Do real estate agents need to blog?

Real Estate BloggingThink of a blog as your own personal take on the field of real estate. You’re on the front lines every day, interacting with clients and following the market, and a blog is a valuable place to do a brain dump to share your insights with your growing network.

To answer the question, “do real estate agents need to blog?” is yes! Blogging is a powerful marketing tactic for real estate professionals to maintain a solid web presence by discussing industry trends, tips for new homeowners and general resources that new and existing clients may find helpful.

Top benefits of blogging

Blogs help drive traffic to your website

Today, one of the most valuable forms of digital currency is website visitors. Clients who know your name can easily type it into a Google search and find your website, but those are clients you likely already have or have been referred to you. With 92% of home buyers using the internet during their journey to buy a home, it’s well worth it to invest in driving new visitors to your website. Launching a blog on your website doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming as many website solutions include built-in blog functionality, including IXACT Contact’s Agent Websites.

Blogging is one of the best ways to drive your organic search engine rankings and lead traffic to your website. When you publish a blog post, it becomes one more indexed page on your website. Studies show that the more indexed pages you have, the more leads you will gain. Essentially, new blog posts are an indicator to search engines that your website is active and you have relevant content that users might be interested in.

Blogs convert traffic into leads

So you’ve started a blog and new visitors are coming to your website, but how do you convert visitors into leads? Blogging is one of the best ways to motivate your audience to take action.

In every post you write, you need to guide visitors what to do next. This “next step” is called a call to action. Your call to action should grab attention, be appealing and entice your visitors to take the next step. Some strong examples of real estate calls to action are:

  • What is your home worth? Find out!
  • Be the first to learn about off-market listings. Sign-up for our newsletter now.
  • Learn more about the neighborhood you’re looking in.
  • Your next home is just a click away. Contact a Realtor today!
  • Take our new home buyers quiz.
  • Download our latest market report.

Capturing leads through compelling content will help you automatically add new contacts to your real estate CRM, like IXACT Contact, where you can assign them to a relevant email campaigns for follow up.

Blogs establish authority

Blogs are the ultimate online relationship builder. When you deliver content that is relevant, valuable and personal, you create an engaging online experience for your visitors, which often translates into valuable business relationships. It’s all about giving your real estate clients what they want. Valuable content will not only bring visitors back to your blog, but also increases the chances your posts will be shared.

The best real estate blogs answer the top of mind questions their clients have. Consider writing blog posts on topics like:

  • What does a real estate agent do?
  • How much do I need for a down payment?
  • Why do I need mortgage pre-approval?
  • When is the best time to sell my home?
  • How do I prepare my home for sale?

Imagine one of your clients isn’t sure about a part of the home buying process. Sending them a link to a blog post that answers their questions and addresses their concerns can make a big impact. Credible content builds trust and expertise – two qualities your clients are looking for in a real estate agent. Not only do these qualities build your client base, but reputable news sources can take notice and ask you to provide a quote or guest blog post – which are free publicity for you!

5 tips to get started with real estate blogging

Use emotion and storytelling

“Emotion and storytelling have been part of how we communicate with each other and inspire action for thousands of years.” Be yourself and be interesting. Allow your passion to come through your written word to inspire an emotional response from your readers.

Stay true

The whole point of starting your blog is to put your unique spin on the real estate industry and putting out that content into the digital sphere. While feedback from peers and colleagues about on your blog content is important, don’t let it sway your voice or style – it’s the most crucial aspect of blogging.

Showcase what you know

Don’t hold back on showcasing the encyclopedia of insights you’ve accumulated over the years – it will be what differentiates you from your competition.

Remain consistent

There is nothing worse than starting to follow a blog that you really relate to and find that they only post once every three months. Plan a schedule of topics with target dates for each month – and stick to it.

Keep it digestible

In the digital age of dwindling attention spans, nobody has time to read a complete dissertation. Aim for the 1-2 minute reading mark so your audience can properly digest everything you’re producing.

 

Posted on March 9, 2017

5 Steps to Attracting More Real Estate Referrals for Less Money

shutterstock_148140776This post originally appeared on Inman, by Matt Bonelli.

Real estate agents love receiving referrals; who doesn’t?

Sometimes though, those referrals come with a big price tag. In some cases, the referral fee is upward of 40 percent! But, better to have business that you otherwise would not have had, correct?

Here’s the interesting part. According to the National Association of Realtors, 88 percent of buyers and 84 percent of sellers would refer their agent to another person.

That’s just your clients. Imagine the willingness of your family and friends to refer you to others. If this is true, then why do we continuously fail at taking care of referral sources that don’t have a real estate license?

This is what it looks like:

You are willing to give 25 percent to 40 percent of your gross income on a transaction to someone just because they have a real estate license. If the referral is coming through your broker’s network, you may not even know the referring agent!

When your friend or neighbor sends you a piece of business, the common response is a nice “thank you” and maybe a gift card or a bottle of wine.

What?!

It’s time to change that. Here are five ways you can create more referrals, for less money and “wow” your sphere of influence all at the same time.

1. Start a “thank you” account

Create an account to save money that you can use to thank the people who refer you business. Put a percentage of your commissions from every deal into this account; say, up to 10 percent.

2. Get to know your people better

It’s a lot easier to thank people when you know what their likes and interests are. You do not want to be the person that sends a Starbucks gift card to someone who hates coffee.

3. Thank early and thank often

Don’t choose who to thank based on the quality of the referral. Most of the time the first referral you receive from someone will not be their best. You are going to be tested because their relationships matter, too, and they want to be 100 percent sure that they can trust you.

Send a small gift or a thank you to anyone and everyone who refers you a piece of business or creates a connection for you. Small gestures go a long way, even if it’s a simple handwritten note.

Quick story: I once received a referral from an agent across the country and she actually sent me a thank-you note and gift card to thank me for receiving her referral. She’s now top-of-mind for anyone I know moving to her area.

4. Create big memories

When you really want to thank someone, make it special! The bigger the memory, the more likely that person will want to refer you again. Here are a few ideas:

  • Arrange a dinner reservation at a popular restaurant for the person you want to thank. Give the restaurant your credit card ahead of time, and tell your people to have a good time.
  • Arrange a lesson with the local golf pro for the child of the person you would like to thank.
  • Provide an evening getaway at a fancy hotel.
  • The possibilities are endless!

5. Go beyond the referral “thank you”

Don’t just thank the people who send you business. Use the “thank you” account to thank your clients, business partners, friends and create experiences for the people you care about. Here are just a few examples:

  • Throw a client appreciation party.
  • Rent out a local movie theater for a new feature film and invite your sphere.
  • Host a party at your home for the big game.
  • Host a quarterly dinner party.

You would be surprised at how little things like this cost and the amazing value that they bring to the people you invite.

The best part about this strategy is that it is fun; you will see more smiles and have productive engagements with your sphere.

I would love to hear from you some more ideas you have on this topic or some success stories. Leave a comment or shoot me a note!

Matt Bonelli is a manager and broker associate for Turpin Realtors’ Chatham office in Chatham, New Jersey. You can follow him on Twitter or learn more about him on LinkedIn.

 

Posted on March 7, 2017

Do You Need a Real Estate Website?

WebsitesMainImageAs a real estate professional, you know searching for real estate-related information on the Internet has become an important part of the home buying process. Whether it’s to find an agent, view listings or educate themselves about real estate, home buyers are exploring online content more frequently to find what they need. According to the 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, as shared by the National Association of REALTORS®:

  • 92% of home buyers used the internet at some point during the home buying process.
  • 50% used a mobile website or app during the home buying process.
  • 43% of home buyers chose to look at homes online as the first step in the home buying process.
  • 12% of home buyers looked online first to learn more about the home buying process.

Having a real estate agent website makes it possible to supply these potential clients with information they are searching for and establish a connection in doing so; however, if that is not enough, here are four specific reasons why all agents should have a personal real estate website:

1. Agent Websites Are a Resource for First-Time Buyers

As previously stated, 12 percent of home buyers start their journeys with an online search to learn about the overall home buying process. A personal agentwebsite is a great channel to attract and educate potential clients who are new to real estate. Specifically, agentsshould try to include a blog on their site. A blog is an ideal platform for sharing helpful content, and it can also help you generate top of mind awareness with your website visitors.

For example, first-time home buyers might conduct searches based on the following questions:

  • What are the benefits of buying as opposed to renting?
  • Why should I consider using a real estate agent?
  • What costs do I need to consider when buying a home?
  • What are some considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a home loan?
  • Which type of mortgage makes the most sense for me?

Providing thoughtful answers and advice in these areas can help establish your credibility, which is crucial to building relationships with potential home buyers. While those who are in education-mode may not be prepared to commit to a agentor a property just yet, your shared expertise will help keep you ‘top of mind’ with potential clients, once they are ready to move forward in the home buying process.

Your IXACT Contact agent website comes pre-loaded with 16 pages of professionally written content.  The included material is valuable to all your website visitors, including first-time- home buyers.

2. Agent Websites Help Leverage Local Searches

One major advantage of the Internet in relation to real estate is that it allows home buyers to quickly and easily seek out agents and/or properties by location. Having a personalized website enables you to optimize for any local searches home buyers choose to conduct. For example, a person looking to buy a home in Orlando, Florida might opt to narrow down their results by doing a search for “real estate agents in Orlando” instead of just “real estate agent”.

By making sure your website content includes the city and state in which you work, you will be better able to attract clients looking to purchase a home in your area.

3. Agent Websites Help Establish Your Personal Brand

While it is important to share your industry expertise, it is equally as important to share your personality, or, personal brand. This is a great way to differentiate yourself from competing real estate professionals and connect with prospective clients on a deeper level. For example, home buyers with children are likely to relate to agents who have families of their own. Individuals looking to downsize may gravitate toward agents who express their passion for working with “empty-nesters.”

A real estate website offers a great platform for sharing who you are, what you value, and anything else that makes you unique or relatable. Develop an “About” section to display:

  • Personal information you would like prospects to know.
  • How many years of experience you have in real estate.
  • What your core values are.
  • What makes you passionate about real estate.
  • Who your ideal home buyers are (i.e. first-timers, families, singles, empty-nesters).
  • A photo of yourself.

In addition to the above information, you can also post testimonials from past clients to help verify your reputation, as well as links to your social media channels.

Your IXACT Contact agent website can be customized to match your personal brand.  Choose from attractive templates and color themes, add your logo and headshot, and your website will be an accurate portrayal of you!

4. Agent Websites Can Support Automatic Lead Capture

In addition to attracting prospects, a real estate agent website is ideal for efficiently capturing high-quality leads. This is made possible by incorporating online contact forms for buyers or even sellers who come to your site and are interested in learning more about your services. Each time a form is completed, you will receive an email notification so that no lead goes unnoticed.

Capturing leads through an integrated website also enables you to automatically add new contacts to your real estate CRM, like IXACT Contact, or assign them to a relevant email nurturing campaign.

Takeaway Points:

From connecting with first-time home buyers, to showing off your personality, to CRM and email marketing integration, it is clear that having a personalized agent website holds many advantages. In fact, not having one is likely to put you at a great disadvantage as you run the risk of losing business to competitors who have an established digital presence.

By having your personal website you will:

  • Provide important resources for home-buyers  that will make them more likely to trust you and work with you.
  • Be able to better optimize searches and improve your SEO rankings.
  • Establish your personal brand.
  • Effectively capture digital leads.

Learn more about the benefits of having a website and learn how to easily set up a customized, mobile-friendly agent website. Start your FREE 60-Day free trial of IXACT Contact now.

Posted on March 2, 2017

Best Real Estate Time Saving Tips

UntitledTime management is a great skill to have but mastering it isn’t always so easy, especially when you’re running a busy real estate sales business. Below are five great tips to put some time back into your day and make you a more productive agent.

Time Saving Tips for Real Estate Agents

1. Make use of drip marketing plans. Use your real estate contact management system and assign your contacts to a pre-designed drip marketing campaign. This helps you automate some of your marketing because emails will automatically be sent at various time intervals on your behalf. In addition to using drip marketing plans to keep in touch with prospects and clients, you can use your real estate contact management software to send out a professionally designed and written e-Newsletter. This saves you time because you don’t have to design an e-Newsletter, write articles for it, and send it out every month.

2. Start your day off with a plan. Ask yourself, “What is it that I want to accomplish today?” Set daily, monthly, and yearly goals and carve out a plan of action for achieving them.

3. Make a schedule and set reminders. Schedule your phone calls, your client appreciation nights, your time off, and your meetings. Use your real estate contact management system to set reminders (and send you email reminders) so you don’t have to rely on your memory.

4. Use a calendar and task list. A calendar and task list make a big difference when it comes to being organized and saving time so start using them! Each morning, take a look at your calendar and task list and see what appointments and tasks are lined up. You may want to print your task list out and check off each item on the list as it’s completed.

5. Prioritize. Once you know what needs to be accomplished, you need to do one more thing before you dive into the work: prioritize. Some tasks may be larger than others and take more time to complete. Similarly, there will be tasks that are more urgent in that there is a deadline associated with them. Take these things into consideration before you start working. If you have 10 small tasks that will take you four hours to complete and two big ones that will take you weeks, you may want to get the small ones out of the way first. And of course, those urgent activities should get priority.

We hope that these tips will prove useful in helping you better manage and organize your time. Remember that the right technology tools, such as a real estate contact management system, are vital to all of the tips discussed in this article.

Posted on February 28, 2017

5 Steps to Getting Back in the Groove, Fast

real estate clientThe busy real estate season is approaching, how do you prepare to ensure you’re in the right mindset as a real estate professional? Today we’re sharing a blog post from IXACT Contact partner and real estate coach Richard Robbins that outlines the 5 key steps to getting back in the groove – fast!

If you want to jumpstart your year fast, the best place to start is with a massive “reach out” program. Here are 5 steps to implementing a reach out program for guaranteed results.

Step #1
Decide “Who you gonna call?

Unless the Ghostbusters are looking for a new clubhouse, it’s probably not them. Try these people instead:

  • People in your database (past sellers, buyers, strategic alliances)
  • Old and new leads
  • People who recently reached out to you on social media, text or email

Next, gather the contact details for these people ideally from your CRM, if not, add them to your CRM or create a spreadsheet to stay organized.

Step #2
Schedule 2 hours every day, 5 days a week to reach out.

Generating business is the single most important use of your time as an agent. Create an appointment for this, on your phone or calendar and keep your appointment every day.

Step #3
Set a GOAL for the number of people you want to connect with.

It doesn’t have to be a big goal. Consistency is the key. Remember, small actions performed with consistency will produce dramatic results. Here’s an example of a daily goal: I will call 5 people, email 10 and meet with 1 person.

Step #4
Know what you’re going to say.

How will this conversation go? Practice and role-play what you are going to say and use a script. Download our Script Package here for some great ideas.

Step #5
Begin!

The one thing that stops most people is starting! So just begin, one connection, one hour and one day at a time. And remember, your focus must be to set a face-to-face appointment. Real estate is a contact sport – so start with a call, text, email or Facebook message but keep your face-to-face appointment goal in mind.

Bonus Step #6
Be accountable.

Find an accountability buddy and text them when you’re done making your calls. Better yet, hire a coach! Your coach can help you implement the systems you need, keep you accountable and help you have the best year ever. Find out if coaching is for you – click to book your Complimentary Coaching Assessment Call.

IXACT Contact can help you by enabling you to keep in touch more effectively and better manage your time. Use tasks and reminders to help you add structure to your day, and make sure you’re making the most of those hours when you reach out.

 

Posted on February 23, 2017

9 Signs You’re Doing Real Estate Contact Management Right

happiness in real estateManaging your real estate contacts is the foundation to a successful career as a real estate professional.  When you properly care for your database, you save time and energy that you can dedicate to other important aspects of your career and even your personal life.

Ultimately, using a real estate CRM will help you to stay more organized and get more out of your workday. Are you looking for a real estate CRM, these 9 items can help you choose one that’s right for you. Already using a CRM? How many of these 9 items are you already doing?

1. You have birthdays and move in anniversary dates for the majority of your contacts in your real estate database and wish them a Happy Birthday or happy home anniversary when the time comes.

2. You are familiar with your real estate leads and past clients’ hobbies or interests. This lets you connect with your contacts better on a one-on-one level and build stronger relationships.

3. You send a real estate newsletter or monthly e-Newsletter.

4. You feel organized and in-control because all of your contact information, transactions, tasks and “to-do’s” are in your real estate contact management software and you get reminders when key dates and activities arise.

5. You make regular check-in calls to your SOI and A-List or meet with them face-to-face.

6. Each time you call a lead or past client, you have something relevant to start the conversation with because you’ve recorded what you last spoke with them about in the notes section of your CRM.

7. You take advantage of drip email or direct mail marketing campaigns to stay in touch with your leads and convert them into clients.

8. You manage all of your transactions, buyer requirements, showings, documents, and third-parties related to a transaction in one place. This helps keep you organized and lets you access key information quickly and at a glance.

9. Your website leads are captured automatically into your contact management system and you’re notified via email when a new lead comes through.

If you need help with contact management, a good real estate contact management software like IXACT Contact is a must-have. It’ll help you stay more organized and build stronger relationships with your leads and past clients, which means more business and referrals your way!

 

Posted on February 21, 2017

IXACT Contact is Proud to Announce “Official Partner” Relationship with RE/MAX of Western Canada

IXACTContact Logo

REMAX OWC logo

 

 

 

 

IXACT Contact is pleased to announce an exciting new corporate partnership with RE/MAX of Western Canada.

For over 32 years, RE/MAX has been a leading real estate organization in North America. By providing superior training, administrative and marketing support, brokers and agents are free to focus on what they do best: sell real estate. Recognizing the value of a robust CRM and marketing system, RE/MAX of Western Canada endorses IXACT Contact to their agents.

RE/MAX of Western Canada’s executive team believes the success of their 6,700 agents largely depends on them successfully keeping in touch with past clients, remaining top-of-mind with prospects, and being well-organized in their business. To help their agents achieve these goals, they recommend the use of a robust real estate CRM and marketing system, and endorse IXACT Contact as their preferred solution.

IXACT Contact is an integrated CRM, email marketing, and website solution that helps agents generate and convert leads into clients. With the solution, agents are able to save valuable time, keep in touch effectively, and get better organized. IXACT Contact’s mobile CRM app empowers real estate agents to manage their business from anywhere, on any device.

“Our partnership with IXACT Contact is a natural fit. RE/MAX Sales Associates’ success is largely due to the impactful relationships they have built with their clients. IXACT Contact will help our agents stay organized and maintain valuable relationships,” says Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada. 

Joining hundreds of colleagues who are already using IXACT Contact real estate CRM, RE/MAX of Western Canada real estate professionals can easily sign up to enjoy an extended free trial of IXACT Contact and special volume-based pricing.

“We’re proud to be an official partner of RE/MAX of Western Canada,” says Rich Gaasenbeek, VP, Sales and Marketing, IXACT Contact. “RE/MAX has a rich legacy of prestige, professionalism, and dedication to providing its real estate agents with valuable training and cutting-edge tools to equip their real estate agents for success. IXACT Contact is looking forward to working with the RE/MAX of Western Canada management team to help their agents grow their businesses through effective contact management and marketing.”

According to a study by ActiveRain, successful real estate agents are 87 per cent more likely than unsuccessful agents to be using a real estate CRM.  By leveraging the power of IXACT Contact, the industry’s most user-friendly CRM, RE/MAX of Western Canada is helping their agents reach sales achievement through effective contact management, email marketing, and better organization.