AgentMarketing.com's Blog

ListingBooster.com versus AgentMarketing.com

Obviously over the years there have been many systems come along to help Real Estate Agents.  One of the newest of these is a site called ListingBooster.com.  We want to make sure that you always know how AgentMarketing.com compares to other sites like Listing Booster so we've created a comparison chart to help you understand the differences.  Frank Garay and Brian Stevens of "The National Real Estate Post" are partners in Listing Booster so naturally their promotion of it has  our customer service team getting asked how we [AgentMarketing.com] are different or compare to ListingBooster.com.

 Here is a page that compares Listing Booster vs Agent Marketing and 2 other top competitors.

www.KnowTheTruth.me

What we really want is for everyone to know the truth about how each system compares so that you can make an informed decision on which Marketing Software and Printing Team you want to help you and your Agents thrive.  We can't blame anyone for not knowing all the capabilites of a system, with all possible features, benefits and variances... it's almost impossible to know what each system includes and is capable of.

So, we put this comparison website [page] together and emailed all 3 of the companies on the list for their input.  For that reason, we feel this is the most accurate and complete list of differences (we didn't put the items where all companies supported or supplied, as the list would be 10 miles long), and we continue to ask ANYONE that finds something that isn't up to date on this list to let us know as soon as possible. We know all companies are busy adding new features so the list can get out of date... but as of today (January 31th) the list is as complete as humanly possible.

So... if you have any more questions, please let us know? :)

100 Paradise Cove, Austin Texas

This premier property that is located at 100 Paradise Cove, Austin Texas 78759 in South Chester county and is currently for sale. This property is offered by AgentMarketing.com, agent Greg ("& the") Mazurek, Priced at $269,900.100 Paradise Cove has 4 bedrooms, 3.00 baths, 3,210 sq.ft. and was built in 2002. But sadly, this is only a test property to show the value of plogging property like 100 Paradise Cove in Austin Texas.

 

100 Paradise Cove
Austin, TX 78759
When only the Best will do!
Price : $269,900.00
Bedrooms : 4
Bathrooms : 3.00
Square Foot : 3,210
Lot Size : 52,602 sq.ft.
County : South Chester
Property Type : Single Family
Year Built : 2002

100 paradise cove, austin, tx

click for more information and pictures
Property Description
Come bring your family to this bright aqnd spacious home. Right away one will be impressed with the pristine landscaped yard sitting on .45 acres. The exterior features vinyl siding with side entrance two and half car garage, irrigation system, spacious paver stone patio and deck for entertaining. Very private back yard backing up to the woods and large detached storage building which matches the decor of the house. The storage building is 20 x 12. There are two, Duel Fuel HVAC units which were installed in 2009. Inside features, 2,710 sq.ft. of fine living. Too many features to mention in this deion. Some features include Formal Dining room with lots of mill work, hardwood floors throughout, 20 ft ceiling in family room with built-in entertainment cabinets and gas fireplace. The kitchen, wow, Corian integrated countertops, top of the line stainless appliances such as Advantium speed cooking, Wolf and more. There is access to the deck and patio from the kitchen The first floor master is spacious and features a spa-like master bath with very large walk-in closet. Upstairs features 3 spacious bedroom and exercise room. The schools for this property are Enon Elementary, Elizabeth Davis Middle and Thomas Dale High School.

This Plogging® (property blogging) is brought to you by an Agent Marketing Plogger®
Equal Housing Opportunity.

 

You can also view the SEO page located at http://agentmarketing.com/properties/tx/austin/100paradisecove

Loan Officer Marketing: Realtors 101

When deciding which system to use so you can work with real estate agents to get purchase referrals, make sure the system you choose understands the real estate industry. You may think I'm a little biased about "how hard this can be"... but it's the little nuances that make the big differences.

Let's start with a story:

There's a 20 year veteran real estate agent, lets call her... oh I don't know... my wife Deanna since that's the truth.

In the hay days back in the early 2000's, she always had 3 to 6 escrows open (homes under contract for you back East people). Now lets say you wanted to whoo her to work with her to get her purchase refferals so you approach her and tell her you'll help her promote her listings and automate her virtual tours, property websites... yadda yadda yadda. Sounds like a good deal? Ah... no. She would roll her eyes at you and say "Don't call me, I'll call you."

Okay... that was weird, she must just be a one of those "B" words. Actually no (well... sometimes...), she really is a very nice person, but YOU didn't take the time to understand her business, yet you wanted to "partner" with her. How did she know you didn't understand her business? It was simple. You asked to automate her property websites and work with her to promote her listings. Seemed harmless enough, so why the cold shoulder?

Here's a tip, from a company that was (and is) built and run by real estate agents... she's a BUYERS agent. If that statement confused you, then you are the majority. In the real estate world, it really breaks down into 2 types of agents. Listing agents and buyers agents. Almost every real estate transaction involves 2 agents. One agent that listed the property, and one agent that brought the buyer. Deanna did and does not like taking a listing... she avoids them and will usually refer a listing out to a listing agent in her office (for a referral fee of course).

So... what does all this mean?

When choosing a system to work with agents, make SURE the system understands (and works with) the 2 types of agents. Make SURE the system works for both types of agents. Make SURE you're not exclusivly going after the half (smaller half) of the market that doesn't really bring the purchase referrals (and the purchase referrals should be your main goal). The agent that brings the buyer brings the loan. Let's say that again... THE AGENT THAT BRINGS THE BUYER BRINGS THE PURCHASE LOAN TO THE DEAL. Most buyers sadly start their home search without actually pre-qualifying for a loan. In my wifes case, in the get-to-know-you-meeting, in person or on the phone, she brings up the question how much they are pre-qualified for, and more than 75% of the time, she gets a response, "huh?". Now the referral kicks in... "Let me have my loan officer (in her case "Dave Malleg with Countrywide call you.")  (the company name tells when Deanna was in her hay-days, doesn't it?)

So let's wrap this up and summerize... Make sure the system you choose is of interest and benefit to both listing and buyers agents. Finding and getting with listing agents is easier, but the buyers agents bring more purchase referrals, and that is where the gravey is. (Here's a little hint: You find most buyers agents through listing agents, so don't stop going after listing agents, but also make sure the system you choose doesn't MAKE you stop there.)

AgentMarketing.com is now official

It is official, we have now changed over from our beloved ePropertySites.com name to AgentMarketing.com.

Yeah yeah I know, it has been months since the conversion, so what makes it official?  We just got our new signage!!!  Tell us what you think   :)

 

http://agentmarketing.com/assets/admin/img/guide/filelocker/1390086709.jpg

http://agentmarketing.com/assets/admin/img/guide/filelocker/1390086710.jpg

 

ePropertySites, LLC agrees to settle against Listing-to-Leads, LLC

ePropertySites, LLC agrees to settle Copywright Lawsuit against Listing-to-Leads, LLC for an undisclosed amount

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., (July 24, 2013) – ePropertySites, LLC today announced that it has settled a lawsuit against Henderson, Nev.-based Listings-To-Leads, LLC for an undisclosed amount.  The lawsuit was alleging numerous copyright and trade dress violations.  ePropertySites.com, a leading real estate marketing firm that enables real estate agents to produce high quality commercials and marketing materials online and in print, alleged that LTL blatantly copied ePropertySites.com website source code.

According to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, LTL appears to have taken the entire source code of ePropertySites.com’s property brochures and used it as its own.  ePropertySites was able to prove this by viewing LTL’s source code and seeing an almost exact copy of ePropertySites own HTML source code – including having ePropertySites.com URLs within the HTML code.  The suit further alleges that LTL  has taken ePropertySites.com’s trade dress and used as its own, profiting from ePropertySites.com’s time and effort.

“We are pleased to have protected our software and to have resolved this matter peacefully,” said Greg Mazurek, co-founder and chief technical officer at ePropertySites.com. 

ePropertySites.com spent a number of years and significant resources developing a suite of products that allows for the generation of marketing materials for individual properties.   Specifically, ePropertySites is in the business of designing, coding, producing, and maintaining websites and marketing materials that allow real estate agents to produce high quality commercials to market their listings over the Internet and in print.

“We believe that our marketing materials and website deliver a unique experience and a high value to our customers, and we will defend against anyone that fails to respect our intellectual property rights,” said Chris Bates, co-founder and chief marketing officer. 

For more information on ePropertySites, LLC, visit ePropertySites.com or call 949-328-5000. 

Congratulations to the GriffithTeam on being our 13th iPad Winner!

Congratulations to the GriffithTeam on being our 13th iPad Winner!

Based in Colorado, Gary & Ann Griffith are the cornerstone of The Griffith Team, husband and wife real estate agents their clients often refer to as the "Dynamic Duo." While some couples might find it difficult to work with their spouse every day, the Griffiths believe they are each other's spare hand, and credit their combined strengths with consistently producing "superior results" when it comes to listing and selling their properties.

"Some people only relate well to a woman, and others to a man, so the clients get the best of both worlds," they said. Many couples have differing opinions when it comes to how to go about the process of buying or selling a home, so when the day is done, the Griffiths compare notes, share what they've taken away from individual conversations, and then strategize as to the best way to meet their clients' needs.
 

Gary was in professional software sales early on in his career, but spent so much time traveling he said he was able to use the frequent flier miles he accumulated to take his wife and at that time nine children, on family vacations to Alaska, Hawaii and Disney world. After his 10th child was born, the time spent away from home began to take its toll, and eventually he started thinking about switching careers.

"The older kids kind of grew up without their dad so the younger kids actually said to me at one point, Hey Dad, why can't you figure out something to stay closer to home?’' Gary said. He had taken some real estate classes before their fourth child was born and was ready to take the broker's exam, but that never happened, and it wasn't until Ann decided to get her license that Gary went back to finish what he had started years before.

"We had always talked about doing real estate together," Ann said, and in Colorado they have been able to do just that. They initially tried doing their own thing, but hated that, Gary said, because they just don't feel they're as effective separately as they are together. “The real important point is that we're stronger together and we love working the business together." Ann added that it's nice to have that second set of eyes when they're looking at properties, not to mention being able to talk about what they can do to get around certain issues or obstacles. That doesn't usually happen between agents, but since they're working together and both are on the same contract, it frees them up to brainstorm and focus on what their clients are looking for.

The Griffiths are real estate agents who enjoy people, understand what people need, and want to help them achieve their goals. Whether it's young people upsizing or buying their first home, or older people who need to downsize and are transitioning from one lifestyle to another, they are there to help them through what can be a very stressful situation. Often it's life events that create real estate transactions, or what Gary likes to call a "compelling event."

"You have to have a compelling event to make something happen in your life, so I look for what that event is and that helps them move it along," Gary shared.

Clients have told them more than once that they didn't realize realtors were actually counselors as well, Ann said, but it's true, and the Griffiths don't mind helping out in that way either. Ann feels she and Gary have a lot of patience, and they take the time to listen to people because serving people is what they do so well together. That combination often results in a successful sale and what one client called "getting the perfect house."

"We show people what they want until they find what they want and people appreciate that," Ann said.

Since discovering ePropertySites, Ann and Gary feel that job has gotten easier. As agents in Colorado, one thing that definitely sets them apart, they shared, is having access to the latest and greatest technology. From the QR codes on the sign riders to showing sellers how they can have a dedicated site just for their property, the tools available to them through their ePS account helps them clinch the deal.

Gary is definitely one of our biggest supporters, and referred many of his fellow colleagues to us during the course of the contest.

"There's no doubt about it, ePropertySites is the competitive edge out here. I told people you're the best kept secret in the industry, they get the best bang for the buck and the best technology out there. Whether I win an iPad or not, I think enough of this company that I think all real estate agents need to be on it."

When asked if he had any advice for agents just starting out in the industry, Gary said he'd tell them to get ePropertSites early on in the game. While there may be agents out there who think they have it all figured out, he feels they're losing it on the technology side.

"Buyers and sellers are coming to agents now and they've already been on the Internet, they're tech savvy and they know what they want. They're quick at communications, especially the young buyers, and if you can't show them you're on the cutting edge and can get their property marketed with all the latest and greatest tech stuff they'll leave you behind."
 

Congratulations to our 12th iPad Winner Derek Dudley

Congratulations to Derek Dudley on being our 12th iPad Winner!

Derek is the owner of Dudley Realty & Investments, a multi-faceted company in Garden Grove that services both buyers and sellers, in addition to purchasing homes that he and his partner fix up and resell.

With a degree in finance, Derek started in the industry as a loan officer in 2004, then acquired his broker's license because more and more people began asking him if he could find them houses.

"I fell in love with that aspect more than pushing paperwork, Derek said, since it gets him out of the office and showing properties. Focusing solely on real estate since 2006, Derek doesn't even feel that like he's going to "work" every day; to him, he's just helping do something for someone else.

That something often includes spending time driving around getting to know both the people and the homes in the communities around him.

"There are days I'm looking at comps and properties all day long," Derek said, and taking the opportunity to meet and talk to people face-to-face is something he enjoys doing. He shared that a quote he once read in a book by Donald Trump made an impression on him.

Trump's advice was not to use an ATM to do your banking but to go in and talk to the bankers instead because you never know what might happen. Good advice, Derek said, as he picked up two buyers in the past month by going into the bank to deposit checks and introduce himself.

"People go the ATM and they never talk to anyone. Anytime you get a chance to talk to someone, just take the opportunity, because getting to know people and using their services is important, but more importantly, they have to know you."

While many real estate agents concentrate on luxury and higher-priced listings, Derek feels it's better to be selling lower priced properties that are more in demand and offer a shorter turn-around time. In addition, some of his clients are companies that he does Broker Price Opinions (BPOs) for, something he likes doing in spite of the fact that he doesn't make much money from them. For Derek, that's just another opportunity to be out and about in the community, "driving up and down every street in town."
 

Not only that, when you're buying houses, fixing them up and selling them yourself, Derek said, he may have driven past as many as 70 properties in one day looking for something to buy for a trustee sale the next day, and running comps on the ones people are interested in buying. By being informed, knowing what's happening and staying as involved in the market as he can, Derek believes it enables him to talk about any kind of property when questions arise.

It seems that being out in the field, marketing properties and pressing palms is a recurring theme throughout most of Derek's business transactions, and Open Houses are another avenue he pursues to solicit buyers.

"When you do an Open house, the first people to come over are the neighbors. You can introduce yourself, hand out your cards and ask questions. The one I always ask? I know you're not looking to sell, but do you know anybody that is, or looking to buy?"

Derek is new to ePropertySites, but as a "value-oriented guy" feels he has a valuable tool at his disposal. His favorite feature? Text Code Capture. With the text code capture, clients are not only getting the information immediately when they text the number on the sign, Derek said, but "what better way is there to get information than for me to call them and give them more?"

For Derek, it's all about marketing the property, whether it's a client's or his own.
"Every time we buy a property, we get the sign in the yard as soon as we can because you never know who's going to walk by and call."

Then again, in The World Of Real Estate According To Derek, "You can get a lead one way one time, another way another time and next time you get a client in a way you never even thought of."

 

Congratulations to our 11th iPad Winner Select Realty Group

Congratulations to our 11th iPad Winner Select Realty Group!

Barbara Woyak, Lena Ragona and Angela Ball are the original members of this Keller Williams/Arizona-based realty group that has recently expanded to include two more agents. Their formula for a winning team is based on the company's model that there should be different functions for each member of the team, because the more you can specialize in a specific area, the more successful you will be!

Staying focused, expanding their sphere of influence, calling on cancelled and expired listings as well as lead generating every day is one of the many tools this group employs to attract both buyers and sellers.

Barbara's specialty is listings, Lena focuses on buyers, and Angela oversees transaction management and advertising. As a group, Angela came up with a procedure to follow that was initially called "The 10 Days of Pain," but which has evolved into what they now call "The 21 Days of Gain." The "pain" involves following up with a potential buyer/client within three to five minutes of them submitting a request for more information, and then following up again on a regular, consistent basis. When asked what was "painful" about the process, the women explained that it was difficult to put that much time and effort into building a connection and not get a response, but that didn't stop them from continuing to inundate those potential clients with more information. When you see the gain, it makes the pain that much easier to take!

Together, this group has created a team whose motto "A Name Friends Recommend," is one they are proud of and hope is recognized by all who live in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area they call home.

Wherever you're from though, Select Realty believes the same things apply across the nation for people looking for a home, and for sellers, the most important thing is to get maximum exposure for their property. ePropertySites makes that easier, Angela shared, by providing the tools agents need to advertise, feed to syndicated sites and create blog posts that guarantee their listings are getting that exposure in the community as well.

Participating in the iPad contest gave Angela a chance to discover some things about ePropertySites she hadn't known before, and it wasn't as easy as she thought it might be. Although she was familiar with listing websites, blogging and posting to Craigslist, Angela admitted there were some clues she had no idea about, and she spent some time navigating the site in an effort to uncover the hidden Apple icon. When it took her more than two minutes to find the answer, she said she was frustrated, but kept at it because again, the gain was worth the pain!

When asked what her advice would be for agents, whether they're just starting out or working to expand their business, Angela replied, "Pick a market, pick your segment of that market and make a commitment to learn everything you can about that area. Become a neighborhood expert, become an expert at doing open houses, become an expert at door knocking, become an expert at calling on cancelled and expired, but whatever it is, just pick one thing and become an expert at that."It's so easy to get lost and go in 15 different directions and not get anything done, but once you're successful at one thing, you can move on to something else."

 

Real Estate Agent iPad Contest Winner Matt Peedin

Congratulations to Real Estate Agent Matt Peedin our 10th iPad Contest Winner!

Most of us have heard of the 3 Rs in education, but when it comes to North Carolina resident and real estate agent Matt Peedin, the "3 Ps of Real Estate" might describe him best: People, Personality & Properties!

Matt lives in the North Carolina region known as "The Triangle," an area anchored by three of the state's notable universities - North Carolina State, Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, all well known for their research facilities and the businesses they attract. This is a growing market, Matt shared, as the area is home to many high-tech companies and enterprises including Cisco, IBM, the area is consistently ranked among the top towns and cities for its high quality of life.

Choosing real estate as a career more than 8 years ago "definitely fits my personality" Matt said, as he's always loved selling things and he's always loved people. While Matt uses both the internet and his referral business to market himself, it's his relationship with the people he meets that he believes is the cornerstone of his success as an agent. He connects with clients rather quickly, builds rapport with people, he said, and senses that they really enjoy working with him. When clients bring you double-stuffed Oreos as a thank you at their closing because they know you love them, that's a pretty good sign that whatever you're doing is working!

"I genuinely care about their interests, and I make that very clear to them," Matt shared. "What I tell them is that at the end of it, when it's all said and done, I want you to be able to look back at the process and say with certainty that you've found the perfect home."

As a long-time customer of ePropertySites, Matt had high praise for the system and its effectiveness. It's one thing to tell people "I can get more people through your door than anyone else can" but you have to be able to back that up and show them how you do it, Matt said. With ePropertySites Matt feels he has a process that works, describing it as "without question the most economical means to get the property out there and get exposure for it, driving traffic to the site."

Matt had fun playing the iPad contest, he was surprised to discover things he said he didn't know anything about, and other features he wanted to take the time to look at more in depth. For example: widgets, QR codes, text codes on property signs, and using flip books for his listing presentations. "I'm definitely looking forward to using the iPad, " Matt said. "Particularly in this area, where you're on the cutting edge of technology, you want to be as tech savvy as you can." Matt shared that the iPad will be a Christmas gift for his wife, he admitted he'll be stealing it back for those presentations!


Selling properties may be his livelihood, but for Matt, it always comes back to the people, and he wants them to know he isn't someone who's driven by numbers. "If you genuinely care about people and treat them as if it's yourself or your family, people feel it, it resonates with them, they genuinely know it. The numbers will take care of themselves if you're taking care of the people."

Matt's personality definitely shines through when it comes to giving advice to the new agents in the office. What does he tell them?

"If your heart's in the right place, I think anybody can be successful in real estate."

Real Estate Agent Jo Soss our 9th iPad winner

Congratulations to Jo Soss of Bremerton, Washington on being our 9th iPad Winner!
Jo is the owner of Homefront Realty and has been selling real estate in the greater Puget Sound area since 1994. As a military spouse whose husband is on active duty with the navy, Jo knows firsthand what it’s like to have to relocate and purchase a home in an area you’re unfamiliar with. Her family moved across the country 3 times in 4 years, and in Kitsap County, the two large naval bases provide a unique clientele for her - active duty military members looking to settle in and call West Puget Sound home. "I do a lot of military relocation, so it's really fun to connect with people that literally have found me on the internet,” Jo said.

Jo is an agent that has truly embraced technology, and her online business has grown to the point where she described it as an “almost paperless” office. In addition to her property websites, she also has a personal website where she writes articles and blogs, sharing information about the area as well as her own relocation experience. Jo’s goal is to be sure her clients “know that I know what you are going through,” and that they can trust her when it comes to any of their real estate needs. With clients spread out across the country and as far away as Okinawa, potential buyers might contact Jo after locating her on the web and after just a few phonecalls, fly out to meet her, buy a house, and then be gone until the relocation is complete. At the same time, Jo said, she has had buyers she’d never met in person until they've actually moved, as well as people that purchase properties they've never even stepped foot in. Technology may help a lot in that regard, but you have to have a fairly strong sense of trust in your real estate agent to be able to buy a property sight unseen!

In spite of the short term duration of some of the relocations, many people are looking to purchase a home, Jo said, and again, she always has her clients’ best interests at heart, telling them that if they don't see themselves staying put for at least 3 years, buying a home may not always be the best way to go in this economy. "People are going to get the honest answer out of me because it's more important than a commission check,” she said.

As a long time user of ePropertySites, Jo found during the iPad contest that there was still much more to learn about our system. Navigating around the different pages, “I just kept saying wow, look at this or that! I recognized that I wasn't using the system to its fullest, and I want to implement more of the tools available to me,” Jo said. She also feels that with ePropertySites the focus is on the property listing, with individual websites, sign riders and specific tools designed to showcase the home.

"I want a person, when they drive by one of my listings and see that sign, to text a number to a number and get a text back, and click on that and be able to see everything about that house. And it's great for me that I can capture that number, but the seller needs to know, wow, those people can actually see my house, they're sitting out there right now and they're texting to get info! Sellers love that!”
 

Real Estate Agent Mark Noviello our eight iPad Winner

Congratulations to Mark Noviello, of Boynton Beach, FL for being our eighth iPad3 winner!

Mark is a New Jersey transplant who relocated to Florida and has been a licensed real estate agent for the past 17 years, although it wasn’t his full time job until about five years ago.  With experience in construction and a focus on new home sales, Mark joined the Silver Realty Team at The Keyes Company Realtors in Boynton Beach almost 4 years ago. Working with his partner at The Keyes, their clientele has grown to include not only the Northeasterners retiring and migrating to Palm Beach County, but younger buyers who may also be looking to take advantage of all the area has to offer, whether it be a golf & tennis community, a waterfront, or luxury property.

When Mark shared with us that their business is 70% listing, 30% buyers, we couldn’t help wonder how he was able to maintain such a high percentage of listings. “We believe you have to spend money to make money in this business or you won’t be successful,” Mark said. He stressed that for him, it’s all about being consistent, so he and his partner focus on sending out a lot of mailers, postcards, Just Listed and Just Sold fliers and advertising in magazines, as well as introducing themselves to members in some of the newer communities.

Growing up in New Jersey, Mark’s dad owned a painting and wallpapering business that he helped out in, and he believes the basis for his success now comes from lessons he learned from his father as a young man many years ago. “My dad taught me from an early age it’s not gonna come find you, you have to go out and get it. If you sit there waiting for the phone to ring, you’re gonna be waiting all day.” Mr. Noviello was also a firm believer in being available to your clients, telling Mark “if someone calls you, you better call them back, and then follow up, and follow up some more!”

Working for a company that has a lot of tech tools to offer their agents is an additional bonus Mark said, emphasizing that “eProperties is a phenomenal way to get buyers. All sellers love it because they like the idea of having their own property website. Combined with the other search engines, you’re getting double and triple exposure everywhere.”

Mark assures his clients that with ePropertySites at their disposal, they’re bound to get the hits and the sales will follow. “That’s been our mantra, be out there, “ Mark told us, and he also believes word of mouth is the best advertising, as 30-40% of their business is referral based.

Playing the iPad contest game was a great way for Mark to explore what the ePropertySites system has to offer, and he thought it was really cool to go through every part of the website searching for the apple icon. He loves being able to use Craig’sList, he said, and is especially partial to all the social networking tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Being an iPad owner is pretty exciting, Mark shared, and he feels it will definitely help cut down on paperwork. He’s looking forward to being able to send pdf. docs right from the property when working with buyers.

Although he hasn’t had time to focus on blogging yet, Mark told us that’s definitely something he will probably start doing in the future. It’s another avenue to take advantage of, and as he said,

“In real estate, if you’re not tech savvy, you’ll get buried!”
 

Janer Melendez our 7th iPad3 Winner

Congratulations to Janer Melendez, of Grapevine, TX for being our seventh iPad3 winner!

Janer launched his career in Real Estate in Puerto Rico and then moved to Texas several years ago. With over 12 years experience in the business in two very different markets, he has learned quite a bit and adapted well to the differences in the two locales.

Janer chose to partner with the Mike Bowman Century 21 office in Dallas because of all the tools and daily training that was available to him there. One of the tools offered is the ePropertySites.com platform, which has become invaluable to Janer and many fellow Realtors in helping them grow and stand out in their business.

Janer shared that he had a lot of fun playing the iPad game, while learning all there was to know about the system by trying to locate the apple icon.

When asked whether or not he specializes in a particular area, Janer said most of his time is spent pushing himself to grow his business through networking, focusing on meeting new clients and developing relationships. He has hosted multiple open houses and will continue to be available for more in the future, especially now that he is the proud owner of a new iPad! “I am especially excited to use many of the iPad friendly Open House tools,” Janer said, which includes LookyLeads.com and a registration and feedback application for potential buyers who visit the featured property.

Comparing the differences between Texas and Puerto Rico, Janer shared that in Puerto Rico contract negotiations were much easier as agents take the time to verbally go back and forth to hammer out a deal before any actual contract is forged. There isn’t a need for multiple counter proposals, he said, as either a verbal agreement is reached and drafted or it isn’t. And while the restrictions in Texas are much more stringent than they are in Puerto Rico and it is more expensive to get your license there, when it comes to growing your business, Janer told us there are many more resources available for real estate agents in Texas.

Janer is very happy to be living and working in Dallas with the Century 21 Mike Bowman office, but it’s understandable that this real estate professional from two distinctly different markets says he is still homesick after he goes back to Puerto Rico for a visit.

 

 

Esther Christiansen our sixth iPad3 winner

 

Congratulations to Esther Christiansen, of Fresno, CA for being our sixth iPad3 winner!

Esther has been a Realtor for 6 years, and prior to her career in real estate she worked in the accounting field. That experience gives Esther a unique perspective as the market in Fresno, CA, where she works, is primarily made up of short sales and REOs.

When asked whether she would consider the REO market her special niche, Esther shared that she really feels her speciality is about meeting people's needs. Too often, Esther said, “Agents don’t listen to their clients about getting the homes that they are interested in.” She is very focused on going above and beyond for her customers to find them the perfect home.

Esther’s customized website, www.race2realestate.com/purl/ features a picture of her husband’s race car, and she often sees the comparison between real estate and racing. Both require teamwork, determination and effort in order to get to the finish line, and within the family environment Esther creates for her clients, that’s an attainable goal!

As someone who is very much into technology, Esther loves the many features that are included with her ePropertySites.com account. Her favorites are the links to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, the QR codes and custom texts. ”It’s nice not to have to reinvent the wheel,” Esther said.

She had a blast playing the ePropertySites.com iPad Contest as it really helped her navigate the system, becoming familiar with the many features. “I often wondered if the question was wrong because I wasn’t aware of the feature it was referring to,” Esther said.

When asked if she had any advice for new agents, Esther felt it was important to remember that “everyone sees a home in a different way, so try not to force a sale.”


 

Sign Riders

 http://www.epropertysites.com/guide/images/blogsignrider.jpg

Sign riders are a fantastic lead-capture tool when used correctly. Here are three great calls-to-action you can include on your sign riders that will help you connect with buyers and generate leads!

1. “Text for price.”
Simple, but effective; prompting interested buyers to enter the property text code to learn the price of a listing is a wonderful way to capture a lead. As soon as they text, they get the property information sent back immediately, and you receive a notification with their cell phone number so you can follow up right away.

2. “Look inside! Scan for more pictures.”
Although real estate QR codes don’t capture leads the same way text codes do, they do measure interest and drive-by activity on the listing. You can see every time a code is scanned, and the buyer gets taken to view the mobile version of your property site on their smartphone.

3. “We’re paperless! Text for virtual flyer.”
Not only does this call-to-action capture a text lead, but it announces to the world what an eco-friendly agent you are! You also save money (and trees!) by never having to refill the flyer box.

Make sure your sign riders are working for you! Include an effective call-to-action that will help you measure the interest in your property and make sure you’re generating leads with each text.
Call our sign shop at 949-360-7700 for more information on designing your own sign rider with a strong call-to-action.
 

Posting Real Estate to Craigslist


Posting Real Estate to Craigslist has never been easier with our "done for you" posting tool.  Included with our property websites are four gorgeous html layouts for your properties.  With 20-50 billion page views a month, it is the most visited classified site on earth.

 

 


Do you want more interest in your online marketing, more traffic to your Open Houses and more LEADS?  If so, posting to Craigslist needs to be a part of your property marketing strategy.

ePropertySites.com makes it easy to post to Craigslist with ads that are done for you.  Our ads include all of the property information including links to the Property Website and even your own property specific Text Message Lead Capture Code.

Here's how to post your property to Craigslist quickly and with professional-looking results, every time.

How does it work?
It all starts with a single property website for your listing. ePropertySites automatically provides a beautiful, colorful Craigslist flyer for each property. Once the site is activated, it’s ready to be posted to Craigslist. Follow these three steps to create a property website and post your listing to Craigslist!

Step 1. Create your ePropertySites account
If you aren't already a member, you may register for www.ePropertySites.com by clicking here. Input your information and follow the prompts to complete account setup. Select the plan that best fits your business needs.


Step 2. Upload your listing
Once you've completed your account registration, you're ready to add your first property! Click the Properties tab and then Add New. Once your property is activated it will be ready to be posted to Craigslist.

Step 3. Post your Craigslist flyer!
We've made it very simple to post.  Simply go to our CL posting tab and choose from one of four attractive layouts that are done for you.  Follow directions from Craiglist (we have videos in our user guide if you need) and your ad will be ready to go.

What’s the result?

After your Ad is posted you should attract more interest in your listings, traffic to your Open Houses and ultimately more buyer leads.

We have two different types of ads: 

"Website" ads that link to your Property Websites to attract more consumer attention and traffic online
"Contact" ad that helps to create more leads for you as the call to action is your phone number and Text Message Lead Capture code
Advertising your Open Houses has never been easier.  Our system will change the Craigslist title automatically for you to say "Open House" as well as the times or text you have input on the property website relating to it.  We also change the headline each week when you re-post based on your Open House Calendar.

 

 


 

How To Post Real Estate Listings on Pinterest

How To Post Real Estate Listings on Pinterest

By now you have probably heard quite a bit about the new social media giant Pinterest .

Learning how to post your real estate listings on Pinterest is imperative. Pinterest is quickly becoming a household name in the real estate marketing world, and should be an absolute must on your online marketing list.

What is Pinterest?  It is defined on their Website as a "Virtual Pinboard" which means a place for people to share fun photo's that they find on the Internet.  These photo's can relate to hobbies, ideas, art, poetry and yes...Real Estate.  Really it is a place to browse and share photo's and ideas.  The act of browsing fits in perfectly with the world of Real Estate.  Wouldn't it be amazing if the world was browsing and sharing pictures of your listings?  Like the famous Wayne Gretzky quote "you miss 100% of the shot's you don't take"...if you don't post on Pinterest you ensure that your listings won't be looked at there and in a perfect world what Pinterest calls "re-pinned" (basically people putting it on their pinboard to share with their friends and the world).

Why Pinterest?
With more than 10 million unique visitors each month, Pinterest is now the third most popular social networking site. Generating more referral traffic than Google+, Twitter, Bing, and StumbleUpon, Pinterest is a powerful tool in the real estate marketer’s arsenal. Don’t worry about trying to figure out how to install your own Pin It buttons on your property sites. Let ePropertySites do the work for you so you can start enjoying the benefits of Pinterest’s amazing referral potential.  

How does it work?
The first thing you need to do is create a single property site for your listing. ePropertySites automatically includes the Pin It button on the finished site for you. Once the site is activated, it is ready to be shared on Pinterest. Follow these three steps to create a site and start pinning!

ePropertySites makes it easy to post to Pinterest with our Pin It buttons that come preinstalled on every single property website. These buttons allow you to post the main listing photo right to Pinterest with one click. Remember that every time this image is shared or re-shared (or “pinned” and “repinned” to use the Pinterest lingo), a link back to your property site is also shared.

Step 1. Create your ePropertySites account
Register for ePropertySites by clicking the blue "Signup" button on ePropertySites.com. Input your information and follow the prompts to complete account setup. Select the plan that best fits your business needs.

Step 2. Upload your listing
Once you've completed your account registration, you're ready to add your first property! Click the Properties tab and then Add New. Once your property is activated it will be ready to be pinned on Pinterest.

Step 3. Just click Pin It!
With one click, your single property site can be pinned by anyone with a Pinterest account. Your sellers, open house visitors and the neighbors will love sharing your gorgeous property site with all of their Pinterest followers!

iPad3 winner Jennifer Sudik

Congratulations to Jennifer Sudik, of Moore, OK for being our fifth iPad3 winner!
  
Jennifer has been a Realtor for 8 years, prior to that she and her husband were investors where they bought and renovated multiple properties. Her investor experience has shaped the way that she is able to give the buyers the advice they need.

How many times have we as Real Estate Agents encountered first time or even seasoned buyers that say “I want a fixer upper”? Jennifer is quick to impart the wisdom needed to guide her buyers. Her biggest mistake as an investor was living in the home while fixing it up (something she strongly urges her buyers against). “Buyers just don’t realize how long it will take and all of the hidden costs that can come up”.

Jennifer resides in Moore, OK a town just south of Oklahoma City with a population of about 60,000, known for its good schools and higher quality of life. Jennifer does most of her referral-based business in this area. In fact one of her best customers was from a showing that another Agent was unable to attend which resulted in 8 sales over the years. The lesson -seeing the people as much as possible as well as taking great care of them is one of the most important parts of being a Realtor.

Jennifer is a relatively new ePropertySites.com user who was excited to be introduced to ePropertySites by a co-worker in her office. “I recently received my first rider with the text code,” Jennifer said, and she is looking forward to getting some great leads. When we asked her how she gets most of her referral business she said that she takes good care of folks, and that most of her clients have become her friends.

Not only are referrals her main source of business...she is great at giving them as well. Jennifer referred over a dozen fellow Agents to ePropertySites which along with finding answers to all of the questions, helped her to win the brand new iPad3.

 

 

iPad 3 Winner Pam Wright

Congratulations to Pam Wright, of Wenatchee, WA for being our fourth iPad 3 winner!

Pam is an incredibly motivated agent who found ePropertySites a few months ago while searching for a good virtual tour tool. New to real estate, her 20-year background in sales and marketing gives Pam a deep appreciation for a well designed visual presentation, and she knew she wanted to create beautiful virtual tours to include in her MLS listings. For Pam, finding ePropertySites has made an enormous positive impact on her business.

“I love the virtual tours, and I love the text codes,” Pam said. “Including the text codes on sign riders is a great way to differentiate myself in a competitive market. It’s been a great way to follow up on leads, and has been very well received by clients. I feel so lucky to have found ePropertySites.”

Home prices have stabilized in Pam’s market, and are slowly beginning to rise. The market is definitely picking up, and from investors to retirees to first time buyers, Pam’s inaugural year in real estate has been chock full of variety.

Close to several of Washington state’s most popular vacation destinations, Wenatchee attracts a wide range of folks who can’t wait to enjoy the area’s 300 days of sun per year.

With a firm focus on technology, Pam’s goals for herself this year include continuing to provide as much value as she can to her clients and starting a real estate blog.

““I moved so many times for my marketing jobs,” Pam said. “I always enjoyed the buying, selling, and negotiating of real estate. This plus my marketing experience gives me the unique perspective I need to succeed as an agent. Getting an iPad was actually part of my business plan for this year!" She plans to use her iPad for listing presentations to help clients visualize all the services she provides.

“The iPad contest was a great way for me to learn more about ePropertySites and it was fun! I actually set an alarm on my phone to remind me to check for new clues, but I found myself logging in and playing the game every day even without a reminder.”

Pam also focused on getting referral points.

“I took one of the sign riders with a text code to our business meeting,” she said. Communicating how popular her riders have become has helped Pam introduce ePropertySites to many of her colleagues. She also told us one of the neighbors came by when she was hanging a rider on one of her listings. He loved this marketing approach so much he asked Pam to sell his house!

One of Pam’s other listings, a gorgeous luxury property on Lake Wenatchee, saw little activity until she put up the rider. Suddenly, Pam said, interest in her listings exploded- not just from prospective buyers, but from other agents as well. With just one year under her belt, Pam is rapidly making a name for herself as an innovative and forward-thinking marketer in her area.

Pam’s advice for other new agents would be: “Decide on a strategy and focus on it; work hard to learn as much as you can right away."

Pam’s impressive focus and determination helps her to succeed every day as a new agent, and won her a brand new iPad 3!

YouTube for Real Estate

Yes- you absolutely should be using YouTube for real estate marketing. It's important to make sure your listings appear on all of the most popular search sites. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google- more than 800 million unique visitors come to YouTube each month. Your properties, specifically your virtual tours turned into a video, should be posted on YouTube in order to take advantage of the site's popularity. The easiest way to do so is to have your virtual tours syndicate to YouTube automatically.

ePropertySites makes it easy to syndicate videos to YouTube with our video creation and syndication feature, which turns your property photos and virtual tour into a YouTube video automatically and uploads the video right to YouTube (your channel or ours) for you. Here's how to make sure your properties syndicate to YouTube automatically, every time.

How does it work?
All you need to do is create a single property site for your listing- ePropertySites does the rest for you! Follow these three steps to create a site and get your virtual tours sent to YouTube for real estate marketing!

Step 1. Create your ePropertySites account
Register for ePropertySites by clicking the blue "Signup" button on ePropertySites.com. Input your information and follow the prompts to complete account setup. Select the plan that best fits your business needs. Make sure the following information is completed:

  • Your YouTube channel information (if you do not have a channel or would like to use ePropertySites' channel instead, simply leave that information blank)
  • Your contact details
  • Company logo and information

Step 2. Upload your listing and add photos
Once you've completed your account registration, you're ready to add your first property! Click the Properties tab and then Add New. In order for your listings to automatically generate YouTube videos, the following must be completed:

  • Upload at least 5 photos for your listing.
  • View the virtual tour the system generated from your photos.
  • Activate the property site

Once your property is activated it will immediately be added to our syndication list.

Step 3. Now sit back and relax!
We take care of everything else for you, automatically. Every night our system checks for new properties. As long as you have completed the above information, your YouTube video will be instantly created and uploaded to YouTube. 

View a sample YouTube real estate video here.

Why YouTube?
Every single day, Facebook users watch 500 years worth of YouTube video. On Twitter, over 700 million YouTube videos are shared each minute. YouTube is huge, and using YouTube for real estate is a smart and tech-savvy approach to marketing your properties. And the real estate world is certainly catching on: according to the 2011 Realtor Technology Survey Report, more real estate professionals use YouTube than use Twitter, Google+ and blogs. In fact, YouTube is the third most popular social networking site for real estate. This means that many of your colleagues and competitors are already posting real estate videos to their YouTube channels.

The process of creating and uploading a video can be frustrating and time consuming. Cut the lengthy process of turning your virtual tours into YouTube real estate videos, and let ePropertySites do all the work for you!

Syndicate to Trulia

As a real estate marketer, it's important to make sure your listings appear on all of the most popular real estate search sites. Trulia has long ago become a household name in the real estate world, and should be an absolute must on your list of sites where you market your properties. The easiest way to do so is to have your listings syndicate to Trulia automatically, which ensures your property information is always current and live on Trulia's massive property database.

ePropertySites makes it easy to syndicate to Trulia with our automatic syndication feature, which pushes your property data right to Trulia (and 19 other popular real estate sites). Here's how to make sure your listings syndicate to Trulia automatically, every time.

How does it work?
All you need to do is create a single property site for your listing- ePropertySites does the rest for you! Follow these three steps to create a site and get your listings syndicated!

Step 1. Create your ePropertySites account
Register for ePropertySites by clicking the blue "Signup" button on ePropertySites.com. Input your information and follow the prompts to complete account setup. Select the plan that best fits your business needs.

Step 2. Upload your listing
Once you've completed your account registration, you're ready to add your first property! Click the Properties tab and then Add New. Once your property is activated it will immediately be added to our syndication list.

Step 3. Now sit back and relax!
We take care of everything else for you, automatically. Every night our system checks for new properties and updated property details. If you've created a new property site or have made any edits to an existing site, all of this data will be instantly submitted to Trulia. Your listing information will never be outdated!

Why Trulia?
With more than 22 million unique visitors each month, Trulia is one of the largest real estate communities on the web. Displaying over 4.5 million real estate and rental listings nationwide, Trulia has become one of the most popular ways for consumers to find information and for professionals to connect with clients. Trulia is also the third most popular site (just behind broker sites and Realtor.com) for agents to display their listings, according to the NAR 2011 Realtor Technology Survey Report. This means that you're most likely sending your listings to Trulia already, and it has become a reliable resource in your property marketing toolbox.

Cut the lengthy process of manually submitting your listing to Trulia out of your busy marketing schedule, and use ePropertySites to have it syndicate to Trulia automatically! 

Syndicate to Zillow

During your property marketing process, it's important to make sure your listings appear in as many places as possible online. Zillow is one of the most highly-trafficked real estate search sites (in July alone of this year, 168 million homes were viewed on Zillow- and that was just on mobile devices!) and should be an absolute must on your list of sites to market your listing. The easiest way to do so is to have your listings syndicate to Zillow automatically, which ensures your property information is always current and live on Zillow's massive property database. 

ePropertySites makes it easy to syndicate to Zillow with our automatic syndication feature, which pushes your property data right to Zillow (and 19 other popular real estate sites). Here's how to make sure your listings syndicate to Zillow automatically, every time.

How does it work?
All you need to do is create a single property site for your listing- ePropertySites does the rest for you! Follow these three steps to create a site and get your listings syndicated!

Step 1. Create your ePropertySites account
Register for ePropertySites by clicking the blue "Signup" button on ePropertySites.com. Input your information and follow the prompts to complete account setup. Select the plan that best fits your business needs.

Step 2. Upload a listing
Once you've completed your account registration, you're ready to add your first property! Click the Properties tab and then Add New. Once your property is activated it will immediately be added to our syndication list.

Step 3. Sit back and relax!
We take care of everything else for you, automatically. Every night our system checks for new properties and updated property details. If you've created a new property site or have made any edits to an existing site, all of this data will be instantly submitted to Zillow. Your listing information will never be outdated!

Why Zillow?
Zillow is one of the most well-known online real estate resources. Offering information and useful services to buyers, sellers, renters, and all real estate professionals, Zillow has become one of the most popular ways for consumers to find information and for professionals to connect with clients. Zillow is also in the top five for sites where agents currently display their listings, according to the 2011 Realtor Technology Survey Report. This means that you're most likely sending your listings to Zillow already, and it has become one more reliable resource in your property marketing toolbox.

Cut the lengthy process of manually submitting your listing to Zillow out of your busy marketing schedule, and use ePropertySites to have it syndicate to Zillow automatically!

Informed Sellers Are Happy Sellers

Creating trust with the sellers is one of an agent's most important jobs. It begins during the very first meeting. Sellers will know, once the listing appointment has been completed, whether or not you are someone they can trust with the hugely important task of listing and selling their home. Handing this task over to you is an enormous show of faith. They are at the mercy of your skills, which leaves them in a very vulnerable position. A good agent respects this vulnerability and does everything they can to keep the sellers informed and involved in the process of selling their home. Here are 3 topics to discuss during the listing appointment to show the sellers your commitment to keeping them in the loop.

Seller Accountability Report
The Seller Accountability Report (available with the Professional plan on ePropertySites) is the perfect way to update your sellers on what is being done to market their home on ePropertySites. A checklist of activity, such as "property photos added", along with the date the action was completed, can be emailed to the sellers right from the Properties tab.  

Showing Feedback Form
Talk to your sellers about the importance of asking for feedback from prospective buyers. With a customizable questionnaire, you and the sellers can get an accurate idea of how the property is being perceived. Use the basic questions provided for you by ePropertySites, or change them to suit the sellers' needs. Feedback forms can be emailed to visitors after every open house (or sent automatically if you use digital sign in) and the responses will be available to view on your Properties tab. As a bonus, you'll have the contact information for all open house visitors allowing you to follow up with them as leads.

Hits Tracker
Every single property website on ePropertySites has a hits tracker to keep an eye on how well the property site is doing online. Letting sellers know you'll carefully monitor site activity and keep them updated on the results gives them confidence in your ability to market their home online. 

It's rare to find a completely hands-off seller. Most will deeply value your commitment to providing them with accurate, updated information by tracking the activity of their property site and asking for feedback from showings. Letting the sellers know upfront during the listing appointment that you have several ways to keep them informed is a perfect way to show the sellers that trusting you as their agent will be the best decision they ever make.

3 Unique Things You Should Always Bring to the Listing Presentation

If you haven't already won the listing before showing up to the listing presentation, there are a few other ways you can prepare before meeting the sellers that will ensure a slam dunk. Prove you're the best agent for the job at your next listing presentation by bringing these special materials along with you.

1. Domain name
Show sellers how prepared you are by pre-ordering the domain name for their home! Since we recommend building the property site before going to the listing presentation, adding a custom domain name is a quick and inexpensive way to really show your dedication to the sellers. Imagine handing them your laptop at the listing presentation and asking them to go to 100MainStreet.com (customized with their address). The sellers will not only be thrilled with the gorgeous property site you've created, but their customized domain name will instantly impress them. 

2. Biz-Prop cards
Bring the sellers a stack of Biz-Prop cards to hand out to their friends and family. With a gorgeous exterior photo of their home on one side and your contact information on the other, it will help the sellers associate you as their agent representative. We recommend including the property site URL, the text code or the QR code for the listing (all included with your single property website through ePropertySites). 

3. Sign rider
Prove you've mastered the art of property marketing by bringing the sellers a sign rider that incorporates an effective call to action and lead generating capabilities. Order a rider that displays the text code for the property, with the message: "Text for more info and pictures." Anyone driving past the home will get instant information about the listing, and you'll be sent a notification that allows you to follow up with them. The sellers will love your modern approach to marketing their home!

The impact your listing presentation makes on the sellers will be much more powerful if you bring prepared marketing materials with you. Don't just tell the sellers you'll build them a property site and order a customized sign rider: bring them to the appointment. Show them the completed property site and put the rider in their hands. With proof of your exceptional marketing prowess right in front of them, they'll be crazy not to sign with you on the spot!
 

How To Win the Listing BEFORE the Listing Presentation

Wouldn't it be wonderful to show up to the listing presentation knowing you're already hired? We've got a sure-fire plan that will help you impress your sellers and beat your competition before you arrive for the listing presentation. Follow these three steps to win your next listing.

1. Build the property site
Don't just tell the sellers what you plan to do for their home- show them. Building a property site before you've actually taken the listing will show your sellers how committed you are and that you've already invested in them and their home. 

Drive by the property and snap a few exterior photos to use for the site. Research the home's history and details, and write up an accurate description that shows how well you already know the home and neighborhood.

2. Create the digital listing presentation
Once your property site has been created, it's time to build a property-specific digital listing presentation for your sellers. Use the iPad-friendly listing presentation flip books available on ePropertySites to show your sellers how dedicated you are to them and their home. Explain your strategy, and show the sellers how and where you will be marketing their property site.

Use photos of their home and neighborhood, as well as screenshots from their property site to illustrate your focus on their home. To see an example of a property-focused digital listing presentation, click here.

3. Email your sellers
Now that you have a gorgeous property site and a killer digital listing presentation, it's time to show off! Email the sellers and let them know you are looking forward to meeting with them to present your strategies. Tell them you have prepared some important materials and you'd like to give them a chance to review the information prior to your meeting. Send them the link to the property site for their home along with your digital listing presentation. The moment your sellers realize how well you have prepared and how truly talented and dedicated you are, they'll be hooked! 

When meeting potential sellers to discuss listing their home, it's important to focus on the property and not on yourself. While sellers will be interested in hearing about your successful track record, it's best to be brief and instead keep the emphasis on the sellers and their home. Weave stories of past successes in with your discussions about the sellers' home by saying things like, "When I sold the Johnson's home next door, they really loved the virtual tour I created for their property site. Let me know you what your virtual tour looks like."

Showing your sellers how much you care about them, their home and their experience will set you apart from the competition right away, and help them trust in you and your marketing process. With just a little preparation you can have your sellers hooked before you meet for the listing presentation!

Tame the Beast: Keeping S.O.C.I.A.L. Simple

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your social media marketing? Social media can sometimes seem like an insatiable beast: it needs to be fed constantly with fresh content in order to survive. But by creating a simple checklist for your social media marketing process, you can easily tame that beast and keep your social simple. Use this acronym for all of your property marketing on social channels, and your strategy will become more smooth and thorough than you ever thought possible. 

Seller's thoughts
Talk to your seller about what it's been like to live in their home. Use their responses as a basis for your posts on social channels. Ask them questions such as, "What will you miss most about living here?" and "What's your favorite room in the house and why?"

LinkedIn Tip: Connect with your sellers on LinkedIn and share their responses to your questions with a link to your property site in a LinkedIn update. Then ask your sellers to share your update with their connections, and you'll instantly get your name in front of their connections for a chance to gather some referrals!

Outside
A great way to promote a listing is to talk about the lifestyle associated with living there. What is unique about the outside of the home? What kind of entertaining could you do there? What kind of activities with family and friends?

Facebook Tip: If there are any nearby outdoor events, such as a block party or farmer's market, check in at the event on Facebook along with a note about the listing, such as: "The neighborhood farmer's market is less than a 5 minute walk from my listing on 18th Ave!"

Community
What's the community like? Any special events planned for the holidays? Great local restaurants? Annual fun run? Write about these things!

Blogging Tip: Writing up a review for a fabulous business in the community is a great way to associate yourself as a neighborhood expert. Post something about a popular nearby bookstore or restaurant, and end the post with a link to your listing.

Images
If you want your post to be seen, you need to include an image. Take shots of neighborhood views, close-ups of interesting features, neighboring landmarks or community art installations.

Pinterest Tip: Post every image on Pinterest! Edit the image to include a link directly back to your property site. Every time the image is shared, more people will share and visit the link.

Architecture + Design
Is the property designed by an architect? Link to the architect's profile. What style of home is the property? Google the style and link to an article.

Twitter Tip: Sharing this information on Twitter is great publicity for the architect or builder, and could potentially turn into more followers for you!

Links
Link to a community event calendar, community Facebook page, or neighborhood news site.

YouTube Tip: Take clients on a video tour of the community, starting and ending with your property. In the video description include links to important neighborhood information. The video will become an all-inclusive informative resource for any prospective buyers.

By using the S.O.C.I.A.L. acronym to remind you what to post, you'll quickly fill your social media channels with relevant, useful and quality information about your listings. Not only will your sellers love your modern approach to marketing, but you'll dominate your competition online with your effective and professional social media marketing.

Print our S.O.C.I.A.L. Guide to Effective Marketing here.  

iPad 3 Winner Jan Petters of Team Vitale

Congratulations to Jan Petters, of Team Vitale in Sarasota, FL for being our third iPad 3 winner! Jan is a technology-loving agent who relocated to Florida from Pennsylvania in 2001. She has been an agent for over 20 years.

We have been amazed by the determination shown by all of our iPad 3 winners, and Jan is no exception.

“I was scheduled to be picked up at 6:30 one morning for cataracts surgery,” she told us. “I woke up an hour early and signed in to ePropertySites so I wouldn’t miss the clue!”

Jan has been using ePropertySites for several years, and is so comfortable with the tools and features that she often offers to help other agents create their single property sites. Her familiarity with the site and competitive spirit helped her to give her all to the iPad 3 contest.

“Playing each day was so fun- I really love games!” Jan said.

Jan visited Sarasota when her daughter was accepted to the University of Florida several years ago. She loved it so much she moved there.

“Driving into the office, I get to look at the crystal blue waters as I pass over the Ringling Bridge - life really is good here!” said Jan.

Jan and Team Vitale specialize in working with retirees, investors, and international buyers who flock to the Sarasota area for its gorgeous coastal beaches and famously mild weather.

“This is an incredibly beautiful area with manicured tropical landscaping and white sandy beaches. Sarasota has it all when it comes to what people want in a Florida location: some of the best beaches in the world, clean and well-maintained surroundings, affordable pricing, shopping, restaurants, museums, the arts, and friendly people.”

Jan’s clients have loved the single property sites and text codes she has provided for them through ePropertySites, and Jan told us that the ePropertySites marketing tools have become a staple in Team Vitale’s strong 33-point marketing plan. She has also enjoyed expanding her marketing skills with some of ePropertySites’ innovative products. Jan is looking forward to mastering the ePropertySites blogging platform and learning new SEO techniques.

“I love technology, and I love learning new things,” said Jan. “If I could give myself some advice when I was just starting out as an agent, I’d say ‘Get an assistant to do all the distracting busy work so you can concentrate on personal contact with everyone you meet. Everyone is a potential buyer or seller, or knows someone they can refer to you- if not now, then in the future. ePropertySites really helps with this and makes a small investment impress like a big one!”

And what does she plan to do with her brand new iPad 3?

“I’m planning to wrap it in a big box and do a treasure hunt for my daughter and new son-in-law for Christmas. I told you I like games!”

 

Press Release: ePropertySites Makes the 2012 Inc. 500

Real Estate Technology Company ePropertySites Honored on 2012 Inc. 500 List of America’s Fastest-Growing Companies
ePropertySites Ranks No. 378
 with Three-Year Sales Growth of 985.6%


ALISO VIEJO, CA, August 15, 2012 -- Inc. magazine has ranked ePropertySites No. 378 on its 31st annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. This is the second year in a row that ePropertySites placed within the top 500 on Inc.’s list, ranking at 121 in 2011. This year ePropertySites shares the spotlight with many influential companies, including Levi Strauss and Facebook.

“We are incredibly proud to find ourselves on the Inc. 500 list again this year,” says ePropertySites CEO and co-founder Greg Mazurek. “We have a very dedicated group of employees creating and providing innovative, affordable solutions to professionals in the real estate industry. To see our hard work flourish despite the rocky economic environment is deeply gratifying. The companies on this year’s Inc. 500 are groundbreakers and visionaries in their fields, and we are honored to be among them.”

The 2012 Inc. 500, unveiled in the September issue of Inc. (available on newsstands August 21 to November 15 and on Inc.com), is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. To make the cut, companies had to have achieved a staggering minimum of 770% in sales growth. The Inc. 500’ s aggregate revenue is $15.7 billion, with a median three-year growth of 1,431 percent. The companies on this year's Inc. 500 employ more than 48,000 people and generated over 40,000 jobs in the past three years. Complete results of the Inc. 500|5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/500.

Out of the 7 million companies considered for placement on the Inc. 500|5000, ePropertySites ranked number 33 in software, 21 in business products, and number 378 overall, proving the company continues to be a powerful force in the real estate industry, and certainly one worth watching.

CONTACT:

Chris Bates, CEO and Co-Founder
949-328-5000
chris@epropertymail.com

About ePropertySites

ePropertySites, LLC is an international technology company that specializes in web-
based real estate software. Founded in 2006 by two experts in the industry, veteran
real estate broker Chris Bates and technology officer Greg Mazurek, ePropertySites
offers a full array of marketing tools for real estate professionals including single
property websites, mobile marketing, virtual tours, personal websites, and more.
Visit http://www.ePropertySites.com to learn more. Connect with ePropertySites on Facebook at Facebook.com/ePropertySites.

Inc. 500|5000 Methodology

The 2012 Inc. 500|5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2008 to 2011. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2008. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2011. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2008 is $100,000; the minimum for 2011 is $2 million. As always, Inc. reserves the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons. Companies on the Inc. 500 are featured in Inc.’s September issue. They represent the top tier of the Inc. 5000, which can be found at www.inc.com/500.

A Facebook Primer: How to Set Up a Business Page & Display Listings

Chances are you've already been dabbling in the world of Facebook. If you're currently using your Facebook business page and want information on how to connect your listings by using a Facebook app, skip to "How do I add listings to my Facebook page?".

For the rest of us, let's start at the beginning with a very basic question:

Why do I need a Facebook business page?
For most of your clients (especially 25-34 year olds- the age group with the largest number of first-time home buyers) searching for a person or business on Facebook is second nature. In fact, because of the ability to connect with someone directly on Facebook, many people are accustomed to looking for the Facebook page for a person or business before searching for them on Google. Due to the widespread use of Facebook, clients expect you to have a presence on this platform and you should not disappoint- even if social media isn't the way you prefer to interact with your clients.

But why should you use a business page instead of a personal profile (timeline)? Simply put, Facebook affords different privileges to businesses on Facebook that individual users do not have, such as an unlimited number of followers (personal pages are limited to 5,000 "friends") and in-depth page analytics. 

How do I create one?
You must first have a personal Facebook account in order to create a page for your business. Log in to your personal account and follow these steps for creating a page:

1. Go to www.facebook.com/pages and click +Create Page
2. Click Local Business or Place and select the category Real Estate, then fill out the information fields.
3. Agree to the terms of service and click Get Started
4. Follow the steps to upload a profile photo, add a few "About me" sentences, and select your Facebook URL. (Note: This can either be your name or a combination of your name and business. Examples include Facebook.com/BobJones, Facebook.com/BobJonesRealEstate, Facebook.com/EverytownRealEstate)
5. Facebook will now take you through a series of steps to finalize the page setup and become familiar with your page. 
6. The next thing you should do is add a cover photo. Click +Add a Cover and then Upload Photo. Images for this space should be at least 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall and should comply with Facebook's rules for cover images.
7. Check your email for further instructions from Facebook on how to learn more about your page and grow your fan base.

Watch our tutorial video to see these steps in action.

How to I add listings to my Facebook page?
The easiest way to display your listings on your new business page is by creating a tab on your page using a third-party app. ePropertySites provides a free Facebook app for anyone who has a property uploaded to ePropertySites. To install the app, go to apps.facebook.com/epropertysites-com (or search Facebook for ePropertySites Facebook App) and follow the installation instructions. 

Once the installation is complete you will have a new Homes for Sale tab just under your cover photo that stays updated with all of your current listings, photos, and information.

Watch our tutorial video to see how the app works once it's intsalled.

NAR's 2011 REALTOR® Technology Survey Report states that 91% of real estate agents and 90% of brokers use social media. Even if you prefer to use the good, old-fashioned telephone or postal service to keep in touch with your clients, don't place yourself in the unfortunate situation of being one of the 9% of agents who don't have a Facebook page. Maintaining a presence on Facebook- even if you focus on other methods as your main forms of communication- will help make sure clients who search online are able to find you and connect with you.

 

How To Have A Modern Open House

Maybe you've developed some killer open house strategies over the years that never fail. People visit, they tour the home, they have a great time... You could stick to your routine and do it the same way every time you hold an open house. But what would be the fun in that?

Time to mix it up! Here are five ways you can use the tools on ePropertySites to throw a fabulous, well-attended and modern open house:

1. Order a custom open house sign
You're working hard to grow your business. Open houses can help by giving you some great visibility in your community, and your open house signs play a large part in doing so. Don't run the risk of being overlooked with your generic open house signs. Create a customized sign that includes your photo, logo, and website address to make sure you're not only noticed, but remembered!

2. Invite the neighbors with door hangers
Want to meet the neighbors and turn them into new clients? It's easy when you set aside time to meet with them exclusively. Order custom door hangers inviting neighbors to come 30 minutes early for hors d'oeuvres and a special "neighborhood only" showing.

3. Blog it
Create an open house property blog and post it to Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter. Leverage the power of the ePropertySites blogging platform to use basic SEO methods to get your post on the first page of organic search results in Google and Bing.

4. Use digital sign in
Show your sellers and open house visitors what a tech-savvy agent you are by utilizing a digital registration system like LookyLeads. Visitors will enjoy the instant access to information about the listing; the moment they register, they're sent a text with the property details and a feedback request form goes out to their email. Sellers will love the security of keeping a digital record of visitors, and you'll be able to turn each prospective buyer into a new lead!

5. Display the property website on your laptop
You worked hard to create a unique and creative property site for your sellers, proving that you go above and beyond for your clients. Make sure your open house visitors are able to see your beautiful site by displaying it prominently during the open house on your iPad, laptop, or even connecting it to your sellers' big screen TV.

Show your clients that you not only embrace modern tools for your open houses, but you've also completely mastered them. Toss out that old sign-in sheet and boring open house sign and show the world you're an innovative, industrious, and truly modern real estate professional. 

Press Release: New pURL Template and My Website Tab

ePropertySites Adds New Personal Website Template and “My Website” pURL Design Center to Home Page

ePropertySites, a leading provider of property marketing systems for real estate professionals, is pleased to announce the expansion of their personal website feature. This tool is part of ePropertySites' all-inclusive property marketing suite, and gives real estate professionals the ability to easily create and maintain their own website with new navigation and customization options.

ALISO VIEJO, CA, August 9, 2012-- ePropertySites has provided exceptional property marketing solutions to the real estate community since 2006 and is excited to expand their personal website (pURL) tool to include an additional template design and faster and easier access for members to create and edit their pURLs.

In response to the recent market recovery and increasing demand for busy real estate professionals to continue to connect with new clients, ePropertySites has added a fourth template design to the pURL layouts available through ePropertySites, one of the many features offered to members as part of the company’s property-focused marketing solutions. Members can also access their website design center faster than ever with a new “My Website” tab on the ePropertySites dashboard dedicated to their pURL. By clicking “My Website” members can create, edit, and completely customize a standalone and fully branded website for their business.

“We’ve noticed a marked increase in searches and requests for more website branding options,” says ePropertySites CEO and cofounder Chris Bates. “With many real estate professionals now connecting with new clients due to the market upturn we want to ensure our members have every possible tool they need to market their listings and grow their business. We believe our new pURL layout and ease of access will give real estate professionals everything they need to establish a strong online presence.”

ePropertySites products focus on empowering the real estate professional to market their business and their properties successfully. Allowing members to create their own personal website through ePropertySites rounds out the company’s impressive array of personal and property marketing tools. Each pURL can host an IDX search, multiple page menu layout, featured property section and much more, allowing real estate professionals to easily and affordably create and maintain their own website. The newest customizable template gives professionals a beautiful visual presentation with an emphasis on sleek lines and quality images. Samples of the new Layout 4 can be viewed at http://www.epropertysites.com/purl/sample04.htm.

“Our goal is to help agents grow their business with less effort and to save money in the process,” says Bates. “We’re excited to do that by integrating their online property marketing with a branded personal website.”

About ePropertySites

ePropertySites, LLC is an international technology company that specializes in web-based real estate software. Founded in 2006 by two experts in the industry, veteran real estate broker Chris Bates and technology officer Greg Mazurek, ePropertySites offers a full array of marketing tools for real estate professionals including single property websites, mobile marketing, virtual tours, personal websites, and more. Visit http://www.ePropertySites.com to learn more.

Media Contact:

Chris Bates, Communications Manager
949-328-5000
 

 

Property-Specific Printing

There are several great printing options for advertising your listings (and yourself!) that have most likely become a staple in your marketing strategy. Property flyers and "Just Listed" postcards are tried-and-true marketing methods that many agents embrace. However, there may be some options you haven't yet considered adding to your marketing repertoire.

Here are a few property-specific printing ideas we love, along with some tips for integrating your online and print materials for a powerful, cohesive marketing strategy.

1. Biz-prop cards
Biz-prop cards are one of our very favorite ways to market! We love them because even though they're the size of a regular business card, they are a mighty little tool for agents. For one thing, it's a sleek and professional business card with your photo and contact information on one side. But with the other side dedicated to one of your listings, it also means you end up looking pretty darn awesome to your sellers.

Sellers will love handing cards out to everyone they know, and we also recommend keeping a stack at your open houses. Rather than ending up in the recycling bin, these convenient little cards are great for interested buyers to hang on their fridge to remind them about the beautiful home they just toured.

2. Water bottle labels
Water bottle labels are another wonderful open house tool. These handy labels are easy to attach to a bottle of water, and act as perfect gift for your open house visitors. Not only will they sincerely appreciate the refreshing beverage, but they'll walk away with information in hand about the listing and the clever listing agent.

3. Door hangers
Door hangers are a really nice way to introduce yourself to the neighborhood, especially when you are using a nearby listing as an excuse to do so. Neighbors are always curious about the homes for sale in their area, and will love getting a sneak peek at the listing price and features of the home. This is also a good opportunity for you to invite them to an upcoming open house where they can meet you and hopefully turn into future clients!

4. Open House postcards
Sending out postcards announcing an open house is another good way to meet the neighbors. We always recommend inviting the neighborhood to a special showing 30 minutes prior to the official start of the open house. This makes them feel special and more inclined to attend (especially if you offer snacks!). Design your postcard to provide information about you and the listing and let them know it doubles as an exclusive invitation to the special showing. 

Once you've chosen the right print materials for your business, it's important to know how to integrate them with your online marketing efforts. We recommend the including some or all of the following information:

  • Your website URL
  • The property site URL
  • A property-specific QR code
  • A property-specific text code
  • An invitation to connect on social media

For information on bundling any of these materials with sign orders, or to learn how to connect these ordering options to your ePropertySites account, contact our sign shop to speak with our print specialists. Be sure to ask about the $39 New Listing Package!

Color Sign Company:
949-360-7700
colorsigncompany.com

Standing Out With Signage

One thing agents know for sure: it can be difficult to stand out among your competition. There are so many agents for clients to choose from, how can you make sure your name is noticed and remembered? One great option is to create customized signs or riders that grab the attention of buyers and sellers. Here are several examples of customized signage that can help you stand out in your market.

1. The customized "For Sale" sign
Creating a custom sign opens a wealth of opportunities for you to stand out! Including a picture of you or the listing can help show the dedication you have for your profession. We recommend including some or all of these items on your customized sign:

Individual or team logo
Personal website and property site URL
Text or QR code

 

2. The customized sign rider
Sign riders are a great addition to your usual sign, and can be a wonderful way to generate leads and capture the attention of new clients. Since each listing you upload to ePropertySites is automatically given a text code and four different QR codes, we recommend starting with those so your sign rider can begin generating leads right away.

This is also a perfect place to include calls to action ("Text for price information") or any special features ("Lake view").

3. The customized "Open House" sign
Using a customized open house sign is a great way to help gain visibility, especially if you frequently hold open houses for your own or other agents' listings.

An open house sign is a perfect place to display your name, photo, and logo to help raise awareness and familiarity with you and your brand. Remember to keep the look and feel of the sign consistent with your other marketing materials.

Once you've decided which type of custom sign you want to create, the rest is easy. Contact our sign and graphics specialists at Color Sign Company to get your custom design started. Once your design is created, it will automatically be connected to your ePropertySites account and available to order with just one click during property site checkout. 

Orders usually ship within 24 hours- most of them ship same day. Make sure to ask about our $39 New Listing Sign Package and our $60 Open House Package to discover ways to save.

Color Sign Company:
949-360-7700
colorsigncompany.com

iPad 3 Winner Diane Jacob

Congratulations to Diane Jacob of Houston, TX for being our second iPad 3 winner! Diane is an innovative agent based just outside of Houston in the Gleannloch community.

“I grew up playing with sawdust, nails, and hammers,” Diane told us. Originally from Pennsylvania, she is the daughter of a builder. While other little girls were playing with dolls and teddy bears, Diane was much more fascinated by her father’s tools and materials.

When Diane and her family moved to Texas, they boldly purchased their home site unseen.

“We had originally been interested in a different home, but that one fell through,” Diane said. “I was deeply upset. But in the end I believe that things happen for a reason. We ended up in a great home in a much better neighborhood than our first choice.”

Diane believes this experience helps her empathize with clients whose hopes are dashed when their dream home doesn’t work out.

“It’s definitely helped me to understand how emotional it can be when the home they wanted is ripped away. I share my story and tell them that I understand.”

Diane and her husband came to ePropertySites a few months ago, just as they were opening their own office in the Gleannloch community. Creatively giving their business the same name as the community, Gleannloch Realty was an immediate success. The couple looked for a “one-stop-shop” to provide them with all of the tools they needed to market their business to the Gleannloch neighborhood.

“My biggest fear was how I would compete at a listing appointment without all of the resources from my last office,” Diane said. Relieved to have found ePropertySites, she’s now able to meet with sellers and offer ePropertySites’ all-inclusive marketing tools.

Although Diane was thrilled with the amount of features available on ePropertySites, it was a little overwhelming at first. When the iPad contest began, she jumped at the opportunity to learn more about the system by playing. Searching through site features such as property site music selection, panoramic stitching, and more helped Diane become familiar with everything ePropertySites has to offer.

“The clues forced me to go looking through the site and learn. ePropertySites is even more valuable to me now than it was before because I found tools that I didn’t even know were there when I first started! Now I regularly use the tools I learned about during the contest in my marketing and listing presentations.”

We're excited to contribute to Diane's success with a brand new iPad 3. Her determination and tenacity certainly paid off during the iPad contest, and we are certain these qualities will lead to vibrant success for Gleannloch Realty. 

Best Practices for Using SOLD Listings to Build Your Brand

Nothing works better on your résumé than a list of sold properties. Clients aren't just interested in how you plan to market their home- they also want to know whether or not you'll be successful. Here are a few best practices for building your brand as a rock star agent by taking advantage of your sold properties.

1. Keep the site up.
No need to deactivate or recycle your single property site once the home has sold. Keep your sites live to use as success stories and lead generation tools. 

2. Add a SOLD banner.
Although you are keeping the site live, you don't want to mislead any potential clients. Add a banner across the main listing photo that advises buyers about the sale. This is also a badge of honor for you!

3. Remove all interior photos.
The new homeowners won't want photos of their private living spaces on the Internet. Remove all photos of the inside areas of the listing to respect the privacy of the buyers.

4. Revise the listing description.
Make sure you revise the description to reflect the sale. Add any applicable details such as "Sold in less than 14 days!" or "Received multiple offers!" to show clients that the home was sold due to your awesome marketing skills.

5. Link to current listings.
Finally, add some links to the revised property description that will take potential buyers to your active listings. Focus on listings that are similar in size, price and location.

Your sales are your accomplishments, and you should be incredibly proud of them. Building a portfolio of sold listings will help future clients trust and believe in you and your marketing plan. You're a fantastic agent- your sold properties prove it! 

Build Your Real Estate Brand With Consistent Marketing

Although focusing on your online presence is very important as you work to build your real estate personal brand, reviewing your print materials for consistency is a huge part of brand development. Studies show that people's brains can unconsciously remember a brand or logo (this is called pre-attentive processing) even if their conscious memory doesn't recall ever seeing the advertisements. Since consumers tend to favor brands they are familiar with, what this means to marketers is that pervasive brand awareness is incredibly important to the success of your brand.

This awareness can be created simply by making sure your brand is visible as much as possible. Clients who have seen your name or logo on signs, flyers, or postcards will feel more familiar with you even if they don't remember having seen your marketing. Roger Dooley from Neuromarketing explains this concept further in his article Low-Attention Branding, and closes with this thought: "Data shows that it’s better to have your ads noticed and consciously processed by your potential customers. But even when your ads aren’t consciously noticed, your branding message is still having an impact."

Here are a few ways you can keep your marketing consistent and build a more successful real estate brand:

  • Use the same colors and font. If your website shows your name in giant green letters, your flyers show it in small red letters, and it's printed on your signs in blue, clients will have a much more difficult time remembering who you are. Find a font and color you like and stick with it. ePropertySites makes this easy by providing you with one-click ordering of print materials during property site checkout. As soon as your custom print marketing is designed (call our sign shop to get yours done!) we automatically include this as an option for every property in the system. This means that each time you upload a new listing, you can order the same signs, riders, postcards, and more for that property.
  • Get yourself out there. Do whatever it takes to make sure your brand is visible. Give a stack of Biz-Prop cards to your sellers, leave door hangers in the neighborhoods where you specialize, send out postcards, hang up flyers and sign riders. The more places you display your brand, the more familiar the community will become with you and your name. 
  • Ask for help. Not all of us are graphic design superstars. If you need help making sure your online marketing and print marketing are consistent with each other, find someone who can help. The one-time expense of hiring a designer to match your Facebook cover photo to your sign rider or your website colors to your property signs will be well worth it for the valuable brand awareness gained by your consistency. The brand specialists at our sign shop are happy to work with you to design your print materials. Reach out to your network if you need assistance with your web-based designs- you probably know someone who'd be more than happy to help!

The bottom line is that even though it's important to make sure your marketing has a conscious, positive impact on consumers, the simple act of making sure your materials are visible and consistent will go a long way towards making your real estate brand a huge success. 

3 Ways to Take Control of Your Real Estate Personal Brand Online

You've heard it before: if you don't have an online presence, you're missing out on potential business. Even the most technology-averse agents have resigned themselves to this new reality and created a website. But the Internet is constantly evolving, and your online presence needs to keep up. If you're relying on the website you created two years ago (and haven't updated since!) to accurately portray your personal brand to clients, you might actually be hurting your brand reputation rather than helping. Here are three simple ways you can make sure your personal brand is presented positively and professionally online.

Step 1: Regularly update your website. 
A great real estate website has three main components: current listings, an updated calendar, and correct contact information. Make sure you have a section on the main page that prominently displays your listings. ePropertySites provides you with a property widget that can be installed on any page of your site, and updates automatically to keep your property information accurate. If you don't have a calendar displayed on the main page of your site that shows upcoming open houses and community events, create a message section that you can update frequently. Websites with new content are not only seen more favorably by Google, but will keep clients coming back to stay updated on current events. 

Your contact information and links should be reviewed regularly to make sure the info is accurate and the links are unbroken. Fix any outdated information or broken links the moment you notice them to ensure your site continues to be a reliable resource for clients. 

If you haven't created a personal website yet, you can use the pURL provided with your ePropertySites Producer or Professional account. We even help you create a personalized domain name to make it even easier for clients to find you online. Here is an example of an ePropertySites pURL (personal URL).

Step 2: Keep your Google results fresh.
If you are relying on your name to become a strong personal brand, it's very important to make sure that anyone who searches for you finds consistent results relating to your brand. Close any old accounts that appear in search results when you Google your name, like that old Classmates.com page you never finished creating or the second Twitter account you don't use anymore.

Make sure that personal information not relating to your business (your Yelp restaurant reviews or your Flickr album from the high school reunion) are either set to private or deleted entirely. Anyone searching for you online should only find relevant, useful results that will help them find you and contact you easily.

Step 3: Monitor your brand.
Set up Google alerts for any buzzwords relating to your personal brand, including your name (and any common misspellings of your name) and phrases like "San Diego real estate agent". You'll receive an email notifying you each time one of these phrases appears somewhere on the Internet. This will help you keep an eye on how your personal brand is represented on sites that you don't control, like your clients' Twitter feeds. You'll be able to respond immediately to any content posted about you online, helping to ensure your brand retains a positive and responsive image. Other sites like Reputation.com offer fantastic ways to monitor your online presence if you don't mind paying a fee.

Once you've done the big stuff, like setting up Google alerts and getting your website created and updated, taking control of your online presence shouldn't take longer than a few minutes each day. It's a small investment of your time with an enormous reward; maintaining a consistent and reliable personal brand online will help your clients learn to depend on you as a real estate resource and help you connect with more and more clients as your Internet presence broadens. 

What Is A Personal Brand, and Why Should I Care?

Honing your personal brand is one of the most important aspects of a successful career. A personal brand is the association between your name and a particular product or service, and in the real estate world a carefully crafted personal brand can have an enormous impact on your visibility and success as an agent. 

Consider the products or services that come to mind with the following names:

Martha Stewart. Steve Jobs. George Foreman.

These celebrity names are more than just representations of a famous television personality, technology guru, and professional boxer. These names have become synonymous with specific and well-known products as the result of strong personal branding. Whether or not you like, use, or purchase their products, you know who they are and you know what they sell. And that is successful marketing.

For real estate professionals, your success or failure depends on your ability to establish a positive reputation. It's important to mention that developing your brand doesn't mean running around town singing your own praises, hoping to convince everyone you meet that you're the greatest thing since sliced bread. On the contrary, coming across as egotistical may have a profoundly negative effect on your reputation. It's definitely okay to talk about your talents, but rather than trying to convince people how super totally awesome you are, focus on what it is that makes you so awesome. The first step in creating a personal brand is identifyng what it is you want to be known for. Do you want to be known for being really good at talking about yourself, or do you want to be known for providing wonderful service?

Once you've chosen your message, you can begin creating your brand. Successful brading involves keeping your marketing materials consistent, controlling your online presence, and clearly communicating what makes you special and unique, all while striving to just do a great job every day.

Your services have enormous value. Crafting and marketing a personal brand that calls attention to this value will not only help your business grow and succeed, but it will also build trust, confidence, and satisfaction in your clients. You provide remarkable real estate experiences. That's something the world should know.

4 Steps to Holding an Open House for Another Agent's Listing

For many new agents (or seasoned agents who are in between listings) hosting an open house for a colleague can be a great way to meet new clients and get your name out there. Practices on holding an open house for someone else’s listing vary. Some offices offer a flat fee to the agent holding the open house, and others allow the agent to claim the leads or client contacts made that day. If you’re a motivated agent looking to expand your client network, follow these steps to "borrow" a listing for your next open house.

1. Learn the ropes. Look into your office's rules or policies for hosting an open house for one of your associates. Familiarize yourself with the requirements and correct etiquette before approaching your colleagues about their listings.


2. Get permission. Most of us know someone who’s absolutely swamped. Busier agents may be eternally grateful to you for offering to hold an open when they’re pressed for time. Other agents just aren’t fond of open houses. Find someone who might benefit from your offer and ask for their permission to hold an open house for their listing.


3. Create your marketing. Once you’ve scheduled the open house, begin creating your marketing materials. This should be done with the collaboration and permission of the listing agent. Most agents are willing to let you put your name on the marketing materials as long as you foot the bill. Try creating a flyer, open house postcard, or biz-prop card that says “Listed by: [Listing agent’s name]. Presented to you today by: [Your name]”.


4. Think OPEN. Now you’re ready to advertise! Use our OPEN acronym (Online, Print, Email, and Newsletter) to help you remember where to announce your open house.

Holding frequent open houses is a fantastic way to meet clients, grow your business, and help increase community familiarity with your brand. As long as you’re properly prepared, you may find that borrowing another agent’s listing for your open house has an enormous impact on your career!

 

The Easiest Guide EVER To Open House Announcements (Seriously!)

Although some agents debate whether holding an open house can have an impact on selling a listing, there’s no denying that if you do choose to hold an open house it’s a huge disappointment if no one shows up! 

To make sure you’re covering your bases when announcing your upcoming open house, we’ve taken our handy little Open House Guide and turned it into an acronym that will help you remember where to advertise. 

Just think OPEN:
Online, Print, Email, and Newsletters

Online:
Use your social channels to generate interest for your open house. Tweet about it, post on Facebook and LinkedIn, even blog it. Make sure to use a great "hook" that will entice your audience, such as: "Free Starbucks gift cards for the first 10 visitors this Sunday at my Laguna Beach open house!" 

You also need to post to your local online classifieds. Craigslist and most newspapers offer highly-trafficked online announcement boards that are perfect for getting the word out about your open houses.

Print:
Don't forget the good, old-fashioned print media! Post your announcement in newspapers, magazines, or classified booklets to make sure you reach a wide audience. And remember to think outside the box: most larger cities have several alternative newspapers with large readerships (like Seattle's The Stranger), so don't just stick to the big names.

We also recommend printing flyers to hang in local hotspots like coffee shops, grocery store announcement boards, and other busy areas of town.

Email:
Time to connect with your contacts! Keep an ongoing list of clients, friends, and acquaintances and send out an email personally inviting them to your open houses. Don't get too spammy; emails are much more intimate than generic online announcements, so treat your contacts' inboxes with respect. Your email should be friendly and personalized- save the sales jargon for your print ads. 

Since emails usually go out to folks you know personally, it's a good idea to offer these special people a little something extra at the open house. Invite them to come 30 minutes early for a private tour and hors d'oeuvres.

Newsletters
The last place you should advertise your open houses is in your regular newsletter. If you or your office sends out a recurrent newsletter to clients, make sure there's a section set aside specifically for upcoming open houses. This is a great opportunity for you to reconnect with past clients who may be getting ready to move again. 

However you choose to announce your open houses, it's important to cast a wide net to ensure the best turnout for your sellers. So next time you're getting ready to plan an open house, remember: Just think OPEN.

 

Keep Open Houses Secure With Digital Registration

Keeping a record of every visitor is a great way to help ensure the security of your seller's home during an open house. Many agents choose the old-school sign-in method, and keep a piece of paper near the front door for visitors to write down their information. While this method can work, it may pose an issue for those open house visitors who do not want their information to be visible to every person who walks through the home that day. Folks that carefully protect their phone number and email address may be less inclined to write down accurate contact information on your sign-in sheet, which would effectively nullify the security and lead-generation benefits of keeping such a record.

One way around this dilemma is to employ a digital registration service using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Visitor information will be available to your eyes only, respecting the privacy of your prospective buyers while maintaining accurate records for your sellers. All it takes is a simple, direct request to each guest: "For security purposes the sellers have asked to keep a record of today's visitors. Don't worry, your information is confidential and will only be visible me and the homeowners." Most open house visitors are happy to respect this request.

An added benefit of open house digital registration is the ability to keep in contact with the buyers. LookyLeads.com has a system that instantly sends the open house visitor a text with property information the moment they sign in on your device, allowing the buyer to view the home with the property info in hand. If the price or other information changes, the buyer will be automatically sent another text with the updated information. They'll also be sent an email with a feedback request form, which will help you gauge how well the home "shows" and pass that information along to the sellers. A list of all visitors is kept in one easy to access location under your LookyLeads account, allowing you to connect with any new leads in the future.

Your clients trust you to keep their home and belongings secure during an open house. While your attention should absolutely be focused on selling their home and meeting prospective buyers, your first and foremost concern should be that security. Advising them to remove valuables and personal papers from the home is very important, but using digital registration to keep a detailed record of every person who walks through their home will help protect you and the sellers from any ne'er-do-wells whose intentions are not honorable. 

For information on integrating LookyLeads open house digital registration with your ePropertySites account, contact our Member Support team at 949-328-5050.

 

Defending the Open House: Change Your Perspective, Land More Buyers

First-time Seattle homebuyers Kelly and Jay have been searching for the right home since last fall. Although they don't want to rush into anything and potentially end up with a home that isn't a good fit, the search has drawn out longer than either of them had anticipated, and their frustration level is slowly rising.

"I was expecting this process to be much shorter," Kelly says. "We put our first offer on a place three months into the process and thought that was it."

Their agent has taken them on dozens of showings, but a large part of their search has been conducted through open houses. 

"As the search process became more drawn out, we decided to expand our search parameters and start viewing houses that were slightly above our price point. Since we didn't want to lead our agent on a wild goose chase, we went to open houses. We've probably been to about 25 so far."

According to Mary Kay Perrigo, an agent working full time out of an office in Seattle's popular Capitol Hill, Kelly and Jay's experience is not unique. Since the middle of January Mary Kay and her colleagues have noticed a dramatic increase in open house traffic. This increase, she says, isn't limited to Seattle's affordable neighborhoods, but to the affluent communities as well. 

"One of my colleagues recently held an open house for a home that's over a million, and she was swamped," Mary Kay says. 

It's certainly an indicator of the changing market in the greater Seattle area. Kelly and Jay have noticed that by the time they can both find an opening in their busy schedules to view a listing with their agent, there's already an offer on the table. Mary Kay mentioned this rapid turnaround as well, adding that it's not uncommon for homes in desirable neighborhoods to quickly receive multiple offers- a far cry from where things stood a year ago.

Still, many agents are reluctant to hold an open house for their listings. This could be due to outdated thinking: in the early 2000s, just prior to the huge market boom, only 28% of buyers relied on open houses, according to NAR. But that number jumped as the market improved mid-decade, and has been holding strong with our recent market recovery. 45% of buyers now regularly use open houses as part of their home search. And in 2011, a whopping 92% of respondents to NAR's Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers rate open houses as either "somewhat useful" or "very useful" as a source of information. Interestingly, data from that year shows that only 61% of agents rank open houses as somewhat useful to very useful for generating leads.

Why the disconnect? According to Mary Kay, this could be a perspective issue. 

"All of the agents in my office are full time," she says. "We all love real estate. Open houses give us an opportunity to have our sign out letting people know we're active. We can meet buyers, or just talk about real estate."  Agents in Mary Kay's office are so enthusiastic about open houses that if one of them doesn't currently have an active listing, they'll frequently "borrow" listings from each other in order to hold an open house.

With the real estate market still in the early stages of recovery, connecting with motivated buyers via an open house is not an unrealistic goal. For a savvy agent, open houses can be a tremendous opportunity. 

"After a few frustrating situations, Jay and I have decided we're not thrilled with our agent and have chosen to take a step back, save some more money, and try again with houses in a slightly higher price point," says Kelly. "Going to open houses gave us an opportunity to 'interview' a bunch of different agents. We met one who was very knowledgeable and approachable. When we begin our search again, we will contact her."

 

10 Great Post Ideas for Your Real Estate Blog

Is it stressful to think up new post ideas for your real estate blog? Don’t fret! We’ve compiled a list of 10 great ideas your clients will love. Writing a post for each of these topics will help beef up your blog with some wonderfully useful information, and help establish you as a great real estate resource.

Topic 1: Why I Became An Agent
It takes a true “people person” to be a great real estate agent. Tell your clients why you chose this path.

Topic 2: Three Reasons Working With An Agent Can Save You Money
Perhaps you're a star negotiator, or maybe you have a photographer on staff. Brainstorm ways working with you is a good financial choice and share your thoughts!

Topic 3: Questions To Ask Your New Agent
Imagine you’re headed to a listing appointment. What are some questions your prospective clients should ask to make sure you’re the right agent for them? 

Topic 4: [Your Neighborhood]’s 6 Most Picturesque Streets
Highlight some great streets in your neighborhood or city, and make sure to include a photo for each one!

Topic 5: How You Can Help Sell Your Home With Social Media
Show buyers they can be part of your marketing team by sharing the single property site and other marketing materials you create with their online social circles.

Topic 6: The Biggest Mistake Sellers Make When Choosing An Agent
Is it relying too heavily on a friend’s referral, or going with Uncle Joe because he’s family? Tell clients what you believe is a common pitfall, and how to avoid it.

Topic 7: Tips For Organizing Your Kitchen To Make Showings Easy
Help relieve showing stress for sellers by giving them practical advice for keeping their kitchen (or other highly-trafficked areas of their home) functional and organized.

Topic 8: Four Things You Should Know About Relocating To [Your Town]
What are your city’s greatest attributes? Time to boast like a proud parent and give a glowing review for buyers who may be interested in relocation.

Topic 9: Summer (Fall, Winter, Spring) Tips For Staging Your Front Porch
Help improve your listing’s curb appeal with advice to sellers about accessorizing the entryway. Write one for each season to make sure your sellers are always prepared.

Topic 10: [Your Name]’s Moving Checklist For Buyers and Sellers
Moving is stressful- give your clients a hand with a great checklist that covers the entire process from start to finish.

Don't forget to include great images with each post, and share them on your social channels. Tweeting a link, sharing the image on Pinterest, and linking to your post in a Facebook status will help your great information reach a wider audience, and will help you get noticed! Make sure you're also posting about areas of your expertise and local businesses, as well.

Keeping your real estate blog updated can be tricky when you have a busy schedule, but each post helps to enhance your Internet presence and build a positive reputation for you online. These post ideas will give your blog a powerful jumpstart, so have fun with them!

Need a blog? Your ePropertySites account comes with a free one! Go to the Blogging tab> My Blog to get started.

 

Be a Community Hero! Topics For Your Real Estate Blog

Imagine someone searches online for information about a popular restaurant in your neighborhood. Now imagine what would happen if your review, complete with an interview with the owner, appears in the first page of results. Using this as a topic for your real estate blog will not only give you an endless supply of things to write about, but will also give both you and the business some great exposure online.

As a real estate professional it's your job to educate yourself and your clients on your neighborhood and community. What better way than to establish a rapport with local businesses, offering a positive review with great search results and giving yourself some massive exposure? 

Here's a sample interview script (starting with the first outreach) that you can use on your own real estate blog. 

Script 1: Reaching out

Hi [name of business owner]. My name is _______ and I am a local real estate agent with ___ years of experience. I'm working on compiling a list of business reviews to post online as a resource for current and future clients, and I would love to include an interview with you along with a positive review of your business.

I'm also confident that I can use my marketing experience to make sure the post ranks well in Google search results. When would be a good time for us to sit down and chat?

Script 2: Ten questions for the interview

1. How long have you been in business?

2. What is your background?

3. What makes your business special or unique?

4. Tell me about your most popular product/menu item.

5. What do you like about your location?

6. Do you ever hold any special events or functions?

7. How do you respond to negative customer reviews?

8. Tell me a little bit about your staff.

9. Do you contribute to any local charities?

10. Is there anything else you'd like the community to know about you and your business?

Remember to bring your camera to the interview and include some great images in your post. Although coming up with topic ideas for your real estate blog can sometimes feel difficult, focusing on your community and the businesses that support your local economy will really help you stand out to clients who want to learn more about the area. Now get out there and become a community hero!

 

The Power of Plogging (Property Blogging)

Awhile back we posted a blog about creating property blogs for your listings. Since then, Google released their Penguin update that aims to crack down on unhealthy SEO methods (such as keyword-stuffing) and give better rankings to sites with quality content. This is especially great news for bloggers, because it means you can focus on the content of your post without worrying about when and where to place all your keywords. In general, if your key phrase appears once in the first sentence, once in the last sentence, and 2-4 times in the middle, you should expect to rank fairly well in search results.

For agents who choose to blog their properties, this results in some very happy sellers. Take a look at the following examples of searches. Note the phrase searched by a potential buyer, the number of results returned, and the placement of the ePropertySites blog post:

Results like this are easy once you identify the right key word or phrase. As soon as you've chosen your key phrase, follow these steps to create a great property blog:

  • Step 1. From your Properties tab, click the Tools icon next to the property you want to blog.
  • Step 2. Scroll down and click Website Links & Sharing & HTML.
  • Step 3. Scroll down again and click post your plog.
  • Step 4. If you don't already have 2-4 paragraphs in your property description, add that now. You can either click directly in the Property Description box and add your content there, or add a few paragraphs above the flyer
  • Step 5. Add your key phrase. Remember, place it once in the first sentence, once in the last sentence, and 2-4 times in the middle paragraphs. 
  • Step 6. Click Save, then click the Status icon to make it live! You can view your post by clicking the View icon.
  • Step 7. Keep track of how it's ranking in search results by Googling your key phrase periodically in the days following your post. Results typically appear 1-3 days after posting.

Watch our video tutorial to see these steps in action. 

Let us know how you do! Leave a comment on our Facebook wall with a link to your post and note about how it ranked. We're rooting for you, and can't wait to see your results. Happy plogging!

 

iPad 3 Winner Jim Boadwine

Congratulations to Jim Boadwine of Sioux Falls, SD for being our first iPad 3 winner!

Jim is a second-generation agent headed into his 19th year working in his home town. To say he knows his market would be an understatement; learning the real estate ropes from his mother and starting his career in the family business gave Jim an edge that many agents can only dream to have. Now a one-man team Jim’s focus these days has been on doing what he calls "making his business portable".

After joining ePropertySites about three months ago, Jim started using sign riders that displayed his custom text codes, a decision he says made a huge difference in helping his listings stand out as well as helping him attract more leads.

Jim says, “I believe that agents who give all the information away without capturing leads are doing themselves a disservice. Sign riders with text codes are a great tool for instant information, and ordering them through ePropertySites is quick. You don’t have to mess around, and they get it out to you immediately.”

A large part of Jim’s strategy is targeting expired listings. He has developed an incredible 89-point marketing strategy that uses his unique analytical skills to create a successful plan for frustrated sellers. Part of that plan has been offering the sellers a single property site, which Jim considers a staple in today's complicated market.

"ePropertySites is a fantastic deal," Jim told us. "It's a great tool for my business. When creating a single property site all I have to do is put in the information, and bingo-bango it’s done!"

For a busy agent like Jim the simplicity of setting up the sites was a huge draw. He also appreciates the ability to track the information on his website hit reports.

As a fairly new member to ePropertySites, playing the iPad game gave Jim a great incentive to navigate around the site and learn the whereabouts of several features he hadn’t used before. He was diligent in searching the site for the clues he didn’t recognize immediately, learning much along the way. It certainly paid off as his brand new iPad 3 is on its way. This will be a great addition to the portable business tools Jim already uses. Jim says it will be perfect to use in his listing presentations.

All of us at ePropertySites are happy to contribute to Jim’s continued success as a busy agent in Sioux Falls. Congratulations again from all of us here at ePropertySites!

 

Rethinking Real Estate Blogging

Let’s face it: sometimes, blogging can really suck. It’s hard to think of new topics on a regular basis. You’re a people-person, not a professional writer, and that’s why you’re good at what you do.

However, you’re also an expert on your community and your industry, and sharing your knowledge is a phenomenal way to connect with clients. So instead of trying to become a "blogger", simply become a real estate professional who shares information online.

Don’t write blogs; write short articles. Consider yourself a “mini journalist” whose job is to educate your audience (read: prospective clients) about your community. Follow these steps to take the stress out of blogging for real estate.

1. Make a list of topics. Think of real estate terms you discuss with your clients, such as "short sales" or "distressed properties".


2. Search your email history to see if you’ve ever written about these topics before when communicating with a client. You may have a paragraph or two about short sales sitting in your sent mail folder that you could turn into a post with little effort.


3. Add enough content to the topics to give you two to three paragraphs per post. Create a Word doc so you can do this in your spare time, saving your progress and coming back to it when you can.


4. Copy and paste your topics into a blog post as you complete them. Be sure to include an image!


5. Advanced tip: SEO your post for great Google results. A two or three paragraph post should have the key phrase repeated 4-5 times (once in the first sentence, once in the last, and 2-3 times in the middle.

Voila! You’ve just turned work that you’ve already done (email conversations with past clients) into a pile of great blog posts that will be a rewarding addition to your online presence. Keep a running list of new ideas, such as community events or new neighborhood businesses, so you’ll always have a topic on hand when you have a few minutes to throw a post together.

Still stumped? Stay tuned: later this week we’ll post the top ten topic ideas to get you started! 

 

The Why and How of Real Estate QR Codes

Love them or hate them, QR Codes can be an incredibly beneficial real estate marketing tool. Not only do they allow buyers to quickly find information on a property they might be interested in, but they help you track your marketing ROI. Here’s what you need to know in order to effectively include QR Codes in your real estate marketing strategy.

How it works
QR Code is short for “Quick Response Code”, and it certainly is quick. Consumers scan the code with a mobile device and are immediately taken to a website for more information. In the real estate world, this allows buyers to get instant information on the property they are interested in. Give it a try by scanning the code included in this post (if you haven’t used a QR Code scanner before there are several great apps available for iPhone and Android for free).

Where to get one
If you have a property uploaded to the ePropertySites system, four different QR Codes were automatically generated for you upon activation, and can be found by going to your Properties tab> Tools icon> Snap-It Tag or QR Codes. Save the QR Code you want to use in your marketing materials.

If you don’t have a property in the system but would like to experiment with Codes, there are many online generators you can find by Googling “how to create a QR Code”. If you’re feeling artsy, you could even incorporate QR Codes into creative works like artist Yiying Lu!

Track your ROI
The QR Codes available to you on ePropertySites are each slightly different, allowing you to place a distinct Code in four different locations to help you track the activity generated by your marketing. Use one QR Code on your signes, another in your newspaper ads, and so on. Scans will be registered on your website hit report (Properties tab> Hits icon). This allows you to determine which marketing efforts are most successful, saving you valuable time and money.

QR Codes are definitely rising in popularity. Usage jumped an astounding 617% last year. Whether or not you hop on this bandwagon is up to you (there are arguments to support both sides of the QR Code debate), but educating yourself on the best way to use QR Codes will help you successfully incorporate them in your real estate marketing plan when you’re ready.

 

Making the Right Impression: iPad Listing Presentations That Dazzle

You know what they say: you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. 

While this saying may not hold true in all situations, it's certainly something to keep in mind when you want to prepare a good listing presentation. Here are three tips for creating impressive presentations that will make you look like a star!

1. Use your iPad
Showing up with a prepared listing presentation on an iPad or tablet will automatically prove to the sellers that you're technologically ahead of the pack. Use the meeting as an opportunity to share recent mobile marketing statistics with the sellers and let them know that your marketing is mobile-friendly and ready to reach today's modern buyers. If you don't have an iPad, make sure you use your laptop. There are two listing presentation flip shows available under your Marketing tab on ePropertySites: a flash version for regular computers, and a Java version for tablets. 

2. Customize the presentation
Make sure you're creating a listing presentation that focuses on the home in question. Never use a generic "all about me" presentation. Sellers aren't interested in you; they're interested in selling their home, and they want to know whether or not you'll do the job. Drive by the home ahead of time to snap a couple photos of the exterior and use them in your presentation. To customize your ePropertySites flip show, go to your Marketing tab and click Flip Shows. Either add a new presentation or click the pages icon to edit an existing flip show.

3. Keep it visual and keep it current
According to NAR, buyers find property images more useful than property descriptions. Pack your listing presentation with great images (you can even embed a YouTube video in the ePropertySites flip shows; check out page 18 of our Virtual Tours flip show to see an example) and share with your sellers that your marketing plan is based on the most up-to-date research on buyer behavior and technology use. 

A good listing presentation is your opportunity to demonstrate your industry expertise, marketing prowess, and technology smarts. Treat every presentation as a first date. Woo your sellers with an amazing meeting that focuses on their needs and your ability to respond to and exceed their expectations. They'll fall in love with you every time!

 

The Basics of Mobile-Friendly Property Websites

 

Marketing experts are telling us that mobile marketing is the way of the future. We posted an infographic yesterday that delved into some important statistics regarding mobile and smartphone usage in 2012. The information shared in the graphic is a confirmation to many (and a wake-up call to others) in the real estate world. It's clear that your property marketing- including your property websites- must be mobile friendly in order to compete in this race.

Change like this doesn't come easy to everyone, however, and for many of us this type of data can be overwhelming. How do we turn this information into a successful marketing strategy? It's actually easier than you may think.

Mobile-friendly property websites
Let's start at square one. What, exactly, is a mobile-friendly property site? It's exactly what it sounds like: a website that is easy to view on a mobile device (such as a smartphone or tablet). Mobile-friendly sites can either be regular websites that automatically re-size the page in order to fit the screen on a mobile device, or sites that are versions of the main website created specifically for mobile viewing (such as the mobile-friendly versions we create for your listings here on ePropertySites).

How can I get one?
If you've activated a property website with ePropertySites, you already have the mobile-friendly version! We create them automatically for each listing. Take a look at one on your mobile device by opening up your internet browser and typing in the URL for your listing. If you don't currently have an active listing, view one of our sample properties: 249Ruby.ePropertySites.com. As soon as the website pulls up you'll be given two options. You can either view the mobile property site or the regular (complete) website. Take a look at both to see the difference; you'll notice that the mobile-friendly version is much easier to view and navigate on your device.

Now what?
Once your mobile-friendly site is active, you're ready to use it in your property marketing. Make sure the URL for your property site is prominently displayed on all of your signage, print, and online marketing materials. You can also include the QR code provided by ePropertySites for your listing (go to Properties tab> Tools>  SnapIt Tag or QR Code to download). Buyers with a mobile device can scan the code and be taken directly to the mobile version of your property site. 

If you have any questions about the mobile-friendly marketing options with ePropertySites you can read more about the tools available to you or contact us at any time online by clicking Get Help or calling 949-328-5050.

 

2012 Mobile Marketing Stats & Resources for Real Estate [INFOGRAPHIC]

Did you know that 80% of the world's population owns a cellphone? That's more people than have electricity or own toothbrushes. With this already astonishing number still steadily growing, it's more important than ever for real estate professionals to ensure their marketing efforts are mobile-friendly.

We've compiled some of the most recent and relevant data for you in this handy infographic that we hope you will find useful as you plan and execute your mobile marketing strategy. Don't forget that ePropertySites provides you with mobile versions of your single property sites, including text and QR codes. Stay tuned this week as we explore these features in depth here on the ePropertySites blog. 

Highlights:

  • The 25-34 year old age range has the largest number of smartphone users and the largest number of first time homebuyers
  • Smartphone subscriptions increased by 55% in 2012
  • Smarphone users spend an average of 25 minutes per day browsing the web on their device, compared to only 12 minutes making calls
  • 70% of searches from a mobile device result in an action within one hour, compared to 70% of desktop searches that result in an action within one month
  • 61% of users will go to a competitor's site if your site is not mobile friendly

mobilestats title=
Infographic created with easel.ly

Please feel free to share this image using the web link:

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Real Estate Marketing ROI Tracking Tools

Single property websites can be a great investment, but as a real estate professional it’s always important to track your ROI to determine the best method for marketing your listings. Here are three ways you (and your sellers) can keep an eye on your property site’s performance.

1. Hits reports
Properties tab> Hits icon

Available the moment you activate your property site, your hits report keeps you updated on the activity your site is generating. View the total number of unique visitors, where those visitors are coming from (referrals), and how many times your photo gallery, virtual tour, and other sections have been viewed. You can also keep track of your ads (Craigslist, Backpage) and see how many views they receive..

2. Google analytics

For additional details on the traffic and referrals your site is generating, install Google Analytics, a powerful tool that will help you track your marketing ROI. First you’ll need to establish an analytics account with Google. Once that’s done, follow these steps for easy installation on your property site:

  • Log in to your Google Analytics account and click Admin at the top right
  • Under the Accounts tab, click + New Account
  • Assign an account name, then input the URL for the property site you’d like to track
  • Click Create Account
  • Copy the code provided, and return to the Properties tab on ePropertySites
  • Click the Tools icon next to the property you’re tracking, then click Analytics
  • Paste the code into the box provided, then click Save
  • Return to Google Analytics and click Finish

Tip: View the video in our User Guide to see Google Analytics being installed on a property site.

3. Seller Accountability reports
Properties tab> Reports icon

Keep your seller in the loop with a Seller Accountability report. This is a great way to quickly update the sellers on which aspects of the property site have been completed, as well as keeping them apprised of updates to the property information. This report helps sellers feel included in the marketing process, and makes sure they are aware of the amazing effort you are putting into listing their home.

Like any other industry, real estate requires strategic marketing and careful tracking. Keeping an eye on your real estate marketing ROI will help you discover your own best practices, and ensure you’re aware of any aspects of your marketing strategy that need a little extra attention. Try these tools to track your ROI. You'll keep the sellers informed, and hone your skills as a real estate professional and marketer at the same time. 

 

Creativity Counts: 5 Tips For Customizing Your Property Site

Each property is unique. No two listings are alike, so why create generic property sites? It's important to market with a focus on what makes each property special. Here are a few ways you can customize your single property sites to highlight each listing's remarkable qualities. 

1. Enhance your property description
Your MLS may have a character limit, but your property site does not. Dust off your Whitman hat and wax poetic about the listing's glorious details. A flippant "must see to appreciate!" will not suffice here. Rave about the countertops, go into raptures over the faucets. If you can't think of wonderful things to say about the property, why would a buyer care to see it?

2. Apply a custom domain name
Imagine a property site with a domain as unique as the listing itself. For example, telling buyers to find the listing at prettiesthouseontheblock.com would certainly generate some positive interest! Focus on something wonderful about the home and incorporate that into a domain name. (Custom URLs can be purchased during property site checkout on ePropertySites.)

3. Include a panoramic tour
Great images are extremely important to interested buyers, so give them something extra special by including a panoramic tour with the property site. Take photos and quickly stitch them together to create a stunning 180 or 360 viewing experience that buyers will adore.

4. Upload helpful documents
Does the neighborhood have HOA covenants? Do you have a copy of the blueprints or floor plan? Adding supporting documents to the property site helps gives buyers everything they're looking for in one location, ensuring sustained interest and enthusiasm for the listing.

5. Add music to the property site, virtual tour, or both
Music helps set the mood. Select a clip that will complement the "personality" of your listing, and cement the buyers' great first impression of the property. ePropertySites provides dozens of free clips you can apply to the property site. If music isn't your thing, try adding a voice over to your virtual tour with our text-to-voice program (or record your own!). 

Don't limit the possibilities for your listing with a bland description or generic property site. Give your listing an opportunity to shine with a creative, customized website, and help buyers see the unique features that both you and your sellers have come to appreciate about the home. 

 

How To Think Like A Small Business Owner

 

As a real estate professional, your business is similar to an online retail store. Like any online retailer it’s important for you to ensure your products are easy to find, easy to understand, and that you are easy to contact. For your listings, the best way of doing this is by creating a single property website. Remember: buyers aren’t looking for information about you. They want information about your listing. A single property site acts like a commercial about the property, giving the prospective buyer everything they need to know in one easy to navigate location. 

When you create your single property site, it helps to think like someone who owns a retail store by keeping these things in mind:

  • When buyers land on your property site it’s an opportunity to grab their attention and keep them focused on your listing. 
  • Make sure the buyers find everything they need at your site and don’t end up looking elsewhere! Don’t make buyers go to competitors’ sites for information on the property such as maps, nearby schools and businesses, or documents.

ePropertySites provides you with a Strength Meter that helps you determine whether your property site has everything it needs to really stand out. Use this list to create a stellar property site that will entice and excite buyers about your product, just as a TV commercial brings customers into a store.

Like any retail items, your products deserve a great presentation. A property site gives you a wonderful location to make your listing (and you!) seem irresistible and superior to the competition. 

 

 

iPad Giveaway Contest

It's finally here! The ePropertySites iPad Giveaway contest has begun, with your chance to win the first of 13 new iPad 3s. Here's the skinny: 

  • Beginning July 1, clues will be released on the ePropertySites home page every day at or around midnight and noon, Pacific time
  • Follow the clue to find the hidden Apple™ icon somewhere on ePropertySites 
  • Once you've found the icon, click to receive points!
  • You can earn extra points by referring new members
  • The person with the most points at the end of each 2-week period wins the iPad 3 

Watch the video and read How To Play and Contest Rules from your home page on ePropertySites to learn more. You can also keep an eye on the scoreboard to track your progress. Good luck, everyone!

 

 

The Importance of MLS-Compliant Virtual Tours

Stop for a moment and think about the steps you take when you list a new property. Do you focus on the description? Do you enter it into the MLS before your photos are ready?

Information from NAR's 2011 profile of buyers and sellers shows some interesting data: when ranking in terms of usefulness, buyers ranked images the highest, with 84% saying they were "very useful". Compare this to the 81% who said the same about detailed property information. What this data shows is that although including both a detailed property description and images is important, buyers tend to place more importance on the images.

Many buyers receive daily emails with new listings that pop up in the MLS matching their search parameters. If you're waiting even a day to fill the listing with more images, you may have already lost the buyer's interest. 

Next time, try including an MLS-compliant virtual tour. This will ensure that the moment your listing hits the market, buyers have tons of great images to sift through. Other agents will also be more likely to show your home, having an instant and accurate idea of the condition and aesthetics of the property.

The MLS-compliant version of your virtual tour can be found by clicking on the Tools icon next to your listing on ePropertySites, then clicking on Website Links & Sharing & HTML. Choose the link that is appropriate for your MLS (we provide you with three different versions).

By including an MLS-compliant virtual tour, you'll find that buyers will love your images, agents will be happy to show your listing, and your sellers will appreciate and respect your knowledge of the industry and the extra exposure for their home. 

 

3 Things You Need To Know About HD Virtual Tours

There are a few things to remember when creating an HD virtual tour. The bottom line is this: it isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Here’s what you need to know.

1. You don’t need a special camera

Although we recommend using a professional photographer whenever possible, for many agents the cost is prohibitive. If you’re taking your own listing photos, you can still create gorgeous virtual tours.

When we talk about HD we aren’t referring to a special setting or type of photo, we’re referring the size of the picture. Digital photo sizes are measured in megapixels: more megapixels mean bigger pictures. But they don’t have to be huge to be considered HD. Even a 1 to 2-megapixel setting will work. Most camera phones can even take images that are considered HD, and certainly all digital cameras that are on the market today, even the inexpensive ones.

2. More is always better
As with your photo gallery, using as many images as possible in your virtual tours is a surefire way to attract more showings. A full screen, HD virtual tour is a perfect opportunity to show the home’s smaller details, or multiple photos from different angles. Don’t skimp; we give you an unlimited number of photo uploads for your galleries on ePropertySites, so use them all!

3. You’re allowed to brag
One browse through the listings in your MLS should remind you that many, many agents have yet to realize the importance of using virtual tours or HD images in their property marketing. Including an HD virtual tour in your marketing efforts is really going to make you stand out. Mention it everywhere- in the property description, in the Craigslist ads, on the property fliers. Share the link with your social networks, and ask them to share it with theirs. You’ve created some gorgeous marketing by using HD images in your virtual tour. Make sure everyone knows it!

Don’t let the lack of a professional photographer keep you from sharing beautiful images with your buyers. Take some great photos, take tons of them, and share your images with the world!

 

How To Create A Panoramic Photo

You may have read our post from yesterday, in which we discussed 5 ways to turn your listing photos into a panoramic tour. Today we’ll go into more depth with one of the stitching programs we highlighted yesterday, Microsoft ICE (note: this program is for Windows users only). This is the stitching program we have available for free download under the media section of your property on ePropertySites. Let's go over how to create a panoramic photo using this program.

Taking Photos
Taking photos to use when you create a panoramic tour is fairly easy. Use these tips when taking pictures to ensure the best result:

  • Overlap the edges of each photo. For example, if you’re taking pictures of the living room and the front door is in the right side of your shot, when you turn to take the next photo make sure you can see part of the door on the left side of the photo. This will help the photo stitching tool create seamless connections.
  • Don’t move your feet! If you’re holding the camera in your hand, pivot your body without taking a step to make sure your photos are consistent. Even better, use a tripod, and pivot the camera with the tripod legs in place.

Easy Download
From the Properties tab, click the Media icon next to any of your properties. Click Hi-Def Pano, then click the image to be taken to the Microsoft ICE download page.

Tip: Check out the videos in our User Guide to see the software in action. 

Upload and Complete
Once you’ve downloaded Microsoft ICE and stitched your photos, you can now upload the complete panoramic photo to your property site. From your Properties tab, click the Media icon next to the property the image belongs to, click Hi-Def Pano, then click the Upload icon. You can now select the image from your computer and upload it to your site. The complete panoramic photo can now be viewed under the Virtual Tours section of your property site. 

Once you know how to create one, including a panoramic photo with your other property marketing images is a great way to connect with your buyers before they ever set foot in the home. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get professional-looking results!

 

5 Ways To Turn Your Listing Photos Into Panoramic Tours

Including a panoramic tour in your single property site can boost the number of showings and help buyers form an emotional attachment to the home even before they walk in the door. Here are five (free!) ways you can turn your listing photos into a panoramic tour.

1. Use your camera
Many digital cameras include a free photo stitching assist within the camera itself. Even pocket cameras like Nikon's Coolpix allow you to create panos using nothing but the camera. 

2. Use your smartphone
There are many apps available for smartphones that use the photos taken by the camera on your phone to create a panoramic photo. Photosynth is a well-reviewed and easy to use version for iPhone users, available for free in the App Store.

3. Use your iPad
Photosynth can also be used on your iPad 2, or try another stitching app such as Panorama Free or TourWrist, reviewed here

4. Use the Internet

Websites such as CleVR allow you to upload your images and stitch them for free online, no download required. Once you've created your panoramic image, you can save it to your computer and use it anywhere you'd like. 

5. Use ours!
We've made it easy for you to create a panoramic tour with a free software download available on ePropertySites. Click the media icon next to your property and follow the instructions to download the Microsoft ICE stitching software, and begin creating!

Once you've chosen the stitching method that's best for you, upload your panoramic tour to your single property site in three easy steps right from your Properties tab on ePropertySites:

1. Click on the Media icon next to the property

2. Click on Hi-Def Pano

3. Click the Upload icon and choose the file you'd like to upload

Voila! Your property site now includes a gorgeous panoramic tour that will attract more showings and prove to your sellers that you've got what it takes to be a marketing superstar!

 

Chris Bates Featured on Real Estate Talk With Willie Lambright

Last week our very own Chris Bates was interviewed on Real Estate Talk by Willie Lambright, a Dallas-based radio program. Chris shared his top ten tips for sellers who want their home to have more visibility. We thought we'd share some highlights from the list with you here on the ePropertySites blog.

10 Tips For Sellers
From CEO and co-founder of ePropertySites, Chris Bates.

1. Create a property website
With more than 90% of all home searches beginning online, it's incredibly important to have a website for your home that acts as a landing page for buyers to learn everything they need to know about the listing.

2. Create a virtual tour 
Virtual tours can help buyers focus on the home's beautiful features and help a new listing stand out against competing homes that don't have as much visual information to share.

3. Post the MLS-compliant tour
Having a gorgeous virtual tour that no one sees won't do you any good! Include a compliant version in the MLS to inspire more showings.

4. Create a text code (with lead capture)
Ensure buyers will be able to learn more about your listing right from their phone by creating a text code. The buyers receives a text response with complete property details, and you receive their phone number in order to follow up.

5. Create a QR code
Allow buyers to scan a property-specific QR code and be taken straight to the mobile version of your property website. Don't run the risk a buyer will forget to look your home up on the computer when they get home; give them instant access when they're standing right in front of the property, and include the QR code on flyers or yard signs.

6. Create a YouTube video
YouTube is now the second-largest search engine in the world, so don't miss out on that web traffic! Turn your virtual tour into a YouTube video that will entice and impress prospective buyers.

7. Post to classifieds
We all recognize the importance of posting your home for sale to sites like Craigslist and Zillow, but make sure when you do that you provide a link that draws the buyer away from the classified site (and away from the competition!) to the site you've created exclusively for your home.

8. Post to social networks
Posting to the big three, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, will not only help your home get visibility among your netweorks of friends, but it provides an opportunity for people to share your home with their networks, increasing your visibility exponentially. 

9. Blog it!
Make sure you write a blog post about your listing, or use the ePropertySites plogging tool to create a beautiful property blog flyer. This will help you harness internet traffic from buyers looking for homes with features similar to yours.

10. Create signage
Signs, flyers, or biz-prop cards are a great opportunity to tie all of your marketing together. Adding the text code, QR code, or URL for your property website to the print material allows buyers to access your internet marketing wherever they are, even right from their smartphone!

Thanks so much to Mike Bowman of C21 in Dallas for inviting Chris to share his words of wisdom, and thanks to Willie for hosting a great show! Thanks also to Vicki Parks, an agent on the call who was kind enough to share her experience using ePropertySites.

Click here to hear the full audio from Chris' interview with Willie Lambright on Real Estate Talk. And make sure to share this information with your sellers- it's important that they understand how and why you will be marketing their home!

 

 

NEW Property Photo Organizer

At ePropertySites, we encourage our members to use as many high-quality photos as possible to create a rich content commercial for your listings. To that end, we continually update and improve our photo uploading and organization system, ensuring that adding photos to your single property sites is easy and fun to do. 

How did the photo organizer change?
The new photo organizer allows you to move and reorder your pictures much more quickly and easily than the photo organizers of old. The upload process is the same, but once the images have been uploaded to your single property site, the fun begins! Rather than clicking on the photo you want to move and plugging it into the new spot on the next screen (and then doing this again for each photo you wanted to move), the new organizer allows you to simply drag and drop your photos into the order you want them to appear. You can even reduce the size of the preview thumbnails to view 12 photos in each row instead of four, allowing you to reorder dozens of photos with ease.


What if I don't like the new organizer?
You can revert back to the old photo organizer at any time by going to your Properties tab, and clicking Options. Just check the box to turn the drag-and-drop feature off, and go back to the previous version of the organizer. Make sure to click Save!

Questions?
Contact our customer support team by calling us at 949-328-5050 or by typing a question into the chat box on your account. 

 

Staff Feature: Sue Thoensen

Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Sue Thoensen, Financial Administrator for ePropertySites.

Why we love Sue: Sue handles all of the accounting functions for ePropertySites, along with payroll and employee benefits. Basically, none of us would get our paychecks or our benefits if it weren't for this lovely lady. 

Why you should love her, too: Sue is also part of our customer support team, and handles billing questions from our members. Sue's kindness, patience, and amazing ability to understand and explain things make her the perfect point person for these types of questions. We have no doubt that our members are in wonderful hands with Sue!

 

Not only is Sue smart and capable, but she is also cute as a button, as you'll see in her responses to the interview questions.

Sue, if your coworkers were to describe you in five words or less, what would they say?

     "They would just say, 'she should write a book'. I really do have some funny stories about the crazy things that have happened to me over the years."

What would you say is your greatest attribute?

     "I stand by the things I say, so I'm someone people can count on, both in my personal and professional life. One of my favorite books is Dr. Seuss' Horton Hatches the Egg. That's the book I bought my granddaughter when she was born because I've always loved what Horton says over and over while he sits day after day on that lazy bird's egg: 'I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!'. And so am I."

If you could participate on any reality TV show, which one would it be?

     "Definitely The Bachelorette, because where else would I ever have access to 25 hot guys vying for my attention?"

If you could re-live any day from your life, which one would you choose?

     "Any one of the days I vacationed on Maui. Steaming hot Kona coffee on the lanai overlooking the ocean in the morning, reading on the beach all day, and a great glass of wine on the lanai at sunset... All just steps from the beach. Doesn't get much better than that!"

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

     "I love my office because it feels like home, so my favorite moment is probably the day Lisa and I dragged my big, heavy green and white chair in there and set it in the corner. And I keep having favorite moments every time someone wanders in here and sits down to chat."

Thank you, Sue, for your kind and supportive presence. We are so very thankful for you!

 

Let's Chat!

You may or may not have already noticed an exciting new feature on ePropertySites: the little orange and blue chat box in the lower right corner of the page. This live chat feature is available Monday through Friday, 5am to 5pm PST, and will connect you directly to one of the helpful members of our customer support team, pictured here on the left. 

That's right. We are real people working in the real ePropertySites office and we're here to help! Our job is to make sure you have everything you need. We can answer your questions, troubleshoot with you, help you problem solve- heck, we'll even help you figure out what to wear on your dinner date this weekend, that's how supportive we are. 

Here's how it works:

1. As soon as our office opens, the chat feature is activated. If the blue bar at the bottom says "Online- How can I help you?" then someone is here to answer your questions. Click on the orange chat bubble to begin the conversation.

2. What if we're not online? There are many other ways to get help! Click the red Get Help icon at the top of your screen to browse the User Guide, read through FAQs, or post a question in our forums. During business hours, you can always call our VIP Help Line at 949-328-5050.

3. If you'd like to turn the chat feature off, click on your Setup tab and then click Options. Check the "Off" box next to Display the Chat Help and click Save. The chat box will no longer appear on your screen. To turn the feature back on, go back to Setup> Options and uncheck the box.

We hope this new feature will help make sure your questions are always answered. Please feel free to test this chat feature out. Ask a question, or just say hello. We want to make sure you are comfortable reaching out when you need something, so take a moment to give it a try. We look forward to chatting with you!

 

Staff Feature: Taryn St. Pierre

 

Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Taryn St. Pierre, Shop Manager for Color Sign Company.

Why we love Taryn: As Shop Manager, Taryn is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the sign shop, its employees, and customer relations, and this incredibly unique wonder woman does an amazing job! Taryn developed and ran her own business as a teenager, and as a result her ability to dig in and get things done has made the sign shop an efficient and well-oiled machine.

Why you should love her, too: Not only is Taryn an organized and hard worker, but her outlook on life is incredibly loving and positive. The other sign shop employees love being around her each day and the customers she interacts with feel cared for and appreciated. One thing we've learned from Taryn: If you are good at what you do, and pair that with being happy to come to work each day, the end result is a product and work environment to be proud of. Our employees, and our sign shop customers, have felt and understood this special dynamic.

 

I truly enjoyed getting to know Taryn a little better this week.  

 

 

Taryn, if you could have been born in any decade, past or present, which one would you choose?

     "I wouldn't change a thing! We are closer to peace, love, and harmony than we've ever been. People are finally realizing that we are one and the same, and that we need to love and respect our planet, animals, and each other."

If your life were a movie, what would it be?

     "The Neverending Story. I would like to think of my life as a story that is full of imagination, surprises, and never-ending excitement- and of course, love!"

What do you want to be when you grow up?

     "A very wise and intelligent woman! My thirst for knowledge and my love for all things will propel me forward with new ideas that will allow me to live the happy and fulfilled life I've always dreamed of."

If you could live in any other country, which one would you choose?

     "Don't get me wrong, I love being here, but something inside me calls to Canada (it may be the French-Canadian blood in my veins). It's just rich with nature, harmony, and being one with the earth. I know that is all possible here, but it's just getting really crowded nowadays here in the states. 500 people versus 30 million- the math is there!"

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

     "That's a toughy! I'd have to say the ePS Christmas party. It was so much fun hanging out with everyone outside of work, and getting to know everyone way better! Also, I killed at roulette and took home the grand prize!"

Thank you, Taryn, for always giving us your all. You are an inspiration and a wonderful member of the ePropertySites family!


 

Staff Feature: Ashley VanderBloomen

 Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Ashley VanderBloomen, Sales and Customer Support Specialist for Color Sign Company.

Why we love Ashley: Ashley joined the Color Sign Company team on the customer service end and quickly broadened her skills to include working with customers who need to place orders. She now spends time with customers at every point of the ordering process, from the first contact they have with Color Sign Company to any follow-ups needed after they have received their order. This helps maintain a steady and consistent workflow that helps the Color Sign Company thrive!

Why you should love her, too: The entire team at our sign shop are incredibly knowledgeable and helpful, and Ashley is no exception. Whether you walk in to the brick and mortar store or place an order online, Ashley is part of the behind-the-scenes magic that gives you amazing products and customer service.

It was fun getting to know Ashley through my interview questions this week. I hope you'll enjoy getting a glimpse inside the mind of this multi-tasking wizard as much as I did.

 

Ashley, what three words would you say best describe you?

     "Outgoing, fun, and caring."

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

     "I would eat spaghetti and drink red wine for the rest of my life. I love it!"

What is the bravest thing you've ever done?
 

     "The bravest thing I've ever done is probably having my son, Deacon. Being a mom is the scariest and best thing ever!"

If you could spend one day with any famous person in history, who would it be and why?

     "Can it be someone not famous? I would love to spend one day with my grandpa again. Most amazing man in history. I would spend the day with him and introduce him to all the people I'm so grateful to have in my life now."

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

     "My favorite moments have been getting to know everyone here and working next to them. I have made some great friends!"

Thank you, Ashley, for your enthusiasm and positive attitude! You are such a wonderful addition to our team!


 

Blog Tip #2: How To Stay Relevant

Back in March of this year, Google announced some new algorithm changes that will penalize sites for doing their search engine optimization (SEO) too well. The goal, according to Matt Cutts, head of Google's search spam team, is to level the playing field. Companies (and individuals) who have thousands of dollars to spend on website SEO may no longer have the advantage over the rest of us. 

This latest Google update has just begun to roll out, so it's time for businesses- and bloggers- to start thinking about our content. How can we make sure our blog posts don't get dinged for over-optimization? There are a few questions to keep in mind when writing content that will keep your posts ranking well and being relevant in the eyes of Google.

1. Be careful where you place your keywords.

Too many keywords, or keywords too close together, are not considered healthy SEO in any context, but it's more important than ever to make sure you're staying away from the naughty SEO method known as "keyword stuffing". Never, ever have too many keywords in your written content. Make sure your key words appear only a few times in the post. For example, if I want to rank well for the search term "ancient Viking ship" with a 3-4 paragraph blog post, I would try to make sure that the phrase ancient Viking ship shows up in my post about 4 times. The easiest way to do this is to place the phrase ancient Viking ship once in the first sentence, once in the last sentence, and 2-3 times in the middle.

2. Make sure you have enough content.

Remember, Google ranks for relevance, meaning what it think will be the most useful for the person searching. In most cases, an 800-word piece about ancient Viking ships would rank better than a 100-word piece. There is more content in the 800-word piece, and Google loves content. If you're writing about a real estate listing, avoid copying the short property description you wrote for the MLS. Take the time to create something substantial if you hope to rank anywhere near the first page of results with your post.

3. Write for your audience, not for Google. 

Google can recognize and differentiate between content written for an intended human audience, and content written with the intention of tricking search engines. This latest update shows that, more than ever before, Google's plan is to reward authenticity and punish content that was written only with SEO in mind. As long as you provide authentic, useful information that your human audience will enjoy (and hopefully share!), you have a much higher chance of Google ranking your content well.

If this seems like a lot of information, don't worry. The bottom line is that you really shouldn't over think the content you publish online. If your content is valuable, and not doctored up with fancy-shmancy SEO tricks, you are much more likely to be rewarded by Google. Your new mantra should be: Don't think. Just write!

 (Missed Blog Tip #1? Read it here.)

 

Facebook App For Your Listings!

Are you using the ePropertySites Facebook app? If so, good for you!- skip to the end of this post to make sure you're up-to-date with the cool new features available on your Timeline for business page. If you're not using the ePropertySites Facebook app yet, read on! 

What does the ePropertySites Facebook app do?

Our app allows your listings to not only be beautifully displayed right on your Facebook business page, but it also creates a unique "Homes For Sale" tab that sits firmly at the top of your Facebook wall, making your listings easy to find and access. Let's take a quick peek at what the app looks like and how it works with this 40-second video demo:

How do I install the ePropertySites Facebook app?

Installing the app is super easy and can be done in three steps:

Step 1: When logged in to your Facebook account, go to apps.facebook.com/epropertysites-com and click Add App To Your Page.

Step 2: Select the page you'd like to add the app to, and then copy the ID number provided (it will look like a long string of numbers)

Step 3: Paste that ID number into the Facebook field under your setup tab on ePropertySites.

Voila! Your listings will now be pulled from your ePropertySites account to your Facebook page, and will remain current, even if the price or other information changes.

Advanced Tip: Facebook Timeline pages allow you to customize the image for certain tabs. Create a customized look for your Facebook business page by adding your own image to the ePropertySites Facebook app tab! To add your own image, first install the app (see steps 1, 2, and 3 above). Then click the tiny blue arrow (on the right side of your tabs) to open up all of your tabs for editing. Hover over the ePropertySites app and click the Edit pencil. Select Edit Settings, and you'll get a pop-up that looks like this:

 

Click Change to select and upload your own image for the tab. 

Now all of your listings will show up on your Facebook business page, with absolutely no effort on your part! Easy as pie, great visibility for your sellers, and quick access for buyers. What more could anyone ask?

 

Simply Social Web Class. Register now!

Are you confused or stressed about how to use social media to build your business? It’s time to demystify the world of social media marketing. This web class is designed to streamline your social media marketing with straightforward tips for real estate agents.

Join ePropertySites Co-Founder and CEO Chris Bates for a free 40-minute class. He’ll cover simple tips and best practices to help you use social media to list more properties and make more sales. Register and you’ll receive our handy S.O.C.I.A.L. Guide to Effective Marketing.

CLICK TO REGISTER NOW

Staff Feature: Amy Brosh

Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Amy Brosh, Customer Support Specialist

Why we love Amy: Amy, Tara, Lisa, and Kym all work together to ensure our members are completely cared for. Amy is a strong member of our customer support team, working hard to answer your forum questions, phone calls, and emails. One of the things we are very proud of here at ePropertySites is that your support comes from live people working in our Aliso Viejo headquarters. When you call in, you won't have to navigate through a complicated messaging system, you'll talk to Amy or one of our other amazing team members.

Why you should love her, too: Working in customer support is a lot like being a detective. Since we can't see what you see on your screen, we must ask the right questions and listen very carefully in order to help diagnose and solve your problems. Every day we see Detective Amy doing just that: she listens, she asks the right questions, and she patiently and persistently hunts down the solutions to make sure our members' questions are answered.

Amy is cute as a button! Read her responses to my interview questions to learn a little more about this wonderful member of our customer support team.

Amy, if you could have been born and raised in any city in the world, where would you choose?

     "I was actually born in Misowa, Japan (Air Force base) but we moved away when I was only three. I would have loved to have been able to grow up there and learn the language and culture. Or at least to have lived there long enough to make real memories and connections."

What is the best compliment you've ever received?

     "I love when people tell me that I am just like my mom! She is so funny and smart and strong and beautiful. My sister laughs at us and rolls her eyes when my mom and I are off on some tangent in the conversation, and say that we are just alike. But I love being compared to her because she is such an amazing person, and I can only hope to be half as good of a mother as she is when I have kids."

If you could marry any celebrity tomorrow, who would it be?

     "Blake Shelton! I have a huge crush on him, my boyfriend always teases me about it."

If you were a color, what would you be?

     "Blue! It has such a range, from soft and relaxing to intense and bright."

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

     "Getting promoted! I was hired as a receptionist in July 2011 and immediately wanted to move up to Customer Support. I worked so hard to learn everything I could, and fast. I'm sure I annoyed Tara and Lisa by asking a million questions, but they were so great, as is everyone here. When Chris and Greg offered me the Customer Support position, I was so grateful they recognized my hard work and really believed in me."

Amy, your dedication and perseverance are rare and valuable. Thank you for choosing to be part of our team!

 

NEW Website Layout for HD, Widescreen Presentation

Have you ever felt frustrated with the inadequacy of a two-dimensional screen to display the beauty of your listing? When you have a gorgeous home to market, you want potential buyers to experience the home through your photos, almost as powerfully as if they were there.

Properties deserve more than a tiny picture on a computer screen, so we've developed a solution. Introducing our newest single property website design for homes that deserve the very best, designed for HD photos and widescreen presentation. This layout combines crisp, clean lines with the prominent display of your beautiful HD photography to present your listing with breathtaking simplicity.

 

 

See it in action

Agent Peter Fisler of San Francisco has done a beautiful job creating a single property website for one of his luxury properties. See how his professional photos appear when presented in our newest layout!

Our sample property shows just how stunning any property can look with the new layout. Make sure you check out the virtual tour link and play the tour in full-screen high definition!

How to get it

This newest layout is available to all members! Just add a property to the system and select layout #8 during set up. You can also give any current single property website a new, fresh look by editing the property and selecting layout #8. Just click Save, and your listing will instantly be given a gorgeous, widescreen makeover.

Helpful Tips

This layout is designed for HD photography. Make sure you use the original, large versions of all of your photos for best results. Your virtual tour will not give you the full-screen play option if any of your photos are not HD, so if you have included some low-res photos in your photo gallery, create a custom virtual tour that includes only HD photos to make sure buyers are able to view it in full-screen. 

 

 

 

Staff Feature: Robert White

Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Robert White, Lead Developer (AKA Pixel Ninja). 

Why we love Robert: Robert has a big job. He is responsible for researching new concepts to implement in our product offerings, turning the concepts into prototypes, working with the development team to bring the concepts to life, and maintaining and updating our current concepts. From the infant stages of a project all the way through to providing continued support for the final product, Robert has everything under control.

Why you should love him, too: Not only does Robert help create our new features, he also helps keep the site, its features, and its tools, healthy. All websites require regular maintenance and updates, and Robert's experience and expertise help ensure that everything runs smoothly and does what it's supposed to do.

Robert is a wily one, and I was looking forward to getting to know him better with our interview. I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

 

Robert, if you were a Ben and Jerry's flavor, what would you be?

     "Cake batter. It's simple, yet complex."

What are three words you would use to describe yourself?

     "Profound, creative, and loyal."

Who is the most important person in your life?

    "It's two people for me, my mom and dad. They taught me a lot about life, and gave me the freedom to pursue what I was passionate about."

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

     "Golf. I've been playing since I was four years old. I have great memories of playing with my family, and now I play with my friends which is always a good time, even when I play poorly."

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

     "Wow, it's hard to name just one. Our office Nerf gun battle was a blast, or the time Chris [Bates] fell out of his chair during a meeting, or the time Greg [Mazurek] kicked a soccer ball and it hit someone's file holder resulting in an explosion of paper. I could name hundreds of moments like that, Greg and Chris have done a wonderful job of providing team synergy and creating a relaxed environment for us."

Thank you, Robert, for using your amazing brains and experience to help us continue to be such a great site!

 

Use ePropertySites to Sell a Home With Social Media

A great article was posted on InmanNext yesterday detailing one Australian man's success story and six specific steps to sell a home with social media. The steps are absolutely spot-on, but one sentence towards the end of the article really stood out to me:

"If this seems like a lot of work to you, it is."

It doesn't have to be. I can't deny that there is some "sweat equity" involved when establishing a social media marketing strategy. But one of the biggest hurdles that agents face is the sheer volume of different platforms and the time it takes to manage them all. It's easy to get discouraged and lost in the virtual muddle of things.

My advice is this: Don't let it overwhelm you! Deciding to sell a home with social media doesn't have to feel scary. Think of ePropertySites as your online marketing tool belt. We have every tool you need to sell a home online, all in one easy-to-reach location. Use this simplified strategy to cover all of your online bases.

6 easy ways for using ePropertySites to sell a home with social media:

1. Start by targeting specific keywords for your online articles. We have a wonderful step-by-step guide for keyword-targeting already available to you in the blogging section of our User Guide. Learn how to a) determine the correct keywords to target, b) write a strong, SEO-loaded article, and c) post your article using an ePropertySites blog. Easy, powerful, and effective.

2. Create an ePropertySites blog. We even give you the option to create 5 separate blogs (think of each blog as a newspaper) each with an unlimited number of posts allowed (think of each post as an article). This option can allow you to create blogs targeted to a specific house, neighborhood, or other area of your expertise. Check your plan to see if this option applies to you.

3. Build campaigns for every major medium and service. This is an easy one: once your listing is in the ePropertySites system, you can tweet it, post it to Facebook, and even pin it to Pinterest directly from your account. We also automatically generate and post a YouTube video for your listings. Bases? Covered.

4. Collaborate to make it personal. We love Inman's advice on inviting your seller to provide a personal story about living in the home. You can post this story on your ePropertySites blog, and include other testimonials from neighbors or local business owners who love the neighborhood. 

5. Share and share often. Having an open house? Tweet it. Created a property blog? Pin it. Any time you do something on ePropertySites with your listing, that action can be shared within your social circles, thus amplifying your efforts and reaching a much wider audience. 

6. Don't do it alone. We are always here to help. Take advantage of our online help resources or call our customer service specialists at 949-328-5050 if you need more specific assistance. We are available to take your calls Monday through Friday, 9-5 PST. 

 

Adding A Voice-Over To Your Virtual Tour

Creating a virtual tour on ePropertySites is effortless; as long as you've uploaded pictures for your listing, we'll automatically create a beautiful virtual tour for you. But what if you want to give your virtual tour that extra little something? A special twist to help it stand out and really shine? Try uploading your own voice-over! It's incredibly easy, and the results are truly unique. I created a voice-over for one of our sample properties the other day. Follow the steps below to find out how I did it, and how easy it can be to really take your virtual tours to the next level.

How do I record a voice-over on my computer?

An MP3 file is required for using a voice-over on your virtual tour, but luckily those are really easy to record on your computer, no fancy equipment necessary. The internet is full of great resources if you've never done one before:

Here are instructions for recording an MP3 on a PC.
Here are instructions for recording an MP3 on a Mac.

How do I upload the MP3 file to my virtual tour?

If you're a perfectionist like me, creating the recording will be the most time-consuming part of this process. Once you have a final recording, the upload is a breeze! Follow these steps to add the MP3 file to your virtual tour:

  1. Log in to your account and click on the Properties tab.
  2. Click on the Tools icon next to the property you created a voice-over for.
  3. Select Voice-over & Spokesperson
  4. Click to browse your files under Virtual Tour- MP3 Upload
  5. Select your MP3 file and click the upload button.

Voila! You did it! If you ever want to remove the file, simply click the trash icon to delete. Easy as pie.

Helpful Hints

Here are a few tips to ensure a really fantastic result:

  • Computer microphones tend to pick up quite a bit of background sounds. Make sure you're alone an a quiet room while you record to minimize any background noise.
  • Sometimes the music selection will drown out your voice recording. If that happens, turn the music off on your virtual tour, and then only your voice-over will play.
  • Time how long your virtual tour plays in order to match this length with your voice-over, and make sure to start your recording with one second of silence.

Have fun with this one, guys! And as always, if you ever need support you can contact us online any time, or give us a call at 949-328-5000 to talk to a real person.

 

Staff Feature: Erin Olsen

Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Erin Olsen, Assistant Manager at Color Sign Company, the offshoot of ePropertySites that handles all of your sign and printing design and requests.

Why we love Erin: If you look up the word ‘adorable’ in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Erin. Not only is she incredibly organized and efficient, her demeanor is consistently positive and sunny. All of us rely on Erin for her kind professional support.

Why you should love her, too: If you have a question or comment about any sign, business card, or other print order you’ve placed through ePropertySites, Erin has most likely assisted you. She is the embodiment of the phrase “on top of things”, dealing with issues that arise in a lightning-fast and compassionate manner. Her generous spirit filters through every customer interaction, and countless ePropertySites members have benefited from her collaboration.

In case you’re wondering, that handsome fellow in the photo with Erin is her trusty companion, Tucker. What a smile!

Erin, what is the most daring thing you have ever done?

     "I think the most daring thing I have done would be packing up everything I have to my name and moving to California. Leaving my family behind was the toughest thing I have ever done, but I love living at the beach so I don’t regret it one bit. Plus all of my family loves to come visit me down here… who wouldn’t want to?"

What is one of your favorite quotes?

     "'Live each day as if tomorrow were your last.' Something I always have in the back of my mind. You never know what tomorrow can bring!"

If you won the lottery, what's the first thing you would do?

    "I would buy my mom, dad, and brother a house- in California, of course! And then take a trip to Costa Rica or maybe buy season tickets for the San Francisco Giants behind home plate."

What is your favorite holiday?

     "I love Christmas time. I love seeing all of my family and friends and going back home to Washington where is it really cold and possibly snowing. Makes for a very festive holiday season!"

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

     "My favorite ePropertySites moment happened with my Color Sign Company team. It was when we went to do an OCAR (Orange County Association of Realtors) beach event down at Doheny Beach in Dana Point. We had so much fun there. Plus, just being at work each day always brings entertaining things!

Thank you, Erin, for all of the amazing support you provide for everyone each day!

 

 

How To Create A Stunning Virtual Tour

One of the most valuable elements of the ePropertySites platform is the virtual tour feature. As you know, this feature is one of the many included with your $10 single property website (or other monthly plan). The best part of our virtual tours? We build them for you!

Here’s how it works: The moment you add the final photo to your gallery, the ePropertySites system instantly builds your virtual tour, including your image captions, background music, and image pans. If you’re happy with the tour we created for you, you’re done! No additional work is required on your end; simply save your progress and go on with your busy day. Your mobile-compatible virtual tour will automatically be included in your property website. If you would like to customize the virtual tour, you can also spend a few moments adjusting the order, image pans, or selecting different background music.

Here are some advanced tips for how to create a virtual tour that turns every property into a stunning presentation.

Using the default virtual tour

The default virtual tours created for your properties are designed to look professionally created without any additional work on your end unless you want to customize. However, there are a few things to keep in mind while you’re adding photos to your photo gallery that can help your default tour look incredible:

  • Make sure you upload your images in the order you want them to play during the virtual tour.
  • Make sure your image captions are brief, but descriptive.
  • Make sure your photos are high quality. Aim for always using HD images to allow your virtual tour to be played on a full screen.

Check out our example of a default virtual tour. Beautiful? Absolutely. But what if you’d like to tweak it a bit?

Customizing your virtual tour

You can easily customize your virtual tour at any time. You’re able to rearrange the photos, crop your images, add or delete photos, adjust the pan and zoom, and even change the music selection or upload your own audio file. Keep these tips in mind to achieve magnificent results when customizing your virtual tour:

  • Really think about the direction of your image pans and zooms. For example, if the room has a beautiful fireplace, zooming in would highlight that feature nicely.
  • When in doubt, pan left to right. Our eyes naturally travel this direction, and it will give your images natural-feeling movement for your viewers.
  • Carefully select your audio. Buyers viewing a virtual tour for a coastal cottage don’t want to listen to a twangy country song. Try to make the entire viewing experience feel cohesive and generally appealing.

In this customized virtual tour example, you can see how the custom voiceover and image movements work together to elegantly present this property.

For more questions about virtual tours, visit our User Guide or call our live support hotline at 949-328-5000.

More virtual tour examples can be found here and here

 

Staff Feature: Lisa Ake

 Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Lisa Ake, Technical Support Specialist.

Why we love Lisa: Lisa’s position as Technical Support Specialist means that she is one of our main point-people. Her dedication to supporting our members with the patience and determination she brings to the office every day makes her someone our customer support team can’t do without!

Why you should love her, too: Lisa answers questions in our forums, as well as taking calls from members with questions, comments, or concerns. She has not only become an incredibly valuable source of live support to ePropertySites members, but she truly cares, as well. As anyone knows, connecting with a support specialist who honestly cares about you and your experience makes a huge difference in how your issues are heard and resolved.

 

If you haven’t already met Lisa, this is a wonderful introduction to our big-hearted, customer support superstar!

Lisa, if you could have any skill that you don’t currently possess, what would it be?

     “I wish I knew computer programming so I could fix everyone’s problems in an instant!”  

If you could live anywhere on earth, where would it be? 

     “I don’t think I could choose just one place to live. I’d be a gypsy that hops continents every year!”

Sunrise, or sunset? Early bird, or night owl? Cappuccinos, or martinis?

      “Sunset. Mid-day seagull. Definitely a smoothie kind of girl!”

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever eaten (and did you like it)?

      “I won’t try anything that doesn’t smell or look good. That being said, I think the most bizarre thing I’ve ever eaten is sushi, and now I’m obsessed!”

What’s your favorite ePropertySites moment?

      “Every day at ePropertySites is pretty awesome! But if I had to choose just one, it would be when the bosses got us all mini Nerf guns and we had an all-out war, hiding under desks, behind walls, and chairs. It was pretty amazing!”

 

Thank you, Lisa, for being such a supportive, upbeat member of our team! We’d be lost without you!

Pinterest and Real Estate Marketing

Marketing your listings is a visual endeavor. The images you choose for your advertising, whether online or in print, should entice buyers to want to learn more. Pinterest, a virtual pinboard and image-sharing site, is the fastest-growing website in history, and experts say it's the next game-changer in the realm of social media. What does this mean to us as real estate professionals? Can ePropertySites and Pinterest work together to help grow a real estate business? We certainly think so!  

How can I use Pinterest and ePropertySites together?

ePropertySites makes it easy with one-click "Pin It" buttons now included in your single property websites. This button is used much like the Facebook "share" button you're used to using. Make sure you're logged into your Pinterest account, and then click the Pin It button on your single property website to post.

Why is this valuable? Every time you post to Pinterest, a link back to the original page is generated. Not only will this help boost your single property site's SEO, but the ease of sharing on Pinterest means that there's an opportunity for your Pinterest pin to go viral. Every time someone shares your pin, it's seen by anywhere between dozens and thousands of people, depending on that pinner's number of followers. If the pin is a photo of your property, each repin is another link back to your site and a ton of great visibility.

Important tip: Remember, Pinterest is visual. It's all about the images. You should be using beautiful, high-quality images for your single property sites anyway, but this is especially important if you want Pinterest users to notice and repin your property. If your image isn't striking, it will be disregarded. 

What if I don't have any active listings?

Another great way to integrate ePropertySites and Pinterest is through your ePS blog. (Not sure if you have a blog? Click here to see if it's included in your plan). As long as your blog post includes an image, the image can be pinned to a Pinterest board, and it will link back to your post on ePropertySites.

Why is this valuable? Posting blog content about your expertise, your community, or other useful information is a wonderful way to connect with current and prospective clients, helping you become known as the community expert. If your image is compelling and your content is interesting, Pinterest users will share your blog image- and the link back to your post- giving you more exposure and visibility with each repin.

Important tip: Again, the image choice is key. Make sure it is an eye-catching photo or graphic that is relevant to your post. Also, use the pin description to help your pin get noticed. A blog post about a new neighborhood pizza joint, for example, could include a photo of a mouthwatering pie hot out of the oven. Pin the photo to Pinterest with an image description like, "Ferndale Village's newest restaurant is a local favorite! Click the photo to read my review."

For more information and tips about Pinterest, check out this post from our Communications Manager, "How to integrate Pinterest into your real estate marketing plan" or read more from Pinterest at pinterest.com/about. Follow ePropertySites on Pinterest at pinterest.com/epropertysites.

               

 

 

Staff Feature: Tommy Orosco

 

Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Tommy Orosco, Graphic Designer.

Why we love Tommy: Tommy is our lead graphic designer, and uses his artistic mastery to create all sign, sign rider, water bottle label, business card, flyer, and postcard templates. 

Why you should love him, too: If you've ever ordered anything from ePropertySites, it's highly likely that Tommy created it. Tommy also customizes the single property website layouts, as well as our animated and print ads. No matter what you've done or how you've used ePropertySites, you've come in contact with something Tommy has created.

Tommy's demeanor is usually quiet, but don't let that fool you! His responses to my interview questions revealed the hilarious- and deeply compassionate- inner workings of this brilliantly creative mind.

Tommy, if you could have any animal on earth as a pet, which one would you choose?

"I would love to answer ‘wolverine’, ‘linx’, ’tiger’ or ‘horned owl’, all awesome creatures, but I don’t want any pet that could murder me in my sleep. So I would choose a penguin."

 

If you could be famous for something, what would it be?

"I would be famous for painting… correction, I will be famous for painting. I kinda, sorta, already am. I have had numerous shows, won multiple awards and, last year, was named the 2011 Emerging Artist of the Year for Orange County by the RAW: Natural Born Artist organization. Currently, I am in talks for shows in L.A. and San Francisco later this year."

 

How do other people usually describe you, and do you agree with their description?

"People definitely describe me as creative and witty, but they would probably also say I’m quiet and a little bit ‘off’. It is true though, like any great artist, I am quirky, an introvert, and highly passionate about my work."

 

What is the most amazing thing you've ever witnessed?

"The birth of my son. Hands down the greatest moment of my life (and I’ve had a lot of great moments). It was kinda fitting that “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” was playing in the background."

 

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

"Faking an earthquake to scare [Chris] Bates. The look of confusion and horror on his face as he came running out of this office was unforgettable." 

 

Thank you, Tommy, for your sometimes irreverent, always wonderful contributions to the ePropertySites team!

If you'd like to see some of Tommy's original work, check out his personal website at http://www.motzero.com/

 

Property Blog Tutorial

Property Blogging: An Easy Way to Drive Leads

Have you been blogging your properties? 

Just think: what if a buyer found your listing on the first page of Google search results? Do you think that would make your seller happy? (The answer is yes.) Do you need to pay some IT guy thousands of dollars to get your listings there? (The answer is no.) You have the ability to make your listings appear on the first page of Google right from your account here on ePropertySites, for no extra charge beyond your monthly membership. (For reals.)

Property blogging has been around since the first agent wrote the first blog post about a property. It’s not a new concept, but we’ve certainly taken it to a new, powerful level here at ePS.

So what, exactly, is a property blog?


A property blog is a blog post that combines a digital flyer for your listing with a link back to your single property website. Here is an example of a property blog, and here is a quick video tutorial for you newbies out there.

How does it work?

Property blogs act just like regular blog posts, but because they link back to your property site you’re able to use them as a wonderful lead generation tool. And thanks to the SEO-amazingness our developers built in to the site and the additional SEO training we provide our monthly members, some pretty great things are possible.

It’s important to note that first-page Google rankings are not guaranteed. There are way too many variables (how many other results are competing for the tops spots, how strategically you place your keywords, etc), and Google is much too fickle a beast for us to promise results every time. But we can say that if you implement the steps we lay out in our User Guide, you just may achieve some incredible results.

But does it really work?

Absolutely! Below are just a few examples of agents whose listings came up in organic search results on Google. Wouldn't you love this to be your listing?

To find out if property blogging is part of your monthly membership, take a peek at our pricing page or give us a call at 949-328-5000. We can't wait to help you succeed!

 

 

Staff Feature: Tara Mazurek

Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are. This week's staff feature is Tara Mazurek, eSupport Specialist.

Why we love Tara: Tara is our technical GURU! Not only does she rush valiantly to the aide of our members every single day in our online forums, but she also heads up our customer service team here in the office. And just in case you thought her incredible contributions ended there, Tara also manages some of our other online support systems, such as the FAQs and User Guide.

Why you should love her, too: If you've popped into our forums, read through the tutorials on the User Guide or browsed through the FAQs, you've interacted with Tara. Her years of experience with ePropertySites makes her an expert on almost everything ePS-related! We would all be lost without her intelligent, guiding hand. 

I was excited to interview Tara, because so many of you have "met" her in the forums, and I knew it would be fun for all of us to take a peek inside her amazing brain. My questions to Tara revealed not only a thoughtful, professional woman, but someone with tremendous passion for life. 

Tara, who inspires you the most, and why?

 "No one person inspires me really. Different people at different times in my life inspire me. Anyone who stands up for what they believe in, stays strong through life's battles and struggles, and comes out on top humbly feeling good about what they've done and accomplished."

 

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?

"Steak! I'm such a meat and potatoes kind of girl. I think I could eat steak every day!"

 

What is your proudest accomplishment?

"My proudest accomplishments (so far) are my two fantastic kids. They are absolutely amazing and I learn something new from them every day. I love seeing their face and excitement when they discover new things. They make me smile and laugh and keep me on my toes!"

 

If your life was a movie, what would it be?

"Hope Floats. It seems to mimic my life and I find the ending quite inspirational and full of... hope.  =)"

 

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

"My favorite ePropertySites moment had to be the open house we had. It was just awesome to look around and see how much we've grown and how successful the company has been. I was very proud of us for working so hard and achieving so much."

 

Tara, we are humbled by your sincere dedication and effort. Thank you for being part of our team!

 

Open House Hints From ePropertySites

A great article was posted on Trulia last week about turning your online interactions into a busy open house. We love the concept of converting your online social world into a real-life one; isn't that the point, after all? Author Kim Wood offers some excellent suggestions (we particularly loved tip #4!) and we'd like to expand on those here, with a couple of helpful hints about using your ePropertySites account to bring droves of buyers to your next open house.

Hint #1: Plog it! Many members are seeing great success with their plogs (property blogs) ranking highly on Google search results. Why not make another version for your open house? If you're new to plogging, take a peek at our User Guide for step-by-step instructions on how to create and SEO a plog (scroll down to the plog tutorial).

But whether you're a plogging newbie or a seasoned veteran, creating an open house-specific version would only take a couple tweaks. Now you have a digital flyer- complete with home details and a link to the property website- that will help your open house gain wide exposure online. Check out this example.

Hint #2: Come bearing gifts. You already know that you can print open house flyers for your ePS properties, but have you ever tried using them as part of an incentive package? Clip a $5.00 Starbucks gift card to the top ten flyers in your stack, and then use your social channels to announce to the world that the first ten open house visitors leave with a gift. As buyers depart with their spoils (and a pretty flyer to remember the home by!) make sure you follow up online. Sending out a "Thanks to the Clarks for being our 8th visitors!" tweet creates a buzz within your network. It proves that you follow up on your promise of reward, and helps keep your open house fresh in peoples' minds.

Have any other ideas? We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment with your suggestions.

 

Staff Feature: Kym Barlow, Office Manager

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at ePropertySites? Who builds the tools you use every day? Who keeps everything running smoothly? Who answers the phone when you call in for support?

We'd like to invite you to get to know us a bit! Each week we'll feature one staff member here on the ePS blog, explaining their role within the ePropertySites machine and how their work is indespensible to our team. We believe that not only do our staff members deserve recognition for their hard work, but it's also important for our members to know who we are!

We'll begin our staff features with our resident jack-of-all-trades, the always wonderful Kym Barlow, Office Manager at ePropertySites.

Why we love Kym: Not only does Kym help us stay organized, coordinating everything from office supply orders to company-wide meetings, she's also many people's first point of contact with ePropertySites. Kym does such an amazing job keeping our members and staff happy, and making sure we all have everything we need.

Why you should love her, too: Chances are, if you've ever called in to ePropertySites, you've probably spoken to Kym. She helps delegate calls to the appropriate department to ensure our members' questions are answered as efficiently and thoroughly as possible. Kym is also part of our reviewing task force, checking every website our members create for any major issues. We want our agents to look great, and Kym helps make that happen!

Recently, I asked Kym a few questions to help us understand what makes her tick, and I'd like to share that interview with you here. I'm sure you'll enjoy her thoughtful responses as much as I did!

Kym, what are three words you would use to describe yourself?

     "Creative, personable, and determined."

 

 What is the one place you've always wanted to visit, but never have (and why)?

     "I've been fortunate enough to visit several on my 'must see' list but what I haven't done yet is tour South America in depth. I've been to Brazil and that experience was amazing! Now, I'd like to see South America's southern countries, remote islands like the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island, Patagonia and Machu Picchu."

 

If you could send a message back in time to your fifteen-year-old self, what would you say?

     "Abraham Lincoln once said, "Whatever you are, be a good one."  In life you will follow several different roads that deal with things like your life interests and goals. They are ever evolving, so don't be afraid of those changes or feel disappointment. Instead, embrace them and be/do the best you can at it."

 

What, in your opinion, is the most beautiful sound in the world?

     "Waves crashing- it what keeps me in beautiful California.  However, the rain comes in a close second."

 

What is your favorite ePropertySites moment?

     "My favorite moments are the Christmas party & potluck.  It was at these specific events where I got to know everyone at ePS better, and it's always eventful seeing the group out of the office!"

 

Thank you, Kym, for everything you do!

 

Featured Member: Mark Seiden

Mark Seiden, of the Mark Seiden Real Estate Team, shares how he and his team use ePropertySites as part of their comprehensive marketing strategy.

Mark and his team have taken an impressively modern approach to their listing presentations. Rather than going to the seller's home, their presentation is conducted in-house, in front of a 46" screen in the conference room of their office.

During the presentation, Mark explains his well-honed Home Marketing Plan, a marketing strategy that offers sellers an array of tools hand-picked by Mark and his team. Using real-life examples of homes Mark has listed in the past, sellers are shown how Mark creates an ePropertySites-powered single property website for each listing, and integrates the website into property flyers, yard signage, and even 12x12" magnets that his sellers can place on their cars.

Mark feels that ePropertySites' biggest draw is how easily the system can be integrated into an already established marketing strategy. In Mark's opinion, every listing should have a single property website, and for his team, ePropertySites fits the bill.

With 19 years in the business, Mark is no stranger to online marketing tools for real estate. In fact, when his team decided to include a single property website in their Home Marketing Plan a little over a year ago, Mark almost dismissed ePropertySites because the system was so affordable. He was concerned that ePropertySites couldn't compete with other, more expensive online offerings, but after researching his options he was convinced. Mark says that ePropertySites is kind of like the Home Depot of real estate. You're not always going to need everything in the store each time you go in, but you're sure to find whatever it is you do need.

 

Blog Tip #1: How To Reblog

In a post from June 2010, the LA Times technology blog discussed the the ethics of reblogging:

"'Borrowing' content has been a common practice among bloggers practically from the beginning. You can take whatever you want as long as you give credit, right?

 Not necessarily." Read the full article here

There are many legal and ethical issues to consider when posting content that you didn't create. But don't fret! As long as you follow a few simple rules of thumb you can safely reblog that great article about short sales (or the kitten video, or the lasagna recipe, or the love letter someone wrote to Ryan Gosling-- I'm not here to judge). That's the beauty of the internet, after all. Information can make its way from Buenos Aires to Mumbai in less time than it take to stifle a sneeze. 

Here is our guide for correctly posting a reblog:

1. Clearly cite your source. Notice how I referenced the LA times blog in the beginning of this post? Not only did I tell you who I was quoting before I quoted them, but I linked to them before and after sharing the information. Many times I see people posting an article they clearly didn't write, and then off-handedly mentioning who actually wrote it at the very end of the post. Not ok. Be clear and obvious. Not only does that show respect for the content's author, but it shows that you're not trying to take credit for something you didn't write. Your clients will see you as well-informed and trustworthy!

2. Never copy and paste an entire article. This is another common mistake I see new bloggers make all the time. It's plagiarism folks, pure and simple, and there are laws and websites designed to protect authors from having their content stolen.

There are two exceptions to this rule: One, if you have been given permission by the author to use the entire article (in this case you must still give proper credit to the author), or two, you have purchased the content to use and post as your own. Unless one of these two exceptions apply to the information you're sharing, the best practice is to post a portion of the article, and then make sure to include a link back to the original article. Again, see how I did it with the LA Times blog post? I quoted a portion of the article, and immediately provided a link so readers can view the entire post in its original location.

3. Provide your own commentary. Readers need to know why you're sharing the information with them. Even one sentence (for example, "Check out this great article on CNN about genetically modified tomatoes!") is fine in most cases. Remember though, you want your readers to see you as a trusted source of information. Include as much commentary on the information you're sharing as needed to make your point, keep readers informed, and clearly communicate your knowledge and understanding of the subject.

As long as you follow these steps, you'll be good to go! Now get out there and post some kitten videos!

 

Welcome!

Welcome to the official ePropertySites blog!

Follow along with us as we discuss current and upcoming features, post tutorials, highlight some of our powerful tools, and more! Make sure you “like” us on Facebook to be notified of new posts, or follow us on Twitter to stay plugged in to the conversation.

Before we dive in to all of the wonderful information we have to share with you, we’d like to invite you to get to know us a bit. What began five years ago as a conversation between colleagues has grown into the 121st fastest-growing company in the nation, putting us at number 12 on Inc.’s list of top software companies for 2011. Led by co-founders and CEOs Chris Bates and Greg Mazurek, ePropertySites is headquartered in beautiful Aliso Viejo, California.

Learn more about how we got started by reading our article on Inc., “How My Client Became My Partner.”  And make sure to check back often for more information, interesting updates, and fun interviews with staff members. Happy reading!



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