| Unchained in Orlando

Posted by John Sabia on Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 10:08am.

This past Friday I drove up to Orlando to attend an all day Unchained Seminar hosted by Greg Swan and Brian Brady. I have been a member of the community online for some time now and it was a treat to finally meet many of the contributing members in person. Along with Greg and Brian were several guest speakers; Sherri Chris, Terri Lussier, Kelly Koehler, Mitch Ribak, John Rowles, Sean Purcell and Eric Blackwell sharing ideas on marketing real estate on the internet, IDX and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Once common thread among the attendees is that we have all embraced the advantages and the opportunities the internet provides and have broken away from the traditional ways of selling real estate. This escape from the chains that bind makes us Greeks (per Greg). If you have veered from tradition, you may be Greek as well, and you are in luck because I took a plenty of notes: The Unchained Epiphany:
  • You are free to thrive
  • You are free to starve
  • But you are NOT free to escape the necessity of making a choice or the result of whatever choice you make
Marketing Real Estate the Bloodhound Way: When asked what we do for a living, typical responses are:
  • real estate agent
  • real estate adviser
  • consultant
  • specialist
  • and the list goes on.....

In reality we are all those things and more, however, a more fitting response is we are "marketers". We market real estate for a living.

We should be Present in the moment, Oriented toward our goals and Purposeful (POP). Most importantly, we should be passionate about what we do and that passion should be transparent from the For Sale signs we use to the marketing materials we create for each listing.

MLS is one of the most underused marketing tools because the mls brochure is a chance to not only describe the benefits and features of a home for sale, but also the opportunity to tell a story about the property or the home-owner. Use photos and videos.

This is a golden opportunity to "speak to the buyer" and take the buyer from their present home and get them excited about the new home for sale.

The MLS property listing brochures are primarily seen by other Realtors. Empower them with enough information to sell the home.

Most MLS listings have remarks for the buyer and a separate remarks section for brokers. Use these areas well.

Fliers are another opportunity to "speak to the buyer". Don't waste this opportunity with photos of the outside of the home. The buyer is most likely standing in front of the house and can very well see what the exterior looks like. They are more interested in the interior and back yard photos.


If you don't have a blog, you need one.

A web-blog:

  • Doesn't have to be perfect
  • Doesn't have to be momentous
  • Doesn't have to be written (video blogs)
But it does:
  • Have to be updated (often)
  • Have to be on-topic
Building a Community through blogging.

What it is:

  • Providing Value
  • Establishing Authority
  • Local Conversation
  • Local Connection

What it is NOT:

  • Business Card Exchange
  • Online Lead Generation System
  • Online Cold Calling
  • Online Door Knocking
  • Growing Links

Getting Started with web-blogging:

Search Google for local blogs in your area to get ideas. Search suburbs and subdivisions. Search often, because new blogs are created all the time. If you find a blog you like, comment on it. Commenting on other blogs with value will lead to other bloggers commenting on your blog.

Google Alerts

  • Set up Google Alerts for your area


  • Tweetscan
  • Tweet solds, listings, community info (from Google Alerts, tweet the link to the news in the community)

Online Forums

  • Local Forums
  • Community Forums
  • Sports Forums
  • Hobby Forums
Its all about connecting
  • People want to know what they write has an impact. Let them know if you are touched by what you read.
  • Find common ground and let them know
  • Build relationships
  • Find Realtor blogs in feeder places for your area

If you are not blogging your listings and sales, you should be. If your blogging efforts are not going toward attracting and working with clients, you are wasting valuable time and squandering your freedom.

Social Media

Social Media began as a platform to meet and congregate. Early platforms of social media were:

  • Dating sites
  • Yahoo IM/ Geocites
  • Yahoo Forums (Groups)
  • IM communities (ICQ)

MySpace entered social media marketing and changed everything.

  • Free advertising supported
  • All about the User
  • Open Access

Social Media evolved into social media marketing whereby an individual or company can use online social platforms to promote a brand and connect with influential customers.

Why Engage in Social Media:

  • It works
  • Connect with past customers
  • Connect with new customers
  • Develop referral/ affiliated relationships
  • Its free (but it is not cheap). Requires a lot of time
  • Your customers are there - (ask them where they are)

Examples of Good Social Media platforms:

  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Meetup
  • Zillow
  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo
  • Activerain
  • Gather
  • Tulia
  • RSS
  • Vlog
  • Google Chat
  • Flickr
  • Sharethis
  • Myblog

Most of these sites allow you to create a profile. Create a profile and make sure it is a good one. Most sites allow links back to your website/blog from the profile page. Every bit of this activity will link back to you, (dropping breadcrumbs) enabling potential clients to find you and check you out. Make sure what you are writing is what you would want to say if you were in front of the person. Remember, the internet is forever.

Using Google Adwords

Google Adwords are the sponsored results you see on Google when you type in a search query and google displays a page of results. Usually these results are at the top and right side of the page. When a user clicks on one of those results, the owner of the ad is charged.

This is in addition to the organic results (usually 10) that you also see on the page.

For more basics on Google Adwords you can search Google's Adword learning center

Google Adword Ads:

  • Have to be concise
  • Have a clear benefit or unique angle
  • Describe an action

Create an ad that is interesting and compelling for something interesting and compelling you have on your site.

Create a list of keywords that are relevant to your ad and your site.

Keyword Selection Theory. Pick Keywords that:

  • Are highly relevant to your ad and your site
  • Have business value - indicate readiness to take action
  • Have high traffic
  • Have low competition
  • Are inexpensive

Your goal with Adwords is to create an ad which is clicked on by users and make sure you are sending the users to a relevant Landing Page. The Landing Page is usually NOT your home page. The Landing Page is the page that is relevant to the user's search and the ad you created. By doing this well you should receive a high Click Through Ration (CTR) which means your ad is being clicked on often by users and the users are satisfied with the page they landed on.

You improve your CTR by improving keywords and improving ads. A high CTR can lead to a high Quality Score which is Google's way of rewarding you for creating relevant ads.

Google is all about the user experience. Is the user being directed to a page that is relevant to their search? A high Quality Score may cause Google to serve up your ad more often even if you are not the highest bidder for the keyword term.

Improve Click Through Rate to improve Quality Score. Improve Quality Score to pay less for the same click.

More about Landing Pages

Landing Pages are:

  • Where you send people from your ad
  • Probably have a goal that can be measured
  • Reinforce the scent trail

Best Practices for Landing Pages:

  • De clutter. Less is usually more
  • Consider removing navigation to unrelated items
  • Keep the main focus above the fold
  • Pages are understandable at a glance
  • Reinforce the scent trail - use the same keywords as in the ad
  • Click on your ad - check to make sure it is going to the right place
  • Win the small battles. Go niche
  • Improve Click Through Ratio (CTR), improve Quality Score and pay less
  • Monitor your campaigns
  • Simplify and TEST

Lead Capture

  • Landing pages can be set up to be city specific or neighborhood specific
  • You should always have some form of capture on your Landing Pages
  • Most agents and brokers just use the site's homepage as their Landing Page. This just makes it harder for the user to find what they are searching and even harder for them to give you their contact information
  • Quality Landing Pages will increase your capture rates (Adwords)
  • Landing Pages should utilize "simple navigation"-allowing users to easily navigate around the site
Forced Registration
  • Requires user to register prior to viewing any mls listings
  • Great for capturing leads
  • Ability to capture enough information to help Lead Conversion Rates
  • Creates a large volume of leads to work
  • Cost per leads (Adwords) potential to be low (higher conversion rate)
  • Business is predictable
Unforced Registration
  • Does not require user to register prior to viewing listings
  • Few leads as a result
  • Leads received are usually good because the user initiated contact
  • Cost per leads high (Adwords) (lower conversion rate)
  • Business is not predictable
Information needed to help convert leads to customers for life
  • Name, email and telephone number (telephone number can be optional)
  • Landing page should be city related to help understand customer's needs. This gives you the ability to set up search defaults
  • Questions such as: How soon are they buying? Do they have a home for sale? Are they interested in financing?
Lead Capture Forms
  • Dream Home Finder
  • Market Analysis Report
  • Automated Listings service
  • Free Home Buying and Home Selling Guides
  • Relocation Packages
  • Ask the Realtor
Lead Capture Summary
  • Good Landing Pages are essential
  • Forced Registrations provides more leads
  • Collecting the proper information will allow for stronger lead conversions
  • Use strategic questions in your Lead Capture Forms
The Step by Step Process and Time Frame of 100 MPH System
  • Lead Comes in
  • Auto Responder email - immediately
  • Lead Assigned - as quickly as possible
  • Thank you Letter from Agent - within an hour of receiving lead
  • Agent sends list of properties - within an hour or two after sending thank you letter
  • Agent places lead into listings update system - upon sending list of properties
  • Agent places lead into database and drip campaign - upon sending list of properties
  • Agent contacts lead - No later than 24 hours after lead has been received
First phone call:
  • Build rapport
  • Determine search criteria
  • Determine time frame
  • Determine why they are moving
  • Discuss follow up schedule
After First Call
  • Redo listing update with proper search criteria
  • Send customer new list of properties - thank them for their time
  • Set call back reminders for follow up
Drip Campaigns
  • Campaigns should not be fluff, they must have a purpose
  • Campaigns should be short and concise
  • Customers are receiving nightly listing updates, you don't need to bombard them with non-stop campaigns
  • Do not overwhelm customers with useless information
  • Monthly newsletter
  • Just checking in letter every 6 weeks
Other Drips
  • School information
  • Important phone numbers
  • Guarantee (if you provide one)
  • Things a Realtor does for you
Phone Call Schedule
  • Follow up phone calls are the difference between getting sales and becoming highly successful
  • Follow up calls are based on customer's time frame
  • If a customer is buying in a year or so - Call once every 2 months
  • If a customer is buying between 6 months to a year - Call once every 6-8 weeks
  • If a customer is buying within 3 to 6 months - Call once every 4-6 weeks
  • If a customer is buying within 3 months - Call them every 3-4 weeks
  • If a customer is buying within 1 month - Call them weekly
  • Adjust schedule to suit customers needs
Search Engine Optimization - SEO Correct Principles & Easy Basic Steps for SEO
  • What Search Engines Want
  • How to give it to them while maintaining your integrity
  • Content should be geared towards users, NOT Search Engines
The Basic Principle - Search Engines Crave Relevance Relevance can be described as:
  • Timely
  • On subject
  • Written by authority
How Does Google Determine Who is Authority?
  • If everyone likes you (especially a site with authority) gives links to you, you must be adding value. Adding value over time creates authority
  • Search Engine spiders can determine quickly if your site is timely. Update often
  • How much text is required for Google to understand if your site is relevant? Not much!
Your site should be Search Engine Friendly
  • Make it easy for the spiders to get to your site and navigate the pages
SEO - Basic Steps
  • Title Tags Essential
  • Appropriate use of content H1 tags
  • Don't keyword stuff
  • Write for the audience, but with SEO in mind
  • Don't worry about domain names
  • Don't worry about how many pages you need in order to rank
The Link Builder's Toolkit:
  • FireFox
  • SEO for Firefox
  • Yahoo Site Explorer for Quick Analysis
  • for a deeper look (new)
  • Josse DeValk's plugins and tools
  • Check rankings manually
  • Avoid automated link builders
Prioritizing Your Time Spend Choosing Online Communities:
  • All online communities / social networks are NOT created equal
  • Are they a competition? Could they be?
  • Value (Quality of Links) (how do they RANK?)
  • Stability (Quality of Community Builder)
  • Growth (Steady flow of new members)
  • Ability to connect to end consumer - either from ranking or via another source of traffic
  • Anchor text control
  • Squidoo - (example of good online community)
  • Realestatewebmasters (REW) (example of good community)
  • BloodhoundRealtyblog (example of good community)
Blogging Platforms:
  • Use them to RANK as opposed to just linking
  • Great for Less Competitive generating terms
  • Create internal links to your blog or profile page by using links on the other internal pages of the platform
  • Follow Terms of Service (TOS)
Using a Blog to Get and Keep Connected in High Places
  • Blog posts on different platforms to gain placing (be diversified, but relevant)
Blogging Relationships:
  • Blog posts on multi-author blogs versus Article Submission
  • Relationships matter in the blog world
Interesting NEW Ways to Build Online Authority:
  • Local Multi Author blogs
  • Online News magazines
  • Online Business Guides
  • Online LOCAL newspapers
Relationships (links):
  • How does Google find Authority Sites? Links
  • How does Google know what the authority is an authority in? Anchor text, on page characteristics of the linking page and domain
  • Does of age of links matter? yes.
  • Does age of domain matter? probably not, however, the age of links pointing to the domain does matter.
SEO In conclusion:
  • Building relationships online over time will be much more rewarding than trying to game the system. Authority takes time to achieve, but if you are caught gaming the system, it takes only a second for Google to respond by de-indexing your site.
IDX - Internet Data Exchange Since I already have an IDX on my site, I did not take notes. From what I remember, John's IDX product uses Google technology matched with the searcher's query to display property listings. For more detailed information, click on John Rowles' name above. In closing, the Bloodhound Unchained was exceptional and exceeded my expectations. I wish to thank Greg and Brian for hosting the event (especially in my backyard) and to all of the guest speakers who made the event the success it was.

John Sabia

11 Responses to " | Unchained in Orlando"

Links to the Unchained: How people attending BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando saw the event | BloodhoundBlog: National real estate marketing and technology blog | Realtors and real estate, mortgage wrote: [...][...] By far the most comprehensive note-taker was John Sabia, a frequent commenter on BloodhoundBlog. His contribution to he discussion is called Unchained in Orlando. [...][...]

Posted on Monday, November 10th, 2008 at 8:08pm.

Gulfshoreslife wrote: Excellent post John! Wish I could have been there to see Eric.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 1:56am.

john sabia wrote: Thanks Cal - It was a great event. Eric did real well.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 2:00am.

Brian Kinkade wrote: John, this is a very nice summary, wish I could have been there too.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 2:18am.

john sabia wrote: Thanks Brian -

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 2:47am.

OCTeam wrote: Thanks for taking the notes and posting them, John. You put in writing things we often discuss, but quickly ignore. The lead follow up is something especially important considering the market we are experiencing. I will be sharing the step-by-step process with my team as a constant reminder of what we have to do to convert leads into closings.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 3:04am.

john sabia wrote: Drew - Thank you. Lead capture/follow up was especially of interest to me as well.

Posted on Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 11:06am. National real estate marketing and technology blog | Social Media Marketing Conversion: You Are Permitted To Get Paid | Realtors and real estate, mortgage and investment news wrote: [...][...] it ain’t so, Joe !  I addressed this topic in my “Ninja Social Media Marketing” session at Unchained Orlando.  I’ll lay it all out in Phoenix, this May.  The truth is that a disciplined plan for [...][...]

Posted on Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 at 4:41am.

Marc Rasmussen wrote: Great post with valuable information John. I am sure I will refer back to it at some point. I am sorry I missed the seminar.

Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 7:51am.

john sabia wrote: Marc, Thank you.

Posted on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 at 9:17am.

Kevin Sandridge wrote: John - this is a phenomenal list of what "went down" at Bloodhound Unchained Orlando! I'll be printing this off to use as sort of "to do" list for sure!

Posted on Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 9:45pm.

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