Author Archives: Marketing Department

About Marketing Department

We are the marketing department for Homes & Land Affiliates, LLC., based in Tallahassee, Florida, USA.

Plan Now To Have A Great Year

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Ready to get your business revved up and roaring for 2015? Then it’s good to have a plan, and lots of smart people out there have helpful advice on setting goals and staying on track in the field of real estate.

Right-size those goals
The top goal on the list of Inman News contributor Wade Vander Molen is to “set several smaller, realistic goals.” Instead of jotting down one massive annual achievement, such as doubling sales in 2015, set smaller quarterly goals, he suggests. Like breaking a long to-do list into smaller, less-daunting chunks, setting reasonable goals can help keep you focused and successful over the long haul. Read more

Put yourself in pictures
Ever dreamed of being in movies? Vander Molen urges you to step up this year and star in your own. Introduce yourself to potential clients and give them a chance to, well, just plain like you with a short video uploaded to YouTube. The platform is free to use, and videos show up with other types of content in Google searches.

If you’ve got the “you” video covered but would like to keep making movies as part of your marketing efforts, the article “Invest in evergreen video: the marketing gift that keeps on giving” offers some great ideas and tips for creating videos that will bring clients to you again and again. Read more

Heart

Know your business’s heart
Of course, clients are the beating heart of any real estate agent’s business, and Vander Molen and other realty experts hammer on the importance of organizing and updating your contact database as the year begins. After all, it’s hard to manage client communications if you don’t have a good grip on who the clients are.

The RISMedia article “Your 2015 Business Plan — In Less Than 5 Minutes” offers a list of questions to help agents get a better picture of what they should be doing better this year, and many of those questions focus squarely on how well you communicate with buyers and sellers. For example, at No. 3, the article asks: “Do you have a scheduled time each day or week when you communicate with your clients, contacts or friends? Do you do this consistently?” Read more

Here’s To Happy Sellers

Speaking of client contact, a copy of Homes & Land featuring their home is like a wonderful little gift in the mail for your advertised home sellers. When you place an ad with us, our Client Contact program sends each of your advertised sellers a copy of the magazine and a flyer promoting you and your marketing efforts. We also explain how your sellers can go online and see their property featured on HomesAndLand.com.

“Our sellers love it. They love to see their pictures in the magazine, they love the glossy print, and they especially love the at-home direct mail. When it goes out to the public and they receive their own copy of it, they’re excited about it.”

— JESSICA GRIFFETH, sales representative with RE/MAX Rouge River Realty in Ontario
 Get The Most From Text Codes

Text codes on listings advertised in Homes & Land magazine offer potential homebuyers a quick way to get more information on a property. Codes also pay off for agents, allowing you to capture a lead when a house-hunter expresses interest in a listing.

To make using text codes as easy as possible for potential buyers, it’s smart to publish texting instructions in any advertisement that includes listings with text codes, as illustrated below. For added interest, the page-top instructions could say “FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PHOTOS, TEXT 81035 THEN TEXT CODE.” While texting instructions can be found elsewhere in each Homes & Land magazine, placing the info right on your ad offers consumers the clearest path to immediate action — and gives you the best chance for leads.

Here are a couple of other best practices for text codes in printed real estate listings:

  • For the most effective presentation, place each listing’s text code on the listing photo.
  • Keep listing information short and concise. That way, house-hunters have a reason to text to learn more.

TcodeAd

NOTES FROM ALL OVER

Buying Looks Better All The Time

Business website MarketWatch does the math and finds that buying now appears to be about twice as affordable as renting. The calculation’s cost of owning a home does not include property taxes and homeowners insurance, but it still has the power to wow, and renting appears to be getting more expensive all the time. Read more

And Now Let Us Peer Into The Future

No one knows for sure what the future will hold for real estate this year, but experts are doing their best to guess, and quite a few of them say 2015 is looking good. Click an item below to read the article referenced:

“Confident consumers are more likely to spend on big ticket items, which is sweet music to the ears of the real estate market.”

— SAM KHATER, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic

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Homes & Land climbs Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Real estate media company Homes & Land moved up 24 notches on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500® list for 2015, coming in at No. 353 in the annual rankings.

To put that number in perspective, there are currently more than 1,700 franchisors, including Homes & Land, on the Small Business Administration’s Franchise Registry of Approved Brands.

“We’re pleased to see Entrepreneur moving us up in the rankings,” said Rob Wicker, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Training. “We’re confident that 2015 will be good year for the real estate community and the Homes & Land network.”

Working with a franchise network of magazine publishers throughout the U.S. and Canada, Homes & Land offers real estate professionals and other clients offline advertising in high quality, photo-rich publications and a full suite of technology services. For franchisees, the company provides a proven business model along with ongoing services and support from a widely known national brand.

Entrepreneur magazine offered the first ranking of franchises in 1980 with its initial Franchise 500®. Today the list is considered the world’s most comprehensive ranking of franchises. Entrepreneur judges all companies, regardless of size, by the same criteria. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, as well as growth rate and the size of the system. The magazine also considers a company’s number of years in business and length of time franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations, and whether the company provides financing. Financial data is audited by an independent CPA. These objective factors are plugged into Entrepreneur’s exclusive Franchise 500® formula, with each eligible company receiving a cumulative score. The 500 franchises with the highest scores become the Franchise 500®.

In 2014, Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® list ranked Homes & Land at 377.

About Homes & Land

Headquartered in Tallahassee, Fla., Homes & Land provides integrated print and digital marketing services to professionals in real estate and associated industries. The company publishes 229 local real estate magazines in markets across the U.S. and Canada through a network of independent business owners. The brand also powers a consumer website, HomesandLand.com, with homes listed for sale, and offers mobile, social, and direct-mail marketing tools for clients. One of the most trusted brands in the real estate industry, Homes & Land has been in operation since 1973.

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For more information about Homes & Land, contact Rob Wicker, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Training, at (850) 575-0189 or wickerr@homesandland.com.

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Expect A Happy New Year For Sales!

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Expect A Happy New Year For Sales

“What’s the housing market going to look like in 2015?” When Frank Nothaft asks that question, you can bet he’s got an answer. And from where the chief economist and vice president of mortgage giant Freddie Mac is standing now, the future looks good.

In fact, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation’s recent forecast is titled “2015: The Purchase Market Strengthens.” Among the key predictions:

  • Total home sales should increase by about 5 percent from 2014 to 2015, to the best sales pace in eight years.
  • Interest rates are expected to climb throughout the year, with rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage averaging 4.6 percent and rising to 5 percent by the end of 2015.
  • Annual house price gains are projected to slow from 9.3 percent in 2013, to 4.5 percent in 2014, and 3 percent in 2015.

Nothaft notes that rising home prices and interest rates will reduce affordability, but says that, historically, the market is moving from very high levels of affordability to high levels of affordability.

The economist’s takeaway for house hunters: “If you are planning to buy a home in the next year, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.”

Watch a video overview of the November 2014 U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook or read the commentary

 
Pin One On!

Pinterest

The new Pinterest feature in the Homes & Land Control Panel makes it easy to “pin” listings on the popular virtual bulletin board. It’s one more way to get properties noticed, then noticed again as Pinterest users re-pin and share listing photos. Additionally, each pin links to the original, detailed listing.
 
 

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest sells itself as “a place for the good stuff” from the “too-wide Worldwide Web,” a place for users to collect just the items and ideas they like — interesting recipes, craft projects, houses. As Pinterest puts it, pins on your “boards” act as visual bookmarks that whisk you back to the site where they were originally displayed.

 

Why post on Pinterest?

As a visual social media site that relies on eye-catching photos, it’s a natural pathway for showing off property. Used to its best advantage, Pinterest can:

  • Get listings in front of more potential buyers.
  • Generate social buzz as photos are re-pinned.
  • Drive traffic to detailed online listings and associated websites as users click on pins.

 

What kinds of boards are good for listings?

You can create as many boards as you like under your name or that of your business. Basic business boards would include at least one for homes for sale. You also might want to set up boards for neighborhoods or communities where you specialize. Neighborhood boards can include other types of pins along with listings, such as pictures of the area or photos that link to websites with official neighborhood information — anything that might be of interest to someone who wants to live there, and anything that builds your reputation as a neighborhood expert.

 

Who’s using the site?

The Pew Research Internet Project reported in its most recent social media update that 21 percent of surveyed online adults used Pinterest during 2012-2013. That breaks down as 8 percent of surveyed men and 33 percent of women. A majority of Pinterest users have household incomes of more than $50,000 a year, Pew found.

 

Want to see some real estate?

If you haven’t already, sign up now with Pinterest to get full access — it’s free. To see what’s already on Pinterest from your area, search the “Boards” for your city’s name and “real estate” or “homes.” For real estate done really well, look up The Corcoran Group.

See The Corcoran Group’s boards

 

Getting started

Sharing listings on Pinterest only takes a few clicks in the Homes & Land Control Panel. For more information, watch this quick how-to video.

 

NOTES FROM ALL OVER

We Found Fans In New Orleans

Pinterest

The Homes & Land crew was happy to visit with some fans at the NAR convention in New Orleans. Among them was Steven Fischer of ERA Southeast Coastal Real Estate in Savannah, Ga., who stopped by the Homes & Land booth and took a few minutes to talk with us:

“We’ve been advertising with Homes & Land magazine probably for over 10 years now, never stopped during the recession. We credit it for helping us get through the recession. It definitely helps our agents get lots of calls, lots of leads — and quality leads we can convert.”

Watch Realtor Steven Fischer’s video

 
Are You ‘Good’ Or ‘Fantastic’?

From “fantastic” to “no” — real estate writer Tara-Nicholle Nelson takes a look at the difference words make in our everyday lives.

Check out her blog

 
Don’t Be SAD!

Successful real estate agents work in December, says Candy Miles-Crocker of Real Life Real Estate Training. After all, your sellers face less competition, and the buyers who are out looking are likely to be exceptionally motivated. The slow season for most people doesn’t have to be a slow season for you. Avoid Seasonal Advertising Disorder and keep the business fires burning with Homes & Land.

Check out her blog

 
You’re The Expert . . .

“When it comes to managing your wealth or your health, there is way too much at stake not to go with an expert.”

— MAX GALKA, “What the comeback of travel agents says about real estate,” Inman News
 
But Are You Social?

“Do you want to sell houses? You need to reach people. And people are on social media. Eighty-nine percent of people between ages 18 and 29 use social media platforms, according to research from the Pew Internet Project — but the value of social doesn’t begin and end with Millennials and the starter-home market. On the contrary: An overwhelming fraction of 30 to 49-year-olds are also using social media — 82 percent of them. That’s your premium middle-market homebuyer. And if you aren’t reaching them on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and others, don’t worry. Some other real estate agent is.”

— JASON VAN STEENWYK, “Social Media Strategy for Real Estate Agents”
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Getting From Text To Conversation

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HOMES & LAND WILL BE IN NEW ORLEANS NOV. 7-10: If you plan on attending the NAR Realtors’ Conference & Expo, please stop by the Homes & Land booth and say hello. Magazine advertisers will receive a special gift.

Getting From Text To Conversation
BY ROB WICKER

Texting is more popular than ever. An astounding 10 trillion text messages will be delivered in 2014. More and more real estate buyers are using text messaging too. The California Association of Realtors reports that homebuyers now prefer text messages over phone calls.

Homes & Land makes it easy for homebuyers to connect with you via texting by including a text code in your printed magazine ad. When a buyer sees a property she likes, she enters the property text code in her phone, and receives back a link to your listing on HomesAndLand.com, complete with photos and a property description. Here are some examples.

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So how should you respond to a text lead?

Buyers expect you to respond to their inquiry in the medium they used, so when the buyer sends you a text message, text her back. Also, respond as quickly as possible. The reason consumers prefer texting is immediacy.

You want to use the text message to establish a relationship with the buyer. To do that, ask questions that will lead to a phone conversation or a meeting, and try to get the sender’s name quickly so that you can personalize your dialog. Here are some approaches to try, along with the language you might text:

  • “Thanks for the inquiry. Would you like more info about the property?” If the response is “Yes,” then ask if you can call to discuss.
  • Another option is to text “Is this the price range you’re interested in?” If the answer is “Yes,” text back, “Can I call you to get more details on what you’re looking for?”
  • Texting is universally used to set up a time to meet, so offer a meeting time to the prospective buyer. For example: “I’ve had several recent inquiries on this house. I am going to be there this afternoon at 4, would you like to meet around 4:30?”
  • Have a compelling reason to keep a prospective buyer engaged. If you get a text inquiry about a listing, giving the sender some kind of "pocket" or new information to compel him to "act now." For instance, "Thanks for your inquiry on 123 Estates Lane. Your timing is terrific. We are about to reduce the price. Would you like to meet for a showing before it is made public?" Or, "Thanks for your inquiry, just listed another home in the same neighborhood. Would you like to meet today or tomorrow for a showing before it goes in the MLS?" Just like your advertising has a "call to action," the text message should too.

If you get no response or a negative response to a question, don’t give up. Wait a week and text the buyer a link to a property you think she might like. The buyer may have been too busy to deal with you when she sent her inquiry.

Contact your local Homes & Land Publisher to find out how interactive texting can help you generate leads.

 

NOTES FROM ALL OVER

How Fast Is Fast Enough?
However an inquiry is made, today’s home shoppers expect a quick response, says Eddie Earnest of Inman News. Drawing statistics from the 2014 California Association of Realtors Home Buyer Survey, he writes: “An astonishing 49 percent of buyers reported that they expect an INSTANT reply from an agent upon inquiry — up nearly five times from 10 percent in 2007. An additional 29 percent have generously tapered this expectation to ‘within 30 minutes.’ Earnest concludes: “In the absence of a prior relationship with a lead, you can assume responsiveness is the most important characteristic for you to convey as an agent.”
Read More

 

Good Photos Make All The Difference
Lousy listing photos, or even so-so ones, can make a good house look like a bad investment. The slide show “Avoid These 9 Real Estate Photo Mistakes” clearly demonstrates what doesn’t work — and what does.
See Slide Show

 

Converting Web Leads
“Stop burning leads, and your time and money, and start nurturing your web leads to actually turn them into clients,” says Vinny La Barbera of the Real Estate Marketing Blog. “A common misconception is that a web lead is the same thing as a phone lead, walk-in lead or any other type of lead you may have received before. In rare cases they can be, but a majority of real estate web leads are different in nature and require special interaction and follow up.”
Read Blog

 

To Get The Most Impact, Cover All The Bases
From a RISMedia Real Estate magazine column by RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly, “View Online Real Estate Portals as Business Partners”:
“Remember, most of your leads still come from your sphere of influence. Whether or not you advertise on one of these portals, it’s always smart to diversify your ad spending in multiple avenues, including your website, social media pages, print advertising and direct mail marketing, among others.”

And as a Homes & Land advertiser puts it:
"I recently expanded my real estate marketing plan with a full page ad in Homes & Land and the results were immediate. From the very first ad I received a new $2M client and quality property showings increased for my sellers. The quality exposure provided by Homes & Land in print, Internet and direct mail is now a consistent part of the successful marketing service I provide my valued clients."

— PAUL OELRICH, LONG REALTY COMPANY, TUCSON
 
The Power Of You
May we all be conscious of using the power we possess well . . .
poem
— JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
 
Put The You In Your Business
Will Caldwell, CEO of real estate app-maker Dizzle, on cultivating your sphere of influence:
“Create a story around you: People remember stories better than advertising slogans, because this is just simply how humans are wired. Create a compelling story about how you got into the business, where you came from, or why you are the best agent in your neighborhood. Do something people will remember you by to stand out from the rest. Always remember to keep it simple and concise.”

Tough Clients, Tender Tactics
Real estate writer Tara-Nicholle Nelson offers smart strategies for dealing successfully with high-maintenance clients, and believes they come with their own rewards: “These folks often know that they are high-maintenance and will rave for a lifetime about the agent who can deal with their demands, and therefore represent a great way to improve your online reviews and reputation.”
Read More

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Homes & Land magazines to ‘go pink’ nationwide

HL_Pink_LOGO-01
Homes & Land magazines throughout the nation will be going pink in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

From coast to coast, magazines participating in “Homes & Land Cares” will sport images of pink ribbons as local magazine publishers team up with advertisers to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. Publishers are also donating advertising space for the cause, and Homes & Land’s corporate office is pitching in with cash contributions for pages wearing pink ribbons.

“Most of us know someone who has been touched by this disease, and more than a few people in the nationwide Homes & Land family of franchisees and advertisers have been affected directly, coping with breast cancer personally,” said Allen Harrod, President of Homes & Land. “The company stands united with efforts to combat breast cancer in all the communities we serve.”

The American Cancer Society predicts that about 300,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year, and more than 40,000 people will die from the disease. Breast cancer death rates have been decreasing since 1989. Those decreases are thought to be due to advances in treatment, earlier detection and increased awareness, the society says. Breast Cancer Awareness Month keeps the disease and its prevention in the public eye while related events raise money for detection and research, and to help those currently dealing with the illness.


Homes & Land is one of the most trusted brands in real estate and a leading marketer of properties for sale in print and online at HomesAndLand.com. Headquartered in Tallahassee, Fla., the company supports a franchise network of more than 230 Homes & Land-affiliated magazines in communities throughout the United States and Canada. Homes & Land distributes more than 27 million magazines a year.

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