Posts in Marketing
3 Free Lead Generating Tactics to Start Using in Your Real Estate Marketing Today
real estate marketing tactics growing leads

The other day I heard an interesting question on marketing that perked my ears and made me nod my head a little.

Someone asked, “What’s the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing tactic?”

Great question. As was the answer, which was this:

A marketing strategy is the overall plan, vision & goal designed to promote a product or service. Tactics, on the other hand, are the actions one invokes to make that strategy happen.

Tactics are where we experiment in marketing. It’s where we play to see what works and what doesn’t. Our strategy, however, is less flexible. It requires a deep sense of thought and will remain steadfast in its course.

I bring this up because today I went live on Facebook to share 3 cost-free marketing tactics that you can begin to use in your own real estate marketing.

What I really like about these 3 tactics is that they bridge the gap between what we do online and what we do offline.


Not sure how to get started with your real estate marketing strategy?

Gain clarity with your complimentary Discovery Call.


The 3 free marketing tactics are:

  1. Embrace video as a regular part of your marketing strategy

  2. Use Facebook Groups as a fun way to market without feeling like you’re even marketing at all

  3. Put focus in selling yourself over any single sale

I touch on each of these points in more detail on the live. Give it a watch and while you’re there be sure to connect with us as well.

See you on Facebook Live.


sts ashley.png

Ashley Taylor

Ashley is the co-founder and marketing + tech brain behind Shore to Summit - an education & marketing service platform for real estate professionals.

Real Estate Content Marketing 101
realtor writing content strategy.jpg

The journey to marketing your real estate business begins here - with content.

A well-developed content strategy tells the story you and your business in a way that convinces your customer that you’re the real estate agent they should work with. And it forms the foundation upon which every other piece of marketing collateral is built.

In the digital world, content is essentially the carbon element from which everything is made.

In definitive form, content is, “the collection of words and images that make up your presence.” It’s the information and experiences directed towards an end-user or audience and is expressed through some medium, such as speech, writing, or any various form of art.

In plain speak, content is what you’re trying to communicate to your audience.

Now, three things are required in order to make content: 

  • Something to say

  • A medium in which to say it

  • A strategy

This makes content complex because it allows content to take on various forms. A blog article is a piece of content, a web page is content, a speech is content, images and video are content, Podcasts are content - just about anything expressed regardless of how it is being expressed is content. This is your something to say and how you’re saying it is your medium.

Now, we can spurt out all the content we want all day. We can create articles about home buying or styling but none of it will ever stick unless it’s expressed within a strategy.

real estate content strategy 101.png

Why do we need a content strategy? 

Because every day, more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are uploaded to the Internet. 

Quintillion. That’s 18 zeros in case you were wondering.

Each minute alone:

  • Snapchat users share 527,760 photos

  • Users watch 4,146,600 YouTube videos

  • 456,000 tweets are sent on Twitter

  • 46,740 photos are posted to Instagram

With numbers like this, it’s no surprise why much of what we say doesn’t seem to hit the ears of our customers. This is why it’s so important to have a strategy - our content strategy.

So what makes a content strategy different from just say putting content out there? 

A content strategy differs because it delivers an objective.

It is the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver a specific business objective. It’s a high-level vision, your core, from which every bit of content you make comes from.

Content marketing and strategy is a calculated marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Did you pick up on all the keywords there? Let’s break it down.

Content marketing is:

  • Valuable - people gain value from content

  • Relevant - your message speaks to the user

  • Consistent - you deliver not only a consistent message but schedule content consistently

  • Attracts - content marketing attracts your audience

  • Retains - content marketing retains your audience, keeping them coming back for more

  • Defined - you don’t speak to everyone, you speak to your defined audience 

Every leading brand in existence uses content strategy as part of their larger marketing strategy.

Why? Because it works. 

I could list a series of benefits as longer than my arm. Some of the benefits of using a content strategy include:

  • Increased sales - I can say with 100% confidence that you will increase your leads and sales

  • Cost savings - content is free to create. All it takes is a little bit of brain power and some time. Short on time? It’s affordable to outsource content at any budget.

  • Quality customers - content weeds out the wrong customers and leaves you with the right ones while building rapport with said customers

  • It’s organic - Organic marketing is always the best kind of marketing because it’s natural, unforced and like the word organic implies, it grows.

Let’s run through an example using two very different agents. One agent does not have a content strategy in place and one does.

Over here we have agent Joe. He’s your sort of agent who just sort of does the bare minimum to scrape by. He takes the listing he’s given and posts it up with nothing else in terms of support. He has no content strategy and simply adds a generic listing description:

 
 

NEW LISTING: 2bd/2ba in desirable neighborhood $200,000. This house won’t last long!

 
 

Click the listing and it takes you to your run-of-the-mill MLS listing on his broker’s website or on a software he’s paying for. 

How do you think this listing comes across to the customer? 

First of all, this 2bd/2ba caption says nothing to me as the buyer. It doesn’t speak to me, it doesn’t make me want to click. Then when I do, I see pictures that are low-lit, and off-center. I, a potential buyer, get no sense of value from this listing and when I do click for more details, it takes me to a location that I could just use Zillow to find more detail on. I, as a customer, am not enticed to work with Joe. I don’t feel like he provides me with any added value and feel as if I can do this on my own.

Bring on the #FSBOlife.

Listing-in-All-Caps-500x398.jpg

Now meet Mac.

Mac is advertising a nearly identical listing. Except his post is a lot different. It reads:

 
 

2bd/2ba dream home in Charolette’s hip new SoHo neighborhood. Just three blocks from the Saturday Morning farmer’s market in Pioneer Square. A fully remodeled kitchen includes granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and stunning iron, gas stove. Exterior updates include a new roof and security lighting. Move in ready with new, wood floors. Large, shaded backyard features a 50 sq.ft. deck and trellis. Only a five-minute walk to Charolette Elementary School bus stop. Click here for complete house photos and set up a walk-through today.

 
 

The listing features beautiful photos that entice me to see more. Photos are bright and clear and I the buyer begin imagining how my couch will fit perfectly in that corner. Or how I’ll place my favorite painting there above the fireplace.

I can picture myself living here.

Upon clicking the link, I’m sent to a self-owned website that tells the whole story of not only the listing but the agent as well. There’s information on how to set up an appointment as well as similar listings in the neighborhood. A featured article gives me a step-by-step checklist of the home buying process and I think to myself, “Wow. Mac sure knows a lot about this process. Plus he’s personable. This is someone I can get behind.”

So I submit my inquiry and immediately receive a text message or phone call that sets up an appointment to chat with the agent.

Bam. Mind blown. Talk about service.

phil dunphy real estate agent advertisement .jpg

Which post do you want to engage with more? Better yet, which agent do you want to engage with more? I don’t know about you, but I’m really leaning toward Mac. He seems engaged in this work whereas Joe feels completely removed.

Both listings say basically the same thing, but Mac’s listing is the one that says, “I will jump over the moon for you!” without ever having to say it. Why is that? It’s because he was a content strategy in place that aligns with his business process.

Mac provides added value in the form of quality, attentive service but it was his quality content that first grabs your attention and makes him stand out.

This is a classic case of a proactive vs. a reactive agent.

I use this example because this is what I see everyday. A reactive agent vs. a proactive agent. And if you’re reading this article, I’m filled with so much confidence that you’re the proactive agent which is why we’re going to get your content strategy, digital strategy and process down pat.

Everything you do from here on out needs to revolve around a sound content strategy.

It is the framework around which everything you do will be built. It will be the structure of your entire marketing story.

Now, let’s begin to get a little technical here.

While there’s a framework to developing your content strategy, it is not a concrete step-by-step template. Every agent’s strategy is going to be different. That means that unlike math, there’s no equation that results in a right answer.

While some agents are empowered by this, others may not be. I encourage you to see this as a good thing because it means that if there’s no right answer then there’s no wrong one either. Meaning you can take this in just about any direction your creative mind can come up with.

Now while there’s no exact equation for marketing, there are certain elements of creating a strategy to serve as your guide in the process. You’ll find these elements will make your life a whole lot easier in developing a strategy and all quality pieces of content have them.

Which is why you’re here because we’re here to cut through the fluff and get right into building your content strategy.

There are five key elements to the content marketing equation. We’re going to focus on these components and getting them in place before we diving into developing out the arms and legs of your content strategy. Because everything we’re about to discuss is the elemental core of it. 

Content element number 1:

A business plan.

I’m not trying to be captain obvious over here. It seems like this is something I shouldn’t need to note but many a time I’ve run into clients who don’t have concrete business plans for how they want to conduct their company. Or even there’s no set direction for where they want to go with their business.

Then they try to use marketing as a bandaid to patch the iceberg size hole in their business.

Remember Mac from our example? Remember how he had a business process in place that allowed him to immediately reach out to inquiries as those leads came in? It’s these business processes that enable him to build rich content based around the process to engage and entice his audience.

The simple fact of the matter is that you have to have a business plan prior to developing a content strategy or any type of marketing strategy for that matter.

It’s going to be very difficult to build a content strategy for a business if there’s no business plan to begin with. You will be a reactive agent without one.

This includes having an intimate understanding of your goals, the unique value proposition you bring to the table and the details of your process. Be aware of obstacles and opportunities that may arise in the process and think a little ahead.

I don’t want you to freak out and think of documenting your business plan as this huge undertaking. This doesn’t need to be fancy. At the very least, the MVP that needs to be in place are your business goals, knowing who your target customer is and a documented flow of how you’re running your business. Again, this doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A simple word document will do. Having a written account of your process will help center you on those hectic days when decision making is difficult and will make it much easier to add new aspects to your business - such as marketing.

The second content element is...

A general marketing plan.

Once you know your business plan and your goals under a unified mission, it’s much easier to make strategic decisions in terms of your marketing. Such as which goals to prioritize and what message you want to deliver in each piece of content, as well as what techniques you want to use in pursuit of those goals.

For this we ask ourselves three questions:

First question: what are our marketing campaign goals?

A campaign is a new push in our marketing. In essence we’re asking what do we want to see happen as a result of this effort.

Examples could be: as I result of this campaign, we want to seem more credible. Or our goal is to share a listing. Perhaps we want to collect the contact info of ready buyers.

Question two: what are our financial goals?

In other words, what is the ROI we expect to see from this campaign. In what ways will we be saving time and money?


Not sure how to get started with your content strategy?

Download the 30-day Content Calendar & Planning Guide


For example, we collected rich data about families ready to buy via a call-to-action placed on a blog post. We know that these leads are most likely buyer ready. Therefore we will be putting a little more time into crafting a more personalized message for them since we’ve already shifted through the chafe. Or we can use this hot email list for creating look alike audiences on our Facebook ads, thus saving us on time and money spent on an ad campaign.

Question three: what are our business growth goals in relation to this piece of content?

The goal is for each piece of content we create to further supports our business goals. So with question three we’re asking where in our business do we see this strategy supporting the goals of our business plan.

Is this strengthening one of our weaknesses? Extinguishing a threat? Capitalizing on a new opportunity? Essentially, we’re addressing how the goals in our business plan and our marketing campaign relate.

Content element number three is…

Know your ideal audience.

We can’t develop content unless we know who it is we’re talking to.

Many real estate professionals - and marketers for that matter - freeze up when creating content. It’s easy to get in our own way wondering, “I don’t know what to say! I don’t know what to write!” Of course you don’t know what to say because you probably don’t know exactly who it is you’re talking to.

You wouldn’t talk to a kindergartener the same way you would an adult. Same goes for your customer.

Very different language will be used and different conversations will be had dependent on who you’re talking to and where in the buying process they are at.

So the question is: do you know who you’re talking to?

That’s because when developing content we need to be thinking about their needs, fears and desires as a whole as well as their needs, fears and desires in the current moment. We want to map out content strategically that will support them through their home buying or selling journey.

Our fourth content strategy element:

You must establish your brand.

Your brand is more than just your logo.

A brand is the expression of who your business is and sets the expectation for your customers of what they can expect from working with you.

It’s the cohesive ideas and messages you want to communicate about your business defined by a number of different design & content elements such as your name, tagline, key message, color scheme, photography and much more.

It’s the feeling and emotion behind the narrative of your company.

Think of a big brand, any brand. Chances are you know exactly what they’re about and who they cater to solely based on the essence or aura they throw out there into the world. That’s because every message they create echoes their brand.

Brand is vital in developing your content because the tone of voice is a big part of both content and branding.

For example, we’ll compare content from two agents that are killing it with their content but in completely different ways.

First we have Alyssa Morgan Jansheski, a luxury agent in Miami.

Alyssa leans heavily into an influencer-vibe with her content to appeal to an international audience. Her tone of voice throughout her website, social media and marketing channels is luxe, authoritative and perfectly coifed.

Compare this to Colin J.J. Cameron of Small Town Agents.

Not only is Colin’s tone completely different than Alyssa’s but he utilizes a completely different medium as well - video. Every video on STA’s YouTube and Facebook channels uses humor even when showcasing listings. But even though he uses humor every video is still incredibly informative.

As you can see, these are two completely different brands and ways to do content. Neither of these approaches is better than the other, but both these agents know exactly who their brand is. And each creates content perfect for the audience they aim to reach.

Moving into our fifth and final content element…

A channel plan.

A channel plan is defining which platforms you will use to tell your brand story.

Let’s quickly touch back on our previous example using Alyssa and Colin. Alyssa relies more heavily on using Instagram and professional photos while Colin uses phone-shot videos via Facebook & YouTube.

And both create amazing content with their chosen channel plans.

Picking content channels and mediums depends heavily on what we discussed above: knowing your goals, marketing expectations, brand and target audience. Different audiences are more active on different channels.

Alyssa more likely uses Instagram to capture her audience because Insta has become a big platform for all things luxury and she can hone in on her target audience and building influence using hashtags. Meanwhile Facebook is more local friendly, which is where Colin creates much of his content. He’s able to reach those local audiences more effectively and post long-form videos.

Okay, you took in a lot today. We’re going to cut it off here and give you a moment to digest. It’s common for people to overthink this process when developing it out, but really it’s more of a brainstorming activity or what I like to call a brain dump where you just let everything stuck up in your head flow to paper so you can see it and start making sense of it.

Look for consistencies to align your criteria, process and objectives with each content element to create a cohesive and consistent brand conversation. Then go back and refine for documentation purposes. Try not to overthink it.

Start simple and then refine. The key to developing good content is just to begin.

If you’re not sure how to get started with developing a content strategy, DOWNLOAD THE 30-DAY SOCIAL CONTENT CALENDAR to start your brainstorm.


sts ashley.png

Ashley Taylor

Ashley is the co-founder and marketing + tech brain behind Shore to Summit - an education & marketing service platform for real estate professionals.


My Favorite Real Estate CRM - Wise Agent
real estate crm wise agent

Everyone has their own way of organizing contacts.

For some, it’s a detailed spreadsheet. For others, it’s a shoebox filled to the brim with business cards and phone numbers written on cocktail napkins.

But if there’s only one tool you invest in for your real estate business this year, let a CRM system be it.

A CRM system is an invaluable tool that keeps you on track and productive with all those leads on your call list.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for ‘Customer Relationship Management’.

A powerful CRM will be an extra set of hands for just about anywhere in the business you interact with customers. It records and tracks leads, automates drip campaigns, books appointments, delivers email communications, files contracts and much, much more.

At its core, a CRM system is a tool for productivity.

Being a productive agent can spell the difference between working every day of the week and actually getting to take weekends with your family. It’s the difference between schlepping around less than stellar customers and functioning like a million dollar agent.

Why Should I Even Bother to Use a CRM?

For productivity’s sake is just a start.

A CRM system alleviates hours of headaches and wasted energy by keeping everything organized. How many times have you found yourself scraping through months of emails trying to find a single piece of information? Or you called up a customer and completely blank on where your conversation left off?

CRM’s aggregate everything you know about your customer into one spot for your convenience.

Other CRM benefits include:

  • Increased organization

  • Automated lead nurturing systems

  • Improved close rates

  • Improved lead management & customer satisfaction

  • Better team & internal communication

  • Optimized, targeted marketing

  • Detailed customer insights

  • Increase in revenue

CRM systems help real estate agents do everything from closing deals to improving structure among their teams. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be reaping its benefits.

Why I Recommend Wise Agent to my Real Estate Agents

There are many great CRM options out there to choose from. Some real estate specific and others geared toward small businesses and entrepreneurs in general. But the one I find myself recommending to my clients most is Wise Agent.



There’s a reason Wise Agent continues to be voted the top CRM system for real estate agents year after year. Its robust, easy-to-use and affordable system makes for a powerful platform that has everything you need and none of what you don’t.

Let’s cut to the chase shall we and jump right into my favorite features inside this one-stop, client-wooing toolbox.

It’s Real Estate Specific

The list of CRM systems in the space today is longer than my arm. What I like about Wise Agent is that it’s specific to the real estate industry.

There are fields within each contact for you to fill in that make it intuitive to nurture clients. For example, you can add the names and birthdays of not only the lead but of their children and their pets. It’s remembering simple bits of information like this that will set you apart from the rest of the competition.

Frustration when setting up a new CRM system is a leading reason behind why many agents fail to use a CRM in the first place. But because Wise Agent is primed for real estate use, the majority of set up is done for you. All you need to do is add in those contacts.

Drag & Drop Marketing

Drip campaigns, landing pages, newsletter, print & email flyers - it’s all there.

The amount of marketing included in Wise Agent is astonishing. Any one of these marketing tools alone is worth the price of Wise Agent’s platform, but they give you all of them and much more.

Task List

The task list is a simple but powerful feature.

With the task list, every step you need to take with a lead or customer can be itemized from start to finish - ideal for those of you who like to check your way through a daily to-do list.

A task list gets assigned to a contact and Wise Agent adds each item as a to-do for that contact. So you and your team will know exactly what task to perform with each contact and when.

Drip Campaigns

Tech tools, drip campaigns and automation. These are a few of my favorite things.

Drip campaigns are a dynamic way to nurture leads with minimal effort on your part. Once you set up your campaign, you simply let it run and work its magic.

Now, setting up drip campaigns is another story. They take forever to create and optimize, right? Not with Wise Agent.

Wise Agent comes with over 20 drip campaigns already built in. From short sales to expired listings, they already have campaigns set. All you need to do is customize them for your messaging and personal preferences.

SMS Texting

Wise Agent’s text messaging ability is a game changer.

They’ve added the ability to send automated text messages to leads automatically and immediately upon receiving one. Or you can use it to send a mass bulk text and even send videos in your text messages.

Affordable Pricing

At only $29 a month, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to invest in Wise Agent’s CRM system. Seriously, absolutely none.

This is one of those tools that is worth giving up your Starbucks habit for if that’s what it takes.

Not only do you get their entire toolset, but four members of your team do as well as you can have up to five team members on one account. Each with their own username and login.

Where Wise Agent really out does themselves is with their white-glove service. It is bar none. When you call them, you get a friendly customer-service representative on the line ready to walk you through your problem, no matter what the problem may be.

If you haven’t invested in a CRM system yet, or if you tried a different CRM in the past, I HIGHLY recommend giving Wise Agent a go. I barely scratched the surface of what their platform can accomplish in this article and encourage you to give them a look for yourself.

You can sign up for a risk-free, no contract trial over on their website.

The Real Estate Marketing Blueprint Workshop
real estate marketing blueprint.jpg

Back in May we led an online marketing workshop for our online community of agents.

But not all of you could make it in May and missed out. So we've decided to release the workshop again.

Now through July, you can watch the Marketing Blueprint Workshop on the Shore to Summit website HERE

In the workshop you'll learn where to go & what to do to capture free real estate leads online without having to rely on a third-party lead generator. Other things you’ll learn include:

  • 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.

Be sure to stick around through the entire workshop for a free gift from us to you!

>> REGISTER FOR THE MARKETING BLUEPRINT WORKSHOP <<<

If You've Ever Been Scammed By a Real Estate Marketing "Agency" Read This...
real estate agent frustrated with her marketing agency

The pitch always starts the same way.

“We’ll get you to the top page of Google for real estate!”

“We promise 2,000 new leads in one month!"

“Imagine thousands of new followers on your Instagram account!”

If a marketing agency ever feeds you a line like this - RUN!

I both hate and love when a real estate marketing “agency” makes these outrageous claims. I hate it because it honestly hurts my heart to know great agents are falling prey to their bullshit and pouring hundreds if not thousands of dollars directly into their pockets.

But I also love it because it reminds me every day why we started this business in the first place and damn does it feel good to fight for you guys.

We like to do things a little differently around here. We don’t make promises about the number of leads we’ll bring in at any given moment because it’s damn near impossible to predict. What we DO promise is the ability to build you a cohesive web presence that sustains & feeds your marketing strategy. We promise that the leads we attract are qualified leads you can pursue and convert. We promise that the companies, freelancers and businesses we work with have been tested, tried and found worthy.

Ethics not only belong but thrive in the world of business.

For Christina and I, our CEO hero is Yvon Chouinard, founder and leader of Patagonia. A man who built a billion dollar business based on a simple need and fortified his company with strong values, thus proving that ethics not only belong but thrive in the world of business. A man who has never gone public or taken a dollar from investors so that he could always fight for his customers, employees, company values and the global state of business. It’s a new world of conscious capitalism. A world where we as business owners make connections with the right businesses and the right consumers for voluntary exchange.

We believe businesses should exist for reasons beyond just making a profit.

I’ve spent years watching agencies hound me and my real estate clients trying to sell us empty promises. And I will admit even I have been duped a time of two. Rather than let you fall prey any longer to these misleading companies, I’m revealing some of the most telling red flags you need to look out for.

How to Tell if a Marketing Agency is Legitimate

// THEIR NAME + NUMBER CHANGES

Fraudulent companies change their company name and number frequently to avoid being shut down by governing agencies. Or if a company’s information changes they may have been shut down already and had to switch their info under a new company. It’s shocking how quickly someone can form a company and if you see this behavior happening without explanation it’s typically a sign that things are not all simpatico behind the scenes. Another sign to watch out for is high employee turnover. If your dedicated point of contact seems to be someone new every month, then they’re most likely burning and churning through employees.

// THEY ASK FOR MONEY OR SENSITIVE INFORMATION UPFRONT

A quality marketing agency will never ask for payment or sensitive information before first establishing some sort of rapport.

Remember, we’re vetting you as a client just as much as you’re vetting us.

I’ve had clients pay for $300 worth of monthly services without ever speaking to a representative. While this may be normal when purchasing products, it’s a whole other ballpark as far as services are concerned. Think about it. Marketing is never a one size fits all model. So how can a marketer properly market your business if they’ve never even spoken to you first? They can’t. A serious marketing company will dive into details about your desires, needs and business strategy via a questionnaire or strategy call before asking for payment, passwords or a contract signature first.

// A POOR WEB PRESENCE

Always do your due diligence and Google the company to evaluate their web presence. Common clues that a company is possibly a scam include:

  • A single web result with little to no social media presence

  • Inconsistent information

  • Numerous poor reviews

  • Frequent misspellings, poor grammar

  • Page links that lead to spammy sites or 404 pages

// HIGH-PRESSURE SALES TACTICS

Bare with me on this one. Almost every marketing agency out there uses high-pressure sales tactics at some point in their strategy. We all do it to encourage a reluctant customer to continue along the process and make a decision.

But if a marketing agency relies solely on high-pressure sales tactics it could be a red flag.

Proceed with caution on this one.

// LONG-TERM CONTRACTS + A LACK OF FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY

While many marketing agencies may offer an annual contract option, a company who only offers long-term contracts is a sure sign to steer clear.

Scam agencies lock customers into the 6+ month contracts to keep you paying even when you aren’t seeing results.

Legitimate agencies offer trials, monthly payments and money back guarantees. We don’t want to lock ourselves into contracts with clients who aren’t the right fit just as much as you don’t want to partner with agencies who don’t meet your needs.

Monthly agreements allow us both an option to exit if something just isn’t working out.

Another bit to look out for is a lack of financial transparency. This is especially prevalent in pay per click campaigns and search engine marketing scenarios.

As a client, you have the right to know how an agency is using your ad dollars. A normal PCC campaign management fee is 10-20%. So if you’re spending $1000 a month on Facebook ads, $100-200 goes towards the agency’s management fee and the rest is spent directly on ads. Illegitimate companies are known to pocket over 50% on their agency fee leaving you with a much smaller return on investment.

// BUZZWORDS + MARKETING JARGON

Just like real estate, marketing has its own collection of marketing jargon. Like agents, we use it for organization, to refer to different situations and simplify communications.

With that said, if an agency peppers you with marketing jargon without explaining what it means, they could be trying to mislead you.

A marketer should be prepared to thoroughly explain what a term means and how it pertains to your strategy. Scam agencies hire silver tongued sales reps to sell you on unnecessary and duplicate services. For example, I had a client come to me who was currently paying for two packages to the same company: one for SEO (search engine optimization) and one for SEM (search engine marketing). SEM is simply a blanket term for SEO. They are the same thing and my client was essentially paying double for the same service.

// “WE’RE PARTNERS WITH GOOGLE”

Beware anyone who claims to have “partnered with Google.”

You can’t partner with Google, it’s simply not done. Google is one of the most exclusive companies in the world and unless the company is part of Alphabet, Inc., you can bet they haven’t partnered with Google.

Now, there is one point to distinguish here: Google does have a partner program.

Companies that have achieved the title of “Google Partner” have undergone Adwords training and meet a 90-day ad spend of $10,000. It’s not uncommon for a company that’s part of the Google Partner Program to tote themselves as having partnered with Google. In this case they probably have the best intent as a company but their phrasing is a bit misguided. If you come across such a situation, proceed with heightened awareness and ask for their certification.

// PROMISE OF IMMEDIATE RESULTS

Online marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. While quick results and smaller milestones are perfectly attainable, guaranteeing immediate results is a farce.

Getting websites and content to rank requires time, strategy, precision and slowly perfecting variables the that play into online algorithms. Due to the timely nature it takes for the algorithm to even register new content in relation to your current web presence, no agency can guarantee immediate web rankings. If you come across an agency that does, don’t be afraid to ask them how.


Not sure if a marketing agency or service is legitimate or not?

Shoot us an email at info@shoretosummit.co & we’ll look into it for you.


As a rule of thumb, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t buy into anything without first giving it its proper due diligence. If you’re still unsure if a marketing agency or service is legit or not, reach out to us at info@shoretosummit.co and we’ll look into it for you free of charge.

It’s our mission to hold scam marketing agencies accountable and guide real estate professionals through the Internet minefield.

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

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. >>


    sts+ashley.png


    Ashley Taylor

    Ashley is the co-founder and marketing + tech brain behind Shore to Summit - an education & marketing service platform for real estate professionals.


    4 BIG Myths About Marketing Your Real Estate Business Online
    real estate marketing youtube page.jpg

    Ahhh the Internet.

    Opening doors to new marketing avenues since 1991.

    That was almost 30 years ago. Yet, why does it seem like the real estate industry has taken so long to really jump on the bandwagon?

    Sure, there are platforms by the dozens hawking online lead services and listing markets to realtors. Brokerages even give their agents their own web pages. However, none of the avenues presented to agents seem to pan out. Or if they do, they cost an arm and a leg to use.


    4 Real Estate Marketing Myths Debunked


    These marketing nuances have led to the formation of myths. These myths in turn hold agents back from achieving their true digital marketing potential. That's not okay with me. My goal as a marketer is to get the story of your real estate business out there for all the world to hear! 

    We're going to debunk four of the most common myths I hear on a daily basis right here, right now. 

    MYTH #1: DIGITAL MARKETING IS FOR OTHER INUSTRIES, NOT REAL ESTATE

    Digital marketing is for everyone and anyone who has something to say, share or sell - including your real estate business.

    In fact, with a low barrier to entry, flexible budget spend, and a large, engaged audience you should actually be saying it's the PERFECT place to market!

    Real estate is an exciting market with loads of lessons, tricks, and inspiration to share. Just look at shows like Million Dollar Listing and Love It or List It.  These shows prove that not only is real estate entertaining but in demand.

    When you say things like, "digital marketing isn't for real estate, " what you're really saying here is, "I'm not meant for digital marketing," or "I have nothing exciting enough in my life to share."

    Stop that negative talk right now! You have more than enough content in your life to share. Your personal business story is just as exciting as that of any influencer. You just may not know how to properly tell your story just yet or how to see content opportunity when it's staring you in the face.

    Not to fret, we'll get you there.

    MYTH #2: I’M TOO BUSY TO MARKET MY BUSINESS

    Marketing doesn't have to take hours out of your day.

    It's best to think of marketing in terms of small investments deposited daily that add up for big rewards. The key to making your digital marketing efforts manageable is to narrow down your efforts to the right channels and develop the right strategies around them.

    You're doing yourself a disservice by trying to be everywhere, on everything, all the time. It's much easier and much more effective to focus your undivided attention on targeted, engaged audiences. Instead of trying to be on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and YouTube and Medium and whatever new app is popular at the moment, focus your attention intently on just two or three of those for a while. Go where your audience is most engaged and where it's most fun for you.

    For example: Twitter is a difficult platform to master. While there are realtors out there rockin' Twitter, take comfort in knowing that's not the norm. This is because Twitter is a platform requiring high-levels of personal engagement with very frequent updates. It takes a certain personality and if that's not your personality, that's okay. Find the platforms you work with best and develop systems around engaging with them.

    MYTH #3: DIGITAL MARKETING YIELD INSTANT RESULTS

    Good digital marketing takes time.

    There's no way around this. Believe me, I've tried.

    When I was working in agencies, I would create pieces of content in January that sometimes wouldn't take root organically until well into July. But once something took root watch out because digital marketing done well tends to have a beautiful snowball effect.

    Your goal and mindset for marketing is to play the long game. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to build a foundation that won't collapse in the ever-changing atmosphere that is digital marketing.

    A web presence built with a solid strategy will remain impenetrable and effective despite algorithm changes, tech updates or evolving web applications.

    Now this doesn't mean there aren't ways to boost your performance. A well-developed strategy will include these bootsts and is developed in a way that maintains the sudden spike in growth. But as for short-cutting your way to the front page of Google, that unfortunately won't happen overnight. Run from anyone who tells you otherwise.

    Yes, it takes patience but it is well worth the wait.

    MYTH #4: If I JUST SEO MY WEBSITE ALL MY PROBLEMS WILL BE SOLVED

    Digital marketing does not exist in a vacuum.

    While sprucing up your SEO (search engine optimization) is a crucial component to your plan, focusing on one piece of the puzzle won't solve it as a whole.

    Rather, digital marketing exists as part of a larger strategy. Each bit needs to be touched and adjusted within the plan.

    There are six key pillars of digital marketing required of every strategy:

    • Content

    • Social Media

    • Website Design & Development

    • Branding & Messaging

    • SEO & PPC

    • Email & Outreach

    When these six marketing pillars work in sync of one another, beautiful things happen.

    TAKE BACK CONTROL OF YOUR MARKETING

    Enter your information and learn how to complete your content distribution in a single morning.


      sts+ashley.png


      Ashley Taylor

      Ashley is the co-founder and marketing + tech brain behind Shore to Summit - an education & marketing service platform for real estate professionals.


      Why Content Must Rule Your Real Estate Marketing
       
      real estate content plan.jpeg

      Content is king.

      I'm sure you've heard the expression before, but it's true. Without a strong foundation of content supporting your web presence, you may as well not exist.

      Why?  Because content is your voice. It's your substance. It's your presence. It's also how the Internet knows who you are, what you do and what your business stands for.

      "Content is the backbone of any drive to interact with your readers or customers. It is the most important opportunity you have to impress the reader with your knowledge, expertise or ethos. The quicker publishers realize this, the quicker their websites take the place they expect in the industry of their choice." - Shai Aharony, CEO, Reboot Online

      I guarantee, your customer spends a lot of their time online. 73% of the US population has a social media account with the average American spending 24 hours a week online.

      That's 24 hours worth of opportunity to reach your ideal buyer.

      WHAT IS CONTENT?

      To put it simply, content is the collection of words and images that make up your presence.

      "Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action." - Content Marketing Institute

      The way we see it, you can stand in the town square on your soapbox and pitch your services until you're blue in the face - day after day, week after week.

      Or you can craft together a message for your ideal audience that not only provides them with a wealth of information, but continues to work while you sleep and establishes you as a thought leader in your market.

      Whether you choose to embark in option one or two, is up to you and your style of doing things. But allow me to clue you into which one delivers greater results and qualified leads and take less time (Hint: it's two. The answer is option two.)

      WHAT MAKES CONTENT GOOD?

      Hosting Facts estimates that over 3 million blog posts are uploaded to the Internet every day.

      That's a LOT of content.

      However, a lot of that information is pushed to the dark corners of the internet where it goes to die, never to be seen again. That's because in a world of limited data space, content information must be prioritized with quality content receiving priority. How this occurs within the realm of search engines is known as SEO (search engine optimization).

      There are many strategies you can use to optimize your content and web presence, yet every strategy is founded on very basic, easy to learn, implement, and maintain principles.

      So what makes content good?

      Good content is valuable. You can post your latest home listing as many times as you want on the Internet, but if it's not valuable to your audience, it won't receive engagement and will essentially be useless.

      Good content is targeted. What's valuable for one audience won't necessarily be valuable for another. Your message must align with the goals and values of the audience you seek.

      Good content is consistent. Think of it like maintaining a garden. You plant a garden but that garden won't bloom unless it's consistently watered and maintained. Otherwise, it withers and fades. The same can be said of your Internet presence. Consistently adding new content and updating the old keeps your audience engaged. Additionally, it tells Google that this site regularly contributes to the global digital community and therefore should receive priority.

      Good content converts. Your content can be valuable. It can be precisely targeted for your audience. It contributes to a well maintained web presence. But if your content doesn't drive your audience to act, it will never be valuable to you. Because good content converts. It makes people think and act. Every piece of content needs a call-to-action that directs your audience toward your ultimate goal - to make the sale.

      The 3 Keys to Execute a Successful Real Estate Content Plan

      PLAN YOUR CONTENT

      If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Plan your work and work your plan. 

      I've been that person before who doesn't plan. Who would sit down at my computer and think, "hmm, what am I going to write about today." I would find myself clicking on random articles for inspiration and end up deep down the Internet rabbit hole. Next thing I know it's 1pm and I'm reading an article about why I should be eating almond butter for heart health instead of creating content for my website.

      Don't be the former me. You'll only end up wasting time and spending what precious hours you have left reacting to your work, scrapping together something that's passable. Instead, be proactive in any work you do and plan it out.

      CREATE YOUR CONTENT

      Once you've planned out your content you get to move on to the fun part - creating your content.

      This is where you get to showcase not only your company, but you and what it is that makes you great at your job. So have fun doing it!

      Inspiration for content to market your real estate can come from anywhere - keep your eyes open.

      Content creation can be anything from going to listings and taking pictures, to showing off your favorite local haunts.

      Talk about some of your favorite architecture in your city and what makes it unique. If you like to write, blog about trending topics in your business or locale. I've seen real estate agents run local food blogs in their city and get listings out of it. Or if you have a side passion for photography, really dive into utilizing Instagram as a gallery.

      Don't dread creating content because you don't see yourself as the "creative-type." Everyone is creative in one way or another. Tap into the unique talents that are yours.

      DISTRIBUTE YOUR CONTENT

      It's not enough to simply create content, post it up and call it a day. You must distribute it and announce it to the world!

      This is where having established social media accounts and some light PR skills come in handy.

      Remember that audience we talked about earlier? Find out where they are and distribute your content to them. Maybe they're on Instagram, maybe they're more of the Facebook type. Perhaps its best to hit them with this piece of content in your bi-weekly newsletter. Or maybe you have a friend that runs a popular blog who's willing to let you cross-promote. Every strategy is different, you just need to find yours.

      Take the guesswork out of planning your social content with our 30-day content calendar.

      We've put together a 16-page guide on how you can easily distribute an entire month's worth of content in a single morning.


      sts+ashley.png


      Ashley Taylor

      Ashley is the co-founder and marketing + tech brain behind Shore to Summit - an education & marketing service platform for real estate professionals.