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Posts tagged ‘marketing’

Sociable! Book Launch in Victoria, BC

This Thursday, April 29th, 2010, Vancouver-based entrepreneur Stephen Jagger and professional sales trainer Shane Gibson will be at the Downtown Victoria Chapters store to launch their new book, Sociable! How Social Media is Turning Sales and Marketing Upside-Down.

The event starts at 5:30 with a networking opportunity for social-media-curious businesspeople, and then a presentation from Steve and Shane about social media and the unique way they wrote the book. Q&A will follow, and Shane and Stephen will sign your copy of the book.

If you’re interested in learning how social media can help your business, I’d highly recommend you attend this event and pick up a copy of the book. Many of the ideas and methods they teach I have used to build my business, and in today’s business world, it’s not acceptable to answer “What’s your social media strategy?” with a blank stare.

The event is free, and you can confirm your attendance here. Invite your friends and business associates – after all, social media is all about “the more, the merrier!”

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Is The Election Campaign All About Branding and Buzzwords? [Video]

As a REALTOR®, I’m always taking notice of how other businesses market and brand themselves. I get inspiration for ideas from other people and businesses all the time. One thing I’ve noticed is that politicians in our current Federal election campaign have been all about branding and marketing their campaigns, rather than telling us what they’ll do for us if elected. What do you think?

Here’s a quick video I shot of Conservative candidate Troy Desouza in his heavily-branded car. He even waved for the camera!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Reset The Days On Market With A New Listing Contract: Deceptive? [Video]

An issue that comes up every now and again is the practice of certain real estate agents cancelling a listing that has been on the market for a while and re-listing it right away. The result is a new MLS® number (they are sequential), and a days on market count set to zero, making the listing appear “fresher” than it is. Watch the video below, and comment using the form/link below the video.


Deceptive Marketing by REALTORS® using Days on Market from Tim Ayres – REALTOR® on Vimeo.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke Road FSBO (For Sale By Owner) Needs a Reality Check

REALITY CHECK!

In this time of change in the real estate market, the marketing services of a professional REALTOR® are more important than ever. Why would a potential buyer look at your home that you’re selling yourself when he or she can see 15 similar homes in the same neighbourhood with the help and guidance of a REALTOR®. How are buyers going to find your place over the listings on the MLS®? The Internet is a powerful tool, to be sure, but again, when there are so many listings with REALTORS® on MLS.ca, why would a buyer look anywhere else?

That being said, there are plenty of for sale by owner signs around town, both the paid FSBO website type, and the dollar-store-neon-orange-and-black budget models.

I’m low on listings at the moment, so I have been sending out information packages and e-mails to selected FSBOs that I see that would be marketable properties. On my way home to Sooke the other day, I saw a FSBO sign on a house on Sooke Road near Luxton Fair Grounds. I jotted down the number, hoping to give the owner a call. I always try and do a little research before I do, and after a bit of Googling, I came across the house on Used Victoria (I’m not going to link directly to it).

I’m not interested in listing this property – at least not until the owner gives his/her head a shake and realizes there’s no way he/she is going to get $519,000(!) for a home on Sooke Road in the Glen Lake area. Not even close. Not even last year.

The ad says it’s “beautifully renovated,” but seriously. Check out these listings and sales over the past few months nearby. A buyer could have a brand new home on a quiet street for what they’re asking for an older home on a Provincial highway!  Homes along Sooke Road are selling (and currently listed) for over $100,000 less than what they’re asking.

If by chance the owner comes across this post, and would like a realistic market evaluation of the property, I’d be more than happy to provide one, free of charge, and without any obligation to list the property with me. I’ll even include a booklet of tips for owners who want to sell their property themselves. In fact, I always offer all of the above to anyone wanting to sell their own home. Just contact me anytime at 250-885-0512 or Tim@TimAyres.ca

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Truth In Advertising

As REALTORS®, we are tasked with both the sales and marketing aspects of moving properties. Members of the public at large are protected by legislation and professional ethics codes designed to keep our advertising truthful and accurate. We are not allowed to misrepresent a property we have listed for sale.

I was reading the Ubertor Blog this morning, and Steve had posted about agents using Photoshop software to clean up and edit an image used in marketing a property. It is one thing to adjust lighting levels or “airbrush” out a cat or dirty laundry that was inadvertently captured in a frame. It is another altogether to remove power lines from a view shot, add a tree, or change the colour of a house. I think we can all agree this would run afoul of REALTOR® ethics codes and consumer protection legislation.

How much is too much? I regularly touch up my photos. I increase brightness, colour saturation, and I will often edit out items that shouldn’t be there, such as Fido or a vacuum cleaner left in the shot. I would never grossly misrepresent a property, however.

What about this ad I found on digg.com?

Miracle Cream! Would people actually believe this miracle cream works so well as to turn a dried out raisin into a bunch of fresh ripe grapes? Better be careful with this one… use too much and you’ll degenerate back into a fetus.

Tim Ayres


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Price vs Quality – How Much Does Marketing Influence You?

Wine and Real Estate – Is There A Difference?

A recent study that was reported in the Times Colonist this morning suggests that people are highly influenced on their perceptions of quality by the price, which suggests that by simply pricing a particular product higher could influence its target market into perceiving it as higher quality than it actually is.Wine

The study involved red wine – cabernet sauvignon – priced from $5 per bottle to $90 per bottle. Partcipants were given samples of the wine and asked to report on how pleasurable the experience was, while at the same time being measured for brain activity in the pleasure centre of the brain, the medial orbitofrontal cortex. The study indicated that the mere expectation of quality – being told the price of the wine to be sampled – caused the participants to report the experience as more pleasurable and created brain activity in the pleasure centre.

This got me thinking about how this could apply to real estate. Studies show that properly prepared homes sell faster and for more money. Some services will even furnish your empty investment property – called “staging” – to prepare it to wow buyers and sell for top dollar quickly. Any good REALTOR® should be able to show you how to prepare your home to sell.

But the principles in the study apply the other way around. Can you simply price your home higher than your neighbours and have buyers perceive it as higher quality? Market economics would suggest that you could not – but have you seen this, driving around a neighbourhood with a price list in hand? Will discerning buyers be attracted to your house, simply because it’s priced higher than the others around it? Will they assume it’s built better, has better features, is in a slightly more desirable location than its comparables?

In any market, there is a home that is priced higher than the homes around it. And often it sells just as quickly as the lower-priced homes. I think it is safe to assume that the market forces of supply and demand will prevent anyone from overpricing their homes just to attract high-end buyers. The higher-priced home must have had something about it that made it more valuable than the others.

The more intangible aspects of wine (the subtle differences which only a true connoisseur would notice) make it more susceptible to this kind of price-influenced perception than housing. Homes and real estate have more tangible features such as fixtures and finishing, decks, landscaping, views, etc. that even the first-time home buyer can discern.

What do you think? Comment below!

Tim Ayres

P.S.: For a humourous look at  this concept, check out this video from Penn & Teller’s BULLSHIT! show (warning: profanity). Fast forward to 3:10 or so for the wine bit, but the whole video is the same concept with food. They do a similar show about bottled water.

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What's in a URL? Domain Names for Dummies

Everyone in real estate has a website these days. Or at least, they should. In today’s world, they are crucial prospecting and marketing tools for both existing customers and potential new clients. But why waste all your time and/or money in designing a beautiful, content-rich site when no one will remember it? Because our business is done in the real world, it is crucial that we have a memorable URL (domain name, website address) that we can advertise prominently on signs, newspaper ads, maybe even your car. I’ve always been a big believer in short, sweet URLs. Ever since I started in real estate, I’ve tracked the traffic sources of my site with Google Analytics. At least 1/3 of my visitors and usually more enter the URL directly into their browser.So, what’s the difference between good and bad? I came across this blog, written by a fellow geek that, like its title suggests, points out good from bad and explains why. Here is an excerpt of some tips from the site:

Do’s
1. CapitalizeTheFirstLetterOfEachWord.
2.UseDifferentColorsOrBoldToHelpEachWordStandOut.
3. Whenever possible, use YourBrandName.com.
4. If .com is not available, use YourBrandName.net.
5. If .com and .net are taken, find a new brand name. Seriously.
6. Use YourSlogan.com when running an integrated media campaign.
7. Use subdomains when driving people deeper than your homepage – e.g. Product.YourBrandName.com.

Don’ts
1. Don’t include www. We know to go to the World Wide Web to find you.
2. Don’t include http://. If your audience isn’t web savvy enough to know where to type the URL, you shouldn’t have a website.
3. don’tusealllowercase (canyoureallytellwhereonewordendsandthenextbegins?)
4. DITTOFORALLUPPERCASE
5. No-hyphens/or slashes.
6. Don’t use acronyms, abbreviations, or numbers unless your brand is widely known as such.
7. Don’t bury your URL at the bottom of a billboard. I’m the only nerd driving around with a 4x zoom lens to find URLs.

I agree with most of the above, although I should note that if your country (including ours) has a strong and well-recognized top-level domain (for example .ca, .co.uk, or .au) don’t be afraid to use it. You may find your desired brand name under a different TLD. This has the added bonus of distinguishing for search engines like Google where your website/brand/product is located geographically – a pretty good idea for real estate, wouldn’t you agree?

The author is also fond of capitalizing the first letter of multi-word domains. I would tend to agree with this in most cases, and in fact I’ve changed the lettering in my e-mail signatures and will propagate the changes across all my marketing material in the future.

I’d have to say that my personal most-hated URL no-no would have to be excessively long ones. You have 255 characters to work with, but there’s no need to use them all. I even hesitated before purchasing this domain name. Think about it – are you likely to remember VictoriasNumberOneAgentForHousesAndCondosInSookeOrVictoria.com when you drive past the bus bench or see it on a sign?

Also, are you giving up visitors to your site because they’re misspelling it, or getting the wrong top-level domain? Domain names are cheap ($10-20/year) so why not register several, and point them all to the same place? For example, I own TimAyres.ca, TimAyres.com, SellingSooke.com, SellingSooke.ca, and 2 or 3 others that all point to the same place. I’ve even considered TimAyers.ca as an alternative, because it’s a common misspelling of my last name.

Another tip I’d like to add: if you’ve got a great idea for a slick new domain name, run it by a few people first to see if they get it. Ideally somebody not involved in your industry. While agents might get FixturesAndChattels.com, a consumer might not. Worse, your domain name could be unintentionally hilarious, such as a certain online writing utensil retailer, penisland.com – another argument for captializing the first letter of each word in the URL.

So take a moment or two, and examine your domain name. Is it good or bad? And in your printed ads? What can you do to make this extremely important part of your business work better for you?

-Tim

What’s in a URL? Domain Names for Dummies

Everyone in real estate has a website these days. Or at least, they should. In today’s world, they are crucial prospecting and marketing tools for both existing customers and potential new clients. But why waste all your time and/or money in designing a beautiful, content-rich site when no one will remember it? Because our business is done in the real world, it is crucial that we have a memorable URL (domain name, website address) that we can advertise prominently on signs, newspaper ads, maybe even your car. I’ve always been a big believer in short, sweet URLs. Ever since I started in real estate, I’ve tracked the traffic sources of my site with Google Analytics. At least 1/3 of my visitors and usually more enter the URL directly into their browser.So, what’s the difference between good and bad? I came across this blog, written by a fellow geek that, like its title suggests, points out good from bad and explains why. Here is an excerpt of some tips from the site:

Do’s
1. CapitalizeTheFirstLetterOfEachWord.
2.UseDifferentColorsOrBoldToHelpEachWordStandOut.
3. Whenever possible, use YourBrandName.com.
4. If .com is not available, use YourBrandName.net.
5. If .com and .net are taken, find a new brand name. Seriously.
6. Use YourSlogan.com when running an integrated media campaign.
7. Use subdomains when driving people deeper than your homepage – e.g. Product.YourBrandName.com.

Don’ts
1. Don’t include www. We know to go to the World Wide Web to find you.
2. Don’t include http://. If your audience isn’t web savvy enough to know where to type the URL, you shouldn’t have a website.
3. don’tusealllowercase (canyoureallytellwhereonewordendsandthenextbegins?)
4. DITTOFORALLUPPERCASE
5. No-hyphens/or slashes.
6. Don’t use acronyms, abbreviations, or numbers unless your brand is widely known as such.
7. Don’t bury your URL at the bottom of a billboard. I’m the only nerd driving around with a 4x zoom lens to find URLs.

I agree with most of the above, although I should note that if your country (including ours) has a strong and well-recognized top-level domain (for example .ca, .co.uk, or .au) don’t be afraid to use it. You may find your desired brand name under a different TLD. This has the added bonus of distinguishing for search engines like Google where your website/brand/product is located geographically – a pretty good idea for real estate, wouldn’t you agree?

The author is also fond of capitalizing the first letter of multi-word domains. I would tend to agree with this in most cases, and in fact I’ve changed the lettering in my e-mail signatures and will propagate the changes across all my marketing material in the future.

I’d have to say that my personal most-hated URL no-no would have to be excessively long ones. You have 255 characters to work with, but there’s no need to use them all. I even hesitated before purchasing this domain name. Think about it – are you likely to remember VictoriasNumberOneAgentForHousesAndCondosInSookeOrVictoria.com when you drive past the bus bench or see it on a sign?

Also, are you giving up visitors to your site because they’re misspelling it, or getting the wrong top-level domain? Domain names are cheap ($10-20/year) so why not register several, and point them all to the same place? For example, I own TimAyres.ca, TimAyres.com, SellingSooke.com, SellingSooke.ca, and 2 or 3 others that all point to the same place. I’ve even considered TimAyers.ca as an alternative, because it’s a common misspelling of my last name.

Another tip I’d like to add: if you’ve got a great idea for a slick new domain name, run it by a few people first to see if they get it. Ideally somebody not involved in your industry. While agents might get FixturesAndChattels.com, a consumer might not. Worse, your domain name could be unintentionally hilarious, such as a certain online writing utensil retailer, penisland.com – another argument for captializing the first letter of each word in the URL.

So take a moment or two, and examine your domain name. Is it good or bad? And in your printed ads? What can you do to make this extremely important part of your business work better for you?

-Tim

Royal LePage TV Launches – Canadian Real Estate 2.0

Free online videos offer buying and selling tips, staging advice, and more.

Canada’s premier source for real estate information, Royal LePage, has launched a brand new website, www.royallepagetv.ca, where you can view a series of informative videos on how to sell or how to buy real estate. Specifically, the videos point out how the use of a Royal LePage Agent makes selling or buying your greatest financial asset a lot easier.

This is a first for a Canadian real estate company. Many companies in the U.S. have already embraced the idea of Web 2.0 and real estate while we have not gone so far. Royal LePage has always been an industry leader in providing top-quality high tech selling and marketing tools for its agents. I have uploaded the videos to YouTube for embedding into web pages and blogs.

Here is the first episode of the selling series:

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=in4dc9dr43k">http://youtube.com/watch?v=in4dc9dr43k</a>

See my YouTube Channel for the rest of the videos.

Tim Ayres

Victoria's Creative Sign Design Is On The Move

Rose Glen of Creative sign design sent out an e-mail today informing us all of the long-anticipated move to their new digs. Rose notes that after 14 years in business at 630 Bay Street, the business is quite literally bursting at the seams of the present location (and has been for some time).

Besides being larger and better-located, Rose’s new shop will have the space to do vehicle lettering inside the shop – making it much more convenient for her clients who until this point have had to wait for a dry day to get the lettering done.

Creative Sign Map

The big move day is October 1st. The new address will be:
#5-416 Garbally Road
Victoria, BC
V8T 2K1

Phone numbers and e-mail will stay the same:
(250) 480-1747 Phone
(250) 480-1726 Fax
creative@islandnet.com

We thank Rose and her staff for all their hard work and dedication to a job well done and customer service over the years, and look forward to being a part of her effort to take the business to new heights.

Links: Creative Sign Design Annuncement (pdf)