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 – just because your site is out-of-date.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!

REALTORS: Think you don’t need a website…?

With the economy still in a sluggish state the cost of doing business seems like it’s at an all time high and this leaves many real estate professionals looking at whether they can afford to maintain their online presence, or if it’s even worth doing so.

The fact is that just having a website – even if you decide to “set it to flow and let it go” – has become almost EXPECTED if you are going to be in the business. Much the way business cards are still, or the way yellow book ads once were, so a website is today.

Now, it’s no secret, Tour Real Estate Inc offers some of the most powerfully dynamic real estate websites on the planet. Our sites feature full content control, social media integration, and multiple great listing marketing tools. But even if you choose to simply have us set up a website and you never touch it again ( which we really don’t recommend for the best results! ) there are a myriad of reasons to at least have a website.

Over 80% of potential home buyers and sellers begin looking online before they ever even think of talking to a REALTOR®. Much like the lottery, if you aren’t playing you have NO chance to win your share of this market.

 

Keep up with the competition. Just about every agent or office with any clout has finally gotten hip to the internet “fad”. To even hope to break even with your local competition you need to be online. Without at least the facade of technology on your side buyers and sellers are a lot less likely to take you seriously – or be able to even find you at all.

 

Better exposure. For your listings, for your services, for your clients homes! By having a website you are able to add one more visible place to present your listings, and to leverage potential sellers. The internet is recognized as one of the top ways to advertise and your clients know this. Would YOU hire a real estate agent that wasn’t using all of the latest available methods to help you when it came time to buy or sell?

 

Your Broker will love you. Did you know that by linking to your office website you are helping them gain better exposure online? It’s true! What’s more by having a TourRE website you can automatically display listings from your office, helping gain digital exposure for every single listing they have. Tell the boss we said they owe you lunch!

 

the market won't come to youExpand your market. The internet is a global network. Your website is visible far beyond the local area you serve. By customizing our already powerful website functions you can expand your potential marketing reach to include people looking to relocate to your area. Add social media into the mix and you can exponentially increase this benefit.

 

dolla dolla bills ya'llSave time and money. A real estate website allows you to showcase your listings, your offices listings, HUD’s, Bank owned homes, and the newest listings with absolutely NO effort on your part. Those resources are there 24/7 for clients and potential clients to make use of. Having a site online allows you to turn even quick handshakes into possible leads – you may not have more than a moment to talk to someone but it’s always easy to say “Hey if you need to search for homes here’s a place where you can do it for FREE…”

But WAIT. Isn’t having a website actually COSTING me money?  Well, yes it is, but how much more time and expense could it be saving you? Rather than having to hit the streets wasting gas, or spend cash on print ads, or spend time researching listings you can send clients to your site where they can find out all they need to know. When actively used as a marketing tool a website can free up countless hours of time and hundreds of dollars in costs. In addition, by having so much automated by your site you can provide a much higher level of service with nominal effort.

The list goes on but after these key points is there really any reason to question the fact? If you are in the business of real estate you need to be online.

TourRE is glad to be a part of the return of real estate! For over 10 years we’ve been at the forefront of real estate technology and are excited to continue to grow by helping agents and offices reach their full potential online. We offer a variety of services including templated and custom web designs, as well as social media management for REALTORS®, lead capture websites, virtual tours, and more. Contact us when you’re ready to get in the game, or, if you’re already playing along talk to us to see how we can improve your score!

REALTORS: Social Networking Success

The game has changed, but there’s still a lot to be said for a good name.

Technology has revolutionized the way real estate is done; this can both be your biggest challenge and your greatest asset. For a short while SEO alone offered a refuge for the small but determined individual, but with the recent changes to Google’s search algorithms the stability of those methods has come into question. While a firm foundation in solid search engine optimization is still the best place to start, in this increasingly competitive market you need a little more to get ahead.

Enter social media.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about Facebook, Twitter, and some of the other big boys of the social world online. You are likely already using at least one of these type of networks for personal use. And you’ve heard of others using these systems to increase their real world interactions and to create more business – you may even have business account setup – but aren’t really sure what they’re supposed to be doing to help.

Here are some things to consider when evaluating your social networking strategy:

realtor social managementSocial media success is a lot more than just a lot of icons on a page. Just having profiles setup on those sites really isn’t enough.

It’s called social networking for a reason. It works most effectively when all of the elements are interconnected and working together. It’s a fact, over 80% of all potential home buyers look online before they even think to start working with a REALTOR® and social media can help you improve your chances of being the one they choose.

More and more people these days will search and skip right past the first few results to see what returns show up from social networks. Many are even simply skipping a search engine altogether and searching directly ON the social networks in question.

The question is: what will come up when they search for YOU? Is what they find best serving your goals? If you’re not sure you may need to more closely examine how you are presenting yourself online.

You see, what shows up in those social results is just as important (maybe even more so) than the fact they show up at all. There is nothing more embarrassing or sad than clicking a link to a blog or twitter profile only to see “Last Updated, March 9, 2010”; the only thing close is to visit a profile and see nothing but the bare bones information or “coming soon” promise.

So the first best tip would be: if you’re going to have a profile on a social network USE IT. Make sure it is up to date – or if you don’t intend on updating it frequently make sure the content and information you put there will stand the test of time.

The last best tip would be: USE the social profiles you have. (sounds similar to the first tip doesn’t it?!) Social media, like your website itself, is just a tool and like any tool it can’t help you if you don’t use it. A $5,000 titanium alloy hammer will sit in the box and never drive a single nail if it is not used; the  same thing applies to social media.

Social media can help you increase your digital footprint and gain more exposure for your website, listings, and services, but you need to make sure all your profiles are connected and presenting a consistent message.

Even in this technology driven industry word of mouth is still one of the most powerful ways to gain referrals and new clients. Social media is the digital form of word of mouth. If you are providing great content and maintaining interaction levels with your follower base you may soon be amazed at the fact that they are the ones driving the success of your efforts online as much as yourself.

By leveraging these networks and nurturing your audience you can in essence custom tailor the face you present to the world online. Isn’t it best then to make sure you’re wearing your best winning smile?

Have questions about using social media? Too busy to blog? Too tired to Tweet?  We can help you understand social network marketing and even offer a number of social media management services for today’s progressive real estate professionals. Contact us to find out more!

REALTOR Twitter Tips 2: So you want to be a real estate twit (some more) ?

We’ll assume you’ve already created your shiny new twitter account correctly. If not this article should help in that area, and feel free to read our first Real Estate Twitter Tips article here.

That aside there are a few things you’ll want to focus on to help get you on the fast track to using twitter more effectively. Like all social media it is encouraged that you access and use these profiles frequently (at least daily) for best results. Thankfully most major social networks are very mobile friendly which only increases their practicality through ease of use, and allows for exceptional response time when handling follower activity.

Remember the first basic simple things that come with ALL proper profile setup: Visit any available settings and enter information pertinent to you or your business. This means about text, any place you can put a link
to your main site (if you don’t have one, shame on you), and adding a profile picture. If you aren’t going to make use of the available tools don’t complain when you get less than stellar results. For many setting a non default [egg] profile picture doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but let me tell you it’s the little things that count. Having a default profile picture, or even a low tweet count, can be the first biggest block to losing followers.

Special REALTOR® Specific Tip: If you plan to use your twitter account for any largely visible real estate marketing and want to customize your background image, make sure you include the Equal Housing, National Association of REALTORS, and Your Regional MLS logos as well as (depending on your mls requirements) your office logo prominently in the image. This can help avoid technical problems with your mls or brokerage down the road.

Ready? Now TWEET!
…but don’t get carried away. once you’ve learned how to do it, the 140 character limit almost becomes like a challenge; it’s easy to go overboard. Tweet well, be entertaining, be relevant, but don’t be a flooder. It’s better to break up your tweets and spread them out over the course of a day rather than a dozen at a pop. Posting too frequently or in large uninterrupted bursts (Flooding) your stream can cost you followers, be thoughtful; considerate.

Even with a 140 Character Limit: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words.
Post photos. Services and apps like instagram make it easy to post images; sharing sites like Pinterest have become all the rage. Don’t let 140 character limit slow you down, get creative and reap the benefits. Humans are visual creatures; you very well may see your highest levels of interaction based on an image you post more than any smarmy quip.

Be a good listener.
It’s about more than just putting stuff out there though. Yes you want to interact often and posting great content (or at least links to it) must be par for the course, but beyond that there’s a whole other level of network nurturing to be done. Be there to serve. A big part of your success and visibility socially is what others say about you; being positive and offering assistance tends to garner better responses. If someone asks a question and you know the answer, put it out there. Retweet and share the links and tweets of people you follow (this is a compliment) and by helping get the word out about their posts you can often expect the same in return.

Follow back those (NON-BOTS) who follow you, even if they are technically your “competition”, as every follower potentially expands your overall exposure eponentially.

Search twitter for regional keywords (the cities where/around where you operate) and find other local people and businesses to connect with. Working your local-most sphere of influence is where you can very often see the bigger online interaction as well as the most real world returns.

Are you a real estate professional using social media to get the word out about your services or listings? We’d love to hear from you, talk some shop, or even try to answer any questions you might have. Drop us a line here, and feel free to tell us about your own online experiences (include your links!).

NEW Real Estate Website Template: Helot


Tour Real Estate Inc is proud to announce our latest templated real estate website look – Helot! This new look comes in 4 different color themes to choose from: Tan, Blue, Red, and Black & Tan. It also includes four different flash slideshows to choose from.

This new template features all of our standard homepage modules (which you can fully control) as well as a prominent built-in quick search right on the main page to help get visitors looking at real estate FAST!

Like all of our templated websites we are glad to offer customization for any of our website clients at a low cost to help make this look unique to them. Whether it be a set of custom buttons, or a special header graphic to help make this look unique we are glad to be of service.

Are you suffering with an unattractive or difficult to navigate website? You don’t have to be a victim of bad web design! TourRE can help you make the most of your online presence in order to showcase your REALTOR® services and listings! Contact us today to find out more!

ALL of Our Websites Are Elite

The Best Realtor WebsitesMore real estate websites from Tour Real Estate Inc appear in the top search results than websites from any other one company, and there is a reason for that: websites from us provide the tools and resources you need to market your online presence effectively.

Other website companies offer freebie websites that don’t do a whole lot, or offer to “upgrade” your website to their specialized package of functions.

We want to let you know that our websites come in one flavor: AWESOME.

Our pricing has stayed consistent and competitive over the years; even though we now offer more functions than ever there has not been an increase in our costs in over 5 years! Fact is you can still get one of our powerful real estate websites online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for about what you would pay for a print ad to run one single time.

We offer more than just websites in a can. Our websites come with a built in powerful content management system that allows you to control your content and search engine visibility. Along with all the features that come standard with your website (like over 50 templates to choose from) we also offer great marketing tools like the ability to create your own photo tours, creation of graphical Craigslist ads, and social network publishing for your listings.

All that and more backed by some of the best customer service in the industry. When you call or email us with an issue you will receive a prompt response, not a forwarding message to some call center. We strive to make ourselves as available as possible in order to provide personal dedicated service to all of our website customers.

It’s no secret, in today’s technology driven market you’ve GOT to be online to move real estate; your website needs to be the very best it can be. That’s where we come in. Contact TourRE today to find out what we can do to help you strengthen your digital exposure.

Why you need a websiteOur Sites Excel

REALTORS: You May Be Online But Are You Social?

We’ve been preaching about blogging and leveraging social media for years; we’re glad to see so many great real estate professionals finally coming around. Despite it’s relative ease of use and wide availability however the fact is REALTORS® don’t want to be punching buttons on the computer all day, they want to be moving more real estate!

Tour Real Estate has heard your cries of frustration and in response have begun providing exceptional search engine optimization and social media management services for the real estate industry.

Our Gold Package SEO Service is an add-on service in addition to our standard real estate website services that will help improve your website’s search engine visibility and social exposure.

Here are some details regarding what the service includes:

Blogging – Blog Setup includes setup of an external blog which links to your site, an RSS pull of your listings, and multi-month blog posts targeted to your keywords.

Social Management – Setup of Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages with custom images and links to your website. Fan Pages also include conversion to the new Timeline format and a custom search tab that allows fans to search from within Facebook – driving traffic to your site! In addition to weekly posts to these social profiles we also manage and nurture your followers to help your fan count grow and to remove unwanted spambots.

Backlinks – Quality backlinks to your site come standard as part of the setup of your blog and social network profiles. Beyond that we also offer over 200 extra backlinks and in the future this functions power will grow exponentially as Gold Package customers will be available for a very special real estate marketing engine that we are developing — potentially creating thousands of high quality external links to your site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – a review and consulting session on your target market includes a search engine results placement (SERP) report of your current standing in search results, as well as keyword research for your specific goals to make sure your website is optimized for the best keywords to get results.

This service is ideal for progressive real estate professionals looking to invest in their digital presence, but we realize it may not be for everyone. Some of you may already have a blog but just don’t know how to use, or simply are active on social networks but just want to understand it more.

We’re always glad to talk shop! By following this blog, or our other social profiles you can get a lot of great free info! Beyond that we can also customize a social or search engine strategy for you’re specific needs!