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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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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How To Post Your Email Newsletter Content To Blogs And Social Media

Do you have a great email article that is just begging to be shared on your social media business pages? You may be able to easily share your email articles directly from your marketing newsletter. Many email platforms allow you to post your email newsletter articles with just a few simple clicks.

Quick Tip: Create a Guest Record First

In order to produce links from your email articles to be used in social media marketing efforts, consider creating a “Guest” contact record. Use the first name “Guest” and the last name “Contact” (or something similar) and your info@ or contact@ email distribution to set this record up. Additionally, you may complete the record with your business address, phone number and any additional contact information you would like to share to route interested prospects to your company. This way, any links or articles you use from your email marketing on social media can be tied back to your guest database record and your business contact information. Another benefit of this practice is that any personalization you may have used in your email will simply display as “Hello, Guest!” or a similar generic greeting. This will add a universal appeal to your emails when you forward your newsletter to interested parties, post the latest edition to your website or share articles with your social fans and followers.

Next Step: Start Sharing

The social sharing function of an email article varies between platforms but is usually a straightforward process. To give you an idea how an article can be shared, here are the steps you would take if you posted an article from this newsletter to Facebook.

1. Click through to the full article. At the top of the article you will see a “Share” option. Click to share.

1. Click through to the full article.

2. Choose which social network you prefer. At the bottom of the social sharing tool window, you will see an option to share the article to one of the four major social networks. Click the icon of your preferred social network.

2. Choose which social network you prefer.

3. Choose whether you’d like to share to your personal or business page. In the Facebook example we’re showing here, you’ll have the option to share to your own timeline or to a page you manage.

3. Choose whether you'd like to share to your personal or business page.

4. If you manage multiple business pages, choose a business page. Pick from a possible list of business pages you manage, and then click the “Post to Facebook” button.

4. If you manage multiple business pages, choose a business page.

Success! Your post will now be on your social media site for all your fans and followers to read.

Success! You have now posted an email article to Facebook.

Using a social media management tool? Platforms like Hootsuite and others allow you to post to multiple social networks simultaneously, and also schedule out future posts. If you’re using a social media manager to schedule your posts, simply grab the URL from your full article (once you have clicked through to the full article view) and schedule your article to multiple networks as a link post.

Posting a Newsletter Article to Your Blog

Posting an article from your email newsletter to your blog can be as simple as copying and pasting the text from your article into your blog. You will need to take some additional steps to format the article to look appealing on your blog. You will also need to make sure you have the right to distribute any purchased content you may have bought for your email marketing on your blog and social media sites. HomeActions does allow our users unrestricted use of content on social media and blog sites, but each marketing provider differs in that respect.

Blogging TipsAdditionally, you can make your newsletter articles more SEO-friendly by changing 100 words of the article to be unique to your company’s blog. Google and other search engines will look at your content as original if you change a portion of it and put your own stamp on the article.

You should also add keywords to your blog post. In the first article of this newsletter, Is This Your Situation? “I Need To Get The Word Out About My Ancillary Services…”, we list four ways you can add relevant keywords to your blog posts to help get found in organic search results:

  1. Do some keyword research
  2. Add keywords to your blog’s title, URL and subheadings
  3. When using images, add keywords in the image file name and alt and title tags
  4. Also use links to outside resources in your posts to increase your likelihood of receiving backlinks in return

Don’t forget to connect blog readers with your email newsletter. Once your newsletter article is posted to your blog, add a closing call to action that says something to this effect: “Do you like what you see here? SIGN UP to receive more tips from us every two weeks. SUBSCRIBE NOW!” This will give organic blog visitors a chance to opt in to your email marketing program.

This marketing best practices strategy is an excellent way to repurpose content across multiple channels to maximize the value and life of your marketing articles. Stay consistent in your efforts. Set up a social media and blog schedule that follows your email launch schedule. With these simple steps, you will be well on your way to increasing the exposure of your email marketing content by sharing it to your blog and social media sites on a regular basis.

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.

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