If … All The Things Were Gone … And I Had to Start Again …

If … All The Things Were Gone … And I Had to Start Again …

Did you recognize the text in the subject line?

They are from the lyrics of God Bless the USA:

If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife

I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can't take that away

We are blessed to live in a country where you have the freedom to start any business you like. Believe me, there’s less regulation in the US than in any other place I know.

If you would have to start again, would you become a Realtor?

Selling real estate is one of the least expensive businesses you could start. There’s no inventory, no overhead, free training – it just takes commitment and hard work to succeed.

So, as you celebrate this Independence Day and listen to Lee Greenwood sing God Bless the USA (video below), be grateful for the freedoms you enjoy as a real estate agent.

Are You on Track to Reach Your Goals?

Today’s the first day of the second half of 2019 – time to reflect on the past 6 months.

Did you achieve your goals?

Do you even have written goals?

Are you on track to make 2019 your best year ever?

Use this Holiday week to write down your goals and the actions you will take to finish the second half of the year strong!

If you need help click here to schedule a free strategy session! I’d love to help you become more successful!

I wish you and your family a Happy Independence Day!

Should You Invest $599 in HomesnapPRO+ or Do It Yourself?

Should You Invest $599 in HomesnapPRO+ or Do It Yourself?

If you’ve been anywhere near the MLS in past few weeks you probably came across Homesnap

​It’s a mobile home search app directly linked to our MLS. 

Unlike Zillow, Homesnap does not sell advertising. Users will only see the listing agent or their preferred agent when they search for homes. So, make sure you get the app on the phone of your clients.

I really like HomesnapPRO – the agent version of the app. It’s free for Columbus Realtors.

To learn exactly how to use it go to Homesnap University for Agents.

The Upsell

While HomesnapPRO is free for Realtors, there’s an upsell. It’s called HomesnapPRO+ and costs $599 (if you pay monthly).

Should you invest in Plus?

Before you decide you need to know what’s included.

Homesnap promises PLUS users a verified Google Business Profile, including regular posts on the profile and client reviews. You may also get access to Flashback Photos – pictures of earlier listings of a property.

Why You Need a Google Business Profile

A verified Google Business Profile is the easiest way to rank on Google organically for local searches and on Google maps.

Google wants to be the directory of all businesses. But they rely on you to provide the correct information.

As most agents don’t have their profile optimized there’s a good chance you will outrank your competitors if you verify your profile and keep it up to date.

Watch this short video to see why you need a business profile.

How to Set Up Your Business Profile

Setting up a Google Business Profile is free. Simply go to Google My Business and follow the instructions.

You can verify your profile instantly by text or email. There’s no need for a postcard to be mailed to your business as they used to do in the past.

It’s important to fully complete your profile and include a short description, business hours, and photos. Use the address of your brokerage or your home address to show up on map search.

Don’t forget to create a few posts and ask your clients to write reviews on Google instead of Zillow or other portals.

How Will Google Rank Your Profile

Initially, your profile will only rank for very specific searches, like “Your Name, Realtor in City”. However, over time your ranking will improve based on these criteria:

  • Accuracy and currency of your profile.
  • Number of client reviews and how fresh they are. You will rank well if you can add a new review every few weeks.
  • Frequency of posts. You need to post on a regular basis – at least 2 times a week. This is a business profile! Go ahead and post listings, closings, open houses and anything related to real estate and your community.

So, should you invest $249 or $599 for HomesnapPRO+?

You can do it all yourself, but it takes time. You have to be consistent. Posting and asking for reviews has to become a habit.

Do it for 3 months and you will see results.

If you can’t commit to post on a regular basis it’s better to outsource these tasks for a full year for $249. That’s the discounted price Homesnap offers to Realtors in Columbus.

Why Social Media is NOT the Silver Bullet of Marketing

Why Social Media is NOT the Silver Bullet of Marketing

Facebook and Instagram are the platforms you must use to make it in real estate in 2019. That’s what self-proclaimed gurus tell you in their Facebook Ads. Buy their course and you will be rich in no time.

Most Realtors believe they must use Social Media to stay relevant and grow their business. That’s why classes on the topics of personal branding and Facebook marketing fill up every time.

Here’s my opinion on why social media is NOT the best solution to cure all your marketing woes.

It Takes a Lot of Time & Consistent Effort

The other day I listened to an interview with Gary Vaynerchuck. He’s the uber-guru that all social media experts refer to when they sell you their magic marketing systems.

In this interview he told the story of his sister who became a Realtor. She sold only one house in her first year.

Only one house? She had the best mentor in the world when it comes to social media marketing. He surely could have helped her get more leads!

If you listen closely Vaynerchuck always tells his audience that social media is a long-term game.

In order to create your own personal brand, you have to become a media company. You have to create content that people want to consume (watch, listen to, read). And you have to do it consistently.

Don’t jump on the social media bandwagon if you can’t commit to produce INTERESTING content every day for the next 3 years.

Is Facebook Advertising Really That Cheap?

Facebook ads are cheap, but they don’t convert.

Facebook users are browsing – not searching. They may be curious about a listing or the value of their home, but they don’t have any serious intent to buy or sell.

​We’ve been testing Facebook ads for a number of years. People click a link and get to your website for as little as 50 cents a lead. We generated hundreds of listing leads by offering free home valuations, but not a single one converted.

The savings you realize by generating cheap leads on Facebook are completely lost by an expensive conversion process that takes more than 1 year.

How Many Prospects Are Not on Facebook?

Not every home owner or buyer is using social media.

According to the Pew Research Center 68% of American adults use Facebook. It’s a little higher for younger age groups, lower for those 50 and older.

This means you can’t reach 1/3 of Americans on Facebook (assuming that the other 2/3 actually browse and see your posts).

Personally, I don’t have enough time to watch every Facebook video, not even of the people I like and follow.

And, I am certainly not interested in everyone’s daily opinions, even if they are a celebrity (which most of my friends are not).

There’s not enough time in the day to seriously build a business and watch video clips of people documenting their daily life.

What’s the Solution?

Implement solid marketing and prospecting systems that generate motivated buyer and seller leads NOW.

You must put in the work! Social media is not a silver bullet that makes your business explode.

Don’t waste hours socializing on Facebook if you don’t have a strategy for generating leads. Don’t just try to build your personal brand.

It helps if you have a marketing budget, but there are many ways to generate business without a lot of money and without social media.

I know Facebook is fun, it’s easy, it keeps you busy, you won’t get rejected, but you will be out of business in no time if you don’t focus on generating leads, setting appointments, and converting them to real buyers and listings.

Five Free Tools to Boost Your Social & Video Marketing

Five Free Tools to Boost Your Social & Video Marketing

Video has become one of the most effective marketing tools for Realtors. Video is winning when it comes to attracting the attention of your social media followers.

Are you all in? Or are you still holding off, because you don’t like how you look and sound on video?

Here’s how you crush the fear of being on camera …

If you are still not convinced, let me give you a few tools to make your social video marketing easier. They are mostly free. So, go ahead and grab them.

If You Don’t Want to Be on Camera …

If you don’t want to be in front of the camera use one of these options:

Record a Video of your Screen

To share a neighborhood market update, display the housing stats from our Board of Realtors on your computer and explain what they mean while you are recording a video of the screen.

Which tools should you use?

Facebook Live has an option to record your computer screen. You could also use the Loom Chrome browser extension.

The video below explains how it works. ​

Create a Slide-Deck

We’ve been using a tool called Content Samurai for more than a year. It lets you create slides, add pictures from their online database, and record yourself reading the text on the slides.

They even offer digital voices, so you don’t have to talk.

Content Samurai costs around $30 per month. If you want a “free” alternative, check out Lumen5.

Facebook Live Interviews

A great way to establish yourself as the go-to Realtor in your community is to interview small business owners, teachers, and community leaders a short Facebook Live Interviews.

BeLive.tv is the perfect tool for that. It allows you to share your screen, so viewers can see 2 or more people simultaneously on your FB Live Show.

They offer a free trial. I am told you can keep it free even after the trial expires.

Video Email

Email is 40 times more effective than Facebook for converting leads. That’s according to Kristi Kennelly, a speaker at last week’s OAR Convention.

Combining email with video increases conversion rates substantially. You probably heard of Bombbomb – the video email service I am using for this newsletter. They are popular with Realtors, however, subscriptions are between $40 and $60 per month depending on the level of service you choose.

There’s a free alternative by Vidyard. It’s a Chrome extension that allows you to record webcam videos in your browser and send them with your gmail account.

There are lots of tools that will help you build a personal brand and promote yourself through video. With all the tech we often forget that YOU are the most important component of marketing.

Make a commitment to one marketing channel and implement it consistently.

This is a long-term game. There’s no quick fix to building your personal brand.

How to Consistently Create Original Content for Social Media

How to Consistently Create Original Content for Social Media

Last week I explained why many agents are not successful with social media marketing. One of the reasons was the lack of original content.

Interesting, original content compels people to join your audience and read or watch everything you publish.

Let me show you how to overcome the content challenge and create fresh, engaging content for all your social media channels in less than one hour a day. ​

Step 1: Four Core Articles Per Month

The foundation of my content strategy is to create one high quality article each week.

I prefer to start with written content. It’s a solid base that can be easily converted into other forms of content, such as video, audio, or picture stories.

Creating a solid article will take 1 to 2 hours. It’s best if you block out that time on a specific day of the week and write the article without distractions.

Here are themes for 4 articles you can compose every single month:

  1. Market Update Analyze the monthly housing stats published by the Board of Realtors.
  2. Answers to Common Questions Write down the questions you get asked by your customers and answer them in the article.
  3. Success Story Describe the challenges you helped your clients overcome while buying or selling a property; include a testimonial.
  4. Local Events You are the local expert. Tell your audience what’s going on in your neighborhood or city. Share stories of events you attended.

Step 2: Where to Share Your Articles

​Now you have a solid piece of content. Here are 5 easy ways to share it with your audience.

  • Blog Post the article on your very own blog, together with a great picture. Dependent on the article you can take the picture yourself or download it from a free image sharing site like pexels.
  • Email the article to everyone in your database. Add a personal note at the beginning and a call to action at the end.
  • Linkedin Publish the article or a summary on Linkedin. They have a great platform for sharing full articles.
  • Facebook Share a link to your article together with the picture and a short introduction as a Facebook Post.
  • Twitter After you published the article on your blog share a link on Twitter.

Step 3: Repurposing Your Articles

To get the most out of your written content you need to repurpose it for other media channels. Here’s how you do it:

Video

Convert your article into video by recording yourself telling the story or creating a slide-show and recording it on video. We’ve been using a service called Content Samurai, which automatically divides your article into individual slides and then prompts you to record each individual sentence to create the video.

Post the video on:

  • Youtube
  • Facebook
  • Vimeo

Audio | Voice

Next you want to convert your article to audio by recording yourself reading the article.

Voice will be really big in the near future. Get a head-start on the technology and publish your recording on Podcast platforms, such as:

  • Anchor
  • Stitcher
  • Itunes
  • Don’t forget to share a link to the podcast on all your social channels.

Pictures | Memes

Your article probably has 3 or 4 different sections. Take each of the sections, find a fitting image and create a meme (that’s a picture combined with a phrase to provoke some thought or humor).

An easy way to create meme’s is Canva.

Post your meme’s on:

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Step 4: Bonus Content

With the advance of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories there are countless ways to create engaging content. To fully take advantage of these channels you need to build content creation into your daily work-flow.

It has to become a way of life. And requires a lot of discipline and a willingness to be in front of the camera all the time.

The article content strategy I explain above can be easily scheduled. You can prepare a week’s worth of content on a single day and schedule distribution. You can also outsource most of the repurposed content to fully leverage yourself.

​Let me know how this content strategy works for you and where you need help.

For more expert tips and strategies head over to:

https://columbusrealestatecoach.com/blog 

And be sure to follow us on Social media!

What Agents Get Wrong about Social Media Marketing

What Agents Get Wrong about Social Media Marketing

Social Media is a sizzling hot topic for real estate marketing. Many agents believe it’s the “Silver Bullet” that will resolve all of their prospecting woes. Sadly, many agents are not successful with social media marketing.

Here are 3 reasons why your social media strategy may not generate more business for you, and what you can do about it.

Why Agents Fail with Social Media Marketing

1. Lack of Consistency

Consistency is the key to any marketing program. Additionally, If you don’t keep reminding the people in your sphere that you are (still) a Realtor, you won’t get any new business or referrals from them.

You have to stay top of mind. In today’s hectic world this is more important than ever, as consumers are constantly bombarded with advertising messages.

The frequency of posting varies dependent on the social channel you use. You may get away with one article a week on your blog, but you will have to post daily on Facebook, and even more often on Twitter and Instagram.

2. No Paid Promotions

Social media marketing is not free. The no-cost strategies that keep you in front of your audience take a lot of time. I am talking about Instagram Stories and Facebook Live Video, which are currently the most effective ways to get organic reach.

If you want to go beyond your sphere you have to promote posts and run targeted campaigns to generate buyer and seller leads.

A few months ago, I shared our experience with paid Facebook advertising. Click here to read the article.

Social Media advertising is still very inexpensive as compared to traditional marketing.

Do not miss this opportunity and learn how to design effective campaigns. There’s a lot of free information on the Internet. Call me, if you have any specific questions.

3. No Original Content

If you want to become a social media personality you will have to create original content. It’s not good enough to like or share someone else’s post. You have to contribute.

Creating content is time consuming. Writing this weekly email newsletter takes an hour or more if I have to research the topic.

​Original content is the only reason why someone would consider following you. If you just share posts and comment on articles you are limiting your reach.

You are probably wondering how to overcome the content challenge.

​Next week I will let you in on how I create content. I will show you exactly where to find topics and how to get the most out of your original content by re-purposing it for different social channels.

Stay tuned for next week’s Agent Insider email.

The Social Media Movie

John Lincoln, CEO of Ignite Visibility, created this 4-minute movie. He interviews 10 social media experts who explain how you can find success on different platforms. Go ahead and watch it right now!

For more expert tips and strategies to grow your real estate business and database, please visit:

https://columbusrealestatecoach.com/

And be sure to follow us on Social media!

FB: https://www.facebook.com/ColumbusReal…

IG: https://www.instagram.com/agent_insider/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RE_AgentInsider/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6rBxhegHv6YnOTBg-h4gQw