These days, many people’s phones double as their computers. In fact, half of surveyed home buyers used a mobile or tablet website or app to search for houses in 2015, according to a National Association of Realtors study. As mobile devices continue to overtake the sale and usage of desktop computers and as younger generations become homeowners, this percentage will only grow.
Recognizing the need for mobile-friendly websites, Help-U-Sell Real Estate has created responsive sites for its brokers. The new sites’ features can make searching for houses easier.
* Brokers’ pre-determined customized search results, such as “Waterfront Properties” or “Homes in [specified zip code]”
* Filters that enable users to narrow down listings by square footage, school district, subdivision, and many other factors
* Refining of property search with a draw tool that allows users to look at listings in a discrete area
The new design is also more user-friendly in other ways, including streamlined content with more video and less text, and a new automated free home valuation tool that enables users to get instant reports on the estimated values of specified houses.
The sites are being rolled out on an individual basis. Franchisees can customize the site to fit their markets and preferences. Two examples of the new site design are Help-U-Sell Columbia Basin and Help-U-Sell Advance Realty. Franchisees can change the background image and choose what content to display on the homepage, as well as create new or alter existing landing pages.
If you are a franchisee who wants to make the switch to the new template, contact us so that we can start the process.
The first full week of the year is usually focused on catching up from the holidays, but the 51 weeks ahead should get some attention, too. What are your marketing plans for 2016? We have outlined five ideas to get you started.
1. Website Content. The new Help-U-Sell Real Estate broker website template will debut shortly. The new site is responsive, meaning it adapts to the size of the user’s device screen whether it’s a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. We have created new pages for the broker sites that will replace the outdated, text-heavy pages on most of our brokers’ sites now. We encourage brokers to localize the new pages’ content and to consider making landing pages on other topics that fit their market and their expertise. Ask yourself: Whom do you want to attract to your website and, ultimately, as your clients? We can help you with the creation of any pages you might want to add to your broker site.
2. Video. The new website template prominently features video, on the homepage and on many of the new landing pages. These videos are narrated by James Dingman and can be used in your marketing, as well, but we strongly suggest filming your own videos that can replace the landing page videos and the ones on the homepage. The personal touch means a great deal in this day of social media, where consumers want to get to know people before they conduct business.
3. Social Media. Speaking of social media, do you post consistently to your accounts? Take stock of your social media profiles (update any contact information, photos, etc.) and make an editorial calendar with what to post when. Think about adding new networks, such as Instagram or Periscope, to the mix, or removing ones that you never use. Also, you might want to advertise on these platforms, especially Facebook. You can target specific audiences based on place of residence (down to zip code), age, income level, and other factors for a low cost.
4. Co-Op/EDDMs. Print marketing isn’t dead, it just needs to be highly targeted to make the most impact. Our print/mail vendor, Excel Printing and Mailing, is running a co-op through January 15 on EDDMs (the U.S. Postal Service’s Every Door Direct Mail program), where you can print and mail customized postcards for only $0.29 each. The mailings go to the post office’s carrier routes that you select. We recommend doing research using your MLS to discover the carrier routes in your market that have the highest turnover rates. Read more about how to do this on James Dingman’s Set Fee Real Estate Blog (see the Target Your Market post).
5. Center of Influence Postcards. If you didn’t participate last year, or even if you did, the CI postcard program is a must for staying top of mind with your colleagues, past clients, friends, acquaintances, et al…anyone who knows you. This year, we’ve expanded from eight to 10 postcard mailings for the year. Excel Printing and Mailing handles the logistics of the program, and you can opt in and customize your postcards via your OMS. Read more about the CI postcards.
With a focus on marketing in the right places, you can make 2016 your best year yet. If you’re a Help-U-Sell Real Estate broker and you want any guidance from the corporate office, send us an email. We’d be happy to help you!
Based on franchisees’ requests, we have created two new widgets that can be placed on any webpage, either on the Help-U-Sell Real Estate broker website or on a third-party site.
The testimonials widget displays the reviews that have been entered in the Office Management System. The widget can be vertical or horizontal, and its size can be adjusted as needed. Brokers can enter text or video testimonials into OMS.
The seller savings calculator widget enables a homeowner to enter his house’s value and find out approximately how much he could save by listing with the broker’s office in comparison to a traditional, percentage-based brokerage.
Both widgets would work well on landing pages that have contact forms, enabling brokers to generate leads.
The widgets will be ready to use next week. If you are a Help-U-Sell Real Estate broker and want help creating a widget or a landing page with one of these widgets, contact us at support.
We have made it easier to post property listings directly to Facebook. Now, you just have to copy the link to the listing and paste it into the status box, and the primary image, the property address, and the description will populate on the page. (See the example on the right.)
You can then delete the link and write whatever you’d like to say about the property, such as pointing out a unique feature or promoting an open house.
We are working on making it even easier to publish a listing on Facebook by adding a button on each property profile that will enable you to directly post to your business or personal page.
Help-U-Sell Real Estate’s corporate website has a new look and feel, and new functionality. The site is responsive, meaning it adjusts itself depending on the device being used. The main impetus for the changeover is the shift in how people are accessing the Internet. As laptop and desktop computer sales continue to decrease, and mobile devices’ popularity is on the rise, it is imperative that websites adjust. In addition, Google has just begun boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results.
One of the ways the site is more mobile-friendly is its streamlined menu, which is now easily accessed with the tap of a finger.
Because many people’s preferred way to receive information is now visual, videos appear on the homepage to explain the benefits of choosing Help-U-Sell Real Estate to sell or buy property. The homepage features four videos that focus on different client types or needs.
The site uses technology to determine a user’s location and help him or her find the nearest franchise office. The background image on the homepage also changes based on the user’s location. The image of the homepage (above) depicts a skyline in Florida, where the company’s headquarters are located.
The other major upgrade is the search functionality. Users can now search for properties in a specific neighborhood, on a particular street, or near a place. Once they are redirected to a local Help-U-Sell Real Estate office’s search results page, users can further home in on where they want to live by drawing a border on the map or by selecting criteria such as certain schools, subdivisions, and neighborhood amenities (like on a golf course).
The local office websites will be converted to the responsive design later this year.