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2008-10-08 18:25:47

Online Marketing: Four New Clients on a Saturday Morning

 

Rick and Joyce Tietz are REMAX agents in Antioch, California — an East Bay suburb of San Francisco. They’ve been with the same brokerage for six and five years, respectively, and a Team for five years.
 
Because of their hard work and good business decisions they are having strong success selling homes online. Through our grapevine, I had heard of this and wrote Rick one Friday (after gaining his agreement to participate), seeking to obtain answers to a series of questions in order to share their methods of success with readers. On Monday morning, I found a message from Rick in my email. Here is exactly what that message said:
 
Have you ever “picked up 4 clients from your site starting Saturday morning?” The Tietz Team at RE/MAX Associates has worked hard to become successful online realtors: they have sold 14 houses from their site in the past 7 months — in a really tough real estate market — and are on track for 24 for the year.  They work their website and their website works for them! When was the last time you sold a home from your website? What do Rick and Joyce know that you don’t know?
 
“Mike: I'm unable to get your questionnaire back by Monday morning due to existing commitments and the additional 4 clients we picked up this weekend from our site starting Saturday morning.  I will get it to you ASAP. --Rick & Joyce Tietz, RE/MAX Associates (www.tietzhomes.com ).”
 
It took a team to make Rick and Joyce succeed in their Internet marketing
 
When you ask Rick what it took to make him and Joyce succeed online, he is direct:
“We launched our organic search plan on 2/21/08 and have no regrets. We obtained our current website FREE as part of a special promotion CompassSearch offered when we subscribed to our organic search subscription. The switch to the new website provider was easy for me; the editing tools and being able to do HTML editing has made building an eye pleasing, lead capturing and search friendly web site a wonderful task.
 
“With Blackwater/CompassSearch making the keywords, keyword phrases, page titles, inbound relevant links and Meta tags really go to work for us, we are seeing much more activity than before. Our conversion rates have also improved tremendously. We also receive monthly support calls (where great ideas come from) and in-depth analysis of where our site is effective and we have really lowered our bounce rate, he said.
 
“We have always known that the internet was the place to increase our business and we had reached the point where we knew we had to make a change in our internet marketing. We did plenty of research and we came across the team for us. These companies have together created one of the best Realtor money-making machines there is.
 
“Because we get top search engine placements, we are able to bring prospects to a user-friendly real estate web site where they are more than happy to fill out one of many lead capturing forms we have put in place. I get immediate notification on my cell phone that someone needs help and most often Joyce catches them while they are still on our site. Now, I also get to do all this from my home. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”
 
It also takes a team of prospects to make sales happen regularly
 
 “We work with buyers, sellers, banks, investors, retirement communities, homebuilders and we relocate clients from all over, Rick said. “The only parts of the business we don’t pursue are the rental business and we don’t do loans. Our plan was to create the dominant web presence in our marketplace and to work every lead that came our way.
 
“By tirelessly working with every possible lead generating person we know plus dominating our corner of the Internet, we have prospered while about 50% of the agents in our market quit and the bulk of the remainder are barely getting by. To give you just a hint of how powerful the Internet is for relocation, we have sold homes to folks from Ireland, England, Mexico and France in the past seven months! All these buyers found us online because of our organic search strategy and our hard work following it faithfully.”
 
They set a high goal and they are reaching it, even in a hard market
 
“Back in February of 08, we set a goal to sell 24 homes from our website in the next 12 month period. Seven months later, we have sold 14 in what can only be classified as the absolute worst possible market conditions. We have lots in our pipeline and we are going to do it: we’ll sell 24 homes from our website this year!
 
The San Francisco East Bay Area is a challenging market right now. The biggest challenge is the ever changing lender requirements. In Antioch alone there are currently 905 residential homes on the market: 445 (49%) of these listings are REO/Bank Owned, 352 (39%) are short sales and the remaining 108 (12%) are regular owner listings. The overall average list price is $239,564, the short sale average list price is $248,283, the REO/Bank owned average list price is $208,237 and the average list price for individually owned homes is $338,942.
 
The differences between the average list prices are due to many different variables from destruction to greed. All of these homes are selling for less than half of the average selling price just two years ago. Buyers are taking advantage of these savings in large numbers and we are getting our market share. From our perspective, surviving this market trumps concern about statistics, but we are better able to evaluate our progress by knowing our market and we are better able to counsel our clients for the same reason.
 
Even in these hard times, we are receiving 8 to 10 solid leads per month from our site and these leads will carry us through the rest of the year. After our years with this brokerage we are experiencing our personal best this year and we are in the top 50 teams for RE/MAX in California and Hawaii, too!” The Tietz’s comments mirror those of the California Association of Realtors, who tell us that in California, sales were up over 50% for the same period last year but that the average sale price is down over 40%.
 
Reporting tools also show that over 3400 Internet shoppers have visited the Tietz’ site in the past seven months. As their organic search subscription ages, it will continue to get stronger and they will continue to sell more homes from it. Because Rick and Joyce put so much hard work and time into monitoring their Internet marketing (and adjusting, based on what they see), they will also continue to succeed and they will improve their efficiency at selling homes online.
 
Selling homes online has made all the difference for The Tietz Team: their secret source of success is the Internet!
 
“All our leads come from our site in some form or other and our costs are pretty much the same throughout the year, Rick continued. “I have saved thousands annually spending my dollars on Internet marketing instead of newspaper ads and the results have taken us from barely getting by to being in the top three realtors at our brokerage with the highest split given and being in the top 50 real estate teams for RE/MAX International of California and Hawaii.
 
“I’ll tell you that I enjoy hearing my mobile phone sounding off when we have a lead or feedback from our site. That beeping sound is like hearing a cash register ring. We had another four solid leads alone this weekend (one of them is interested in one of our short sales) and it will start up again later this Monday. Our organic search plan, in just seven months time, has increased our Internet exposure and that has increased our business by more than 30%. 
 
“I’m looking forward to the continuing growth in the future, and we are confident that 2008 will continue to be a record year for us. Being dominant on our little corner of the Internet has helped us develop the strong belief that we will have nothing less than a fantastic career in Real Estate as we continue to improve our marketing and our client follow-up program. Real Estate is a wonderful career and the Internet is where real estate is happening now!”
 
Rick and Joyce had so much more to say that could not be squeezed into this article, but fundamentally, they represent a minority among agents and brokers: those succeeding online. NAR says that less than 10% of all agents are happy with the yield from their websites.
 
There are reasons this is so and one of them is that as a realtor, you know real estate far better than you know the internet. Why don’t you take the first step toward becoming an Internet realtor by finding out why your website isn’t producing for you? Just click here and fill out the form and a staff member will review your site FREE and help you turn it into an income producing part of your sales effort. 84% of all residential real estate sales begin online:  if your sales don’t reflect that contribution, you are missing out on a great deal of money and success. Start today and maybe in seven months you will be succeeding online like Rick and Joyce Tietz! Many thanks to them both for generously sharing their success with all of us.”
 
About the Author: Mike Parker is a principal at the Blackwater Consulting Group, Inc., and specializes in online marketing services for Realtors® and real estate professionals. You can reach him by e-mail at . Obtain a free copy of his new booklet “REAL SEO Explained" by writing to realseo@compassinternetsystems.com. It will be sent to you free and no one will call you. To request a free review of your website to determine if it can be found by Internet buyers and if it is search engine friendly, click here and it will be evaluated free.mparker@theblackwatercg.com

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