Recently in Online Open House Category

In Tight Market, Real Estate Agents Tout Eco Features

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Elizabeth Shogren:

With the real estate market still hurting across most of the country, a growing number of real estate agents, builders and homeowners are pitching the green features of properties to try to lure buyers.

But in much of the country, green buyers and sellers struggle to find each other. In most places, the listing services that realtors and appraisers use make it difficult to search for eco-friendly real estate.

And most buyers still put a higher value on location, price and traditional amenities than on environmentally friendly additions.

Green Sells Better If It Also Saves Money

Still, when real estate agent Jennifer Halm shows clients around the stately, historic-looking condominium building in the popular Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Va., she highlights the property's green features.

Main Street along with our unlimited use mapping services and broker branded iPhone app support eco searching and data display.

The Profit and Peril of Mashups

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What is a "mashup"? According to this wikipedia entry, "In web development, a mashup is a web page or application that combines data or functionality from two or more external sources to create a new service."

Real estate brokers and agents may wish to take advantage of "free" internet api's (application programming interface). Websites such as flickr, facebook, youtube, yelp and many others offer programatic interfaces to their data and media.

What are the benefits of such API's?

  • Aggregate local information around properties for sale or rent.
  • Enhance your website "experience".
  • Avoid the cost of collecting and managing local information.
What are the costs and risks of using such API's?
  • Bad data. Automated information aggregators often lack local expertise. Information may be outdated; a long closed restaurant may still have a review on your website.
  • Inappropriate content. I created a Facebook demonstration for a client some time ago. The resulting page included an advertisement for Filipino Girls.
  • What motivates the data aggregator? Is their strategy aligned with yours?
  • Does the data make your site more generic?
  • Competitive stealth advertising on your site. Savvy competitors will figure this out and place their content on your site via the API's.
What are the alternatives to "mashups"?

Your agents have a wealth of local market knowledge. Hire or appoint a "blog-o-spondent" or "blogger-in-chief". This person creates and aggregates your own content (text, audio, video, maps) on your blog, around your website(s) and via appropriate social networks. Over time, agents and staff post directly and incorporate your listings, services and our unlimited use maps (for a fixed price). Create your own platform that emphasizes your brand. This approach improves recruiting, retention and internet marketing in ways that you control and at a much lower cost than traditional advertising.

Main Street reliably supports the tools you need, from blogs, dynamic short links, lead management, surveys and multimedia to market reports and live charting tools.

As always, there is no "free lunch".

Is 4% Enough For You?

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Jay Deragon:

Many firms try and dominate their market via sales. They think sales is largely driven by the number of customers they can acquire.
Scott Morgan writes:
Budgets continue to be slashed. Brands are disappearing. Media is getting more fragmented. The only thing getting bigger is our federal deficit. So as a marketer, how do you capitalize on a world that is getting smaller in so many respects?

What marketers are starting to discover is that the target universe is smaller than originally thought. So small, in fact, that 4% of a brand's consumer base is driving most of the business. This deeper dive into audience targeting is what I call the 4% Factor. Simply stated, it is another level down from the typical 80/20 rule of prioritizing (80% drive, 20% of the business) because, well, everything is getting smaller.

So what do you do about it? Embrace it. Start thinking about ways to employ addressable media, digital media, one-to-one marketing and, of course, social media to reach that core 4% of consumers who have the greatest propensity to identify and recruit others to your brand franchise.

The 4% Factor goes well beyond a loyalty strategy -- it is a penetration strategy -- designed as a competitive approach to protecting and growing your business. Simply put, start smaller to get bigger faster. It also tends to be a much more sustainable approach than traditional strategies of casting a really wide net, going through trial and then hoping to retain a percentage of new customers.

"Value Calculator"

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British Airways:

With British Airways, the price you see is the price you pay.

You can rest assured that there won't be any extra charges for selecting a seat within 24 hours of departure, checking your bag or having a drink from our on-board bar. And of course, you'll receive the quality of service you'd expect from our award-winning airline.

Compare us with those no-frills airlines such as Ryanair and Easyjet that add extra charges and we think you'll be surprised to see what great value our prices offer.

I suggested creating a one page document that compares your services, including internet applications to competitors during a recent talk. This document should be updated monthly. It will be very useful for managers, agents and your recruiters. British Airways can quickly update this page as market conditions and prices warrant.

Play Offense

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Marketer Peter DeLorenzo offers useful advice to automotive marketers:

I sense an overreaction on the part of Detroit marketers right now, especially at General Motors, and it's not a good look. Any more whining and it will start drowning out the message, which is exactly what Detroit automakers can't afford. Rather than discussing the "winding down" of their marketing options, or rationalizing how they will still get their message across while abandoning marketing opportunities left and right, Detroit automakers should be upping their marketing presence and going on the offensive. American consumers aren't going to find out about Detroit's most competitive offerings - the ones that merit serious consideration - by osmosis, are they?

As if right on cue, a perfectly-timed demonstration of how it should be done is the insert Audi placed in several national newspapers yesterday (Audi also sponsored special network news broadcasts of the inaugural with limited commercial interruption), which was, for all intents and purposes, a "State of the Union" message for the company, reminding everyone of who they are, what they stand for, and how they go about the business of building great cars, all revolving around the word "Progress." Here's an excerpt:

"To us, it's taking what seems undoable and then doing it. It's discovering what no one else has bothered to discover. It's turning skeptics into believers. And it's taking the thinking that won on the racetrack and putting it on the road.

And it's why now is the time for the company with four rings. Progress moves things forward. Progress changes the category. Progress leaves the others behind.

Progress is Beautiful."

What opportunities exist for real estate brokers to play offense?Do these things and your broker value equation rises significantly with customers, agents and staff.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Online Open House category.

Neighborhood Watch is the previous category.

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