Life in Mobile: Google Sides with Mobile Users

By Seth Kaplan

There is no better place to be than at the top of Google’s search rankings; for marketers, it’s the Holy Grail. The key component in reaching that milestone is SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a process by which your site and content is ranked based on relevance. Now, with so much search traffic coming to Google from mobile devices, they are taking a firm stance on mobile SEO, and there is no question that they are standing on the side of the people.

Google first announced their Googlebot-Mobile for smartphones back in 2011; their engine that crawls and indexes sites as if it were a smartphone user. Since then, there have been a couple blog posts, but no firm lines had ever really been drawn in the sand on what will impact mobile SEO. That all changed recently when Google released a blog post announcing that it would begin demoting sites in mobile search results if they are not mobile friendly or misconfigured. The move highlights the importance Google is placing on mobile users as the future of search and sends a clear signal to marketers that either they implement a mobile solution, or alter a current solution that does not meet their guidelines.

The recent guidelines extend beyond just having a mobile optimized site and, for the first time, go into detail about implementation. The goal of the guidelines is pretty straightforward: Get mobile users to the piece of information they are looking for as quickly as possible.

Google highlighted one of the more common changes/recommendations they suggest in their recent post. The first is with regard to faulty redirects. This happens when a user is redirected from a desktop page to an irrelevant mobile page—we’ve all dealt with that frustration. The key here is to implement what we have referred to in the past as “deep linking,” which ensures all desktop pages redirect mobile users to the corresponding mobile page, thus getting the user to the exact piece of information they are looking for. In addition, they urge marketers to ensure that there are no page errors for mobile users and to test across multiple devices to ensure the highest level of usability.

If you’ve spent time, energy and a vast amount of resources on climbing to the top of the mountain with a good SEO strategy, it would be a shame to see your work come falling down by not preparing for mobile SEO. Now that Google has drawn their lines in the sand—and clearly sided with ensuring a quality user experience—there isn’t much time left to get this right. Contact your mobile specialist today and ensure that your mobile assets are following Google’s guidelines for usability.

To see how your site looks on a mobile device today, visit www.TestMySiteNow.com.

Seth Kaplan is president of Mobile Real Estate. For more information, please visit 
www.mobilerealestateid.com.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Internet Lead Conversion: Improving Results with Better Response Time

Improving Lead Conversion with Better Response Time and Consistent Follow up

When it comes to Internet lead conversion arguably the biggest challenge is follow up. If you are at all serious about leveraging the Web to increase business, you must continually follow up with prospective buyers who take the time to sign up at your site.

It is a no brainer when a lead provides a valid phone number (that’s maybe 10% of inbound leads) to call that prospect. If only an email address is provided then a reply is in order. If you are doing your job both types of leads go into a drip email campaign. Your CRM may even prompt you or the buyer to create a listing alert.

Many agents go no further than that, relying on the drip email or listing alerts to keep them top of mind. The result is often an unsubscribe because they found a home through Zillow, Trulia, or another agent’s Website.

A great example of an errant lead recently occurred within my own team when one of my buyer agents’ leads called me to see a house. When I checked the history, there was but one “welcome” email, even though this contact had been viewing leads for months. He found me on Zillow and had no recollection of the agent he was assigned to (another caveat: buyers are looking everywhere).

Only by following a regimen of consistent follow up can you ensure success working Internet leads. Check out this Infographic to see how lead response time effects lead conversion:

How Lead Response Time Effects Lead Conversion

How Lead Response Time Effects Lead Conversion

Real Estate Best Practices: Four Ways to Stay Laser Focused in Today’s Market

Four Ways to Stay Laser Focused in Today’s Market

By Wendy Forsythe

Feeling a little tired lately? That’s no surprise. These last few years have been extremely demanding on the real estate industry and have required a level of discipline beyond our expectations.

The good news is we’ve made it through the downturn and the market is now showing signs of recovery on almost every front! The bad news is that – as tired as we may be – this is no time to relax or somehow stray off course. Instead, it’s the time to get laser focused, or as we say…get ReFUELed!

The Four Principals of FUEL

Principal No. 1: Fabulous Fundamentals

Today’s buyers and sellers are more sophisticated and have more information at their fingertips then ever before. In order to have any value to them we have to meet them where they are, and that is online. Approximately 60 percent of buyers and sellers today find their real estate agent online and 61 percent report Googling their agent.* Fabulous Fundamentals in today’s market require online profiles, listing distribution strategies, websites, blogs, social media and a host of other digital tools.

Principal No. 2: Unparalleled Service

Over 50 percent of consumers surveyed reported they were unhappy with their agents because of the agent’s poor response time and general lack of responsiveness.* Providing great service starts with consistently answering our phones, texts, emails and online inquiries.

Principal No. 3: Exceeding Expectations

Consumers pretty much think they know how to do our jobs. After all, how hard can it be to drive around taking pictures of properties and sitting at open houses all afternoon? What if we exceeded their expectations? Let’s look at taking photos as an example. Why do we insist on posting dark photos, pictures of toilets (with the lid up) and just generally unappealing images of our listings? Taking pictures is cheap these days – a smartphone and a few good photo apps can set you up to seriously over-deliver on the photography front. This is pretty important since buyers rank photos as the most important marketing tool in the promotion of a property.*

Principal No. 4: Leveraging Opportunities

Every contact, every listing, every inquiry has the opportunity to be leveraged into additional business. NAR research tells us that agents get 42 percent of their business** from repeat and referral sources, so leveraging your contacts is a key to success. Not maximizing your sphere of influence and contacts for additional opportunities is going to make business a whole lot harder.

Sources:

*California Association of Realtors

**2013 NAR Member Profile

Wendy Forsythe has leveraged her passion for real estate and technology to help build national real estate brands in both Canada and the United States. As Executive Vice President/Head of Global Operations at Carrington Real Estate Services, she is responsible for the operations and growth of the national brokerage with offices in 25 states and 1,200 agents. You can email her at wendy.forsythe@carringtonres.com.

For more information visit http://carringtonrealestate.com/.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Real Estate Online Marketing: 4 Reasons Why You’re Losing Leads

4 Reasons Why You’re Losing Leads

By Brandon Stuerke

U.S. businesses spend billions of dollars generating sales leads only to lose more than 70 percent of them simply because they don’t make contact quickly enough, according to one study.

But that’s not the only way they’re losing out on opportunities, says Brandon Stuerke, president of Advisors Edge Marketing, a specialist in marketing strategy and automation for financial advisors and other professionals.

“A study of more than 600 companies by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT found that the odds of a lead entering the sales process were 21 times greater if the business made contact within five minutes of generating the lead versus contact in 30 minutes,” Stuerke says. “Another study, this one by the Harvard Business Review, found that the average response time by businesses to a generated lead is 42 hours—and that’s just for responses that occurred within 30 days.”

Generating sales leads is big business, with more than $23 billion spent on Internet leads alone, he notes.

“If you’re a financial advisor, or another professional, you may also be spending money on direct mail, invitations to seminars, TV commercials and/or print ads,” Stuerke says. “How many leads are you generating, and at what cost per lead, only to lose them?”

Stuerke, who began developing innovative marketing strategies while working as a financial advisor, says he has found four ways professionals commonly lose sales leads.

“And they can all be fixed!” he says.

  • Advertising calls-to-action that are all-or-nothing. Most salespeople offer only a face-to-face meeting or a telephone appointment as their call to action in their advertising. But that’s asking a lot of prospects who are simply exploring options and aren’t yet ready for that level of commitment. Those are leads that, three-to-six months from now, may become sales—but they’re lost early in the process. Instead, offer a less committed option such as “download this free report” in exchange for their information for follow up.
  • No lead capture on your website. Many sites have no strategy for capturing information about visitors to the site, such as an email address. As a result, businesses spend thousands of dollars driving traffic to their website, while capturing none of the prospects’ information. As a result, those prospects come to the site and leave, and the business never knows they were there. A free report, or series of reports or videos with useful information based on your expertise, are good lead capture tools. Buyers today turn to the Web for information while doing research, so that’s what you should give them. Offering free resources in exchange for a small bit of information is a great way to do that.
  • Indifference in interactions. No matter what your profession, it’s likely you’ve got a lot of competition. For consumers, shopping includes researching, and they’re comparing services, expertise and experience before deciding who best deserves their patronage. If your interactions with prospects fail to “wow” them, they will quickly move on. But most professionals don’t have a storyboarded plan for giving prospects that experience, which is what is needed for consistent results. An automated system that delivers carefully planned interactions is a great way to achieve this.
  • Using social media without a plan. Many professionals have discovered that delivering consumer-friendly, useful content through social media is an effective means of attracting followers and cultivating prospects. However, one of the biggest problems with how businesses use social media is that they post a lot of high level, one-way communication with no call to action. Having a call to action in your posts that leads prospects back to a website designed to capture leads is critical for producing tangible results through social media.

A lot of these issues stem from a common problem: businesses focusing only on the hottest leads—the people who are ready to buy today, Stuerke says.

“Instead of allowing those ‘cooler’ leads to fall by the wayside, businesses should capture and cultivate them,” he says. “Eventually, they’ll find that instead of constantly chasing leads, they’re harvesting new clients.”

Brandon Stuerke is a business coach and marketing strategist, specializing in innovative new tools that save professionals time while building their practices.

This post has been authored by Eric Slifkin, REALTOR® serving South Florida’s Treasure Coast. You can reach me at 888-288-1765, or visit my Web site. As your resource for information on new or resale homes throughout the Treasure Coast, please be sure to contact me about any home you may find on the Web, yard sign or ad and I will research the property, arrange showings and handle all the details.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.

Social Media Marketing for Real Estate: Best Times to Post

Social Media Marketing for Real Estate: When are the Best Times to Post?

Sharing your posts on multiple Social Media sites can be daunting. Developing a strategy for when and how often to share is a favorite blog topic when it comes to online real estate marketing. The folks at Placester have created a neat Infographic to help understand the best times to share on various social outlets:

Best time to Post

Try posting at the suggested times then check your site’s stats or analytics to compare results. Nailing the optimal times to share should significantly improve your inbound marketing efforts. View the complete Infographic