Posts Tagged ‘real estate marketing’

100% free profiles for real estate agents

December 30, 2008
Hopefully this will get your new year started on a positive note

Hopefully this will get your new year started on a positive note

The economy’s in the tank (no news there), and real estate sales are… well, at the bottom of that tank, with just 416 sales in Edmonton in December, so far. (The Edmonton Real Estate Blog is good for giving such sales updates.)

That’s why we at What-Customers-Say.com have decided not to charge for agent marketing profiles. Well, that’s not the only reason, but that’s a big & good one.

No charge for marketing profiles on What-Customers-Say.com
Yup, $0. Totally free. So whether you have a marketing profile or not (see an example of one here), there’s really no reason not to participate in What-Customers-Say.com — and let your clients help you with your marketing. …Not that we’re pressuring you to join! 🙂 We’re just knocking down barriers for those agents who can benefit from our services but may not be doing well enough to provide anything in return right now.

What does a “free profile” mean? 
Y’know when you sign up for a free version of something, like, say, some software application, and you get this really watered down version where you have to pay to add on all the stuff you really need? Well, we’re not going to put you through that. You get all the bells & whistles that are available today, including:

  • Your photo
  • Your marketing messaging
  • Your contact info
  • A property listing
  • Add-a-comment (testimonial) feature
  • Email updates every time someone leaves you a review
  • Details about activity on your account (on your sign-in page)

For free.

Well, how is What-Customers-Say.com going to make money?
Dunno. Got any ideas? 😉 We’ll see. But what matters right now and for as long as our little site is around is that Edmonton real estate agents, Sherwood Park real estate agents, St. Albert real estate agents… and every agent across Alberta & the country (as soon as we go national) will be able to get a free profile. And that profile — with all the wingdings listed above — will cost you a whopping nuthin’.

What do you think about that? Let us know!

~jw

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Why do I blog?

December 22, 2008
Blogging to keep a record for my graduate school final project

Blogging to keep a record for my graduate school final project

WhatCustomersSay.com is not only a Web site but also a case study, which is part of my final project for my graduate program. (I’m very interested in social media and, in my day job, I drive the social media marketing team. My grad studies are helping me to fuel my passion from an academic perspective.) The topic of/thesis for my final project isn’t worked out perfectly, but it revolves around these questions:

  • How can professionals & organizations market themselves online today when they do not necessarily control the messages about themselves &/or their companies?
  • Can a self-serving organization truly release control of their messages to users/the public at large? How much does an organization need to control the messages about it?–to what lengths will they go to keep messages coralled?
  • And, finally, what happens when you surrender total control and let people say what they will about you?–what kinds of professionals & organizations are doing this successfully… & unsuccessfully?

This blog has been not a way to voice my opinion — although it seems to have become that — but rather a journal of happenings that I will be able to use to compose the case study element of my final project. The majority of the entries in this blog are here simply as a record of happenings. An artifact. (more…)

Marketing genius pulls down all 10 GREAT ratings!

November 12, 2008

I am having the hardest time believing it. A real estate agent who got a whopping 10 REVIEWS —- all of them super-high —- in JUST ONE DAY (today) emailed us tonight to ask us to pull his page down and remove all those reviews.

Now, we’ve had some unhappy real estate agents ask us to pull their name off the site, and we’ve complied when they’ve had legimitate reasons to come down —- but we’ve told them that we can’t prevent people from adding them back in. (EARTH TO DISSENTERS: Start managing your online reputations. Pull your head out of the sand: your clients WILL talk about you. Why are you all sooooooo resistant????? What are you trying to hide?)

But we’ve never, ever, ever had a real estate agent with 10 REVIEWS ask to be removed from the site. It sounds like the real problem for this real estate agent was that he didn’t like not being looped in on the conversation early on; it’s an ego thing. He thought we were compiling reviews to solicit his business. Ha! Hardly. This is a customer-driven engine. I guess the joke’s on his poor clients who actually took the time to rate him. (BTW: Clients, we’ll still enter you in our Amazon gift card draw.)

DISSENTING AGENTS, HEAR THIS: We are not here just for you. This site is not built just for you. Keep your “business” all to yourself — we’re certainly not begging you to join our site. Only real estate agents who CARE about their customers need join. (more…)

7 signs of a motivated agent + a poll

November 4, 2008
Everyone says they can sell your house - but who actually can?

Everyone says they can sell your house - but who actually can?

You already know that selling your house in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Regina, Victoria… um, everywhere in Canada or the US, really, is extremely sticky business right now. It’s tough, to say the least.  

(Unless you’re EREB, in which case you send out a press release claiming that resale is still a-okay – all is actually well in the land of real estate in Edmonton. Gee… isn’t it funny that the real estate association would say that? Yet another reason why What-Customers-Say.com believes in the voice of the customer: ‘cos real estate associations are, um, slightly biased. Understandably.)

So when it comes time to choose a real estate agent to help you offload that investment home you kinda knew you shouldn’t’ve bought a year ago, do you want to get a motivated agent… or do you want to face:

  • At least 3 months of being stuck in a contract with a real estate agent who’s not actually moving the needle for you — when every month that passes brings you closer to financial ruin?
  • The frustration of waiting for your agent to schedule an open house, put an ad in the paper, put your photos on MLS or even put a sign up on your front lawn? (more…)

You’ve got word of mouth. Now, how to amplify it?

October 29, 2008
Wish you could make your clients talk about you?

Wish you could make your clients talk about you?

Ah, word of mouth. That great, elusive golden ticket to free marketing…. Not quite, actually. Sorry to break it to you. But that doesn’t mean it’s not real + useful.

I worked for a word-of-mouth marketing agency for about 2 years as a writer-slash-project manager. We signed people up for marketing programs that got other people talking. But, when it came time to measure success, it was nearly impossible to report out any real data that suggested that word of mouth had increased.

Why’s word of mouth so hard?
Try as you might, it’s nearly impossible to get people to talk about you if there’s nothing to say about you. It’s like trying to write a press release when there’s no news — extremely difficult.

You’ve gotta be doing something different — something much better than your competitors are doing (usually not that hard) and much better than your customers/clients would expect (usually very hard!!! — but you’re up for the challenge as a great real estate agent, yes?).

And then, when you’ve got a little word of mouth, you’ve gotta find a way to turn that into a lot. You want to amplify word of mouth rather than just letting it do its little organic thing and then disappear without a trace.

Hanging your hopes on words in the air
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) breaks word of mouth (WOM) into 2 categories:

  1. Organic – The recommendations you get when you make clients/customers happy and they, in turn, want to see their friends as happy so they recommend that they use you
  2. Amplified – Using campaigns and tools to remind people that you’re totally worth talking about and to give them incentives to do so

Organic WOM usually looks like this: Sue, your happy client, stands in the coffee room at work with coworker Betty talking about the ugly state of the real estate market in Edmonton & Calgary. Betty (more…)

Real Estate 2.0 – Inman gets it right

October 17, 2008

For those of you who subscribe to Inman news, you’ll probably have read Bernice Ross’s article or post on Web Marketing 2.0. It’s definitely worth the read. Here’s what I posted as a comment on her article, which I thought I’d share with you.

Bernice, this post hits on the new reality, which is that the next generations of homebuyers and sellers will not *fall for* the marketing messages that real estate professionals put in front of them; nor will they travel all the way to your site for a boring experience when they’re already using fun sites that can help them find the right agents, the right homes, etc.

So, how do you market yourself online today?

Blogs are fine… but, as noted, they’re hard to keep up because *you* generate the content… and you’re too busy for that. (And, with a new blog created every second, they’re also old news.) *You* also generate the content on Twitter.com, and *you* have to do all the work to try to get followers, which is not easy.

What Real Estate 2.0 actually allows is more user-generated content. That’s where the value is. Let your customers do your marketing for you! I mean, it’s the absolute easiest way to market yourself. Engage in “profile marketing”, as Bernice pointed out, and just let the people you’ve served well talk you up to the 1000s of people visiting customer review sites every day. Oh, and the people who find you on agent review sites are actually qualified leads because they’re actually looking for an agent… unlike on your personal site, where they’re just filling in your registration form in order to see your listings before they leave your site.

TripAdvisor.com does it for hotels. Avvo.com does it for lawyers. Yelp.com does it for small businesses. Buzzillions.com does it for products. And What-Customers-Say.com does it for real estate agents in Canada.

~jw

Welcome, Jason Hafso!

October 6, 2008

K, so we don’t normally publicly welcome new real estate agents to our site… but Mr. Hafso happened to find our site through this little blog, so I wanted to say hello to him and thank him for reading. 🙂

Best of luck, Jason! Hope you can make it out to the tradeshow in Edmonton on Oct. 21…!

~jw