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5 Reasons Why Blog Readers Make the Best Real Estate Clients

shutterstock_85655536By Karen Highland

Keeping a consistent real estate blog is a lot of work. On top of the actual job of being a REALTOR®, a blog requires a layer of technical knowledge and writing skill, and demands some artistic and creative talent as well. Successful blogging also requires continued learning; as search and web technologies change, a blogger must keep up with the changes. Let’s face it, blogging for your real estate business is like another part time job. It takes continued investment of time and creative energy. Is it worth the effort?

There are millions of pages of information available to Internet searchers. When I searched for the term “real estate blog” I was offered 389 million results. That’s a lot! But the truth is much of that information is generic, 10-point, rehashed compost.

There are ways of standing out in the crowd by mastering the blog, and blog leads are often the best online leads a real estate agent can get. Here are five reasons to master the blog and get those great leads:

1. Blog readers value education.

Clients who contact us through our blog tend to be more educated and tend to have a higher income. We can include the purchasers of a $1.55 million farm, the high end for our small market, and we can include first-time buyers as well. With an average sales price of $300,000 in our market, the average home purchase for our blog readers is $450,000.

People who read blogs are generally looking for detailed information. They want in-depth explanations as well as niche neighborhood information. They want to understand as much of the process as they can before they contact an agent. If your blog content provides that information, you will be the one they contact when they are ready to act. You will stand a good chance at becoming their trusted adviser.

An example: Two of our blog readers, a doctor and an aeronautical engineer, were considering buying a farm that was a short sale, and reasoned that they ought to have a short sale expert as a buyer’s agent. They did a search and found our blog, contacted us and we showed them an $800,000 farm. They decided that it wasn’t for them, but we had won them over with our blog content and local knowledge. We showed them two more houses and they ended up buying the $1.55 million home, and not a short sale.

2. Blog readers are usually methodical and patient.

shutterstock_191532938Many of the buyers and sellers who will contact you from your blog have probably been reading your content for a while, typically for six months or more. This is why consistency is the key to successful blogging. As you write week after week, explaining terms and concepts, and sharing stories and tips, you can trust that your readers are taking it in and educating themselves – or even better, both.

An example: We just closed with a client last week who first contacted us from our blog four years ago! He’s a software engineer who’s been analyzing the market and waiting for the right time to buy. The greatest thing about these clients is we don’t have to work anxiously on staying in touch. Our blog content does the work for us. When it comes to nurturing a contact, consistent blogging really works. The beautiful thing is your blog content is keeping you in front of clients you haven’t even met yet!

3. Blog readers are usually already sold on you before you even meet them.

They have been reading your content, watching your videos and absorbing your expertise for a few months, sometimes longer. Most often, you don’t have to do a song-and-dance presentation to win them over when you meet them the first time; they already consider you a local expert. They often even feel like they know you.

4. Blog readers want granular, nuanced information.

They are looking for neighborhood information and expertise. They don’t take it for granted that just because agents market themselves as a neighborhood expert that they really are. Readers are looking for online proof. By providing information about all the aspects of living in a community, and by using local geo-tagged photos of the neighborhoods and the amenities, you will prove to be the neighborhood expert your readers are looking for.

5. Blog readers are Internet savvy.

It makes sense; they are familiar with searching, and reading blogs and websites. They appreciate a good web presence, so make sure that yours is the best it can be. It’s a good idea to check your links regularly to fix broken links and 404 errors. (By the way, I love it when my fellow bloggers alert me to errors on my blog pages.) Again, the best thing about this kind of lead is that they know what they are looking for, and if you’re the one to provide it, you’ll be the one they contact!

Karen and Chris Highland are real estate agents in Central Maryland. You can find Chris and Karen on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting (A Listing)

happy_buyerBy Gina Thelemann

Congrats! You’ve spent days, weeks or maybe even months trying and now it’s confirmed — you’re expecting (a listing). There are hundreds of books, blogs and coaches who have given their best advice about what to do when you land a listing lead, but you’re a busy expectant REALTOR®, so we’ve gathered the best advice below. Here’s a foolproof guide for how to acknowledge, prep and nurture your listing lead all the way to the closing table.

Euphoria, then anxiety

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Take a minute to celebrate your good fortune. Dance around, fist pump and send all your most positive vibes out into the universe.

Almost immediately, though, you’ll get a nagging feeling in your stomach. What do you do now? Can you handle this? Should you have prepared more for this moment?

Acknowledge and schedule a first appointment

It’s important not to lose your confidence. Your lead is counting on you, so be sure to follow up within five minutes. Depending on how far along you are, schedule an in-person home value analysis or even a listing appointment.

Nurture, your way

When you talk to other agents and brokers, they’ll have a lot of advice on how to follow up. Some swear by an 8×8 automated email plan, while others call once a day until they’re explicitly asked to stop. Others pretend to “swing by” their front door with a massive care package.

Here’s what none of the experts are telling you: This prospect is your, um, baby and it’s your responsibility to nurture it in the ways that feels best to you. Don’t be afraid to nix the “tried and true” methods that feel unnatural to you.

Surprise! It’s twins!

You didn’t even know it was a possibility, but in your listing appointment, your client asked you to represent them on the buyer side, too! This will be more work for you, but the rewards (ahem, commission) will be so worth it.

Start nesting

It’s important to prepare the home for the big change that is approaching. Make sure the homeowner cleans the home from top to bottom, and de-clutters to remove anything that will turn off potential sellers.

Have a plan for going public

It’s time to share the good news! Some people prefer to announce to everyone at once via social media, while others may leak to important contacts in advance. One thing is certain: in today’s low inventory market, there will be a lot of questions and interest, so be prepared for a big reaction.

Indulge in your cravings

It’s not pickles you want — it’s more listings. Don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. Be sure to take care of yourself, though, because it can be easy to run yourself ragged as you try to be everything to everyone.

One last warning: Avoid alcohol and soft cheese (but eat all the cookies you want)

We probably don’t have to say this, but it’s important to avoid alcohol when you are hosting open houses or showings. Soft cheeses are also not a great call, as they can get messy and expensive.

A tried-and-true trick is to bake some cookies before any potential buyers come to the home. The smell of freshly baked goods will put everyone at ease, and you deserve a treat (or ten) if buyers are slow to show up.

Have a closing plan

Once a buyer is confirmed, be sure to make all the steps necessary to get to the closing table with ease. Use a closing table checklist to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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How to Deliver Email Worth Reading

By Courtney Soinski

iStock_000000316772Medium-email copyThink about all the emails that you receive in your inbox each and every day. Now think about all the emails that you send to your prospects and clients. Do your marketing messages have what it takes to be opened and read? How do you get people to pay attention?

To prevent emails from being ignored or filtered into spam folders, learn these headache-saving strategies.

Get right to the point in the subject line

To ensure that your email gets opened and clicked on, grab the reader’s attention with a catchy subject line. Keep it short, descriptive, and give them a reason to explore your message further.

Try to avoid flashy promotional phrases, all capital letters, and exclamation points. Not all punctuation is bad, though. Subject lines framed as questions can often perform well.

Words and phrases to stay away from

To avoid being plopped in the dreaded spam folder or just plain ignored, there are certain words and phrases that you should stay away from at all costs. According to a recent study, a few of these words include: “Free”, “Help”, “Percent Off”, and “Reminder”.

Use a recognizable “From” name

“From” names that are not recognized or seem confusing to readers will be ignored, deleted, or lost in the inbox. Would YOU want to open an email from someone you don’t know?

Here’s something else to keep in mind – sending a welcome email as soon as your client subscribes will get them engaged much earlier in the relationship. After that, they’ll surely be able to recognize you, trust you, and read your emails.

Localization gets results

Providing localization in your email, such as the name of a city, neighborhood, or area-specific event can increase open rates and click-through rates. You’ll be using personalized geographic information to peak their interest while directly targeting clients on a hyper-local level.

Design for optimum compatibility

When you’re creating your email, be sure that it’s designed to display on all types of device platforms. Now more than ever, people everywhere use their cell phones and tablets in addition to a desktop computer to access their email. Don’t let your messages get left behind!

Deliver read-worthy content

You can increase and maintain engagement by delivering content that’s actually wanted. Keep it short, and provide links they can click on to read more or share with a friend via email or social media. Including a video is also a great way to effectively connect with your readers.

There are many benefits of email marketing if used in the right way. After all the hard work you put into your campaigns, the last thing you want is to be ignored or mistaken for spam. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to building relationships through valuable content and effective reader engagement.

Are you ready to deliver email worth reading?

 

Source: MailChimp; RealtorMag

 

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