Thursday, May 24, 2018

Lisa Gray

Lisa Gray
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Lisa is an accomplished marketer with years of expertise in direct response marketing, digital marketing, data analytics and business development working with both B2C and B2B.

Did you know that according to a national survey, over 75% of consumers that receive marketing postcards in the mail, not only read them but keeps them for weeks or more?

With this in mind, it just makes sense for real estate postcards to be a part of your marketing strategy. The following are three tricks to help you begin winning big with postcard marketing.

Direct response marketing

The intent of direct response marketing is to elicit a measured and often emotional response from your prospects. Methods used to trigger this response include a call to action, a question or something that compels your audience to reply.

A great example of direct response marketing using a question is shown in one of our Expired Postcards. The postcard reads, “Did you know more than 90% of people who have had the misfortune of having their listing expire change agents to help improve their ability to sell sooner rather than later?” Quoting statistics is a great way to lend credibility to a point you are making.

Another direct response option is educating your prospect, by raising their awareness and showing your expertise. An example of this is shown in one of our Market Quote Postcards. It reads, “Statistics show the typical FSBO home sold for $210,000, compared to $249,000 for agent-assisted home sales. A professional will net you more!”  Again, the use of statistics helps validate the statement.

The last direct response example uses a “call-to-action” that gives your prospect an exciting reason to contact you that benefits them personally. An example of this is demonstrated in our Free Offer Postcards. These postcards contain offers for a “Free Home Market Analysis”, “Free Home Lists” or a “Free Home Equity Analysis”. Providing exactly what the consumer is in need of and at no cost to them makes it easy for them to raise their hand.

Keep in mind, although you may be tempted to send a postcard with a beautiful image and/or saying, because it’s simple and you know it will be readily accepted, be careful it’s not your only choice, specifically over compelling direct response content.

Most of all, remember a postcard has limited, valuable real estate available on the front and back. So make the most of this space with the right images and copy to drive home your point and gain your audience’s attention.

If you decide to create your own postcard, make sure to ask yourself the question, are you using copy and images that will evoke a response from your prospects?

If you speak to the heart of what your target audience is thinking and feeling, you will create a connection that makes people want to reach out to you.

Consistency 

Begin your strategic marketing by sending out compelling postcards to a designated area and then do it, again and again. Because this is how often you need to “show up” in your prospect’s mailbox and in their lives to make an impact.

I can not stress this strategy enough due to the positive impact it will have over time. In fact, among other things, it signals to your prospects that you have a quality brand and service.

University of Wyoming’s Anthony McGann and Raymond Marquardt researched the effects of repeat advertising. They found that businesses that advertised with high rates of repetition tend to be rated as “high quality” in consumer report studies.

In addition, the results of another study published in the Journal of Consumer Research showed that consumers think that products and services repeatedly advertised are “good purchase choices”.

Consequently don’t waste time, effort and marketing dollars on a one-hit mailing because it will not have a worthwhile return on investment or positive long-term effect.

Finally, if you are not consistently seen in your targeted market through marketing, consider what message you are sending to your prospects about your level of commitment? Success comes to those who show up over and over again with the right message, the right attitude and the right promise of service.

A powerful database 

Your mailing list is not just a compiled list of names and addresses. It represents the lifeblood of your business. And it includes people that, if cared for and kept in touch with, will take care of you for your entire career.

In fact, studies show that one out of twelve on this list will result in a transaction each year. This means a list of 200 will provide you 17 transactions per year. That is if you give them the attention they deserve, by consistently and effectively staying in touch.

Therefore, to keep your list information organized and easy to access choose a database program. But don’t stop with inputting just names, addresses, and phone numbers, also get personal with your entries.  Aren’t you impressed when someone remembers your name, asks about your children, spouse, and hobbies?

This is why your database should include spouse and children’s names and don’t forget special interests, likes, dislikes, and personality styles. Begin the habit of contacting your list at least three times a year. Over time you’ll be able to feed more personal details into your database.

free offer postcard series

Finally, don’t forget about the mailing lists you get when you purchase a Just Listed Postcard. Every time you send a postcard out and do a radial or neighborhood search, for the perfect mailing list – that list is yours to keep. Use it to continue to build that prized book of business. Add these individuals to your database and start building a relationship with them.

For more ideas on how to create a powerful database, download our Free BusinessBASE book.  It’s an informative and free resource that explains exactly how to grow your database effectively. And contains information that applies to both short-term and long-term career success.

Start applying these success tricks now. Send the Free Market Analysis Offer postcard from our Free Offer Series to at least 100 new prospects in an area where you want more listings.

Need help?  We are here to help you succeed. Just call 866.405.3638 for assistance!  

PLUS: When you have a moment…here are 3 Free things to check out that will help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free Real Estate Business Plan Outline

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out the perfect one page Online Real Estate Business Plan – Click Here

2. The Free Marketing ROI Calculator

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

3. The Free Strategic Marketing Planner

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

Also…check these out 🙂

Turn One Listing Into More – & all from your mobile phone

Automate Your Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards – with MLS Listings

Become a Neighborhood Brand – with the Market Dominator System

I recently spent time interviewing Michael LaFido, a top-producing Realtor, and luxury real estate consultant. Michael is the founder of the Luxury Listing Specialist Certification (LUXE) that many are calling the “new standard” for marketing luxury homes today.  Michael is also the author of the books “Marketing Luxury” and “Luxury Listing Specialist” & he has been inducted into the National Academy Of Best Selling Authors.

 Q: What is your definition of a luxury listing?

I define a luxury listing as three times the average home price for any given market. If the average home price is $200k, luxury would be defined as $600k and up. There is also a tier below luxury referred to as “higher end”, which I define as two times the average sale price for that market. In the above example, $400k would be considered “higher end”.

Q: What are the secrets of appealing to a luxury seller?

First, nobody cares how much you know until they know you care. You have to be authentic and truly care. There are agents that come across poorly because they are only bottom line driven and a seller will see through that. Being real and likable is important.

However, the biggest hurdle for many agents is penetrating the inner circle of trust. It can be difficult to penetrate this circle when dealing with high net worth individuals, they tend to be more guarded and untrusting.

A luxury homeowner will rarely give an opportunity to someone new and unknown to them. That is unless the agent has similar properties in their portfolio. Which is why a big part of what I do in my training is give agents the tools and resources to attract luxury sellers versus chasing them. Once an agent has gone through my program and has achieved our certification, they can leverage this certification as a third party endorsement.

Q: What advice do you have for agents curious about entering the luxury market?

The first step is more psychological than anything. An agent has to believe they can do it. Many agents have what I call limiting beliefs that are preventing them from breaking into certain markets.

Some of these beliefs include, I have to be licensed for X amount of years before I can sell high-end properties. Or I have to be with a certain brokerage. I have to live a luxury lifestyle, have a high net worth, and live in a big home or drive a certain car.

These beliefs are all false. I’m living proof. I have several properties on the market, $7 million and above in the Chicago land area and I came from a blue-collar past.

Recently I was in Las Vegas and a past training student approached me stating, “Hey Mike I attended you’re training a year ago and I just landed my first trophy listing for $850k.” She won this listing as an individual agent up against a power luxury team.

Another seasoned agent who never listed above $550k before she completed my training nine months ago said, “Michael, before your class, I would never have gone on a million dollar listing appointment.” Within two months of completing the training, she had a $5.3 million dollar listing appointment.

Q: What have been the greatest Aha moments for agents taking your certification?

Recently, after a training, I took agents over to an $11 million dollar mansion. I gave a tour of the property and insight into how to secure a listing like it and get it sold. I encouraged the agents to take selfies and create Facebook live videos inside the mansion as a way for them to market themselves from within this luxury property.

This tour of a multi-million dollar home was an eye-opening experience for many agents. Not just being in the environment, but communicating with their audience from within an $11 million dollar home broke down barriers and turned fantasy into reality. It’s important to put yourself in the surroundings of where you want to be in your life.

 Q: How do agents begin to break down the mental barriers to entering the luxury market?

The best place to start is by increasing your income from where you currently stand. If your average sale price is $200k try and push it to $260k or from $300k to $390k. This is a smaller goal, to begin with, that offers a big result (a 30% income increase).

Also, add higher-end properties to your portfolio. A financial portfolio includes some high and some low-risk investments. Diversify your listing portfolio in the same way with some higher listings as well.

Many agents say, if I take on a luxury or a trophy listing, that’s going to mess up my averages. It’s true they take longer to sell and cost more money. However, there is a positive overall effect on your portfolio and an annual income that can’t be denied.

Q: For agents interested in learning more what’s their next step?

Watch my Luxury Blueprint Video Series (linked below). It’s a three-part series on how to break into and sell more high-end and luxury homes and we also include some other freebies.  An agent can also listen to our podcast “Luxury Listing Specialist” on iTunes or Stitcher. To watch Michael LaFido’s Luxury Listing Blueprint Video Series, Click Here. For more information on Michael’s Luxury Listing Specialist Certification Click Here.

Always know that we are here to help you in any way we can.  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 if you would like help creating your new mailing lists or marketing materials.

PLUS: When you have a moment…here are 3 Free things to check out that will help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free Real Estate Business Plan Outline

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out the perfect one page Online Real Estate Business Plan – Click Here

2. The Free Online ROI Calculator

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

3. The Free Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Planner

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

Also…check these out 🙂

Turn One Listing Into More – & all from your mobile phone

Automate Your Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards – with MLS Listings

Become a Neighborhood Brand – with the Market Dominator System

Based on a recent NAR survey, 77% of buyers stated home staging made it easier to visualize the property as their future home.

In fact, the majority of agents agree home staging decreases the home’s time on the market and increases the sales price (up to 15 percent).

With options from hiring a professional, to doing it yourself, here’s why more agents are choosing virtual staging.

Search the internet for virtual staging and you’ll find lots of articles on how “dishonest” the practice is and how “deceived” potential buyers feel when they visit the home and the staging they saw online isn’t there.

But, read who is writing these hit pieces – professional home stagers – and it’s easier to take them with a grain of salt. Besides, many agents are successfully using virtual home staging and have great tips to offer.

The vacant home

Regardless of the type of market or home, staging is a must for most vacant homes—even if it’s staged only for the listing photos.

But, there’s more to it than marketing. Vacant homes send a message to potential buyers: this seller is desperate.

At the very least, buyers may assume there’s an urgency on the seller’s part to get rid of the home. Hello, lowball offers!

Most buyers first view a home online. Therefore, having at least virtual staging in place avoids the “vacant home syndrome” that may lead to low offers. 

What virtual staging is, and isn’t

Virtually staging a home for sale involves digitally enhancing the home’s rooms with furniture and accessories.

Many companies offer the service and it’s quite easy to use. All you, as an agent, need to do is send high-res photos of the rooms your client wants to be staged to the staging company. Depending on the company, you can have the finished product within 48 hours to a week later.

Costs vary as well. BoxBrownie.com charges as little as $32 per photo. While other companies can charge up to $100 or more per photo.

Virtual staging isn’t a DIY project. Sure, you can purchase software, but it isn’t the same software the pros use and, without a staging background, it’s not wise. Unless, of course, you think homeowners going FSBO is wise, then, by all means, go for it.

Unlike most of the out-of-the-box virtual staging software, the professional virtual staging software doesn’t virtually remodel homes. It presents the home’s architecture as-is and design the staging around what is actually present.

The photos are high-resolution and far more realistic and professional-looking than you’ll get with consumer-oriented software.

So, how do you keep a potential buyer from feeling manipulated?

Hard feelings may ensue when what a potential buyer sees in person isn’t what was presented online. Buyers may feel deceived, or like the victim of a bait and switch type of con.

Kiawah Partners in Charleston, S.C. has a brilliant solution.

“The company shows two versions of the photos: the room as it was originally photographed and the virtually staged room with the word ‘visualization’ prominently watermarked in the corner of the image,” explains Realtormag.com’s Erica Christoffer.

“The potential home buyer can see that the kitchen currently has beautiful dark wood cabinets and dark quartzite countertops, say, but can also see what it would look like if the cabinets were painted white and the dark countertop was replaced with a white marble,” explained Tiffany Jonas, Kiawah’s advertising and marketing manager

The company also includes a disclaimer in the property’s MLS description.

At vacant properties, the empty rooms contain large photos of the virtually staged room, “mounted on foam board and sitting on easels,” according to Cristofer.

“The potential home buyer can plainly see the original, real room in front of their eyes and, in the mounted photo, how that room would look with different furnishings and finishes,” Jonas told the magazine.

Other agents who employ virtual staging have the most popular rooms staged several different ways. “To help buyers visualize, for example, how a space could serve as a study, an exercise room, or a guest room, depending on one’s needs,” according to Boston Globe correspondent Marni Elyse Katz.

What to look for in a virtual staging company

Choosing a virtual staging company is rather like choosing a professional real estate photographer—it’s all about the photos.

Of course, you’ll want to ensure that the photos are realistic. You’ll also want to ensure that they take into account all the other aspects of stunning photography. These include lighting, scale, color, and composition.

A virtual staging company should also offer experience in home décor and styling. This includes the ability to create tasteful combinations of furniture and accessories, wall colors and flooring.

Finally, consider what you get for the money you are willing to spend.

We recommend BoxBrownie.com, not only for their skills and affordability but for the extras they offer, such as professional copywriters, to really make your listing sing.


Another way to attract more buyers is to send the Still Renting postcard from the First Time Buyer/Renter Series to at least 100 renters in your area. Need a mailing list of renters? Click Here.

Always know that we are here to help you in any way we can. 

Call our support team at 866.405.3638 if you would like help creating a new mailing list or marketing materials.

Thank you to all of our amazing contestants in our March contest!

We were thrilled to see the successful experiences everyone is having with our products and services. It is especially enjoyable to read about the experiences of so many new agents.  Remember, if your name wasn’t announced in this month’s contest, a new contest is starting soon with new opportunities to win!

Amazin Fire TV Prize Winner – John Kilpatrick

John had wonderful feedback about his experiences with ProspectsPLUS! as a new agent.

“I recently had an opportunity to use ProspectsPLUS for the first time. As a new real estate agent I ordered door hangers introducing myself to my neighbors. I placed the order and received them before the end of the week. They looked great.”

“Thank you ProspectsPLUS for your professionalism and high-quality standards.”

John Kilpatrick’s Latest Marketing Piece Purchases –  Just Sold Postcards & Door Hangers

Amazon Fire TV Prize Winner – Letterly Foster

Letterly shared her recent experiences using ProspectsPLUS! as a new agent.

“I LOVE ProspectsPLUS!!!! As a new agent, I am always looking for marketing ideas and new ways to find buyers. ProspectsPLUS has all the tools I need and more to help my business grow. I’ve ordered calendars, door hangers, neighborhood information postcards and they never disappoint. My products are shipped on time. It’s super easy to set up an account with them and reorder past marketing materials and they are affordable. The customer service representatives are out of this world.”

“They really want to see you flourish and I can appreciate that. Customer for life and I recommend ProspectsPLUS to every agent I know. I can’t thank you enough”

Letterly’s Latest Marketing Piece Purchases –  Door Hangers & Calendar Magnet Series

Join in on Letterly and John’s successful use of Door Hangers by ordering 100 Door hangers from our Door Hanger Series and have them sent to your home. Commit to hanging them on the doors of 100 homes in your Geographic Farm in April.

Always know that we are here to help you in any way we can.  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 if you would like help creating your new mailing lists or marketing materials.

When 1,500 U.S. consumers were asked what type of research they performed before hiring a real estate agent, nearly 43 percent said they seek advice from a neighbor or friend. More than 34 percent say they check the agent’s website.

When the second most popular way of finding agents is by trolling their websites, it’s critical to take a good look at your online presence. Blogging has benefits.

Listings, listings, and more listings

Here’s a “well, DUH” for you: To capture website leads you need visitors to your website. There are several ways to generate more traffic and blogging is one of the best methods.

Merely having a blog on your website will increase the site’s number of visitors, according to a Hubspot study. In fact, companies that blog receive 80 percent more visitors and small-business bloggers (which is what you are) get 126 percent more leads.

The bottom line is that if you promote your posts widely and consistently, you’ll drive more traffic to your website. 

SEO

And, if you search engine optimize your blog using long-tail keywords, you’ll be focusing on traffic that is more likely to convert.

Examples of short and long-tail keywords in real estate include:

  • Short: Lake homes
  • Long: Lake homes for sale in Madison
  • Short: Homes for sale in Phoenix
  • Long: Homes for sale in Phoenix with a pool
  • One-story homes in Las Vegas
  • One-story homes for sale in 89123 under $200,000
Real estate consumers are using longtail keywords to find you

Agent Steve Jolly of nashvillerealestatenow claims that he counted “21,050 keywords that were used to find my website” over the course of one year. More than 90 percent of those keywords were longtail.

In a nutshell: Although long tail key phrases will result in less traffic, what you do get will convert easier. And, when you think about it, are you in the traffic-generating or lead-generating business?

Finally, if you’re posting valuable, high-quality content, you may attract inbound links – the holy grail of anyone seeking to rank in Google.

If you want Google to see your site as authoritative, having high-quality inbound links is the only way to do it, according to Jayson DeMers at Search Engine Land.

Blogging helps build trust and establish expertise

The folks at Google asked real estate consumers what is important to them when choosing an agent and nearly half of them said “trust,” according to Tom Ferry.

So, how do you create trust? Through your online presence.

Blogging helps you appear human instead of as a brand. Regular blogging, on a schedule, helps people trust you as well. You show up, you are consistent – those are all qualities consumers seek in an agent. 

 A blog will help you to position yourself as an expert in your niche
 The How

Stuck for topics? Think about your clients and the questions they ask. The chances are good that others have the same questions.

There are at least a gazillion (ok, an exaggeration, maybe a bazillion) pieces of online advice about how to write blog posts. The key thing is to know your audience before you sit down to put fingers to keyboard:

  • Buyer or seller?
  • What pain point is your topic addressing?

Keep the answers to these questions in mind to remain focused as you write.

Make the post easier to read by structuring it so that it has lots of white space. Chop up overly long paragraphs and use photos, subheadings, content boxes and block quotes.

The When

How often should you post to your blog? Businesses that “published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly,” according to a Hubspot survey.

Sounds a bit excessive, doesn’t it? Other than agents who outsource their blogging, who has time to write four blog posts a week? Nonetheless, the takeaway from this survey is that blogging more often results in increased lead generation.

Not only does inbound marketing work, it’s far less expensive than most other types. If done right, blogging is inbound marketing on steroids.

Another way to get more listings, send the Timing is Everything postcard from the Fence-Sitter Series to at least 100 new prospects in an area where you want more listings.

PLUS: Whenever you have a moment…here are 3 things to check out that will help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free 2018 Real Estate Business Plan

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan – Click Here

2. The Online ROI Calculator

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

Also…check these out 🙂

3 Click Postcards – Just snap, tap, send all from your mobile phone

MLS Mailings – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand