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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.



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.


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

One company tricked people into swiping an Instagram ad – creative or unethical?

(MARKETING) An Instagram ad is pretty clever and tricked many people into swiping, but will it work for your brand?



tricky advertisement instagram ad

As ads become increasingly taboo, advertisers are forced to come up with sneakier, more obnoxious ways to trick people into viewing their content, especially as the cost for them to advertise rises. While plenty of advertising techniques fit the bill, a Chinese shoe company’s strategy might just take the cake for trickiest ad of all time.

The Instagram ad itself is innocuous enough at first glance: it features a picture of a sneaker with a discounted price, along with a “Shop Now” swipe-up prompt at the bottom of the ad. What makes it so friggin’ devious is an image of a hair laid on top of the whole image. The obvious intent here is to encourage the viewer to try to brush away the hair, thus inadvertently swiping up the Instagram ad and viewing its content.

Regardless of who you are or what you’ve been through in life, you have to admit that this is objectively hilarious.

The intent behind the ad is a bit confusing, though. One of the main points of advertising is to get people on your page – a goal that this ad technically meets – but the last type of person that you want on your page is a disgruntled, embarrassed, and most likely furious consumer who can’t believe that they got bamboozled. That kind of traffic doesn’t exactly lend itself to positive growth and customer satisfaction, which should be the end goal of premiere advertising.

Putting aside the inherent ridiculousness of this situation, there’s a lesson to be learned here: advertising, no matter how socially unappreciated it is, is still an art form, but modern proficiency in it is much less about duping your audience than it has been in the past.

Instead, successful ads are creating positive customer engagement and facilitating conversation – and a fake hair over a picture of discounted sneakers doesn’t really meet that goal.

If you’re looking for some resolution from this story, Instagram noted that the ad was taken down and the company in question was banned from advertising on Instagram in the future, which you can take as empirical proof that devious advertising is falling out of favor.

Then again, we just spent an entire piece giving the company free exposure, so who knows?

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Real Estate Marketing

Quokka: Retargeting ads for people who ignored your email

(MARKETING) A new startup named after our favorite animal amplifies your ad efforts even after being ignored. Sweet!




Potential customers who ignore your emails just aren’t the obstacle that they used to be. If you’re tired of sending out countless emails and receiving nothing in response, Quokka’s ad retargeting service may be the solution for you.

Aside from having the objectively cutest animal of all time as their namesake, Quokka allows you to follow up with people who don’t respond to your initial emails. Instead of firing off an additional email, however, Quokka’s response is a bit subtler: it shows retargeting ads to the offending customer. This method gives your product or service a second chance without giving the customer the opportunity to bin your follow-up email sans a read.

Quokka also provides you with statistics regarding how many emails were sent out, how many were opened, and how many customers are available for retargeting based on those numbers. This information is provided on an email-by-email basis in their easy-to-use interface.

Once you’ve allowed a certain amount of time to pass, you can plug your mailing list into Quokka and select a platform on which you want to display the retargeting ads. Quokka will determine who on your mailing list didn’t open the email and then show them your ad on your selected platform (e.g., Facebook). While social media ads haven’t been faring particularly well as of late, we may see Quokka find its niche in other marketing venues.

As it sits, Quokka plugs into your Facebook, MailChimp, and Campaign Monitor services. Based on comments from the platform’s founder, Quokka’s future includes additional integration with existing marketing platforms. Ideally, Quokka will eventually be usable with the bulk of mailing services and marketing automation, but getting the app to that point will undoubtedly take some time.

2018 marketing practices already look like they’re going to have to evolve away from some of the pre-established paradigms, and Quokka appears to be one appropriate answer to the underlying “How?” question here. As customers become more suspicious of ads in their inboxes and ad-blocking software use continues to grow, services such as Quokka may be viable solutions for those hoping to reach the most stubborn demographic.

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Real Estate Marketing

Boatloads of webinars, resources to kickstart your 2018 sales goals

(MARKETING) RPR has unleashed a ton of resources to make sure 2018 is your best sales year yet – and you’ve already paid for it, so take advantage.



rpr resources for sales goals

Most professionals are setting sales goals for 2018, and are seeking the resources to help get them there. Realtors most certainly are with the changes in the market for more homes to sell, more millennials possibly ready to buy, and most certainly tax reform changes to the game.

Fortunately, if you’re feeling a lack of inspiration to determine how you’re going to reach those goals – Realtors Property Resource (RPR) is putting together a few webinars to help you work smarter and pick up a few new tricks.

While of course, the highlight of the trainings focus on the use of RPR mobile app, they should promise to offer important information. The 4 Part series “4 Steps to Real Estate Success with RPR Mobile” for example, focuses on capturing leads, better communicate information in a listing, capturing open house leads, and improving the buyer tour experience. That series begins on February 21st, and continues weekly for a month.

Realtors unfamiliar with RPR should know that the app is included in National Association of Realtors (NAR) dues, and if you don’t know about it, your first webinar should be focused on getting to know the app, and see how it can help support your business by locating information. That particular webinar can be found here.

Additional topics focus on things from perfect pricing, pre-listing checklist, reigning in buyers, and creating relocation packets – all things that can be done to help facilitate a smoother selling process and help get you more results easier.

This particularly packet of resources should be useful to both realtors who aren’t familiar with the RPR tools, but also maybe the user who hasn’t leveraged the resource quite to its full extent. Most webinars are offered at least 2-3 times, so there are plenty of opportunities to attend a session. RPR also has a number of other resources including articles, social media information, graphics, and handouts for member use. Of particular place for inspiration is the Realtor case studies, where app skeptics may see how the use of RPR can apply to their real world realtor-ing.

Ultimately, this is just one of many possible resources, but if you’re looking to try a few new things to kickstart your sales in 2018, and are looking for tools to help you reach more lofty goals, some free education (that you already paid for, NAR members!), this is a great head start.

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