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Why you NEED to send out open house invites to the neighbors…More Secrets I Share With Friends

real estate listing flier sampleMy next door neighbor recently listed her home for sale and this Saturday it was held open for the first time. What a spectacular home! Over 5000 sq. ft. of pure beauty, and the agent who has the home listed had really nice marketing materials to match the elegance of the home.  Trust me when I tell you, my photos of his marketing materials don’t do them justice, but it is a 11X17 folded brochure, printed on 14 pt. cover stock and it’s beautiful.  This listing flier is so eye-catching that as my children passed by it on the kitchen counter, they all stopped and took note of it.  Each of them said “Wow, this is one of the nicest marketing pieces I’ve seen in a long time,”  and they see a lot of marketing pieces.  His business card is printed on a 16pt. matte finish with gold foil printing and they definitely stand out.

Here’s my one problem with his approach to marketing this house.  He didn’t let any of us (the neighbors) know it would be open on Saturday. This agent clearly understands that marketing is a necessary investment with the look of his marketing materials. They’re stunning!

My thoughts are that those marketing materials would impress a lot of the people in this neighborhood if they were invited to stop by. Open houses are “nosy neighbor magnets!” Nosy neighbors who are many times interested in home values, the market and in many cases trying to determine if it’s a good time to sell. Neighbors are like low hanging fruit on the tree of real estate agent leads, you just need to harvest them by inviting them to stop by.

Here’s some ideas on how to invite the neighbors:

  • Go door knocking and personally invite them, provide them with a listing flyer in the event they can’t make it.  Make sure to ask them if they have any questions about the market.
  • Use services like Cole Information Systems to get a current mailing list of the surrounding homes and call those that have phone numbers, invite them to stop by. (Mention this magazine/PrinterBees when contacting Cole and receive a 25% discount!)
  • Send out Just Listed/Open House postcards with an invitation to stop by. (Cole Information Systems provides the needed mailing list)
  • Use door hangers as you walk the neighborhood and become a familiar face.
  • Include a sign rider on your for sale sign saying “open this weekend.”
  • Hire some teenagers to hand out “Open House Fliers” to advertise the upcoming event and so they know they’re invited.

Activity breeds activity and people like doing business with someone they view as successful and busy. You’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to grow real estate business if you’re not exploiting the opportunities you have to be in front of people, while you have the activity of a listing.

How Realtors Can Have A Kick Ass Marketing List And Get More Listings

mailing lists for small businessIt’s my perception that one of things that stands in the way of a Realtor® getting their marketing out is the need of a mailing list. It’s a very common question we get at PrinterBees when a real estate agent wants to begin a marketing campaign. We always…always…ALWAYS suggest beginning with your sphere of influence to create a great mailing list. But…For some agents, contacting their sphere of influence is so far out of their comfort zone they can’t bring themselves to do it. While I may not agree, I do understand which is why I’m offering up another solution.

If you’re considering a postcard marketing campaign, you need a good mailing list as one of the main ingredients for success. Without a quality mailing list, your marketing efforts may go to waste. The quality of your marketing piece and your database are crucial to the success of any real estate marketing postcard campaign.

It took about five years of hunting before I was able to find a company that offers this service, and I was elated when we found Cole Information Systems as a resource for our real estate and small business clients. Cole offers the ability to search addresses in a radius, by neighborhood, by demographics, home size and so many other variables to help you hone in on which are the right prospects to receive your marketing.

One of the examples I use in the book (The Secrets I Share With Friends, Everything I Know About Building A Small Business) is the marketing of a daycare center. If the owner of a daycare center wants to increase enrollment, marketing to a senior citizen community won’t likely do the trick. Marketing to a neighborhood that’s close to an elementary school, making sure the list includes homes with three or more bedrooms is going to provide a far better opportunity for finding the right audience. Cole’s service provides this capability and more.

The biggest benefit I see with using Cole is that they are a subscription based company which allows you do download and search as many addresses as you want. Not to mention that their databases are current. You aren’t paying for each address, so there’s no sticker shock, it’s a low flat fee. I’m not sure of the current price, but it’s super super reasonable. WAY less than buying lists.

I begged them for a deal for my friends and customers and I’m happy to tell you that you will receive a 25% discount when you mention PrinterBees or Real Estate Marketing Magazine when you sign up. I recommend getting a demo so you can see with your own eyes what the fuss is all about. It will also save you a tremendous amount in postage costs simply by not mailing to bad addresses.

Use Referral Code: PrinterBees
Use Referral Code: PrinterBees or Real Estate Marketing Magazine to Save 25%

Here’s their information:
Cole Information Systems
http://www.coleinformation.com
800-800-3271

P.S. Make sure you subscribe and get your copy of Real Estate Marketing Smarts, The Secrets I Share With My Friends. Once you get your list in order, you might need some tips on marketing to it.

 

 

 

The Shocking Truth about Postcard Marketing

If direct mail is one of the methods you use to market your real estate business, you’re going to appreciate this information. The Direct Marketing Association puts out a study every year about what type of marketing gets the best results as well as where you might be wasting your efforts.  With all of the hype about Internet marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization marketing, content marketing, etc., the results may surprise you.  And it was all researched, so it’s legit!

Get this….Direct mail marketing was named the most cost effective marketing medium, even over email marketing. It was also identified that postcard marketing is the most effective method of direct mail marketing, offering the highest response rates.

52% of postcards are read, as compared to 35% when the mailing piece is in a letter sized envelope. The study also showed that 34% of letter sized mailings were thrown out, compared to only 21% when the marketing medium was a postcard. It’s believed postcards are more effective for direct mail marketing then letter sized envelopes due to convenience for the person receiving it.

Postcard Marketing StatisticsAs someone who studies marketing, the most interesting part of the study for me was how effective direct-mail marketing is and how well it works. When people were asked about purchases made as a result of different types of marketing, direct mail marketing won, hands-down.  The study also showed that response rates to direct mail marketing increase as people get older.  When you combine that information with the fact that NAR (National Association of Realtors) recently reported the first-time home buyer is holding off longer and longer, it’s not the 20-year-olds that are buying houses, it’s people who are older and more likely to respond to direct-mail. NAR stated that the average age of people purchasing homes is 42.  Note: Direct mail came in overall at 65% vs. 66% for email, BUT when you look at the huge gap in response rates in the age group 18-24 (those who aren’t purchasing homes), it tips the scale towards direct mail over email for real estate marketing.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 10.51.32 AMIf you think about it, it makes sense. There’s no longer any competition in the mailbox. That all changed when the economy shifted, coupled with the quick growth of the Internet. The clutter that was once in our mailboxes is now in our inboxes, competing for our attention.  The mailbox is where you need to be to get noticed.  Most everyone must check the mail that comes from the post office, however email and the Internet is optional, impersonal, and not everyone has it.

Coming up with a “junk mail email address” is easy, people are getting smarter and more creative about guarding their “real” email addresses, making it more difficult to reach them.

The only way to attract leads that result in business is to have a real estate marketing plan in place that’s consistent and ongoing. Marketing is like food to a business and without it your business will starve. There is tons of information on this site on how to get started and I’m always happy to answer any specific questions you have.  I’m on Twitter @remarketingguru or @nadinelarder

Also, PrinterBees caters to the real estate community and can help you get your postcard marketing campaign off the ground.  The agents who market their businesses with consistent postcard mailings, and drip marketing campaigns, are seeing consistent growth. You can experience the same-just stay committed!

 

The Secrets To Surviving In Real Estate Sales

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 12.54.40 PMI was inspired to write this piece after watching an interview by CNN’s Anderson Cooper of Boston Bomber Survivor Adrianna Haslet.  You may remember her as the young dancing teacher who nearly lost her life and the lower part of her leg.  She has insisted from the beginning of her journey towards walking again that she will dance again.  As I watched her try her prosthetic leg for the first time, stand and walk for the first time since the attack, I couldn’t help but cry with her, I felt so overwhelmed by her courage and tenacity.  She’s one of those people who’s light shines really bright.If Dancing With The Stars does not have this woman on the show when she’s ready, someone should be fired.  They did do a tribute to her following the bombing, now they just need to have her as a contestant.

She told Anderson, “I’m not a victim, I’m a survivor” with such enthusiasm and a twinkle in her eye.  She explained that she wouldn’t live in that moment, the moment she lost her leg, she’s not going to let evil control her, so she left it behind and she’s not looking back.  She said “I’m not suffering, I’m thriving” as the interview wrapped-up.  Her choice to live vs. suffer speaks volumes of this brave young dancer’s spirit and I believe she’s going to use her life to inspire others, because that’s what she was meant to do.

You may be wondering what this has to do with real estate sales and marketing and to me is has everything to do with it.  Your attitude determines your outcome and when you have a victim mentality that things are happening “to you”, you’re not in control of you or your destiny or your real estate business.  You’ve set yourself up to think and believe that your life and your struggles are happening to you, instead of for you.  For your growth, to prepare you for what’s next.

People who become wealthy overnight often loose what they accumulate just as quickly because there was no preparation in getting there.  Many lottery winners find themselves bankrupt because they didn’t work for what they accumulated, they won it, purely out of luck.  There’s no wisdom with wealth not grown in to.

What we struggle with makes us stronger, wiser and more capable. Building a real estate business that’s thriving isn’t going to happen overnight.  It takes time, it takes heart and it takes the “I’m a survivor” mentality.  The harder you work at it, the better prepared you’ll be for success when it finds you.

You must be consistent and persistent, just like Adrianna Haslet has been about her recovery, as you build your business.  You can’t give up, just like she hasn’t given up.  If you don’t have leads, find a way to create some.  You’re in control of where you’re going, where your real estate career is headed and you’ll only reap the rewards of a success for what you put in.

Adrianna Haslet really inspired me and I hope she inspires you too!  She’s an amazing young woman.  A survivor.  See the interview below, it’s so inspiring and helps you realize that no matter what’s happening in your life, you can choose how you react to it, making lemonade from lemons.

How the quality of your database impacts the quality of your leads

real estate leads | real estate lists | real estate databaseWith postcard marketing being a great way to generate leads in your real estate business, it’s a great approach to building your pipeline, but it’s important to make sure you have a good list before your get started.

The quality of the list you mail to will have a definite impact on the quality of the leads you attract in to your pipeline. If you’re mailing to a bad or outdated list, it’s no different than doing an email marketing campaign to a bunch of email addresses that don’t exist.  The only difference between the two is that mailing postcards to a bad list of addresses costs a fortune!  The largest expense in any real estate postcard marketing campaign isn’t the actual marketing piece, it’s the postage and therefore a costly mistake you don’t want to risk making.

The quality of the list you mail to will have a definite impact on the quality of the leads you attract in to your pipeline.

So, how do you make sure your database is good?

Always keep your mailing list up-to-date and current. With approximately 12% of people moving each year, your database can become outdated in as little a six months. Keep it updated by keeping in touch, it’s such a great excuse to get in touch.  When you get returned mail, make sure you contact that person to get their updated address.  If they’ve moved as a result of real estate transaction and you don’t know the new address, the bad news is that you aren’t the Realtor® they chose. The good news for you…the Realtor® who did help them won’t likely keep in touch and with your up-to-date database, you will and may have better luck next time.

Get a CASS certification on any bulk mail marketing campaign.  A CASS certification gets rid of any bad addresses in your list by comparing it against what the USPS has in their database.  It has to be done by a bulk mail company and there’s a small fee associated with getting the certification, but using a bulk mail company to handle your mailings will lower your postage rates. Think of all the money you’ll save on mailing to bad addresses for months on end.

Subscribe to a list company that provides the most up-to-date information.  Cole Realty Resources offers Realtors® affordable monthly or annual subscriptions to unlimited and up-to-date mailing address information.  It’s perfect for managing a farm, and even better for getting just listed/just sold postcards out to surrounding (owner-occupied) households.  They offer unlimited searches, unlimited downloads and even provide apartment addresses.  Services like this help you avoid mailing to prospects that aren’t the right fit, therefore a waste of resources.  Contact Cole Realty Resources at 800-800-3271, mention Real Estate Marketing Magazine and get a 30% discountIt’s a HUGE discount, so make sure to mention the magazine!

Regardless of how you approach keeping your database in order, it’s important to make sure it’s up-to-date, on target and high in quality to keep from wasting your time and money on marketing that won’t bear fruit.  The quality of your database really does matter!

Spooktacular Halloween marketing give away ideas!

With Halloween approaching quickly, you may be looking for some “Spooktacular” ways to market your business, attract new customers, while building your brand and your pipeline. I have an idea that will get your name in front of every parent in the neighborhood simultaneously while they walk the neighborhood collecting candy. It’s like marketing on steroids when you consider the possibilities.

Handing out trick-or-treat bags imprinted with your information gets your name in front of an entire neighborhood with every child carrying one of your bags. You’ll save the parents who receive your imprinted bags from the panic of realizing they have nothing to collect candy in, I’ve been there! Trick-or-Treat bags make perfect lunch/snack bags, so it will likely be used past Halloween and the kids aren’t the ones packing it, their parents are!

PrinterBees has negotiated a “ghostly” good deal for you on custom imprinted trick-or-treat bags, at only .99 cents. Full-sized shopping bags are just $1.14 ea. Shipping and tax are not included. These non-woven polypropylene material bags are rugged, sturdy, tear resistant, reusable and recyclable. These are not plastic bags.

You could give away candy with no shelf life like everyone else OR you could provide a treat that keeps giving long after Halloween has passed. There’s lots of companies that print custom bags, we hope you’ll consider PrinterBees if you consider having some printed. At .99 cents each, it isn’t the “cheapest” real estate marketing campaign, but walking the farm you’ve already invested in, handing out treat bags that cost about a buck, seems like a great marketing investment to me! Check out what PrinterBees has to offer HERE

Some other good ideas might be stopping off at the dollar store to pick up glow stick wrist bands or the ones large enough to go around the neck. They come either six or eight to a pack and will likely be a huge hit with both parents and kids, especially if you walk your farm a couple of days before Halloween. The only issue with this approach is once you drop it off and walk, the marketing won’t last past the glow stick no longer glowing.

Sending a Halloween recipe postcard may make it’s way to the refrigerator, making it a good marketing possibility. I’ve also seen some Realtors hand out Halloween Safety Tip flyers as an idea. Mailing a postcard means not having to deliver them yourself! Win!

PrinterBees is handing out a custom imprinted flashlight that hangs on a lanyard and is also a pen. We figure it will be around longer than a piece of candy, doesn’t cause cavities and it’s awesome for safety. Win! Let us know if you want some and how many kids you have, so we know how many to send. They were .99 cents and to us a great investment in marketing. Contact PrinterBees if you’re interested in more information regarding the flashlights. 877-939-2337

How outsourcing your mailings could be saving you big money

Realtors, just like any other small business owners are always looking for ways to cut expenses when it comes to marketing. If you’re anything like most small business owners I speak with, you’re always looking for ways to cut corners, including preparing your own mailings while watching TV in the evening. I hope this post saves you from many paper cuts and from having to sit with address labels and stamps for years to come. I’m also hopeful you’ll be able to get more marketing bang for your buck with these money saving mailing tips.

My best advice is to outsource our mailings to a bulk mail house that offers discounts due to volume and better bulk mailing rates. Mail houses have the systems in place to take advantage of bulk mail rates by preparing the mailing in a way that saves the post office time and resources. When a bulk mailing arrives at the post office, it skips much of the process a regular piece of mail goes through, therefore costs much less. It many cases, a mailing done by a bulk mail house will cost less than if you did it yourself. You’re not having to mess with it and it costs less…win/win!

If you use a mail house for bulk mail, they will typically certify your mailing (CASS Certification), which means they will check it against the information the post office has to make sure the addresses on your list are deliverable addresses. The benefit to you is that you aren’t wasting postage on undeliverable addresses, postage is expensive. You also and you get a lower rate on postage because the mailing doesn’t include bad addresses that slow postal workers down. CASS certify your mailing can save you a lot on postage.

When you handle your own mailings, you are likely purchasing labels to print addresses on and labels cost .10-.20 cents each, not to mention the cost of ink. Mail houses print the addresses right on your marketing piece and you don’t have to mess with it.

You’re a Realtor® and you should be selling real estate, not messing with labels and stamps that cost a fortune when you buy them retail. When you get busy, your marketing may end up moving to the back burner because you can’t get to it. When you outsource, you can stay consistent and staying consistent with your real estate marketing is what matters most.

If you have a printing company you work with regularly, they likely offer mailing services and if they don’t, can usually make recommendations. Mailing and printing go hand-in-hand and should be in the hands of someone else so you can do what you do, sell real estate.

September is Realtor® Safety Month…How To Stay Safe While Selling Real Estate – A Must Read!

I had the pleasure of attending a Google hangout about safety in the real estate business which I found super educational and potentially life saving. It inspired me want to share it with you, it’s such important information for you to have.

Please take the time to watch the video imbedded below, it really could save your life,  filled with really useful information on how to keep yourself safe while selling real estate.

Things I hadn’t thought of before attending this Google hangout with regards to real estate sales and safety:

Make sure buyers are pre-qualified. Your lender partner will have a chance to get some basic background information and see client identification when they pre-qualify your buyers. Your lender can provide you with basic information about the people you’re meeting up with to view property, if you haven’t met prior. And… there’s no point in meeting up with people to view property who aren’t pre-qualified and can’t actually buy a home, that’s called wasting time.

Always meet new clients in your office and not at the property, unless you aren’t alone. For clients who insist, let them know it’s office policy and meant for your own personal safety. If they still don’t understand, do you really want them as clients? If they don’t respect your safety, they likely don’t respect you and will end up being the clients from hell.

Always let someone know where you are and who you are meeting with.

NAR advises against using your home phone number or address on marketing materials as a safety concern. It’s also a good idea to have any public records regarding your real estate license directed to your office as well.

A quick look at Facebook and other social media outlets prior to meeting with new clients will give you insights of potential danger as will a Google search.

Make sure you’re always paying attention to your gut and how you feel about a situation. We all have those senses that kick in when something isn’t right and If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, your safety is what’s most important.

What experience or advice can you offer to other agents in keeping themselves safe? Let us know on Twitter at @REMarketingGuru or in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you on such an important topic.

Substantially Lower Real Estate Marketing Costs With Help From USPS

real estate postcard mailing - EDDMIf mailing isn’t something you do everyday, you may not be aware of some of the cost saving programs available from the United State Postal Service to help businesses with their marketing.  These programs are really helpful for real estate agents who want to get serious about their real estate marketing.

There’s no longer any competition at the mailbox and in real estate, top of mind awareness is everything.  Postcard marketing (or other door-to-door marketing) is the best way to get yourself remembered, recognized and recalled when the time comes for someone to buy/sell real estate.  This article is Part 2 of the article title “How Using Just Sold/Just Listed Postcards Builds Momentum In Your Real Estate Business”.

The most expensive part of any postcard marketing program is the postage.  The cost of printing is pretty minimal when you consider the cost of printing is .14 cents (including tax and shipping) for 1000 4×6 postcards from PrinterBees.  Use these money saving tips to curve the costs of your postcard marketing so you can afford it and keep consistent with it.

If you have a small list or are just starting out, so you want to keep marketing costs to a minimum, go with a 4X6 postcard size and save .16 cents per postcard on postage.  The (current) cost of mailing a postcard First-class is .29 cents, that’s a $40 savings if you’re mailing 250 postcards when compared to the cost of a regular First-class stamp at .45 cents.  A 5.5×8.5 sized postcard requires a regular first-class stamp and cost .20 cents each more to print.  Some people have the theory that the mailman stacks the mail with the smallest on top too!

You may be thinking that bulk mail is the only way to save big on mailings and that you have to send out several hundred pieces to take advantage of the bulk programs offered.   A bulk mailing is any mailing over 250 where the first three digits of the zip code are the same.

Every Door Direct is a program offered by the USPS that is a fraction of the cost of a first class stamp.

STOP, Look, and Listen: Teach Your Clients How to Buy a Home

how to buy a houseI once heard that in the 1970’s, people were exposed to about 500 advertisements a day. That number has since multiplied to approximately 5,000.

If you are trying to help clients with the purchase of a home, it is crucial to help them in understanding your strategy and the purpose of hiring you. For example, I would encourage you to address that becoming a consumer expert on Zillow.com might be great for bar conversation at Happy Hour but won’t quite do the trick if they are serious about getting into a new home. I recommend breaking down for your clients the following point:

Syndicated websites such as Trulia.com, REALTOR.com, and Zillow.com are often displaying outdated content, thus it’s accuracy is dicey. A consumer’s best bet is to establish contact with an Agent to represent him/her as a Buyer from the beginning in order to team up with a professional who knows their story, knows what they want, and makes sure it can get done for them.

The problem REALTORS run into when working with consumers is the fact that there is no trust. This causes clients to second guess almost all advice and feel the need to demonstrate their value as a knowledgeable individual who has done his/her research. That’s great, but then what’s the point of using a REALTOR®? I would not hire a doctor that took my advice when I suggested he perform brain surgery when my head ached or a lawyer whom took my case without asking me any questions first. The immediate dissonance does not bode well for either of you.

Another point worth illustrating to your client is:

Calling multiple agents and spitting out the “call me if you have something and I’ll buy from you if I like it” line is ineffective at best. This is sound thinking on paper but does not work when put into practice nor would a buyer really want this type of service if it did work. Explain why:

1. If you “have” something, you are the Listing Agent

2. If you are the Listing Agent, you are on the hook to represent the Seller’s best interest at all times

3. If you are representing the Seller’s best interest at all times, how can the buyer ensure you are looking out for his/hers? (Note: This is to prove a logical point and is not inferring that you do business unethically)  Granted, there are agents that can represent both parties effectively and ethically, but is it wise to have your client assume that most do?

It’s simple. If your clients are looking for the best deal and the most effective results, it is in their best interest to do the following:

1. Hire an agent who is going to drive the transaction and get them what they want

2. Sign an agreement with them so it puts the agent on the hook (like a Listing Agreement)

3. Ask questions and be educated by a professional  throughout the process. If your client feels smarter than their agent, there is no need to provide direction to them, they should just fire them and look for another agent. Again, you wouldn’t tell your financial advisor, doctor, or lawyer how to do their job. If you did, and they listened, that would be a scary situation.

This experience should be a pleasant one and is probably one of the largest transactions of your client’s life. Make sure they are trusting the right individual to facilitate the searching, negotiating, and the sale. That individual is you.