BTS: What's New at Shore to Summit | Q2 2019
bts shore to summit marketing.jpg

Am I going crazy here or is the fact that we’re already half way through spring a bit weird?

I don’t know where the time has gone but it has officially been a year since we launched Shore to Summit and this past year has been nothing short of a total transformational process. I guess that’s just the way it goes when launching a brand new business.

It’s because of the craziness of this past year we’ve decided to sit down at the start of each quarter to relay the quarter’s report. Here’s where we’ll give the complete lowdown on what’s going on in the Shore to Summit world. It’s our chance to pull back the sheet on our business and reveal evolutions in the company, what’s slated for the future, upcoming workshops, events and all other manner of announcements.

Sound good to you?

Great because we’re excited to bring you the goods.

Starting with…

OUR SIGNATURE MARKETING COURSE IS HERE!

It’s here! We’re stoking the fires and getting ready to launch our signature marketing course!

Conceptualizing, creating and now launching the Modern Agent Mastermind has been such a labor of love.

The idea for this course popped into our heads simultaneously with the formation of the business last year. We knew it would become a core piece of our mission but we had to get all the logistics of the business down first.

After a year of learning, engaging, testing and creating, we can confidently say we’re ready to flip the switch on our program and make it real.

We’re proud to announce the Modern Agent Mastermind!

On July 22, 2019, our signature real estate marketing course will be going live with its first group of students. The course will focus on six pillars of marketing and how they work together to promote your business and capture those online leads.

Even though the course doesn’t launch for another three months, you can get in on the action sooner rather than later. Over the coming weeks, we will be launching workshops, promotions, and live trainings in celebration of our course going live in July.

All you have to do is sign up HERE to be notified of all upcoming promotions.

JOIN US FOR OUR FIRST FREE WORKSHOP

Our first live webinar is coming up next week and we’ll be dropping the announcement “officially” within the week.

In The Marketing Blueprint Workshop I’ll be teaching:

  • Why you can't afford to ignore the power of the Internet anymore as a powerful tool to amplify your real world presence

  • What to do to find your own free, qualified real estate leads online without having to rely on your broker or a third-party lead generator

  • How to capture those leads even if you don't consider yourself "techie"

  • How to harness your personality to attract and build relationships with customers...even if you're an introvert

  • The critical steps you need to take to beat marketing overwhelm and create a marketing strategy that's profitable, manageable & sustainable

This is a FREE workshop and you can register starting now. Just click the link and follow the registration process.

>> REGISTER FOR THE MARKETING BLUEPRINT WORKSHOP <<<

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE

Everything we do is driven by you.

Seriously.

Email us at info@shoretosummit.co and let us know your biggest marketing struggles.

SERVICES ARE LIMITED THROUGH JULY

Due to the intensive nature of building this course, services will be limited from now through the end of July.

This is not to say we’re closing up shop on services. Oh contraire. We’re still taking on a select few service clients. If interested, inquire at info@shoretosummit.co and we’ll check on availability.

For those of you who’ve been here since day 1, we thank you for championing our cause when it was nothing more than an idea. You’ve been our cheerleaders and inspiration since the beginning and we truly can’t thank you enough for it. We’re looking forward to this season and can’t wait to bring you this course.

We’ll talk soon!


Register for the FREE Marketing Blueprint Workshop


ashley marie taylor bio.jpg

BTSAshley TaylorComment
Email is NOT Dead: 4 Simple Steps to Attract Qualified Real Estate Leads
3 steps real estate leads using email marketing.jpg

A few short years ago, I was like you: I thought email was dead. Fast-forward to today and I can’t stop, won’t stop singing its praises.

Email is a powerful tool that puts your message and advertising in one of your customer’s most intimate, fortified locations - their inbox.

And did I mention that it’s free?

The benefits to a well-collected email list span every stage of the buyer journey. It can be used to attract the right customers in the awareness phase, assist them through the consideration phase, guide them into making a decision and delights them to post-purchase advocacy.

Today we’ll be focusing on the awareness phase of attracting those qualified leads.

In the awareness phase of email marketing, our main goal is to simply capture those coveted email addresses. That way we can spam the hell out of them! Kidding. We want those email addresses so we can begin a positive rapport with potentials customers by adding value to their lives.

The tricky part: getting people to give up those email addresses.

People can be pretty protective of their inboxes. The quest for inbox zero is real and no one enjoys opening an email full of junk mail. Signup for your newsletter? No thanks, I get at least 50 of those a day.

Every person you’re attempting to gain the attention of has only 1,440 minutes in their day. With that attention being grappled for in a hundred different directions, people simply won’t invest those valuable minutes without seeing the value.

So how do you break down a client’s barriers and get them to cough up the goods?

With a killer opt-in gift, that’s how.

An opt-in gift is some item of value you promise to your customer in exchange for their email address. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. You give me your email address and I’ll give you something you can’t find anywhere else.

What I really like about the opt-in technique is that these are qualified leads. Depending on what gift you create, you can attract buyers & sellers ready to go.

How amazing if that!?

Putting together an opt-in gift doesn’t need to be an intimidating thing. Let’s walk through the steps in creating and promoting your gift so you can start collecting qualified leads to nurture and grow.

HAMMER OUT THE LOGISTICS

Before you can start collecting emails, we need to figure out the whole tech part of email marketing.

Some brokers have great tools for collecting, storing, measuring and tracking leads. If you have something within your brokerage, get familiar with all the bells & whistles.

If you don’t have an email platform, not to worry. There are a handful of really great ones out there, but for the purpose of this tutorial we will focus on a tool called MailChimp.

MailChimp is a powerful automated marketing platform that let’s you collect emails, understand your customers and run campaigns. It’s one of the more intuitive email platforms to learn and it’s free for up to your first 2,000 subscribers. This is where you will collect and build your email list and put together your marketing campaign.

CHOOSE A VALUABLE GIFT FOR YOUR AUDIENCE

Next we need to decide on what sort of gift we want to create to entice our audience.

To break through our audience’s defenses, we need to offer something of value. We always want to be providing value. That’s what’s going to set us apart.

So think, what does my audience value?

Action Step: Write down the desires, frustrations & struggles your target customer faces. Create a gift focused on helping them solve that problem.

This can be anything from a first time home buying guide checklist to a city guide. We really want to get into the mind of our audience and get creative in developing content that solves their problems. The only limit is your imagination.

If you’re still left confused about what to create, it never hurts to ask. We don’t take advantage of our current audiences nearly as much as we should. Get on those social media channels or talk with trusted clients about what they enjoy hearing and what they want more of.

DECIDE ON YOUR GIFT’S FORMAT & DELIVER

Time to bring your gift to life. Now that we’ve decided on what we’re gifting, we need to think on how to deliver it.

Delivery can take many forms. If we’re creating a first time buyer’s checklist for example, then a one-page checklist delivered to their email is all it takes. But if we want to go into a little more detail on the steps of the purchasing process, then an email series where a new email is dripped each day may be more appropriate.

Other gift format ideas can be:

  • Video series

  • Exclusive listing walkthrough

  • A virtual open house

  • A private event invite

  • eBooks

  • Templates

  • Trusted vendor lists

CONTINUE TO PROVIDE VALUE

Congratulations! You’re customer bought in to your opt-in gift and gave you their email!

Now it’s time to treat that email like the gold it is. We don’t want to erase all the hard work we just did in creating an opt-in gift only to suffocate the customer into unsubscribing. The surest and quickest way for that to happen is by spamming them with daily listings. (Unless they asked for it, of course.)

No, our goal is to continue providing killer content on a regular basis. For some these means a weekly newsletter, others prefer bi-weekly. Whatever you choose to do is up to you, but focus on providing value and providing it consistently. If you decide to do a weekly newsletter on Tuesday mornings, make sure to stick to that schedule.

Email content topic ideas include:

  • Local events & concerts

  • Store & restaurant openings

  • Giveaways & coupons

  • Recipes

  • Local coupons

I find local content topics perform stronger for my clients than generic news articles and listicles.

Pro Tip: Place content of value at the top of the email and pepper in specificities about your business somewhere in the middle and throughout. Always tie it back to your business specifically at the end.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me what marketing opt-in gifts do you want to see from us?

ashley marie taylor bio.jpg

Save Time Marketing Your Real Estate Business with Social Media Scheduling Apps
batching posting social media.jpg

“There just aren’t enough hours in a day.”

“Marketing is a full time job in itself!”

I hear this from nearly every one of my new real estate agent clients during our first week of working together and I empathize with you completely. In my ideal world, days would be at least 36 hours long. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with cramming 36 hour days into only 24.

With such hectic days, it makes you wish you could clone yourself just to knock out those pesky tasks you only mildly enjoy so you can focus on your bread & butter. If you’re here, my guess is marketing may be one of those tasks you would rather delegate to your cloned self.

Today I’m tossing one of my favorite marketing hacks at you: social media scheduling apps.

Social media scheduling apps that let you bulk schedule your social content so you can set it and forget it.

Personally, while I love Instagram and social media, I’m more excited to interact and engage with my audience than I am to post. Posting stresses me out and makes me feel like I’m wasting valuable time I would rather use chatting with you guys. I get caught up wondering what to post, when to post, did I even post at all this week!

Bring in social media apps, which take away the guess work.

Using Apps to batch social media posting

Social media is an interactive, lead generating machine. It should be treated as more than just some box you check off and be on with your day. It’s important to be intentional with the content we’re posting, when and why. This means having a content calendar for what we’re posting and when.


Not sure how to get started with your social media strategy?

Download the 30-day Content calendar & Planning Guide


But we don’t want to stop everything we’re doing on a Tuesday at 3pm just because data dictates that’s an optimum time to post.

Instead, we’ll use the process of batching to post content consistently.

Batching is a productivity and time management tool where you group similar, reoccurring tasks together and knock them out all at once. It allows you to maximize your time and brainpower for concentration while decreasing distraction and the brain-drain that comes with shifting from one task to another.

posting on instragram social media marketing.jpg

Social Media Batching Tools

Before we can begin batching out our social media, we’ll need to put together our toolkit.

There are a couple different social media schedulers out there to choose from but these are the ones I use and love.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the original players as far as social scheduling apps go. It’s also one of the most robust. Hootsuite lets you manage up to 10 social profiles all from one place.

Later

Later is another scheduling app just like Hootsuite, except that Later is optimized for Instagram. There are a couple features Later has that you won’t find in Hootsuite, such as the ability to preview and edit the visual look of your Instagram feed beforehand.

Both Hootsuite and Later have free and paid accounts to suite your needs and budget. I’m partial to using Later just for Instagram while keeping Hootsuite for everything else.

Again, these are my personal favorite schedulers. If there’s one you use and love that I didn’t mention, please share with us in the comments! We’re always open to new things.

Gather the content

Next it’s time to gather the content.

It’s smart to get in the mindset of thinking of everything around you as a potential piece of content. Have a place to collect pictures, quotes, information, reports, videos, news and all other manners of content. I suggest using Google Drive or DropBox.

The purpose for gathering all our content in one place is so we’re not scrambling to come up content at a moment’s notice. This is also the sort of task you can delegate out to an assistant or intern when the time comes.

Write your captions

Add context to your content.

An image, listing link or video title can only do so much. Captions are what will entice your audience to engage with your content. This is a great opportunity to show off your personality and enforce your brand story.

Add Hashtags

The last step in the puzzle is to add relevant hashtags.

Hashtags are the filling system of social media. When you add #DCrealestate to a caption, it signals to the social media platform that this piece of content has to do something with real estate in Washington DC and is more inclined to showcase your content to that appropriate audience.

The verdict is constantly influx with how many hashtags to add to any given piece of content but it’s best to use more local-specific hashtags than broad or national hashtags.

real estate social content calendar.jpg

Now you know how to quickly market your real estate business using social media scheduling apps.

But I know it can still be a little confusing figuring out exactly what sort of content to post and when. That’s why we’ve put together the 30-day Content Calendar & Planning Guide to spell it out for you exactly.

ashley marie taylor bio.jpg

The Most Underrated Instagram Feature You're Probably NOT Using
marketer using instagram alt text feature.png

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms with over 1 billion monthly active users.

Chances are, you’ve either jumped on the bandwagon or have at least thought about it. Maybe you haven’t joined because you feel like you’re late to the party. Valid. With over 95 million new uploads a day, it’s not unreasonable to feel lost in the noise.

But what if I let you in on a new Instagram feature virtually no one’s using? A feature that will help you stand out from the crowd, reach an untapped audience, appease the algorithm gods and takes only seconds to set up.

I’m talking about the Instagram alt text feature.

At the end of 2018, Instagram launched a new feature to make the app more accessible to visually impaired audiences.

With more than 285 million people in the world who have visual impairments, we know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram.
— Instagram

You may be wondering why this matters. Of course, I’m going to tell you.

As the Internet continues to mature, it gets smarter. We’re seeing algorithms adjust heavily for ADA compliancy. It’s as if Google, Facebook, Amazon and all the other web heavy hitters sat down together and asked, “Okay, how can we make the Internet more accessible for impaired audiences.”

When a person with a visual impairment interacts with Instagram, a screen reader reads the content aloud to them. What the alt text feature does is allow you to fill this in for the end user, otherwise AI is used to give a vague description of the image.

Taking a few seconds to fill out the alt text feature is the difference between the end user hearing, “a man in a room,” and “ Portland real estate agent Oliver Jackson showing a new 2 bedroom 2 bath downtown listing to a young couple.”

Not only have you just provided a delightful experience to a new audience member but you’re attaching that description to the image as well.

In this day and age, the best companies embrace diversity and disability. Every customer they’re not reaching is a customer they’re losing.

A few do’s and don’ts of the alt text feature

DO start using the feature today. As we know, digital marketing takes time to build. Implement this strategy today as a simple way to get ahead of the curve.

DON’T keyword stuff your images. Keyword stuffing has been a big SEO no-no since the beginning. Use keywords where it makes sense or risk being penalized.

DO use descriptive keywords. Use your keywords to enhance the description of the image. Rather than saying something like, “Patricia Newman leaning against a balcony rail.” Say, “Real estate agent Patricia Newman leaning against an oceanview balcony of the Miami skyline.”

DON’T add long-winded descriptions. Instagram caps the description at 100 characters. Keep it short, sweet and rich in visual imagery.

DO think about the end user. What’s in the photo? What would the viewer focus in on? Make it descriptive and tell them exactly what’s there.

DON’T stop there. Think about other ways you can make other areas of your web presence ADA compliant.

Research is still out on the exact benefits of utilizing the alt text feature but it can’t hurt to be one of the few who masters this easy Instagram strategy first.

How to add Alt Text to an Instagram photo

Adding alt text to an Instagram photo is a fairly simple process.

Photo courtesy of  Instagram

Photo courtesy of Instagram

Step 1: On a new post, tap ‘Advanced Settings’

Step 2: Tap ‘Write Alt Text’

Step 3: Tap ‘Write Alt Text…’ next to the photo and write your description

Step 3: When finished, tap ‘Done’ at the top right corner of the screen

Step 4: Tap the back arrow ‘ < ‘ in the left corner of the window to return to posting your photo

ashley marie taylor bio.jpg

The Step-By-Step Plan to Build Your Own Real Estate Website
build real estate website diy.jpg

Not all websites are created equal.

Chances are, the free website set up by your broker is nothing more than a digital business card. It’s not getting you any new leads, engaging with potential customers on your behalf, growing your credibility, or even showing off your listings the way you want it to.

You’re ready to cut away from the pack and build a website. One that’s built EXACTLY the way you want it and 100% owned by you.

Just one minor issue: you’re not ready to hire a professional web designer.

Don’t fret just yet. Creating a website is now more accessible than ever. There’s are ways for anyone to build their own real estate website that’s easy on the wallet and forgiving on experience level.

Having your own website is a game changer.

It gives you a space to build your own corner of the web where you can engage with your community on your terms. Not only is it 100% custom but 100% yours. Think about it, your site from your broker is owned by them, your social media profiles are owned by the social media companies, your accounts on community groups are owned by whoever moderates those groups. At any time, they can choose to control your content, delete your info or even wipe out your account entirely. All that content you worked so hard to create, all that invested time, all your followers - gone.

Unless you’ve united your online presence into a central location you control, you’ll be starting all over again from scratch. Which is why we want a piece of the Internet that no one else can touch.

A website is a space where you can showcase your real estate business, advertise past and present listings, provide value for your community, capture leads and establish yourself as the expert.

Maybe in the past you tried to hire a professional but it seems like they’re charging an arm and a leg for a website. Or you outsourced the work for a few hundred bucks and got crap in return.

Whatever the reason, you’ve chosen the DIY route. You my friend, have decided to take on the challenge of creating a website. Now where to begin?

I don’t want to mislead you, you’re about to take on quite the adventure. There’s a steep learning curve involved and even once you figure out how to piece everything together, there are still best practices involved that have taken me and other web designers years to learn.

But with a little patience and willingness to learn, anyone can learn to build a website.

For the purpose of this guide, we’ve developed a step-by-step process to get you started on building your website. Let’s walk through exactly what you’ll need to begin building your online presence.

Planning & Pre-Work

DETERMINE YOUR WHY

This is the first step to anything we do in Shore to Summit. We will always ask why you’re doing something before we let you begin. We want to make sure you own you actions and do them for the right reasons, not because you feel like you have to in order to keep up. Otherwise, you’ll just wasting your own valuable time, money and resources.

The second reason I’m asking, is because the why of the matter will determine how you’re going to build out your website. Your why is going to determine what sort of website you need to make.

A website designed to manage properties is going to be very different from one that’s based around showcasing listings or building a community.

Think about what sorts of actions you want people to take on your website. What is the main goal you want to achieve or ultimate result you want customers to gain? These requirements will determine the build and structure of your website.

CHOOSE A HOST & WEBSITE BUILDER

Once you know what’s required of your website, you will need to select a platform that can support the structure.

Most agents and real estate professionals simply need a showcase space where they can add content and display an IDX. There are three widely popular web building options on the web we recommend most. Let’s quickly review each one.

WordPress

With an estimated 75 million website builds worldwide, WordPress is unequivocally the galactic warlord of web builders. Launched in 2003, WordPress is one of the first web builders and hosting platforms and has grown a mass following since. And with a seemingly endless array of development options, it has long been a favorite of mine to build with.

Be warned: if you choose to build with WordPress, know what you’re getting yourself into. There’s more to it then uploading a theme and thinking you’re all set.

WordPress is more for the experienced user. It has a steep learning curve and requires basic knowledge of configuring websites and coding skills. And since most WordPress building blocks are developed by unofficial WordPress developers, you really need to stay up-to-date on the who’s who of theme building.

Save this option for those who at a bare minimum consider themselves techie.

Wix

Wix is the best choice for total beginners.

It’s a visual web builder meaning you simply drag and drop each element on the page to create your design. It comes with hundreds of templates - even real estate specific templates - to choose from. Simply upload your website with the click of a button. Swap out the content for yours and voila, you have yourself the beginnings of your very own website.

A big perk of Wix is that there’s a free option but you get what you pay for - or in this case don’t pay for. In exchange for a free site, Wix loads your website full of unwanted ads and gifts you with a Wix-centric web address. While the free version is perfect during the building stage of your website, I strongly encourage you to upgrade your site to the paid version once it’s ready to go.

Squarespace

Squarespace has become my new favorite web builder.

Like Wix, Squarespace a visual builder letting you see the design come to life in real time. This leaves many to think they’re essentially the same thing, but they’re not. Squarespace’s templates and designs are impeccably modern and polished making it the perfect choice for those largely concerned with making sure their site stays on trend. It’s also easy to switch templates if you decide to change up your website later - a feature Wix lacks.

Another fact about Squarespace that really sold it for me is the fact that all their add-ons and extra features are built in-house. This makes it soundly supported and keeps you from having to update your website or worry about if/when it will crash. Just an added bonus for the real estate professional who wants to take more of the set-it-and-forget-it approach to building their website.

We’ll be covering the topic of choosing web builders in-depth in the near future. Sign up for our newsletter updates for more info on that.

In the meantime, we leave you with a quick visual guide:

compare wordpress wix squarespace.jpg

PURCHASE YOUR DOMAIN

Next step is to purchase a domain name. A domain name is the “www.” web address you type in to navigate to a website.

There are a number of places you can purchase a domain from. I suggest using one of the following:

TAKE A LESSON

No matter how simple a website builder is suppose to be, there will always be some degree of a learning curve involved in setting up your website. Take it from me, it can be frustrating. Many people tend to quickly get frustrated and abandon the project all together, or spend days trying to figure out how to do the simplest adjustment.

Believe me when I say it’s well worth it to take a course on how to use your web builder. A quick google search on, ‘Wordpress courses’ will reveal lessons of all skill levels and prices. You’ll learn new ways to do cool things with your website and many of the courses essentially hold your hand through the entire process.

YouTube is another great teacher. If this single mom of four could learn to build a house through nothing but YouTube videos, I have full faith in you to piece together a website.

GATHER INSPIRATION

It’s difficult to build a website if you don’t know what it is you want to build. Take a little time and gather inspiration that will guide you through the creation process.

Real estate brand &amp; website inspirations by  Jenny Rose Creative

Real estate brand & website inspirations by Jenny Rose Creative

Start by clicking around the web and find websites you want yours to emulate. Think about colors, feel, design, photos, copy and web features. Gather these images together in one location. A great place to aggregate inspiration is by building a board on Pinterest. If Pinterest isn’t your thing, save screenshots in a designated folder on your computer.

The key here is to make it visual. Identify what it is you like about each website and let those ideas guide you into the next stage of the process - the design & build stage.

Design & Build

Now we’re getting to the fun part - actually making your real estate website.

There’s a lot that goes into a website and you’ll constantly add to it, making it better bit by bit. Right now, we’re solely going to focus on whats required to establish a strong foundation.

CONTENT

At its most basic, content is information. It’s the words and ideas you’ll communicate through your website.

Content can be accomplished in different ways. Text, images, videos, audio - these are all examples of mediums you’ll use to communicate your content. The hard part now is deciding what it is exactly you want to communicate.

At the bare minimum, a real estate website needs to include the following:

Home Page - This is the first page people see when landing on your website. It’s your first impression so you will want to make it a good.

About Page/Agent Profile - Real estate is a personal thing and potential customers will want to know a bit about you. This is your chance to tell them.

Contact Page - People need to know how to reach you.

Properties Page - Advertise your current listings and showcase your best deals from the past.

Blog - Every website needs a designated spot to add new content on a regular basis. Publish weekly or at least monthly content tailored to your audience.

BRANDING

Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think & feel about your company. It’s the visual identity and experience one has when they interact with your brand.

Now, you may have a brand already or you may just be starting out and haven’t even begun to think about the personality of your business just yet - and that’s okay. What we’re really going for here is consistency. You want to create a cohesive font and color scheme that keeps the look of your website together.

If you don’t have a brand, you may just want do a variation of your broker’s brand for now.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing traffic to your website.

Your goal is to build your website in a way that encourages organic home buyers and sellers to find and interact with your website. When done correctly, not only will the quantity of traffic increase but the quality of traffic as well.

Many agents and real estate professionals think this means hiring a specialist and pumping cash into Google or Facebook ads. The specialist performs a sacred sacrifice to the Internet gods and traffic then rains from the heavens.

I promise you, SEO is not that mystical or complicated. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and the pressure of creating a new, washed-out blog post three times a week.

Over the years, search engine algorithms have gotten very advanced and now focus on your web presence as a whole rather than on just one piece of the puzzle. This is great news for the every day user. If you’re creating original, unique, descriptive content, chance has it that Google is picking up what you’re putting down.

It’s actually fairly simple to optimize your website on your own. We’re not going to get into too many SEO strategies today, but let’s take a quick look at the most basic piece of SEO you’ll want to optimize before you launch your website: meta tags.

Title Tag

The title tag is the title of the web page - pretty self-explanatory. This is the most important piece of information to optimize because this what shows up on search engine results. It’s meant to be an accurate description of what’s on the web page, told as concisely as possible.

There is a formula for this:

Title Tag = Primary keyword + secondary keyword + brand name
Example: Lincoln Realty Group | Washington DC Real Estate - Luxury Georgetown Homes

Take note, your title will cut off on result around the 60 character mark, so keep it as concise as possible and avoid unnecessary keyword stuffing. Exclude the secondary keyword if need be. We have another opportunity to add it in the next meta tag.

Meta Description

The meta description is another bit of information that shows up under the title tag on search engine results. It provides a brief summary of what’s on the page, except this time we get more room to play with.

The meta description shows up as a short paragraph. When optimized with the title tag, it can be a powerful way to pull people to your website. It’s the perfect opportunity to let viewers know what they’’ll find on your web page.

The meta description formula is more lax than the title tag and runs about two sentences in length. Information should be read in an engaging, natural, active way and be directly relevant to the page it describes.

I once heard it described as a window display - a concise and encouraging display with the goal of enticing people to enter.

seo serp lesson title tag meta description.jpg

Alt Tags

Alt tags are bits on information attached to images, describing what’s in the image on a page.

When Google crawls a website it can’t see images. It has no clue what’s in a picture. We have to tell it what’s in the image which is where alt tags come in. Alt tags are also picked up by screen readers for the visually impaired and reads what’s in the image.

An examples for an image of a townhome listing on your website could read “brick Georgetown townhouse in Washington DC”.

RESPONSIVE DESIGN

Mobile devices account for a little over half of all web traffic - a little statistical fact we’ve only seen rise since the advent of the smartphone.

While desktop and laptop use isn’t going anywhere any time soon, it’s still a fact you need to be aware of when building your website. I can’t stress enough that is MUST be responsive regardless of whether it’s viewed on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device.

Integrate & Optimize

Now that the bulk of your website is done, it’s time to go back and pepper in a little flavor to really kick it off.

ADD THE IDX

I know adding the IDX to your website is the most important part for many of you.

The IDX is added through what is known as an API key. An API key is a piece of code inserted in your website that displays another program or bit of software. You can add the IDX on your own but full disclosure, it can be a bit confusing and frustrating.

If you’re nervous, we offer this as a service.

ANALYTICS

Google Analytics is a free and powerful tool that the masses seem to ignore.

Remember, what you’re building right now is just the beginning of your website. You will be updating and optimizing this website so long as you care about it. The best way to know what to update is by knowing how the site is performing.

Google Analytics tracks the performance of your website to better understand how its running and how people interact with it. It will also tell you who’s on your website, revealing new audiences you never knew you had.

You don’t have to become a Google guru to use Analytics, even a basic understanding will reveal so much, as well as be helpful to digital marketers you may decide to hire in the future.

LEAD CAPTURE

This is my favorite part and should be yours too: lead capture.

Having a way to capture leads is crucial for taking those site visitors and turning them into clients. I’m not talking about simply placing your contact information on your webpage and thinking this will do. No, we’re talking about getting contact information from people who are even only mildly interested in your services so you can grow your email list and market to them year round so that when they are ready your name is the first one that comes to mind.

You’ll need a few tools to capture leads correctly:

  • CRM system - Whether you’re using a system provided by your broker or a third party, you need to get your CRM hooked up to your website. CRM’s are a powerful way to automate the task of identifying qualified leads so you can act.

  • Lead magnets - You have to give a little to get a little sometimes. A lead magnet is a free piece of content or offer customers can receive in exchange for giving you their contact information.

  • Newsletter Signup - Place newsletter signups throughout your website for an easy opt-in to those who are digging your content and want some more.

  • Call to Action - Sprinkle in proper calls to action throughout your website to guide people around your website and capture their information. Add variety in your CTAs to entice your audience whether they’re brand new to your website or a customer you’re already working with.

OPTIMIZE FOR YOUR COMMUNITY

Whether your community is location centric or topic centric, optimize your website for your community. If you’re going the local route, that means optimizing for your city. If you’re focusing on a niche or building a community, say to network real estate agents for example, optimize for that niche. Develop content that speaks directly to your community and create calls to action that will inspire that niche to act.

If you aim for everybody you’ll either get nobody. Or even worse, the type of customer you don’t want to work with.

ADD SOCIAL

Add your social media channels but don’t make it a central point of your site.

You’ve worked so hard to get people to your website and we want to keep them here. I recommend putting social links in the footer of your website so they’re readily available for those who are looking for them but won’t encourage people to click off your website otherwise.

TESTIMONIALS

Don’t forget to ask for and showcase those testimonials.

Testimonials build credibility for you and help you relate to your customers. It’s your clout and you need to let people deserve to know what an awesome real estate agent you are.


Alright Summiter. You have a mountain ahead of you on this one. Download the Step-By-Step Plan below and get to building.

real estate website checklist.jpg

Get your copy of the Website Checklist

Download the step-by-step Real Estate Website Checklist.

If you find yourself in need of further help, book a Strategy Session with me and we’ll work through building your website together.

If it still seems like a lot to take on right now, have a look at one of our web design packages. We have a package for just about any budget.

ashley marie taylor bio.jpg

3 Steps to Set Concrete Real Estate Goals & Dominate in 2019
real estate goal setting.jpg


It’s getting to that time of year where everyone starts planning for the next year, and what better way to do that than with beginning with goal setting.  We’re going to begin a series on motivation. Not just the hoo-rah, go get em types of motivation, the type that gets you up and moving and on the train to more leads.

Enough rambling, lets get going.

Long vs. Short Term Goals

We’ve all heard that we need to break down our goals into long vs short term, and to set SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timeable) goals.  In an ideal world you would make long term goals (6 months, annual, and 5 year) as well as short term (monthly, weekly, and daily), but that can be overwhelming and we are busy people. Don’t overwhelm yourself, because it can quickly cause burnout.  Start where you are comfortable, you can always move up from there.

Visualize

A key thing with goal settings is to visualize yourself actually achieving the goal, and the best way to help this is through writing your goals down in the present or past present tense.  This method works with both short and long term goals. As a real estate example for the month of April say, “On April 30 I have closed 3 deals this month” or “By April 30 I have successful converted 3 leads into meetings and have signed one buyer agreement.”  Make them do-able and measureable. One of my favorite things is to set a realistically achievable goal, and then set a “super” goal or something that is just on the outer edges of achievable.

Reverse Engineer

This is my favorite to do with annual goals, and also involves visualization.  I want you to close your eyes for a second and visualize what you want your life to look like exactly one year from now, write that down.  Now, figure out what steps it would take to achieve those goals. Break it down into large ideas first, like basic steps, and then break those down into more specific steps to achieve those goals.  For example: I want to have more listings than buyers, and be able to spend more time with my family. As an option break down how you’ll transition and attract more sellers, what you’d like to be doing with your family, and better organize your time to achieve the large goal.  Then break those down into smaller, monthly, actionable steps to help you reach that ultimate option.

I’m going to keep these short, but if you’d like access to our videos, organization techniques, and daily organizers get on the waitlist for our next round of courses coming early 2019.

 See you all soon.

christina taylor real estate bio.jpg

5 Fall Blog Ideas for Your Real Estate Content Strategy
fall real estate blog ides content.jpg

We’re into October, and there will be lots of content ideas coming with the holidays.

But what are some you can do now before the rush of November and December?

As with any content, you’ll need to find your inspiration! If you’re not excited to write about it, your clients won’t be excited to read it. Let them in on some of what you enjoy while giving them valuable content they can use.

5 Fall Blog Ideas for Your Real Estate Content Strategy

With that being said, here are some ideas.

Fall Activities Galore

Think pumpkin patches, festivals, haunted houses, and events going on in your area. Show off your neighborhood, and this will further reinforce your expertise in the community.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Millions of Americans watch football weekly and there are lots of angles to take with this. If you live in a city with a major football team you can go the route of local tailgates, and events going on around the stadium on game days. If your demographic is more catered toward families/ suburban life, talk about the local high school football teams. Lastly, everyone can talk about game day themed food recipes or tips to make your tailgate the most “touchdown-worthy” of them all (don’t be afraid to use puns, people secretly love them).

Get The Inside Scoop On Sales & Promotions

With the holidays and Black Friday looming, most businesses are pushing mega sales. Work with a local restaurant, store, or coffee shop to promote a sale or event they have coming up - then be there. Don’t forget to promote it. This will give you an edge over your competition and help you make a new connection in your neighborhood as well.

Celebrate Minor Holidays

October is National Adopt a Dog month, and that’s something a lot of Americans can connect with.  Promote a local animal shelter, and then post some pics of some super adorable pups… No one can resist that!  Here are some other minor holidays you can promote if pups aren’t your forte:

  • October 1 International Coffee Day

  • October 5 World Teacher’s Day

  • October 6 Mad Hatter Day

  • October 14 National Dessert Day

  • October 16 Boss’s Day

  • October 19 Evaluate Your Life Day

  • October 21 Count Your Buttons Day

  • October 27 Black Cat Day

  • October 28 National Chocolate Day

Tricks & Treats

Halloween is at the end of the month and there is a lot you can do surrounding that holiday.  You can move from fun facts, to costume ideas, best neighborhoods for trick or treating, to goofy pictures of peoples costume fails or wins, scary movies, and local festivals.

Of course these are just a few quick ideas! You can always make up your own, and I can’t emphasize the point that the best content is talking about what you care about. It will come through in your content and maybe teach your reader a thing or two.

Happy fall y’all

christina taylor real estate bio.jpg

5 Reasons Why Realtors Need Digital Marketing
why realtors need digital marketing.jpeg

It’s safe to say technology has changed the way we perceive the world. Even crazier is how quickly it all happened. Its only been a decade since the release of the iPhone yet it’s hard to imagine life without our little pocket computers.

From our personal lives to the professional, the way things are done has changed. Everything is now available for delivery, at any time, right to your doorstep - including real estate leads.

The National Association of Realtors reports that 95% of home buyers look online during the home buying process. That number is up to 99% for Millennials. In fact, the average home buyer consults the Internet to become informed in the home buying process before ever reaching out to an agent.

While a large number of agents see this as a threat, I see nothing but opportunity and dollar signs. For the first time in the history of man, you know exactly where your qualified audience is (online) and what it is they’re looking for (home buying information). All you need to do is connect the dots and you’ll have ready buyers at your fingertips.

You’re probably wondering, “That’s fine and dandy, but how exactly do I connect the dots?” This is the part that trips up most agents. Whether it’s because of intimidation, poor support & training or any other number of reasons, I’ve see smart, capable agents give up before they even begin.

I’m not going to let that happen to you. We’re not only going to walk through five big benefits of digital marketing, but what you can do to take advantage of them.

Save Time & Money

Digital marketing is a time and money saver. Where offline marketing efforts fall short in terms of being cost-effective, the online world more than makes up for. Digital marketing offers a solution for every budget, with most solutions costing you nothing. Not only that, It’s easy to test solutions and tailor your strategy according to your budget for ease in scalability.

Digital marketing also saves on time. Once the groundwork of you strategy is built, it’s very much a set-it and forget-it system. Just push play and monitor your campaign for success.

A traditional mailer is seen one time and often immediately thrown away, but Facebook and other social media ads can be easily duplicated for quick setup and then adjusted for peak performance, as every digital marketing campaign plays into the other. Furthermore, the more you experiment with campaigns, the more your marketing platforms learn about what’s working and what’s not through machine learning and will quickly learn to automate for optimum ad performance on their own.

Stand Out From the Competition

Your headshot on a listing sign is just that - your headshot on a listing sign. It means nothing to most people.

Now there’s nothing wrong with it, in fact it’s one more chance to have your face out there. It’s just that this is the first time someone is seeing your face is in the first place. There’s no real connection there.

Now compare that to real estate agent Alain. Alain is a head chef for a local restaurant by night and sells real estate on the side. While real estate is his side-hustle, it’s food he’s truly passionate about and what he prominently features on his Instagram, along with interior kitchen styles and local food haunts. He’s using what he knows and loves to focus in his marketing efforts, make them manageable and simply downright fun to produce.

Even more-so, he’s getting listing appointments because of it. He’s built a personal brand people people connect with and want to work with.

Tap Into New Audiences

How many people do you interact with face-to-face in an average day? Twenty? Maybe thirty? Now how many of those interactions are with someone new? Do you then jump right into talking about business? Probably not.

Getting out there, going to networking events, door-knocking and meeting new people drastically raises your average daily social interactions, which directly raises your chance of meeting someone who needs you services. Yet, you’re only human.

There’s only one of you and you have a very limited cap of how many people you can meet in a day.

Digital marketing nullifies this factor. A sentence spoke out-loud in a conversation is lost with the memory of the person you spoke it to. But a sentence typed into the recesses of the Internet never goes away. In fact, it compounds.

The average American spends 11 hours a day consuming media. That’s 11 hours of opportunity for you to craft a message that reaches that one person. That same message will play on repeat to continually reach out to not only that same person, but will play to thousands of other homogenous audiences.

You can only reach so many people personally in one day. Digital marketing is the megaphone you need to be heard.

Analysis

If you’re a fan of numbers or a stickler for reports, then pay attention. A huge pro digital marketing has over more traditional sales tactics is the ability to track and analyze just about everything.

There isn’t a piece of technology on the market today that doesn’t have some form of tracking and most reports are downright detailed. Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel are powerful tools you can integrate into your website that let you see exactly who your customer is, where they come from, how they move through your marketing systems and what’s leading - or not leading - to conversions.

It’s a treasure trove of information right in the palm of your hands that shows you the big picture and trends to measure for success.

Technology Moves Fast - Don’t Get Left Behind

Everything is going digital. Those who don’t keep up will get left behind. It’s up to no one else but you to keep up.

I know that comes off as a bit scary. That’s not my intent. My intent is that you understand the gravity of the situation. By refusing to keep up with the norm of how things are done, you’re placing your commission check on a silver platter for someone else.

This doesn’t mean you have to become some sort of IT pro. That’s silly talk. You just have to keep up.

A lot of agents fear technology and the news is quick to capitalize on headlines about how to robots are taking over. This isn’t Terminator. Hell, this isn’t even Wall-e. Technology should be something you embrace.

We’ve made technology out to be this big, scary thing that only geniuses with computer hacking skills can understand. Nothing is further from the truth. At it’s essence, technology is the advancement of human tools and ingenuity. The Dictionary defines it as, “the application of knowledge for practical purposes.”

The wheel is an example of technology. I think we can all agree the wheel is a good thing. So are the tools being developed for real estate agents. They exist to make your job easier, not harder.


Don’t let marketing and technology INTIMIDATE YOU.

IT’S MUCH MORE MANAGEABLE & FUN THAN YOU THINK.


Everything appears more difficult or painful when you’re first starting out.

It’s the newness of it all that’s scary and not knowing how to piece it all together can leave you paralyzed from moving forward. The truth is, once you have someone walking you through it all, it becomes second-nature.

That’s why we’re launching The Modern Agent Mastermind.

We don’t want to simply walk you through the pillars of digital marketing, but give you the templates, trainings and teachings you need for marketing success. With guided support, we’ll build a solid foundation from which to grow your digital brick and mortar. So if you’re a new to this whole thing, we’ll show you where to start. And if you’re ready for something a little more “advanced,” we can help you with that too.

Don’t miss out on Early Bird pricing by signing up for our newsletter.

JOIN THE NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to get tips, resources, industry insights and special promotions sent right to your mailbox.

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.


    Or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for exclusive announcements. This is where we share tips, resources, industry insights and special promotions.

    << For those who can’t wait and want to dive right in, download the Real Estate Marketing Plan & Content Calendar below to get started. >>

    ashley marie taylor bio.jpg

    Content Strategy: 5 Best Places to Leaf Peep in Colorado
    content strategy.jpg

    We know full well how difficult it can be to come up with content for your real estate business. Which is why we’re here to give you a couple ideas!

    Christina busted out this great little piece on 5 Best Places to Leaf Peep in Colorado.

    So what is it exactly about this article makes it quality content? Well for starters, it’s relevant. The fall season is upon us, making this a trending topic with high traffic. Second, it’s specific. She doesn’t talk about US leaf peeping, but rather keeps it zoned in on her market. Third, it has beautiful imagery and well-placed links for added value.

    Hope this gives you some inspiration for creating content in your market. Let us know what you sort of content you plan to create this fall!

    —————

    5 Best Places to Leaf Peep in Colorado

    One of the greatest parts of fall is the ability to see the leaves changing and all of the beautiful colors.  Just because I love them so much, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite secrets I’ve found over the last seven years with you (and your clients if you choose to share). Also, you can find some phenomenal deals on hotels in the mountains this time of year as it’s technically their off season.

     Peak Leaf Season “Predicted” Sept 15-28


    Where to Go

    golden-gate-canyon-state-park.jpg

    Golden Gate Canyon (West Golden)  

    This is one of the closest places to Denver to see the leaves and there are tons of hikes in the area ranging from 2- 20+ miles along with beautiful drives.  One of my favorite places to go is Fraser Meadow with a moderate 4.5 mile round trip hike, and views that won't disappoint. I take a lot of people here from out of town and you can’t beat the yellows of the aspens. ($7 entry fee)

    West Magnolia.JPG

    West Magnolia Trails (Nederland) 

    This trail is great for hiking, mountain biking, and easy 4 wheel trails (I made it in my Kia SUV) where you will be surrounded by leaves and just the colors and smells/ sights of fall in the mountains.  The trails range from 2 miles to over 20 but be sure to bring your map (All Trails/ MTB Project) as they are uber confusing once you get back there. After enjoy a hot cocoa or coffee on the streets of Nederland. “Super Secret”- They have 25 free camping sites (still debating if I should’ve shared that)

    Guanella-Williams-Sanders_1474563438926_46749433_ver1.0.jpg

    Guanella Pass (Grant - Georgetown)

    This ones not as much of a secret but there’s a reason for it!  It’s gorgeous and you can drive the vast majority. This is about an hour out of town and I recommend driving from Grant to Georgetown.  Be patient with the people as it will probably be crowded if you go on a weekend so get out of the car, go on a hike, and just enjoy the scenery.  Don't forget to stop in the quaint town of Georgetown after for a coffee or local brew.  

    Indy Pass.jpg

    Independence Pass (Leadville- Aspen)

     I mean the town you drive out of is called Aspen so guess what you’re going to find… Aspenssssss!  This drive is a little further from the city but it is absolutely phenomenal. I recommend driving from Leadville to Aspen so you can spend some time in the town of Aspen after the ride and maybe go check out the maroon bells area. There are camping sites along the pass, hikes everywhere, gondola rides on the mountain, you literally can’t go wrong.  Hint: hotels are usually a little cheaper in Snowmass and it’s a beautiful area less than 20 minutes from downtown Aspen.

    Crested Butte.jpg

    Crested Butte 

    This place is my absolute favorite.  Literally hundreds of miles of trails to hike, bike, drive, everywhere you look will be singing the colors of the mountains.  My favorite mountain bike trails are the Lupine Trails (easy), 401 Loop (Intermediate), and Doctors Park (Advanced). For driving, Kebler Pass can’t be beat with colors sweeping through the expansive valleys on either side of the pass and look on Groupon for hotel deals.

     

    But, don't take my word for it!  Get out there and see it for yourself!

    christina taylor real estate bio.jpg

    The Market Report: Denver, CO
    denver market report.jpg

    For the past five to seven years, Denver has continually sat high atop national real estate lists - ranging from 'steepest price increase' to 'strongest housing markets' to 'best places to invest.'

    Although we have seen a slight slowing in the market in the past few months doesn’t mean there is a crash on the way. Think of it more as an easing off of the extremely hot market that has recently been fueled by the surge in population and increase in market demand.

    Just a few facts and figures below:

    THE GOOD

    • Denver metro is still at a shortage of 78,000 homes

    • Market health score is 9.3 (1)

    • Homes with negative equity is at 6% (1)

    • Number 7 in states predicted to have the strongest housing markets in 2018 (2)

    • Unemployment is at 3.4% (3)

    • Number 9 Hottest market in the USA (3)

    • Housing prices have seen double-digit growth for the past 6 years (4)

    THE NOT SO GOOD

    • 13th costliest city in America (4)

    • Average single-family home price is over $500,000

    • Metro prices up 65% (5)

    • Shortage of entry-level homes/ highly competitive (5)

    • The least affordable market for first-time home-buyers (6)

    • Home prices increasing faster than wages (6)

    • 47% home price vs income price metric making Denver the number one boom market (7)

    In conclusion, Denver is still a healthy market, but the barriers to entry are a mile high if you’re trying to buy your first home. 

    The main reason the gap between home prices and wage continues to increase is due to the mass migration of people from more expensive markets (think California) with massive buying power. Over the next 2-3 years economists predict a slowing in the Colorado market, but with the lack of inventory it’s really going to depend on wage and population growth numbers, as well as more sellers being willing to list rather than remodel their homes - another merging market trend. Drastic price drops are not predicted for metropolitan areas, and any major market crash would be driven by national economic events (think 2020 election, wars, major trade products crashing, etc.).  

    From what we found, Denver is still a good economic buy if you’re planning to live in the home for 2+ years. Investment opportunities are getting more difficult to come by, but your negotiating power is growing as it shifts to a more balanced market.    

    christina taylor real estate bio.jpg


    Market ReportAshley Taylor