By Paige Tepping
Setting yourself apart is the name of the game for today’s real estate professionals who are pulling out all the stops when it comes to establishing themselves as community experts and in-demand real estate professionals. As the industry continues to become increasingly competitive, it’s more important than ever for real estate professionals to leverage a wide range of online tools to maintain a competitive edge. While integrating the necessary tools and systems into the mix is just one piece of the puzzle, providing strong local and hyperlocal information is even more important.
Helping to foster the relationship between real estate professional and consumer, and encourage the exchange of information, FrogPond—a provider of communications solutions for agents—is providing real estate professionals with the tools and systems they need to stay in front of their sphere of influence and prospective buyers alike. In fact, the Texas-based company has built its reputation around being the hyperlocal media expert that real estate professionals can go to for solutions.
Connecting with Consumers
“Consumers can find just about everything they need on the Internet,” says Vickie Marton with RE/MAX Classic Group, “but what they can’t find is that local expert who can help them make sense of the local real estate market. No matter what, websites can’t give this to consumers, so this is a crucial niche to go after, especially in today’s market,” says Marton. She not only focuses on sharing market stats with consumers, she also shares information pertaining to how many homes are for sale, how many homes went on the market and how many went under contract in a particular month.
“People want to know that they’re getting an honest answer as to what’s going on in the marketplace,” says REALTOR® Beverly Shanahan, who credits FrogPond’s Housing Trends enewsletter and the Breaking News Network, a local news aggregation service the company has a partnership with, in setting herself apart. “The information I receive from FrogPond is detailed and up-to-date, and my clients respect that. Whether the news is good or bad, they know they can count on me to provide an honest assessment.” Shanahan’s Coral Springs Parkland Breaking News Network is another way she sets herself apart from the competition. An automatic feed that pulls information from local news facilities and gathers it all in one central location, the site allows visitors to easily see everything that’s going on in the area.
While providing strong local information is just one step in positioning yourself as a community expert, Intero Real Estate agent Carlos Rafael Cruz takes this even further by really focusing on connecting with his audience. “Positioning yourself as the go-to expert in your marketplace is all about the connection,” says Cruz. “I want my audience to connect with the information that I’m providing, so I try to keep it simple and go after what’s out there.” While finding the right formula to create a loyal base takes time, Cruz focuses on providing a variety of information, including local statistics, humor and important real estate information, without being too heavy in any one area.
While there’s no right or wrong strategy when it comes to communicating with consumers and sharing information, leveraging a wide range of online tools is crucial. “Some consumers are into social media, some are into direct mail, and some are looking for communication via the telephone. However, the most important thing is to stay in contact,” says Shanahan. A REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Premium Properties Group in Coral Springs, Fla., Shanahan has been taking advantage of FrogPond’s Housing Trends enewsletter for the last two years to keep consumers up-to-date.
The monthly enewsletter, which is free for agents, is filled with key market indicators, consumer videos, blogs, a real estate glossary, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles and local and national real estate sales and price activity produced by local MLSs and the National Association of REALTORS®. “The enewsletter provides good information in regard to what’s trending,” says Cruz. “In today’s volatile market, trends are very important, probably even more important than actual stats themselves,” he continues. The Housing Trends enewsletter has a lot of pertinent information all in one place and provides local and national information so that consumers can see where the trends are going. A must-have for any agent, the one-page branded enewsletter includes the most current and accurate housing data, which is then emailed to agents with a draft letter that includes links, making it easy for agents to connect with consumers. In addition, it further emphasizes the agents’ role as a local community expert by providing consumers the opportunity to contact the agent for a detailed evaluation of the value of their home.
“The fact that the enewsletter is branded with my photo and contact information is huge,” says Marton. Not only does the enewsletter direct people to Marton’s website, it keeps her name out there so people will remember her when they are ready to buy or sell a home. “The enewsletter is a great tool that can be passed from person to person, and even if it gets deleted by someone along the way, they’ve still seen my name and face,” says Marton, who credits the Housing Trends enewsletter as another tool that enables her to provide a consistent message across the board.
Consistency is Key
Whether it’s the Housing Trends enewsletter, the Breaking News Network or the numerous social networking sites real estate professionals have at their disposal, providing a consistent message is crucial. “No matter where consumers go to connect with me, they see my brand, and that brand is the lifestyle that I’m selling,” says Marton, “and FrogPond helps me promote both myself and that lifestyle via a variety of channels.”
“The Housing Trends enewsletter is one piece of the puzzle,” says Shanahan, “but it’s a great tool that’s manageable since it ties everything together.” Not only can real estate agents share the link to the enewsletter on Facebook, they can also email it and place it on their website or blog. Expanding the reach of the Housing Trends enewsletter even further, FrogPond offers a QR code that can be incorporated into sign riders, flyers, business cards, brochures and newspaper and print advertisements.
In the end, the consistency that FrogPond provides real estate agents may be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to successful transactions. Not only does providing a consistent message help agents maintain a competitive edge in their marketplace, it also plays a major role in positioning them as the go-to source for real estate information in their area.
For more information, visit www.frogpond.com.
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