Merv Barrett, director of Real Estate Connected, is a recovered internet marketing addict who’s tried every strategy, tactic and training to weed out the fads from the true gems that deliver real online success for real estate agents. He founded Easy Property Listings, a website plugin suite for real estate agents to get online fast with a WordPress-powered website.
What inspired you to start your business?
After a long and successful real estate career my mentor at the time introduced me to online lead generation for my real estate business and from that moment I was hooked.
Around six years ago I decided to pivot from selling houses to start a new business that could help real estate agents like me navigate the online minefield and weed out the fads for the real strategies that work.
This was a challenge in of itself as the available software was not good enough to be able to help agents get online fast and start generating leads, meanwhile being able to retain the CRM’s that many agents rely on today.
Mid 2014 we released our WordPress plugin platform for real estate agents called Easy Property Listings that has quickly grown to be used worldwide in many languages.
How has the way real estate agents work evolved since you started your career?
What I’ve seen is that great real estate agents still work much the same way with customer-focused dialogue and being there when their clients need help. Those with the personal touch and systemized approach are the most successful
What has changed is how technology has evolved and different application and tools have arrived to amplify what they can do.
However, knowing what I had to go through to discover the best ways to generate leads online, it’s nearly impossible for an agent (small team) to learn about the best ways to use the available social technologies and focus on listing and selling.
There have been many new threats to the industry and in some places they make a dent but they often don’t focus on the personal customer experience. Perhaps someday they will, but real estate is best as a one-on-one, person-to-person business.
What role does online marketing play in real estate today?
The tables have finally turned on print media and it’s the reason why Real Estate Connected was created.
Now that Easy Property Listings exists, which is a platform that helps agents get online using WordPress, and with the team we have created, we are continuing to evolve our products. This has allowed me to provide the best answers for agents.
Once they’re removed from all the noise of the massive number of marketing options available that rarely produce great results, agents can begin to truly understand how simple online success can be — especially when there are far better options that generate ten times the leads for the same investment.
Things have changed and now we can help them discover the best platforms as time goes on so they can change, too.
In a nutshell, using online tools today is so much easier as nearly everyone has a social profile and the internet in their pocket, it’s how you reach your potential clients and what you say that makes the biggest difference.
What are the most common challenges you find those in real estate have with internet marketing?
The most common challenges I find is the same that I had many years ago: “What do I send or say to my database?” as usually agents use listings and sales and frankly they are boring and do not work effectively to nurture leads into customers.
Another major challenge is that real estate agents don’t do it or think it’s hard, and on the contrary it’s actually quite easy. However, an agent needs to make this their daily focus.
Content is king and real estate agents have a unique opportunity and the tools they need in their pocket: a high-quality smartphone which is also a high-quality video recorder
For me, I also found this difficult and started recording myself with my own phone instead of sitting in front of a keyboard typing away.
This is the path to creating endless fresh and informative content that people in your area want to know.
How should real estate agents be using online tools to help market properties? What are some best practices?
Real estate agents should realize that listings are part of the picture but not the focus. What they should do is become an expert on the location, allowing buyers and sellers to discover all the hidden gems where they live. Real estate agents know the area they work in and have a unique opportunity to interview locals and become the go-to person for information. The easiest way to share this information is to have a website showcasing the best of the area that they love.
When it comes to listings, find out what is truly unique about a property and use that as the hook to fish for buyers or tenants looking to live in that area. A house is a house but where that house is is even more important than the features of the property.
Make it interesting and use video as the tool to add another dimension to your property marketing mix.
Interesting video is key to being different as your competitors aren’t using it. And if you do decide to step well outside your comfort zone, others will never be able to catch you. If you are really good at it, you will never need to ask for a listing again, they will be wrapped and delivered to your door.
Don’t be boring, thats the key to online success for real estate
What are the most common mistakes or oversights you see agents making when using online tools to help garner attention for properties they’re listing?
Overusing them in the social media space, there is nothing wrong with promoting a listing on Facebook, however, they should make the newsfeed post about something unique about the property, yet this may change as Facebook has just made a major change with items for sale.
Treat Facebook like a pub and make it interesting for the person reading.
Systemizing is key, however, don’t overdue it as automation can be dismissed. You must sprinkle in interesting information and continually refine how you use your tools, especially the messages sent to your prospects.
What have been some especially unique or innovative ways you’ve observed real estate agents using online tools to market their listings?
Video is the biggest medium across the board and with the quality that your phone has there is less of a need to invest in high production companies to hire and scripts to write, just be yourself as you would without the camera as that is what makes a great agent No. 1.
Automate as much as you can and create several targeted campaigns that cover the different people you meet, invest in the time now to do this because what you create now can last you years and will work for you while you sleep
Automation is key.
What real estate trends or innovations are you following right now? Why do they interest you?
Everything, now that Easy Property Listings has come to a point where I’m able to step back and refocus my attention to rebuilding Real Estate Connected to become the No. 1 real estate training center for online success for clever and time poor agents to follow.
Online success is easy for real estate as long as you have the right recipe to follow, instead of the agents having to do the work on what to do, we will deliver a system of tools and strategies because we review the innovations and trends and will let you know what can be ignored or how to adapt it into your workflow
There are many threats to real estate and many have significant funding often from the other side from someone who had a bad experience with a real estate agent, funny thing is, that often the drivers of these trends have no real idea of what a real estate agent actually does.
Real Estate Connected is here to bring union and is also a shield for the industry as I know exactly what an agent does and has to do to get the best result for a client
We are here to fix things as this is a fantastic industry and I’m a nerd who has the ability to connect the dots as I know that without a real estate agent, the seller may sell but with an master agent the results that are delivered can often be the difference between not selling and the client winning the lottery.
If you’re looking to improve your own real estate acumen, contact us for more information.