real estate

Creating Microsites for Amazing Real Estate Properties

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October 12  |  Real Estate Marketing  |   Geoff

It seems that creating an entire website, domain and all, is becoming a really fashionable way to market a single, usually very special, residence online. Granted, you probably won’t have nearly enough time to set one up for each listing, but for the ones that could really use some exposure, it might just be worth your time to throw up a micro site and maybe get a few potential buyers interested that wouldn’t have known about the property before.

Luxury Property on the Water

Admittedly, you don’t necessarily have to buy a domain for a micro site, but if you do buck up and spend the ten dollars, it will lend your page that much more credibility, you can buy a keyworded domain to help with your rankings, and customize it entirely for the property. Let’s be honest, the competition to represent some of these multi-million dollar pieces of real estate is tough, everybody wants the commission and prestige that comes with selling one, but you have to be willing to take that extra step for the client. Having a custom built website for the property is going to be just that.

You don’t necessarily want to stop at buying the domain and slapping up a picture or two with the MLS number. No, you’ll want to go full bore and get what you can from the property and the owner so that you can really market the place. The website you are creating is really only a container for the incredible content you should be putting up on the site so get all the content you can and make sure that its quality reflects that of the house.

In some instances, keyword domains will help you sell a place because of the ease of ranking for said keywords, but, similarly, you might be able to market a property entirely on its address, if it’s cool. I wouldn’t recommend buying a domain for “4152 12th Ave” but if it’s something cool and marketable like “1 Panorama Ridge”, go for it.

Pictures
As far as content goes, you’ll not need much more than a few pages. First of all, you’ll want to throw up a few pictures of the house. I think you’ll find that white, clean themes with rotating headers will look best for showcasing a beautiful house. Good pictures are probably going to be the most important element in marketing these properties online. Although hiring a professional photographer will yield more desirable pictures, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to take a few stunning shots of the property.

real estate at sunset

Always keep the website in mind when you’re shooting, and even though a 15 megapixel image won’t do much for a website, a nice crisp lens and proper lighting are going to be a necessity. If you don’t have massive flashes that you can move all around the house, use natural light as much as you can. Open all the windows and, if you need to, bring a tall tripod so that you can take longer exposures for crisp photos.

I recommend having at least a couple good pictures of each room before you call it a day and when you’re shooting the exterior, the lower the sun in the sky, the better. You might have to take photos throughout the day to get the different shots of the house in the perfect light, but it will pay off.

Post-processing is also going to be a very important part of your pictures so get your skills ready and make those pictures pop.

Video
Similarly, you’ll want to have a video for the house as well. In the age of super smart phones, anything less than 720p is basically not worth trying. You might be the creative type and really run with the video portion of the website, but if not, either acquaint yourself with a video editing program or have a video made by pros using the pictures you have of the house. Not every video needs to be of the “15 Queen Anne Court” level of quality, but something like that is certainly not going to hurt your chances of selling the house. Remember that everything you put up on the site is going to be very closely associated with the property, whether rationally or not, so make sure that you’re not just carrying your cell phone through the house with wobble and a commentary that happens at the same time.

If you are going to do a tour, keep your phone or camera (my phone takes awesome video and yours should too) steady and plan out the shots before you shoot them. Always record commentary later through whichever recording device you have that produces the best sound quality. Great microphones are $100 and if you’re planning on doing this often, it’s not much for a lasting investment. A few cheesy, but admittedly powerful, time lapse shots of sun rising and setting over the property with manipulative music for a couple minutes should be plenty.

Copy
Next, you’ll want to write about the house. People tend to get bored reading long articles so I don’t imagine you’ll need more than a thousand words to describe the house to any potential buyer. You will definitely want to have a few substantial paragraphs so that the search engines are friendly to the new website, but I think that the pictures and video will do most of the marketing. If the house has any really funny anecdotes or famous previous owners, that’s definitely something worth mentioning, but you don’t really need to do a room by room description of the entire property. That being said, if it’s not too much work for you, it might be an idea to create a page for each room with a few pictures arranged in a nice gallery and a small writeup for each one. You can create a menu item for bedrooms that drops down to all the bedrooms the house has and do the same for bathrooms, kitchens, pools, airports, whatever… It will probably be overkill for the average buyer, but the site will look nice and robust to Google and the customers who want to see the house from abroad can actually view every room.

Whatever Else You’ve Got
I’m sure you’ve used tools like 360 degree room views among others, but now is the time to whip out every tool in your arsenal that helps move houses. Use maps, schools, restaurants, community centers, and whatever else you can use to sell the house on the website. Try to put a little spin on everything you do for these special properties so that they stick out from the competition. Now is the time to put on your marketing hat and whip out all the good and creative ideas floating around in your mind. Spitball with friends, associates, and, if they’re up for it, the house’s current owners. The more minds on creative projects, the better, so get together with different types of people and we could be talking about your site when it goes up.

If you need help
Quite frankly, we’ve been providing this service to some of our clients in the past and they think we should offer microblog setup as a package on its own. Get in touch with us if you need to get some help putting everything together.

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Q1 Sub Penthouse Commercial From NEO Property

2 Comments
July 16  |  Viral Marketing  |   Ryan Clark

For those that pay attention, I blogged about what was quite possibly the best real estate commercial ever made. While it’s flagrant in its sexual theme, its over top Michael Bay-esque action sequences and top of the line real estate, this is another hem from the NEO Property crew over in Australia. This commercial is for the Q1 Sub Penthouse property located in the heart of the Gold Coast, and it deserves a post! While this style of advertising may offend a lot of people, it’s spot on to attract a crowd with money as well as everyone else who loves something so “ballsy”. I’m a huge fan of risky advertising as it’s so much more entertaining than the usual junk you get forced down your throat. So sit back, turn it up loud and enjoy the ride!

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Zillow iPad App

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June 1  |  Local Business Marketing  |   Ryan Clark

Real estate agents who want to take advantage of Zillow’s viewer base now have an even better reason to jump on board. The Zillow iPad application is one of the slickest real estate apps I’ve seen to date, and it’s a powerhouse of a marketing tool. Besides showcasing your listing, the viewer gets a plethora of data on the surrounding area which makes it ideal for home buyers on the go.

 

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Link Building Reads For The Last Bit Of March

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March 23  |  TWiLB  |   Ryan Clark

Since I’m due in meetings and what not, I thought I would do a quick round up post to all the latest and greatest posts on link building and other things. There’s always so much great content flying around on any given week, so it’s sad I can’t get to this more often. As always. I love it when you leave links to great articles I missed in the comments, so by all means go to town on that. This one will mark off a new linking format where I’ll try and encompass not only link building, but branding, marketing and news all together. If all your doing these days is link building, then may the Google gods have mercy on you!

Link Building Reads:

Picture courtesy of Benuski

- Original ideas for building content for links via Word Tracker
- Don’t Break The Cardinal Rule Of LinkBait via Linkspiel
- Building links to get to page one via Webmaster World
- How To Rank Nationally With Local Links via Search Engine Journal
- How To Make a Link Bait That Goes Viral via TechLunatic
- 51 Essential Link Building Tips via Econsultancy
- 40 SEO Strategies For Ecommerce Websites via Kaiser The Sage

Branding Strategies:

- Why Would You Follow A Celebrity on Twitter? via Brand Republic
- The Triumph of Coal Marketing via Seth Godin
- Strategic Copywriting via The Branding Blog
- Brand Naming: Don’t Be Afraid To Use Humor – via Branding Strategy Insider
- Should You Brand a #Hashtag? via Online Journalism Blog
- 5 Branding Secrets You Can Learn From Google via Rohit Bhargava

Social Media Marketing:

- How To Find Hidden SEO Opportunities on Twitter via Search Engine Journal
- Blogging is Dead via Scott Monty
- 50 LinkedIn Tips: Most of Which Are Awesome via Soshable
- The Seven Second Rule of Social Media via TooGoom
- 5 Tips For Building Promotions Around Events via Blue Glass

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15 Queen Anne Court Commercial Linkbait

1 Comments
March 21  |  Viral Marketing  |   Ryan Clark

A slight warning that this commercial is perhaps NSFW, but there isn’t any nudity…just close to it. I’m always keeping an eye on what’s blowing minds in the marketing world, and this commercial blew mine right off. The commercial is for an amazing real estate property(15 Queen Anne Court) in The Sovereign Island (Queensland), and I couldn’t think of a better way to get the word out. The luxury real estate market is a tough battlefield, but if you have the coin and the know-how to drop a bomb like this; then by all means doooooo iiiittt!

Viral marketing is an art, and sometimes that means you have to step on some peoples toes and get down right crazy. There are real estate agents talking about it, whether the form of marketing is too controversial or not for the real estate market. I think the real problem there lies in fact that us North American’s tend to get easily offended. So who’s this commercial really for? Without a doubt the young, rich and famous are going to be drooling over this luxury property. The rest of us will just end up dreaming, wishing and clicking that share with friends button. I’ll be checking back on this video and their website to see how well it performed later, so bookmark this post if you want to find out!

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Opportunity

5 Comments
February 22  |  Niche Link Building  |   Ryan Clark

I’ve been working on a few guest blog posts for our real estate marketing month so I only have a small post again for everyone here today. Since this month we’ve had a lot of inquiries to do marketing for real estate agents which is great, and optimally the end goal here. We have also made some cool friends within the industry, all of which are working on some unique projects. Todays is a socially powered content site called the Luxury Real Estate Magazine, which explains itself really. They’re launching in beta mode this week so I said I’d give them a mention and let the real estate agents out there know they can start using it for free! You can also read our interview where I ramble on about luxury real estate marketing in 2011.

The has some goals in mind, and currently the advertising is 100% free for real estate agents, home owners and interior designers. If you’re involved within the luxury homes market, then this site wants and needs you to help it grow. As of now, you can submit a guest blog post, get your property on the featured listing, get your property listed in the blog, get an interview like I did, submit a press release and a few other options. I really like the idea behind the site and I hope it takes off, but again, it will need the agents and home owners to help grow it all the while getting some free promotion. To get the party started, you can follow them socially via the usual suspects;

Homepage: http://www.luxuryrealestatemag.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/luxuryremag
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=106788689398124

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Lofts.com Launches: Niche Marketing Opportunity

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February 21  |  News  |   Ryan Clark

I was trying to find some neat new social media resources for real estate marketing month and saw that Lofts.com has launched into the spotlight as of this month. This was a website service for the Boston area but it looks like they’re opening up the site to agents and buyers all over the world. I personally really like what they’ve done and now that you can list your loft with them, it seems to be a smart niche marketing tool to take advantage of. They have listing services which is something I’d take a look into if you’re selling a loft.

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Real Estate Plugins For WordPress Roundup

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February 19  |  Wordpress SEO  |   Ryan Clark

Since it’s real estate marketing month here I’m continuing on with our theme by providing what is hopefully a useful resource. I know a lot of agents utilize WordPress on their site in whether that be for full IDX integration, or just hosting their blog. It’s obviously a CMS that powers Linkbuildr, and just about most of the blogs around the web. Because of that, there is an abundance of ingenious plugins and code hacks to set yourself apart from the pack.

I will mention that there were of course too many plugins to cover in one post, but I do encourage my readers to post up in the comments. I would love for companies or agents to let us all know what they’re using, and and if you can tell us its hottest functions. I’ll also invite any company to come to an interview for this month about your plugin, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

For this article I found almost everything on WordPress Plugin database, and of course Google helped a bit. Not all the IDX system I saw in use were listed there, so how’s that for a link building hint hint hint?

WordPress IDX Plugins:

Every real estate agent needs an IDX system to pump their site full of listings from their area. While there are a lot of non WP based IDX platforms, notably REW’s IDX, WordPress has a few really amazing plugins to handle the job. If I were an agent, I’d tend to stick with the one that integrates other cool features such as Google Maps, Tweets and other features to provide a more unique listing. This will go a very very long way in how well Google will index your listings. Remember, there are hundreds, or maybe thousands of agent sites with the same listings.

DS IDXPress: http://www.dsidxpress.com

This IDX plugin for WordPress is the real deal, and is my first choice for a reason. This affordable package has pretty much everything you’ll need to get your listings in your site…and easily! Some of the features include an installation that takes no more than 2 minutes, widgets to do all sorts of handy things, Google maps integration and a nifty slide show system. They have a demo site here which isn’t bad, but you could easily have a much better theme designed than that one.

WP Realty: http://wprealty.org/

A lot of you have most likely come across WP Realty’s impressive IDX solution for WordPress. The great thing about this platform is that there is a team of experts there to help with customization, or building your site from the ground up. They also have a set of themes that are perfect for selling homes which is great. One key feature in mind is that this plugin is compatible with the All-In-One-SEO Pack which makes your on-page game all that much better.

WP Real Estate Helper Plugins:

There are a plethora of plugins that add extra features to your WP site that’s specifically for real estate. I’m all for these even though they may take more of your precious time away from you in setting up and maintaining. These plugins will make your website much more pleasing to Google, as well potential clients as it adds more functionality to the overall process. These features will make you also stand out from the rest of the agent sites which I know can all kind of blend together.

Real Estate Q/A: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/realanswers/

This is a really cool plugin that I think every WP based agent site should have running. While it might take a bit to get the questions flowing in, I have personally seen it work wonders for agents. It’s a great way to handle easy questions, establish search rankings for the hot terms, and showcase you’re an agent who knows your market well. After a few years and a few hundred questions, that will only do great things for your long tail search marketing game. Oh and this plugin is 100% FREE!

Simple Real Estate Pack: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/simple-real-estate-pack-4/

This plugin has so many features I couldn’t believe it was out there for free. Props go to Max Chirkov for creating this gem and providing it to the community. This is something I’d almost not give away if you know what I mean. I’ll take some wording direct from his description and let you know this plugin includes mortgage and home affordability calculators, closing cost estimator, live mortgage rates, Trulia and ALTOS statistical charts, local schools, local rental rates meter, business listings from Yelp and Google Maps. You can see the in-depth options here, which should give you a grand idea the many things you can do with this plugin pack.

WP Great Real Estate: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/great-real-estate/

I’ve used this plugin personally on a pet project real estate site I’ve been involved with. I can say how much of a gem this is and I couldn’t give it enough praise. If you’re wanting to add in homes manually supported by a whole whack of features then this is the plugin for you. I’ve seen some very stunning looking agent sites as well completed with Great Real Estate, so don’t miss this one. This plugin utilizes the likes of NextGen Gallery to upload, manage, and display property listing photos. It uses WordTube to upload, manage, and display videos. There’s FPP Pano which displays panorama photos in a Flash 360 degree interface. Makes use of Feed Wrangler to enable you to send a listings feed to various websites such as Google Base, Trulia, and Zillow!  It uses WP-DownloadManager to display and track links to downloadable brochures…and that even isn’t all of the features believe it or not.

WP Property:http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-property/

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/realanswers/

 

This is a full featured WordPress plugin that basically turns your website into a powerful real estate CMS. This property and real estate management Plugin allows you to create a directory of real estate properties and integrate them into you site beautifully. I’ll spare you a few extra lines of me blabbing and let their handy video showcase to you the ease of use with this software.

WP Mortgage Loan Calculator: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/mortgage-loan-calculator/

It doesn’t hurt to add a bit of extra functionality to your real estate site, so why not a handy mortgage calculator? This acts as a sidebar widget, as well it can provide nifty looking AJAX graphs that are quite appealing. If you don’t have the time to have one programmed or integrated into WordPress, this plugin makes for a quick fix.

Local Market Explorer:http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/local-market-explorer

This will be the last plugin I put into this post and it’s a doozy! The Local Market Explorer plugin does so many amazing things that everyone should drop what they’re doing and get this configured on your site! This plugin allows WordPress to load data from a whole host of neighborhood related APIs(Yelp, Zillow, Education.com, Nile Guide & more) to be displayed on a page or within your own posts. I highly recommend reading the features of this plugin, but just take a look at this screenshot to get an idea of the powerhouse this plugin is. This is my top pick for all the plugins I’ve seen and if you have a coder on staff, you can make it even more custom to suite your needs.

You can see more screenshots of the features in action here http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/local-market-explorer/screenshots/.

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If you’re needing help with any Real Estate Marketing or WordPress help our team is available and here to help. We provide a wide range of real estate marketing options that will help you get the most out of your website, as well give you the time to focus on what you actually need to do…sell homes! If you’d like a proposal or just chat with out real estate marketing team don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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