5 Best Books for Real Estate Agents

A couple of oldies but goodies and some newer titles round out this reading list of the best books for Realtors. If you’re looking for better ways to connect with your clients and for advice from veterans in the real estate game, take a long weekend or your next vacation to read any of these fantastic books.

1. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Writer Simon Sinek believes that success comes from asking why — not what, who, where or how. Why is the most powerful question you can ask yourself in order to be successful in business and in your personal life.

Sinek explores some of the most successful businesses in the world and explains that they are all connected by a common thread: They all put the why before everything else.

For Realtors, this is a powerful book that will help you change your mindset and focus on the right aspects of your real estate business in order to be more successful.

2. Sell With Soul: Creating an Extraordinary Career in Real Estate Without Losing Your Friends, Your Principals or Your Self-Respect

Author Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn has been in your shoes. She’s been in the real estate biz for years, and her tell-all book, “Sell with Soul,” is her gift to other agents so they can learn from her experiences and mistakes.

Allan-Hagedorn challenges the perception that all Realtors are money-hungry and don’t have the clients’ best interests in mind. She preaches the opposite by encouraging agents to put their clients’ needs first; the rest will follow.

3. The Millionaire Real Estate Agent

Many of you have probably already read “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” but if you haven’t, put it at the top of your to-read list. Or if you haven’t read it in a long time, rereading it could do you well. The founder of Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller, lays the groundwork for success in real estate and how to be a millionaire agent.

Scores of agents return to this book because of its resonance with both new and seasoned Realtors.

4. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers

What we consider inbound marketing and targeted marketing today are at the core of Seth Godin’s book “Permission Marketing,” published in 1999. He advocates for marketing that is not disruptive and suggests a method in which you market to those who have already expressed an interest in you and your brand.

Realtors can learn exactly what it takes to get new leads into their funnel in a way that delights potential customers instead of using outdated, intrusive tactics.

5. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

We always want more out of our lives, but we’re usually at a loss for how to achieve it. Our lives seem littered with little hurdles that stand in the way of our success. Keller and Jay Papason offer a solution that encourages you to focus on one thing at a time to help you cut out distraction.

For any real estate agent, “The One Thing” will help you realize your personal and professional goals.

Once you’ve made your way through this reading list, begin exploring ways to put your real estate goals into action by creating your own real estate newsletter with HomeActions. Click for everything you need to know to get started.

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5 Apps for Realtors That Are Totally Free!

The #RealtorLife is no joke. Working in real estate is a demanding profession, so you should take advantage of tools that are designed with your busy schedule in mind.

These 5 apps will allow you to get fast information about listings, make it easier to connect with clients and help you create amazing marketing content to share online. All of these apps have user-friendly interfaces, and the best part, they are 100% free!

SwiftKey

Agents need simple ways to communicate on the go. That’s where SwiftKey comes in. SwiftKey lets you swipe your finger along your keyboard to the letters that spell out what you want to say. The smart technology will recognize the words you’re most likely trying to type. You will be amazed at how many times this app gets it right!

SwiftKey uses its intelligence to remember the types of words you use, emojis you like to send and even your unique slang!

You can also save tons of automated messages to quickly send to clients. If you’re getting the same question about a listing from multiple people, type out the answer once and send it easily to everyone who asks you. If you need your keyboard to be bigger or smaller, SwiftKey lets you customize that too.

SentriSmart

SentriSmart is the app by SentriLock. SentriSmart allows you to open their lockboxes easily through your smartphone or tablet. You can assign the lockbox to certain properties or unassign them. SentriSmart is synced to Homesnap, RPR and HomeSpotter, so you can bring up data about listings for clients on the spot.

Adobe Premiere Clip

Video content is one of the most powerful tools to draw in new leads online. However, videos have to be quality to be impactful. The Adobe Premiere Clip app helps you create professional-looking videos using the clips you take with your phone. Load videos from your mobile device or tablet onto the app and let Adobe work its magic, or customize the video yourself and choose background music and other bells and whistles. Then, share your videos online and watch the likes and shares roll in.

RPR Mobile

Developed by the National Association of Realtors, RPR’s app is designed to help Realtors stay up to date on relevant data in the markets they serve. It organizes information about your listings, such as neighborhood data, mortgage history and local schools, in one convenient location. When a client texts or calls you with a question about a listing, you can pull up everything you need quickly and easily.

But it doesn’t stop there. You can generate reports on properties and send them to clients with your own branding. And you can add notes to properties and choose to keep this information private or share it with clients. When you’re out and about, use the location feature to bring up data about the area you’re in, such as local records, new listings, flood zones and more. 

Canva

Canva is a graphic design tool that lets you create any kind of marketing materials you can think of with ease. Design your own letterhead, Pinterest graphic, Facebook post and more. You can upload your own images or choose from any of the stock images available on the app. Then, customize the dimensions, text and background color.

Use this app to create one-of-a-kind marketing images that will impress your clients and garner the attention of new prospects.

Don’t forget! HomeActions sends out real estate newsletters on your behalf so you can stay top of mind with your clients. Learn more about how to get started today.

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2019 Social Media Guide for Real Estate Agents

By now, most real estate agents know that social media is a powerful tool to attract leads on a regular basis. How to do it is the next question. As we approach 2019, it requires more than a Facebook and Twitter account that you sometimes post on to have a successful online presence.

In order to be a competitive real estate agent in today’s market, you must implement some tricks of the trade when it comes to social media.

You’ll be surprised at how simple it is to apply good social media tactics once you get started — and delighted when you start seeing more leads roll in.

Don’t Ignore Instagram

Instagram might be something you shied away from in the past because it felt more obscure and less impactful to your audience compared with Facebook or Twitter. That’s no longer the case. Over 100 million people in the U.S. use Instagram, and that number is growing.

As a mobile platform, Instagram is extremely accessible. Users can open it easily on their phones and browse the accounts they follow at leisure. This increased accessibility leads to more likes and engagement on Instagram content, which can ultimately convert to leads.

Also, people are responding more to visual content these days. Instagram is the visual content leader. Every post should feature a high-quality photograph or video. Use this tutorial on how to take Instagram-worthy photos.

Realtors can use Instagram to post breathtaking listing photos, appealing images of the areas you serve and videos and photos from trade shows.

Get on the Video Bandwagon

Video content has become increasingly popular in recent years. If you want to continue to improve the number and quality of leads you receive, look into creating video content. Videos can feature new listings, contests, home-buying webinars — the possibilities are endless. Get creative with the ways you use video and consider the types of content your audience wants to see. This will assist you in making more meaningful connections with new and existing clients.

Check out this tutorial on creating social videos for the first time.

Follow the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 concept has been around for a while, but now that we’re approaching 2019, it’s more important than ever to adhere to this rule if you want to be successful in your social media efforts.

What you post on social media should be 80% content that benefits your audience, such as blog posts about buying and selling, infographics, etc., and 20% content about your real estate business, such as certain milestones and marketing your services.

Since you’re delivering useful information that will help people navigate the housing market, they will be more apt to engage with promotional items from you when you post them.

Hook Yourself Up With a Social Scheduling Tool

Consistency is key to creating a social media strategy that will increase leads in 2019. You cannot post daily for a month and then drop off the face of the earth the following month when things get busy. Nor should you put out all your content for the entire week on one day. That’s a good way to make sure your content gets lost in the shuffle.

If you don’t have time to write new social posts daily, no problem. There are many social media scheduling tools out there that let you write a batch of social posts ahead of time, and the scheduling tool sends them out when you tell it to.

Popular options on the market are Hootsuite, Hubspot and Sproutsocial

Social media is becoming more nuanced but also more powerful. To continue to attract leads through social media, you need to adapt, just a little, to the ways that it’s changing.

Don’t forget! HomeActions sends out real estate newsletters on your behalf so you can stay top of mind with your clients. Learn more about how to get started today.

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How Can REALTORS Market Themselves to Millennial Homebuyers?

Millennial home-buyers are a big part of the home-buying market. While they’ve gotten a late start in homeownership compared to previous generations, there is now a significant uptick in the number of house hunters who identify as millennials.

This new group of home-buyers requires unique tactics when it comes to marketing yourself to them as a REALTOR®. If you’ve been in the biz for a long time, your old tricks might not work on millennials.

Use these tips to market yourself as a real estate resource to millennial homebuyers.

Be Comfortable Texting During Off-Hours

Millennial house hunters are going to expect you to use text as a means of communication. That doesn’t mean that calling is out the window, but millennials prefer texting to get quick information at their convenience. Not every question requires a long conversation — millennials may see phone calls in response to quick questions as time-wasters.

It also makes sense to anticipate the typical evening and weekend contact from millennials you would typically expect from someone working a job in a standard workweek. Millennials may also be attending college courses in order to advance their careers or chance vocations altogether, so be prepared to work around busy schedules.

Be Active on Social Media

Millennials, like no other generation before them, are getting the bulk of their news online — even through social media. These days, you can follow all kinds of news outlets to get quick updates about what’s going on in the world. Being active on social media is a great way to get in front of millennial home-buyers. Be sure to post about your listings, share what sold, feature open houses and give other real estate updates. Also keep your social media content varied by sharing interesting tid-bits related to home-ownership. Millennials will follow the businesses they frequent in order to stay connected with ongoing events.

Provide Reliable Reviews

Since the internet is inundated with reviews, millennials know they can’t trust all of them. That’s why you need to provide reviews in more than just a written format. If you can get a past client to submit a video testimonial, it will come off as much more authentic than a written review that could have been faked easily.

Not only that, but make sure your business website as well as your Facebook and LinkedIn pages have verifiable reviews. Facebook is now following the online review trend, offering review posting to its users.

Be an Educational Resource

A great way to promote yourself to millennials is to be a real estate resource for them; position yourself as a voice of authority in the industry to increase your clout and gain their trust.

Millennials will engage through experiential learning, so give them just that. You can host events at your office or at a local restaurant or pub as a networking opportunity for newcomers to the area to get to know their local real estate agent. Or you can offer first-time home-buyer classes in person or online. Sessions like these give your audience a taste for the kind of expert advice you can offer.

Be Consistent With Your Real Estate Newsletter

One of the best ways to stay top-of-mind with home-buyers from every generation is through consistently reaching out with your email newsletter. Millennials in particular are accustomed to this kind of communication from businesses dealings, and they typically subscribe to a variety of email newsletters as a means of accessing deals or keeping up with offerings from their favorite businesses.


Providing bimonthly e-newsletters featuring great content about real estate news and trends will give you an edge with millennial home-buyers. If you don't have your own real estate email newsletter yet, click here to get started with HomeActions™.


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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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