Real Estate: The Secret to More Leads

It’s a common misconception: If you build it, they will come. Unfortunately that field of dreams ideal doesn’t work when it comes to the world of websites; truly it hasn’t worked for some time. Years ago, when the web was new, there were relatively few people actively using the internet and thereby fairly low competition. These days all but the most behind the times brokerages have at least a nominal online presence and the competition has gotten FIERCE – to have any hope of getting your share of this lions market you need to be online and bringing your A game.

One of the best ways to do that is by using social media and channeling all of your traffic to the best place for it to go – Your Website.
So how do you make that happen?

You Gotta Work It!
You could be the best REALTOR® in the world and if you don’t tell anyone about it they will never know. The same can be said for your website. It’s out there on the web with a billion other websites, all trying to be number one in the search engines. Your best bet to eliminate some of that noise is to refer real live people you know to your website from the get-go. Tell all your friends, tell your family, look up old high school buddies – shout it from the mountain tops! However you choose to do it, whether it be social media, coffee meet ups, or even print marketing – you’ve got to let people know you have a site if you want them to use it. The website that works the best is the one you promote the most.

More Traffic. More Leads.
It’s really that simple. It comes down to numbers. If your site isn’t getting traffic you won’t be getting leads. If your site is already getting traffic and you’re still not getting leads that tells you there may be problems in what visitors are finding – or not finding! – when they hit the site itself. So how does one get more traffic? Start by telling people about your site as mentioned above, from there get active in local community events to find sponsorship opportunities, put out door hangers, post local classified ads, and leverage social media. Make sure you include your website address on every piece of advertising you create, whether it be printed or digital. Focus your online efforts by stopping posting links to the big box real estate sites to show your listings; send those links to your website instead.

Be Active and Helpful.
Whether it be on Facebook through answering questions or making insightful posts in groups on a regular basis ( you ARE active in local Facebook Groups, aren’t you?! ), or publishing articles on LinkedIn you should do whatever you can to establish yourself as a resource to the people you’re connected to. Become an authority in your field by creating useful information and helping those you engage with to accomplish their goals and overcome challenges – you will gain more trust and a better reputation through being of service to others than through any spammy or self-serving methods. At some point someone who is thankful may want to “pay you back” for being so helpful; rather than ask for money or coffee just politely ask them to leave you a kind review or to keep supporting your online efforts by liking or interacting with your posts.

Establish a Routine – and Stick To It!
The biggest place any advertising efforts, particularly on social media, fail is in consistency. So post daily and interact often, the worst thing for people to see is a page that hasn’t been updated in years. While still not yet a major factor, one of the growing indicators of importance in search engines is incoming traffic numbers and one great way to boost that is by channeling your audience to your website. Do this by posting quality content and always, always, including a link to your main domain. It’s easy enough to do at first when you’re new to social media, it’s the sticking with it month after month that can be a challenge but it’s also what makes the effort pay off.

Do you currently have a real estate website that’s under performing? Maybe you’re just not satisfied with a page and a paragraph on your office site, or some freebie site from your national office, no matter what the reason we can help you step up your website game and move more real estate! We would love the opportunity to talk with you about what you’re currently doing and how it might be improved to help you get optimal visibility online. Contact us today to see how we can help!

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Real Estate Social Media: Selling Versus Serving

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If you’ve been using social media for a while now ( with any success) you’ve likely already noticed that as an advertising platform it doesn’t quite work the same way as traditional mediums have in the past. Call it information overload, call it saturated with sales, call it what you will: your social media audience doesn’t want to be sold to.

…but how are we supposed to SELL anything?!

A wizened social media sage once said:

“Social media isn’t about selling to the people you’re connected with, it’s about connecting with the people you’re selling to.”

The secret, like in many things in life, is finding the balance. Your marketing efforts must serve your success, but to be effective online they must also serve your clients.

Chances are the people in your sphere of influence, your fans, already know you are in real estate . Those who are newly exposed to your digital presence likely won’t have a hard time figuring it out, especially if your social media portals are properly branded.

So why are you selling selling selling so hard? And if social media marketing isn’t for selling what GOOD is it?!

Increase Awareness
With so many major national portals out there, and most agents, offering basically the same search capability on their websites the content you create on your website and social media portals may be the only chance you get to stand out from the crowd.

Shouldn’t you then do your best to show them who you really are and why they should choose you over one of the other nameless thousands?

If you specialize in a particular niche market this is especially important to focus on as even if your audience knows you are in real estate generally they may not know you have a special expertise they could benefit from.

Establish Trust and Become an Authority
People trust others that they know and interact with more often. By creating a page that is interesting, informative, and relevant to your audience you are establishing yourself as a source for quality information and as an authority in your field. Encourage fans to ask you questions; use them as status updates or blog posts.

It’s never bad to look like you know what you are talking about.

Both of these things together can boost overall brand recognition and keep your name in the fore-front of past clients minds – who as we know in real estate can become return clients! – as well as in the periphery of new fans as well.

BUT HOW DO I SELL STUFF?!
Patience grasshopper. The path to enlightenment is wrought with dangers and distractions on all sides. It is good to feature your services or product from time to time, especially if you have something worth tooting your horn about.

For best results follow the hamburger rule of social media: 80/20. You want 80% of everything you post to be interesting, relevant, humorous, or related to your audience or your community – the 20% that’s left?  That’s for your harder marketing. Give this technique a try and see how it works for you!

Working in this industry we see the best and the worst of what’s being put out there on the web by real estate professionals. We’ve got to tell you, there is no surer way to cause your fans to become non-fans or  even worse to have them just zone out of your efforts altogether by creating a stream of posts that is nothing but pictures of your listings. Face it, it makes for REAL uninteresting reading. Every once in a while take a look at your own page from an objective viewpoint.

Keep these things in mind when evaluating your impact:

Would YOU want to read the things you post there?

Does your content feature local area events or interests?

Are you establishing yourself as a SOURCE for what your audience needs?…or just adding to the noise?

When you DO market are you be sure to drive traffic to your main hub?

We’d love to hear the things YOU are doing on social media to be different and to better serve your clients rather than just trying to SELL to them.

REALTORS: Don’t let the Winter months catch you napping!

beanieIt’s the holidays at last; for many that means time to turn off the cell phone and put business aside to focus on other things. And while that is certainly true, the holidays and these colder months do tend to be slower months for real estate, so there’s no reason to just toss away productivity altogether.

It’s a good time to make the most of some extra down time in order to get a running start on Spring. If you make the most of the available time you may be surprised to find you’ve already gotten a jump on making sure the coming year is a prosperous one. Here’s some ideas:

Rejuvenate and Re-evaluate.
Take some of that time for you. No,REALLY. By not taking care of yourself you only make it harder to find the strength and motivation to do the things you must. It’s also good to take time to reflect on the current state of your business as well as where you want it to go. Give some thought towards what you can DO to make those things happen.

Clean out the cobwebs.
The ones in your contact database. We know we know! UGH! Contact management. Yeah, it’s tedious, but having an updated and current list of valid contact will only help you focus your marketing efforts more efficiently. It wouldn’t hurt to take the time once your list is clean to go ahead and get a spring time or new years mailer ready to go as well. Don’t just throw out old leads – in many cases buying cycles come back around, so even if they’re not buying now they may be in the future, or looking to sell.

Spin Some NEW Webs.
When was the last time you looked at your own real estate website? When was the last time you edited or added anything to it? Block in some time to take a look at your website and review the information there to make sure it is current and geared towards your target audience.

Go Prospecting!
No, not for gold…although, maybe of a different kind.Holiday prospecting isn’t limited to Christmas cards! With SO many networking and social events going on this time of year it would be crazy not to get out and make the most of at least a few of them! You may be surprised to hear this from a tech company but face to face time is still one of the most powerful methods of gaining referrals and making new clients around. If nothing else it’s generally a way to get some great free food and beverage!

Lay the groundwork for the coming year.
Do you google yourself? Admit it.
If you don’t you probably should. Better yet, do that first then google your competition. Study and follow and learn. Take what is good from what they are doing and combine it with whatever it already successful for you. It may be a good time to start learning some of those social media marketing skills that you’ve been putting off – it’s only going to become more important next year.

Write your 2014 business plan. On paper. With a pen.
Take your ideas and desires for the coming year and write them down on paper. This tactile experience allows you to let your imagination go wild – sketch, draw, doodle – take the ideas in your head and just get them all out in ink. Now take the best of those and put them in bullet points to be your goals. Put these plans and goals some place near where you work to keep them in mind. They can be as simple as “get an updated wardrobe for meeting with clients” or as big as “be a million dollar producer”. Think about what you want, SEE it in your mind, and then build the things you need to make it happen.

If your plans for the new year include a new real estate website – or even revamping your old one – we’d love to talk to you!

REALTOR Marketing: Content is (still) king!

Content Marketing for Real Estate
The rules for SEO change. The trends in social media come and go; the networks themselves are constantly changing their formats. One thing that has not changed is that your website visitors want good content – noGREAT content. And if you are actively providing relevant, interesting content chances are you are not only going to see more traffic but also more visitor engagement. Enter Content Marketing.

Content marketing is not a new thing, in fact, in it’s most simple form it has been around as long as there have been people online with whom to interact. There should be no doubt then that it is not a fad; as consumers gain more and more control over what they choose to take in their appetite for straight hard sell marketing is waining. Just like the way DVR has given the end user the ability to simply fast forward through commercials, so too the web offers surfers the ability to turn off ads or to simply unfollow sites and pages which are too ad-heavy.

Creating great content is more than just regergitating what others have written, and it’s more than just becoming your own personal press. It will never (thankfully) be as easy as copy/paste; seeing real results from this marketing technique not only requires time to build momentum but also effort to run the long race. More than just creating content, you need to provide the answers to the questions your customers are asking. This is especially true in the real estate industry as there are literally millions of websites – including big name national brands – where people can search and find homes. The content you create may very well be the thing that sets you apart and seals the sale.

Here are some statistics to consider:

90% of all home buyers use the internet to find homes.

78% prefer getting to know an agent rather than know their ads.

70% believe companies providing quality content have more to offer.

Effective content marketing provides 3 times as many leads as paid search.

The key to putting content marketing to work for your real estate strategy is simple: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. This should be no surprise as that is one of the keys to any effective marketing. It makes sense that the same content that appeals to Generation X and Y will not be interesting to retiree’s. Single’s won’t have the same interest as small families or baby boomers. So do your research; know who you are looking to work with and how to sell to them in the manner that they will most easily receive.

Once you’re on the path to content creating nirvana remember: it is essential to let people know about what you’ve written! If you are simply writing in your little box it won’t do you a lot of good – no matter how much your mom likes it! – so be sure to publish and distribute your articles on social media, your website, and other sites like stumbleupon. A little bit of cross platform sharing can go along way – now get out there and create!!

Not All Website Templates Are Created Equal

housesUpWith the return of real estate we’ve seen an influx of up and coming fly by night website providers passing through the area – talking fast, blowing smoke; making big promises.

But fact is, we’ve seen the other templated real estate web designs out there; they simply don’t measure up.

When you have the same exact same website that a thousand other REALTORS® the search engines can tell; what’s worse your potential clients can too! Not all website templates are created equal! A picture and a paragraph won’t win you much visibility in searches, and while there are any number of cheap, or even free, website systems out there none of them offer the level of customization and content control that a real estate website from Tour Real Estate Inc. can offer.

We know the real estate industry – we’ve been working to help build it for over the last decade – and we know how important technology is for this industry because we’ve been part of it’s growth in prominence. We know agents don’t want to be pushing buttons, the want to be moving houses, and we strive to make technology something as approachable as possible.

All of our websites come with a powerful client side content management system that allows you to control nearly every piece of text on your website and to customize how search engines and clients will see you online. We invite you to talk with us about your website needs – whether you are looking just to get a template up quickly or have visions of a full custom design, we can help!

REALTORS: Building Social Media Success

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Everyone is coming to realize as more and more websites get online you really must have some way to set yourself apart from the hundreds of millions of other websites online.

One way to do this is through social media. Social media provides the most accessible, easy to use, and widest reaching platform for nearly any business model – this includes real estate. We’re glad to see so many Realtors waking from the Field of Dreams marketing mentality and taking interest in seizing their digital destinies.

It is for that very reason that we’d like to offer some good general practices for finding more success in your social media efforts.

Be Patient
Rome wasn’t built in a day – neither is any kind of success that is worth while. It
will take time, even months, to really begin to see returns from your efforts.

Be Consistent
When fans know what to look for they can look forward to it. Use whatever network you like, but use it every day for best results. There is nothing more embarassing than having someone visit your page and see that it hasn’t been updated in months.

Be Relevant
Don’t know what to say? Listen to what people in your target demographic are
interested in. If your focus is the 55+ crowd posting stuff about the hot new boy
band probably won’t win you any fans. Providing content that is relevant to your audience is the best way to gain interaction and keep fans coming back.

Be Bigger than Real Estate
Make your focus not just real estate, or promoting your listings. Use the rule of
hamburger – make your content 80/20…that is to say 80% positive thoughts, quotes, jokes, pictures, or local interest posts; maybe 20% about real estate or hard marketing your services.

People today are bombarded by thousands and thousands of pieces of advertising every day; if you are just one more source of things for sale you will likely be tuned out.

Be Realistic
Social media is not a silver bullet for all your marketing needs. It will not instantly make your traffic soar or bring in a flood of leads — furthermore that isn’t what it is even about. Social media isn’t about selling to the people you’re connected to, it’s about connecting with the people you’re selling to. It’s about building relationships and establishing trust online.

Have questions about how you can benefit from social media? We’re always glad to talk shop! Contact us with your questions and be sure to follow us on our social portals to stay up on the latest news and tips to help you move more real estate!

We Move Real Estate – and Our Office!


We’ve Moved!

Update your address books – we’re in a brand new office here in Meridian, Idaho!  Same amazing real estate technology services in a great new location!

For over a decade Tour Real Estate has provided the very best online marketing for real estate agents in the Northwest; we continue that vision today.

We have many great developments in the works for the coming year and want to thank all of our customers who have enjoyed our sterling services so far – you have helped make us great!


For payments and meeting arrangements our NEW office is located at:

Tour Real Estate Inc.
1406 N. Main St. Suite 109
Meridian, Idaho 83642

Not a Tour Real Estate customer yet? Why not!?
We provide some of the best, most dynamic real estate websites available on the planet! More than just templated websites we also specialize in custom REALTOR® websites for individual agents and brokerages. Connected Socially? So are we! We love helping real estate professionals make the most of today’s popular social networks – visit our website today to get just a taste of what we have available.