Editor’s note: View the original article at InmanNext: "Response Strategies That Pay Off"
Stephanie Kelley works in San Antonio, one of the markets featured in an Inman News Special Report: Top Markets For Real Estate Agents.
Stephanie Kelley, of Keller Williams, Legacy, has been riding the San Antonio real estate wave since 1992. Years in the business have taught her the value of real face time as well as online interactions.
Kelley and her business partner and husband, Randy Kelley, know where to draw the line between the personal and the professional, especially online. Kelley recently gushed to InmanNext about her iPad 2, her long relationship with the Top Producer customer relationship management platform, and her goal to integrate eEdge by the end of the year.
What is the No. 1 tech challenge you are faced with?
The biggest challenge that I face is just keeping up with the constant learning curve.
Are you involved in social networking (i.e., Facebook and Twitter)? If so, briefly tell us how you use it to build your business. If you are not, please tell us why.
Social media is simply a doorway or means of staying in touch, not only with clients but also family and friends. I use a personal page and a business page on Facebook. My identity or "brand" is the same on all sites, but I don’t want to be all work and no play.
Real estate is what I do and I want my friends to share that knowledge, but I want my blogs, listings and business to come from the business page and the vacation photos from my personal site. Your friends always want to know about your business anyway. It’s just nice to build rapport from a more personal standpoint.
When friends are ready for more market information, they always have the opportunity to "like" the business page. The blogs are fed to the business page and listings are posted there. There are links from the blogs and websites to the social media sites. I am also active on Linkedin, Twitter and a little on Foursquare. HootSuite ties it all together.
Do you use tools to work paperlessly, like DocuSign or DotLoop? Why or why not? How important is that to you?
Currently, I am using DocuSign and have been for some time. With Keller Williams rolling out eEdge, which incorporates DotLoop, I am looking to transition to that platform. I’ve found that e-signatures, whether it be DocuSign or DotLoop, have made my job easier. There is less running around town spending time and gas for me or for my client. We probably save a few trees in the process, too!
Tell us about your website and/or blog. How many leads do you generate from your site on a monthly basis? Is that an important part of your business?
How many leads? This depends on whether you are talking about hits, registrations or really strong leads. Auto-responders have not been that effective for us, at least in the short term. We find that a quick (within minutes), real response with a phone conversation is the most effective.
The problem we’re seeing is that many of the leads won’t provide a real phone number, so most go into a drip campaign, and some are eventually converted to buyers or sellers. In fact, I would love to incorporate a FaceTime or Skype conversation with a first-time registrant, but I haven’t determined yet how to get that trust level from the customer.
We do take every lead seriously; so building that trust level is very important. As a result, half of our closed business has originated from Internet leads. This part of our business is important enough that we spend a great deal of time keeping the sites active, lively and original.
How important do you feel content creation is to your business — i.e., social media posts, blogging, email newsletters? Do you create content yourself or do you outsource part of it?
Content is king! I know that many agents borrow or "share" from syndicated sites. From a time standpoint and for simply sending something out to a large number of people, I can see where this would be effective.
The truth is that real estate is local and while the national economy has an impact on our San Antonio market, the placement of San Antonio in the top 10 markets proves that point. For that reason, we focus our information on our local real estate market, statistics, local issues, schools, events, etc. Almost all of our content is original. Even though our e-newsletter is templated from a national source, the local information is original.
How do you balance your time? Are there any tools you use to make juggling everything easier?
Balance? Ha! I don’t think there is a program invented that could control the incredible peaks and valleys that this business presents. Maybe a good surfboard to just ride the waves.
Seriously, Top Producer 8i is the customer relationship manager that I use. I have used it since it was just Top Producer and the floppy disks had to be synchronized. Part of my learning curve will be changing all of this to eEdge before the end of the year.
What is the most important tech tool or app you use on a daily basis?
Wow! What a broad question! Does it sound "Palinesque" if I say I use all of them? Seriously, I am going to combine the answer to this question with the next two questions.
What type of smartphone do you use? IPhone, Droid, BlackBerry?
I switched to the iPhone from the BlackBerry. In my business, it was a major improvement. It’s easier to use, has more applications, and is just better.
Do you use a tablet device? How has it changed your business?
Yes, (I) love, love, love my iPad 2. If it weren’t bigamy, I would marry it. It keeps me "happy." The apps are so useful to an agent. It’s unbelievable. I start with Dropbox, DocuSign, Evernote, Open Home Pro, Expensify … then open the Realtor.com app and the Trulia app — as I learned that our clients are using those.
It’s impressive to my clients to access the San Antonio Board of Realtors multiple listing service while in a showing or in the car. I can access all the information on a listing on-site. My list of reasons to have an iPad 2 is endless.
What is a specific lead-generation campaign that you conducted in your local market that worked well, and why?
The best return on investment in actual closed leads has come from answering questions, blogging, and establishing a presence on a nationally syndicated real estate site. We’ll always welcome and want referrals! For us, it’s a combination of blogging, drip campaigns, social networking, and not losing touch with our past clients.
Read more agent and market profiles: Top Markets For Real Estate Agents.
Chris Smith is the chief evangelist of Inman News. InmanNext is a part of Inman News.