By Jeff Knox, Knox & Associates, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
I am a techie broker. I'm a techie broker because I have to be, not because I started out wanting to be one or because I already was one. I once had a guy with another firm ask me: "Are you a technical guy who became a broker, or a broker who became a technical guy." I am the latter.
It is my belief that in the year 2016, if you are not a techie broker or agent, you are potentially losing big money each day. With this article, I'm going to address the best technical options as they currently exist for REALTORS®. Below each section, I will end with my "techie tips" for your consideration and some extra guidance.
Websites are what I like to call the base or foundation of all techie marketing in 2016. I see technical stuff as a type of pyramid with the website being at the very bottom, labeled as "essential." While there are cheap website companies available to build a quick and easy site for you, the old adage of "you get what you pay for" has become the norm in real estate websites. Whether you decide to spend very little or a bunch on your website, you absolutely must have some sort of Internet presence today.
Think of this from the perspective of a buyer. Pretend that you are shopping for a new vehicle. What is the first thing you do? My guess is that you get online to start looking at that new vehicle, doing your homework and research and finding a local dealer who may have that vehicle in stock. What if your local dealer doesn't have a website, but the competing dealer a few miles away has a great website? Where are you going to go? I bet you head to the dealer with the great website over the dealer with no website.
In this example, having no web presence makes a big impression upon you. The same holds true with us in the real estate industry. Nowadays, what good agent doesn't have a website? Something to think about.
Follow-Ups & Drip Campaigns
Once you have the foundation of your online presence in your website, you'll have to have the necessary follow-up sequences to keep in touch with your new prospects and past clients. These follow-ups are often called "drip campaigns." Like websites, there are cheaper follow-ups and more expensive software programs for follow-up campaigns. And, again, just like the websites above, you're going to get what you pay for in terms of follow-up systems. This part, however, can be tricky.
The more expensive the drip campaign software, the more technically advanced and complicated. I'd suggest that you start with one of the cheaper versions of follow-up software to get your feet wet, learn the in's and out's of building your campaigns and get proficient with your campaigns before spending additional money for one of the "Cadillacs" of drip campaigns.
You should begin to see by now that we are building our pyramid of Internet presence and technology as we advance in the article. The base of our pyramid is the website, drip campaigns are the level above the website, and finally at the top, we are adding video marketing to our site and drip campaigns.
Video has become a powerful way of reaching our clients and prospective clients. As such, I have both videos on my website for visitors and videos embedded within my drip campaigns. Not sold on the power of video? How about this fact - YouTube has over one billion users. That's the power of video. Are you a believer now?
Making videos for our sites and drip campaigns has become very simplistic thanks to newer technology and software. Now, you can even make a video from your cell phone and send it directly to a client or prospective client via email. However, if you want to edit your video, you'll need some additional software. Again, some of the software is very professional and expensive while others are relatively cheap and easy to use. Again, I advise you start with basic video editing software to get the hang of the editing before spending big money on a fancy program. Truth be told, I still use a cheap and easy video editing software program. I paid for a lifetime subscription to my software which includes all future updates to the program and I spent around $100 for the lifetime license.
I hope this article gives you some good direction for improving your "technology pyramid" and online presence for 2016 and beyond. Feel free to leave comments below and give me your recommendations for some of today's best tech available for REALTORS®.