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Four things to look for in a real estate CRM

Running a smooth real estate operation requires organization and marketing, both of which should be found in a team’s CRM.

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Industry-specific CRM questions

In the market for a real estate CRM/ contact management system? Keep the following considerations in mind before you make your decision:

First: contact management, of course

  • Robust contact management. It’s essential that your CRM have detailed contact profiles with fields for interests, birthdates, spouse and children information, wedding anniversary date, pets, and hobbies. Real estate is all about relationships so if you’re able to learn about your contacts and their life (and acknowledge them on their birthday and anniversary, for instance), you’re setting yourself up for referrals and repeat business down the road.

It should also be easy to add contacts to the system. This means the real estate CRM should have an Automated Website Lead capture tool that will automatically capture all of your web leads into your database and send you a reminder when you receive a new lead. You can then respond right away and assign the lead to a drip marketing campaign.

Second: email marketing

  • Fully-featured email marketing. It’s important that your real estate CRM have a powerful email marketing component because for REALTORS®, email marketing should be a key element of your keep in touch plan.

Make sure the CRM: gives you the ability to send out an e-Newsletter, includes graphical email marketing templates, lets you send out personalized mass emails, and has pre-designed drip marketing campaigns.

A drip marketing plan or campaign is a series of emails that get automatically sent out at various time intervals from the real estate CRM. There are drip marketing plans for marketing to a first time buyer, a potential seller, keeping in touch with past clients, and more. These plans help you automate a lot of your keep in touch work which will save you a ton of time!

If the CRM includes Email Campaign Reporting functionality, it’s a big bonus. With Email Campaign Reporting, you can see open rate, click through rate, forward rate, and other key statistics and information on emails you send through the system. This way, you’re not marketing with a blindfold on. You can also use this feature to identify potentially hot leads: those people who are reading and interacting with your emails the most.

Third: transaction management

  • Transaction Management. In order to stay organized, it’s important to have one place where you go to manage your prospects, clients, calendar, schedule, appointments, and active business. When I refer to active business, I’m referring to any listings you have and buyers you’re currently working with. Make sure the CRM you’re evaluating has robust transaction management features so you can manage your active business, generate service reports, organize offers, track commissions, and list property details.

The CRM should also have listing and closing activity plans which are a series of “to do’s” with accompanying reminders that will help you make sure no details fall through the cracks when you’re listing or closing a home.

Fourth: accessibility and compatibility

  • Compatibility and accessibility. Is this system fully Mac compatible? Does it work on the iPad? Can it sync wirelessly and instantaneously to your smartphone? These are key questions you need to be asking when evaluating a real estate CRM.

As well, if the system is not easy to use, you just won’t use it. There are many solutions out there that are anything but user friendly – it’s hard to navigate through them and the learning curve is often steep. Make sure you test out the system (even a couple at a time) and see which you find is easier to use. In the end, ease of use trumps flashy design because you need to be using the CRM on a daily basis. If not, you won’t get any value from it.

In real estate, there are so many products and services out there to spend money on. But of all of them, a real estate CRM is probably one of the best products you can invest in for your business. Why? Because the system will quickly pay for itself. The return on investment (ROI) is tremendous. Just one new client you’ve received as a result of using the system (say from sending a marketing email) pays for the CRM for years.

Summary checklist:

  • Robust contact management
    • Detailed Realtor-oriented contact profiles
    • Unlimited groups and easy contact filtering and searching
    • Keep in touch dashboard
    • Automated Website Lead Capture
  • Fully-featured email marketing
    • Monthly e-Newsletter
    • Personalized mass emails
    • Automated drip campaigns
    • Graphical marketing templates
    • Email Campaign Reporting
  • Transaction management
    • Manage listings and buyers
    • Activity Plans
    • Service Reports
  • Compatibility and accessibility
    • Smartphone Wireless Sync
    • Mac and iPad compatibility

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

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Facebook beta features fresh friendly facade you can try out

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook is trying to change it’s image, literally. They already changed their logo, now is time for a new design you can see in the beta.

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facebook beta

After sixteen years in the game, Facebook is getting a facelift. Facebook has been working on a redesign for quite some time and they’re finally starting to roll out a beta. Facebook is taking the rollout slow, so it looks like just a few users are seeing the redesign and the rest of us will have to wait. Want to be among the first to test out the new look? Here’s how you can, maybe, make it happen.

If you are one of the lucky few who has been selected to beta test, then getting the new design should be simple. When you log into your account (as if you ever log out) a pop up will prompt you to try out the new beta. If this doesn’t happen, and you’re still feeling optimistic, then turn your eye to the upper right-hand corner of your screen and look for a button labeled “See Facebook Beta.” Still no button, but want to keep the hope alive? Click the drop-down arrow in the right-hand corner of your screen and see if the Facebook Beta option appears in the dropdown. Nothing yet? Tough luck, kid. You have not been chosen.

If the new design is available to you, then Facebook will offer to give you a tour of the new system. The fresh UI aims to simplify the user experience by making the page less cluttered and easier to navigate. Icons will be sleeker and brighter and it should be easier than ever to access your Messenger conversations. And if you decide that you kind of hate the new design, no big deal. Users will have the option to switch back to the classic design, at least while the redesign is still in beta.

Platform redesigns are always a contentious topic of conversation for users. Twitter, in particular, has seen some user drama over its redesigns through the years. Sometimes a redesign will knock out your favorite feature or make a shortcut you used to take in a workflow pointless. And, honestly, sometimes people just don’t like change. Whatever side of the coin you’re on, let us know how you feel about Facebook’s new look.

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Google takes a shot at competing with TikTok, Pinterest videos

(SOCIAL MEDIA) We all love to sit and watch short videos, be they humorous, reactionary, or weird, but here is Googles attempt to get educational with Tangi.

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Tangi screenshot

It’s happened to anyone who’s ever been looking online for how-to help… you click on a likely-sounding YouTube video, only to be greeted by an ad you can’t skip, a whole lot of introductory chit-chat, and three minutes of build-up before you finally see exactly what you need to do to handle your would-be DIY hack.

But what if you could get your answer in 60 seconds or less? It’s the concept behind Tangi, a newly released Google app created in the company’s Area 120 incubator by developer Coco Mao.

Variously described as short-form YouTube, video Pinterest, or TikTok for makers, Tangi was inspired by Mao discovering that her “smartphone challenged” parents were using their devices to watch photography and painting tutorials—and developing new hobbies as a result.

She came back to Google and worked with her team to develop Tangi as a place where such how-to inspiration could be more easily found and taken advantage of. “The name is inspired by the words TeAch aNd Give,” she explained as she introduced the app at the end of January. “’Tangible’—things you can make.”

The philosophy behind Tangi means this is hands-on how-to for the crafty club. The time-lapse heavy videos “could quickly get a point across,” Mao said, “something that used to take a long time to learn with just text and images.”

Videos fall into categories of art, cooking, DIY, fashion and beauty, and lifestyle, and are often accompanied by links to recipes or the maker’s blog or Instagram for more information. Some makers don’t quite have the format down pat yet, but most manage to provide a good balance of visual inspiration and a little more information.

And like Pinterest, Tangi can turn into a time-lapsing rabbit hole of its own. I started with a mere 10-second clip on propagating succulents (I’ve been doing it wrong), which led to a minute on “when succulents stretch” (“etiolation” — new vocabulary word!), which led to a succulent cake which led to a conversation heart cake and before I knew it, 20 minutes had gone by and I was watching an exploding heart science Valentine and had washed up at “Yoda one for me.”

While the app has only been out for about a week … and is only available on iOS and the web … it’s already well populated with content from makers and lifestyle bloggers who partnered with Mao’s team during the development process. And though it’s still in closed-beta mode for content creators, users can apply to be on a waitlist to be invited to upload their own work.

There are a few question marks still. No word on when it will be available on Google’s own Android platform, for one thing. While a couple of intrepid contributors are reviewing education apps and dispensing startup advice, its philosophy as stated by team lead Mao may not extend much more beyond the maker and creative fields to include technology and workplace input. And Google doesn’t always support its apps for long.

But it’s fun, simple, and easy on the eyes. As a place to find quick inspiration and direction, Tangi could carve out a niche.

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New Reddit policy on impersonation mimics other social media giants

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Reddit is the latest social media company to change their policy to protect against deepfake impersonation, because of the harm they can cause.

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impersonation with deepfakes

Reddit is the latest social media company making updates to their rules and policies ahead of the 2020 election. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and now Reddit are all trying to make the social internet a safer place to receive information.

Reddit’s new policy officially bans impersonation with the goal of handling “bad actors who are trying to manipulate Reddit, particularly are issues of great public significance, like elections.”

Deepfakes have become a key topic of conversation the last few years. In the wake of the mass spreading of misinformation during the 2016 presidential election, users have grown wearier than ever of the information they see online. Deepfakes are no longer a niche subject, but an everyday pain point that technology companies are scrambling to control.

In a statement made on r/redditsecurity, Reddit informed users of the change to website policy stating, “Reddit does not allow content that impersonates individuals or entities in a misleading or deceptive manner. This not only includes using a Reddit account to impersonate someone, but also encompasses things such as domains that mimic others, as well as deepfakes or other manipulated content presented to mislead, or falsely attributed to an individual or entity.”

The platform isn’t trying to make a mass change to it’s often humor driven culture. Parody and satire are still allowed forms of impersonation so long as the joke is obvious. Reddit has vowed to always take context into account when looking at cases of user impersonation.

It’s a good sign for society when popular social platforms start taking their role in controlling the spread of false information seriously. Companies like Reddit are in a position to create real change in the way we spread and consume information about major global events.

What’s unclear is how much man power these companies are putting behind their policies. Reddit ends their statement by pointing users to a report form that users can submit if they or someone else is the victim of impersonation. The question users should be asking is how long would it take to get a response or see action on these reports?

Policy changes are great, but if companies are simply throwing them onto their fine print with no resources behind enforcement then it’s not social change, it’s just legal jargon to protect their ass.

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