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How to Create Better Facebook Ads for Real Estate

July 3, 2015

Do you create Facebook ads to promote your brand, your listings and your real estate services? facebook marketing

With Facebook pages continuing to see a decrease in organic reach, Facebook ads are an easy way to target your market and get your content in front of the right audience.

Here are our 5 best tips to help you create Facebook advertising that delivers more leads:

1. Define your goal before creating your ad.

What do want to achieve? Are you trying to get people to visit your real estate website? Like your Facebook page? Claim a special offer? Facebook ads can help you do all that and measure your results, you just have to first identify your objective.

If your goal is to send people to your website, be sure your ad directs to the landing page that has the most value to your selected audience, so you have the best chance of keeping and converting your new visitor. No one likes a high bounce rate!

2. Create a Custom Audience to target your existing prospects.

Do you have a list of prospect and client emails or phone numbers? Advertise to this already-warm group of leads by creating a custom audience. Just upload your contact list to create a campaign that will be seen by users who already know, like and trust you.

Even if you don’t have an email list you want to target, you can use Custom Audiences to target people who have visited your website. This is called remarketing. It’s a little more complicated, but people who have visited your site will suddenly see your ads in their feed. How neat is that?

3. Highlight a single listing with quality photos.

You can advertise a single listing to a local audience. Everyone likes to see what is for sale in their neighborhood, whether they are on the market or not.

You should always upload two or more high quality photos to pair with your ad. Facebook will automatically create two ads, and you’ll be able to assess which image performs better. You can use this information to help you choose more engaging photos for Facebook ads going forward.

4. Include a question and call to action.

Be sure to include a Call-to-Action Button under your ad that tells viewers which action you want them to take. Facebook has a predefined list that includes options like “Learn More” and “Sign Up.” Including a question in your ad copy is another good way to engage readers and get them to click your call to action.

5. Skip the ad – and boost your post!

If you have a post that is performing well, even a fairly old one, and it aligns with your goals, try spending a little money to boost its reach. If that post was getting good engagement before, or seeing a high rate of click throughs, it can be just as cost effective as and more time efficient than creating a new ad.

These tips should help you focus your advertising efforts on Facebook so you can reach your goals. You should continually monitor your ads to see how they are performing. When a campaign is finished, compare it to your previous campaigns to see what worked and what didn’t. Then you will be able to optimize your ads going forward.

Point2 Agent is a comprehensive marketing toolkit used by real estate professionals all over the world to capture more traffic and generate more leads. For more information and to begin your free trial, visit

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Text Me, Maybe?

July 2, 2015
text message

With consumers constantly on the move, having our mobile devices attached to our palms has become essential. In 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, keeping them constantly connected to the world around them. Reliance on mobile devices is heavy, and texting is a no-brainer; it takes only a few seconds to send a quick text. Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing, can be an invaluable tool for marketers because of its appeal to consumers, and the fact that it is embedded in our daily routines.

Texts are normally read within minutes of delivery making them extremely beneficial for marketers struggling to reach consumers. Conversational Advertising found statistically that 90 percent of all SMS is read within 3 minutes. There is no other channel as urgent as this for connecting and converting customers. We are in an age where everything is fast-paced, and constantly moving. It is important that marketers adapt to the ever-changing world so that their messages are in sync with the way their consumers live. Furthermore, no one today ever leaves a text unread, as opposed to emails which continue to fill up your inbox, go left unread, or get sent to spam where they never get seen. According to a Direct Marketing Association survey, 70 percent of the sample revealed that they had responded to a marketing text message. In contrast to that, the percentage that responded to a marketing email was a low 30 percent. This is because texts are engaging as they are immediate and compel consumers to read them as soon as they receive them.

In today’s marketing world, it is all about having an engaging conversation with your consumers. Texts are very personal, tailored to each individual consumer, allowing businesses to build relationships with each and every one. Many companies today are turning to common short code (CSC) mobile marketing as it delivers personal messages which generate action from its consumers. CSC is a mutually beneficial process, as it allows for a two-way street of communication between the brand and the consumer. Text messaging and CSC have been successful in stimulating action and interaction by initiating conversation with consumers.

For instance, Starbucks recently sent out daily SMS reminders to its consumers to promote its Frappuccino Happy Hour. Consumers were encouraged to text the word “HAPPY” to a short code which then allowed customers to opt-in to remain in the loop on the company’s happy hour, as well as other ongoing promotions. This gives the brand a way to instantaneously reach its target audience. In relation to real estate, texting in to a CSC would immediately give a consumer an agent’s branded listing directly on their mobile device, as well as the agent’s contact information. In-store or out-of-home signage with an SMS keyword and short code is an optimal way to hone in on new customers and leads.

Texting is a direct form of marketing, both a simple and guaranteed way to have consumers see your message. No other type of mobile marketing can match the reach that text messaging provides. With consumers having their mobile devices within reach at all times wherever they may be, SMS marketing is an excellent step for any company or agent to take. Text messages present an exciting, efficient way to capture new consumers. With mobile marketing quickly growing in importance, and millions of individuals out there waiting to receive your company’s message, why not start today?

For more information, visit

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Generate More Seller Leads in Three Easy Steps

July 1, 2015

Finding new prospects is the lifeblood of any real estate practice. Along with converting prospects to clients, lead generation is probably the most profitable task you can factor into your schedule. It’s not an understatement to say that strong lead House Computergeneration skills mean the difference between success and failure in the real estate market — just ask the hundreds of thousands of former real estate agents who fell by the wayside in recent years.

A solid lead generation program can help you increase your marketing power and create a steady stream of clients who convert into satisfied customers. Think of lead generation as a continuous cycle that should be planned and adjusted, rather than a single event. Here are three proven strategies you can implement to add potential sellers to your sphere of influence.


1. Mine Your Database
Keeping in touch with past clients is essential to a strong lead generation program. Are your past clients going through a life change that will affect their housing situation? Are any of them looking to downsize? Have they welcomed a new addition to their family? Reach out to let them know that you’re available to help with their housing needs. Stay in touch by creating direct mail with simple calls to action like, “How much is your home worth?” While we’re often bombarded with online messaging, direct mail can help you stand out to consumers. Receiving one or two inquiries from these pieces could cover your marketing costs while connecting you with new clients. Even though consumers have access to many online tools to help determine their home value, it’s important to show them that only a real estate professional can provide accurate pricing data.


2. Farm Your Niche
Whether your niche is based on geography or your expertise, it’s important to identify your ideal “farm.” When you’re looking for the best area to farm, focus on one market from which you solicit the majority of your business. You’ll be able to establish brand identity in this particular area and develop relationships with those living in the community. Before you begin “farming,” it’s important to select the right location. If you’re looking to farm by geography, map your previously sold properties so you visually see where you’ve made a real impact. In doing so, you’ve created a wonderful marketing tool to share, as well. If you’re trying to work a niche, look for homes that would fit within your expertise — “beachfront properties,” “luxury real estate,” etc. Knowing people in your target community gives you an “in” with similar potential prospects. If they know you’ve successfully sold property in their area, they’ll have more confidence in you. Additionally, it’s a good idea to select a territory where the annual turnover is more than 6 percent. If the turnover is lower than 6 percent, you’ll probably have a difficult time finding enough listings to market. Finally, consistent marketing is key. Be present in the community, whether geographic or niche, and make a commitment to it. Brand yourself in your farm so your target market recognizes you as their real estate expert.

If you have difficulty prospecting, hosting a “home preview” creates a situation where people can come to you for information. Rather than immediately posting a new listing in the MLS, wait a few extra days and invite the neighbors for a private event to preview the home before opening it to the general public. In doing so, you’ll be able to establish a relationship with other homeowners in the neighborhood, while showing them your familiarity with their location. While attending this home preview, neighbors will be curious to find out how much their own home is worth. Create cards with messages like “how much is your home worth” or “knowledge is power” and distribute them to guests to direct the communication toward selling opportunities. Hosting a home preview is an ideal way to connect with potential sellers in a specific market, all while branding yourself as their neighborhood expert.


3. Offer Useful Information
Create a customer for life by providing valuable insight on the local housing market. When meeting with sellers, most agents will be able to tell their clients how much their home is worth. Take it a step further and provide your clients with a CMA and the most recent Local Market Report for their area. Keep in mind that the key thing sellers are interested in is the value of their home. Tailor your marketing to this point and you’ll catch your prospect’s attention by responding to what they want to know.

Top-producing agents and brokers know they must have a strong branding presence in their local market to consistently achieve results. Although the market is constantly changing, the need for a solid lead generation and branding program remains a necessity. Through’s Local Ads, you can brand yourself as the local expert in your market area, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your neighborhood influence to potential buyer and sellers in your community.

For more information, visit

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

10 Steps to Prepare for a Remodel

June 30, 2015

Although National Home Improvement Month is behind us, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) advises homeowners of the 10 most important steps to take before the remodeling project starts.

home remodel“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,” says Judy Moze, CR, GCP, NARI National president and president of Handcrafted Homes, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia. “The more knowledgeable and prepared a homeowner is, the more they protect themselves.”

What can a homeowner do to prepare for a remodel? NARI provides a top 10 list of steps homeowners should take before breaking ground on their next remodel.

1. Research your project. Taking time to research projects on the Internet and will provide a good sense of what is involved such as price, scope of work, return on investment and new product/material options. Also, research property values in your neighborhood to make sure your project is in line with other homes in the area.

2. Plan project around the long-term. How long do you plan to stay in your home? How might your family structure change over time? Life can change quickly—these questions should be answered early on to ensure your project will fit your lifestyle long after it’s complete.

3. Set your budget. Deciding on a realistic budget and arranging finances to support your project are essential. This number needs to include everything—the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it.

4. Use advanced search for professionals. The online world makes it easy to gather information about strangers. Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals and then spend time researching that person online. Professional remodelers take their reputation seriously and hold credentials beyond licensing, such as certifications, memberships in trade associations and additional training. Look for examples of press coverage or involvement in industry presentations or events. Check online reviews and social media to see how they interact with past clients and peers.

5. Ask the right questions. Time and cost are important, but getting the right information requires the right questions. Ask your professional remodeler about his educational background, training, specialties or past issues with clients. Ask about how the remodeling process will work.

6. Verify your remodeler. Don’t take their word for it. Check the information given to you such as references, license numbers, insurance information and certifications by calling providers to verify. Request a visit to an active client’s job site. Make it known that you are checking on him—a true professional considers that as a positive sign to working with a homeowner.

7. Review contracts word-by-word. A remodeling contract protects you and your remodeler. Homeowners should review this carefully. Professional remodelers have done this before, and know what should go in a contract. Homeowners are not as familiar with remodeling and should ask about terms if they don’t understand. Pay attention to details about change orders, payment, additional fees, timeline and responsibilities. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.

8. Keep design in mind. Your design guides the entire project. Think about what you dislike about your current space and the intended use of the new space. Use Websites such as and to gather design ideas. Make sure you can articulate specifically what you like about that design when talking to your designer. Professionals don’t recreate a photo—they incorporate accessibility, functionality, ease of modification, style and value into your design.

9. Make your selections. Deciding on products and materials is a larger process than most imagine. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to get extended. Base decisions on quality, function, price, style and availability. Include selections in the contract to lock down pricing and keep your budget intact.

10. Create a communication plan. A common downfall in remodeling is lack of communication between homeowners and remodelers. Your remodeler should lay out a communication plan at the beginning of the project. If not, ask them to do so. This plan should clarify roles of everyone involved, communication methods, availability, and frequency of communication that is expected.

As an industry that struggles with a persistent negative perception of remodeling contractors, these tips serve both the industry and consumers in elevating real professionals from the pack.

For more information, visit

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

Periscope: Three Ways it Can Grow Your Real Estate Business

June 26, 2015

periscope iconThe demand for video in real estate has never been higher. According to NAR, eighty-five percent of buyers and sellers want to work with an agent who uses video. While some agents have started using video to connect with their clients, a new technology is gaining popularity, changing the way real estate does video and social marketing.

Owned by Twitter, Periscope was released to the public in late March as a way for people to connect in real time. The app (available for Apple and Android) allows you to stream live videos from anywhere. When you create a broadcast or “scope,” you’ll be able to show viewers what’s happening around you in real time. Viewers who tune in can follow you, comment in your live stream and “heart” your scope. Hearts in Periscope are equivalent to favorites on Twitter or likes on Facebook—they measure your popularity. While your scope is live, anyone can tune in to see what’s going on. You and your viewers can also share your live scope through Twitter to reach an even wider audience. After you end your stream, your scope will be available for the next 24 hours in the app. However, you also have the option to save your broadcasts and publish them on YouTube. While this technology is still new, those who have become more familiar with the app suggest creating a new scope every 24 hours.

In real estate, there are a number of ways you can connect with potential and current clients with this new tool. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Stream Open Houses
Probably one of the most popular ideas for using Periscope in real estate is creating live home tours or open houses. By live broadcasting an open house, agents will be able to reach a wider audience since your video will be viewable to anyone on Periscope. This could allow you to reach potential buyers who can’t travel to the area multiple times or take the time off work. While you’ll probably pull in viewers who live on a different continent and have no interest in buying, they could potentially ask some good questions that are relevant to viewers who are actively searching for a home in your area. A large number of viewers can also boost your popularity as a “scoper.” More viewers means you’re likely to receive more “hearts” on your video.

Another option is to do a walk-through of the listing to give your viewers a chance to see a live stream of everything the home has to offer. Viewers can type questions while watching your scope which will be visible to everyone watching the stream. This allows you to answer in real-time. Also, viewers will likely feel comfortable asking more authentic questions since they aren’t face-to-face. At the end of your broadcast, you’ll be able to see everyone who attended your scope and can follow up with them through Twitter.

2. Share Local Knowledge
In addition showing off your listings, give viewers a closer look at your community. Do you have weekly farmer’s markets or funky festivals in your town? Attend these events and broadcast live to share the feel of your community with potential buyers. If you have a drone, you could use it to give viewers a bird’s eye view of your town. After all, buyers aren’t just looking at listings; they want to know everything about their potential hometown. The benefit of streaming live is that viewers are able to ask you questions while you’re broadcasting, giving you the opportunity the answer them in real time and branding you as the local expert. You’re also able to create a more personal, authentic connection with your followers since they can see your face and get a feel for your personality. If they choose you to be their agent, they’ll know exactly who they’re working with.

3. Host Q&A Sessions
Another way to help viewers on Periscope is by hosting a Q&A session. You can focus on a particular topic like “top tips for better staging” or “what to expect when selling your first house.” If you’re looking to focus on drawing in potential buyers, you could host a scope about the perks of your local community, allowing viewers to ask questions about the best local restaurant or your favorite bike trail. No matter what topic you choose, you’ll be able to show viewers that you can provide useful information to help them make more informed decisions, which will help to grow your audience.

Social media is a two-way street and the communication should be going both ways. Periscope allows you to create a more authentic connection with your viewers. Because followers can see your face and your personality, it can help humanize both yourself and your personal brand. Viewers will get a better idea of who you are so they can feel comfortable working with you in the future. Are you using Periscope to connect with clients in your area? Share some of your strategies and you could win $1500!

You can also connect with more potential buyers and sellers by advertising your listings on With prominent placement and branding in search results, prospective buyers will know that you’re a leading agent in your area. If you’re saving your scopes, you can keep sharing them with other viewers by including them in your enhanced listings, showing buyers what they want to see in your area.

For more information, visit

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

9 Ways to Color Your Summer at Home

June 25, 2015

Featuring hues reminiscent of languid summer days and breezy seaside vacations, this summer’s hottest color trends run the gamut of eye-catching bolds to grounding neutrals, say Ace Design Experts Katie Reynolds, Julie Richard and Nathan Fisch.

All three Design Experts recommend implementing this season’s color palette in small ways to avoid an overly-trendy look. For example:

• Paint your kitchen island for an updated look that’s easier than repainting your cabinets. A classic neutral, like a subtle gray, will pair nicely with most woods and finishes.

• Classic stripes continue to be a staple in many homes. Try painting them on a pair of oversized outdoor planters in a sunset-inspired combination of apricot orange and shrimp pink.

• If you’d like to incorporate one of this season’s pastel trends, such as peach, but are afraid of pulling it off, try balancing it with a complementary hue like classic navy.

• Graphic patterns and details are an easy way to make a big change. Add a pop of color stenciled in a chevron stripe on drawers of a basic white dresser with a Camellia blossom pink.

• Layered warm neutrals never go out of style and work equally as well in open floor plans or cozy nooks. Try using a darker neutral on the walls and ceiling, such as vanilla, and furnishing with a paler hue, like linen, for a fresh feel.

• Try a fun color pairing for a guest or kids room by painting a focal window wall in a brighter green (think green tomatoes) and then adding a muted green (think moss) on the window base.

• Deep blues and indigos like navy and blueberry are great go-to colors for a monochromatic color scheme inspired by the ocean. Simple and natural accents like stone top tables, linen or woven window coverings polish the look for a clean aesthetic that won’t fade over time.

• Combine a warm neutral, like honey, with a blush pink in a nursery or girl’s room for a soft look reminiscent of the flowers blooming outdoors.

• Shiplap wall paneling, featuring horizontal, overlapping wooden boards covering the walls is the perfect way to bring a nautical feel to any space. Try painting the wood in a crisp, snow white to make this architectural detail the feature focus.

Source: Ace Hardware

To learn more about Connect Realty or get more real estate information, please contact us at

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

For Sale by Owner: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?

April 16, 2015

Many sellers weigh the option of whether to use a Realtor, or take on the daunting task of selling their property on their own. Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. With a small upside cost and a large downside risk, it is foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a Realtor.

While some homeowners decide to list their home “For Sale by Owner” in an attempt to save money, many actually end up fsbospending more than they would have paying the 3% commission to a listing agent. After all, on average, an agent spends $1,000 on marketing initiatives for each listing alone. Aside from the marketing expense, they also are familiar with the most effective platforms to market their listings so that they sell at their most profitable price as quickly as possible. In addition, sellers lack the expertise required to effectively price the home and negotiate with buyers, which could be even more costly.

In summary, real estate professionals assist sellers with the pricing, marketing, security, negotiating/renegotiating, and the closing of their home. If you are considering listing your home “For Sale by Owner”, it is imperative that you are aware of the pros and cons and understand all that you are potentially sacrificing by forgoing representation of a seasoned professional.


In all honesty, pricing a home is probably THE most important marketing strategy, as it is essentially the most critical factor that draws in buyers or turns them away. A home that is not priced competitively may result in a longer time on the market, price reductions, and a lower selling price than it would have had if it were priced correctly in the first place.

Real estate professionals guide clients to make the right pricing choice based on the key factors in selling the property. They know the most current sales information in your neighborhood, including current listing prices, physical property conditions, financing terms, and other relevant data. In addition, they provide the average square foot costs of similar homes, median and average sale prices in the area, the average days spent on the market, and the ratios of list-to-sold prices in order to price your home at its most competitive price. Homeowners who choose to list their home themselves do not have the tools, knowledge or experience to know what price will move the home quickly, which can be more costly than anything else.



Real estate professionals also help market your home to other real estate agents and to the public. The choice of media and the frequency of advertising depend a lot on the home and specific market. A qualified real estate professional will know when, where, and how to advertise your property effectively. Plus, their industry contacts and networks provide a marketing outlet that sellers simply don’t have.

Aesthetically improving a home is another marketing tactic that real estate agents bring to the table. Often times, listing agents also work with buyers, so they know what features buyers are looking for in their home! This is a huge benefit to sellers, as listing agents will often recommend specific improvements, updates, etc. that will make the home more “marketable” and ensure it is more appealing to prospective buyers.

Staging a home is another important aspect of marketing a home. A real estate agent knows how to make the rooms look bigger, create an inviting ambience, enhance curb appeal, and highlight the most desirable qualities so that your home leaves a lasting impression after showings and open houses! Not to mention, the same staging techniques can be executed for listing photographs, videos, etc. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, so displaying high quality, eye-catching photos online is one of the most powerful, if not THE most powerful, component to marketing a home!



The power of the internet can be a blessing and a curse to home sellers. Sure, you have a platform to maximize exposure of your property and reach more buyers (most of which start their home search online), but it also puts you at risk for the growing number of threats and scams circulating the internet, many of which target “For Sale by Owner” listings or rental properties.

Realtors help keep sellers secure. Real estate professionals are committed to treat all parties of a transaction with honesty and subscribe to a strict code of ethics. In addition, they are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the buying and selling process, which includes identifying potential threats and handling them accordingly before their client ever becomes aware of the problem.

realtor safetyKeeping your family and home physically safe is probably the utmost concern to home sellers. After all, countless strangers will enter your home and explore its rooms, amenities, and features during open houses and showings. Without the proper training, knowledge, experience, and tools, you are not only more likely to unknowingly allow the wrong person into your home, but also to be ill-prepared in handling a threatening situation if it presents itself.   However, real estate agents who are trained on safety know the necessary precautions to take to keep themselves, your home and family safe. Not only do they manage open houses and showings, but they also prescreen prospects and filter phone calls to eliminate potential danger. As a result, homes that are advertised as “for sale by owner” are more susceptible to both being targeted by – and falling victim to – these criminals.



The power of effective negotiation skills can make all the difference in the world to delivering the most favorable outcome!   A Realtor objectively evaluates every buyer’s proposal without compromising your market position. If bid proposals are outside of the listed price, the real estate agent will devise an in depth analysis of the current market, advise their client on how to proceed based on what choices are available in the market, and mediate on the seller’s behalf until they are satisfied with the terms of the contract.

Keep in mind, the initial agreement is only the beginning to a long process of appraisals, inspections, and financing. A Realtor can help write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.



Between the initial sales agreement and the closing agreement, questions may arise. Unexpected repairs are sometimes required to obtain financing, or a concern with the title could potentially be uncovered. A real estate professional is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to settlement.

In addition, a real estate professional will coordinate the process of inspections, appraisals, and financing. They stay on top of contingency dates, process the required paperwork and documents, scrutinize every file, and most importantly, make sure their client is protected at all costs. All of these combine to prevent closing delays and ensure a smooth, pleasant experience from beginning to end!


If you are still considering listing your home without the help of an experienced Realtor, there are a few recommendations that will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that most sellers make. Hire an attorney to review all documents before you sign them, invest some time and money into marketing your home, research your current market prior to determining the listing price, pay someone to come stage your home, hire a professional photographer, and contact your local police department for safety tips!


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