(This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1, “Opportunity knocks online for Realtors.”)
Tired of having to go to a separate vendor for your fliers, your Web site marketing and creating unique Web addresses for your listings? If so, VFlyer.com has a solution to make your business soar.
One of the most difficult aspects of Web 1.0 was how complex it was to integrate the various Web solutions an agent or broker needed. For example, you might have your Web site with one provider, your blog residing at a different provider, and your e-mail newsletter at a third provider. Web 2.0 solutions are now integrating these separate functions into a single platform that allows users to easily obtain all of these services in one place.
Last week’s article examined how the Point2 Technology platform integrates Web site technology with syndication to multiple Web sites. They also offer a “National Listing Service,” a blog, syndication to other agents, and a new technology platform for using Facebook. All of this is available at no charge.
VFlyer.com provides a different solution that addresses many of the same issues. Until now, you would probably use two different suppliers to publish Web listings online vs. marketing in print media. VFlyer integrates these two functions plus doing much more.
When you sign up for a VFlyer account, you have the option of creating a separate Web address, or URL, for each of your listings. Their system does this automatically. Unlike the Point2 system that requires you to upload your listings one by one, the VFlyer program allows its premium users (for a fee) to do bulk uploads.
Like Point2, VFlyer also syndicates to numerous Web sites, including eBay and MySpace, as well as to blogs such as ActiveRain.com. It also allows you to import e-mail addresses so you can send the digital version of your flier to the appropriate members of your database.
To use this function, it’s smart to set up subgroups in whatever system you use for e-mail. Many agents and brokers use Microsoft Outlook. You can set up a “new group” in Outlook and then simply click on the names of the members you wish to include. Consequently, you could have one client who may appear in three different groups. For example, one person could belong to your past client group, your current investors, as well as your second-home database. Setting up subgroups is a smart way to niche market your services.
VFlyer also allows you to create a PDF of your flier and print hard copies of your brochure. Using a “widget” (a piece of HTML code) you can add your flier to your Web site or blog. The VFlyer SMS service (“Short Message Service” — the technology that allows your mobile phone to display text messages, Web sites, pictures, animations, and songs) also allows you to create flyers that can be displayed on mobile phones.
In addition, VFlyer has a simple program that allows you to add graphics to your brochures. In the past, it required a fair amount of expertise to add a “Just Listed” banner to your online brochure. This function is now as easy as “point and click.”
Perhaps the most important function that both Point2 and VFlyer provide, however, is the ability to track results. For years, most agents and brokers have marketed without tracking the return on their marketing dollar. Given the shift in today’s market, it’s important to make every marketing dollar count. Each of these providers allows you to see how many unique visitors your Web marketing program is generating. This is an extremely important tool in terms of obtaining more correctly priced listings. For example, if you’re competing with two other agents for a listing, show the sellers how many hits your marketing has generated from Yahoo! Classifieds, Trulia, craigslist, etc. You can bet that most other agents will be unable to provide that data.
This is also important in terms of helping sellers achieve maximum exposure to the marketplace — and maximum price. When you go on a listing appointment, sellers want to know how you will market their home. An easy response is to say, “Your home will be marketed on more than 30 different Web sites.” Twenty of these come from loading the property into Point2. You can also prepare you “VFlyer” and show them how both the print and online versions of their listing will appear. Ask for feedback as well as what changes they would make. When they start telling you how to change the flier, the listing is yours.
Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of “Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters” and “Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?” Both are available online. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog at www.LuxuryClues.com.