Seeking to make a better connection with consumers online, Web site realtor.com® (yes, with a lowercase “r”) unveiled new branding this week. The rebranding effort covers — for now, anyway — the corporate logo and the overall design and structure of the Web site.
“We wanted to focus in the near term on the new look and feel,” says Andrew Strickman, realtor.com®’s vice president of brand and creative. “One of our desires was to clean up the design — make it more open, warmer, and brighter.”
The rebranding is the product of an “exhaustive” research and information-gathering project started by realtor.com® and its parent company, Move Inc. in the first quarter of 2012. That initiative involved input from internal stakeholders, REALTORS®, and consumers, Strickman explains.
Based on the feedback received, the overall strategy is to engage both the hearts and minds of visitors.
“People care deeply about the place they live in,” Strickman says. “It’s an emotional decision, but also a logical one. We really wanted to understand the role that a site like realtor.com® plays in the consumer’s mind as they think about and dream about buying a home.” Continue reading »
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
When I wrote a story in REALTOR® Magazine a couple of years ago about the realities of doing business in social media, I interviewed Jay Thompson, a.k.a., The Phoenix Real Estate Guy. Jay’s been blogging for years, and has generated a ton of business from it.
Back then, he described to me how his former broker didn’t take blogging seriously, dismissing it as playing around instead of conducting real business. While many real estate pros have since come around on the value of blogging, there is still a sense among many of them that it’s not a worthwhile activity, said Chris Smith, co-creator of Tech Savvy Agent, at Inman’s Agent Reboot in Chicago this morning.
“People tell me all the time, ‘I don’t have time to blog, and I don’t know how. I’m going to go be a REALTOR®,’” he said.
Part of the problem is the word itself. “Blogging” tends to conjure up impressions of amateurish writers getting online to flame a politician they don’t like, or provide updates on their cats, or post photos of their vacation to Branson, Mo., with a detailed account of how great Andy Williams was.
If that’s your hang-up, Smith said, just ditch the term. “Lose the word ‘blogging,’” he explained. “I want you to think of it as marketing your business on the Internet.” Continue reading »
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
QR codes are being hyped as the “next big thing” for connecting prospects to your marketing, according to several tech experts during the California Association of REALTORS® Expo in Anaheim this week.
So what are they and what can you do with them? QR codes, which resemble a store’s barcode, can be added into your marketing materials, such as on your flyers, brochures, or signs. Others can then scan and snap a photo of the code using their smartphone’s QR code reader app, which is basically available on any phone. The code reader transcribes the code and then instantly sends the encoded materials and information to that person’s phone.
For example, say you had a QR code on your business card that contains all of your contact information. When a person takes a photo of that QR code using the app, she will instantly receive all of your contact information on her smartphone, never having to input a thing. Your contact information would automatically be added to her address book.
Admittedly, it’s hardly a must-have tool, but if you’re looking for a way to spice up your marketing, particularly among your more tech savvy prospects, you might try it out. It’s easy to make your own QR code too. Just Google “QR code generator,” and you’ll find plenty of vendors. You just plug in your URL or text and then you’ll instantly receive a code to use in your marketing. Or you can just go straight to Clikbrix to access a solution designed especially for real estate purposes.
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
When I was in college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, there was a group called the Party of Darkness (PoD) that ran candidates in the student government elections every year … on the platform of dissolving that government. Obviously, the PoD had a certain amount of notoriety among the students and faculty at UT — sorry Texans, there’s only one “UT” as far as I’m concerned — but it got attention beyond Rocky Top when it posted an advertisement to buy the school on eBay during one of the state of Tennessee’s many budget crises.
According to the online ad, online shoppers could have their “very own underfunded, overpopulated university,” which included “over 26,000 disgruntled college students,” “a bell tower with recorded bell sounds,” and “all the orange you can stand.” The bidding started at one cent, but got as high as $15.50. As far as I know, though, ownership of the university never actually changed hands. (Perhaps the winning bidder balked at the shipping costs?) In any event, the PoD had my vote that year.
I thought about this when I heard about Redfin accidentally posting a listing for the White House this week. Contrary to my initial thought, though, it wasn’t the work of politically motivated mischief makers, but rather a technical issue caused by Redfin automatically pulling in listing information from Oodle, which in turn got the White House “listing” from Owners.com, which had that up as a demo, according to CBS News. Redfin representatives were quick to acknowledge the mistake Tuesday, but added that the property would be a “steal” at $10 million. Continue reading »