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Real Estate Marketing

Top 5 false claims real estate pros use in their marketing

(MARKETING) Real estate pros are known for making sweeping proclamations about their quality without backing it up. Let’s discuss this annoyance, Andy Rooney style.

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I just wanted everyone to know that I am the “Number One Executive Evers,” I also help lead the “Number One Fastest Growing News Organization” in the world. We have the “Highest Reader Satisfaction On The Web,” and I was voted the “Best Wife In The World.” There, I said it.

What’s that you say? How can you disagree with my claims? I put them in print, they must be true! Alas, some of these may not be true, much like blatant imaginative statements made on real estate websites and business cards worldwide. Is this the stuff your marketing is made of? As most of you know, I’m not a Realtor, but I am a consumer who long worked 70+ hours at a boutique firm. With that, I give you my Top 5 Offensive (and often false) Claims:

CLAIM #1- Top Realtor

This is a personal favorite – simply Google “Top [insert your city here] Realtor” and the results are endless. How is it possible that hundreds of people are ALSO the “Top Realtor” in your city? This claim is frequently used because it is subjective, but when everyone claims this ranking, it falls on deaf ears!

So, what does your claim mean? Are you the top highest producing, the top recruiting broker in the city, or do you claim the top closing ratio? All of us here know that fluff is abundant on websites and canned material still rules the day, but if you have to fake it… it ain’t that good.

CLAIM #2- Your Neighborhood Specialist

There are many specialists out there, and several Realtors can specialize in the same subdivision, but don’t close your eyes, point at a map and pick a spot to farm, thus claiming your “specialty.” That would be like ME saying that I am THE Scripps Ranch, CA specialist (yet I’ve never been there and besides, the Bergs have it on lockdown).

I got a flyer on the door the other day. This Realtor claimed to be my neighborhood’s specialist and “Top Realtor.” Strange- I have never seen a sign in anyone’s yard with your name on it here – not once. Hmm… a look at the MLS and… nope, you haven’t had a listing in this subdivision since it broke ground four years ago, so my bet is that my neighborhood looked sexy and you wanted to be invited to the party. Fine, but don’t make false claims – your market will see right through you.

Please don’t say you are a specialist unless you really are! I would hate to go to a gastroenterologist only to learn he’s actually a pediatrician.

CLAIM #3- Top 1% of Agents

Top One Percenters get under my skin in a big way. Locally, there’s a super smarmy Realtor whose website features a clip art illustration of a guy with a huge screw in his back saying “don’t let this happen to you” followed up with his doctored photo, his name and claims to be in the “Top 1% of Agents Nationwide.”

I know he is a major producer, so I might believe him, but where does he get this number? Where does anyone not actually in the Top 1% get this number? If I were a Realtor and I was in the Top 1%, I’d be linking to every flashy site that mentioned my honor, lest consumers think I’m using a subjective term.

If you have a claim to fame (as I know some of you do), don’t just say it- back it up!

Your consumers would like to know – what are you the “Top 1%” of?!?!! Put “Top 1%” on your business card, but let people know what you are the best at (Top 1% of new home sales achieved in May 2016, Top 1% of Realtors who have been in the industry for under 12 months). Otherwise, to the consumer, it is fluffy fluffy fluff fluff.

CLAIM #4- Fastest Growing Company

This isn’t exclusive to Real Estate, but it is abused frequently in the industry. Look, there is a grassroots brokerage here that has cute marketing and is up to four agents; they claim to be the “fastest growing company” in Austin… how is this measured? By percentage? If you have two people in a company and add one person that year, your company has grown by 50% – woo hoo!

Wait, should I be impressed with that? Be careful of how you market your growth, don’t just make blanket statements.

CLAIM #5- Highest Customer Satisfaction

How is this measured? Did your assistant call after each closing and ask, “yes or no, were you satisfied with Mr. Realtor?” or is it based on a national survey, an Internet Poll, an obscure ratings website, or is it an honor bestowed upon you by a builder or your local Board? If you have proof, back it up, otherwise, knock it off.

The takeaway

The words “top,” “best,” and “specialist” are frequently abused in the real estate lexicon. Many Realtors have beaten these dramatic claims to death. Consumers do like flowery speech and if I were buying/selling, I would love knowing that my Realtor is the best. But as a consumer I can tell you – give me what I want – tell what you are the best at!

Blanket statements can come across as lies, so be specific! As Seth Godin says, “just saying it doesn’t make it true.” In your marketing and on your website, link to the sites that have given you honors, OR simply state, “Top Producing Re/Max Agent in Michigan!” Period.

#CrapClaims

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The Real Daily and sister news outlet, The American Genius, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Marketing

Dark data may be the key to your locked potential

(MARKETING NEWS) The key to a solid marketing campaign could be dark data if anyone can figure out how to actually use it.

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dark data bots search price procrastination, cta, laptop, work, desk, type,ibot

One trend that marketers and entrepreneurs alike are trying to utilize is the mining of dark data from social media. It may sound like something a supervillain in a made-for-TV movie may use to “hack the mainframe,” but it may be the crux of your next marketing strategy.

Research firm Gartner defines dark data as “information assets organizations collect, process and store during regular business activities, but generally fail to use for other purposes.”

This data is frequently unstructured, making it difficult to utilize effectively. Structured data is easy to analyze, it populates spreadsheets after a customer enters their information on your website and other clear roads of analysis.

Unstructured data, in contrast, is information that may be collected but its not utilized effectively. Almost 90 percent of unstructured dark data falls through the cracks and is never put to use. One big source of unstructured data is social media posts.

Customers will share insights into your business and brand through their posts about their purchasing habits. This is frequently done through not just through the selfie, but the captions associated with the photo as well.

A picture can tell a lot of information to people (what times of items you sell, their quality, and their overall experience) but the caption can help you understand more what their attitude towards those events are.

A picture may show an attractively plated meal, but the caption may talk about how there was a long wait for the food as well as poor customer service. These captions, and subsequent comments, can offer a keen insight into what people like and dislike about your brand called sentiment analysis.

Sentiment analysis can be utilized to understand attitudes toward your brand, and there’s multiple ways you can go about this. One method of analysis is through the building of word clouds which examine the most used words in a few days of dark data. Pro-marketers can easily pull dark data from those who like or follow a business’ social pages into software which can do the legwork for you.

Small business owners have some options that are less sophisticated but can still do sentiment analysis of dark data effectively.

The IProspect blog suggests to use “a blend of monitoring tools,” many of them free, to complete a sentiment analysis.

A better understanding of dark data means you aren’t limited to just basic social media analysis tools. With these concepts, you too can illuminate your dark data and shine some light on future prospects.

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Real Estate Marketing

NAR’s ad campaign about Realtors must be better because it’s on a roll

(MARKETING NEWS) The NAR’s Get Realtor ad campaign has been live for a few months now and though there aren’t concrete metrics, overall reception is A ++.

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get realtor ads

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) wants you to not only just choose their members to sell you a home, but to change the public perception of who a Realtor is through their newest ad campaign. The NAR communications team says that the aim of the campaign is to “reimagine the R®” and to bring brand awareness to Millennials in particular, as the next generation of homebuyers “in today’s hyper-connected world.”

The Real Daily wrote about this advertising campaign launched in June, so we thought it would be great to check in with how the campaign is doing so far. Sara Wiskerchen, Managing Director, Media Communications at NAR told us that due to the campaign’s launch in June, the NAR does not have many hard metrics on it. However, they did say that first impressions of the campaign from Realtors and consumers alike was very positive and that there was a “significant lift in brand awareness and consumer intention to use a Realtor.”

The Real Daily reached out to several of our readers (7 Realtors, 3 brokers, and 11 consumers) and the response was extremely positive. One reader expressed that the campaign does more to modernize the Realtor and their line of work more so than “brand than any other in the past, and they were pleased with it.” A different consumer said watching them made Realtors more “relatable” instead of uptight and “unapproachably buttoned up.”

Throughout these spots, there is a theme of making the consumer aware that a Realtor is helpful for achieving the American dream of homeownership and that while homebuying is challenging, a Realtor can go above-and-beyond for making it happen.

“This campaign demonstrates how Realtors bring endless enthusiasm to the whole home buying ordeal.”

Big changes are sweeping the NAR, from the attempt to modernize their association through this campaign to the appointment of new CEO Bob Goldberg, still fresh in his first 100 days in the corner office. This trade association is committed to integrating itself into the American home buying process and is listening to the consumer to do it. “Getting Realtor” has never seemed so hip.

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Real Estate Marketing

Instagram is letting users pay for one of their most sought features

(MARKETING NEWS) Instagram is letting user pay for one of their most prized features. Can you say sketchy?

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instagram

Verification for sale

The “verified” checkmark that one finds next to the names of celebrities and public officials has become synonymous with trust. In a time of parody accounts and identity theft, it’s refreshing to know that you can look for that little blue mark and know that the profile you’re viewing is certified legit.

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So it’d be a damn shame if you were to find out that someone like, say, Instagram was allowing for the sale of verification rather than using a vetting system to ensure that those little verified checkmarks appear next to the correct names…wouldn’t it?

Check, Please

The little blue verification check is more than just a symbol of social media prowess. The perks for verification vary depending on the platform; for example, Instagram’s perks include things like higher search rankings and free promotion.

Naturally, this can create a bit of a sense of urgency for up-and-coming brands, figures, and companies that are just legitimate enough to merit a following, but (allegedly) not prestigious enough to earn the verified check mark.

The kicker is that, unlike on Twitter, one cannot request verification on Instagram—you must personally be invited to the cool kids’ club.

Pay to Play

As with any market ever, demand begets supply. In this case, however, the “supply” happens to be a black-market endeavor to purchase and sell those verified check marks for anywhere from three to five figures.

In Instagram’s case, the exclusivity of invite-only verification is exceptionally tantalizing for some, leading the average price to land far higher than pay-for-verification services on other social media accounts.

While Instagram’s official policy prohibits this kind of behavior (because of course it does), the frequency with which accounts are illegally verified is low enough that they seem to be treating it like it’s a non-issue.

Predictable Offense

Ultimately, though, paid verification is a dangerous precedent to set insofar as it gives people with money and the right circumstances an advantage over those hard-working brands that objectively deserve verification more than those paying for it—much like literally any other context in real life.

The bottom line is this: of course Instagram has a black market that sells something coveted and borderline unattainable, and of course people are going crazy for it. That’ll be the case in any market for as long as demand is a thing.

With that said, the next time you see that little blue check mark next to someone’s name on social media, treat it with a moderate dose of skepticism.

#PayToPlay

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