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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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Deepfakes can destroy any reputation, company, or country

(MEDIA) Deepfakes have been around for a few years now, but they’re being crafted for nefarious purposes beyond the original porn and humor uses.

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Deepfakes — a technology originally used by Reddit perverts who wanted to superimpose their favorite actresses’ faces onto the bodies of porn stars – have come a long way since the original Reddit group was banned.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) to create bogus videos by analyzing facial expressions to replace one person’s face and/or voice with another’s.

Using computer technology to synthesize videos isn’t exactly new.

Remember in Forrest Gump, how Tom Hanks kept popping up in the background of footage of important historical events, and got a laugh from President Kennedy? It wasn’t created using AI, but the end result is the same. In other cases, such technology has been used to complete a film when an actor dies during production.

The difference between these examples and that latest deepfake technology is a question of ease and access.

Historically, these altered videos have required a lot of money, patience, and skill. But as computer intelligence has advanced, so too has deepfake technology.

Now the computer does the work instead of the human, making it relatively fast and easy to create a deepfake video. In fact, Stanford created a technology using a standard PC and web cam, as I reported in 2016.

Nowadays, your average Joe can access open source deepfake apps for free. All you need is some images or video of your victim.

While the technology has mostly been used for fun – such as superimposing Nicolas Cage into classic films – deepfakes could and have been used for nefarious purposes.

There is growing concern that deepfakes could be used for political disruption, for example, to smear a politician’s reputation or influence elections.

Legislators in the House and Senate have requested that intelligence agencies report on the issue. The Department of Defense has already commissioned researchers to teach computers to detect deepfakes.

One promising technology developed at the University of Albany analyzes blinking to detect deep fakes, as subjects in the faked videos usually do not blink as often as real humans do. Ironically, in order to teach computers how to detect them, researchers must first create many deepfake videos. It seems that deepfake creators and detectors are locked in a sort of technological arms race.

The falsified videos have the potential to exacerbate the information wars, either by producing false videos, or by calling into question real ones. People are already all too eager to believe conspiracy theories and fake news as it is, and the insurgence of these faked videos could be created to back up these bogus theories.

Others worry that the existence of deepfake videos could cast doubt on actual, factual videos. Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University says that deepfakes could lead to “deep denials” – in other words, “the ability to dispute previously uncontested evidence.”

While there have not yet been any publicly documented cases of attempts to influence politics with deepfake videos, people have already been harmed by the faked videos.

Women have been specifically targeted. Celebrities and civilians alike have reported that their likeness has been used to create fake sex videos.

Deepfakes prove that just because you can achieve an impressive technological feat doesn’t always mean you should.

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Can you legally monitor your employees’ online activities? Kinda

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are they ways you are monitoring your employees online even legal? Did you know there are illegal methods? Yep.

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Edward Snowden’s infamous info leak in 2013 brought to light the scope of surveillance measures, raising questions about legality of monitoring tactics. However, the breach also opened up broader discussion on best practices for protecting sensitive data.

No company wants to end up with a data breach situation on their hands, but businesses need to be careful when implementing monitoring systems to prevent data loss.

Monitoring your employee’s activity online can be a crucial part of safeguarding proprietary data. However, many legal risks are present when implementing data loss prevention (DLP) methods.

DLP tools like keystroke logging, natural language processing, and network traffic monitoring are all subject to federal and state privacy laws. Before putting any DLP solutions in place, companies need to assess privacy impact and legal risks.

First, identify your monitoring needs. Different laws apply to tracking data in transit versus data at rest. Data in transit is any data moving through a network, like sending an email. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) requires consent for tracking any data in transit.

Data at rest is anything relatively immobile, like information stored in a database or archives. Collecting data at rest can fall under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), which typically prohibits unauthorized access or disclosure of electronic communications.

While the SCA does not usually prevent employers from accessing their own systems, monitoring things like Gmail accounts could get messy without proper authorization.

Who you’re tracking matters as well regarding consent and prior notification. If you’re just monitoring your own employees, you may run into disclosure issues. Some states, like Delaware and Connecticut, prohibit employee monitoring without prior notice.

The ECPA also generally prohibits tracking electronic communication, but exceptions are granted for legitimate business purposes so long as consent is obtained.

Monitoring third party communications can get tricky with wiretapping laws. In California and Illinois, all parties must be notified of any tracking. This can involve disclosures on email signatures from outbound employee emails, or a broad notification on the company’s site.

Implied consent comes from third parties continuing communication even with disclaimers present.

If you’re wanting to install DLP software on personal devices used for work, like a company cellphone, you could face a series of fines for not gaining authorization. Incorrect implementation may fall under spyware and computer crime laws.

With any DLP tools and data monitoring, notification and consent are crucial. When planning monitoring, first assess what your privacy needs are, then identify potential risks of implementing any tracking programs.

Define who, where, and why DLP software will apply, and make sure every employee understands the need for tracking. Include consent in employee onboarding, and keep employees updated with changes to your monitoring tactics.

Protecting your company’s data is important, but make sure you’re not unintentionally bending privacy laws with your data loss prevention methods. Regularly check up on your approaches to make sure everything is in compliance with monitoring laws.

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How to spot if your SEO, PPC, social media marketing service provider is a con-artist

(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con-artist? Too often, we trust our guts and go with the gregarious person, but too much is on the line to keep doing that with your business.

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In this day and age the cult of positive thinking and “the law of attraction” are still very much alive and well in the business services industry. Here are a few simple questions that you can ask prospective business service providers to help you gauge if they are the real deal or just caught up in the fad of “say yes to everything,” or “outsource everything” being populated online by countless “thought leaders” and cult gurus.

Lots of people will ask, “What’s the harm of people trying to make something of themselves?”

Well, I’m here to tell you there is a huge harm in taking risks with a client’s money and manipulating people into trusting their “expertise” when they have none.

Business owners: Due diligence is more important than ever these days.

There are whole communities of people helping to prop each-other up as experts in fields they know nothing about while outsourcing their tasks with little or no oversight into the actual work being done on your behalf.

It is nearly impossible for you to tell if this is even going on. Don’t worry. I am here to help you avoid a con-artist.

How? By showing you how to weed out the bad actors by asking really simple questions.

This set of questions is perfect for people who need to distinguish if the expert they are talking is really just an expert in bullshit with a likeable personality.

Why do these questions work? Because people who are into this kind of stuff are rarely hesitant to talk about it when you ask them direct questions. They believe that what they are doing is a good thing and so they are more open to sharing this information with you because they think by you by asking that you are also into similar things.

It is a fun little trick I picked up while learning to do consumer polling and political surveying.

The Questions:

  • Who influences you professionally?
  • Do you follow any “thought leaders” “gurus” or coaches? If so, who?
  • What “school” of thought do you ascribe to in your profession, and where do you learn what you know?
  • Are there any industry standards you do not agree with?
  • How do you apply the services you offer to your own company?
  • Can you please tell me the background of your support staff and can I see their CV’s?
  • Do you outsource or white label any of the work your company does?
  • May we audit your process before buying your services?
  • May we discuss your proposed strategies with others in your industry to ensure quality?
  • Would you be open to speaking with an independent consultant that is knowledgeable about your industry about your proposals?
  • Can you show me examples of your past successful jobs?
  • Do you have any industry accepted certifications and how many hours of study do you do in a year to keep your knowledge up-to-date and current?
  • How many clients have you had in the past?
  • How many clients do you have currently?
  • How many clients are you able to handle at one time?
  • How many other clients do you have that are in the same industry as my company?
  • How long is your onboarding process before we start getting down to actually making changes to help solve the issues my company is facing?
  • Can you explain to me the steps you will take to identify my company’s needs?
  • Have you ever taken a course in NLP or any other similar course of study?
  • Have you ever been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing company?
  • Fun. Right? Well, we aren’t done.

    It is not just enough to ask these questions… you have to pay attention to the answers, as well as the WAY they are answering questions.

    And you also have to RESEARCH the company after you get your answers to make sure they ring true.

    You cannot keep accepting people at face value, not when the risk is to your business, employees, and clients. There is little to no risk for a person who is being dishonest about their capabilities and skill sets. They will walk away with your money, ready to go find another target for a chance meeting that seems amazingly perfect.

    Do not leave your business decisions to chance encounters at networking events. Research before saying yes.

    No matter how likeable or appealing the person you are speaking with is.

    How do you research? Easy. THE INTERNET. Look at the website of the company you are considering working with.

    • Does it look professional? (do not use your website as a standard for professional unless you have had it done by a professional)
    • Can you see a list of their past clients?
    • Do they effectively tell their story as a company or are they just selling?
    • What do their social media profiles look like? Do they have many followers? Are they updated regularly?
    • Do they have any positive reviews on social sites? (Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)

    You can also do some simple things like running SEO Website Checkers on their websites. There are tons of these online for free and they will give you a pretty good indicator of if they are using best practices on their websites – you can even do this research on their clients’ websites.

    Also, if you know anything about SpyFu, you can run their website through that to see how they are doing their own online marketing (the same can be said for their clients if they are selling this service).

    Facebook also has a cool section that shows you ads that a Page is running. You can find this info connected to their business Page as well as the Pages they manage for their clients as well. None of these things automatically disqualify a potential service provider, but their answers the question of “why” things are the way there are might be very illuminating to you as a business owner.

    This may seem like a lot of work, and it can be if you do not do these things regularly and have them down to a system, but the cost of not doing these things is way too high. A con-artist is born every day, thanks to the internet.

    You have a right as a business owner considering services from a vendor to ask these questions.

    They also have the responsibility as a service provider to answer these questions in a professional manner. Sometimes the way in which they answer the questions is far more important than the actual answer.

    If all of this seems too overwhelming for you to handle, that is okay.

    • You can ask one of your staff in your company to take on this role and responsibility.
    • You can hire someone to come in and help you with these decisions (and you can ask them all the same questions as above before taking their services).
    • You can reach out to other business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for someone who could help you with things.
    • Heck, you can even call up companies that look like they are doing as well as you want to be doing online and ask them who they are using for their services. Try successful companies in other industries as your competitor won’t likely be interested in sharing their secrets with you…

    What is important is that you are asking questions, researching, and ultimately making sure that you are doing as much as possible to ensure making the best decision for your company.

    Final thoughts:

    “But, Jay, what’s wrong with taking a risk on an up-and-comer?”

    The answer to that is NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone. Someone being green doesn’t make them a con-artist.

    The issue I am raising is in the honest portrayal of businesses and their capabilities. It is about honesty.

    I am a huge fan of working with people who are new and passionate about an industry. But I only work with people who are honest with me about who they are, what they can do, and how their processes work.

    I have worked with tons of people who are still learning on the job. It can be quite educational for a business owner as well.

    Just make sure they are being honest about everything up front. You are no obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your businesses success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.

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