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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

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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

How to get a 9 star rating on Zillow when you’re limited to 5 stars

(MARKETING) When you’re limited to just a few stars on Zillow or similar sites, how do you prove to the public that you’re worth many more stars?

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five stars on zillow

Let’s say that you ask all of your customers to rate you on Zillow. Let’s say that you think it’s the best site since sliced bread (or you hate it, whatever, that matters not in this scenario).

But let’s also say that you’re either an overachiever or a smartass and you believe that your five star rating is simply too low and that you have actually earned more stars throughout your stellar career.

What do you do? How do you break out of the “Five Star Zone” without paying people to rate and rank you and without bribing Zillow?

You get creative.

Enter Frank Llosa, Esq., Broker of Frankly Real Estate, who is both hated and revered for his endless pushing of the envelope. Years ago, he figured out a way around the five star rating system on Zillow without any cash exchanging hands.

How? Behold:

Llosa did this stunt long ago, but Zillow never shut him down (and if they had, he’s used to his shenanigans being stifled).

Will Zillow shut you down if you try this? Probably.

While hilarious, it does prove that the web doesn’t limit the creative, rather, it unveils the endless opportunities to capture consumers’ attention – wouldn’t you take a second look at a 9-star agent on Zillow? I sure would!

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Real Estate Marketing

Tweetcat for Twitter organizes your timeline, makes it easier market

Never miss an important tweet again with Tweetcat, an app designed to organize your timeline.

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qualify leads

Virtually every form of social media utilizes a newsfeed or timeline format. This is set in place to allow users to view information from those the follow in a, normally chronological, fashion.

Depending on how many people you follow, it may sometimes be impossible to constantly stay on top of everything that’s posted in your social world. This is particularly difficult with Twitter.

How can you stay up-to-date on Twitter?

Because Twitter operates in a 140-character sphere, updates are seemingly constant. Tweets, photos, and videos go up in a moment’s notice, making it hard to keep up if you only check in every few hours.

But the thing is, do we want to see all of that content? While we consciously choose everyone that we follow, does that necessarily mean we want to be with them every step of the virtual way?

Based on the amount of accounts I have muted, I’m going to venture to guess: no. Sometimes people, or brands, have a habit of tweeting too frequently, which may be a turn-off but not necessarily grounds for an un-follow.

Twitter meets organization

While you may appreciate everyone that you follow, it is unlikely that every single tweet is something that you care about seeing. The constant updates may be easier to digest if there were something to keep Twitter organized.

Tweetcat is attempting to be that form of organization. Operating as an app, Tweetcat’s purpose is to organize your timeline by allowing you to create custom topics.

Categorize your tweets

You are able to create topic categories (i.e. business, music, sports, etc.) that will become color-coded. Tweetcat then sorts out your interests and places the appropriate tweets in the appropriate categories.

This not only helps to weed out the information you do not care to see, but it allows better access to the content you actually care about. Who knows what you may be missing in the disarray that is your current timeline?

Once categories are created and the tweets are sorted, they become accessible at the bottom of the Tweetcat app, which integrates your Twitter account. Available for both Androids and iPhones, the Tweetcat app strives to keep Twitter users organized and seeing the content that they are interested in.

#Tweetcat

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Real Estate Marketing

Real estate drone videography is falling far short of this glorious example

Drone videography is stunning, but the real estate industry could be utilizing the technology to a much greater extent; here’s one breathtaking example to aspire to!

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drone videography

A stunning new short film, “Austin by Air: An Aerial Documentary” gives viewers the opportunity to see Austin from a bird’s eye view and, hopefully, will inspire the real estate industry to consider incorporating aerial videography into their marketing.

Photographer and post-production technician Gerard Juarez has been working on a drone related startup, and decided, as a side project, to make a film featuring breathtaking aerial shots of Austin’s skyline, of kayakers on the river, and of the early morning traffic-less streets around the University of Texas. He attended a drone piloting training program to big up his skills before hitting the skies to create the impressive documentary. His goal was to “showcase” the city of Austin, and he hopes that the film “will have a little promotional value for the city.”

Tip: watch this video in full screen with the sound on.

How the industry could catch up

We’ve been talking about drones for some time now.

Here at The Real Daily, we’ve long been tracking the technological and legal progress of drones. The Federal Aviation Administration currently prohibits the use of drones for the purposes of selling real estate. However, this could change as soon as this year. In 2012 the FAA Modernization and Reform Act asked the FAA to come up with clear regulations regarding the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles; these regulations are due at the end of September. We recommend staying abreast of these developments, as drones could one day become an important tool for the real estate industry.

Real estate brokers with enough capital to work with could hire quality videographers to make films similar to Juarez’s documentary, which would show potential clients a whole new perspective on their cities and neighborhoods. Aerial photography is a great way to show off what makes a city or town unique, and to give people a wide-angle view of standout architectural and natural features. Such videos could be shared via hyper-local content blogs and websites to draw in new home owners.

I found “Austin by Air” to be a beautiful and inspiring way to view a city; similar videos on real estate websites could make a big impression on potential clients.

#DroneVideography

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