your Yelp account, you are able to plug in keywords that correspond with your business. For example, owner of San Francisco-based Headshots Inc. Dan St. Louis – former Yelp advertiser turned anti-Yelp advocate – plugged in keywords for his business, such as “corporate photographer” and “professional headshots”. When someone in the Bay Area searches one of those terms, they are likely to see Headshots Inc.’s Yelp ad.

You are also able to plug in keyword searches in which your ad will not appear. That sounds great too – no need to pay for ad clicks that will ultimately not bring in revenue for your business. In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan plugged in terms such as “affordable baby photography” and “affordable studio photography”, as his studio is quite high-end and would very likely turn off a user who is using the word “affordable” in their search.

How Yelp really cheats its small business partners is that it finds loopholes in your keyword input to place your ad in as many non-relevant searches as possible. This ensures that your ad is clicked more and, as a result, you have to pay them more without reaping any of the monetary benefits for your business.

If you plugged in “cheap photography” to your list of searches in which your ad will not appear, Yelp might still feature your ad for the “cheap photos” search. As if a small business owner has the time to enter in every single possible keyword someone might search!

In the case of Headshots Inc., Dan ended up paying $10k in total ad spend to Yelp with very little return. Needless to say, he is pissed.

So what does this mean for you if you use Yelp for your business? If you don’t want to completely opt out of Yelp’s shenanigans, try these 3 tips from Dan:

  1. Try searching some potential irrelevant keywords – are your ads showing up in these searches?
  2. Do your best to block the irrelevant keywords. It’s impossible to get them all, but the more you do the more money you will ultimately save.
  3. Keep an eye on the conversation rate on your profile – does more clicks mean more client inquiries? Make sure Yelp isn’t sending low-quality traffic to your profile.

Ultimately, it’s about protecting your small business. Yelp is the latest in big tech to be outted for manipulating individuals and small businesses to up their margins – a truly despicable act, if you ask me. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars for ad spend, then either boycott Yelp or try these tips – your company may depend on it.

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