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5 Reasons Having Reviews Beyond Yelp is Important

5 Reasons Having Reviews Beyond Yelp is Important

Yelp may be the most well-known review site out there but it is by no means the only one. There are other review sites gaining steam and one in particular that is geared specifically toward garnering more positive reviews for real estate agents.

As we will show you below, reviews are very important to how your agency is perceived by potential clients. If you are only on Yelp and those reviews are skimpy or unflattering, you will find it very difficult to compete. Here are the top 5 reasons why:

#1: Users Only Need 3 Reviews or Less

Before people were shopping online, the only way reviews most people trusted were reviews from their friends and family. Now that the internet and sites like Yelp have come along, your agency can be reviewed by millions of people around the globe instantly.

That is an extremely important reason for maintaining positive reviews and weeding out bad ones. According to a recent study, it only takes three reviews for 40 % of users before they form an opinion about a business. That is a number that is on the rise.

Most people will read at least through the first page of search results before selecting a business. If your positive reviews are buried beneath 3 or 4 pages of negative ones, your online reputation is going to suffer.

#2: High Star Ratings are King

Even if you have never actually gone onto a site and rated a service or product you are probably likely familiar with the star rating. It is how most review sites enable users to rate different business. The higher the star the more likely someone will choose you.

In fact if you have a four star or higher overall rating, nearly 95% of users will consider using your business over others. That is good news for a real estate agent with plenty of positive reviews. Yet if your reviews are only found on Yelp, you are not getting the full effect of your high star rating.

#3: The More Reviews the Better

One of the main reasons why you should look beyond Yelp to amass reviews of your real estate business is because the more reviews the better. The only measure other than star rating that influences users is the number of positive reviews.

Even if you have a few negative reviews if the positive ones far outweigh the negative ones, users will still consider your business. However, users do punish businesses whose reviews are older than six months. You have to stay relevant and have frequent visitors in order for reviews to be effective.

#4: Reviews Carry a Lot of Weight

Online reviews don’t carry as much weight as personal reviews but they are close. 80% of users give online reviews almost as much weight as personal reviews. That means that if all things being equal but your reviews are higher than another agent in your area, you will more than likely win that business.

#5: Fake Reviews Don’t Work Anymore

Finally a word of caution in case you are tempted after reading all of that above to go out and buy some reviews. Fake reviews do not work anymore. Users have caught on to this trick where businesses hire people to post positive reviews on review sites like Yelp and Trulia.

Today, users do not blindly trust reviews. They give them weight but take them with a grain of salt if they look suspicious. While over 90% of online shoppers use reviews to judge a business, nearly all of them assess the legitimacy of those reviews before they hand over their trust.

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Snapchat for Real Estate Marketing

Snapchat for Real Estate Marketing

Launched in 2011, Snapchat is the new kid on the block as far as social media platforms go.And yet it’s one of the fastest-growing, surpassing established platforms like Twitter when it comes to daily usage.

The photo and video sharing app has over 150 million active users, and about one million snaps get created every day. Its rising popularity has made it difficult for real estate agents to ignore.

  • Market penetration – Millennials dominate Snapchat, but there’s an emerging 30s to 40s demographic on the platform.

    About 14.4 percent of smartphone users 35 and up have the app installed – a market penetration of about 15 percent is generally the tipping point when a platform goes mainstream.

    What’s more is that the app is predicted to skew much older within the next two to three years. And Snapchat isn’t attracting plain Joes – the app has seen exponential growth among elite top earners age 30 to 45 on both coasts.

    So whether your target market consists of millennials or mature buyers, Snapchat helps you extend your reach.

  • Low barrier to entry – You can download the app for free, and you don’t need a pricey camera to produce content. The content doesn’t have to look polished either, so you don’t need to be exceptionally skilled at photography or filming. As a matter of fact, content that’s rough around the edges is generally viewed as more authentic and relatable.
  • Easy-to-produce content – With Snapchat, all you need is a camera phone to produce content on the fly, making it convenient for real estate agents with limited resources. Take photos or 15-second videos to showcase listed properties, neighborhoods, schools, and nearby attractions. Spice up your content by adding captions or using filters.

    Share your content with individuals via private message,or entire groups via Stories. You can determine how long the receiver of your message can view your content (from one to 10 seconds) before it gets deleted automatically.

    Any content you share on Stories will be available for 24 hours, and you’ll be able to keep track of who has viewed it.

  • Custom on-demand geofilters – This new feature works much like regular filters in that they let you add decorative overlays onto your content.The only difference is that geofilters are location-specific, and only certain geofilters are available depending on the area you’re in.

    To see which ones are available in your area, just swipe across the screen after taking a photo or video, then use them like you would an ordinary filter.

    You can also create your own geofilters for a small fee. There are two kinds – personal geofilters don’t contain logos, business names, or markers, while business geofilters promote businesses or brands.

    The former can be used for private events like birthdays or weddings, while the latter must adhere to Snapchat’s business guidelines.

    Branded geofilters are a great marketing tool that helps you go hyper-local with your content. They’re also fantastic when it comes to real estate events like open houses and association meetings. Just make sure attendees know your geofilter exists, and encourage them to use it during or after the event.

  • Memories – The app is known for the ethereal quality it gives your content, which gets deleted after a brief period. However, this shouldn’t discourage real estate marketers from producing substantial content.

    The Memories feature lets you collect your snaps, bring them together to create an album, and save them for others to view. This allows real estate marketers to tell better, longer-lasting stories that revolve around a specific property or neighborhood.

    But even without this feature, users can take screenshots of snaps or messages they receive for future reference.

  • Online engagement – The average Snapchat user spends about 25 to 30 minutes on the app every day. Over 25 percent of users spend just as much time messaging friends and poring over media content through Live Stories and Discover.

    Compared with Twitter, it’s five times more effective at getting people to spend time on the platform on a per-user basis. On average, Live Stories attracts over 20 million people each day.

    This means that even app users with few contacts can expect a high level of online engagement, granted they respond to messages and produce content on a regular basis.

  • GhostCodes – You can increase your followers by going to the app’s Add Friends section, which lets you look people up via username, Snapcode, your address book, or a nearby location.

    GhostCodes, a separate app, lets you discover Snapchat users who are listed under specific categories. This allows for a more targeted way of adding people. It helps you grow your following, since you won’t have to rely solely on your address book or people you already know.

    The app also makes it easy for others to find you and your real estate company. Just be sure to list your interests and to categorize your snaps so that GhostCodes can place you in one of the available categories for Snapchat users to hone in on.

    The connections you make on this platform can help you build a solid referral network and meet new clients.

  • Personal branding – By using this app, you’ll be able to show people who you are and how you work as a real estate professional. Snapchat lets users see you in real life situations, which makes you come off as authentic to potential clients in ways that paid advertising can’t accomplish.

    While some agents make sure that their content revolves strictly around their profession, there are those who share a few snaps that aren’t related to real estate to show themselves in genuine, unguarded moments.

    Using Snapchat also gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of different property types, neighborhoods, real estate practices, and the industry at large.The platform can give you exposure as a trusted expert in your area.

Real estate and Snapchat are a match made in heaven – the former is a highly visual industry, while the latter does a good job of showcasing photos and videos. The app’s real-time functionality creates a sense of being in the here and now, which allows for authenticity and better engagement.

Snapchat can be incorporated successfully into your existing social media strategy as long as you produce the right content. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the app, and don’t shy away from asking followers what they’d like to see from you.

The Worst Real Estate Advice Your Clients Hear

The Worst Real Estate Advice Your Clients Hear

As a real estate professional, you sometimes have to compete with well-intentioned friends and family members offering your clients some not-so-great advice from the sidelines. Most of that advice tends to be aimed at the pricing of the home, which may hinder your client discussions.

Realtor.com® recently highlighted some of the worst of that advice that real estate professionals say their clients download (5)recite to them, including:

  • “Price the house based on what you paid, plus a little extra for profit.”
  • “Price the house based on what you feel is right.”
  • “Add the cost of renovations you’ve made to your price.”

Sound familiar? It’s important that you set your clients straight and let them know that pricing a property shouldn’t be based on what their gut says or what they think it should be. A home’s list price should come from comps and square footage. You may need to step back and carefully explain to your clients the importance of comps and why real estate professionals use them — before just jumping right in to comp review mode and the price.

Also, beware that home owners may sometimes hear advice to price their home higher, despite what the comps say. For example, they may hear:

  • “Price your home high because buyers will come in low.”
  • “‘Not in a hurry to sell? Price the home high’”

Explain to them the dangers of pricing too high. “If a home is substantially overpriced, it’ll end up sitting on the market for a long time,” says Bill Golden with RE/MAX Metro Atlanta Cityside. If the house lingers on the market, buyers often start making low-ball offers. “In the end, these homes almost always sell for less than if they had priced it right to begin with.”

Indeed, Tracey Hampson, a real estate professional in California, says “if a home is priced correctly, you will get full-price offers and even over-asking-price offers.”

Source: “The Very Worst Home-Pricing Advice You’ll Ever Hear (and Why),” realtor.com® (July 21, 2016)

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5 Habits That Boost Productivity, Generate Leads and Lead to Success

5 Habits That Boost Productivity, Generate Leads and Lead to Success

Many people want to know the secret to success. In reality, there is no secret to reaching lasting success; however, if you take a hard look at your habits, you’ll see what’s holding you back from becoming more successful. Our habits—those things we do automatically every day—can either help or hinder us on our journeys to achieving our goals. While we may create goals to be more productive and generate more leads in order to be successful, our bad habits often act as barriers to reaching our goals and our true potential. What habits do the most successful people share? Here are five good habits to adopt this year.

Wake up early. Ben Franklin famously said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” While it’s tempting to sleep in, the most successful people in business start their days with the sun, if not before. Starting your day early doesn’t necessarily mean you jump right into working. Instead, take advantage of the peace and quiet the early morning brings by doing activities that lay the groundwork for a more positive and productive day. For example, write in a journal, go for a run or hit the gym, write a personal note to a mentor or loved one, or set aside time to read. The point is to escape the frantic pace of our mornings and make it a reflective time to fortify our mindset. If you’re not a morning person, start slow and set your alarm 10 or 15 minutes earlier than usual. After a week, increase it to 20 minutes. Over time, you’ll look forward to having a quiet morning of calm reflection before you tackle the events of the day.

Prioritize. As a busy real estate professional, you’re certainly no stranger to writing a to-do list every day. However, many of us simply write down the tasks we need to do without separating the most important activities from the rest. Instead of just adding tasks to the list, prioritize it. This habit takes no more time than writing your daily list of tasks. Choose one or two tasks you have to get done each day, and when you finish those, do the next most important tasks. Not only will you get more done, but also you’ll get the most important tasks done, which will streamline your day and make your more productive.

Delegate. The more successful you become, the longer your to-do list will grow. Not every task has to be done by you. Delegate the easier but time-consuming tasks to your assistant, such as preparing and mailing your monthly marketing flyers, filing paperwork, etc. By delegating the smaller tasks, you’ll have the time and energy to focus on the tasks that drive your business.

Commit to daily personal/professional development. If you want your business to grow, grow your mind. When you improve your skills and mindset, you’ll be able to offer your clients the highest quality service. Read, attend seminars and conferences, watch positive and uplifting movies, and surround yourself with like-minded, successful people. Do something each day that helps you grow, whether you meet your mentor or coach for lunch or attend a real estate seminar every quarter.

Stay in touch. When we get busy, communicating with our clients, colleagues and loves ones often falls by the wayside. However, if you work by referral, communicating with your clients and colleagues is essential to leading a thriving business. Keeping the lines of communication open with your family and friends is vital to cultivating healthy relationships with them. No matter how busy you get, stay in touch with your clients, network, peers and family. Schedule a set time each day to catch up with correspondence, pick up the phone to check in, write a personal note or set up a time to meet for coffee or lunch. Over time, this activity will become a habit—one that will pay off in leads and solid relationships.

If you want to achieve success, it’s essential to cultivate the habits that foster it. Since habits take time to develop—especially if you’re replacing bad ones—be patient and start slow. Work on one habit at a time, and when you’ve mastered it, move to the next habit. Over time, you’ll develop good habits and achieve success.

 

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Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Mark Since 2007 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Existing Home Sales Reach Highest Mark Since 2007 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Highlights:

  • Sales of existing homes reached the highest pace in a decade at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million.
  • January marked the 59th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median home price rose 7.1% to $228,900.
  • NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun had this to say, “Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home.” 

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The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

The Impact of Homeownership on Family Health

The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:

“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”

Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:

  • There is a strong positive relationship between living in poor housing and a range of health problems, including respiratory conditions such as asthma, exposure to toxic substances, injuries and mental health. Homes of owners are generally in better condition than those of renters.
  • Findings reveal that increases in housing wealth were associated with better health outcomes for homeowners.
  • Low-income people who recently became homeowners reported higher life satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and higher perceived control over their lives.
  • Homeowners report higher self-esteem and happiness than renters. For example, homeowners are more likely to believe that they can do things as well as anyone else, and they report higher self-ratings on their physical health even after controlling for age and socioeconomic factors.
  • Renters who become homeowners not only experience a significant increase in housing satisfaction but also obtain a higher satisfaction even in the same home in which they resided as renters.
  • Social mobility variables, such as the family financial situation and housing tenure during childhood and adulthood, impacted one’s self-rated health.
  • Homeowners have a significant health advantage over renters, on average. Homeowners are 2.5 percent more likely to have good health. When adjusting for an array of demographic, socioeconomic, and housing–related characteristics, the homeowner advantage is even larger at 3.1 percent.

Bottom Line

People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.


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