5 Best Sites For Realtors 2018

Where can Realtors go for expert advice? What are the best resources to help agents grow their business?

Real estate agents need a place to gather the best industry advice on the web. That’s why we’ve rounded up the 5 best websites for Realtors to go to for information on housing trends, lead generation, goal setting and more.

Real Estate Daily

RED offers quality content to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the housing market. Many of the articles feature a section called “key takeaways” to help you get the most important information. This is a site that realizes how busy agents are and crafts their content to deliver you fast, beneficial information on the go.

 

Apart from RED’s headlines, agents also should check out RED’s Pro-Marketing and Pro-Technology sections. These verticals offer agent-specific information to help improve your real estate business. What should you check out on RED?
5 Obnoxious Tactics Used in Real Estate … and What to Do Instead

 

BoomTown Blog

The BoomTown blog is a great resource for agents. It’s not overly fancy, but on a consistent basis, it provides tips and advice about life as a real estate agent. Articles are easy to navigate and usually include fun GIFs. You will find great content about housing market trends, technology and marketing tips.

 

Check out on BoomTown: Busted! 7 Myths About Real Estate Leads We Can Finally Put to Rest and 5 Morning Habits of the Most Successful Real Estate Professionals.

 

Tom Ferry Blog Blog

Tom Ferry’s blog features varied content about real estate life, running a business, self-improvement and more. What makes this an excellent blog is that it touches on different aspects of work life; it has tons of content about goal setting and improving your quality of life.

 

Getting down to the mechanics, the blog has simple navigation, the content is easy to digest, videos are high quality and the chatbot is actually helpful. What should you check out first on Tom Ferry? Success Secrets from 3 Of The Most Successful Women Real Estate

 

Tim & Julie Harris

A nice mix of blogs, podcasts and videos. They have a very robust podcast series covering lead generation, motivation, buyer agents and more. You can find up-to-date information on what’s trending in real estate in the “Market News” vertical, with a range of content such as Best Neighborhoods for Real Estate Buying and Investing and Bomb Shelter Converted into Luxury Cave.

 

They also have an entire vertical dedicated to lead generation. It consists almost exclusively of podcasts, but it touches on all types of questions and concerns with regard to real estate lead generation. We suggest checking out this recent podcast: Podcast: Motivational Overdrive To Beat The Autumn Slowdown

 

HomeActions Blog

Can you blame us for shouting ourselves out? The HomeActions blog is a growing community of agents seeking expert advice on how to improve their real estate business. You can test your knowledge about real estate with our 2017-2018 Quiz. Check out other topics, such as handling client objections and using social media to promote open houses.

 

It’s our mission to keep you informed about how to stay top of mind with your clients and how to create a thriving referral business. If you haven’t already, check out our post How to Set Goals and Reach Them as a Real Estate Agent.

 

DON’T FORGET! HomeActions provides automated real estate newsletters for you to send to your clients. We design the newsletter, write the content and send it out on your behalf so you can easily stay top of mind with your real estate clients.

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7 Ways to Promote an Open House Through Social Media

Real estate agents know the value of putting on a stellar open house. But how do you ensure that people show up? One of the best marketing strategies to promote an open house is through social media.

You can easily create quality social media posts to get the word out just by following these guidelines.

1. Post on Multiple Platforms

As an agent, you should have multiple social media platforms. In particular, you should have business accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. When you begin a campaign to promote an open house through social media, you should be posting across all your platforms.

2. Pick Images That Will Make People Show Up

Take good photos of the house. The quality of the photos you post will determine whether people show up. Here are some factors to keep in mind when you’re choosing photos:

  • Use pictures that highlight curb appeal.
  • Use images that capture the home’s best features, like a newly renovated kitchen.
  • Capture impressive views to entice buyers.

Here are some things to avoid in listing photos:

  • Dark or just plain bad lighting.
  • Bad aspect ratio of the photo.
  • Don’t show off bad décor, messy rooms or property flaws.

3. Don’t Forget Pinterest

It’s a common misconception that Pinterest is only for crafting and recipes. Many people use it as a search engine for the things they are looking to purchase. If they type “colonial-style home” into the search bar, they know Pinterest-quality photos will appear.

You should use this platform to set up a board specifically for your listing photos. You can link back to your Pinterest board of professional-quality photos when you tweet or post about your open house.

4. Write an Engaging Message

Employ good copywriting practices when you write your social media posts. You don’t need to become a copywriting wiz, just follow these simple tips and your posts will be instantly more engaging and make people click through.

  • Avoid using too many adjectives, like beautiful, cozy home. Verbs speak louder. Try, “Check out this historical home featuring all the amenities that the modern homeowner seeks. Stop by this Saturday to take in the amazing views/architecture.
  • Speak to personal experience. The best way to hook people is to trigger an emotional response. Write about universal experiences when house hunting. People like to be reminded of things they are familiar with.

5. Consider Your Landing Page

The landing page is where you will direct people in your social media posts. At the bottom of your post, there should be a clear link to a page that offers more information about your open house.

You can drive traffic to a Facebook event page, LinkedIn event page, Pinterest board, your website or a blog post. Wherever you lead traffic, make sure that page has all the details about your open house and great pictures.

6. Create a Posting Schedule

Create a posting schedule to promote your open house on social media. If you come up with a couple of messages for each social platform, organize them into an Excel sheet and put the dates and times of when they should be deployed.

For more information about optimal times of the day to schedule social posts, check out this infographic from HubSpot.

7. Put It in a Real Estate Email Newsletter

If you have a real estate newsletter that goes out to your sphere of influence, make sure to include a shout-out to your open house. Whatever messages you post on social media should be reinforced in your newsletter.

If you don’t have a real estate newsletter yet, check out the HomeActions automated e-newsletter for real estate agents. A newsletter is one of the most effective ways to stay top of mind with your real estate contacts. Check us out today!

Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.

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How to Set Goals and Reach Them as a Real Estate Agent

Successful real estate agents know the importance of setting goals for themselves. Since real estate agents are in large part responsible for their yearly earnings, setting realistic goals is part of ensuring that they can bring home the bacon. If you want to increase your real estate sales, you have to learn the right way to set goals and the appropriate action steps to complete them.

One of the biggest reasons real estate agents don’t achieve what they set out to do is because their objectives are too broad and they don’t know how to follow through. We’re here to help you narrow the focus of your goals and make sure that you reach them.

Put Your Real Estate Goals in Writing

Get your goals out of your head and onto the page. Use a notebook or Word document to write them down so they are not just floating in space. Writing down your goals sets them in stone so that they’re tangible objectives to shoot for.

Keep your goals realistic by thinking only one or two years ahead at first. Instead of writing down, Run a successful real estate business, narrow your focus to something you can achieve in six months or a year – for instance, Increase sales by 40% by 2019.

Quantify Your Real Estate Goals

Part of setting clear goals is assigning a numeric value to them so you know exactly what you’re reaching for.

Let’s use the last example, Increase sales by 40% by 2019.

Assigning numeric values to your goals allows you to reach higher success levels. If you simply write down, increase sales, that could be as easy as gaining one more sale than you did in the previous year. And that kind of goal setting will not make you satisfied. You will still be left wondering why your real estate business is not as successful as your competitors’.

Continually Read Over Your Real Estate Goals

Get in the habit of reading over your goals once you’ve written them down. It doesn’t do you any good to write them on a scrap of paper and place them in a drawer where they will be forgotten.

You should keep your goals in a place where you have to see them every day, such as sticky notes on your fridge, above your desk or on your computer’s desktop.

Looking at your goals daily will give you a sense of urgency and motivate you to take steps toward what you’ve set out to do.

Create Action Steps for All of Your Goals

Goals are useless if you don’t know what to do to achieve them. For each goal, write an action step or two to accomplish them. If your objective is to increase sales by 40% by 2019, here are a couple of action steps to take.

  • Reorganize my database of real estate leads.
  • Have two phone calls a day with new leads in my pipeline.

Once you act on your goals in these small ways, you’ll see some minor success and start to realize how the rest of your goal can come to fruition.

Hold Yourself Accountable for Your Goals

One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable for your goals is to share them with your team and/or colleagues. If you have other agents or an assistant on your team, let them know what your goals are. Making a public declaration of what you plan to do to grow your real estate business – or any business – has been shown to increase your chances of success because you now have people, besides yourself, who are counting on you. If you work in an office with other agents, spread the word about your 2019 goals – seek feedback and ask if they will help keep you on track.

Stay Organized and Connect with Your Sphere of Influence

Your real estate contacts should always be up to date and organized. If they aren’t, you will have a difficult time remembering who you have in your sphere of influence and at what stage of the moving processes they are in.

Maintaining your database of leads is a no-brainer if you want to increase sales or achieve other real estate goals.

HomeActions gathers all of your contacts from places like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo and more and creates a spreadsheet of everyone in your sphere of influence in alphabetical order by what platform they came from.

Not only will HomeActions jump-start this process for you, we will then send a bi-weekly email newsletter to your real estate contacts on your behalf, using our database of hundreds of real estate articles. Click the button below to read more about HomeActions services and how we can help you achieve all of your goals this year.

Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.

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5 Digital Marketing Tips All Real Estate Agents Need to Know

It’s not just the real estate industry that’s going digital — almost every industry you can think of is taking the plunge. But digital marketing is especially essential for real estate agents because homebuyers are looking at websites like Zillow and Trulia as their first step toward finding a home.

They are also checking out social media to find inspiration for their dream home and recommendations for REALTORS®. That means you need to position yourself in front of these homebuyers online.

If you already have a real estate website and social media accounts, are you utilizing those spaces correctly in order to get leads? If you’re not keeping yourself abreast of how to improve your digital footprint, chances are you will get overlooked for agents that have a more robust online presence.

1. The Most Important Social Platforms for Real Estate

Some of the more important social platforms for real estate agents are Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. If you don’t already have a presence on these platforms, get on them today. Your potential clients use social media to find referrals for all kinds of services, including real estate agents.

Social media is also where you should showcase the best of the best when it comes to images and videos of your listings. Always post high-quality images that highlight the best features of the homes you’re selling. The standard for content is very high these days, so a few grainy images won’t cut it. You will get buried by competition using professional-looking photos.

Hashtags

When you post content on social media, make use of relevant hashtags. This will help you get recognized by more users and increase your followers. You can easily research hashtags by typing in some keywords into the search bar on Twitter — such as “open house” (#openhouse) or “real estate agent” (#realestateagent) — and see what popular posts come up and take note of other hashtags they’re using. Then you can incorporate those hashtags into your own social posts.

2. Paid Advertising to Promote Your Real Estate Business

Consider paid advertising using Facebook Ads or Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) online advertising.

Facebook Ads

Facebook makes it easy for you to “boost” a post, whereby you put a certain dollar amount behind a post. You choose your budget and the audience you want your post to target. For instance, you can target buyers or sellers based on location or demographics, or even their hobbies and behaviors.

Boosting a post on Facebook ensures that your message gets in front of the right people.

Google AdWords

You should also consider Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) advertising for your real estate website. It’s a way of advertising your website on Google so that it appears at the top of the page when users search for different keywords, such as “homes for sale,” “local realtors” or “open house.” Every time someone clicks on your ad, leading them to your website, you pay Google a fee.

There are still things you want to do to get organic traffic to your site, which we’ll go over, but PPC is a way to bring in additional paid traffic through advertising.

3. Make People Come Back to Your Website

Make sure that your real estate website is easy to navigate and a place where users want to return. Start by making sure all your images look professional. If you have pictures of yourself or your business, these photos need to be high quality. First impressions matter, and potential clients will choose another Realtor over you if their website looks more professional.

Content Creation

Another way to keep people coming back to your site is to create content that interests them. You could post weekly blogs about the real estate industry or certain markets. You could also blog about open houses, listings, up-and-coming neighborhoods and more. Try mixing up the content with some charts, videos and infographics. Creating interesting content will keep users engaged.

4. Collect Emails

The purpose of your digital efforts is to get leads, so you need to give users the option to provide their email addresses. In marketing, a squeeze page or landing page is where you collect the email addresses of those who visit your website.

Make an Offer

A squeeze page should act as an offer to the user that requires them to input their email. This could be in the form of an e-book, e-newsletter or an estimate on the value of their home. Whatever the offer is, make sure it’s essential for them to give out their email in order to receive the special gift.

5. Use Website Analytics Tools

The only way to know whether your website is working is by tracking views and the behavior of users on your site. How long are they staying on your site? How many unique visitors are you getting a month? Are users visiting your site and then navigating away almost instantly? The easiest way to track this is with a tool like Google Analytics. Google makes it easy for new marketers to learn how to use their features, which you can read about here.

Once you understand some basics of website analytics, it’s simple to start developing your website around what users want to see. Perhaps your site isn’t user-friendly enough. Maybe your content isn’t as engaging as your competitors’ content. Tracking the analytics of your site will help you identify and fix these issues.

We always recommend making sure you have a digital footprint because most of your clients will hear about you through the web. A great way to get started is by following these guidelines and signing up for biweekly real estate email newsletters. We make it easy for you by writing email newsletter articles and sending them out to your sphere of influence on your behalf. Check us out today!

Visit HomeActions.net today to start connecting on a regular basis with your real estate contacts and improving your real estate business.

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Tips & Tricks for Inspired Marketing Articles

What will fill your marketing editorial calendar in the months ahead? It can be daunting to lay out writing assignments for your marketing efforts, but it does not have to be. With a bit of forethought and planning, you can tap into writing inspiration on a regular basis.

Focus your real estate newsletter writing.

Your first step should always be to consider your audience. To really craft meaningful lead-generating content, you need to focus on your target market. The goal is to keep your readers’ needs in mind while also keeping your business growth goals in mind when writing marketing content.

What are your goals?

Map out a hierarchy of what is most important to building you pipeline.

  • Are you trying to build up specialty areas, such as vacation properties or retirement properties?
  • Looking to generate more new opportunities overall?
  • Seeking to improve client retention and nurture existing relationships?
  • Want to stand out in a competitive marketplace?
  • Growing a base of referral sources?

Lead generating content has a pain/gain approach. It is important to consider your goals when you begin building lead-generating content. Your articles should provide a path toward solving a pain point so readers naturally follow that path to seek out your services.

Think about how your services could tie into an article and offer an obvious connection back to you for help. Focus on providing just enough relevant advice to give your prospects the confidence that you are the expert source who can address their real estate needs.

The next natural step for your readers should be to connect with your firm to solve their needs.

When you have key articles focused on generating new opportunities and leads integrated into your strategies, be sure you’re setting lead alerts so you can follow up on new warm prospects.

What should you write?

Inspiration can originate partly from preparation and partly from borrowing existing ideas. It’s always good to have a stockpile of starting-point themes to fall back on when writer’s block inevitably strikes.

“Inspired” Ideas for Your Next Article

  • Interviews
  • Case Studies
  • Client Features
  • Q&A – Or “Dear Abby” Approach
  • This vs. That Strategy Comparison

All of the ideas here could come from a single interview with a client. If you sat down and interviewed a client for just 30 minutes, you could get all the information you needed to create five articles with each of the above approaches. If you did this with just several clients, you could stagger that content out and have a full calendar of meaningful content for a year.

More Ideas to Inspire Creative Content:

  • Trending Topics Following Current Events
  • Common Mistakes and How To Avoid Them
  • Spotlight Your Team Members
  • Feature Events and Philanthropic Involvement

Don’t forget to invite a bit of the human element into your content marketing to help readers develop brand loyalty and keep your audience engaged. People stories for fun, and features focused on your staff members’ pets, babies and activities can be a delightful addition to your marketing.

Fun Topics to Consider:

  • A dog day at the office
  • Match the staff member with the baby photo
  • Birth announcements – tiny tee shirts with your brand logo on new babies
  • Take Your Child to Work Day
  • Holiday or seasonal themes
  • Office family picnic highlights
  • “Where’s Waldo” theme following staff members on vacation snapping a photo at a noteworthy spot with your company mascot

When does timing impact my writing?

You should be following deadlines and seasonal trends to develop an annual content calendar for your firm. Take note of holidays and changing seasons to inject timely, fun themes into your writing. Incorporate these strategies to keep your content marketing fresh and engaging.


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LinkedIn for Business: 6 Easy Steps to Get More Connections

We all know that having a personal LinkedIn profile and one for your business is essential to your social media goals. But merely setting up profiles and forgetting they exists won’t help your efforts. There are some relatively simple things you can do to make your pages more interesting to your LinkedIn community.

First and foremost, you should ensure that your personal LinkedIn profile lists your business as your current employer. When people view your profile, your current employer is among the first few pieces of information displayed, making this an important connection back to your business page. Another step toward boosting engagement is increasing your connections. Having a solid following on your LinkedIn page will help you reach more potential clients; however, procuring these connections isn’t always intuitive.


LinkedInHere are six strategies that will help you increase your professional connections.


1. Compose Daily Status Updates

Being active on LinkedIn as a whole will help to increase your connections. The best way to stay present is to make sure you post at least one status update every day. This tip holds true for both personal and business pages. But don’t post just any old thing, share a link about something relevant to your business, industry or community. Having a consistent presence on LinkedIn will give users an opportunity to stay updated on your business, and relevant posts give your followers a reason to visit your page in general.


2. Send a Personalized Message to Connect Once a Day

There are two steps to this tip. First, make sure you’re reaching out to potential connections that are personally known to you or with whom you have a friend or colleague in common. A good place to start is by utilizing LinkedIn’s “Alumni” feature, where you can find fellow LinkedIn users that share your alma mater. Once you find a familiar individual you’d like to connect with, write them a personalized message to connect. Ditch the automated message that LinkedIn provides and write something that the other person knows you wrote specifically for them. Writing your own message increases the likelihood that they will accept your invitation.


3. Utilize LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform

LinkedIn’s publishing platform is a great way for you to position yourself in front of a wider audience. This tool allows you to post long-form posts, creating a string of three posts and accompanying images. These posts will be available to the entire LinkedIn audience and will appear on your profile under the “Posts” section. Not only will you have the ability to create professional looking long-form posts, but the reach of these posts is not limited to only your connections, giving every LinkedIn user the opportunity to discover your posts. You can also customize your own “about us” blurbs as the closing of your personal posts and link them back to your business profile.


4. Join Groups and Participate in Discussions

A great way to stay active in the LinkedIn community is to join groups that are relevant to your industry niche or philanthropic involvement. Pick a minimum of three groups, and stay active on a weekly basis. Membership in LinkedIn’s groups will help you to discover potential new prospects or referral sources. Furthermore, you should also make sure that you have a strong presence on these group pages. Try participating in group discussions or even initiating conversations on the page.


5. Comment on Your Connections’ Updates

A really simple way to garner more connections and nurture your existing professional relationships is to simply show interest in the people you are connected to on LinkedIn. If one of your connections posts a new job, comment to say congratulations. You can also respond to links they post or like their status updates. Displaying your interest in your connections’ professional achievements will brand you as a valuable member and make others want to connect with you.


6. Endorse Others

Endorse others for the skills that you admire. This is another way to increase your credibility, build relationships and demonstrate the value you add as a connection. In order to gain new followers, you should have a track record of being an asset to your current connections. When others endorse you, send them a personal message to thank them.

All of these tips will assist you in attracting more people to your personal and business LinkedIn pages and give you more opportunities to increase connections. Having an active presence is the key to success.

Look for our next post, which will go in depth on the type of posts you should be sharing, breaking down exactly which ingredients create the most effective posts.

4 Freebie Websites with Stellar Stock Images

You need captivating images on your business’ website, blog or email newsletter, but like most of us, you’re not a professional photographer. Without visuals, it’s hard for readers to quickly gather a visual understanding of your content. But don’t fret! There are countless places on the web to get cheap, or even free, stock images to accompany your marketing content.

Here is our roundup of the 4 best websites for freebie stock images.


1. FreeImages.com

FreeImagesFree Images is exactly as it sounds. The site houses thousands of free images for you to download and use in your email marketing, on your website or blog, or in social media. All that is required is that you create an account. From there, you have access to their diverse range of quality images. You can search for images by typing a basic keyword search, or you can make use of the “Tags” tab, which takes you to a page full of commonly used words like “Business” or “Finance” that will direct you to images associated with those keywords.


2. Pexels.com

 

PEXELSThis site has some very impressive first-rate photos. Search for the type of image you need and click on the image you like. Then you can download images in a variety of sizes: original, large, medium, small, or you can choose the “custom” option and input your own dimensions. One feature unique to Pexels is their own Photoshop Plugin Subscription. It isn’t free, but it is super cheap at only $4 a month or $2 a month if you pay annually.


3. Pixabay.com

PixabayPixabay is another site with totally free images for you to use. Sign up with your email to start downloading images in a variety of sizes. Pixabay offers many high-quality photos as well as a large database of illustrations and vectors. If you’re only interested in illustrated images or vectors, you can click to browse only these types of images. You can also choose to explore “Editor’s Choice,” which offers the most sophisticated and quality photos. Furthermore, if you find several images that you like by the same photographer, you can choose to browse images only by this artist.


4. Unsplash.com

UnsplashThe selection on this site isn’t as varied as the others, but this is a very aesthetically pleasing site full of dramatic images. The images are big and the overall layout of Unspslash is very simple and elegant, giving you the opportunity to browse their beautiful database of images with ease. Downloading is so simple that you barely notice it. If you like an image, just click the download button in the bottom right corner of the photo and the image instantly pops up on a separate page. The site has an incredibly user-friendly download process, but it requires that you resize the image on your own if you need different dimensions. If that’s the case, just save the image in Paint (or another image editor) and change the dimensions to your liking. Make sure you take a look at Unsplash’s “Collections” tab where you can peruse photos from categories.


Other Image & Design Resources

Canva and BeFunkyOnce you have all these great photos in your inventory, take it one step further by checking out ways to edit those images and create new, original graphics. Sites like Canva.com and Befunky.com offer free design tools to edit images and create things like newsletter mastheads, invitations, collages, social media images and more. Stay tuned for my next post to get even more tips on how to utilize these free graphic design sites and create show-stopping images for your marketing projects.

HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters Announce Major Improvements to E-Newsletters

HomeActions and its IndustryNewsletters division announce Version 3 of their exclusive e-newsletter product, putting it on the cutting edge of the e-newsletter industry. The companies provide professionally written articles and a system that lets a range of professionals send out e-newsletters to clients and prospects. They primarily serve real estate professionals, payroll companies, accounting firms and estate planning attorneys.

With Version 3, the newsletter system becomes even more customizable and user-friendly. Among the improvements:

  • A more contemporary look for the user interface, and a better design for tablets and smartphones.
  • A cleaner and more functional client dashboard that shows readership stats at a glance.
  • A completely revamped image system that lets users choose among three different sizes of images to put into their newsletters.
  • A smoother, more intuitive system to allow users to add their own content to company-provided content.
  • The ability to easily remove company-provided content and replace it with an article from extensive article libraries available to users.
  • The addition of a completely new Web banner library so users can easily find and post banners to make their newsletters even more useful.

And as always, help is just a click away. The system comes with an easy-to-use, automated help feature that lets users follow along step by step as the tool gives interactive answers to questions.

Barry J. Friedman, CEO of HomeActions, LLC

Barry J. Friedman, CEO of HomeActions, LLC

Barry Friedman, CPA, founder and CEO of HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters, said, “Our clients are busy and successful professionals, and they want a system that lets them communicate with their clients with perfect ease while providing sophisticated options — without any hassle. That has always been our goal, and with Version 3 our system is even better than ever.”

About HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters

IndustryNewsletters and HomeActions were founded by Barry Friedman, CPA, who managed many CPA firms for over 25 years and subsequently sold them to American Express. He then created BizActions LLC, which became the largest marketing e-newsletter company for CPA firms and payroll companies, and he sold that to Thomson Reuters in 2012. He has over 15 years’ experience in the email newsletter space.

HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters are virtual companies that employ more than 30 people. Both are headquartered in Green Cove Springs, Florida.

For more information, please visit our websites, HomeActions.net and IndustryNewsletters.com, or contact Richard J. Koreto, chief content officer, at 845-642-4314 or Email.