Are you ready to jump-start your business? Upgrading your technology is one of the fastest ways to do it. If you need some help, here are some important innovations to consider.
1. Stop dripping and start predicting
Instead of using drip e-mail, a process in which e-mails are automatically sent to contacts or prospects on a scheduled basis, a better approach would be to use predictive marketing. In addition to syndicating listings to more than 30 different sites at no charge as well as creating a neighborhood application on Facebook, Point2Agent now offers a predictive marketing tool with its premium sites. When buyers sign up to be notified of new listings, the system monitors their browsing patterns and then places homes that fit their preference at the top of what the buyer sees. For example, if a buyer always looks at the kitchen first, the system displays the houses with the best kitchens first. This system is much more effective than drip e-mail because it automatically responds to each Web visitors’ unique Web browsing patterns.
Today’s buyers and sellers expect an immediate response to their Web inquiries. Rather than relying on voicemail, e-mail or autoresponders, there are several great options available to meet this need. You can hire a virtual assistant, use push-to-talk technology (RealPing.com), or install your own instant messaging system on your Web site with plugoo.com or meebo.com.
Another alternative is to create you own live call center using a company such as LeadQual or LivePerson. LeadQual charges on a per-lead basis. When a Web visitor fills out a form asking for more information, the LeadQual fast-response team calls the person and determines whether the lead should be passed on to an agent. If so, the system automatically connects the agent into a conference call with the lead. This entire process takes only a few minutes. The lead receives instantaneous service, and the agent doesn’t waste time with unqualified Web leads.
One of the biggest mistakes that both agents and companies make is failing to trace their Web statistics. Where do leads originate? Which sites generate the most traffic for your listings? What pages on your site cause your visitors to go elsewhere? You can’t answer these questions unless you are using tracking. Point2 provides an analysis tool at no charge as part of its Web site package. For your other Web sites, you can track analytics using Google Analytics, Clicky, CrazyEgg, clickdensity or VisiStat. A number of Web reviews recommended clicky.com as the preferred resource for this. What’s especially interesting about the Clicky application is that you can actually monitor the live activity on your site.
4. Upgrade from brochure marketing to video marketing
Market your fliers on your Web site, your blog, in print, and on cell phones with vFlyer. Better yet, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 10,000. While it may not be practical financially to shoot a video for every listing, it’s an important option on more expensive listings.
An excellent way to use video is to shoot a tour of your local community. Rather than promoting yourself, give a guided tour of your market area that demonstrates what makes your area unique. Use the video to introduce future residents to unusual things to do or the best-kept secrets that even locals may not know. To be really innovative, shoot the video in HD, or high definition. You can post it on your Web site or blog, and copy it to an inexpensive portable drive to give to clients who visit your open houses or who are relocating into the area.
5. Video syndication
While putting a video tour of your listings on YouTube is a great idea, an even better idea is to place them on TubeMogul, which syndicates (sends) your video to six different video sites including YouTube, Google Video and Yahoo Video. Best of all, there’s no charge.
6. Cool cell-phone tips
A study from the U.K. recently found that computer use was falling among teens and young adults. On the other hand, cell-phone use was skyrocketing. Instead of using a video camera, you can now track what your friends and others are doing on Twitter. You can also use Twitter to notify your friends and clients about hot new listings, a great sale at a local store, or anything else your clients may find of value. To improve communication, upgrade your headset to a Bluetooth-enabled Jawbone that blocks all background noise. You can also join Jaxtr, a site that allows you to call anywhere for your normal cell-phone rates.
When it comes to making changes in your business, please remember that small steps taken consistently over time produce sustainable change. Trying to add too much too quickly can undermine your success.
(Special thanks to Brian Boero of 1000Watt Consulting for compiling many of the items in today’s column).
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.