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Delta Media Group Blog

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Top 5 Changes in Real Estate Marketing

May is almost over, which means a few things:

• We’re approaching the halfway point of 2013
• Spring is nearly at its end
• You’ll soon begin thinking about your 2014 projections and budget

There are a number of quickly changing marketing details we’re seeing specific, pointed data behind. And if you’re not already thinking about them, we beg you to put them on the radar for the very near future.

The top five real estate marketing changes to keep your eyes on for the remainder of the year are:

1. Website redesign
2. Analysis of user interaction
3. How conversion rates are changing
4. Where mobile plays a role
5. How consumers and consumer expectations are changing

We’ll briefly detail each of these below, and continue to touch on them in upcoming articles.

Website Redesign

When was the last time you redesigned your real estate website? When was the last time it had some minor design improvements?

Your website conversion rate is much more important than what the site looks like. But Web design can help improve the conversion rate of websites. More importantly, a design touch-up should always focus on the key elements consumers want to find quickly and easily when visiting your site.

Any and all design strategies should take this data into account before touching the design of your website. We consistently analyze this data from the more than 300 real estate brokerage websites and 30,000 agent websites we build, and see how the market is trending. And we include those recommendations with any redesign we make. We’re currently recommending a redesign every 12-18 months, based on current market trends.

User Interaction

How users interact with your website relies on a number of factors, from market trends, to seasonality, to Web design and digital marketing tactics.

Surprising to some, we’re actually seeing a trend of users stop visiting desktop real estate websites. The reason is they’re instead following sophisticated market and new listing email reports, which push this information to them on a regular basis. This allows consumers to follow the information they’ve specifically specified, then choose to act when they find the right listing.

Those consumers realize they won’t see that personalized information upon a quick Web visit, but they will visit when the right info crosses their path. By then, many are ready to convert.

We see customers not visit a real estate website for months, click and submit a showing request the moment the right email is sent to them, then make an offer on that listing. That’s a closed transaction that occurred with possibly only one visit in a three-month span. But it’s impossible without the right email and social marketing platforms.

Conversion Rates

Of course, these kind of trends will affect conversion rates.

Conversion rates have historically been low in the real estate industry, in part due to the cost and process involved to make one conversion possible.

But we’re seeing changes in these rates, particularly among real estate brokerages that are utilizing many of the tools we make available to help improve conversion rates.

Some of our customers are seeing conversion rates between 14-18 percent direct from real estate leads.

When brokerages don’t report good conversion rates and blame leads for being “low quality,” our polling has found a number of reasons lead to this, including an extended period of time between lead submission and when (or if) a real estate agent responds to the lead.

Mobile
Mobile is making up a much larger percentage of total Web visits, and that percentage will only continue to grow larger in time.

For the first time in history, smartphone adoption has surpassed 50 percent in major markets around the world. And real estate is inherently mobile by nature.

We see brokerage after brokerage with significant traffic receiving nearly 1/3 of that weekly Web traffic from mobile devices.

Don’t have a good mobile real estate website? Have a poor mobile presentation or no ability to capture leads from a mobile device? You’re already losing a significant amount of business to your competitors.

Consumers and Expectations

All the changes detailed above lead to the one detailed below: that consumer expectations are changing.

Consumers are empowered. They can drive around town, see a listing, instantly gather more information on it, and find an agent who will respond to them within minutes, if not seconds. And they know this.

That’s a drastically different business than the former model of finding a listing in a print ad and having to use an agent to find any additional information on it.

And it’s leading consumers to start working with the brokerages and agents who will help them make the purchase they want, while weeding out those who use excuses or take a significant amount of time to respond to their inquiries.

Conclusion
Consumer expectations are now high, and you have the capability to provide the real estate website, mobile website, and lead management platform that allows you to exceed those expectations, rather than continue to miss out on customers because you’ve missed out on their expectations.

Each of these five real estate marketing changes is significant to the present and future of your business, and we can help with all of them.

Stay tuned for more details, and contact Delta Media Group for more information.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New, proven strategy to boost your real estate sales

You’ve been looking for a while, and you never really stop.

“What can I do to improve my real estate sales,” you think to yourself.

You remember back to a time when you used to wonder the same, before you became an established real estate agent.

You had just gotten into the industry. You were dying to get your first listing, and your first sale. Your entire goal was just to get over that “first sale” hump, and you knew from there you could get the momentum going and just keep pushing yourself to “established agent” status rather than the stigma of being a rookie.

There was a time, however brief, that the obstacle might have seemed a bit insurmountable. But you climbed that mountain, and once you did you climbed more of them, and you did it more often.

Years have gone by, and you’re as far removed from being a rookie as you are from your rotary phone. But one thing has never changed in all your time and experience as a real estate agent — you’ve never stopped asking yourself what you can do to get better.

That’s the reason you’ve been successful — that determination to always improve. But at times it has also driven you crazy, and you’ve questioned your ability to concentrate on much else.

Some of the newer items discussed in recent years include a website, followed by a mobile website, and a blog, and Social Networks, and utilizing video, and many additional tech developments you’ve considered utilizing.

Some you’ve embraced, while you’ve scoffed at others. You’ve tried a few, but maybe didn’t fully commit to them. Some of those were tough to measure, so you didn’t see quick results and didn’t want to dedicate too much time to them.

A new study supports some of those suggestions for the agent looking to increase sales. It concluded that 78 percent of salespeople using social media outsold their peers in 2012.

How can this be? It’s all part of a book and study by Jim Keenan, who has worked to push salespeople from cold calling to Twitter, from constant calling to informative content…”from the old world into the social world.”

The study went on to highlight a few other points:
• Social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers at exceeding sales quota by at least 10%.
• Non-social media users missed sales quota (by 10% or more) 15% more often than their social media-using peers.
• More than half of respondents tracked their social media usage to at least one closed deal.
• 50.1% of sales people who reported using social media spent less than 10% of their selling time using social.
• The top-selling social sites were, in order: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging, Google+, other.
• Nearly 75% of those surveyed have not received formal social media training.

These numbers beg the question: is social media now a must-have for a salesperson? (We’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below).

However you view it, social media is another tool to add to your arsenal to help improve your real estate sales. That’s why we’ve developed our real estate websites to seamlessly link to and work with all your social media accounts. It’s why we’ve added options for your customers to easily share your website and listings on your website directly to their social media channels. It’s why we’ve created an integrated blogging platform. And it’s why we continuously blog ourselves, and always look for new information that can help you better improve your real estate business.

Need help utilizing social media, blogging, mobile, and an improved real estate website? Contact Delta Media Group for more information.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Browsing for the best resources to benefit your real estate business

There are a number of resources you could read to benefit your real estate business.

Maybe you read to inspire yourself, or to learn about the new marketing initiatives, or to keep on top of market trends.

If you’ve made it this far, hopefully we’ve made your list of good real estate resources to read.

You may follow some others, like Inman.com, or Seth Godin’s famous marketing blog.

Godin is a best-selling author, and considered among the best in marketing and branding. He targeted the real estate industry in a recent blog post when he wrote:

“But, while these interactions and transactions have been growing, the amount of time we spend online and the number of pages we visit have gone up dramatically faster…"
Godin went on to use the following example:
“This thinking explains why good real estate sites are so mobile-friendly (and why mobile is so real-estate-friendly). If you're sitting in front of a house that's for sale and take the time to look up the information, you're exactly the right person in exactly the right place.”
The key Godin hit on is “good” real estate sites are mobile-friendly. We’ve long talked about mobile, and how important it is to modern-day business. But sometimes it helps to take a step back and remember exactly why.

In the case of real estate, a good mobile website is so important because it parlays exactly into the type of browsing a consumer wants to do, rather than that they’re required to.

Required browsing in real estate is sitting on the computer for, potentially, countless hours looking at house after house to try to find the one that your wife might like enough to agree to go through at some point, simply because you know you want to find something better.

Browsing takes on an entirely different meaning when it’s the type of browsing you want to do. That might be on mobile, because browsing on mobile means you’re likely searching for something on the go, or something you unexpectedly found but need more information on right now.

“On the go” means you might have found a house in an area that just might fit the bill, and you’re hopping on your phone to quickly find the details to quickly see if it’s something you want to pursue further.

If not, you’ve at least taken action when the time was right. If so, you’ve scheduled the ability to take further action, which will definitely take you closer to a transaction that countless hours of mundane research will.

Sometimes it helps to take a step back and research what it is that might make you better at what you do. And sometimes it helps to evaluate the philosophy that brought you to what it is you invest in, and what that investment means on a deeper level than just the surface situation of another offering that could help you make another sale.

While browsing your business and real estate education options, remember how it is consumers browse what’s important to them. Take action on those items, and you will better help others take action on the properties they’re looking to invest in.

Contact Delta Media Group for more information.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Real Estate Mother's Day post (that men might want to read, too)

If you're a real estate agent, there’s a 60% chance you're female, per NAR data.

The other 40% of you at least know a female, whether you're dating one, married to one, or related to one.

And all of you ultimately came from one.

This is a Mother's Day post, but obviously it applies to a lot more than just the mothers out there.

This Sunday is YOUR day.

That might be extra difficult for you to accept, because you're used to doing it all. If it's real estate, it's showings, schedulings, call-backs, and open houses.

If its at home, it's emails and checking your many leads, in addition to your daily home activities, whether they be general clean-up, yard work, or just settling down the all-too-hyper-because-it's-Sunday-and-school-ends-soon children.

Hopefully they did something nice for you, and maybe you enjoyed your breakfast in bed, even if it had a few small pieces of eggshell in it.

If you're lucky, they might have even cleaned the kitchen after they were finished, meaning you might have to unclog the sink later.

Then it's off to your regular tasks, interrupted by maybe enjoying a nice lunch or dinner at some point, then possibly cleaning up after that before putting the rugrats darlings to bed.

Slow down there, partner! Didn't we say you should try and enjoy your day?

Truth be told, there’s not much we can do to help with raising your children, cleaning your house, or keeping everyday chaos in check.

There is something we can do to help with your professional tasks, however. Actually, there are a number of things we can do.

For one, we can automate your follow-up with customers. Not able to respond to leads that day? Your automated follow-up system has you covered.

Don’t feel like sending emails to your clients? There’s an automated route for that as well.

Worried that the owners of that house you’re listing will bug you for updates of progress over the past week? Your Seller Reports (with new features) will give them exactly what they’re looking for…automatically.

Want to post a blog entry that day because you typically do on Sundays? You can use our blogging platform to preschedule one to go live, and give the appearance that—yep--you are working your tail off, even on Mother’s Day.

And, perhaps most important, your leads won’t stop pouring in without you manning the phones or responding immediately to emails, because your real estate website has the best property search and lead generation features available, and your mobile real estate website (also with some great new updates) is the easiest to use in the market.

Now for the 40 percent of you who might have thought we weren’t talking directly to you in this post. Think of what you might be able to do for your wife or mother with the extra time you have because you were savvy enough to utilize these features as well. Heck, consider how much more time it might give you to watch sports each Sunday. Now you’re thinking…

We can’t help with everything this Sunday, but we can help get you through business so everything else seems a bit easier.

Happy Mother’s Day, from all of us at Delta Media Group!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Importing clients into Customer Center

Importing your clients into Customer Center is very easy. To help you understand how to import your clients we've put together a YouTube video that demonstrates how to do it. Watch this video to see how easy it is...


More options with Seller Reports

Our popular Seller Reports have received an upgrade today giving agents more control over the reports themselves.

As of today, agents can setup their Seller Reports so they don't contain statistics from web crawlers.

Web crawlers are programs that crawl internet sites for search engines. An example of a web crawler is Googlebot which crawls internet sites for the google index.

The new option will allow agents to disable the web crawler column in the report. This feature is located under More -> Preferences -> Email Messages in the DeltaNet™. (See the screen shot below.)



If you have any questions about this new feature in our Seller Reports please contact support@del

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Our Mobile Real Estate platform for Companies and REALTORS® keeps getting better

More upgrades are being launched today on our mobile real estate platform for Companies and REALTORS®.

This ten minute video showcases the major features of our mobile platform. If you have more detailed questions about the platform it's best to reach out to us at support@deltagroup.com.

Specifically, the latest updates being pushed live today bring Delta's popular Quick Search feature to our mobile platform.

With this update you get two specific new features:

1. The quick search field will mimic the quick search on the desktop web sites
2. You now have the option of defaulting the quick search to a search result list or a map view

It's the second feature that we believe will get the most attention. The ability to have both map-based GPS style search for real estate along with a search form that goes to a search result list.

Check out the video...if you have questions about this upgrade or would like to add this to your web site please contact us at support@deltagroup.com.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Real Estate Analysis: When informational trumps transactional

Think back to the last time you used Google.

Were you researching information? Maybe you were looking for an answer to a question.

Perhaps it was while shopping for a new TV, or new car.

Maybe it was a bit simpler of a shopping search; you might have just been price checking an item while you stood in a retail store.

You could have used it to find this article.

Or maybe you use Google so often that you can’t even think of what you last used it for. Maybe it’s engrained into your daily activity.

We touched on something in last week’s article about improving your real estate business by blogging, and we want to elaborate on it a bit more.
According to an article published Tuesday, 80 percent of content is transactional or navigational, yet 50-80 percent of search queries are informational in nature. Blogging is built more around natural conversation than transactional on-site content, like that found in most property descriptions.
We probably don’t need to explain why the majority of search queries are informational in nature—people use search to find the information they’re looking for.

That information often becomes transactional, but smart consumers are doing their homework on items before deciding what to buy, where to buy, and when they might buy. For real estate, that means doing market research, looking for the best way to search for homes, seeing what else is for sale around it and what else recently sold around it, and finding information on which real estate agent or brokerage to work with.

But most real estate websites, like most websites of any industry, are primarily transactional or navigational in nature.

Many real estate websites only contain content from property descriptions. Many more are hindered because property descriptions are hidden behind a property search wall, and search engines can’t get past it.

Even if your real estate listings are getting indexed, the property description might not be enough to get you ahead. By natural nature of the IDX feed, your competitors have the same property descriptions on their websites that you have. And each and every real estate agent using the IDX feed becomes a search engine competitor, because they all have websites that can take away organic traffic from your own.

Many members of the real estate industry have bought into SEO, which makes it all that more important that you have it, and have it from a good SEO company.

But SEO goes beyond cheap, simple website tricks, and it goes beyond property descriptions.

You can boost your SEO by having an active real estate blog. You can boost it by having market landing pages. And you want to improve your own conversion rates by offering other items consumers want, like Market Watch reports, Seller Reports, and other informative pieces that help a buyer or seller make an educated decision.

Google isn’t just about finding options—it’s about pointing a consumer in the right direction as to answer the question he asks the search engine. That’s the informational side of your business that can help cater to the majority of search queries that aren’t transactional in nature.

Contact Delta Media Group for more information on how to utilize SEO and informational tools to improve your online business.