Technology

John Pohly on winning a lead generation contest by thinking like Apple

Breaking down components to their simplest form earned this marketer a $20,000 prize

Inman is interviewing real estate professionals in every area of the field to talk about technology use. Here’s John Pohly, an author, coach and thought leader for Internet marketing and online conversion funnels — and an Inman contributor.

What model of phone do you use? Why?

I have an iPhone 5s. After several years of loyalty to the Android platform, I read the Steve Jobs book by Walter Isaacson in 2012, and that did it for me. I have been an Apple person ever since. Using Apple products for the past couple years has literally changed the way I think. Everything has to be Apple-intuitive.

As an online conversion funnel marketer, I am constantly asking the question: Did I design the marketing process to be as simple as an Apple product? In 2014, I won a 90-day lead generation contest for most downloads of a mobile app at Keller Williams Realty. My secret was breaking down every component of my online marketing to its simplest form … the ad creative (image) and sales copy, the text short codes, the mobile-responsive landing page with mobile-responsive video that auto-played on page load, the mobile-responsive “share us on social media” thank-you page, the mobile-responsive follow-up emails, and simple text message auto-responders. I won the contest and a $20,000 prize because I hold all marketing to the same usability standard I see in the iPhone 5s.

I’m not ready for the big iPhone 6. I am not ready to go back to the 1980s brick-sized phones.

IMG_0587

6 ways empowered agents embrace disruption to drive success
Using technology to generate leads and win listings READ MORE

What are your top three apps on your phone?

Gmail, Podcasts and Audible, in that order. All three are great for sorting and consuming content. Gmail app is used to scan 100 emails a day and bookmark the ones I need to respond from the desktop computer. I usually set podcasts and audiobooks to play at 125 percent of normal speed.

How do you split your digital time: How much mobile, how much desktop?

I usually have three to four Internet devices going at one time, and two to three of those devices are mobile, so I am 66 to 75 percent mobile. The Mac desktop gets the nonmobile attention.

Describe your job. What do you do every day? How does technology support (or not support) your daily job description?

Mondays, I invent things for my businesses. Tuesdays, I implement things for local teams. Wednesdays, I teach agents how to do things via webinars. Thursdays, I implement things for teams around North America. Fridays, I record and publish content via blog posts, videos and podcasts. All of my businesses revolve around online marketing and real estate. Weekends are reserved for family.

Do you consider yourself an early adopter of technology? Or do you wait to see what’s working for other people?

I am usually not the very first person to do something, but I deliberately move fast once industry leaders and big teams show early results on a new technology or technique.

Zillow is smart. Commissions Inc. is smart. “Inman” is smart. I watch the smart innovative brands. I also work with smart teams. I recognize the early signs of successful technology strategies, and I put it to the test with several teams at one time. The benefit of collective results is the ability to do a year’s worth of testing in less than a month.

What’s the biggest technology-related challenge you face today? How do you solve it?

Lack of communication between real estate software programs is the biggest challenge I face as an online marketer and consultant for real estate teams. I try to solve it through training. When the budget permits, I always prefer automation with a software system.

What do you think is the biggest overall challenge facing the real estate industry? Will technology be able to address it?

Technology is more of a problem than a benefit for the average real estate agent.

How do you feel technology is changing the real estate industry? Are these changes making the industry better or worse? Why?

Zillow is an example of technology that makes the industry better from both a consumer perspective and a “streamlining the lead process” perspective for agents. The technologies that makes things worse for all of us are the platforms and programs that allow one agents to spam everybody … Constant Contact, MailChimp and Facebook advertising can be great tools but can be abused in the wrong hands.

What email system(s) do you use? Which one is your favorite and why?

Gmail for 90 percent of my communications because it has a great spam filter and does a great job of sorting the inbox into Priority, Social and Promotion folders. I use Contactually and Basecamp for my clients.

Which CMS do you use? What do you like about it, and what feature do you wish it would add in the future?

BombBomb for the bulk and video messages. I really like their new color rating system to measure engagement levels by contact and by list. I wish I could easily sort out all the highly engaged individual contacts so I could also add them to Contactually.

Commissions Inc. for real estate leads and contacts. The agent-focused mobile app is a perfect extension of the database with the ability to make calls, send emails and send text messages. While video communications can be created within Commissions Inc., I wish it were simpler, like BombBomb.

WordPress is also used for pushing content to several different social media channels but not used for one-on-one communication.

Do you use a calendar app? Which one? What do you like about it?

Appointlet.com has been a lifesaver for me.

  1. It syncs with preprogrammed available appointment times on my Google calendar in real time.
  2. It puts a barrier between me and unplanned phone calls.
  3. It sends out appointment reminders to me and the registered client or future client.
  4. It is the perfect landing page, and once an appointment is requested, I can program the “thank you” page to deliver a free copy of one of my books.

Do you use digital documents?

DocuSign, dotloop, Dropbox, SmartZip … Paper is my kryptonite. DocuSign is most widely used in my Texas market; dotloop has the best integration; Dropbox is great for organization of documents; and SmartZip has the best forms. I use the TinyScan app when I want to turn my iPhone into a document scanner.

What kind of laptop or tablet (or both) do you own?

I still own a 2008 Toshiba Satellite PC laptop. It has sentimental value to me. I generated 2,000 Internet leads from this laptop in 2011 from a commuter train with Wi-Fi. I referred the leads to 17 agents in Texas while I was still working my full-time job at Keller Williams Realty International as their technology trainer and documentation specialist for the launch of eEdge.

Do you have a Nest thermostat in your home?

I have one. It is still in the box. I am not good at electrical work.

Do you play games on any of your devices? Which ones?

Facebook advertising and Google AdWords are two of my favorite games.

Which websites do you visit every day? Why?

I start my day with 10 minutes on the Weather.com and FoxNews.com apps before I get out of bed. It saves me time so I can dress right the first time and tune out the distracting news stories for the rest of the day.

Which social media app do you use the most on your phone? Your tablet? Your computer?

Facebook on all of the above. I barely use the Facebook social network. Primarily, I am using Facebook for the advertising features for myself and for clients.

What’s on your technology wish list — for yourself or for work?

Waiting on the iWatch before I decide on Fitbit. Waiting for an 80-inch LED TV to go sub-$500. Waiting on Google Glass to partner with Oakley.

Where do you get most of your leads: portals or other sources?

As a trainer, my webinars always have over a 50 percent opt-in rate. As a Realtor, my mobile app and custom landing pages perform the best at 5 to 25 percent opt-in rates. For agents teams who can answer their phone calls 90 percent of the time, they do best with Zillow and Trulia territories. With bigger teams, complete systems like Commissions Inc. with a consistent SEM (search engine marketing) budget do well on leads with the added benefit of integrated accountability reporting and project management.

What is your favorite technology, one you actually get joy out of using?

I really love Basecamp to manage client projects. Mindmeister.com for brainstorming.

What is your favorite “unplugged” activity?

Training for “American Ninja Warrior.”

Read John Pohly’s article, “How to block other real estate agents from seeing your Facebook ads.”

Would you like to participate in Inman’s technology profile series? Email amber@inman.com.