New Real Estate Website Feature: Assigned Testimonials

As part of our on-going mission of constantly refining and improving our system we’ve recently add some great new functionality to our testimonials section.
Many of you know, earlier this year we made our testimonials even easier to enter and edit by making them able to be organized via drag-and-drop. Now we’ve improved this function even more for real estate teams and real estate brokerages by providing a means to assign the testimonial you’re creating to a specific agent.

real estate websites

We love making our system even better and passing the improvements on to our real estate website customers! It’s one of the things that sets us apart from other development houses: we listen to our customers. If they have a need and we can provide it, we’re glad to spend a few clock cycles on getting it done so that we can improve our system for all it’s users.

More than websites in a can, we’re a local and highly experienced real estate technology company; we’re happy to be able to provide something unique for those who call on us!

Do you need a real estate website?
Whether it’s for a single agent, a team, a brokerage, or even a builder – if it’s real estate related we can build an effective web presence for the world to see!
Contact us to start realizing your vision for success today!

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Real Estate Apps: Consider This

As a provider of exceptional real estate technology for over a decade we’re often asked our opinions on current design trends and programs making their way throughout the industry.

We feel honored that so many well respected agents and brokerages would look to us as a source of insight into these items; as such make it a priority to be succinct with the information we provide. Whether it be just an agent asking if an email they received is a scam or more in depth questions about best SEO practices we’re always glad to talk with our clients and offer our knowledge towards their success.

One subject that has been a hot button item for a little while now is real estate apps!

We frequently get agents calling and saying “Oh this salesman that was in our broker meeting says we ABSOLUTELY have to have an APP! Gotta have it!” – which is exactly what someone selling apps would likely tell someone they thought might buy one.

So to help dispels some myths we’re putting together these quick points on why a real estate app might NOT be a good idea.

Cost
Apps are not cheap. Even when they promise and guarantee and offer payment plans. If you’re getting anything that’s not already pre-made for someone else it’s going to start around $5k and go up from there. Don’t forget, once it’s built it may still need updates and upgrades to stay current and functional.

Ease of Use
So you find a trustworthy developer, sign a contract, pay your money, and your shiny new app is ready to go…now what?
Well, you’ll need to get it approved and added to the google play and apple stores so people can find it. You’ll need to market the app so that potential users will even know it exists of course, and once they find it they’ll still need to decide if it’s something they want, install it and approve the permissions it needs before they can use it.

You STILL Need A Website
Even if your app goes off without a hitch the hard truth is there is still a large part of the population that will not use your app, even if they know about it. In fact, even if people are using your app you will still need at least the most basic of websites to legitimize yourself in the eyes of most clients and have any presence in search engines. It’s become as much a part of business as having business cards; while it’s never good to put all your eggs in one basket it also doesn’t make sense to just buy baskets because someone said you needed one.

A Better Way…
At Tour Real Estate Inc we provide truly mobile responsive web design! Nothing to download, nothing to install. You just tell your clients to go to your website and they’re greeted with a streamlined experience that puts your services as well as your listings on display in an attractive and easy to view format.  You’ve only got to promote your website – as you should be doing anyway – with less cost and time investment than any app could offer. We currently have several elegant real estate web design template that are fully optimized as well as mobile compliant and we’re always glad to offer custom design for those who really want to stand apart from the competition.

While we encourage people to diversify their marketing strategies whenever possible we also strive to help folks keep from spending money frivolously when there is no need to do so. We hope this information has been insightful into some of the reasons why a real estate app might not be the best idea and that you will feel free to contact us should you have any real estate technology needs that we can assist with!

UPDATED FEATURE: Agent Roster

profiles

We’re gearing up for an exciting new year! As part of that we’ve been finishing up several refinements for our real estate website system. Specifically in this case our Agent Results pages for real estate team and brokerages. This updated layout features larger agent profile pictures (so be sure to login and update that photo to something new!) as well as a more streamlined and consistent data-set that put makes the pertinent info for each agent easy to read.

Next up you can expect to see improved agent profile pages as well as stunningly elegant property search results and details pages!
These sort of system updates have been part of our standard service protocol for years. We want our customers to be as successful as we can make them, so we don’t up-charge for every new function under the sun – we just keep making our websites better so that you can reap the benefits!

Are you a real estate professional who is ready to level up their game in the new year?
We can help! For over a decade we’ve helped shape the real estate technology industry; we have the tools and experience you need to seize your digital destiny!

A New Site Is The Answer

In retrospect to our previous entry “A New Site Isn’t The Answer” we’d like to offer you insight into times when a new site is in fact the answer.

Not to contradict ourselves of course, we want you to understand all situations are different and some times not having a quality website can be at the core of your world wide woes. While just having a website on it’s own is no cure-all method for instant success the importance of a strong and highly visible central hub for your digital presence can not be denied.

If you’re not sure about if you’re in need of a new website here are some reasons you may want to consider:

Back In My Day
Yes, we know dancing animated gif houses and auto-playing midi music was all the rage back in 1997…but if it’s been more than a few years since you revisited your website design chances are it’s long overdue. Even without considering the obvious changes in design trends that effect how the visual aspects of your site are perceived the technical side of web design must be taken into consideration as techniques and functionality change often in the world of web development.

Not Mobile
50% of all online traffic is now on a mobile device; that’s HALF of all the potential clients in the world who may be trying to navigate your site. Don’t risk losing out on such a huge chunk of the market – especially millennials! – just because your site is out-of-date. Google has already begun penalizing non-mobile compliant websites by removing their visibility in mobile based searches, so if your site isn’t mobile chances are it’s already being found less often.

Brokerages Free Lunch
Got a page on your brokerages website? Maybe it’s even got your name as part of the address? They mean well, but sadly if it’s not a website you control, where the leads come to you directly, where you are the showcase agent on every page and listing, you’re missing out. A picture and a bio on your corporate site is better than nothing, but it’s not going to give potential clients the confidence to choose you as the agent for them.

Penny Pincher
We know Realtors have a reputation for being spend-thrifts, and hey, that’s fine, nobody likes paying more for something than they have to pay. If the cost of getting your own site seems a bit much just stop and think about what the value of that expense really is: the most cost-effective means of advertising your services available. You see your website, when used properly, is more than just a digital business card – it’s a sales employee working to market you online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

In relation to the average costs of being in the real estate business ( licensing, fees, memberships, desk costs, etc ) your website is in most cases one of the least expensive parts of the machine that makes your success; by comparison is a tiny fraction of what you stand to make from each client you serve.

In the end it’s up to you to decide if a new website is the right way to go for you; there are certainly any number of places to get one built these days. Regardless of who builds your site it’s important to understand that a site alone is not a complete solution but merely another tool to help build your success. It’s easy to play the role of the barber and tell you that you need a haircut, but the truth is not every situation is the same and sometimes a new site is not the answer. We’d love the opportunity to speak with you about your current real estate marketing plans and how we can help make them even more effective!

The Magic Formula For Online Success

struggling
Despite the internet being around for over 20 years many real estate agents are filled with misconceptions on how to best use it for their business.
This is in part due to their lack of fully embracing the technology as well as a ton of general misinformation online from an abundant number of “online gurus”, coupled with the fact that online marketing itself is a fast paced and constantly changing industry. Believe it or not there are a number of very simple things one can do to increase their online visibility and success – with the understanding that simple does not mean easy, neither does it mean the results will come over night.

We’re often asked what the secret is to getting more leads; we’re sorry to say there is no one silver bullet. Just because something is working for your competition doesn’t mean it will work for you; what works now may be obsolete in a few months. A very basic formula for figuring what kind of leads might look like Traffic X Conversions = Leads. Now, what you want to look at there is that more traffic itself doesn’t mean more leads, but it is a big part of the equation. So how do you get more traffic? Here’s a few ideas:

Social Media
Having your own website is still key to legitimizing yourself and establishing a brand presence, but without a means to reach out beyond your personal sphere you can find yourself doing little more than shouting in the closet; this is where social media comes in. Unfortunately, even the real estate professionals who are using social media are often using it poorly. Most social experts will tell you post post post post post…and that’s fine…posting is definitely a big part of what you’re there to do, but it’s only half the puzzle when it comes to social success. If you’re just starting out it’s perfectly fine to focus just on posting until you get your legs under you, so be sure to:

Post consistently on your business page – no this doesn’t mean posting an endless stream of houses, it means creating quality content.

Post in Facebook Groups – these are great, generally local or niche focused groups where you can touch a (hopefully) already interested audience.

Post on Instagram or Pinterest – if you’ve got a knack for images either of these platforms can be huge. Be sure your images are compelling and interesting.

Publish on LinkedIn – the new Publish feature is one of the few things that keep this platform relevant. Post in-depth content here to let people know your a real authority.

Use Craigslist – the quality of leads can be questioned but fact of the matter is posting here with a focused effort can lead to more traffic on your site.

You can get some more good REALTOR® Social Media Tips here >>

Niche Market Sites
Have a specific market you are focused on? Equestrian properties, or a specific part of town? Having a niche market to aim for can be a great way to stand apart from the general noise and also gain good search engine position. If you have extra domains you’ve purchased that are simply forwarding somewhere, or not being used at all, consider a simple one or two page “splash” site that caters to a specific market; drive the leads to your main web presence from there.

Just Do What Works – What Has Always Worked
Create relevant engaging content, publish it regularly and promote it adequately. This means putting in the time – or paying someone else to – to blog consistently about subjects that your audience actually cares about. Beyond just writing the blog make sure you’re sharing it on social media so that as many people can potentially see it as possible. Get out there in the real world and network – shake hands, put out door hangers, and attend community events to get your name out there. Drive traffic to your site by always including a link to your main website – not zillow, not trulia, not wherever your virtual tour is – to insure that you are channeling as much traffic to your main point of contact.

Trust the Process
That’s what your trainer tells you, what your life coach tells you, and even if all the rest of what they tell you is bunk they are right on this point. If you are doing all of these things and struggling to see results don’t quit! These things take time! Social media especially can take months of regular work before it begins to show any signs of return – so be patient. Do the things you know will bring results and stick with them, after all it’s the last key in the ring that most often fits the lock.

realtor social management

Facebook as a Real Estate Tool?

realtor social managementMany real estate professionals are finally catching on that social media is not a trend, but even those who use it regularly may not understand it’s potential as a real marketing tool. Knowing how to use the platform – or hiring someone that does – will soon become even more important as recently Facebook announced progress on it’s graph search. This is just one signal that the social media giant is turning it’s head and beginning to listen to what a growing portion of it’s user base – business owners – are asking for.

At it’s most basic Graph Search is a new search feature that makes it possible to perform specific searches based on what your friends are posting, including their likes, shares, and comments. It also allows you to find references to threads you may have long lost or stopped following, making it a potentially amazing tool for not only seeing what possible friend-clients may be interested in but also for searching the archives of the net for important past campaigns.

Here are a few of the benefits of Facebook’s Graph Search:

  • Target Your Niche – Graph Search allows you to research and connect with people who may be in your niche (i.e., people living in a specific community or town).
  • Search by City – Location location location. Local based searches will be the future of seo and being able to direct your marketing effectively towards a specific geographic region on social media is powerful.
  • Discover Local Favorites – Use the Graph Search to find local favorites like restaurants, bars, entertainment venues. Connect with those places and explore partnership opportunities there. After all you’ve got to go where the clients are.

It’s interesting to see Facebook let a wider audience sip some of the magical big data juice that the platform has plugged into it. As Facebook begins to see the greater resale value of the information it gathers expect to see more and more of this kool-aid to trickle down to the thirsty masses of marketers!

Want to try it out now?
http://search.fb.com/

Ready for Winter? Is your business?

Winter has always been a little bit slower paced for real estate. People are generally busy getting ready for the holidays and budgets tend to run a little tighter. Rather than sit it out practicing your Maytag Man impersonation the slower months in Winter are an ideal time to keep your game sharp.

Here’s some tips on making that happen:

Play Catchup.
Organize files, clean that bottom drawer, comb the database, unsubscribe to spam, defrag your hard drive…Sounds like a blast doesn’t it?! Fact is these are all day to day drudgeries we put off that tend to build up and kill productivity – so take the time.

Get In Touch.
Get in touch with past clients – hey, the holidays are all about cards from people you haven’t talked to all year, so make one of them yours! Get in touch with your market too – review data and study trends. Get in touch with your media – if you’re going to be spending all that time crushing candy on Facebook you could just as easily be engaging your audience and building a following to help jump start your Spring.

Update All the Things!
This means that agent photo you took when you passed CE. This also means updating old text on your bios and taking a look at your website as well. Chances are there have been some new features or tools released that you can make use of to leverage a better position online.

Play Price is Right.
Winter time sales can be tough, so it’s all about nailing that right price and making things perfect for prospective buyers. Take a little more time, or even expense, and get listings looking great – even consider house staging to help seal the deal.

Plan to Be Awesome.
Being amazing doesn’t just happen. If you do nothing else spend some time taking a look at this past years success, focus only on the good, and then put that down as part of your plan for the coming year. Planning is essential to success, so make sure you take the time to look forward and decide where you want your path to lead.