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Top 10 ways to use QR codes in your real estate marketing

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When I first started to read Agent Genius Magazine, I read a story by Lani Rosales about QR Code technology for real estate. The story, originally published in October of 2008, puzzled me as I wasn’t ready to embrace the technology, YET.

Fast forward to February 2010 and I am geeking out at PodCamp Western MA where the t-shirts sport a QR code on the front. Jaclyn Stevenson, one of the organizers of the PodCamp pioneered the idea to include the code on the shirts. Now I am ready to embrace this cool technology and my brain starts working over how I can best utilize QR codes into my real estate marketing.

Of course I went to Google to see what other agents were doing, but to my surprise there was scant information available, with Lani’s story being the best one. I sat right down and re-read the post and began to formulate my attack.

I could see that this technology was well suited for real estate, it would make my print advertising interactive and useful once again and put me out front as a REALTOR who is trying new things to help sell her listings.

Lately there has been a lot of agents adopting this into their marketing plan and a lot of talk on Twitter and Facebook about using QR Codes for real estate marketing.

Here are my Top Ten Ideas for using QR Codes in real estate:

#1- Sign riders.
I was already purchasing a sign rider for each listing with the property URL on it, so I added a QR code for the url, as well.

#2- Newspaper.
I had the local media come do a story on what QR Codes are and how I am utilizing them. This had two goals: teach the local public and get me some exposure.

#3- Video.
My boyfriend, Morriss, and I worked up a demonstration video that I can share with my potential clients to help them understand the process.

#4- Video again.
Each of my properties gets a virtual tour video. I include the QR code as a slide at the end of the video.

#5- My blog.
I have my QR Code badge displayed on the home page of my blog so that visitors can scan and go directly to a feed of all of my listings.

#6- Print advertising.
I include the QR code on my “Just Listed” and “Just Sold” postcards. I would also include it in my other print media, if I were in charge of the layout (my broker pays for the advertising). Town and Country Realtors in Leominster, MA has done a great job with incorporating QR Codes into their print advertising.

#7- Business cards.
My new order of business cards will have the QR code featured.

#8- Direct mail.
I am sending everyone in my sphere a mailing with a QR code and an invitation to try it out.

#9- Printed gift items.
I plan to include the code on any calendars, bookmarks, etc. that I may hand out.

#10- Google Map.
In the place of a feed of your listings, or perhaps in addition to the feed, you could create a Google map of your office listings, your personal listings, your open houses, etc. and use a QR Code of the map in your print promotion.

I have recently been working with Clikbrix and so far I really like what they offer. The personalized QR Code that you see at the top of this post was designed by them and I like this idea. Adding the agent’s face and some directions on how to use the code makes it more comfortable for the amateur user. Their site is easy to use and the page that is created is optimized for mobile browsers. The personalized QR code directs the user to a feed of all active listings, which makes it very versatile. There is also a lot of analytics built into their platform, making the process of tracking information much simpler.

Prior to using Clikbrix, I had created a feed of my current listings and used that to create a code for the same purpose. Clikbrix is a subscription, so you could use this idea to accomplish the same result.

I am often asked about the metrics and ROI of my QR code campaign. I think it is still too new to really measure how effective it is, but as to ROI…QR codes are free! I know that use of my QR Code marketing won’t be widespread, as of yet. I am hoping to be an ambassador for this new technology because it is cool, green and fun to use. It is another tool in my listing kit that separates me from the Triple P Realtors (put in a sign, place it on MLS and pray) and it demonstrates to my market that I am an agent that is working hard to learn to ways to help accomplish the sale of their home.

Are you using QR Codes in your real estate marketing? Doing something different that wasn’t mentioned here? Comment please!

AgentGenius.com has no affiliation with Clickbrix.

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Daniel Bates

    September 26, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Great article Lesley – After hearing people talk about them for years, it’s nice to finally see a practical example of how an agent uses them. I’m in a rural retirement area in the South which all adds up to mean that we’re about 5 years behind on technology. I don’t own a smart phone and would guess that less than 25% of my customers/clients do as well, but know that we’ll get there eventually. All that being said, I’m going to be trying this new technology out on the rental homes that I manage with a “check-in station” flyer on the entrance so that new renters can check-in via google places or facebook and be more prone to share the fun they’re having on their vacation (coupled with a way for people to contact me to have the same great fun) and leave a review. I’ll let you all know how it works out. Even if it’s only used by 25% of vacationers, it should increase facebook marketing results quickly.
    I watched your video on #3 and a suggestion would be that you include more information about how this benefits the seller and potential buyer and discuss what type of information is on the website that you send them to. I’ve found that the “wow factor” with technology impresses few and is fleeting unless you can prove it’s value.

    • LesleyLambert

      September 26, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and for the constructive feedback…good luck with your ideas!

  2. Linda Aaron

    September 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Lesley,

    Thank you for the post and reference to Lani’s original post. I am creating content for a workshop for our brokers and was researching QR codes this past week to include a section about why they need to be using the QR codes. Your post is timely and the link will be included in my class.

    Thanks,
    LA

    • LesleyLambert

      September 26, 2010 at 9:44 pm

      So glad it is pertinent for you right now!

    • Ben K

      September 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      @Linda
      In addition to QR codes, MSFT has something similar — MS Tag. Essentially the same thing but have better customization options, however, it does require a MS tag reader app.

      @Lesley
      Excellent piece. I’ve started to use QR codes and MS Tags, but in small doses. The list you provided was great…I’m taking away some good utilization ideas. Thanks!

  3. Gina Kay Landis

    September 26, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Lesley, this is fabulous! Just started talking to people about using this and you’ve added a couple of ideas to my marketing arsenal. On my landing page of my company-provided web site, I have the QR codes that link to the virtual tour which also has a link to Google Maps so people can easily find the house, as well as links to set showings, and other link goodies.

    This will be the *way* of the future, and frankly the post office should be happy, because now there’s a great reason to do direct mail. I wonder too if the newspapers will insert a code into an open house ad… there are sooo many possibilities! Thanks for your article!

    @ginakayRE

    • LesleyLambert

      September 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      Gina, I am so glad to hear how you are implementing QR codes in real estate.

  4. Terence Richardson

    September 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I’ve been considering implementing this kind of technology in my business and I think you make a very easy case for doing it. Thanks for a great article.

  5. Fred Romano

    September 26, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    OK so… Nice self promotional post with all those lovely links back to your sites. But the point is the average Bill Buyer or Sally Seller won’t care, understand, or give 2 hoots about QR Codes. To most folks it just looks like some strange logo or symbol, and means nothing. I would never waste my time using one – Unless I was a Realtor in Japan.

    I do applaud you for being so aggressive using it in your marketing. Hopefully it will pay off for you, other wise you will have wasted a lot of money and time on the expensive Clikbrix monthly fee and manually creating and updating your property listings. That seems like a lot of unnecessary extra work unless you have an assistant take care of it.

    – Cheers

    • LesleyLambert

      September 26, 2010 at 9:47 pm

      To each his own Fred.

    • Tassia Bezdeka

      September 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Fred- Lest ye forget about the next generation of homebuyers!

      If a Realtor isn’t up to snuff with technology, he or she certainly won’t be the Realtor for me, or countless others in my age group.

      You might not see a reason to jump on it now, but (IMHO) it will only help you in the future to at least be familiar with the changes for when this does become the de facto standard of information gathering.

  6. Erik Goldhar

    September 27, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Thank you very much for the post Lesley!
    To your point, the QR Code is not only to be used on For Sale signage. We recommend that our Realtors use their Code on all marketing touch points including business cards, sales sheets, direct mail fliers, fridge magnets and more.

    Keep in mind that QR Code technology is an extremely “Green” form of marketing due to the fact that it could help Realtors reduce their printing. This is yet another marketing tool and differentiator using QR gives to our Realtor clients.

    Thank you for the post and good luck with all of your efforts.

    Sincerely,
    Erik Goldhar
    Partner, Clikbrix.com

    • LesleyLambert

      September 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm

      I keep forgetting to point out the “Green” aspects, thank you for pointing that out!

  7. Alex Dsouza

    September 27, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Hi Lesley Lambert
    First off, I thank you for sharing with us great tips on usage of QR codes in real estate marketing. I especially like the last point on Google Map. I never ever thought of it. Thanks, I’ll use QR Code of the map in print promotion and see how things progress.

  8. Jacksonville Real Estate Agent

    September 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I think QR codes are cutting edge and maybe even bleeding edge, but I’m sticking with “Text for Info” for now. This alone is cutting edge considering most adults have just started using text as a viable form of communication within the last 2 years. Now 3 in 4 adults are using text on a regular basis!

  9. georgeoneill

    September 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    We put QR codes onto every For Sale sign. We are tracking this via Analytics, and while uptake is modest in our market (Toronto, Canada), we are seeing a good number of visitors. Remember, it is also important to make the targeted webpage mobile-friendly!

  10. Josh Galvan

    September 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I think agents from all over should always look at their market and see if they are using these kinds of tools. Or if their market has the capability to use them (smart phone usage for qr readers). Many times with new tech tools there is this “we gotta have this and it will change our business” mentality just because it’s “new”, but then they find out it was a waste of time because their market doesn’t pick it up or use it.

    So simple point: Make sure it matches your market demographic or else you are climbing up the wrong hill.

  11. Jason Improta - Calabasas Homes for Sale

    September 27, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    This is great. I saw an ad in a magazine the other day (not real estate related) and decided I wanted to look into how to use it in my business. Thanks!!

  12. Nick Nymark

    September 28, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Very Cool, I brought this up to my broker about a month or so ago and might be starting to use it in the near future. I agree with web enabled cell phones becoming more wide spread. I think it’s going to be somewhat like GPS units. When they first came out they were really cool, and still are neat but as time goes on they keep coming out with better and better ones and are have made them much cheaper than they used to be and because of it more people are buying them.

  13. Chad Peevy

    October 6, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I just designed my first listing sign and property flyer with a QR Code printed on them. A few things I like about QR Codes:

    1) They allow me to scan something that I can later check out on my own time.

    2) Organic characteristic of the technology – ever had to re-print listing flyers because of a price change? Now an agent can put a QR code directing the consumer to a property website where they can find the price. Directing the consumer to the website for the price as opposed to printing it on the flyer allows you to change the price without re-printing flyers.

    3) It demonstrates that the agent is tech-savvy. Even if you aren’t that tech savvy – QR Codes are EASY to pull off and gives the impression that you’re on your tech game (and you should be if you expect to survive in real estate).

    More thoughts on my blog: agentstandingout.com/blog/?p=237

  14. Neil Ferree

    November 11, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Each of these 10 uses for QR codes are spot on. I like how Chris @TechSavvyAgent out it, in that he referred to QR codes as disposable marketing collateral. Anytime I see Google enter a space, I pay attention. They recently launched Goo.gl that both shortens a URL and generates a QR code on the fly and rudimentary analytic data is also part of their offering. Still, I find the Bit.ly platform to be more user friendly, better tracking w/ referral sites and sources and the ability to customize the shortened URL and QR code with “vanity” moniker. Not sure yet if Microsoft’s color QR code will catch on, but obviously this new tech widget will enable agents to provide Gen Y and us old dogs instant access to the info we seek on demand.

  15. Andrew Mooers

    November 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Less trees killed peddling properties. Cool. Have found other colleagues implementing QR codes but not because they embrace the application. Just don’t want to be left behind and it has become the buzz word, thing to do. Herd wearing the “R” strikes again.

  16. Building Material Suppliers

    May 16, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Thanks for letting a few secrets out to us all. Not everybody wants to help and give decent tips.

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Tag photos, connect with friends, order food?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seems to be sprawling into every nook and cranny of life and now, they’re infiltrating food delivery.

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Facebook is now bringing you food! Although, no one was really asking them to.

In the age of Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is attempting to transform into more than just a social media platform. They have partnered up with food delivery services to help users order food directly from their site.

They hope to streamline the process by giving users a chance to research, get recommendations and order food without ever leaving the site.

Facebook has partnered with their existing delivery services including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow and Olo in addition to restaurants to fast track the process.

The scenario they imagine is that while scrolling through the newsfeed, users would feel an urge to eat and look to Facebook for their options.

After chatting up friends via Facebook Messenger to ask for the best place to go, users would visit the restaurant’s page directly, explore their menu and decide to order. When ordering, you will have the option to use one of the partnered delivery services either with an existing account or by creating a new one.

The benefit is you stay on one site the entire time. With the time you save, the food can get to you faster, which is a plus for everyone.

Assuming that people already live on Facebook 24/7, this seems like a great update. If you like getting recommendations from your favorite social media resources, it’s even better.

The problem is that in recent years their younger audiences have dropped off in favor of other sites. Regardless of what they think, not everyone is flocking to Facebook for their every need.

My guess is that this service will benefit those already using Facebook, but is less likely to draw new audiences in.

Adding more services may not be the key to success if Facebook can’t refine their other features. They have already been criticized for their ad reporting practices, though they seem to fix everything with a new algorithm.

Facebook has continued to stray away from their original intent, and food delivery won’t be their last update.

Facebook wants to be everything, but not everyone may want the same.

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Hate Facebook’s mid-roll ads? So does everyone else

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Those pesky ads that pop up in the middle of that Facebook video, aka mid-roll, seem to be grinding everyone’s gears.

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In an ongoing effort to monetize content, Facebook recently introduced “mid-roll” ads into videos by certain publishers, and it has now been testing that format for six months. If you aren’t a big fan of those ads interrupting your content consumption experience, you aren’t alone; publishers aren’t crazy about them either.

In a report on the program, five publishers working with Facebook’s new mid-roll ad program were sourced and all five publishers found that the program wasn’t generating the expected revenue.

One program partner made as little as $500 dollars with mid-roll ads while generating tens of millions of views on their content.

Two other partners wouldn’t specify exact revenue number, but they did acknowledge that the ad performance is below expectations. As far as cost goes, certain publishers mentioned CPMs between 15 cents and 75 cents.

That range is large because a lot of the data isn’t clear enough to evaluate their return on investment. According to the Digiday report, publishers receive data on total revenue, along with raw data on things like the number of videos that served an ad to viewers.

The lack of certain data points, along with the confusing structure of the data, makes it difficult to assess the number of monetized views and the revenue by video. For context, YouTube, as arguably the biggest player in video monetization, provides all these metrics.

Another issue is that licensing deals are cutting into margins. Facebook pays publishers, via a licensing fee, to produce and publish a certain number of videos each month. In exchange, Facebook keeps all money until it recoups the fee, after which revenue is split 55/45 between the publisher and Facebook.

While these challenges doesn’t change the fact that revenue is low, it does make it difficult to dissect costs in a meaningful way.

Why is revenue so low to begin with?

For starters, a newsfeed with enough content to feed an infinite scroll probably isn’t the best format for these kinds of ads. As a user, when I’m watching the videos and the ad interrupts the experience, I’ve always scrolled right on through to the next item on my feed. It’s a sentiment echoed by one of the publishers in the Digiday story.

Because of that, Facebook’s new Watch program, which creates a content exclusivity not found on the news feed, might produce better results in the future. Either way, Facebook will need to solve this revenue challenge for publishers, or they might pull out of the programs altogether.

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Will Facebook’s Bonfire be a hit or go up in flames?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook secretly launched a group chat app that they secretly copied from a super small company. Lots of secrets.

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As we well know, big social media and social messaging companies have a tendency to rip each other off. We’ve seen Instagram rip off Snapchat, another big player in the space.

However, what happens when a big player copies a young upstart?

Facebook appears to be doing just that. The social media giant announced a standalone group video chat app called Bonfire in July of this year. After testing, that app is now available in the Denmark App Store.

“Bonfire bears a striking resemblance to Houseparty.”

Both apps enable multi-party video chatting, complete with video effect filters (much like Snapchat). Facebook has their app synced with the Messenger feature to let potential participants know when they’ve been added to a chat. Bonfire also lets you capture snapshots of the video chat.

So, why does Facebook want to copy this startup so badly? Because the concept is a hit.

Back in 2016, Houseparty was the 7th highest ranking free app in Apple’s App store. Additionally, the app has been shown averaging a million downloads in the last 6 months. Facebook is in the business of building community, per their mission statement, and this concept is a growing epicenter of social community and interaction.

That also makes Houseparty and Bonfire a great tool for reaching a younger consumer audience more directly.

While a live event on Facebook or Instagram makes for a great general broadcast, these apps could be a great way to offer exclusive experiences to certain customers.

Imagine, if you will, the thrill of 6 fans winning a content to have a private show streamed to them by their favorite artist, followed by a Q+A session? Or, imagine a pop culture brand like The AV Club hosting an interactive discussion with fans dissecting the latest episode of Game of Thrones?

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The bigger point is, that level of intimacy and exclusivity works well on this platform.

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