Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Real Estate Agent Contest 2017

New Magazine Filled With Tools for YOU

by Julie Escobar

We’re thrilled this week to introduce you to the 6th edition of the Master Marketing Magazine which started hitting mailboxes all across the nation last week.  The reviews and comments are coming in fast and the word on the street is that it is already being recommended as a tool agents can count on as they put their marketing in place to hit the second half of this year strong.

Our sixth installment of this magazine has 87 pages that are filled to the brim with strategic content, creative ideas, and market-savvy tools you can use starting right now with a focus on matching your marketing with your market segment using incredible new data sources and options!

Here are a few of the featured articles: 

  • Embracing the Element of Surprise
  • Three Steps to Drive More Inventory
  • Five Action Steps to Grow Your Business
  • Pricing Makes Perfect
  • The One Thing You Can Do to Earn Three Times the National Average
  • Three Ways to Put Some Fun in Your Marketing
  • Three Ways to Get Out In Front of YourCompetition
  • PLUS… Powerful Interviews With Top Real Estate Pros
  • PLUS…a 6-MONTH Pull-Out Master Marketing Schedule
  • PLUS… a Chance to Win $10,000

And so much more…

Ready to look inside the pages of our digital version today? Check it out at blog.prospectsplus.com/magazine.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new magazine!  

Find us on Facebook and share your experience, your favorites, and your ideas for the NEXT publication!  

Being a resource YOU can turn to – is our passion.  Enjoy! 

Convert More Leads to Listings

If your blog isn’t performing in a way that is resulting in new potential listing traffic, it may be time for a tune-up.

Yes, we get that you’re busy, but this process is painless and can be done in pieces so you won’t have to take an entire day or evening to get it done.

Best of all, these tips will help improve your site’s visibility, your visitor’s experience and you won’t have to hire a web developer.

Fix broken links

Broken links on your blog return 404 errors to your users. They become frustrated and click away. As a result, you’ve lost them and probably for good. Broken links also impact your search engine ranking.

In essence, broken links are broken promises, so the first step in the blog tune-up is to check for and fix them.

There are several easy and free ways to do this:

  • WordPress site? Install “Broken Link Checker”. You can find a walk-through of the process (it’s quite easy) at Org.
  • Check My Links – a Chrome browser extension that checks all the links on a page. Find it in the Chrome Webstore.
  • Xenu Web Sleuth – it’s a rather odd-looking website, and you’ll need to download the software, but according to many, it’s one of the best, free ways to check for dead links.

Remove any dead links that can’t be replaced and update those that can.

While you’re in “link” mode

How is your internal linking structure? Linking from one blog post to another on your site keeps your reader engaged longer on your blog. In addition, search engine spiders love internal links.

Go through some of your most popular blog posts and find opportunities to link to other posts on your site.

Add some bling

Blog posts with compelling images are read more often than those that offer poor images. Therefore, check your blog post images and replace any that may be doing more harm than good.

Try using Canva.com to create overlays on your photos to give them that Pinterest look. It’s free and, once you get the hang of it, quite easy to use.

You can find free images online at:

  • Pixabay
  • Pexels
  • Morgue File
  • New Old Stock (vintage photos)
  • SkitterPhoto (click on “Browse Free Photos)
  • Unsplash

Fix blog format problems

The name of the game when writing a blog post is “white space.” Don’t torture your visitor with great, big blocks of text. Break it up with short paragraphs, the use of images, quotes, subheadings and bulleted lists.

Throw out everything you learned in English composition. You aren’t writing for a teacher, you’re writing for someone who typically scans text online. If it appears on the first scan to be too much of a chore to read, they’ll leave.

A good rule of thumb is to break up any paragraph that exceeds five sentences in length.

How’s your call to action?

If you hope to convert your blog visitors to leads, you’ll need effective “calls to action”. Any money and effort you expend to drive traffic to your blog is wasted if your posts lack this critical component.

Your call to action must consist of the following:

  • Make it unique
  • Use enticing offers
  • It must be prominent
Check your post titles

We get it, you’re not a copywriter. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should neglect the most important component of each post, the title.

A compelling, descriptive headline can mean the difference between the reader leaving or staying. It also impacts whether they click on the post’s link when you share it on social media.

Look at each headline and ask yourself if you would be compelled to read on if it weren’t your blog. If not, fix the ones that don’t work.

Magazine covers are ideal places to look for ideas on how to write catchy blog titles.

Order at least 100 of the Free Report, “5 Reasons Why Your House May Not Sell”, and use them as an opt-in on your blog site.
Also, for extra lift add them as a “call to action” on all of your marketing pieces.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 3 free ways we can 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 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 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  – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 🙂

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero!

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.

The importance of Agent reviews

In case you haven’t noticed, real estate is no longer your father’s industry. Every year, technology takes it, at warp speed, in directions Papa could only dream about.

In his day, driving the latest Cadillac was proof enough of his success.

Not today.

Your years of experience, impeccable customer service skills and even your über expensive website are no longer enough to convince potential clients that they should work with you.

They believe little of what you tell them and they demand proof.

So, who do they trust?

Your clients—present and former. So, make sure to appreciate and acknowledge your past clients and their referrals with our Customer Appreciation postcard series.customer referral appreciation postcard

This will be the year that, hopefully, agents finally understand how important reviews are to their bottom line and focus on not only getting more of them but how to present them as well.

What is social proof?

Apparently, the urge to follow the crowd, whether you’re a sheep or a human, is instinctual. It’s why we look skyward when others do. It’s why we stop to look at a car wreck.

“We often imitate others’ actions when making choices with limited information about what’s best,” claims David Stipp at Fortune.com. “It’s almost a law of nature,” he concludes.

“To learn what is correct, we look at what other people are doing,” explains Rob Henderson, an Eli Whitney scholar at Yale University, at PsychologyToday.com. “Advertisers don’t have to persuade us that a product is good, they only need to say others think so.”

This, in a nutshell, is social proof. And, the cornerstone of social proof is your brand’s reviews. Or, “testimonials,” as the real estate industry insists on referring to them.Just Listed Just Sold Property Showcase Real Estate Postcards

While it’s a bit embarrassing that our tendencies are so uncomfortably close to those of animals, it’s also an opportunity to cash in when it comes to marketing your brand. A great way to market your brand and showcase the good you are doing for your clients is our Property Showcase Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards.

Need proof that social proof matters?

About five years ago, Jeremy Stoppelman, a former PayPal employee, needed to see a doctor. Understanding that he’d find the best doctor only through word-of-mouth, he became frustrated at how little information he could find online.

As a result, and with $1 million in investor money, Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, another former PayPal employee, gave birth to Yelp.com.

“What we realized was word-of-mouth is the way we wanna find great local businesses,” Stoppelman tells Inc.com’s, Daniel Wolfman.

“That’s what we all naturally do. And if we could create something online that could capture word-of-mouth, that would create an amazing resource to find only the best local businesses.”

That was nearly 15 years ago. Today, research shows that, in their efforts to avoid buyers’ remorse, more than 70 percent of Americans rely on reviews of products and services before making a purchase.

By the way, younger Americans, including Generation X and Millennials, rely on reviews far more than older folks. Social proof, therefore, is imperative for the real estate agent hoping to capture the attention of tomorrow’s real estate consumer. Our Millennials Postcard Series is a great start in that direction.

Like it or not, you may already have a rep

You can always hope that your negative reviews are hidden with the  “dead bodies” on page three of Google, but why not be certain? Be aware, though, that polishing an online image takes time and effort unless you have the means to hire a company that specializes in online reputation management.

DIY methods include searching for yourself on Google and Facebook and you’ll find a walkthrough of several ways to clean up your online reputation posted by Alan Henry at lifehacker.

Let’s get you some positive social proof

Most real estate consumers seeking to learn more about you will check online for information first. If you don’t have a “testimonials” section on your website, create one.

Keep in mind that consumers will scrutinize the testimonials’ authenticity. In fact, a 2017 BrightLocal survey found that the “authenticity of reviews is the most important factor for consumers to trust the reviews they read.”

Think about it—how likely are you to trust a review that doesn’t include the reviewer’s name? Or, contains only the reviewer’s initials or an obviously made-up name?

Consider adding your clients’ photos (ask for permission) to the testimonial to add veracity. A study conducted by Olapic, a global software company, found that more than 75 percent of consumers “believe the content that average people share is more honest than advertising from brands.”

Another study finds better conversion rates when the photo is positioned above the text of the testimonial.

BrightLocal’s study also reveals that consumers will seek you out on more than one site before making a decision and most of the time, they’ll check a review site, such as Yelp or the review section on Zillow and Google.

Since the latter is likely to show your review as a result of a search of your name, start there. You’ll find a walkthrough of how to create your free Google listing here.

Use them in your offline marketing

real estate community newsletterPick one or two of the most glowing testimonials and use them in all of your offline marketing efforts, from postcards to newsletters to listing presentations and everything else you use offline.

TIP: Use care when soliciting testimonials from clients. Yelp, for instance, has a strict policy against asking for reviews. Furthermore, while most review platforms explicitly prohibit offering incentives for reviews, it’s also against the law.

Chose at least 100 of your past clients and send out Thinking of You postcards from our Customer Appreciation Series. Keep your name top of mind for the next time they are asked for an agent referral.Thinking of you Real Estate Client Appreciation postcards

Need assistance taking your marketing to the next level?  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 today!  

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