Do we need home selling tips just for 2018? I think we do.
Our focus is 2018, the year of more competition and listings. The economic circumstances, taxation issues, price trends, migration, create unique forecasts for each housing market in 2018. To sell at a good price in 2018, you’ll need some strategy and tactical sales excellence.
Even in the best cities, prices are flat and homeowners will have more difficulty persuading buyers or property investors to buy their properties.
The tax situation is less profitable, the US dollar is falling, new home construction is up, the stock market is wild, real estate investors wary, and the economy looks solid.
As you’ll read in the home selling tips, you can have your cake and eat it too. Let go of all the “compromise” talk and know that you can get the maximum prices your home, cottage, condo or land is worth. Everyone knows real estate is precious and governments are committed to constraining supply.
When is the Best Time to Sell My House?
Timing your home sale is important, and asking “when is the best time to sell my house” is a wise question. Make sure you know all the time related issues to seasons and the economic trends happening now.
How to Start a Bidding War?
At some point, you’ve quietly thought about how to start a bidding war. Selling at over asking price is common, but with top notch real estate marketing strategy and a knowledeable Realtor, you can ratchet up your selling price.
Which Renovations Increase your Selling Price the Most?
When you’re planning the sale, you know buyers are hungry, but maybe during negotiations they cite how your house is not in good condition. Worse, maybe a good number of prospects online are turned off by its appearance? Instead of letting that happen, and just dumping your home on the market, you might discover which house renovations increase selling price. Make the most of your reno budget.
Should you Sell Your Home Fast or for a Higher Price?
Do you know how Realtors selling strategy? You have a choice when you’re working with a Realtor, whether to sell it quick or take your time with marketing and build interest to a larger pool of buyers. Most Realtors use a blitz type of selling strategy where they maximize the impulse or desperation of buyers.
They might push it all into one intense weekend showing where it’s organized like an auction. Buyers see each other want your home and they might get emotional and start ramping up their bids, well over asking price. It works and clients get the picture that the Realtor has done a fantastic job of creating buyers and whipping up frenzy.
However, if the property has all sorts of flaws, is in a weak neighborhood, and it’s not high season for selling, the home might not sell. If the quick blitz backfires, you could see your selling price rocket downward. Anyone can sell during high season, but the Realtor who can sell you house now, is a good one.
Consider getting that kind of Realtor, create a plan, and do a blitz over 3 weeks. The best buyer prospects will hang on if they know you’re doing a 3 week blitz. You won’t lose them and instead you could enjoy 3 times the buyers and bids (over that 23 day period). In fact, the collective effect on the final winning price could be staggering.
We’ve all seen homes sell for exhorbitant prices, even more than double the home’s value. You might want to tap into that craziness and get some extra money for your kids/grandkids education expense.
The above posts offer extensive home selling strategy and selling tips to help you reach a bigger, targeted audience, give them what they’re dreaming about, encourage more and higher bids, and help close the deal with a record high price. Hopefully, the media will report your selling success like you were a star Mega Millions winner!
Whether it’s 2018, 2019, or 2020 that you hope to buy a home or invest in a rental income property, you might be comforted by the knowledge that real estate does well anytime you buy.
If you take great recessions and banking crises out of the timeframe you’re considering to buy, then your long term investment is sound. The historic price charts show rising home prices throughout the decades.
An if you’re a first time buyer, paying a huge chunk of your income to rent, this whole matter of buying at the right time is important to your current and future well being.
Avoid the Peak Times to Buy a House
So you’re wondering what time of year is best to buy a house? Or, are you wondering if there’s a time of the month where more houses suddenly come on the market, where you might get first dibs? Sometimes selling after a major weather problem might be a good time too.
Okay, for those without a strategic sense, buying in the fall months traditionally might be best to get lower prices. However, everyone pulls their house off the market during October, November and December. That can’t be good for a home search.
If you have a smart Realtor, and a real good home search strategy, you might be able to find those sitting on the fence and get a low ball offer in. You might get lucky and save tens of thousands of dollars and get a property that everyone else gave up on.
Is Spring the Best Time to Buy a House?
Spring 2018 is a great time to get started your house search. Home owners and buyers are arising from their winter dens and thinking about 2018. In many cities, the demand for homes has already started. Realtors are still talking multiple offers and bidding wars.
If homebuyers are actively listing to sell during January to March, then they are likely eager to sell their listed home.
They might be babyboomers sitting on the fence about selling (they’ve got nowhere to go) or they could be Generation X aged couples thinking about moving up to a larger property. A lot of buyers, perhaps you to want more space.
If you meet with these property owners you may be able to convince them to progress with their life plans. That means anytime time of year might be the best time to buy a home.
A report from Trulia shown below reveals fall prices drop by about 7% yet still remain 5% below for the months of January, March and February. You can find a bargain from January to April 1st. That means you should be looking right now for your next home or condo, before mortgage rates start to climb.
January, February and March might be the best time of year to purchase a property for real estate investors as well.
This might run counter to what people believe and have been told about the market. It might be harder to search for a home and get sellers to sell quickly. But remember, the actually possession date is off in the future.
People who might sell have more time on their hands in the Winter, especially if they live in Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York or Boston. It’ll be easier to get in touch with them and discuss your sincere, heart felt offer.
The best time to buy might be right now. If the economy improves and wages do rise, home prices will rise throughout the 2018 to 2020 period. Unless you’re very pessimistic and believe in catastropic events, demand for housing is unmet across the US and Canada. With more money in the picture, the longer you wait, the more it will cost.
Launching your Research to Negotiation Strategy
So now, you need to discover the best way to reach them. Having a realtor who feels similarly about the winter search timeframe is good. If they don’t like, go with someone else. The compatible Realtor is likely not busy so they can put a better effort into finding homes, approaching the homeowner, and working with you to put out the best offer.
They may even take a lower commission, but don’t push that. The Realtor will likely be worth the 2.5% you pay them. If you wait till April, May or June to buy, you’re getting the highest prices, most competition, and your Realtor is too busy handling multiple clients and micromanaging negotiations. So that’s the worst time to buy — when everyone else is.
Another bad time to buy? During the Super Bowl Game. Take a look at the Super Bowl predictions and put your money down, and then enjoy the game on Feb 4th, 2018.
When is the Absolute Best Time to Buy a House?
The very best, ideal time to buy a house in the winter, may be near or at the winter holidays such as Easter, spring break, or teacher professional developent days. Homeowners may be at home and may be most susceptible to the idea of selling and moving.
Late winter is a restless time for those in the cold, snowbound north, which is why a good number of people fly south for a vacation. Discontent, fatigue, boredom, and desire for something better is what gets them off the fence about letting go of their old house. Why do people sell in the spring? Because they’ve had enough after their winter of discontent. Catch them early.
Don’t worry about which days are best to buy a house. The key is to use your all channel accelerated home search strategy into action, and begin uncovering your dream house amidst winter’s gloom.
Good luck with your house search. You’ve found the best time to buy because it’s the best time for them to sell.
Spring will be here soon and you’re on the hunt for high quality buyer and seller leads looking for houses for sale. They’re online and if you don’t have a great web presence, you might still be able to leverage lead generation services or advertise on good real estate sites.
Companies which specialize in attracting real estate leads are known as lead generation companies. They advertise houses for sale and other remarketing advertising on Facebook and Google Adwords along with blogs and news sites to cull leads. They promise to rid you of the advertising and prospecting work and accelerate the lead generation process.
Unfortunately, when scraping for leads this way, a lot of poor quality leads are served up to participating Realtors. And the terms of the arrangement may not be attractive.
If it worked, who wouldn’t sign up? Well, nothing’s ever that easy. So let’s take a closer look.
Buyer sand Sellers. Find Good Real Estate Leads Fast!
There’s nothing wrong with fast, if it’s real. It can happen, and you shouldn’t be afraid to spend. Here’s 20 top lead generation services with a look at their strengths and limitations.
Leads Generated Still Need to Be Converted
This post is an exploration of 18 of the top online real estate lead generation companies in the US and Canada. And 2 more including Zillow Leads. There’s more new lead generation startups arriving every week.
Acquiring leads this way won’t hurt, however converting leads has a lot to do with brand image. Even if they agree to work with you right away on the phone call, they will Google you online and visit your website. Who wouldn’t? Trust, transparency, responsiveness, and proven competence are what motivate them.
There’s no doubt you can sign a client right away, however you probably need to take a hard look at your online presence and ask yourself whether you like what you see. Would you hire you?
Real Estate Leads Fact Number 1 — 90% of Home Buyers Go Online
90% of home buyers go online, and you need to be in front of them and number one in your Zip Code. Home sellers are there too checking out comps and searching using keyword phrases such as home selling tips, best return on home renovations to homes for sale + cityname, to bidding wars and best real estate agents. They’re doing hundreds of millions of searches using Google, Zillow, Realtor.org, Yahoo, and thousands of other websites.
Make sure you’re highly visible on Google for all of them. Set up an amazing new mobile friendly IDX website, with outstanding, professionally optimized content, use some real estate videos, and do a little pay per click advertising. Build a strategic plan, then work the plan.
These are firms who provide buyer (or sometimes seller) leads for realtors, using methods of aggregating online prospects (most often via Google Adwords or cheap ad networks) which they then sell to realtors. 3 drivers promote the growth: a lot of prospects are online, home buying is in a frenzied state right now, and the fact there is only one home sold for each realtor in North America — there are too many realtors and most have few quality leads.
Questions: Let’s assume they can generate solid leads.
do you have the patience and skill to nurture and close these types of leads?
do you have a website that can help convert them?
what is the real cost of doing business with them?
would a luxury home owner from your target community use their websites?
can you respond to these cold leads fast?
Here’s Some Leads, but Let’s See You Try to Convert Them
The way these lead generators collect leads may be why they could be of poor quality. Ad campaigns, auto-dialers, and sketchy email lists of people make for testy, suspicious prospects. And these are someone else’s leads — they initiated them, which takes the warm and fuzzy out of it. Anything transferred from one person/company to another loses something in the process – the problem is lead quality and lead conversion.
Some realtors say these leads are hard to close while others treat them like flies at a picnic. They’re basically cold calls and the prospect knows nothing about realtor’s brand image or honesty. And how do real agents and brokers feel about lead generators?
I’ve never found an online lead generation system worth the investment. Better to cut out the middle man (Internet) and just get out there and meet… people! — John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA —
I have never bought a lead. I don’t think that is the way to be successful in this business. You need to spend your money developing a strong internet presence. — Carmen Brode, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
It’s very expensive to purchase online leads. I’ve paid as much as $4,000 per month, but today I spend about $500 monthly. — Brian Talley, broker-owner, Austin, TX
Here’s 18 of the most visible lead generation companies onlinealthough new ones are coming. I’m leaving out realtor.com, and Zillow Leads because they’re more like Google or Facebook advertising programs. Some are well known while others are regional or startups. They all seem to be missing the vital component that creates genuinely good deals (in your target Zip Code) – the ideal customer experience from beginning to end.
The Good and the Bad about Paid Lead Generation
With some of them, the fees are low, sometimes only $20 a month and other times a little high, but almost never outrageous. For most, it’s like playing the penny slot machines at the casino. There’s a chance you could win, but is the payout worth it?
A few of the companies you’ll see below actually have you set up an account to be available for leads. Sort of like realtors sitting around a poker table. If you don’t respond fast, the lead is sent to someone else. In other cases, you will have to “buy your territory.” The lead gen firms will push you in that direction once they have you on the hook.
Before you hire a lead generation company, consider how home buyers and home sellers themselves buy and sell a condo, home or property. They likely already know a local realtor or they’ll go to Google to search. So online is a great place to be to lure the prospect away from his/her familiar agent.
Real Estate Search: Prospects begin with Google even though they could go directly to realtor.com or realtor.ca for MLS listings in their Zip code, or a major brokerage website such as remax.com, sothebys.com or kellerwilliams.com. Google has a better brand, a better search experience, and it leads to realtor’s websites or phone numbers where they can begin a trusting relationship with that agent.
Few condo or home sellers would type their personal details into the text box of an unknown website. And buyers are normally pretty cautious too. They want to get to know the realtor, so they’ll Google his or her name and if that discovery experience is unsatisfying, it dampens their spirit. That’s why it’s a good idea to be online in a good way – i.e., a great realtor brand image — an image built on prospects needs and preferences.
Google Adwords is the Lead Generator’s “Go to Source”
Google Adwords and remarketing programs could capture some good leads online. The highest quality leads will often originate from Google. However, most realtors could do this advertising themselves assuming they have a website with lead converting webpages. These programs are just a normal part of what a real estate digital marketer would offer along with lasting, sustainable, marketing assets.
Would I recommend using the lead generation companies? If they’re very cheap you probably don’t have much to lose other than your time, yet you could get distracted and fail to put 100% into your career. If you’re bright, you may learn a little about how they generate and convert leads.
Top Real Estate Lead Generation Websites
1. Bold Leads– Bold leads advertises on unspecified networks to capture leads and direct them to you. If the lead doesn’t give away info, boldleads will continue to nuture the lead for you. You are given your own landing page on the boldleads site.
2. Agent Locator – tells you straight they’ll conduct your ppc advertising and generate 480 leads for $6000. I like how they’re open about it. It may be worth gambling $6000 to try it out.
3. Market Leader – Aggregates leads from their own site called homevalues.com, Trulia.com, and via ppc advertising. Market Leader guarantees they won’t sell the lead to another agent. You get to manage it all from your “Pro” account.
4. Point2Homes Leads– offers low priced straight forward advertising options on its website where prospects arrive to search for a home. They also provide you with a webpage on their site.
5. Real Estate Pipeline Leads – Real Estate Pipeline Leads says it has a network of real estate sites where it draws leads, and it gives realtors full ownership of their territory, although the size of that territory isn’t explained. Drip email campaigns are a big part of their service. Their basic package is $1164 for 12 leads.
6. Agent Pronto Leads – Agent Pronto is different. There’s no upfront charge for leads! You will only be matched to referrals who have specifically requested to speak with an agent. They match each referral with a single agent that they believe is the best fit for their needs. Once you accept the referral, they provide your with the prospect’s full information and the details from their conversation with them. Sounds good. Their site looks a little lacklustre, but give them a good look.
7. South Florida Real Estate Leads – This firms specializes in south Florida leads. They say they have a variety of sources of leads. It appears to be owned by Lex Levinrad who is a real estate coach and owner of the Distressed Real Estate Institute™
8. Offrs– Offrs uses vague sounding smart technology to find homeowners who are going to put their house on the market. It’s based on predictive algorithms or just social listening perhaps. If it works, it would be very exciting technology.
Combine that with communications that encourage homeowners to actually sell the property and that could be very powerful, particularly right now in places such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto and Vancouver where prices are very high. They list by territory, but sadly your territory or Zip Code may be taken.
9. Trulia – Offers a service for seller leads with Market Leader, a company that was in severe trouble before the purchase. Trulia is no Zillow, but it does have some traffic.
10. Prime Seller Leads– Prime Seller leads creates a bunch of pages on their site for you. The CMS offers the ability to send epostcards and eflyers and their system integrates with many broker CMS. 11. eRealting – eRealting doesn’t sell leads, they give you a website to send all your traffic to! It’s kind of a CMS for rent. They state that it costs about $300 to create a client in their solution.
12. Lead Galaxy – Lead Gives you a home for your leads and uses the usual combo of Adwords, Facebook ads and telephone prospecting to create leads.
13. Experian– Experian is a research and statistics business who have mailing lists of potential buyers and sellers. You can build your list online.
14. Exact Data – Exact Data gets its lead list from telemarketing, opt in emails, and lists of prospective buyers and sellers. They claim superior data hygiene, however most list companies promise that.
15. Commissions Inc. Lead Platform – Commissionsinc claims they are the #1 Real Estate Tech Solution. They offer a platform and an app to manage your leads. They will run your Adwords and Facebook advertising campaigns for you. Sounds like a lot of noise. The value proposition is a little flaky.
16. Firepoint Realty Leads– Firepoint says they deliver scalable lead generation with intelligent routing, to automated lead follow-up and task scheduling, to ROI and conversion reporting for all of your lead sources. The price is $350/month and you set you PPC budget which they manage. Is this better than a self-directed digital marketing program?
18. Refindly Seller Leads – REfindly helps you generate, engage, and convert leads using one convenient system. They claim that historically, their agents receive between 5 and 8 leads per $100 spent in advertising. You can spend as much as you like on ppc advertising and they give you a lead management system to use.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to leads and sales, dollars and time. I must say, I like Agent Pronto, and Offrs best.
Real Estate Lead Generation Company in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, St Louis, Minneapolis, Green Bay, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Oshawa, Hamilton, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Calgary, Kelowna, Mississauga, Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Malibu, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fresno, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Mountainview, Palo Alto, Portland, Washington, Atlanta, Irvine, Nashville, Sunnyvale, Salt Lake City, Riverside, Rancho Cucamonga, Costa Mesa, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Raleigh, Albuquerque, Glendale, Oceanside, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Carlsbad, Santa Clarita, Henderson, Mesa, Temecula, Kirkland, Redmond, Kansas City, St Louis, Stockton, Scottsdale, Palm Springs, Indianapolis, Columbus, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Chula Vista, Escondido, Santa Monica, Miami Beach, and Honolulu. Find a Los Angeles Real Estate Agent who has the very best real estate marketing wizard to help you sell your home for more.
11 Things to Look for in your AI Marketing Solution
We’re in the early adopter phase of artificial intelligence marketing software. Those who are learning how to use it are getting exciting results already.
The technology is young, growing, improving and the best is yet to come. Businesses that don’t get into AI are carving a dangerous path for themselves. This series of posts on AI marketing solutions is your first exploration into how they help make your marketing more efficient and products.
The benefits of AI Marketing solutions are compelling. And you’ll soon be checking the AI marketing solutions of companies with strange names including Albert, Boomtrain, Amplero, Pega Systems, Emarsys, and others.
Strangely, there aren’t many reviews of AI marketing software out there, and the posts you’ll find are high on the nerd scale. So I’m going to introduce you to a few of the good solutions that I am aware of expressed in layman’s terms. Bookmark this page because I will continue adding to our collective knowledge. This is BIG. Have fun exploring.
Benefits of AI Marketing Software
The AI software benefits which I describe in this series of posts might be just the tip of iceberg. I’m excited about using it. But first, we have to study its value and potential uses. And AI is invading every area of business.
For at least 6 years, companies have been investigating marketing automation, and they’ve reported some satisfaction with cost efficiencies. The vote isn’t in yet on whether marketing automation is really helping where it counts in engagement and closing sales.
Marketing automation is more about the process of automating the administration of complete multichannel marketing campaigns. Makes things easier. And that integration can help keep customers interested, loyal and engaged through the complete buying cycle and manage the tedium of those campaigns.
Human marketers get bored and stressed so MA is the current solution in vogue. Yet marketing automation lacks the analytics insight, testing ability, content personalization, optimization and forecasting capabilities of new Artificial Intelligence Marketing software solutions that are available.
New AI Solutions are Arriving Weekly
We’re right on the leading edge of this new transformative technology with new, ever improving, customized solutions such as Albert, Boomtrain, and Pega. They offer some serious benefits.
Use of AI by Marketers is About to Climb
The latest Salesforce State of Marketing report says marketers use of AI will grow by 53%. That suggests implementation of artificial intelligence marketing software will be a priority and you will need someone like myself who is excited about it and wants to help you implement and execute it.
We’re in the early days of mass adoption, but at some point, you’ll need to jump on this bandwagon. Regardless of whether you manage an ecommerce site, an IT firm, staffing agency or recruitment firm, major blog, manufacturing business, AI offers some pretty serious benefits — benefits that your competitors will soon enjoy. You’re going to enjoy this pleasant journey in marketing strategy.
What Criteria Should You Consider?
Consider everything you’re doing right now and whether it could be improved using your current technology and best practices. If it’s not winning your market, it’s probably not best practices. The phrase best practices might be a good one to keep in mind as you assess your current marketing strategy. Best results = best practices.
can you personalize your email, blogs and ppc landing pages to respond best to each individual customer based on their past click behavior and their content engagement level?
do you currently conduct slow single factor testing of your content?
are your ppc campaigns ineffective and costly?
do you have good enough data to help you predict your customers buying habits in 2018?
are you confident of your current web analytics solution?
can you handle the growing complexity of digital marketing?
are you happy with your current 1 to 2% conversion rate?
do you understand why and where visitors leave your website?
if Google is weighing onsite engagement, will AI analytics improve your content and rankings?
will AI allow you to reorganize your staff for better utilization and performance?
are you testing to discover which is the right content for each customer touchpoint?
Testing Out AI Marketing Software
Testing the software out can be a little time consuming, so bring in a dedicated, talented and capable marketing strategist to test it and ramp it up. That removes a lot of risk and you’ll learn a lot.
The learning value is underplayed and that could be because some of these companies want to keep that vital knowledge to themselves. There’s huge “big data” insight for them to profit on. You need a solution that lets you learn as much as possible and not just fattens their bank account.
By testing it out, you’re going to learn a lot about your brand, target market, your content, and how to improve your integrated campaigns. We assume you use many channels in your marketing.
AI solutions will allow you to test digital marketing campaigns at a rate and depth that no human could. And the insight the software could generated could be really helpful. In many cases, you can have a very weak understanding of your typical customer persona, yet analyze just the click through and content engagement of your visitors to learn what they actually like and don’t like right there and then, so you don’t lose them.
You can test everything from media buys, to keyword choices to blog topics all the way to calls to action. The potential value of AI solutions outweighs the cost of your learning curve. AI will likely spew out value and insight that will change every area of your company. It could help you improve customer service, product design, and more.
Recently a report found that AI has even improved social influencer results. Wouldn’t it be exciting to analyze your social network and find out how to get influencers to promote your company?
AI marketing software is inevitable. Better to begin asssessing what’s available and do some trial runs.
Taking a Look at Albert AI
As an example, if you take a look at a product such as Adgorithm’s Albert AI, you’ll get a better sense of what it offers. As you can see here in this graphic, Albert provides an integrated suite of services that pack a powerful punch. I’m impressed with Albert AI’s support staff and the fact they have recently released a small business version. It’s not too expensive and the software interface is well designed.
Graphic courtesy of Alberta.ai
The Top 2 Benefits of Albert AI
Although the Albert software does a lot itself, I believe 1) Testing and Optimization and 2) Analytics and Insights services provide the key benefits. Soon, the prediction of customer behavior may be most valuable.
Manual testing and analytics isn’t very satisfying. Analysts don’t have enough data to draw insight from. If you’ve perused your own website’s Google Analytics reports, you know what I mean. It’s not the highest quality actionable data. And we can’t test fast enough to draw better insight from it. That’s frustrating and wasteful.
Albert however, can test visitor response, intent, and engagement, and do it in real time. Just think if you could test visitors and maximize insight from their individual visits right now. Then continue when they return? 99% of your visitors leave your website, so you’re taking a big loss and turning it into an asset.
If your organic and ppc team specialists can generate the traffic, you have the possibility of learning more and continually improving your content and sales funnel. Everyone is into funnel optimization these days, but how many have tools to actually do it well?
If you’re uncertain about its value, you can do a test campaign. Find someone who can be your AI marketing strategist, (someone with a psssion for it) and follow an implementation process. Albert offers assistance in setting up your account and implementing your campaign elements.
From there, it’s a process of learning and improving, and assessing your results.
If trying it out is this easy, it makes sense to invest in it. This is a win win situation where you’ll gain from anything you commit to. It’s probably time to give AI marketing software some good thought and get on this before your competitors do.
Build your brand and sales results faster and better. If you believe in growing a more successful business, this should be a fun and worthwhile experience.
In all the years managing my own freelance business and while working with digital marketing agencies, I discovered that small business people are great at what they do. Unfortunately, they’re not experts in digital marketing which is a discipline exploding in complexity.
My first recommendation for those who want to improve would be to get my SEO Content Strategy Book and secondly and more importantly, have a digital marketing assessment done. It’s a blueprint, foundation and compass for success.
The insight from a digital marketing audit can grow your confidence and give you focused path with your digital marketing strategy. It’s tough to have a strategy without a good study of your business and market opportunities.
Most SMB entrepreneurs wing it without a guide, and ironically most startups fail. How can you be confident if you’re unsure of what actually drives your online success or where you’re going?
♫Tell me Something Good♫
With understanding comes focus. Focus is an amazing emotional state where friction disappears and a feeling of wellness, clarity, and success appear. Focus is like taking a happy pill. And this is where myself and your digital marketing audit comes into play – it generates focus, energy and a strategic plan of action. How can you not like that? And learning? You’ll discover a wealth of key insight that you can build on.
An audit is a study of your situation and some suggestions about how to improve it. That’s excellent value when it’s all contained in one handy report!
An objective audit helps you discover your digital marketing problem, not to sell you a solution such as a marketing automation subscription. While tools are helpful, it’s almost certain that your content and outreach strategy are the issue. If you don’t discover what you’re doing wrong you won’t progress with something that will work.
The main point or purpose of your assessment is to create an actionable plan and strategy to grow your business. An audit focuses on issues that matter to performance
A website audit isn’t for finding duplicate meta tags and other unimportant facts. The main purpose to discover why you’re not getting traffic, not maximizing what you have, and discovering what’s missing. Here’s some of what I will examine in a detailed report, which by the way is much more than the “technical spidering report” you’ll see most often offered.
DM Audit Checklist:
Your company, UVP and market opportunity assessment – how are you positioned?
review of your top competitors and how they’re positioned
SWOT analysis – what strengths can bolster your digital content strategy?
where are you competitors getting their traffic from?
Identify anchor content
Identify supporting content
Identify main business/services pages
identify downloadables/sharable content
identify main content pathways and conversion success
assess copywriting and visual content
Assess site appearance and UX design – mobile, desktop, layout, scannability, speed
discuss copy tone of voice, content quality, vocabulary, information value
recommendations for improving all of the elements above
SEO Performance Assessment
assess keyword rankings
assess web traffic
assess search engine traffic
assess social media traffic
spider your site, find and assess technical website issues – speed, broken links, meta data, duplicate content, over-optimization, link penalties
setup/review your Google webmaster console issues and warnings
Assess: titles, headings, and Google SERPs snippets, etc
recommendations for improving all of the elements above
I don’t assess video, web design coding, email, or commerce sales statistics. Anything that relates to content performance and how you get your online traffic and how you can maximize performance is what this is all about.
Key Benefits of a Digital Marketing Audit:
assess your analytics and discover what’s wrong with what you’re doing currently
assess your conversion funnel and the ability of your content to move visitors from impact to sales
analyze your significant, personalized unique value proposition and what you might do to improve it
find weaknesses in your content’s power to impact, engage and convince your audience
discover why your SEO strategy isn’t working and what can be done to turn it around
check rankings and assess your keyword strategy and copywriting effectiveness for Google rankings
discover content ideas that may give your business a boost and which assets you absolutely must build to compete and generate awareness
reviewing competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and what opportunities they are pursuing and capitalizing on
become aware of opportunities to rank, build epic content, and convert leads
become aware of new models of success such as excellent websites and content leaders
assessing your social media strategy and how it could contribute to digital marketing
The key to a good digital marketing audit is to assess your content. If you have a few broken links, your site’s running a little slow, or your calls to action aren’t aggressive enough, it’s good to know. However, it’s your content that’s the foundation of your success. This and your outreach strategy is where your focus needs to be.
If your unique value proposition and your content both suck, why not find out why? The sooner you get on the path to optimization and creating value for customers, the faster you’ll grow your profitability.
And with more, happier customers and higher profit, you’re bound to feel better yourself. Contact me now about a digital marketing audit. It’s the foundation of big successes ahead regardless of what industry you’re in. The fee for the complete assessment is $US 695.00
Whether it’s cheap flights or business class hotel bookings, you know how searchers look hard on Google for the right rates and locations.
And while expedia, hotels.com, trivago, and airbnb are also well aware of the power of Hotel SEO and have big outreach via social media, there’s plenty of opportunity to build traffic for your hotel or B&B Inn.
Today, it’s all about the customer journey, the experience they have while searching. That search may begin with “cheap hotel rooms” but with excellent search engine optimization and expert content strategy, the path that travel consumer takes can be managed. We an show them a better solution than cheapest hotel rooms, New York, or San Diego hotels.
SEO is just the beginning. Content strategy and content engagement pave the way to hotel bookings and revenue
How much Traffic can Hotel SEO deliver? A lot.
In fact, I doubled a major hotel’s traffic and made a big impact on their bottom line. This was traffic generated via Google, Yahoo, direct visits, and other website referrals. Adding a million new visits per year makes Hotel SEO a respected profession. I’d be delighted to perform SEO for your hotel brand.
I do love travel and hotels are recognized as convenient, safe, and comfortable accommodations. Your SEO specialist should have a passion for destinations. My personal favorites are Banff, San Diego, Costa Rica, Whistler BC, and Florida. Any many more locales await!
And while AirBnB has put a good deal of pressure on the hotel industry, hotels have innovated. Years ago, hotel marketing communications were formal and narrow thinking. Yet today they’ve opened up to more personal and creative interactions with travellers looking for fun, helpful and engaging content. There are alternate paths on the hotel customer journey.
Achieving rankings, wide and deep, actually requires a lot of content, ingenuity, and social connectedness. There is original content and then there’s more content that we might glean from your property databases. Whatever can help us generate rankings and build our relevance to RankBrain and searchers.
The strictness and avoidance of risk that major brands have as their achilles heal, is just one area where your small hotel can exploit. On a local level as well, many hotels won’t play the give and take that high performance SEO takes. So whether it’s local SEO or large scale Hotel SEO, there are niches and opportunities where you can beat the big brands and get solid exposure.
What do You Need to Win your Google Rankings?
bold, confident keyword selection (head and longtail both)
clever, engaging content constructed as a whole on your website
high performing EPIC level visual content
high quality, sharable blogs, pdfs, videos, photos
interesting, engaging blog posts using semantically relevant copy
high quality travel-related stories
Good Content for Engaging Behavior
Yes, as I demonstrate in my new SEO Book, there is no dichotomy between SEO and Content Strategy. You can align and combine to make Google and customers have the same pleasant and and convincing experience. Let’s get your Web presence optimized from top to bottom.
If you’ve ever wanted to launch your own marketing agency, in San Diego, Los Angeles or Boston, you’ll be glad to know I’ve worked for those who have done it. They became quite wealthy and enjoyed fantastic exposure to the latest technology, ideas and had money to travle worldwide. There’s a lot of benefits.
If you like the idea, then Paul Roetzer’s new book The Marketing Agency Blueprint should be a vital and fascinating resource. And I might add that my new book and services might be part of your future too.
The Marketing Agency Blueprint is chock full of ideas, advice and resources on how to build a successful digital marketing agency. The market for marketing agency services is increasingly complex so this type of book is excellent for clarifying goals and building a plan of attack.
Just about everyone and their grandmother is launching a marketing company today, so if you’re serious, you’d better get a copy of this book. Roetzer describes a new type of agency that uses the best available media channels to win. He says pure play digital agencies will likely go out of business along with traditional agencies.
This is a disruptive, bold approach for marketing businesses, and I suspect it will require a good deal of confidence for many agency owners to implement his new era plan. Even if you don’t follow it, you’ll learn a good deal from this book.
The Marketing Agency Blueprint
What’s exciting about Roetzer’s treatise is its insight into the marketing services ecosystem. You’ll understand how marketing is changing and how agencies must evolve to excel in this era. Roetzer emphasizes an agency’s willingness to be entrepreneurial, tech savvy, open to change, and execute faster than competitors as keys to success.
He says top agencies will pivot on the depth, versatility, and drive of their talent. Yet that discussion actually opens up the weakness of the book and some of his recommendations, as I’ll point out below. As much as I like a book, idea or venture, to not understand its weaknesses is unwise.
The Real Problem: Clients are Doing Things In-house
Roetzer doesn’t get into too much about how to get rid of the current nemesis —- the in-house specialista. In-house specialistas are replacing marketing agencies. They’re in the driver’s seat, have lots of time, inside knowledge of the client’s business, and the boss’s belief that in-house is the way to go.
Another issue is that clients are giving up on traditional advertising and turning more to integrated, multichannel marketing. However, this book does guide you in how to become relevant again and build the confidence to really delve into clients mindset so you can “create” a new client out of one you’re losing your grip on.
What is his solution really? Hire versatile, skilled talent and use a marketing platform to provide solutions faster and more adeptly.
Hybrid Agency – Adapting to Provide the Ultimate Service
The book discusses how a new hybrid agency business model will guide successful new agencies. This isn’t really new, but I do think his book clarifies the matter.
In Chapter 2, he describes agency models and which attributes of them are worth saving. Strangely, in Chapter 1, he suggests revenue production should replace billable hours as the payment model. This bizarre reordering of Chapter materials is disorienting, but I’d advise skipping past Chapter 1 and come back to it later. He offers plenty of other disruptive ideas which you and your clients may or may not like.
In Chapter 3, a very good one, he discusses how to assess excellent talent which he dubs “Hybrid Pros.” However, he doesn’t discuss how to motivate and compensate Hybrid pros. This last point hurts his credibility a lot. Are we supposed to keep compensation strategy old school while we change everything else? How does that make sense? It’s almost as though he doesn’t like where his own disruptive, innovative system is leading, or that his own employees will be reading his book.
Here’s Some More Money. But I Don’t Want Money
I’ll help Paul out on this one. If you’re going to motivate employees to learn, perform, be creative and engaged, keep them from jumping ship, and dedicated to the “team is everything” theme, you have to compensate them and let them create a work life that lets them access 100% of their potential.
Star Hybrid Pros will want a good salary but they want other benefits too.
Employees and their specific lifestyle, learning style, desire for experience and engagement, and unique motivational rewards have to underpin your business model.
There are 7 more chapters including building a scalable infrastructure, controlling the sales funnel, and optimizing inbound marketing strategy. There’s plenty more insights from Roetzer to filter through. I’m going to explore all of it further chapter by chapter because I think it answers a lot of questions, and stimulates interesting thought on how to run a business today.
The Marketing Agency Blueprint is a good read for anyone in business, even those who don’t need a marketing agency.
I hope we’ll speak soon to collaborate to help you build the most cost effective yet productive digital marketing agency. Let’s talk now at 416 998 6246.
Local Search Optimization is Serious Business for some Industries
What if I told you I doubled the traffic of a major hotel? Well, it happened. From 1.2 Million visits per year to 2.5 Million per year. A lot of people travel and search for hotels online and they often book with the first few they see. Being ranked at the top of Google search results is very important.
Fast forward a few years, and consumers are becoming very dependent on their smartphones, often using them in the retail stores, while walking, driving and dining. Whether driving around a neighborhood looking for homes or while in transit and looking for a restaurant in town. Local search is a big deal. And Google maps is seeing a lot more use and it is tying in local businesses to map users.
Google serves up local business results as you can see the 2 screenshots below. These results are separate from the regular search results and are a key FREE source of the very best traffic and leads online.
This post on Mobile search growth shows smartphone use is trending higher. Visibility in local search results and being mobile friendly is vital. It all ties into the local and smartphone connection.
Local Search is Worth Winning
If you run a Hotel, Restaurant, Clothing Store, plumbing or auto repair shop, or real estate agency, you’ll want to show up in these local search results. Not only does your website come up right at the top left of the page, but Google gives them driving directions right to your store. How nice is that! Gotta love Google.
I wanted to bring this local search visibility opportunity to light for you. I’ll spare you the deep stuff. The point here is to see the opportunity for a local business to grab really good quality local, easy to convert sales prospects. Getting into the top of Google’s search results is very rewarding. These are the best leads possible — prospects who are eagerly searching. That’s a hot lead. So when you believe it, stop reading and get into action.
Millions of Searches for Hotel Rooms
My client, the major hotel chain in Canada for many years, Delta Hotels, had 35 locations across Canada. You may have booked a room via my hotel SEO work and didn’t know it! Delta Hotels rooms and services are top notch and they charge a higher price for bookings. In my stays throughout Vancouver, Banff, Toronto, Mississauga, and other cities, I found Delta’s hotels to be very high quality. Unfortunately, Marriott Hotels bought Delta Hotels and the past is gone.
It was a challenge to get visitors to choose Delta Hotels over Motel 6, Super 8, and even Best Western. Hotel bookings are competitive and price sensitive. In hotel SEO, you’re up against tough competition including hotels.com and expedia.
I have to mention that I created new top rankings in the local search results for Toronto hotels, Vancouver hotels, Montreal hotel, hotels in Mississauga, and Calgary airport hotels and tens of thousands of other keyword rankings. I ensured we dominated the 10 Pack with several hotel locations in each city. That actually helped double their amazing website traffic and leads. Doubling a hotel’s traffic has a big impact on the bottom line. I can’t divulge numbers, however I can say what I accomplished in terms of SEO.
Of course, a hotel’s unique selling proposition, its branding, lead conversion strategy, content strategy, website mobile friendliness, and other supporting elements contribute to a converted lead. SEO brings them in and the content generates the booking and converts the lead.
You don’t just sign up with Google local business listings and see the traffic roll in. No, you must prove to Google’s algorithm that your site content and service is relevant to that location. Yes, there’s a number of factors that Google processes to determine rankings. Leave that stuff to me including the Google+ misery. Your job is your business, mine is getting you that great local traffic.
Here’s a couple of local search infographics though to tell you why you don’t want to think about it:
Toronto Real Estate Community Set for Big Welcome of Vancouver Real Estate Investors
TREB’s monthly market report showed 9989 homes were sold in Toronto (GTA) in July, which was one of the best July’s on record. Data is is suggesting 2016 will be a record year (It was!). TREB has just released its August sales report (Sept 7) and sales were strong and housing stock is slim which isn’t much of a surprise. 9814 homes were sold in the TREB MLS zone.
Here’s a snippet from their Sept 7, news release:
The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark for August 2016 was up by 17.2 per cent on a year-over-year basis. Similarly, the average selling price for all home types combined was up by 17.7 per cent on an annual basis to $710,410. Both the MLS® HPI benchmarks and average prices for low-rise home types were up by double digits percentage-wise.
Toronto Real Estate: [bctt tweet=”Latest Update: Toronto Real Estate market is up substantially, whether foreign investors are involved or not. #hotrealestate” username=”@gord_collins”]
August sales was a new record, up 17.2% from August 2015. Is this due to the exit of investment from the overheated Vancouver BC market to Toronto. Or is this just due to the constrained availability in Toronto and surrounding area such as York Region? What’s obvious about the Vancouver and Toronto markets is the degree of available land and developments are causing price pressures. Will BC and Ontario governments change their directions or will this severe pressure continue right through 2017?
Here’s a chart courtesy of TREB, showing price growth in the last year. Very big numbers which might make a number of Toronto homeowners get off the shelf about selling their home. Houses and condos sold for record prices and yet we’re not hearing as much lately about bidding wars? York region lead the way with the biggest gains (22%) in price. Are you a York region realtor? Why not check out my digital marketing and Real Estate Lead Generation services? I’d be happy to help you.
The Big Shift to Toronto
Toronto real estate agents, developers, builders, and financial companies must be in very good spirits knowing the number of sales will boom. Many foreign buyers search Google or Juwai for information on homes, and from the jump in visits to my pages, it seems interest is growing. Those realtors who are present on Google search are sure to see their inquiries and leads grow.
This chart courtesy of TREB covers the details of each MLS zone: (click to enlarge). Mississauga, Vaughan and Toronto Central remain the top districts in terms of value. Toronto’s C12 MLS district (Lawrence Park, Don Valley, St Andrew/Windfields) has the highest prices with an average composite price of $1,690,900 and a detached home average price of $2,054,800. Other Toronto districts had higher price growth, some over 32% year over year. Toronto MLS average prices have levelled off with volume down 30 to 40,000 dollars since the spring high season.
BC’s Foreign Buyers Tax is the Big News in August
The BC government voted to levy a 15% tax on real estate investment by foreign buyers and many believe this has caused Asian buyers to shift their focus eastward for homes and other properties and take their money with them. The forecast for the 2017 Toronto housing market was good before, but with this new influx from Vancouver, it may be a profitable fall season for realtors and builders.
The stats don’t support that Asian investment money is responsible for Vancouver’s housing boom, anymore than it was Toronto or Montreal’s improvement. Politicians are likely hoping the public will believe a symptom of Vancouver’s amazing success is the cause. Prices have slid in Vancouver, but it may do little to make housing affordable in BC. In fact, we have to wonder if the exodus of that money will depress Vancouver’s economy and optimism. When you try to suppress the spirit of a city, you could be in for a tough go. Many of the foreign buyers are buying because their children are attending schools in Vancouver. It will certainly make a lot of over-leveraged buyers nervous as well as many schools in BC (including UBC) who will lose these foreign students and tuition.
The Big Shift to Toronto
Toronto real estate agents, developers, builders, and financial companies must be in very good spirits knowing the number of sales will boom. Many foreign buyers search Google or Juwai for information on homes, and from the jump in visits to my pages, it seems interest is growing.
In a news story from inews880, Jordan Teperman, executive vice-president of Haven Developments in Toronto, said Toronto is seeing the effects of the tax.
“We really don’t know what the effect of it is yet, but I could tell you from the seven projects that we have on the go…we are getting a lot of calls from brokers out west saying they have customers that would traditionally invest in Vancouver and are coming to Toronto now because they feel it’s a safe heaven, and two, they are so taxed out in their foreign countries.”
Teperman also said a major developer his company works with said the figures could be as high as 60 to 70% of the volume of investors that could go to Toronto instead of Vancouver. That would certainly make the Toronto Real Estate market jump in August and September.
TREB doesn’t report mid-month sales any longer, so we’ll have to wait another 7 to 10 days to see what the Vancouver impact is. What needs to be looked at further is how many sales will move to the US markets such as Los Angeles.
2 recent news stories in Toronto and VancouverMLS regions really bring home the current state of real estate and real estate marketing now. The news stories both report sales of properties at $1 million above asking price. It’s mostly driven by a lack of new housing development. In Vancouver it’s a lack of land but in Toronto, it’s government policy.
That means bidding wars will grow in number and home values in 2020 may be much higher than they are today. The Toronto housing outlook is still very good.
“You know you have to go above asking in this market right now. I absolutely feel bad for buyers. Nowadays, all I can say, is it’s whatever people are willing to pay.” from a CBC news story.
In the UBER era, what is your realtor unique value proposition? The whole issue of getting your clients the best price may revolve around great internet marketing along with terminology and tone of voice. I’m sure if you included “over asking” in your slogan or at the top of your website homepage, you’d be in for criticism. Yet if “over asking” is normal shouldn’t your marketing strategy adjust to it?
If there’s one sure way, the one way if you had to choose to create a bidding war and enable an over asking price result, it would be a powerful online marketing strategy – via Google, Facebook, Twitter, and your emails to your vast sized prospect list. There are many times more buyers online right now than on your own list. And some of those buyers are from the Middle East, China, Hong Kong, USA, and even Russia.
Anyone selling a home in Toronto, Vancouver, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston or Los Angeles, who doesn’t consider an above asking price strategy is basically giving away money. As an investment, a seller’s goal is to get the best ROI as this money could get them out of debt, be their retirement fund, kids education fund, old age health fund, or bucket list fund. That extra money could help sellers revive their lives and get their health back. No more commuting!?
I feel sorry for sellers who sell their house in 3 days when a little 2 to 3 week strategy could build interest and focus buyer intention on one special 3 day period where buyers must make their offer. You’re a salesperson and should have extensive expertise in sales strategy. Below, you can see Hans Ohrstrom of Newmarket, ON is building a reputation as a guy who gets the right results. This is what you should be doing.
The Changing Mores of a Business Culture
There doesn’t seem to be any ethical absolutes in pursuing the best over asking price benefit for clients. If your broker/mls/realtor association has said anything to you on the matter, I’d like to hear about it. The old paradigm that the client’s best interest is a “normal price” that’s affordable for buyers has disappeared. More investors/buyers
Almost every real estate organization stipulates acting on the client’s best best interests. I’m not sure how you can reason that one out by getting involved in a client sale and come away looking squeaky clean. And then there’s the “over asking price” value proposition. Is this the next Gambit for aggressive marketing realtors? Given the number of rich buyers now, it’s pretty safe to offer it as a time limited selling proposition. And if you have big money yourself, it’s a limited risk that you’ll get hurt even if you lose on one or two deals.
“The most fruitful strategy.. is to aggressively price the property roughly 5% to 10% below the going market rate. This will always generate more traffic to the property and give buyers a chance to fall in love with the home, when a higher purchase price might have kept them away initially.”
Here’s a few more Over-Asking Price Tips:
hold back and tell buyers there are other offers, even though their offers aren’t huge
approach investors to look hard at the property
get the seller to update the house to eliminate negatives and play up the main selling value proposition (in Vancouver it might be the views, or just the location (tear downs or flips). You may even decide to change the style of the home (brick facades, or Asian, or Arabic styling could really pay off). See what the most attractive styles in Kelowna BC are right now.
be proactive, and like you’re in charge: do the landscaping or roof repair yourself and deduct that from your commission which preempts any attempt by the seller to cut your commission.
do blitz real estate marketing with Google Adwords, remarketing, select outdoor ads, and play up the property to all your Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter connections. If your site is ranking well on Google and you’re getting big traffic as well, you can actually create the bidding war climate. Timing is everything so think about how you can market strategically.
Isn’t it about time you got about your real estate career? Could you be one of the very smart ones and begin launching your own brokerage? We’re well into the Uber real estate era. The next real estate mogul will be a real estate digital marketer, just like Uber has no taxis and Airbnb owns no rooms themselves. This is a whole new ball game. Be smart about your future.