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Why Bloggers Fail To Become Top Producers

I know your secret.  Honestly…I do.

You aren’t knocking the ball out of the park, regardless of your blogging effort.  You play around on Twitter, Facebook, Active Rain, and might even comment on Bloodhound Blog.  You’re probably REALLY smart and can’t believe that you’re having problems in business.  I know you are; I’ve read most of your blog posts, Tweets, and Facebook messages.  You fancy yourself ethical.  I believe that, too.

Why is a smart, ethical real estate agent like you failing then?

You got hoodwinked.  Tricked.  Sold a bill of goods.  That snake oil you bought?  Web 2.0- it was supposed to be the new way to do business; you just didn’t realize it was gonna take 3-5 years.  It’s taking longer than you imagined and you’re stuck.  Your spouse is riding your ass as she punches a clock while you play on Twitter.  Your kids wonder why you treat the occasional prospect who calls you to Ruth’s Chris while making them eat off the value menu at Mc Donald’s. You’re failing because you bought into the hype and you’re scared to admit that you blew it.

That’s okay- it’s not your fault.

You see, I got hoodwinked too.  I was all puffed up, speaking in San Francisco and New York like I was some kind of expert.  As I was hob-nobbing with the RE.net, I heard more than one of the “blogging elite” talk about their fear of personal foreclosure.  I heard the practitioners talk about losing their homes and the tech gurus talk about how rich they were getting…

…off the poor practitioners whom they appointed “experts”. THAT disgusted me.

I knew I had to make a VERY big change in my life.  I was following the “wrong crowd” and if I kept it up, I’d be face-down, lying in the gutter, with no customers at all.  I definitely didn’t want that…so I made some changes.  Those changes, combined with the things I learned from the folks who DO make money online, grew my business while my competitors were submitting employment applications at the mall.

Let me do my best Joe Biden…  It’s not your fault.

Greg Swann and I hosted the Bloodhound Blog UNCHAINED Social Media Marketing Conference (sponsored by Zillow).  About one hundred people gathered for three days and listened to the ideas about the brave new world.  We learned a few things and changed our Orlando conference to reflect those revelations:

1- SEO matters.

2- SEO can be helped but not manufactured.

3-  Organic online branding, which we talk about constantly, does take time.  It is the future of marketing for real estate and mortgage brokerage but the critical mass isn’t there, yet.  It’s coming and we need to be prepared.

4- You (and I) can go broke waiting for the masses to move to the right side of the learning curve.  While we’re waiting, we need to find out EXACTLY how to find those potential buyers and deliver content to them.

5- IDX solutions work.  The contact information capture feature, as distasteful as you may find it, works.  Joe the Plumber searches for homes online and listings are the bait.  Blog content, designed to call Joe to action, augment but can’t replace the contact information capture feature JUST YET.  I will stipulate that more savvy consumers demand free access to listings but the average home shopper will give up his contact information to see home listings.  There is a way to appease both sets of consumers and Greg Swann will teach you how to do it.

6- Social networking DEFINITELY works but you gotta bridge the digital divide that keeps potential customers behind that cyber-wall.

7- Top of mind status is important.  Seth Godin talks about the importance of permission-based marketing but Gary Keller showed you how to do it.  I’ll talk about how to advance the MREA idea and integrate it in into your social media efforts.

8- Buying traffic doesn’t suck as much as we think it does.  It costs money and it constantly evolves but it DOES work.  You’ll have a chance to hear Mitch Ribak discuss this.  He is doing volume that places him among the top 50 real estate teams in the country.  Mitch gets his business by buying traffic.

9- There is more than one way to “skin the cat”.  Kelley Koehler (aka HouseChick) found out how and you’ll have a chance to hear how the HouseChick finds gold in sparsely searched streams for a lot less money.  It’s tricky but effective.

Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















Let’s face it.  The RE 2.0 world just ain’t cutting it for practitioners by itself.    Oh, there are people making a living through blogging but they aren’t demonstrating break-out results.  While we are committed to the future, we live in the present…and the present challenges are just too much for the 2.0 offerings.  Here’s what you can learn at the Bloodhound Blog UNCHAINED Online Marketing Conference in Orlando, Friday, November 7, 2008:

Greg Swann will deliver his manifesto about the “brave new world”.  If you haven’t heard it, it’s nothing short of amazing.  He’ll tell you why you, the real estate practitioner, can disintermediate traditional chokepoints and talk directly to the consumer.  He’ll explain how to use the principles of direct response marketing in your online profiles….so they sell your services 24/7/365 (even while you’re fast asleep).  He’s teach you how to farm the big guys’ crops by using their strength against them.

I’m going to discuss my ninja-like tactics of social media marketing.  I”ll show you how to contribute to a community, position yourself properly online, demonstrate expertise, and have customers to talk about YOU.  I’ll share the six words, placed in the proper forum, that led to eight closed loans in a three month period.  I’ll show you the single best Facebook feature, the hidden 2.0 feature of LinkedIN, and the best place to find Joe the Homebuyer online (HINT: Joe isn’t in a sea of voices nor is he checking out homevalues).

Alas, while the title suggests that blogging won’t get you to the top, that doesn’t mean that top producers can’t blog.  Teri Lussier will show you how to avoid the echo chamber and build a local community through a weblog:

Warning: This is not the Get Rich Quick way of Blogging for Dollars. This is the slow and thoughtful way of connecting, networking, communicating. It doesn’t get you to the top of Google in 30 days, but it does get you as close to belly-to-belly as you can get online. It means you have to pay attention, think, share, discuss. It also means that we may not have anything in common, so I’m going to have to work to find a common ground. It means that I will find something interesting in your posts, and share it on my blog. In other words, it takes time to build relationships locally, which may not be the case with the echo chamber.

The echo chamber: I’m okay, you’re okay; I’m a Realtor, you’re a Realtor. Ah. A shared experience, a common ground. I may not have to pay too much attention because we have real estate in common. Unlike those local folks who may not want to talk to me at all because I’m a Realtor. You and I can fall into conversation faster, with more ease, talk shop- and it’s all good. Except it isn’t really. Ultimately it’s distracting to someone like me.

Sean Purcell will share how he is listing (and selling) properties “The Bloodhound Way”:

So… within minutes of hanging the sign I had eyeballs from three cars and conversion on one; you have got to love that kind of impact!  BTW, the first thing my clients said was they loved the sign.  I remarked how standard signs only tell people a house is for sale while marketing for the brokerage.  One of the ideas behind a custom sign is to encourage people to stop the car and get out to read the sign (thus increasing the possibility of interest).  They replied: ”This should do it.  You know… every agent in the area is going to stop and read it!”  Just love that.

I told you about Kelley Koehler.  Don’t listen to me, listen to Teri Lussier’s description of her presentationWhat to Do When Google Doesn’t Love You“:

If you are not paying attention to what the Housechick is doing, you are missing out on one of the sharpest minds in the RE.net. Her Vegas presentation on Pay Per Click marketing was, by all accounts, one of the best sessions of the entire weekend. Watch this space and learn how brilliant and unique marketing can create a kickass online presence. Some take aways that you can put to use whether or not you care to PPC “Win the small battles. Go niche.” Kelley’s focus for her ads is not for broad search terms like “Tucson real estate”, but in very well defined terms like “average sales price for homes in Tucson”, or even more narrow- down to neighborhoods. Then she writes posts to answer that question. She likes to focus on verbs “Buy a home in Tucson”, “Search for a Tucson home”. She’s using concise terms, with a clear benefit, and action words to create her ads. I think using those parameters as a basis for a post and post titles, is a wise idea. Write to that person’s mind, write in an engaging style, you’ve got yourself a blog that has real value for the reader.

Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















I already mentioned Mega-Producer Mitch Ribak.  He’s breaking records in a crappy real estate market (The Space Coast ain’t exactly “hot”). How the heck does he do it?  Well, this isn’t Mitch’s first rodeo.  He’s been involved with internet marketing long before he started in real estate.  You’re never gonna believe how he learned it.  I asked him and he told me:

One thing most of you don’t know about me as my first Internet business was a Dating Service. Not only did I have the dating service, I had an advice column called AskMitch.com. Oh and there was the radio show, Ask Mitch The Date Doctor, that played on 45 radio stations around the country.

So, yes, my venture into the Internet back in 1996 came from my imagination that there has to be a better way to do business.

I worked for Great Expectations Video Dating Service as their Director from 1993 to mid 1996. It was the only time since I was 23 that I hadn’t worked for myself. I spent half of 1996 trying to find a company that would build a dating software for me that I could use over the Internet.

Funny thing was that at that time they all told me it wasn’t possible to do data integration over the Internet. I didn’t believe them of course so for a half a year I searched and talked to tons of companies…it just made sense to me.

Finally I found a company that said they had heard of a new type of software that would allow me to do everything I wanted. My customers would now be able to see pictures and profiles of people over the Internet.

Think you might learn something from Mitch Ribak?  Don’t say that “you’re business is different from a dating site“- Mitch has close to 350 reasons that verify that it isn’t.

While he’ll share his online marketing expertise with you at UNCHAINED Orlando, I forgot to tell you that he offers it at the e-homes realty network.  What I haven’t told you is that Mitch is going to give ALL of the Unchained Orlando attendees two follow-up lessons in addition to a $49 gift (I’ll let him tell you about the gift at the conference).

Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















I know what you’re thinking.  Just what have Greg Swann and Brian Brady cooked up now?  Dating sites?  Long-tail pay-per-click?  The Bloodhound Way of listing?  Building a community weblog?  Cold-calling Facebook profiles?  It will NEVER work because I’m a blogger…and the tech guys TOLD me that RE 2.0 works

I’ll say it again, just like Joe Biden. I know you’re secret.  Honestly, I do.

So, here’s the deal.  I share our secret with you.  We were nowhere near the few hundred people we thought might attend the Bloodhound Blog Unchained Online Marketing Conference in Orlando.  We did a lousy job promoting it because we were pretty busy.  As luck would have it, personal implementation of the principles we discussed in Phoenix caused us both to get REALLY busy in our day jobs.  We lowered our expectations and reduced the room size…and that benefits you greatly.

Unchained Orlando will be MUCH more intimate for the attendees.  You’ll have better access to Mitch, Kelley, Sean, Teri, Greg, and me.  You’ll have a chance to bond with the other folks attending to exchange marketing ideas.  I’m toying with the idea of organizing some “mastermind groups” comprised of the people who show up and participate.

We never said we were in this for the money and thank God that our speakers share their wealth so generously.  Here’s the problem with the smaller room:

There really aren’t a lot of seats left now.

With two weeks left, our market is pretty limited; that’s why I’m hitting those of you who plan to be in Orlando.  If you’re going to the NAR convention, the value we offer, for less than a c-note, will yield a much higher ROI than you’ll get from the convention…

…although I LOVE Kool & The Gang.

Click on the PayPal button shown below to get your $99 ticket for BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando on Friday, November 7th, 2008


















When: Friday, November 7th, 2008, 8 am to 8 pm

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, Orlando Airport, 5555 Hazeltine National Dr, Orlando, FL 32812

See you in two weeks!

Related posts:
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  • Real Estate Blogging For Cash
  • “Unless bloggers begin covering school board and city council meetings, major and not so major crimes, serious and not so serious accidents and fires, weather, issues of importance to the few and to the many and issues of little interest to themselves—all this on a daily basis—they will not provide the services now covered by the mainstream press”

  • 57 comments

    57 Comments so far

    1. louis cammarosano October 25th, 2008 11:02 am

      reality bites eh?

    2. Linda Slocum October 25th, 2008 4:13 pm

      I’d love to be able to purchase a good quality downloadable video of this event, including all handouts and Powerpoints, since I can’t be in Orlando. Any thoughts on providing this? No iPhone videos from somewhere in the back of the audience, please… something we can really watch and hear as though we were there.

    3. Mariana October 25th, 2008 4:38 pm

      Hi. My name is Mariana, and I am about to step up onto my soap box. Please join me.

      I am a part of the Re.net. I blog. I play on Twitter … (I am even a part of the elite and enviable “Twitterati”). I throw assorted animals at people on Facebook. I have a MySpace account. I comment on Bloodhound. etc.

      I am a Top Producer (top 1% of producing agents in my area) who gets almost 100% of their new (non-repeat, non-referral) business because of my blogging efforts.

      Our team closed Over $100k in GCI 1st Quarter of 2008 as a Direct Result of Blogging and Our Online Presence that blogging has given us. (perspective: average sales price being about $200k.)

      I am not a “bleeding heart blogger” … nor am I an “IDX purist” … I tend to annoy some people because I am in the business to HAVE a business and have found that I can be abnormally successful doing this through blogging.

      I “get” it.

      If you have been “hoodwinked” or “tricked” then you need to re-evaluate how you USE the re.net (and reconsider how the re.net is using you…)

      If you don’t “get it” yet … then you need some more education… education by people (like Brian) who have become really busy in their day jobs.

      There.

      There is my schpeel to get more people to sign up for this event. No, I wont be there, but I would like a full report of how it goes.

    4. Steven Leung October 25th, 2008 4:50 pm

      > That snake oil you bought? Web 2.0- it was supposed to be the new way to do business;

      Amen to that, a blog is one way of communicating with your target market, a means to an end and not an end itself. There aren’t necessarily new ways to do business, just different ones that are faster and more targeted.

      Most people in the industry talk about how it takes a long time to develop a referral base in any field. And there are a number of ways that combining online and offline communication and help develop that.

      But, unlike real estate, the way you choose to go about your business isn’t about your own personal “highest and best use” — it’s always been about being willing to put new tools in your tool belt and really run with the ones that make you the most comfortable.

      Godspeed to Unchained and opening minds to new ways and avenues of doing business. Debunk myths, challenge assumptions, explore, and understand. The message is simple but the nuances are complex.

    5. Brian Brady October 25th, 2008 5:07 pm

      “But, unlike real estate, the way you choose to go about your business isn’t about your own personal “highest and best use” — it’s always been about being willing to put new tools in your tool belt and really run with the ones that make you the most comfortable.”

      BINGO! Thanks, Steven.

      “I tend to annoy some people because I am in the business to HAVE a business and have found that I can be abnormally successful doing this through blogging.”

      I think it’s because you have a plan, Mariana (and always have had one). Actually, I KNOW it’s because you have a plan because I’ve watched you implement it for the past two years.

      I’d argue that the first part of your statement explains the latter part of it.

      “something we can really watch and hear as though we were there.”

      I’m working on that, Linda; it looks like an audio solution.

    6. Bob October 25th, 2008 7:16 pm

      “2- SEO can be helped but not manufactured.”

      What does that mean?

    7. J Boyer Chatham NJ October 25th, 2008 9:46 pm

      I would love to see a video and the handouts of this event as well. I cannot be in Orlando in early November and thus cannot attend the event. Please consider making this availible online.

    8. louis cammarosano October 26th, 2008 4:46 am

      jim
      I am glad you are interested
      A large part of mitch’s presentation will cover
      How he uses Homegain’s buyerlink to sell all
      Those homes
      I am sure mitch will take the time to call you
      If you are interested

    9. Barry Cunningham October 26th, 2008 6:13 am

      Hey brian…as we spoke last week, I am a Ribak groupie and a raving nut about PPC. It’s simply unreal what Adwords can do and I have seen the difference clearly between the Organic registrant and the PPC registrant on our real estate site.

      But for my own edification and maybe Louis can add some info as well…I have a question.

      If the figure is right, that only 2-3% of agents blog or have working websites, how many would be interested in PPC? Obviously it’s an untapped market but man..agents for the most part don’t want to spend any money.

      I saw one comment on Agenius where the commenter shrieked because she knew someone who spent $600 in a month. OMG..I start my campaigns at $500 PER DAY and then back it down as my quality scores improve. I’m using ONE keyword..ONE and generating over 1,200 click throughs per day and in 3 weeks have roped in 6 buyers to contract. Rest are filling up the pipeline quite well..we’ll have to begin selling leads soon!
      Not bad eh?

      How are we (you) going to get people to grasp the power of this medium or is it the proverbial horse that doesn’t know well enough to drink?

    10. J Boyer Chatham NJ October 26th, 2008 6:50 am

      @Louis – I would be happy to hear from Mitch.

    11. louis cammarosano October 26th, 2008 7:57 am

      @James I can also walk you through how
      Our buyerlink program works on the phone
      If you would like
      @barry as mitch will tell you homegains buyerlink
      Traffic is often less expensive than google
      And converts about 2x that of google
      In addition homegain does all the work for you
      So you don’t have to spend time managing key words
      We also offer a free landing page and check
      Your site everynight to make sure it is working
      So we don’t send traffic to a dead link

    12. Barry Cunningham October 26th, 2008 8:03 am

      Hey mitch..I will try Homegain soon..but understand..we’re not Realtors…we know how to buy adwords and craft our landing pages and keep our quality score up while getting good converting leads.

      We also know how to keep our costs down by working the price. We’ve got it down to as little as 30 cents at times for major compettive key words.

      “homegain does all the work for you
      So you don’t have to spend time managing key words”

      I understand that most realtors wouldn’t have a clue in this regard, but with the tools and resources that we have, it doesn’t take anytime at all for us to maintain our campaigns.

      I would be the first to suggest Homegain to realtors looking to explore PPC. However we’re at a MUCH more advanced stage at this point.

    13. louis cammarosano October 26th, 2008 8:20 am

      barry
      Did you consider
      1 what is your conversion rate on google ad
      Words? If it’s 2x less that homegain’s
      your price is actually 2x more
      2 are you getting all the traffic you need
      At .30? If you wanted more would your price
      Still be .30?

    14. Barry Cunningham October 26th, 2008 8:52 am

      Louis..this is not a Homegain vs. Google discussion. I think the Homegain product is very..very..good. We will be experimenting with it in the future.

      To answer your question we have a very good CTR! Hence the need to bring on more help and sell out the abundant regs.

      Okay since you asked. Tell me if I can get 1,200 CT’s per day for $500 bucks. And those CT’s would be specifically for the SINGLE keyword we are currently targeting. I can’t tell you the keyword in an open forum but we decided to target a specific keyword that we researched and found was delivering “ready to buy” regs..not lookie-loos…

    15. Louis Cammarosano October 26th, 2008 8:59 am

      Barry
      As I noted above, its not just how many clicks do you get for how much, its how many leads you get from those clicks and how many of those leads translate into deals.

      If your price is 30-40 cents but your traffic converts at half the rate of homegain , then your price is really 60-80 cents.

      If the leads you get then convert at half the rate than your price is actually $1.20-$1.60

      Since you just started it would be hard for you to be making an apples to apples comparision.

    16. Mitch Ribak October 26th, 2008 9:02 am

      Hi Guys!

      Fun conversation as always.

      Jim, I would be glad to chat anytime. Just send me an email and we can schedule a time.

      Barry, I was extremely good at PPC prior to becoming a Realtor. I spent have been in Internet marketing since 1996. I’m not a beginner by any means. Before Homegain’s BuyerLink program I was already successful using mostly Yahoo and Google. Our lead capture was around 8% and we were closing our transactions at around 1 out of 40 (that’s without looking up my numbers pre BuyerLink) We were profitable prior to Homegain’s influence on me.

      When Homegain approached me I was not impressed. After all, like everyone, I received a ton of emails and phone calls telling me they could do what I was doing better than I. I didn’t believe any of them but had tried a few failures. After I hung up the phone and realized what the rep from Homegain said, I had to rethink my defensive negative thoughts. At the time I was spending an average of $2 per click. Homegain was offering targeted traffic from .79 to .99 per click. I sat back and said to myself, how can it hurt to try. This was the first pay per click targeted to Real Estate that I had heard about. At the time I was spending $8,000 a month on PPC and receiving 20 leads or so per day (don’t quote me on that number I’m just trying to remember 2 years ago without looking).

      When I implemented my $1,000 test of Homegain I was amazed. My conversion went from 8% to 16% immediately. I do mean immediately…overnight. I tested it for another week or two and the results stayed the same. On top of that, we were getting a higher contact rate ( I don’t track that number it just seemed like we were getting better contacts).

      It took me about two weeks to change my entire budget to Homegain. My only regret with Homegain is that there is more traffic available. I now do not spend a minute a day looking at my Google and Yahoo keywords and traffic. I pretty much spend my entire marketing budget on Homegain as I haven’t found anything with a similar return. If I did, I would use it. I am doing SEO but have just started a few months ago and am only receiving a few leads per month from it so far. I’m sure in the future it should be better. I do blog, although not as much as I should, and to date can only account for one sale from it.

      So why am I a fan of Homegain. Firstly, I’m very experienced and I like the fact that I don’t have to think about traffic anymore. Could I generate the same traffic at a higher price and less conversion using Google and Yahoo…of course I could. I did it for 5 years prior to my introduction to Homegain. That’s why I’m a fan of Homegain. That’s why I spend my almost my entire budget on Homegain’s BuyerLink program.

      I’m always available to chat with anyone about this program. I don’t recommend other companies unless I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been involved with Internet marketing and Real Estate since 2002. I’ve spent a fortune on marketing and systems that have created a very successful Real Estate Company.

      Did I just talk too much? I tend to do that! Have a great day!

    17. Barry Cunningham October 26th, 2008 9:10 am

      This has turned into a time consuming ordeal. I said I like Homegain. I said we are getting great results, and I said for some realtors it is obvious they need to be all over Homegain. I even said I am going to try Homegain. Mitch has been quite successful with it and is living proof. So obviously it works. Not AT ALL questioning Mitc’s experience.

      We are simply getting great numbers (about 15%+ regs from CTR’s) and have gone to contract with a number of them. Bottom line, it’s working, and if it ain’t broke, I ain’t looking to fix it. But …

      I WILL be trying homegain soon so i will have something to compare.

    18. Louis Cammarosano October 26th, 2008 9:32 am

      Certainly realtors can always find better and more cost effective ways of doing thing.

      Indeed Barry may have found a homegrown more cost effective way of doing ppc than Homegain.

      However, its hard for him to make that claim if he has not yet tried buyerlink!

    19. Mitch Ribak October 26th, 2008 9:38 am

      I’m getting ready to go golfing and enjoy this beautiful 75 degree weather today. With all this said, the key to success is not just PPC or Organic or any other way. It’s a matter of all of it. Once I get my Organic generating me enough leads, I would not stop my PPC program with Homegain. I will hire more Agents to keep in line with my 100MPH Marketing system that says don’t give any Agent more than 2 leads per day. If I have 100 leads a day, I need 50 Agents to handle my leads. I’ve grown my company based strictly on lead flow. If I don’t have enough leads, I don’t add Agents. Currently we have 18 Agents, I let 6 go that weren’t following the system, and am generating 25-40 leads per day. As my other programs kick in, I will add more Agents to cover the leads.

      There really isn’t any BEST way. The best way is the way you run your business…if it’s working for you. I’m sold on what I do because it works for me and my Agents. It’s really that simple.

      Have a fun day!

    20. Louis Cammarosano October 26th, 2008 9:46 am

      Mitch makes a great point

      Let’s say in Barry’s example he actually is buying traffic at a lower cost-meaning he is getting his effective cost per converting lead lower than he can get on HomeGain.

      Let’s say for Barry to get more traffic on google, it would cost more than HomeGain, but Homegain’s price would still yield a good ROI, I would think it would make sense to buy homegain traffic.

      Let’s say further he buys all the Homegain traffic and could buy more on Google at a higher price than homegain, but at a price that would still provide a decent ROI, I would say he should buy that traffic too.

      If you start with the assumption that you are not going to pay anything and you are going to live off of “FREE” SEO traffic, as Brian points out you perhaps are limiting yourself.

      You can hold your head up and say you didn’t pay anything for leads, but you may not make much.

    21. Barry Cunningham October 26th, 2008 9:51 am

      Wow…this message was brought to you by Homegain!

      Not sure how this started…but back to my original question…and our regularly scheduled programming…..

      Hey Brian, do you have an idea as to going to get people to grasp the power of this medium or is it the proverbial horse that doesn’t know well enough to drink?

      Please..no more about Google v. Homegain..just trying to get some dialogue going about the overall acceptance of PPC by realtors at large. My question wasn’t and isn’t about Homegain or google.

    22. Louis Cammarosano October 26th, 2008 10:13 am

      Wow-I thought this post had become about how Barry was MUCH (emphasis in the original) more advanced than most realtors :-)

      Barry
      The reason people don’t use PPC on google or homegain, is because it costs a lot of money. If you spend it and don’t have the proper systems in place, you are just throwing money out the window. If a few people do that they will tell everyone what a “waist” of money it is (i’ve seen that spelling often)

      Blogging and SEO on their faces have a far greater appeal than PPC because they are “free”

      When a blogger gets a lead through their own efforts and closes a deal the pride of successful self reliance tends to cause the blogger to shut off other sources of leads, especially paid ones. Such a blogger will go one step further and tell others to swear off paid sources of leads.

      I dare say barry you fell into the same trap-you were successful with your own ppc efforts on google and your pride lead you to believe that you had it all figured out and you were MUCH more advanced than other realtors.

      Once this mentality kicks in – in your own words “Bottom line, it’s working, and if it ain’t broke, I ain’t looking to fix”

      This type of thinking shuts off the type of thinking that allows one to think how can one improve their results.

      Just like the blogger who gets a few “free” deals through his/her blog, and imagines “nothing beats this”!, you also patted your self on the back with your initial ppc success and declare game, set match.

      So I suppose the answer to your question why realtors have not grasped the power of ppc, is human nature and pride. The same human nature and pride that causes all of us to defend what we are doing at the expense of learning what others are doing that might help us.

    23. Mitch Ribak October 26th, 2008 10:16 am

      Still waiting for my wife to get ready to golf. Is it really that hard to do? She does look very cute in her golf outfit thought.

      Barry, I think that there is only going to be a few of us who will tackle any online medium with any vengence. The reason; Realtors don’t like to spend money getting business and if they do, they expect results today. I think when it comes down to it, some people, like us, are businessmen and women. We run our Real Estate business as a business. Others, are Realtors who work with their friends and families for a couple of years and then leave the business because they can’t make it. The final group are the group who have done Real Estate successfully using Old School Real Estate. Peronally, if I had known any people back when I started, I might have chosen the old school real estate model. It’s probably easier. The problem is that only a few Agents in any area actually make a real living doing this. I knew nobody and had to find a way for to get in front of buyers and sellers in a different less traveled arena. I like that most Agents don’t want to take the jump into this arena. The more into it, the more competition we create for ourselves. My goal with The eHomes Realty Network over time is to acheive Internet control of maybe 1000-1500 of us. As a group, following sound systems that work, we will lead the country in Leads and Conversion. We will have a Network of Agents and Brokers following a similar path and all helping each other and referring customers to each other.

      In the end, it still comes down to Agents that run their business like a business. I talk to a ton of Agents weekly and most of them are floundering with no direction. They don’t have a business plan, and if they do, it’s following general Old School Real Estate.

      Ok, my wife is ready. Time to hit some balls!

    24. Brian Brady October 26th, 2008 10:36 am

      “Hey Brian, do you have an idea as to going to get people to grasp the power of this medium or is it the proverbial horse that doesn’t know well enough to drink?”

      I think the people who are coming to Unchained will certainly grasp this, Barry. The demand for the CDs is high, as well so I know that REALTORs want to learn this.

      Mitch will be talking about much more than HG as a PPC provider. Louis is doing an excellent job at “comment marketing”, a tactic he learned at Unchained Phoenix.

      Kelley’s “what to do when Google doesn’t love me” presentation should be equally as good.

      I am thoroughly excited about this session. We’ve rounded out the offering to include strategies that can make you money within 90 days and THAT is exciting.

    25. Barry Cunningham October 26th, 2008 11:37 am

      Brian and Mitch..thanks for your answers. Louis..I think you could use a cold one!..Or two..geez..

      You are WAYYYYY too conclusionary. I don’t want to get into the mecanhics of PPC as it would probably bore most people and I won’t get into the monetization and selection of keywords as indeed far fewer may understand, but you my friend are seriouslymisguided if you are comparing my assertions to that of some puppet in the RE.net.

      Like Mitch said…”some people, like us, are businessmen and women”..who unlike the herd do research, spend money, and seek a relative return thereon and as such my statements are based upon that which I have learned which is compiled of much data and information, some of which you know of, much of which you don’t.

      Since you don’t know my basis and research assessments it is presumptous and erroneous to put me in the same boat as the masses.

      This is not a matter of pride. It’s a matter of common sense. Since you want to have an open dialogue, here goes…..please give me a quote on what it would cost to:
      1.own a single keyword shown only in Broward County, Palm Beach County and Dade County Florida, along with display in the UK, South America and Belgium;

      2. I need a minimum of 1,000 clicks per day.

      3. I also will determine what times of day and what days it will be displayed

      4. I must have the opportunity to change my landing page as I see fit, when I see fit

      5. I want to see my price decrease as the relevancy of my quality score increases.

      5. I also want the flexibility to change the depth of keywords and add additional keywords as we decide to expand our marketing.

      6. I also want the ability to split test various placements and landing pages

      7. I want this for a maximum start rate of 48 cents per click

      8. I want to be billed net 30 with no credit application

      9. I want to be able to gauge who my competitors are and I want to see what they are paying as well

      That’s enough of a start..let me know how that shapes up..and oh yeah…let me know how many of the bl;oggers you have lumped me in with have asked you for this kind of detailed information.

      Like I said Louis, and will continue to say, Homegain is a very good product for those who need it and choose to use it. I support it and will wholeheartedly recommend it. But let’s not go overboard and compare me to the RE.net without having any idea of my capacity to understand the PPC arena.

      Comment marekting..now there’s an oxymoron! Looks more like Comment downtalking…but hey…really doesn’t matter to me. I was merely interested in knowing if realtors would be looking into this as a mainstream activity.

      It wasn’t about who had the bigger….

    26. Bob October 26th, 2008 11:49 am

      I’m a a PPC vet going back to the days of GoTo (which became Overture). The reason HomeGain’s product works is because it is also acting as a filter. The end result should be a higher conversion rate. The key is cost. If HG can deliver the same leads for equal or less, the cost per acquisition will be far better and ROI improved.

      With regard to conversion rates of organic vs ppc, that is not a one versus the other issue, but a function the landing page.

      PPC landing pages tend to convert more because they generally receive more attention with regard to what leads to greater conversion rates. With organic landing pages, most tend to focus on SEO to the exclusion of conversion. they don’t get that conversion is the real bottom line.

      For the average Realtor who has some understanding of PPC, they should try both if they have the budget. Few think in terms of a campaign as focused as Barry’s, so to answer Barry’s question, agents who have the working capital and understand the potential results that both HG and PPC can deliver are interested. Those two factors rule out most though.

      @Mitch and @Louis, I would like to talk to both of you.

    27. Bob October 26th, 2008 11:52 am

      Again, what is meant by “SEO can be helped but not manufactured”?

    28. Eric Blackwell October 26th, 2008 12:09 pm

      Bob, I am not going to speak for Brian on what he meant…but I will give you a little insight on what I will be talking about. Correct Basic Principles. Getting Rid of some of the myths that you and I both know are out there.

      I will not be teaching Controversy 101. It will be sound BASIC strategy. Giving the Search Engines what they want. How they want it and for the reasons that they want it. (But being time efficient in the meantime.)

      Many of the cities in this country are really not that competitive SEO wise. My goal is to help folks in those areas make some gains and get some business using correct principles and sound practices.

      Best;

      Eric

    29. Bob October 26th, 2008 12:18 pm

      Does that mean that you dont know what he meant by “SEO can be helped but not manufactured”?

    30. Bob October 26th, 2008 12:53 pm

      So while Eric says this will be SEO 101, we get a catchy sounding sales pitch with no meaning?

    31. Brian Brady October 26th, 2008 1:09 pm

      “So while Eric says this will be SEO 101, we get a catchy sounding sales pitch with no meaning?”

      I was recapping notes from Unchained. What we learned was that SEO is important and that there are things you can do to enhance you’re efforts. Some tactics, recommended by so-called SEO gurus, like keyword stuffing, are what I would consider “manufactured SEO”.

      Point of disclosure: Bob Wilson is an organic SEO expert, His website, homesalessandiego.com is on the front page of Google for the coveted keyword search terms “san diego real estate” and “homes for sale in san diego”. Ask him how he does it.

    32. Eric Blackwell October 26th, 2008 1:41 pm

      Bob- You (read: folks who attend) will get NO sales pitch from me. Ask the folks at the REW seminar whether what I presented was worth their time and money. I received nothing for going to Nanaimo other than the satisfaction of meeting some great people and developing some great relationships. This is what my expectation is here.

      I would not presume to teach YOU anything. (although I believe I learn something from everyone I meet.) You have been at this a long time and San Diego is a pretty tough market to stay on the top of. Mine’s a bit easier.

      That having been said, what I have been asked to present is more basic content than what you and I might talk about at PubCon. And I am happy to provide. Will it be worth it –even for folks who have been at it awhile and have not made it to the top? Yeah…especially for those who have bought and consumed snake oil. Again it is a limited amount of time and we have to start somewhere.

      For others who attend…I will also be around during the day. Have a question? Shoot. Have a more technical question? Shoot. I am happy to help.

      This is just a way for me to get to know some great people and if I can help someone in these tough times, great.

      Best;

      Eric

    33. Linda Slocum October 26th, 2008 1:54 pm

      Question: Homegain’s BuyerLink runs $1.60 to $2.80 per click for my area, with the lower price levels in not-so-great areas. At what point does the cost exceed the benefit for this program? Seems those in favor of BuyerLink are in lower-cost areas. Also, what about long-tail search terms on AdWords?

    34. Eric Blackwell October 26th, 2008 2:06 pm

      I do need to add one or two more things:

      1) about the REW seminar. That was WELL worth the time. The relationships and friendships made there will last a lifetime. What I spent to get there had a price tag. The relationships/friendships I made do not.

      2) I did think of a couple of things that I will talk about that you are not currently doing. (at least I don’t think you are..) Not sure.

      Best;

      Eric

    35. Mitch Ribak October 26th, 2008 6:54 pm

      Linda – I can’t speak for Homegain obviously, but my guess is if the cities are more expensive, then so are the home prices. The numbers should be all relative. For instance, my clicks for Homegain are .99 but our home prices are averaging around $168,000. I would gladly pay $2 per click if my home sales were averaging $250k or more. I paid that for Google and Yahoo.

      Let’s look at the math. If you have a 10% capture rate and pay $2 per click. Also assume you have a close rate of 1 sale out of 30 leads. Average price is $300k.

      1,000 clicks cost $2,000 = 100 Leads or $20 per lead. If it takes 30 leads per sale, then the cost per sale is $600.

      $300k x .03 = $9,000 with a 50% split = $4,500. Would you spend $600 for $4,500? The numbers still work. Even if it took the average sales rate of 1 lead out of 50 leads. You would be paying $1,000 to earn $4,500 or net $3,500. It’s roughly the same as paying a referral fee.

      I hope that helps.

      Someone in this post said they wanted to contact me. My cell phone is 321-258-4150 and you can email me at mitch@mitchrealty.com.

    36. Bob October 26th, 2008 7:49 pm

      Eric, I wasn’t questioning you and I didn’t say anything about myself. I was just asking what the hell “seo can’t be manufactured” meant.

      Anytime I challenge or question something Brian writes, he gets testy and makes it personal.

    37. Brian Brady October 26th, 2008 7:56 pm

      “Anytime I challenge or question something Brian writes, he gets testy and makes it personal.”

      How so? I don’t follow you, Bob. I answered your questions, acknowledged your expertise, and directed people to ask you how you do it….

      …but you don’t really want to share, do you?

    38. Bob October 26th, 2008 8:00 pm

      Linda, with Adwords, it isnt as much longtail, as its figuring out like Barry did what term or phrase converts the best. PPC can be laser focused with costs better defined and controlled than Buyerlink if you know how to do it.

    39. Bob October 26th, 2008 8:09 pm

      “but you don’t really want to share, do you”

      Brian, I have taught more agents how to rank than you can imagine.

      That pot shot was what I meant.

    40. Brian Brady October 26th, 2008 8:31 pm

      “Brian, I have taught more agents how to rank than you can imagine.”

      Excellent. Will you teach me?

    41. Steven Leung October 27th, 2008 2:47 am

      Hi Bob, I just checked back in on this thread. I don’t know (or particularly care) if you and Brian have a history, but you’re coming across as a bully.

      As a fellow internet veteran, you can’t tell me that this is the first time you’ve heard someone acting in the role of marketing or sales use a technical term with less than 100% precision.

      It’s not their job: marketers market, salespeople sell, and most of the time 85% technical precision is enough. This is not Microsoft or Oracle or any other company with an outbound communication review process.

      If instead of “SEO can be helped but not manufactured”, this was written: “SERP results can be helped but not manufactured”, I don’t think there’d be an issue.

      After all, for any keyphrase worth having, you can’t build a site and be magically given first-page ranking.

      You can influence how search engines evaluate your site and you can buy ads in highly visible areas of a search engines user interface, but you can’t manufacture a #1 ranking (ethically or not, as Brian mentions) for all time because of algorithm changes and many other factors outside your control.

      But you knew that.

      It’s pretty normal for non-technical people to interchange the phrases SEO and SERP results. Folks here have been conceding your point and no one seems to think you’re in the target market for this seminar anyway.

      And, in a 2000-word sales page, I’m not sure how many people decide to focus on getting disproportionally bothered by one throwaway line, but in social media success (which can play a major role in SERP results), playing nicely with others goes a pretty long way towards building relationships and traffic you don’t have to pay for.

      Whether that’s your MO or not is up to you, but since you didn’t use your last name or San Diego in your link text like you have before, it’s safe to assume that you wouldn’t be proud if this thread showed up under a search for your name. In the big picture, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

    42. J Boyer Chatham NJ October 27th, 2008 7:52 am

      you guys really went to town on this thread while I was at the beach. wow, talk about a lively discussion.

    43. Jeremy Hart October 27th, 2008 8:10 am

      Brian, there are few better to learn from in the real estate business than those that will be at BHB Unchained this year, both as presenters AND attendees, and I wish I could make it. I’d encourage you to not throw Web 2.0 on the ground just yet, however; there are some of us that ARE seeing business from our online efforts, and have made those efforts a greater part of our business models for 2009. Mariana’s right – maybe a reevaluation of how you use the Web for business, and how it’s using you, might be in order. The right mix of online and tried and true methods WILL produce results – the real estate consumer has changed drastically in a very short period of time, while the industry has been slow to respond. It’s crucial, in my opinion, that events like BHB Unchained show us how best to close that gap.

      My $.02

    44. Geno Petro October 27th, 2008 8:35 am

      Brian,

      Great post. Wish I could make it Orlando but I’ll have to take a pass this go round. My business ticked up after the BHB Unchained in Phoenix earlier in the year and traffic to my sites definitely increased due to what I learned there.

      Next time, hopefully. Go Phillies,

      Geno

    45. Brian Brady October 27th, 2008 9:25 am

      Hi Jeremy,

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m not throwing out Web 2.0, I’m just not relying on it exclusively.

      BHB Unchained will ALWAYS talk about how to bridge the gap and balance the need for immediate results with the investment for a long-term brand online.

      Go Phils, Geno. Tonight’s the big night.

    46. Louis Cammarosano October 27th, 2008 10:09 am

      Barry

      Thanks for the analysis of your Google ad word spend.

      One thing you are missing is that HomeGain traffic is not like Google traffic.

      Google traffic comes directly to your site from your paid ad.

      Much of Homegain traffic flows through pathways where the user starts at a national map, hits the state they want, finds the metro they want and then the neighborhood.

      In this fashion many users abandon their search, and in such cases our end users never receive that visitor and therefore don’t pay for a “click off”

      Thus the visitor who makes it from the top of the HomeGain funnel to the bottom should be more serious.

      Targeting specific key words on google can cut down on some of the click off-remember if you buy expensive general terms like “San Antonio real estate” and the user clicks on your ad, doesn’t like what they see and clicks off-that just cost you.

      You can try to mitigate this by purchasing more specific “long tail terms” -the problem with these terms is they do not have much volume.

      What homegain does that is different than Google is it:
      -sends traffic FROM Homegain.com which goes through pathways
      -sends traffic from hundreds of partners like USA Today and Earth link much of which flows through pathways
      -does paid search on Google, Yahoo and MSN
      -gets some seo traffic from Google, Yahoo and MSN ; some of which goes through pathways

    47. Joseph Bridges October 27th, 2008 10:18 am

      It is great to finally see a post that doesn’t bash PPC for real estate. My brother and I have been using PPC for well over 5 years in our area and continue to do so even though many in our area wonder why we would given our SEO results. The fact is it predictable, controllable, and produces a very high ROI. We have 1 page on our website that generated in excess of $45,000 in commissions in 12 months from $448 in PPC advertising. Of course not all pages are like that but our PPC efforts product a steady and reliable source of leads that we can count on month in and month out. Plus if you go on vacation and want to pause your efforts you can. I believe that fear of losing money is what keeps most real estate professionals from ever starting wtih PPC. To those who don’t want to start in PPC my brother and I say thanks as it leaves more to the rest of us in PPC land.

    48. Barry Cunningham October 27th, 2008 12:38 pm

      Mr bridges..exactly!

      “One thing you are missing is that HomeGain traffic is not like Google traffic”

      Duh!!

      Louis, I’ll say it again, Homegain is good for agents who are just starting out. It also may be good for other agents.

      We are finding that we can target specific keywords, in specific areas, in specific niches, for a specific price. I know where, when and how each click is generated. I know EXACTLY what they were looking for and no..it’s not long tail stuff. My blog takes care of longtail stuff. We own the long tail in our area. Not concerned about that.

      We simply have a keyword that is laser sharp and means the target is buy ready. It’s that simple…well actually it isn’t..which is my point exactly.

    49. Louis Cammarosano October 27th, 2008 12:40 pm

      Barry
      I’ll say it again, Barry is good for Barry

    50. Barry Cunningham October 27th, 2008 2:48 pm

      louis..I have been nothing but kind for Homegain. I am not sure what you are trying to say…it doesn’t seem to make much sense…but if you are saying I am only looking out for myself then that’s not true.

      Like Bob said above, My criteria is quite defined and it’s very profitable. I don’t, at this time, need such a service. We have to hire more people as it is.

      Is Homegain Buyerlink a good product, I am sure it is. I don’t doubt it. Is it for me or agents like Bob who can manipulate the PPC labyrinth to their own profitable advantage, it at this time does not appear to be.

      However, that doesn’t make the product bad at all.

      Do my comments possibly make other clients think about going it alone v. buying Homegain, I don’t know. All I asked, which had NOTHING to do with Homegain, was the size of the market in real estate for PPC.

      Why don’t you stop defending a product that no one is talking bad about and just talk about the size of the market.

      This was not about Homegain. I just wanted to know what the market size looked like.

      You have a unique perspective since you run a PPC program for realtors..so how bout it…what percentage of agents do you see now using PPC and in the future using PPC?

      And when I say PPC..I could care a rat’s patootie as to which product they are using…I just want to know what the potential for PPC is in this industry.

    51. Louis Cammarosano October 27th, 2008 2:55 pm

      Barry you wrote:

      “Is it for me or agents like Bob who can manipulate the PPC labyrinth to their own profitable advantage, it at this time does not appear to be.”

      Having NEVER used HomeGain’s buyerlink product yourself and having never done a side by side comparision, makes it pretty easy for me to say you are speaking from incomplete information.

      This is exactly the type of criticism you rightly level on others who make broad statements based on incomplete information

    52. Barry Cunningham October 27th, 2008 3:22 pm

      Louis..GIVE IT UP!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!

      i asked you above…which you NEVER answered..can you
      please give me a quote on what it would cost to:

      1.own a single keyword shown only in Broward County, Palm Beach County and Dade County Florida, along with display in the UK, South America and Belgium;

      2. I need a minimum of 1,000 clicks per day.

      3. I also will determine what times of day and what days it will be displayed

      4. I must have the opportunity to change my landing page as I see fit, when I see fit

      5. I want to see my price decrease as the relevancy of my quality score increases.

      5. I also want the flexibility to change the depth of keywords and add additional keywords as we decide to expand our marketing.

      6. I also want the ability to split test various placements and landing pages

      7. I want this for a maximum start rate of 48 cents per click

      8. I want to be billed net 30 with no credit application

      9. I want to be able to gauge who my competitors are and I want to see what they are paying as well.

      Before you go into the “I am Homegain hear me roar routine…give me a quote!

      I don’t care about this product or that product…I give up..you win. homegain is the best product ever, I am wrong, I need to buy Homegain Buyerlink, I can’t live without it, I don’t know how anybody else does..we are all far better off knowing Homegain is in the world and can handle PPC for us all. Feel better??

      Now..calmly, can you PLEASE simply answer the question that began this magical mystical, somewhat nutso ride in to homegain land??

      That question being…You have a unique perspective since you run a PPC program for realtors..so how bout it…what percentage of agents do you see now using PPC and in the future using PPC?

      And when I say PPC..again…I could care a rat’s patootie as to which product they are using…I just want to know what the potential for PPC is in this industry.

    53. Brian Brady October 27th, 2008 3:27 pm

      Guys, I want to step in here. This conversation is best had off of the comments’ section. It’s turned commercial.

      Louis- he’s interested; give him a quote
      Barry- contact him at louis@homegain.com

    54. [...] BloodhoundBlog Unchained [...]

    55. Wayne Long October 28th, 2008 4:19 am

      Bob Said ” The reason HomeGain’s product works is because it is also acting as a filter. The end result should be a higher conversion rate. The key is cost. If HG can deliver the same leads for equal or less, the cost per acquisition will be far better and ROI improved.”

      You hit the nail on the head here IMO.

      There are lots of ways to skin the cat and the buyer link program is one excellent way of doing it :) SEO is another and a synergistic combination of the two may be the best of all worlds.

    56. [...] her FB-mails, you should understand that social media is not about “prospecting”. I’ll discuss best practices for social media marketing right before Sherry, at Unchained Orlando.   It’s about connecting,  not selling.  [...]

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