It doesn’t matter if you’re a seller, a buyer, or both – you should take advantage of what technology can bring to the table as a real estate agent. Gone are the days of waiting for customers to come to you or knock on your doors – thereby giving you a potential buyer or seller. Through the internet, the social media platforms that exist, the advent of mobiles phones, and other technological factors, the real estate business has gotten faster, more competitive, and more flexible.

Here are some ways technology can help you be a successful real estate agent:

Take Advantage of the Social Media

Everybody is on social media nowadays, and that includes your potential customers. Most real estate agents are starting to build up their social media sites – and you should, too!

agents-guide-to-social-media

It is proven to be very good for your business if you have social media accounts on all the big networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and even Instagram if you snap a lot of pictures of the properties you sell). Interact with users, share good press, and promote your properties.

Social media helps a lot in building a good reputation when it comes to accessibility: customers and potential buyers would definitely choose a real estate agent that can easily be contacted, especially through social media. Also, if you can provide a good way to entice potential clients (perhaps by making good snaps of your houses through Instagram, interior shots in Pinterest, or maybe a 360-degree video of the house through Facebook), you can easily attract customers.

Build a Good Website

Aside from social media websites, people are now looking at websites first before they go to open houses. As a rule of thumb, if you have a low-quality website (or no website at all), it is more unlikely for potential clients to trust you. So if you need to hire a web developer, do so, because it could make a huge difference.

trulia

Today’s consumers prefer to start their legwork online when making major purchases, and that does not exclude real estate buying. This is where they look up vital information about the houses they want to buy such as where it is, how near it is to key establishments, how much it is, how trusted it is, and much more. Make it easy for users to access all of this information – make sure all your property pages have great photos, virtual tours, and easy access to Google Maps and Google Earth.

Furthermore, learn about listing syndication. Sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor all have 0listing syndication enabled. This is a concept that allows multiple sites to receive automatic feeds from the original listings. Basically, it collects data and feedback from the original sites, based on the interactions with consumers. Sites like this show analytics such as number of clicks, time spent on page, and who made the appointments. It can also show heat maps to reveal where users were most drawn to on the page.

The information is invaluable for generating results sellers want to see in your marketing efforts. It also shows you where you should be spending and where you should be cutting back.

Use Photography as an Advantage

Sometimes, you have to think of a real estate property as a commercial product. Like any other commercial product, real estate can be sold with good first impressions. Successful real estate relies heavily on great photography, and that’s the truth! Bad photos diminish interest in even the greatest of properties. Which is why you’ll often hear knowledgeable real estate agents say, “When it comes to real estate, pictures, images, and visuals provide far more value than words. Whereas written and spoken words only describe a property, pictures tell the entire story.”

beautiful-photography

It is important that you have attractive photos of your properties. Hire a professional photographer (preferably one who has the experience of photographing homes and architecture), or, if you have sophisticated equipment and are confident in your abilities, try your own hand at it. Just remember, this is one of those scenarios when it often pays to bring in the professionals.

Photographers, or artists in general, understand the human psychology involved in producing great pictures: they know the right angle to choose, the correct color scheme, and the best time to take a picture. Because of their expertise, they can attract buyers to tender your real estate service.

Video Production

Another powerful imaging tool is video, which can be used to show a virtual tour of your property. There are limitless angles and locations within your home that can be viewed through this feature. It provides an excellent interaction for the online viewer who cannot otherwise walk through the home.

Aside from video tours of the home, you can also incorporate a little bit of audio-visual advertising featuring yourself. Nothing says “Sell your house for cash today. We’ll buy it.” better than a nice short advertisement clip.

photography

Advertising professionals can greatly help with your cause. They can pinpoint which parts of the house should have footage, which angle to view them from, what kind of lighting should be used, etc. They make the house more attractive to potential buyers, especially those who are too busy and can only afford to view online.

Nurture Campaigns

Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with buyers at every stage of the sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer’s journey. The idea focuses every marketing and communication effort on listening to the needs of prospects, and providing the information and answers they want. It’s a marketing tool that’s successful for many commercial products, and it is proven to be successful in real estate, too.

Think of it as trails of breadcrumbs you leave for someone like Hansel and Gretel to be lead to a house. Only this time, you’re using the breadcrumbs to lead your potential customers to their dream house.

Basically, what you do is to leave your clients a trail of quality breadcrumbs (that they should see subconsciously) by controlling your interactions with them based on previous actions they’ve taken. A good example: if they first attended an open house with you, send them an email about other nearby houses on the market. Also, while you’re with them, try to study what their likes and dislikes are. In this way, you can lead them into other houses that are more fit for them and may still be available for selling.

If they attended your first time homebuyer’s seminar, send them your “10 Things Every New Homebuyer Should Know” eBook that can guide them in their decision to picking their dream home. Deliver content that can actually help your clients take the appropriate next step, depending on where they are in their journey to finding their dream home. This is how Nurture Campaigns basically work.

Real Estate Applications

It is very helpful for real estate agents to be able to access their listings anytime and anywhere, especially through their mobile phones. The major websites like Zillow and Trulia have apps that make it easy to view your listing, so it’s important to post your home on these sites. It’s also important that your content be optimized for mobile.

Zillow’s Chief Marketing Officer Amy Bohutinsky revealed that an average of 600 million homes are viewed on mobile devices per month. That’s 223 homes per second! This is why mobile apps are becoming a huge platform for Real Estate to be involved in.

Finally, it’s important to take all of the other technologies mentioned above and use them in unison: use good videos and photos and post them through your website, your social media, and your accounts on real estate applications. Build your nurture campaign based on the responses you get, and work a lot harder.

Eventually, you will become a successful real agent thanks to your avid use of helpful technology.

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The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

If there’s one topic that gets people fired up it’s web design. To succeed online, a smartly designed website is crucial. Something that brings in visitors and keeps them on your page, absorbing content.

Unfortunately, what constitutes a great site isn’t always agreed upon, and there’s constant debate of best practices, what’s hot, what’s not, and what is the cancer that is killing the industry. The argument still rages on, and recently it’s moved on to these commonly used web design elements:

The Carousel

“We’re not at the park, so why are we going around and around? Because people keep designing their sites with these blasted carousels” is just one of the commonly heard gripes about this supposedly interesting design choice.

Unfortunately, we have to keep clicking left or right to get another little morsel of information that the designers have deemed us worthy to handle. Are they afraid we can’t read full paragraphs? This one isn’t just a matter being annoyed personal preference, however, Carousel designs actually harm your websites performance.

They kill local SEO efforts by starving your site of actual content, the slow your site down with huge image files and JavaScript, and they are so confoundingly bad that nobody clicks through them all the way. The naysayers might have a point on this one, Carousels are way more trouble than they are worth.

Parallax Scrolling

You’ve seen this technique on graphics heavy sites in which the foreground and background scroll at different speeds. It creates a feeling of depth, helps tell a story through visuals, and looks pretty cool when properly implemented.

Unfortunately, it comes with some (resolvable) issues that may make it a waste of time. Like the Carousel, use of Parallax Scrolling is damaging to SEO. Since there’s usually just one page and a bunch of images, there’s no text content for search engines to crawl through and rank.

The abundance of images reduces performance (and completely kills performance on mobile devices). Most damaging of all though, is that the technique can just make it confusing to absorb any useful information, which will cut your number of repeat visitors down tremendously.

Think about it, would you stick around on a website where your only navigation option was to scroll downwards through hard-to read image/text combos? Of course, there are examples of Parallax Scrolling done right, so the argument is there that it’s all about how you choose to use it.

The Hamburger Menu

That three lined symbol in the corner on most websites that you click to access navigation options is commonly known as the hamburger menu.

While it does look cool, and you can see why one might be tempted to clean up their navigation by having it sleekly displayed in a drop-down menu, many say it kills a websites discoverability.

When your navigation options are out of sight, they are also out of mind, the thinking goes. There’s also the argument that it’s less efficient, since you’re forced to go to a separate menu just to see your options, but that’s more a matter of personal taste, it would seem.

We may never get definitive answers on whether these trends are good or bad, but it seems pretty clear that if you are going to try to incorporate any of these ideas into your design, you have to do it with care.

We’ve given you an overview of the tons of free web design options out there for building a pretty good site. When you have to move up to the big leagues though, it’d be prudent to hire some big league talent.

Professional web developers like Big Drop (out of New York), or Brown Box Branding (Dallas TX) offer great designs coupled with high level marketing strategies proven to keep the visitors coming back to your site for more.

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