Set Fee Blog Stats: 2012 In Review

WordPress creates an annual report for bloggers who use their service. I just (finally) opened mine and go some eye opening information:

  • In 2012, there were 67 new posts on The Set Fee Real Estate Blog, bringing the total to 292.
  • There were about 5,400 total views in the year, with the busiest day being February 15, with 72 views.
  • The post that garnered the most views on that day was about Maurine Grisso’s REO Training.
  • Most viewed posts for the year were (in order):
    1. How To Do It, Step 6: Accountabiity
    2. The Buyer Questionaire
    3. Old Scripts/ New Scripts
    4. Full Service Broker vs Limited Service Broker vs Discount Broker
    5. Clarifying Terms: Full Service Broker, Limited Service Broker, Discounter, Help-U-Sell

It seems pretty clear that the public is confused about the difference between full service, limited service, discount service and Help-U-Sell. I’d probably do myself a favor by writing more about this murky topic.

  • Most people came to this site via Networked Blogs, HelpUSell.com, and Facebook
  • My most active commenters were:
    1. Kirk Eisele
    2. Dan Desmond
    3. Don Taylor
    4. Robin Rowland
    5. Jeanne Strayer

Wouldn’t you like to put those five people in a room and then sit back and listen to them talk!

You can view the full report HERE.

Miscellaney: Facebook Deflation, Google Glasses and the Market Segment Specialist

Today’s Help-U-Sell Power Hour was really good. It was one Wednesday I didn’t come in with all kinds of stuff to share and instead, let the group take the call where they wanted it to go.  Seems there’s a lesson in that for me: shut up!

In talking about recruiting, the concept of the Market Segment Specialist came up.  It’s an idea that hatched on our Wednesday call several months ago.  Maurine Grisso was talking about a 55+ community she’d like to break into and said she wished she could find an agent who didn’t want to work full time, who lived in that neighborhood, to be the face of her Help-U-Sell business there.  Brainstorming resulted in a job description and title.  You can read more about this HERE, and HERE.

In my daily scan of relevant tech info, I learned that Facebook is getting ready to announce a new twist on advertising.  The new ads will be larger and will offer options for more specific targeting.  The rumor is you’ll be able to advertise to the ‘Friends’ of people who ‘Like’ a particular business.   I learned about this right after I saw a graph from Chis Smith, Chief Evangelist (!) at Inman, documenting a decline in the impact of Business Pages on Facebook. In a 30 day period, ‘Likes’ of business pages are down 15%, Comments are down 19.9% and Impressions are down 24%.   It could be that we’ve hit a saturation point with Facebook marketing and are starting to turn off from it, much as we did from Groupons not too long ago.  Groupons came out of the box like a shotgun blast, but after awhile people got tired of offers (sometimes not so good) in their email and began to turn off.  In the case of Facebook, I see an opportunity to re-examine how we use this communication tool in our businesses.  In other words:  let’s get creative once again in how we use Social Media.

Then, purely for fun, I saw a piece about the glasses Google, working in conjunction with Oakley, is likely to release later this year.  You wear them, just as you would any pair of shades, but a transparent web browser appears on the lens, enabling you to surf the web while walking around.  Using Google Maps while making your way through a foreign city would be interesting, as would using Google Goggles to identify landmarks along the way. I’m not sure whether this will be immensely silly and irrelevant or very cool.  I mean:  it seems we’re already doing that with our Smart Phones;  why would we switch?  And are we inching ever closer to having our technology actually implanted into our bodies??  If so, nerd that I am, I can’t wait!

Finally, remember, it’s the 22nd of February.  There are just 7 days left in the month (it’s leap year).  That means there are just 7 days left in the Help-U-Sell Winter Warm-Up Contest.  If you want to put on a full court press here in the closing week of the event, do so by focusing on  LISTINGS.  Get as many as possible because new listings carry the greatest weight in contest results.  What do you think?  Could you take one new listing evey day for the next seven days?  What if your State was going to take away your real estate license if you didin’t?  Could you do it then?  Uh-Huh, I thought you could.  So I think you now have your assignment:  7 new listings in 7 days.  That’s 35 additional points in the contest, which could be enough to boost you into one of the money positions!  Good Luck!

REO Training!

By popular demand, we’re going to be offering Maurine Grisso’s REO Workshop starting next week.  Maurine authored and presented the program about 3 years ago and the results speak for themselves:  almost every Help-U-Sell broker who has broken into the REO market took the course.  Most of them point to Maurine’s training as the starting point in their REO journey.

We wanted to bring the program back for a couple of reasons:

  • Things have changed dramatically in 3 years.  The number of asset management players has shrunk and in cases the actual players have changed, procedures have evolved and the whole process has streamlined.
  • There is a big opportunity right now for those wanting to break into the REO segment.  A huge mass of new foreclosures sits poised and ready to enter the market.  Many of the old line players who got this business in the past are overwhelmed and/or have done such a poor job that new brokers are needed.  In some cases, policy limiting the number of REOs an individual broker can carry has created openings for more.  In short: this is NOT a closed door, there is an opportunity here, and if you want it and are willing to work for it, you can be successful.

Online classes kick off next Thursday, Feb. 16 at 10 am Pacific time.  There are four sessions, one a week at the same time, each lasting about an hour.  Completion of the course will result in a Certificate – which has been a credibility booster for those seeking this business in the past.  Cost to participate:  $0. That’s right:  it’s free.  You need only invest your time and focus.

You must register for this program and you do so by sending an email to me:  jamesdingman@helpusell.com

Right now we are at 10 reservations and we probably have room for about 4 more, so don’t hesitate too long!

Big Brother, Google and Print Media

Has it occurred to you yet that Google – at least the search engine part of Google – is, essentially, a monopoly?  They have achieved such penetration in the realm of Internet search that, what few competitors there are,  are insignificant.

I remember when I started surfing the net back in the 90’s.  None of us knew what we were doing and AOL gained a huge leg-up by organizing the Internet (today that seems so silly) and by giving us crude search capabilities.  I drifted from search engine to search engine and eventually settled into AltaVista.  In the mid-nineties AltaVista leaped ahead of its competitors by pioneering the use of web-crawlers that would go out, scan websites for information, and return data for indexing.  Today we call the crawlers ‘Spiders’ and they scamper a little faster.  AltaVista was eventually bought by Yahoo and, in May of last year, was shut down.  Now, when you try to search using AltaVista, you’re really searching using Yahoo.  As an interesting aside, it was AltaVista that brought us that wonderful translation tool, Babel-Fish.  Just as the search part of AV has been over taken by Google, so has Babel-Fish:  today we use Google Translate.

Which brings me back to the Google monopoly.  They didn’t gain that position by destroying or overtaking competitors; we gave it to them.  Google came out of the box so far ahead of their competitors that almost overnight other search engines were left in the dust.  Google made the Internet useful.  It brought order to chaos.  That’s the nice part.  But to monetize search, Google had to bring value to those of us with something to sell or something to say.  They realized (just as Don Taylor did in 1976) that the most effective marketing was highly targeted marketing.  The delivery of a highly targeted demographic to an advertiser proved to be very valuable and targeted pay-per-click ads became a dominant feature of the Internet.

So, how did Google get so good at segmenting and categorizing demographic groups to deliver to advertisers?  They kept track of us.  They recorded what we searched for and what we clicked on.  They watched how we behaved when we interacted with them and they stored that information, analyzed it, reduced it to numbers and predictive algorithms.  Today Google knows more about what interests me than just about anyone else!

We’d like to believe that Google is blind, like justice.  We’d like to believe that if I – a White male in his 60s living in Southern California – search for something, that you – a Hispanic female in your 30s living in the Northeast – also search for, we’d get the same results.  Not so. Google not only sells you as a potential target to advertisers, it also uses what it knows about your online behavior to filter search results so that your search outcome may be very different than mine.

I got a big reminder of this yesterday.  Ron McCoy, who lives 90 miles away in Riverside, just bough an IPad II.  The Apple version of PowerPoint on the IPad is something called Notebook.  Ron wanted to convert his PowerPoint Franchise Sales Presentation to Notebook and had no luck figuring it out.  While we were on the phone, I Googled it and quickly came up with a website devoted to Notebook with a long string of how-to’s about this very subject.  When Ron did the same search the website was buried. Google gave us different results because:  we live in different areas and we search for different stuff.  Google watches . . . Google knows.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Google.  I’m more a Google person than a PC (Microsoft) person.  I have a Google T-Shirt.  I have an Android phone.  But sometimes all of this Google-looking-over-my-shoulder-while-I-browse creeps me out a bit.  Sure, their motives are purely Capitalistic:  they want great data on me to sell to advertisers.  But what if their information came under the control of an entity – a faction, a government, a policing unit – who maybe had other motives?  Makes me want to browse through an anonymizer!

I applaud Google for what its done to marketing.  That arena is fundamentally different and the difference is directly related to what Google did.  But it’s interesting:  after years of diss-ing print media as the nearly extinct dinosaur that it is, Google has taken to using traditional paper advertising to show its concern for our online safety.  They’ve earmarked tens of millions of dollars for a ‘Good to Know’ campaign running in newspapers and magazines.  The first ad ran in Britain recently and encouraged people to be a little more creative with their passwords.  It’s actually very good information, so good that I’ll reproduce the ad here and encourage you to do what Mother-Google is asking you to do!

 

Having gotten all of that rambling tangential junk out of the way, here’s my point for you today:  If Google – who owns the Internet – who invented online marketing – is getting into print advertising, isn’t’ it something you ought to consider for your business?   For five years we’ve preached that print is dead-dead-dead, and every time one of our brokers put a toe in the print-media waters he pulled it back in shock and horror.  But suddenly, Maurine Grisso takes a full page ad in her local paper for a song the week between Christmas and New Years and actually develops LEADS.  I know:  Maurine is a brash pioneer, sometimes so far on the cutting edge that she’s actually on the bleeding edge; but nobody can fault her for not taking risks and sometimes reaping big rewards.  And I’m not suggesting you sink thousands of dollars into print advertising this month or next.  What I am suggesting is that it might be time to put that toe back in the water.  Spend $50 or $100 and run a little ‘Sell Fast – Save Thousands’ ad or something similar.  Try putting a true ETM (with sold-and-saves, testimonials, and an Easy Way plus a few listings) on the back of a Homes magazine.  Pay very close attention to the results you get:  how many inquiries does this specific ad produce?  Then let me know if Google and Maurine are right or if it’s still too early.  Thanks!

Phone Message of the Week

The following message was in my voice mail yesterday afternoon.  It made me so happy I just had to share it:

(Click the Phone – and then use the back button on your browser to get back here!)

Isn’t that wonderful!  What Maruine is so excited about are the new Help-U-Sell Banner Stands that are ON SALE right now through our new print-on-demand vendor, The Alexanders.  These beautiful, big signs are printed on vinyl and come with a lightweight, easy to assemble stand.  They are impressive, and great to have in your office, out front of your office (with sandbags or something else to keep them from blowing away), at home shows or anywhere else the public is apt to see them.  Here are photos:

To investigate further and to order, go to The Alexander’s Help-U-Sell Website:  www.brandsawonline.com/helpusell. And thank you, Maurine for sharing your excitement!