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Some Old Rules Still Apply

It doesn’t take much reading here on Agent Genius, or on other web sites aimed at real estate professionals to notice that our world has changed a bit in the last few years.

There are new “web 2.0” ways to market our listings and ourselves. One big difference between internet marketing and more traditional marketing is that internet marketing is less expensive.

I think by removing cost barriers some new problems are cropping up that no one is talking about. In the past an agent would buy a marketing program and use it. We could spend thousands on it, but before deciding to make an expensive purchase we would do a little research. After we made the purchase we would track the results. Smart agents will stop using products where there is expense and little or no ROI.

Many of the products we use on the internet today are free, or inexpensive. We write blogs, and join social networks, and use electronic flyer’s and web sites. Once the cost barrier is removed there really isn’t any reason not to experiment with every gadget, doodad and web site that comes along. (I know I do – when I have time)

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The problem is, the social networks and blogs can be very time consuming, taking time away from revenue generating activities. They can also steal valuable family and personal time. That is the true cost of our newer marketing techniques.

We need to treat social media and internet marketing sites the same way we used to treat expensive marketing programs. Do some research, test the product and measure the results. If the results are not there it is time to move on.

Just because we can join social networks, start blogs and use some really cool internet based programs does not mean that we should. Keeping up with what is going on and even learning how to use new technology is a great idea, but spending hours each day on the internet “keeping up” might not be the best use of our most valuable and expensive resource, time.

Looking at “must join” networks like Active Rain, I see people spending hours online writing and commenting. Out of close to 60,000 members there have been some success stories. The success stories are quickly turned into “featured posts” so that everyone sees them. They write the same posts over and over again, and they get featured over and over again. That is what keeps the network going and growing.

The people who have not been successful, which is a much larger group than those who have had successes, either go away, or stay on and assume that success will come soon. Either way we don’t hear much from them or about them.

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Not everyone has the same success with blogs or social networks. Not all social networks are equal and writing blog posts is not for everyone. My point is we should not be afraid to experiment and learn, but we should also keep track of how much time we are spending on the free internet services and hold ourselves accountable for measurable results. If the results are not there it is time to move on.

The neat new watchamacallit that one of our blogging buddies just wrote a glowing review of may have little or no value when it comes to building a business. Some products don’t have any practical application for real estate practitioners for revenue or lead generation.

Failure on the internet can be expensive, even when the programs are free.

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Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. joe Peffer

    November 26, 2007 at 9:58 am

    Well Said Teresa. It is soooo easy to lose your entire work day with this new gadget or that blog post or last week’s Carnival. ROI is a tough nut and it mostly involves live follow up to make all the tech work.

    I’m still trying to figure out how to use potential tools like twitter and utterz for client building.

  2. Chris Lengquist

    November 27, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    An excellent post. Discussing AR you are probably about 99% right. I have really, conciously dialed down my participation on AR not because of a lack of success, but just the opposite.

    My other blog keeps me busy. Both from a logistical and a money in my pocket point of view. And money in my pocket is what it’s all about.

    On AR I found that points was the driving force for a great many people and that just didn’t interest me. So I stop in now and again. But really only to say “hi” to those I got to know.

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