Marketing mini-series podcast for agents

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PODCAST 1: 7 DIGITAL MARKETING ESSENTIALS FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS

  • Podcast: 7 Digital Marketing Essentials For Real Estate Agents

  • Podcast transcript

    Intro music

    Hi there and welcome to our first Ezy Insights marketing mini-series podcast for agents -- this is a chance for you to catch up on the latest real estate marketing tools while you're in the car on the way to your next open house!

    Each of our podcasts will tackle a different real estate marketing topic and provide practical hints and guidance. If you want a simple summary to act as a reminder to take action, fill in your details below the podcast and the main points will be sent to you by email.

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    So today, we're going to start by introducing you to 7 of the essentials you need to consider when you're updating your marketing strategy from traditional to digital -- and that goes for personal or business brands. We're starting here and providing a quick overview, because we'll explore some of these areas and how to use them in future podcasts.

    To keep things easy to remember, our 7 essentials are inspired by the late and great Aretha Franklin and are all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

    Our First R in RESPECT is all about investing in a Responsive Website. If you don't have one, you need one -- the investment is small, the benefits can be huge!

    So, Google announced way back in 2015, that more internet searches now take place via mobile than desktop.

    Mobiles have smaller screens, less data and can be a little slower to load. A responsive website responds to the size of the phone or tablet or laptop you are using and changes its layout to improve your experience.

    You need a responsive site for two simple reasons, 1) it makes the experience better for the 50-60% of your users viewing your site on their phone and 2) Google doesn't like sites that aren't mobile friendly, so it's less likely to serve your site in search results.

    Most agents have responsive sites already, but if you don't, jump onto eac.com.au and lay down a small investment for a big result.

    Our first E in RESPECT is for an Engaging content -- and this one is so important!

    When we say content, we just mean video, articles and other media you can put on your website or socials to share insights or add value.

    Again, there are two reasons to get into content. First, it keeps you top of mind, giving people a reason to visit your site in between buying and selling . Secondly, adding new content to your site encourages google to re-rank your site, and the better-quality the content, the more likely google will show people your pages first when they search topics you know about.

    You can't just build a site and expect visitors to come, being found in search is really important!

    S is obvious, it's for social media -- profiles AND ads. The big message here is don't over commit and don't think you can own social media for free!

    Facebook has around 15 million users in Australia, most who have more than 200 friends which means most newsfeeds would get pretty clogged up with they showed every post, so they prioritise friends posts over pages posts. As a business, only around 2-6% of your followers are shown your posts in their newsfeed, meaning sometimes, you're posting for practically no one.

    To work around this, you need to post really regularly so Facebook can see you're active and your followers have more chance to share your posts and show them to each other. You should also look at spending a little money to boost your profile or advertise properties so you build awareness and leads.

    When it comes to over committing, you don't need a profile on every social media platform or you have no chance of posting as regularly as you should and with quality posts. Choose one or two to start with and make sure you post interesting content regularly.

    P is for Proactive SEO.

    If you don't know what SEO is, it stands for search engine optimisation, and basically it just means setting up your website and your content so Google can best figure out what you're all about and what position in search results it should serve your pages when people search for topics you know about.

    When someone types in 'how do I find a real estate agent in Wollongong', Google has to choose which of thousands of pages gets to appear on page one of its search results. Good SEO can help it select your page.

    Our best advice for getting started with SEO is to have a quick read of Moz's beginner's guide to SEO (the link will be in the summary email).

    Our next E stands for EDM or Email campaigns. Email is still one of the most effective ways to market and connect with potential buyers, especially those in your database.

    If you don't have an email campaign platform in your property management software, MailChimp is free for databases of up to 2,000 contacts. You can use its amazing tools to segment your audiences, automate your emails and create marketing funnels that filter out the best buyers for particular properties.

    C is all about connecting. These days, because so much of our communication happens online, we sometimes forget to really connect with people. Connect the traditional way through face-to-face events, community organisations etc and remind people who you are and how approachable you are by using Facebook Live to do digital open houses or Q and A sessions, or use sites like join.me to hold monthly webinars to update locals on what's happening in real estate in your area.

    Videos are great, but interactive opportunities where you can connect, are better.

    Last but not least, test and analyse.

    As an agent, you have access to so much data that can help you better meet the needs of buyers and sellers -- and yet, when we talk to agents and ask them, what do you do with your realestate.com.au weekly reports, the answer is usually, 'I send them onto my vendor so they can see the results'.

    You should actually use those reports and similar ones from Sale Ezy to understand how people are interacting with your listings, so you can make some changes that make the listing more interesting and attractive to the right people -- it will save you so much time and can reduce your time on market! Facebook and all your social platforms, your emailer software and various other platforms also provide data that can change the way you approach marketing and selling!

    So, today's podcast is all about an intro to some of the essentials for your marketing plan over the next 6 to 12 months -- Just remember RESPECT and if you need a reminder, fill in your details below the podcast to receive the email summary.

    Keep an eye out for our upcoming podcasts on Facebook ads vs boosting -- why you should do one and not the other, and creating email marketing funnels.

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PODCAST 2: FACEBOOK ADVERTISING: TO BOOST OR NOT TO BOOST?

  • Podcast: Facebook advertising: to boost or not to boost?

  • Podcast transcript

    Hi there and welcome back to our Ezy Insights mini series on real estate marketing. In this session, we're going to be tackling a topic that affects a lot of real estate agencies and small businesses; Facebook advertising. We'll be asking the big question -- to boost or not to boost?

    Don't forget, if you're listening to this in the car or you don't have time to take notes, pop your name and email into the form below this podcast and we'll send you a short summary of the main points so you have a reminder to take action. If you want more details on this particular topic, we also have an article on our website, Facebook ads vs posts, that you can find through our Facebook group.

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    So, there are two big points we need to cover when we're looking at an intro to Facebook advertising. The first one is why do you even need to do it in the first place, and the second is how you choose between a simple post boost -- which let's be honest, a lot of us do because it's easy -- or a more complex Facebook ad. So, let's get down to it.

    Last year and this year, Facebook has really been through the ringer -- their CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was even bought before the US Senate because of some perceived breaches of privacy. Their brand took a hit and so did their user numbers... but not as much as you might think.

    Despite the drama, Facebook's active Aussie users still total around the 15 million mark -- meaning a lot of Australians are still using Facebook. So if you thought the hit to Facebook's rep means you don't have to focus on Facebook as a brand building channel anymore, think again!

    In response to the drama, Facebook made some changes, and in fact, they actually started making a lot of changes way before this -- and quite a few of those change will affect your business.

    Basically, Facebook has been playing around with how it decides what posts appear on a user's newsfeed. If you're not really familiar with Facebook, your newsfeed is personal and unique -- it's the first page you see when you enter Facebook , and it shows you a stream of the latest posts by your friends, family and other pages you follow.

    Needless to say, with 15 million Aussies alone using Facebook, and most of us with more than 200 friends; showing every single post made by every single friend in your newsfeed is impossible! So something had to give.

    Facebook decided it is more important that people see posts from friends and family than posts of businesses or brands they follow, so getting free traction as a business started to get really challenging.

    What this comes down to is this: even if you have worked hard to get 1,000 or 10,0000 or 20,000 followers, most of your posts aren't organically (that means for free) being shown to most of your followers. In fact, of your followers, research suggests only around 2 - 6% will ever see your post in their newsfeed.

    Just to put that in perspective, that means if you do have 1,000 followers, only around 20 of them will see your post unless they remember to visit your actual profile page -- which most of them wont!

    So what does all this mean? Why even bother with Facebook? The answer is: with millions of possible buyers and sellers on Facebook, it's worth finding a way to connect with them, even if it is more challenging.

    To make Facebook work for your business, there are a number of guidelines to follow; I won't go into all of them here, but to get you started

    1) you need to post regularly, and I mean really regularly, at least a few times each week. If you don't, you have no chance of getting enough engagement for Facebook to deem your posts worthy of showing in newsfeed.

    2) Your content needs to get engagement. Honestly, it doesn't matter how many followers you have if none of them see your posts. You need to make sure your posts are not all about you and what you think is interesting, but, all about your followers and what they find interesting. You need them to like them -- but more than that, you need them to react: to laugh or smile or cry, to share, comment, or tag -- because when they do, the chances of other people seeing your posts increases.

    How do you do it? Use the feedback Facebook provides you for free. Open Facebook Insights for your business page and look at the data -- it will tell you if more women than men follow you, their ages, and importantly, which posts have received the best engagement and reaction... plan your future posts around similar topics or ideas to increase interest.

    3) You need to forget about being salesy. Facebook doesn't like profiles that are all about selling, so if all your content is posts of the latest houses you have for sale or new deals or discounts, your chances of appearing in newsfeeds are pretty low. You need to mix up your content and provide interesting posts that share advice, insights, news, tools reviews.

    So that takeaway message again, it doesn't matter how many followers you have, it matters how engaged they are! A profile with 10,000 inactive, unengaged followers may not be as effective as one with 150 followers who are engaged and active all the time.

    Outside of the organic stuff (that's the free posts), you also need to invest a little cash if you want to make Facebook work for you. To do that, you have the choice of simple Facebook post boosts or Facebook ads -- two very different options.

    Most businesses new to Facebook advertising just boost posts -- but it might not be the best option. A Facebook boost is designed to boost engagement with that very specific post and your profile, to create action inside of Facebook. Basically it is shown to people who are most likely to engage with that post -- to like it, share it or comment on it. If you want to build that engagement we talked about and encourage people to visit your profile or read your posts, a boost is great.

    The reason boosts mainly generate in-Facebook action is really simple. It's a post. on your profile. By pure design, it is supposed to be there to interest your followers, not to sell to them. It's about connection and engagement.

    To create action outside of Facebook, you need to set up an ad account and run an ad. When you do this, you will see the difference!

    Facebook ads are all geared around a very specific goal. Boosting engagement with your posts is just one of those goals -- there are around 20 others you can select from, like generating leads or sending traffic to your site. When using ads, Facebook doesn't mind you being 'salesly' because that's what ads are obviously all about.

    Using Facebook ads, you can create a promotion that is geared around your specific goal and you have so much more control. You have more creative options -- videos you can create in the ad maker, slide shows, carousels, lead forms -- and better audience options so you can really build a strategic sales or marketing funnel.

    So when might you use both? If you have a great video posted natively to Facebook that shares some useful real estate insights, a post boost is perfect -- it will increase engagement with that post and build you profile. If you have a house to sell to a target buyer, use an ad -- use the very specific audience targeting tools and send buyers out of Facebook to your listing web page to take action.

    Facebook is a tricky beast, especially with algorithm changes and the complexity of its ad offering. It is also an incredible advertising platform that should be included in your normal brand building and lead generation activity at a personal brand level and business level, as well as a property promotion level.

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PODCAST 3: WHY POSITIONING IS A GAME CHANGER IN A COOLING MARKET

  • Podcast: How positioning can be a game changer in a cooling market

  • Podcast transcript

    Hello and welcome back to our Ezy Insights mini-series on real estate marketing -- we've got two really useful and rarely spoken about topics coming up, that will be very important to small to medium agencies as our market starts to cool.

    Don't forget, if you're listening in the car or can't take notes, fill in your details below the podcast and we'll send some easy catch up notes direct to your inbox that you can use to take action later on.

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    So, in today's podcast, we are going to look at something I am personally very passionate about in marketing, but it's something rarely talked about at office or agency level in real estate -- despite its huge benefits -- and that is positioning and differentiation.

    In our work, when consulting to agencies in a marketing capacity, we often get asked about the cool stuff -- facebook, email marketing, search ads, even content sometimes -- but something we rarely get asked about is the work that comes before figuring out which channels to use and how to best use them.

    No, usually, our clients just want to dive straight into those channels -- the Facebook and the email -- without first asking what am I doing and why?

    The research component of your marketing strategy includes activities like reviewing the market as it is now and predictions for what is to come; thoroughly analysing your competitors so you know what's working for them and what's not, and how you are honestly different to them; identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats; and really getting into the heads of your target audiences.

    From all of this information, we can then best work out what marketing channels are going to be most effective, when, for whom and with what messages. Not taking these steps is like trying to make a complex recipe with a list of ingredients but no idea how much of each to use, or when or how they go into the dish.

    The other thing this research helps us establish, is what we call a positioning strategy.

    So, positioning, what is it? In marketing or branding, in really simple terms, positioning is the hopefully unique place or identity you hold in your target audiences' mind. It can be deliberate -- you can have planted this idea and nurtured it, or it can have happened organically, so it may not be as positive or fitting as you want it to be.

    As an example, Tesla is positioned as the car for environmentally, forward-thinking people, Qantas is positioned as the quintessentially Australian airlines, Woolworths are not positioned based on being the cheapest -- no they are the fresh food people.

    Likewise, in real estate, locally you might be the innovative, forward-thinking local agency, or you might be the cheap guys, or the truly family business, or perhaps you could have fallen into that trap of being known as the swindlers. Either way, your positioning is how you are defined in consumers' minds.

    So, why bother taking control of your positioning? First and most obvious, if you don't control your positioning, it controls you. You become the 'something guys' -- cheap, swindlers, tech -- whether you like it or not -- and if it doesn't fit for you, changing that positioning is really challenging.

    But most important, working on a positioning strategy that sets you apart, can make your marketing so much more effective, your brand so much more powerful, and your promotional spend cheaper with a greater return on investment.

    It does this by making you memorable, by giving you an edge and helping you stand out from other agencies in your area. It underpins everything that makes you, you, or your business your business, and it makes your brand so much easier to recall, identify and relate to.

    Try this activity. Think back to primary school and the kids in your class. Who was the funny one? The smart one? The athletic one?

    Now, for most of us, primary school is a fair way back, but recalling those people wasn't too difficult was it? It isn't to say no other kids were smart, funny or athletic -- but one or two kids probably really stuck out for you as owning those labels -- really simply, this is positioning, and it's the best way to become memorable -- which is crucial in an industry where repeat business can take 4, 5, 6 years to occur, and word-of-mouth is vital.

    So, a couple of quick tips on positioning.

    First of all -- do your homework. Don't skip that research component in your marketing strategy development. Take a good hard look at your business and then do the same for other agencies in your area. Where are the gaps, and can you honestly fill them? Are there no genuine innovators in your local area for example, can you be those guys and stand out that way?

    Secondly, once you think you have found a unique position, be really honest with yourself -- can you really be those guys, or are you trying to be something you're not? Are you trying to become the innovators, when all your software is outdated, your methods haven't changed and you don't really want to try new things? If it's not honest, it won't work.

    Thirdly, let your positioning underpin everything you do. It should be part of all your key messages, underpin your ads and campaigns, drive your behaviour and be obvious to consumers. If you're the innovator, people should see it in your ads, they should see it in your office, your approach, how you talk about things and the way you sell their properties.

    Fourth, assess regularly. Always stop and ask yourself, are we being true to this and do people really believe it? If you're the innovators, have you stopped being innovative as time has passed? If you're the advertising gurus, have your promotional efforts become the same level as every other agency. Always strive to live up to your positioning.

    It may sound like no big deal, but positioning and differentiation are what make good brands great -- it also is not an overnight win or something you just do once, it takes time and commitment.

    Positioning is a way to stand out, to become memorable, and as such, in a cooling market, it is a way to appeal to more vendors and buyers and win more listings -- so don't forget to think about it and put a strategy into place before you get too caught up worrying about Facebook and email!

    If you want some more insights and advice on how to get started with a positioning strategy, reach out to our team at hello@saleezy.com.au -- we are more than happy to help empower evolution in our industry.

    Stay tuned next week for our next podcast which is all about how to streamline your marketing budget as real estate cools. Take it ezy.

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PODCAST 4: MARKETING: STREAMLINE SMARTER IN CHALLENGING TIMES

  • Podcast: Streamline marketing smarter in challenging times

  • Podcast transcript

    Hi there and welcome back to our mini series on real estate marketing. Today we're going to tackle a topic that we know most real estate business owners are thinking about at the moment, but for some reason, most of us just take action without talking about it -- we're going to talk about your marketing budget and how you can do some smart streamlining during a cooling market.

    Remember, if you're listening to this in the car, or you can't take notes, enter your details below the podcast on the Sale Ezy site and we'll send you some easy notes you can use to take action later.

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    During the last financial downturn, I was working in a marketing team in the head office of a multinational business here in Australia, the business was a service-based sales industry, like real estate, and when sales started to slow, the reaction was to cut the marketing budget back to basically nothing.

    This story isn't an uncommon one and it's something we certainly hear about a lot in real estate -- sales start to decline, so agents scale back their property marketing to only the absolute necessities, and agencies withdraw their business marketing, planning to reinstate it when times are better.

    And while this is perfectly logical, in the sense that marketing is basically seen as a cost centre -- actually, these days, when we can so accurately measure the leads and sales specific marketing activities are delivering just as well as we can measure the effectiveness of particular sales person, marketing can actually be considered a profit-making centre.

    Now, in downturn, if you make all of your sales staff redundant, how will you list and sell any properties? Likewise, before you cut that marketing budget down to nothing, it's important to think about how vendors looking to sell will actually know you exist if you're not marketing. How will they be motivated to take the plunge and sell if you aren't motivating them? How will you move properties if you are barely promoting them?

    In approaching this podcast, we talked with a few agency owners to get their take on managing marketing in a downturn. Perhaps the most interesting story, came from our own director. He told us that during the last serious downturn -- when listings were scarce, sales were challenging and drought had taken hold -- he and his business partner did was most agencies do -- they slashed their marketing budget as an almost knee-jerk reaction and tried to operate without that extra cost. What they saw happen next, he said, was their business decline rapidly. They lost marketshare, they weren't being approached for as many listings, business went from tough to pretty dire.

    In response to this, they re-assessed. They looked at their local competition and saw that they too had stopped promoting -- to the point that the local paper had less than a full page of property ads each week, which was unheard of.

    They re-planned a new marketing strategy, with a budget, and they actually started investing more in marketing than they had before -- when the local paper stopped printing a property section, they invested thousands in printing their own fortnightly property magazine -- note, this is before online had really taken off. What they saw were results -- positive results! Their business improved, they overtook local competitors and their marketing not only won business from vendors who had already decided to sell, it helped vendors who were unsure, to make that decision and bought in listings that may not have otherwise occurred at that time.

    So, as the market cools, how can your agency adjust their marketing budget to weather the storm?

    1. First point is don't make that same mistake -- that same knee-jerk reaction -- and simply cut your marketing budget entirely. Marketing is a vital part of sales, they go hand-in-hand -- and without marketing, awareness for your brand will suffer and you could very well find yourself in an irrecoverable position, trying to completely rebuild your brand after down turn.

    Likewise, if you minimise property marketing, your listings will sell even slower than industry average, and your reputation will be at risk.

    Your brand and your reputation are two of your most important business assets, and marketing is integral to maintaining them and keeping them healthy.

    2. Be smart about how you approach streamlining your budget -- you have access to so much data that there is essentially no guess work in this activity. If you don't have a marketing plan -- which you very much should, and it's not too late to create one now -- if you don't have a marketing plan, write a list of every marketing channel you are using and separate them into property marketing and business marketing.

    Now, one-by-one, use the available data to assess the performance of each so you can determine which brings you in the most business and sales, and how each affects your profit margin. For example, you might find your Facebook campaigns have resulted in x amount of sales and you had to spend x dollars to find those buyers through Facebook. Likewise, you might find that x number of buyers came from real estate.com.au and the cost for each was x dollars. Find and jot down as much data as you can, so you have a clear picture of how much each channel is costing you to get a desired result.

    Next, don't just cross out the channels that have brought in less on face value -- first see what happens if you even out the spend. For example, if you are spending a lot of money on real estate.com.au with excellent results, and only a small amount on Facebook and producing good results, based on the numbers you have, if you increased your Facebook budget, do you project getting better results than you're achieving with realestate.com.au for the same amount?

    Finally. do some research, make sure the way you are using each channel is the best way to use it. So many agencies adopt a set-and-forget or awareness-only approach to marketing -- they put a property on realestate.com.au and don't do much else in terms of promotion -- they just wait for the buyers to come. Your marketing -- whether for a property or a business -- should follow a standard sales or marketing funnel -- it should start with awareness, which most agencies are very good at, but then it should use other channels or use the same channels in different ways, to re-target those interested people and push them down the funnel towards consideration and conversion phases.

    3. Third and final -- like your property promotion, your marketing strategy can't be set and forget. As the months go by, set up regular assessment milestones, where you look at how your marketing is performing and work out your most effective channels. Use this information to adjust your strategy so you're getting the most out of your spend.

    The big takeaway message for today is that cutting your marketing budget on a whim, because the marketing is cooling, can actually do your business more harm than good, both in the short and long-term. You can find your once thriving business with little brand awareness, recall and recognition, and your sales staff working three times as hard as they need to to win listings and sell properties. Use the cooling market as an opportunity to get smarter with your marketing, and to actually build your business while your competition declines.

    Stay tuned next week for our next podcast on marketing funnels and how they can be used to drive business. Until then, take it ezy.

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PODCAST 5: STEP-BY-STEP THROUGH A SIMPLE EMAIL AND TEXT FUNNEL

  • Podcast 5: Step-by-step through a simple email and text funnel

  • Podcast transcript

    Hi there and welcome back to our mini marketing podcast series for real estate agents. In today's podcast we'll go into a little more depth on a topic we've introduced previously -- and it is relevant to all agents who sell -- it's all about marketing funnels -- how to build them, why to build them and why they work.

    Remember, if you're in the car or don't have a pen handy, and you can't take notes -- just enter your details underneath the specific podcast on the Sale Ezy website and we'll send you some easy notes you can use to catch up later.

    Before we kick off today, I just want to give you some context as to why this is such an important topic. Before our family built Sale Ezy, our innovative online auction platform, some of us sold and managed real estate, and some of us worked as marketing consultants to real estate agencies.

    Through working with various real estate agencies, what became increasingly obvious over the years, is that even now, most agents are still doing marketing the hard way -- even though they think it's the easy way. So many agents that we worked with would list a property, feed it through to major display sites, and then perhaps an automated email would go out to their database and they might pop up a for sale sign. There were a few other activities they were doing, but essentially, they were running the same promotional strategy for every single property. Ultimately it consisted of a lot of awareness-based activity in the first week of the listing -- so getting the listing out there to an expansive group, and then a lot of responding to enquiries -- both from genuinely interested people, and a lot of people not really intending to buy.

    We've worked with agents through both cool and hot markets, and what we found is that in a hot market, this approach works just fine -- demand is high, buyers are streaming in and a sale doesn't rely as much on marketing as it might in a cooler market. When the market was cool however, the approach just really didn't work -- agents were frustrated, they solely blamed the cool market and they really suffered from the increased average time on market before a sale.

    The thing is, your job as an agent is not just the obvious stuff -- listing, negotiating etc etc -- no your job is actually pitted in being the specialist marketer of properties -- that's what your vendor is really commissioning you to do, it's what they can't do themselves. Now, in any other industry, if you specialise in marketing, but you used the same set-and-forget strategy for every single product, regardless of its uniqueness, you absolutely wouldn't be considered a marketing specialist.

    As we enter a cooling market and things get a little more challenging -- marketing is going to make the difference between agents who take a big hit, and agents who make it through largely unscathed.

    So how can you market more strategically? How can you create those funnels so you're working smarter, not harder?

    1. The first tip is to make sure you're not taking that rinse and repeat approach. Every property is at least slightly different, and every target buyer group is at least slightly different -- so every promotional strategy should be also be unique.

    Start by sitting down and creating a target buyer profile. Now, a lot of agents will say,' but this house could suit a retired couple or first home buyers or any number of other people', why not just target absolutely everyone? The simple answer is, it's impossible to target everyone, that's not what targeting is and it's not a strategic approach to marketing -- trying to reach everyone, is simply casting the net wide and hoping for the best, it's working harder not smarter.

    As the agent, it's your job to know who is most likely going to buy a property, it's part of the specialist expertise you have built up over years working in the field -- expertise vendors just don't have to draw on themselves, that's why they hire you. Base this on your knowledge of the property, the area, the neighbourhood and a range of other factors.

    Next, using that information, work out which marketing channels your target buyer is most often exposed to. For example, if the property is suited to young first home buyers, try Instagram, if it's 60 year olds, instagram may not be the best choice.

    Go through a list of channels and select those that your target buyer most interacts with and pays attention to. Don't stick with just the usual channels -- it can take 5, 7 or sometimes more exposures to a message before a potential buyer will actually take action.

    Finally, select your key messages carefully -- use messaging, headings and advertising copy that is directly aimed at that target buyer profile -- talk to them, appeal to their specific motivations and desires -- don't just try to use a general message that suits everyone. If you look at promotion for almost any other product you will see marketers taking this approach.

    2. The second tip is to try using funnels.

    That marketing process we mentioned that some agents use at the moment -- display sites, for sales signs, mass email blast -- are all what we call awareness tactics. They are designed to bring attention to the fact you have a listing.

    Once you know who is aware, paying attention and who is interested, you can start to work smarter by using marketing channels to filter down the group to only those who really want to buy, who want to buy now, and who want to buy something exactly like the property you have.

    A really simple example of a funnel is starting out with an email blast to those people in your database who have either a) identified they want a property matching the one you have or b) fit into that target buyer profile you have developed. Once you have sent the email out, you can use email software analytics to tell you exactly who ignored the email, who opened it, who clicked on it and which part they clicked on. For those who ignored it, you can wait a few days and send a reminder to see if anyone just accidentally missed it.

    Once you have a list of people who opened it and clicked on it, you have filtered your list down from 'everyone' to people who registered interest. Next, you could send a follow up email mid-week, prior to your weekend open house, with a new call to action, say, something about your open house.

    Using your email software, the morning of your open house, you could check who clicked on that last email and download a list of people who showed interest again. These people have now shown interest in this property two or three times! Send them a text reminder of the open house and personally invite them along.

    Finally, after the open house, using your list of attendees, send an email encouraging next steps, or if you're using Sale Ezy, reminding them of the process to register to make an offer and how to bid.

    What you've done here is started with a big list and whittled it down in a few simple steps that literally take 5 minutes each, to a small group of people who have shown interest in the property 4 or 5 times. You can now nurture this smaller group and push them through to that conversion and purchase phase.

    A standard marketing funnel starts with awareness, moves into consideration and intent, then to conversion. For many agents, current marketing approaches start and end with awareness, and the agent takes on extra work by personally nurturing a bigger group of people than they need to, most of whom have no real intention to buy. You can save time by using simple funnels to whittle that list down to the most likely buyers.

    As the market changes, working smarter instead of harder is going to be absolutely vital to success and to meeting those sales KPIs each month. Check out our free marketing articles for more information on developing simple funnels.

    Well, that's it for today, listen in again next week as we take a look at Facebook advertising and email targeting and how they can assist you with your marketing funnels. Until then, take it ezy.

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PODCAST 6: PLANNING CONTENT TO SAVE TIME AND BUILD ENGAGEMENT

  • Planning content to save time and build engagement

  • Podcast transcript

    Hi there and welcome back to our marketing mini series for real estate agents. Today is a quick one, but a good one --- we'll focus on practical tips for planning content so you can still get the benefits, but save on time!

    Remember, if you don't have a pen handy, fill in your details below this podcast on Sale Ezy's website and we'll send you some easy notes you can use to take action later.

    We promised quick today, so let's dive in. To kick off, when we talk about content, what we're talking about is anything you're sharing on your website, whether it's new pages, articles, videos transcripts, anything you're sharing on your social profiles, newsletters -- basically anything you're producing or collecting to share.

    Two of the important reasons for focusing on new content; first, it's all about creating a relationship with sellers, buyers and people in between those points in their cycle. It's about engaging them and maintaining a connection with them, as well as sharing your expertise so they know they can trust you.

    The second reason, and it's just as important, is that adding quality content regularly to your website can help you improve your search engine results. Essentially, 90% of people click results on page one when they search on Google, so if you're not there, you may be missing out on hundreds of leads.

    Now let's get down to why we're here -- content planning. So, here's the thing, if you are doing what you need to be doing to use your channels effectively, you should be posting DIFFERENT content to each of your socials around once a day or at least several times per week. You should also be adding engaging content to your website a few times a week, and reaching out to your database several times each month.

    Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? It really is -- that's why big businesses have dedicated teams for this.

    So, if you're going to do content right, you have three choices. One, you can hire help. Number two, each day, you can get up, head to the office, sit down at your desk in front of a pile of work, or jump in the car for back-to-back appointments -- and then try to come up with good, engaging content to add to socials and sites when you get a rare, spare few minutes.

    When we've worked with agents who approach content like this, we've found they're either throwing something together quickly, without thinking about its usefulness to their followers, OR, if they are thinking about engagement, which is great, then they're sitting and trying to come up with a new idea for 20 minutes each day -- that's more than 15 hours a month for just two channels.

    The way we suggest approaching your content is with a monthly editorial or content calendar, and while it also might sound like a lot of work, it's actually really simple and straightforward, especially if you get your team involved.

    So, here are the steps -- and you can literally follow them one by one.

    Step 1. Create a template you can keep using each month. The simplest approach is to open an excel spreadsheet, run the days of the month down the left column of the page and list your channels, for example, website, Facebook, Instagram, across the top.

    Step 2. In the last week of the month, send a reminder out to your team to ask them to start thinking about some ideas or experiences they can share, what they've been reading about or hearing about your local area or the industry etc -- get them thinking. Also quickly jump online and check out your content performance from the last month to see what your followers found most engaging.

    Step 3. In your regular monthly meeting, tack on a little time to brainstorm. Get everyone to throw in all of their ideas for content, and take them down in a long list. You can run the brainstorm for as long as you like -- the more ideas you get, the less work you need to do to finalise your plan.

    Step 4. Place all the valid ideas in your content calendar for the month. Once the slots are all filled up, depending on the makeup of your workplace, allocate content out to various staff. For example, the sales team might do a state of the market, you might do the director report, your admin might source some items to re-post from other organisation's profiles. Set a deadline for when all the content needs to be complete.

    Step 5. Once you've collected all of the completed content, set aside an hour to schedule in all your content in one go -- an hour feels like a big commitment, but doing it all at once actually takes much less time. You can use tools like Hootsuite for most profiles, but we'd suggest using Facebook to schedule its own posts, as using third party scheduling tools can affect your post reach.

    And that's it! Monthly content done! The benefits of approaching content this way are threefold, firstly, you have a complete overview at the start of the month of what will be posted -- you can make sure it's on brand and on message, not repetitive and not rushed just for the sake of it. Secondly, if it's all done at the start of the month, you don't have to find time every day to do it. Thirdly, by scheduling it in, you can ensure you stay on track, post regularly and don't have extended periods of radio silence.

    That's it for today, don't forget to check out our simple visual guide to optimising your website articles for search engines -- it's posted to our agent's Facebook group. Next week, we're going to look at Facebook ads targeting -- how it works, what changes they've just made and how we can use it to make our ads more effective. Until then, take it Ezy.

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PODCAST 7: SIMPLE STEPS TO FACEBOOK CUSTOM AUDIENCE ADS

  • Podcast: Simple steps to creating custom Facebook ad audiences

  • Podcast transcript

    Hi there and welcome back to our mini marketing series for real estate agents. Today's podcast is on a very practical topic, useful to most agents, and that is step-by-step how to create custom audiences in Facebook.

    As always, if you don't have time to take notes, fill in your details on our website under this podcast and we'll send you some handy notes to get started.

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    As mentioned previously, we work with quite a few agencies to help them approach marketing more strategically. What we've found is that, if using Facebook ads (which only around half of real estate agencies are), agents are either using standard audiences or look alike audiences. Today, we'll have a look at custom audiences from lists and web visits because they can be incredibly valuable in creating marketing funnels.

    If you aren't already using custom and lookalike audiences or you don't use Facebook at all, it's important to know you do have various audience options available to you. It's actually how closely you can target specific people that makes Facebook so valuable to agencies or agents looking to build brand or sell properties.

    Ok, so let's get straight into the practical today! When creating a basic ad, we'll assume you've done the first few steps, Facebook will then ask you to define your audience. Straight up, you are able to narrow that audience by age, location and interests.

    As an example, you can target people aged 28 to 35, in Campbelltown in NSW, who are interested in horses and outdoor living.

    Facebook has recently made some big changes, which unfortunately have resulted in more than 5,000 of the targeting terms that are often best for agents, being removed. Previously, when Facebook included partner data categories, you might have seen options like 'people who are going to move house', 'people of specific income ranges', 'home owners', and other useful demographic-based options. While many of these have been removed, there are still a lot of really useful ways to target your ads.

    So, to get started creating your standard audience, set the age and demographics of the people you want to target. Then, if you're unfamiliar with Facebook ads, your best option is to browse for demographics and interests, as opposed to just searching -- so click browse -- this way you can find out what's available.

    For example, you might look at targeting options within life events by clicking the little down arrow next to 'life events' in demographics. You might select options like newlyweds, people with a new job, you may consider parents of children at certain ages who may be looking to upgrade, or specific job titles and industries to target certain income groups.

    In interests, if your property is urban and in a trendy area, you might consider targeting people who are interested in certain types of dining experiences or restaurants. Have a look through all the options to get started, then try searching for additional interests. The take home message is, even with those options now removed by Facebook, your ads can still be very targeted.

    When creating your ads, you also have the option to use a custom audience, which can help you get really specific with who you're targeting.

    When creating your ads, when you reach the audience definition section, click on the 'create new' button under custom audiences. Looking at the pop up, the two main options you will likely want to use are either 'customer file' or 'website traffic'. We'll do customer file first.

    If you select 'customer file', then select 'add customers from your own file', you can upload your client database in csv file format and target your actual client database with Facebook ads. Something worth noting here is that a lot of people have their Facebook profile under their personal, not their work email address. When creating your database, really focus on ensuring you add in personal emails at every opportunity, as opposed to work emails.

    Once you've uploaded your list, you will be asked to specify exactly what data you have uploaded, so basically the column headings from your excel file. For example, allocate the label first name to the first names of your contacts, last name, phone, email etc -- the more information you can provide, the more matches you will achieve.

    Once you click upload and create, give Facebook some time to populate that audience -- it won't take long -- and then it's ready to use.

    Going back a few steps, if you select to create your list from 'website traffic' and not from a customer file -- this gives you a valuable opportunity to 'retarget' or 're-advertise' specifically to people who have already visited certain pages on your website.

    When you select the 'website traffic option' you will first be asked to select which Facebook pixel you want to use or if you don't have one, you will be asked to set one up. Facebook's pixel essentially just makes sure your ads are being shown to the right people and helps later with analysing how your ads have performed.

    Next, let's target people who visited a specific listing or set of listings on your website so we can send them another ad to remind them to check out those listings again. Select 'people who visited specific web pages' from the drop down and increase the number of days people stay on the list as far as you can so you capture an audience as big as possible.

    The next step is really straight forward, just add in the addresses of your web pages you want people to have already visited in order to be shown your new ad.

    Then click 'create audience'. If you're audience doesn't seem to be working, don't worry -- it can sometimes take half an hour or so to populate, so go and do something else and come back later to finish setting up your ads.

    That's it -- Facebook has designed this process to be really intuitive and basically you just follow the steps it provides. Once you have created your custom audiences you can use that same audience for any campaign you want to, whenever you want to -- it will stay in your library of audiences for future use.

    A bit of a practical podcast today, but hopefully it helps those of you who aren't quite sure how to get started with custom audiences. Remember, if you need the steps laid out for you, just fill your details in on our site below the podcast and we'll send instructions direct to your inbox. Until next time, take it ezy.

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