This year’s Real Estate Connect had a wealth of great website resources. If you want to be more effective, here are more hot tech tips to add to your technology toolbox.
1. Improve your search engine ranking
If you want to improve your search engine ranking, check out Google’s "Wonder Wheel." This tool allows you to check a specific search term such as "Austin real estate" and then see what users typed in on their searches that sent them to "Austin real estate."
To use this tool, begin by typing in the search term upon which you want to improve your ranking. Once you do your search, look at the toolbar on the left of your screen and click on the link that says, "Show Search Tools." When you click on that link, the toolbar expands.
Click on "Wonder wheel" under the category of "standard view." This provides you with the terms that are responsible for most searches for "Austin real estate." In this case, three of the other terms that drive this search are "real estate companies Austin," "real estate agents Austin," and "foreclosures Austin."
To improve your search engine ranking, use the terms that appear on the Wonder Wheel more often on your home page.
2. Check out the historical homes in your area
If you’re looking for interesting information to post on your website, blog or newsletter, you can use Google’s Timeline. To reach the Timeline feature, follow the same steps outlined above. "Timeline" appears directly below the "Wonder Wheel" link.
Timeline posts properties and other data based upon their historical date. This is a quick way to identify some of the oldest properties in your area as well as historical information about various people and when they lived.
If you enjoy Foursquare.com, GoWalla.com is another fun site dedicated to sharing and connecting with your friends based upon your geographical location.
Wolframalpha.com is a terrific resource if you’re looking for data to post to your website or your blog. Wolframalpha bills itself as a "computational knowledge engine." This site is excellent for tracking data that your clients might want to know about when they are moving.
Rather than having to search through hundreds of links on Google, Wolframalpha organizes this data by category and makes it easy to find.
Types of information include demographic data, local economics, salary ranges, unemployment rates, health care statistics, housing, mortality rates, and crime statistics. Simply type in your question and Wolframalpha provides the answer. It also provides a host of scientific, mathematical and health sources as well.
For example, if you think you’re in the midst of a record heat wave, check it on Wolframalpha to pull up the data about record heat waves of the past. If you want to know more about hurricanes, earthquakes or floods, this site provides a wealth of statistical data.
Unlike Google, where you have to browse through various links and then click through, Wolframalpha serves up possible answers to your query with a single click.
5. Cool mobile apps
There’s a tsunami of new real estate applications for mobile phones. In fact, there are so many it’s hard to know where to start. First, the Zillow iPhone app has been around for more than a year and allows users to view an instant, automated comparative market analysis by pointing a smart phone phone at a particular house.
Their app brings up detailed information about the subject property, as well as comparable sales data. In many cases, it also includes a price-per-square-foot analysis. It’s an excellent way to do a CMA when you don’t have time to research the MLS.
There are several mobile phone apps that can send automated text messages to visitors who choose to receive more information about a property via cues on the yard sign.
Boopsie has an app that works on all mobile phones. You provide your buyers with the app and when they’re out looking at property, they can plug in an address, and the listing data displays with a bar across the top reminding them that you are their agent.
Goomzee.com provides multiphoto slide shows with captions right on the buyer’s mobile phone. Buyers simply send a text message to the number on a brokerage’s yard sign and immediately access the information about that property, including the slide show.
The system also alerts you when a buyer wants to see a property, allowing you to respond quickly and to capture the lead. This application works on iPhone and BlackBerry.
KWKLY.com is another app that makes getting listing information super easy. Unlike other systems, all of your listings have the same code. This system uses the phone’s GPS to determine where the potential buyer is.
What’s cool about this tool is that the system automatically locates and then broadcasts the five properties that are currently listed that are closest to your listing. The listing data displays on the buyer’s phone with your contact information. It’s a great way to generate buyer leads from other people’s listings.
Another great mobile tool comes from AltosResearch.com. The company provides in-depth statistical data on a local basis. It offers a simple app that you can use at an open house to convert more leads.
You print out a full report, which can often be 20 pages or more. Leave this on the counter, next to the sign-in sheet. When an open house visitor asks how to get the information in the report, you simply say, "Give me your e-mail address and I’ll send it to you right now."
The app e-mails the report to your open house visitor on the spot. The beauty of this approach is that you can continue to send that person updates in the future.
In terms of keeping up with technology changes, a great approach is to commit to experimenting with one new technology every quarter. If it works for you, integrate it into your business. If not, experiment with something else.
Constant innovation is the best way to ahead of your competitors.