Google Nexus Tablet: Is It Right For Your Real Estate Business?

By Jaime Westman

Keeping up with Technology

Priced at $199 and $249 for the 8 GB and 16 GB models, respectively, the Google Nexus 7 is currently blowing the competition out of the water. It’s only been out on the market a few months, but as of now, the Nexus 7 is probably the best thing that’s happened to the tablet market.

At only 7 inches and 340 grams, this tiny tablet is considerably smaller and much lighter than the iPad, fitting easily into purses and briefcases. Plus, the Nexus 7 is fitted with scratch resistant glass made from Corning Incorporated, makers of the popular Gorilla Glass.

While the Nexus 7 boasts that it was “designed with gaming in mind” and built specifically for Google Play, there is potential that it can be used as a tool for business related activities and web browsing thanks to the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor and the latest Android OS, Jelly Bean 4.1.1. The tablet also comes with 1 GB of RAM and either 8 or 16 GB of memory. A front facing camera and microphone make it ideal for videoconferencing and for Google Hangout.

For business purposes, you’d have to rely on cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive but once installed, you’d automatically lose about 2 GB of storage on your tablet. The Nexus 7 is also excellent for tracking and setting up appointments via Google Now, which can be compared to Apple’s version of Siri as the program is speech focused. Another terrific selling point is the battery life; the Nexus’ battery life is good for up to 9 hours and 300 hours of standby time. You also get a built in Bluetooth for headsets and keyboards. Continue reading Google Nexus Tablet: Is It Right For Your Real Estate Business?

Do Your Leads Have Baby Fat?

By Jaime Westman

baby

So while I’m at the gym trying to work off the day’s stress (and the last 18 pounds to my goal), I’m looking around my gym, watching how everyone is working super hard to achieve their goal—whether they’re trying to lose their baby weight, prep for the next marathon, or are just trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle—and I can’t help but wonder, “Are my agents doing the same thing?” Not working out, I mean, although I’m sure a lot of them are doing that too. I mean in the sense of cultivating and following up on their leads, farming within their HouseHunt territories, and maintaining a presence in their potential clients’ minds.

Unfortunately, a lot of times this isn’t the case and that makes me sad. Why? Because that’s new and future business just going down the drain and who do these agents have to blame? Let me tell you, it’s usually not themselves that they point the fingers at first—it’s the lead generating company that gets yelled at, whether it’s HouseHunt or another one of our competitors. This isn’t acceptable and let me explain why before everyone starts getting out the pitchforks and lighting up their torches.

You all know that I’ve been on a journey to get myself back to my ideal post-baby weight. It’s significantly harder to do so when you have a full-time job, a 16-month-old baby boy at home, and you’re trying to work out like crazy in between. But the way I see it, I’m in it for the long run and to do that I have to work smarter, not harder.
Continue reading Do Your Leads Have Baby Fat?

Instagram Sets the Stage for More Imaginative Photos

By Jaime Westman

You know a social media company is on the right track when it gets the attention of Facebook, which Instagram has done. The company recently paid $1 billion for the free photo-sharing network, which gave the app instant celebrity and credibility. Have you tried Instagram yet for your real estate marketing? If not, snap to it, because more and more agents are discovering how useful the service is for sharing photos on their social media sites from their phones or other mobile devices.

Sharing photos of listings, the neighborhood and other nice facets of your community are great for your business, and Instagram is rapidly becoming the platform for doing it, as well as for editing, cropping and filtering your images. If it sounds intimidating, Instagram’s site can assist you there, but here are some ways the service can help real estate agents in case you need a nudge:

Open up: If you’re active on Facebook you can port your connections to Instagram to build a new foundation of people to follow. If you need to expand your Twitter network, follow real estate hashtags to find Instagram users active in the market, or follow hashtags from your area to connect with potential clients. If you “like” and comment on other users’ photos, those people are likely to reciprocate on your photos, thus getting more views for your property.

Extra shots: With Facebook’s new Timeline format you have more space at the top of your personal and business pages to display photos. Using InstaCover is a great tool for that because you can turn your page into a smorgasbord of Instagram photos that include both business and pleasure shots. Once your collage is finalized you can tweak the appearance every once in a while to keep things fresh.

Filters: Instagram filters can add character or a dynamic element to your photos. The Sierra filter, for example, can add a cloudy and mysterious quality while the Lo-Fi filter adds vibrancy and warmth. The Inkwell filter is good for modern houses because it accents clean lines and the Toaster filter gives the photo a sunnier appearance no matter the weather at the moment. It’s fun to experiment with different filters and eventually you’ll get good at highlighting the best features of your property that will enhance its story and that of the neighborhood.

Location, location, location: Instagram’s Photo Map allows you to note the location of your listing photos on a Google map. The “geotag” capability also lets you log the coordinates where the photo was taken while you’re connected via Wi-Fi or 3G. Sharing that information is a handy way to add context to your photos and provide prospects with relevant information they can use and appreciate.

Shoot away: Since agents are always on the move, taking photos of cool and interesting stuff around town might make a good conversation piece and let people see your personality, particularly if you add a clever caption. If you work in a big real estate office, posting pictures of peers enjoying themselves might also make a prospect feel more comfortable about stopping by and seeing you at the office.

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Getting Started with Google AdWords

By Jaime Westman

Most real estate agents are searching for ways to get their message out faster and more frequently. Naturally, Google has a way to help with that. Google AdWords is a pay-for-performance product that lets you determine your costs based on objectives. You pay only when a prospect clicks on your ad to visit your website, which also enables you to track visits. Since Google can target users by location, it allows you to reach home buyers and sellers in your areas. Whether the service is right for you depends on numerous factors.

How it Works

Google uses an “auction” to determine which ads show on a particular results page based on keywords and other target settings, such as geographic location. Google then determines where ads are ranked and displayed based on a quality score.
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Be Outstanding on Social Media Sites

By Jaime Westman

The opportunity for us to find clients online and close more transactions through social media has grown by leaps and bounds the past few years. But if we don’t do it right it likely will just be a waste of time and effort. That’s why expert insight comes in handy, and Matt Heinz, the author of “Successful Social Selling,” was gracious enough to answer a few questions regarding the best way real estate agents can accelerate their marketing efforts and get more referrals, among other benefits. Continue reading Be Outstanding on Social Media Sites

Make Videos the Star of your Marketing Campaign

By Jaime Westman

If a picture says a thousand words, what can a video say about our listings? It’s a trend occurring more and more in real estate as agents tap into the power and popularity of videos with today’s consumers.

“I truly believe video, when done right, can really help Realtors get more attention and close more deals,” said Rudy Bachratz of WellcomeMat, a video publishing service for real estate agents, brokers and videographers. “Videos showcase your personality and can take your listings to a whole new level.”

Bachratz, who previously worked as a real estate agent and broker, has identified several video trends and shared some on an ActiveRain webinar. A few might require a professional but some you can do at home, or, in our case, at someone else’s home.

Robo Video

This is basically a slideshow with a voiceover. Bachratz isn’t a fan of these efforts because they’re often too stiff and static to appeal to today’s consumers.

Hyper Local Video

These videos focus as much on the neighborhood as they do the listing and work well because clients are buying a way of life as well as a house. You can also let others tell the story for you by interviewing neighbors or nearby store owners for their perspectives.

Continue reading Make Videos the Star of your Marketing Campaign

Link-Building for Blogs

By Jaime Westman

Are you ready to hit the links? While I wish that was a legitimate golf invitation, it’s actually a call to brush up on your website’s link-building tactics. I picked up some ideas from a recent webinar and rediscovered that it’s a task we need to hone because of its importance to search engine placement.

If you think of links as relationships, they might be easier to comprehend. Building relationships with peers, consumers and relevant websites will attract more attention to your business and introduce you to people who share your interests. And the more things get shared, the more your site or posts get noticed. But it’s important to be noticed for the right reasons, especially with Google’s new Penguin algorithm that dings link-building activities such as spamming and rewards others that produce fresh or relevant content.

Continue reading Link-Building for Blogs