Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Do You Know WHERE You Are Advertising?

Have you googled any of your listings? Seriously, put 123 Main Street, Anywhere, NY in the search box. In preparing this article I googled one of my client's listings. The results yielded an amazing 131 search results! Have you tried this with one of your listings? As a real estate agent you should be well aware how important the internet is to your business. In the recent 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers released by NAR it was revealed that an astonishing 90% of all buyers used the internet to search for their next home.

  • Do you represent your listings well on the internet?
  • Are your sellers happy with your internet advertising of their home?
  • Are your sellers aware of where their home is advertised on the internet?

If not then you are failing to provide them with a vital part of your overall marketing plan for their property. Are you taking advantage of all of the internet marketing opportunities available to you? It couldn't be easier to saturate the internet with your listings. Let me give you a few examples:

If you use Postlets then your listings are automatically syndicated to FrontDoor, Google Base, HotPads, Oodle, Trulia, Vast, Zillow, BackPage, DotHomes, Enormo, and Lycos. You also get the links and code for posting to Facebook, Twitter, CraigsList, FriendFeed and other. Best of all, you can do all of this for FREE....YES, no cost to you!

A second, equally excellent option is ListingsToLeads. This innovative online program syndicates your listings to the same partners as Postlets but also gives you syndication on Google Maps, Yahoo Real Estate, AOL Real Estate, CyberHomes, HotPads, LakeHomesUSA, CLRSearch, PropBot, Vast, eRealInvestor, LandWatch, ResortScape, Oodel, Walmart, MyRealty, Overstock, InvestorLoft,, OpenHouse,, TweetLister, HomeAway Real Estate, Property Pursuit, HomeWinks,, RealtyTrac, My Home Renter, Homes & Land, Home Search, Keller Williams Listing System, Showing Suite, Pulse Mailing, Austin Home, Scripps, Northern Nevada Regional MLS,, Maine, Homes Database, Property Shark, Sierra Nevada Media Group Real Estate, Smart Zip, Suburban Real Estate News, Open Houses Inc., Homes, and Spotlight Preview. A few of these partners are regional and not applicible to everyone. You will find the majority of these partners are included in your ListingsToLeads subscription.There is a subscription charge for the use of the ListingToLeads service and at this time I do not have a price breakdown of those charges. If you contact Scott Pierce at L2L he will be happy to assist you with that. I'm sure you are asking why go with a subscription-based service when Postlets is free. The way I see it is you actually generate income with L2L because you will attraction more leads due to their fully branded, website and social media integrated listing advertisements. Each ad has a call to action but the big cost saving comes with the one click CraigsList post tool. It is also extremely easy to post to Facebook as well.

A third, and widely used system, is vFlyer. One of the most unique features of vFlyer is the ability to generate printable PDF versions of your flyers, as well as create embeddable widgets for your website or blog, and much more. vFlyer doesn't miss a beat in syndicating your listings either. You'll find they will add your listings to Trulia, Oodle, Google Base, Vast, Yahoo! Real Estate, Zillow, Geebo, OLX, HotPads, DotHomes, Lycos (via Oodle), Cyberhomes/AOL, FrontDoor, Backpage (Business Subscribers only) and Kijiji (Business Subscribers only). You can also post vFlyer listings to CraigsList and Facebook. vFlyer offers a free, ad-supported service as well as a number of subscription options.

Many MLS systems syndicate your listings. It is important that you maximize your photos and write a creative and narrative description in order for your listing to "put its best foot forward." I know many times you need to get your listing into MLS fast with the intention of making it look better later. Later may be too late because many times your listing is syndicated right away.

If you have a website based on a template system, such as Point 2 Agent, Agent Image, Z57, Advanced Access, Best Image, or any of the many other excellent systems available, you will have automatic syndication. As with your MLS, create the listing to the best of your ability when you first post it.

As you can see, there are many advertising possibilities available to you for virtually no cost, or very little. With 90% of buyers shopping the internet for their next home they are certainly the most educated buyer a real estate agent has ever worked with. Don't take this too lightly or you will find your premium listing inventory growing smaller and smaller.

One of the best options you have is to consult with a real estate virtual assistant on how to maximize your internet presence.  The benefits will be greater than you can imagine!

Jeri Winkler, The Secret Assistant, has been working in real estate since 1996. Her expertise includes listing coordination, including advertising. Does your advertising need a boost? Contact Jeri today.

~~NOTE~~ Jeri does not work for, nor represent, any of the companies mentioned above.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today, as St. Patrick's day is celebrated throughout the world, I wanted to jump on the wagon and celebrate with you as well!  When thinking what I could share with you my thoughts went into several areas.  My Irish heritage gives me a DNA that loves the beat of the bodhran and I go giddy over Riverdance.  I know most people love a little Irish liquor called Bailey's but I prefer Saint Brendan's.  In fact give me a pot of coffee and I'll finish a jug of Saint Brendan's in record time! I was the only kid on the block who spent hours searching for four leaf clovers and it has always been my dream to search for four leaf clovers in Ireland. So, although I've haven't had the pleasure to step foot upon Irish soil yet, I am Irish to the core.

Because this isn't a blog for me to gush over the features of a good Irish step dance, Irish whiskey or even a good pint of Guinness then I need to stop myself now and get on with something real estate related. Right? Yes!

In the spirit of St. Patrick's day let's look at what many others are doing this week, going green.  So many articles are being written this week about what we can do to better improve our "carbon footprint" while we are here on Earth.  As real estate professionals we have a responsibility to see that our clients have homes. Regardless of whether they buy or rent, in the end our job is to see our clients placed in adequate shelter.  We certainly want that home to be safe and in that process why not make our clients aware of their carbon footprint as well? 

Why not give your clients a green gift when they move into their new home? Most agents give their buyers a token of their appreciation, a housing warming gift.  Why not make that gift more green?  A gift of earth friendly products show your client that not only do you care for their comfort as they move into their new home but you are also concerned for the earth as well. I know many Realtors give their clients gifts that make that first night in their new home a bit more comfortable.  Why not use earth friendly products? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Organic Soap
  • Organic Paper Towels
  • Organic Toilet Paper
  • All natural breakfast foods
  • All natural paper plates/utensils
  • Energy-Saving Light Bulbs
  • Green Cleaners
  • Coupons/Gift Certificates to local market offering locally grown foods
  • Coupon for Free Dinner/Pizza (great for that first night) An organic or all-natural restuarant is preferrable.
Use your imagination, shop locally and see what interesting items you can find.  Don't forget a few snacks too! Place your items in a nice, reusable and attractive basket and leave on the kitchen cabinet for your buyers. 

Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day.  If you just can't get enough visit to get a really good dose of Irish music, photos and fun. As for me I'll be out and about searching for that four leaf clover today and listening to a little Irish music. Click to hear to hear a wee sample of my favorite! (or click below)

Do you need ideas for closing gifts?  Contact Jeri Winkler, The Secret Assistant today!  Email or visit

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time's A Changing!!

Need help communicating important events with your clients?  Contact Jeri Winkler, The Secret Assistant, for information on how to stay in touch with your client effectively. 

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


In this advertising series I’m stressing the importance of marketing yourself.  Let’s spend a few minutes answering a few questions:

1. You need a new car.  How will you decide to purchase that car?  Ad #1 or Ad #2?

 2. You would like to get married. Will you marry the nice person in Ad #1 or Ad #2?

3.  You need a personal trainer.  Will you hire the person in Ad #1 or Ad #2?

4. You need a new home.  Will you hire the agent in Ad #1 or Ad #2?

Carefully consider why you made the decisions you did in each instance?  I’m assuming you selected Ad #1 in questions 1-3 and probably most of us selected Ad #1 in question #4.  Do you understand your reason for the selections? 

A photo speaks a thousand words.  Cliche I know but so very true.  You can scream “I Sell Homes” from the roof of your office everyday but if you do it wearing a bag over your head then no one will know who you are.  Understand the analogy?  Do you have your photo on each and every piece of marketing and correspondence that leaves your office, right down to your post-it-notes?  If not then email me and I will send you a fresh supply of those brown paper bags. 

If you do have a photo then three cheers for you!  One more question.  Is your photo up-to-date?  Could you be arrested for a bait and switch operation?  You know what I mean!

I’ve contacted realtors before that looked like this on all of the marketing material I saw:

When I arrived at the appointment they looked like this!!

Needless to say my husband and I didn’t "like" any of the homes we were shown and found a reason to cut the appointment short. In my opinion if an agent cannot even post a real photo then what else is she hiding?  I don’t want to know so I’ll find someone else!!!  Get the point?  Keep your photo up-dated.  With today’s high resolution point and shoot digital cameras it is too easy to do. 

Marketing rule of thumb #1:  Create marketing as if you were marketing to yourself.  Would you buy a house from YOU?

Evaluate your marketing, even items that you might not perceive as marketing such as notepads, pens, letterhead, etc.  What is your marketing saying?  What are you marketing?  Are you selling your services or dozens of little tiny houses in an ad?

What are you REALLY selling?

Jeri Winkler, The Secret Assistant, has been working in real estate since 1996. Her expertise includes listing coordination, including advertising. Does your advertising need a boost? Contact Jeri today.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Are you a patron of the fine arts? Do you rush to every new gallery opening and every new art exhibit? Even if you answered “no” to both of these questions you may be very familiar with abstract art. Many artists have painted in this style and Picasso is probably the first artist that you think of when thinking of abstract artists.

If you are like me you have to squint at times to try to see what is really in the picture, or to try to figure out what the painter wanted you to see. What do you see in this painting?

Although this isn’t the work of Picasso you will recognize it as abstract art.  As a real estate agent are you surrounding yourself with abstract art on a weekly basis?  Are you commissioning your own works of art each week?  NOAre you sure?  

Are you guilty of advertising in the abstract style?  Do your ads look like this?  

WHEW!  There is a lot of “stuff” on this page!!  How many people will actually take the time to look at this entire ad?  If you “squint” at this ad what do you see?  Nothing special, do you?  What is this ad really trying to accomplish?  In my opinion - too much! There is just too much on this page, making it too confusing. Our eyes just won't focus on something so busy so our brain is told to "turn the page."

Let’s look at a much “cleaner” ad.



I don’t know this agent.  I don’t work for her and didn’t create this advertisement but I believe it is brilliant!

Everyone knows that real estate agents sell homes so this agent didn’t crowd this ad with dozens of tiny photos and descriptions.  Instead she knows that intelligent people seek an agent first and she has created an ad with her identity first and foremost. She is asking prospects to call her for her expertise, not because of the white house in the 3rd row on her ad.  By running this ad everywhere, on a consistent basis then she gains the trust of her target market (highly intelligent people) by her overall appearance that she is the expert.

This has been proven in market after market.  Agents sell homes, not ads.  What are you really selling in your ads?  Do you know?  Are people squinting to read your ads or just turning the page?

Jeri Winkler, The Secret Assistant, has been working in real estate since 1996. Her expertise includes listing coordination, including advertising. Does your advertising need a boost? Contact Jeri today.