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Direct Marketing

November 23, 2014

Rich Real Estate Agent, Poor Real Estate Agent

media httpactiverainc qguJq.jpg.scaled500 Rich Real Estate Agent, Poor Real Estate Agent

What separates Rich Real Estate Agents from the Poor Real Estate Agents? Check out this awesome infographic and survey from Active Rain. Lots of striking information in this, definitely worth checking out.

Posted via email from megbarberva’s posterous

 Rich Real Estate Agent, Poor Real Estate Agent

 Rich Real Estate Agent, Poor Real Estate AgentMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing – There Is No Magic Bullet

bullseye 300x200 Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing   There Is No Magic BulletOld school vs. the new school. Traditional marketing methods vs. Social media marketing. Ways of the past vs. the wave of the future. Around the online real estate world, a small debate was going on about the different schools of thought on  real estate marketing methods such as social media and online marketing, and the more traditional routes such as cold calling, door knocking, and direct mail.

Some have quickly taken one side over the other, dismissing the validity of the other point. The “old school” folks cheer on the statement that social media is a total waste of time. The “new school” people think the ones who deny the potential of social media are dinosaurs of the industry that should step aside. I think the the bigger picture here in this debate is that a balanced approach using both old and new methods is necessary to succeed in this market.

Is social media a complete waste of time?  I don’t certainly think so. If you know me, you know that I am a big social media fan, and use things like Facebook and Twitter quite often personally and for my business. I have even signed new clients that I’ve met via social media.

Social networking can certainly have potential to be a time waster, with the virtual farms, virtual mafia, and the penchant to announce what one had for breakfast. Certainly if you spend too much of your time living on Facebook and Twitter, you are not going to get much done in general, or be able to effectively work with your clients. But if you handle your social networking activities correctly (strategically), you can get potentially attract new business through your social media engagement.

It is also necessary to have the right mindset and expectation about the potential business social media marketing can bring you. Connections that you attract through social media can take a long time for them to convert to actual business, much like other internet leads. But if you look at the bigger picture, social networks are a great tool to foster new relationships with prospects by engaging with them and repeatedly be out in front of them.

Through some of the more traditional methods of cold calling, and door knocking, most of the “old school” gurus direct agents to go through their database, sphere or lists looking for buyers and sellers that are ready to make their move RIGHT NOW. And then they’ll instruct them to cross the prospect off the list and move on the the next if the are not ready to do business in the immediate. Where this differs from social media marketing is that you are spending little time incubating those warm or cold leads, and going directly for the hot ones. While this approach may be successful for some, it is not for everyone, and even some prospects find this type of communication a total turn off (Hello Gen Y?).

Both social media marketing and more traditional prospecting methods both have their place in today’s marketing plans.  Cold calling for hot leads can help you generate business that is ready to move right now, while social media marketing can help fill that pipeline of incoming leads that can eventually warm up to actual business too. I believe a balanced approach in your marketing plan is best.

There is no one  marketing method that is the magic bullet. But use any combination of them with the right approach and mindset, and they will bring you new business.

What side of the debate do you stand on? Or what marketing methods have yielded the best results for you? I want to hear from you, so please comment below!

 Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing   There Is No Magic Bullet

 Social Media vs. Traditional Marketing   There Is No Magic BulletMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Happy 5th Birthday Twitter – 5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

5candles1 300x261 Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on TwitterToday is Twitter’s 5th birthday! I am an obvious lover of Twitter. I have been using it for over 3 years , or 3 years, 120 days and some change to be exact. It’s been fascinating to watch over these years how it has transformed the cultural landscape and how it has become the major source for breaking news on events and disaster updates.

I love it and have found it to be a source for business and a great place to market to potential clients. But I do see that Twitter is not for everyone. Many real estate pros still ask, why should they bother with Twitter.  Well in the spirit of Twitter’s 5th Birthday, here are 5 ways you should use twitter.

5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

  1. Use Twitter to listen and interact to your clients and your sphere of influence. You can monitor what is going on in their lives, see what anyone is saying about you, and help them get to know the real you.
  2. Make sure your tweets are something relevant and newsworthy. Nobody much cares about what you’re having for breakfast. So tell them about a deal you just closed, a fabulous new home that listed, or breaking news in your neighborhood.
  3. Drive traffic to your blog and website with Twitter. Just wrote a great post about a hot button real estate issue or new listing? Post the link on Twitter, or better yet, have your most recent blog post get populated on your Twitter feed automatically through apps suck as HootSuite and TwitterFeed.
    80px Twitschervogel01 derived from twitter t.svg Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

    Image via Wikipedia

  4. Make good use of Twitter lists, to help segment and organize those you are following on Twitter.
  5. Use an app that will make your tweeting life easier. My all-time favorite that I use is HootSuite. You can schedule tweets, organize your twitter streams by lists into different columns, as well as analytics and tracking of links you broadcast. Not only that but you can use HootSuite to manage multiple networks. TweetDeck is another app that has similar capabilites, but not browser based.
 Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on Twitter

 Happy 5th Birthday Twitter   5 Things You Should Be Doing on TwitterMegan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Combat Post-Closing Amnesia

remember 300x300 Combat Post Closing Amnesia Referrals and testimonials can be the greatest business booster. And the best sources for referrals are your past happy clients. The problem is that so many agents haven’t mastered the “keep in touch” once the closing papers have been signed.  And in the coming months and years, if they never hear from their agent again, the happy clients settle in and suffer from memory loss when someone asks them about an agent to assist in buying or selling.

Attention Agents, you need to combat this memory loss! Again, these past clients are your best source for referrals and repeat business, so you must keep in touch. It is super important to have a Post Closing follow up plan. One place that I like to direct my clients to use is The Personal Marketing Co and their ProPower client follow up program. It is what I like to call, “Post-closing follow up made easy”.

The plans from TPMCo include a 5 year follow up option full of postcards and magazines that will be mailed to your clients. One nice touch the program includes: In the first week your happy new home owners will receive a set of labels with their new address as well as a photo “keepsake” of the new home with a thank you message from you. And following that will be a series of postcards and magazines over the next 5 years (23 touches in all). All you have to do is enter your clients in the system, and they are taken care of without a second thought. All this is offered for $25 per enrollment.

Using something like this, along with your online marketing and social media efforts will help keep that front of mind awareness. Hitting them on all fronts will help ensure that your past clients will not suffer from amnesia later when someones asks them for a recommended REALTOR to help buy or sell a home.

You can reach The Personal Marketing Co at 800.458.8245 or online at www.TPMCO.com

Disclaimer: Megan Barber, The BVAS Connection, and Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions is in not an affiliate, not an employee, or not in any way a representative of The Personal Marketing Company. We received no kickbacks or money to promote them. We just like their product/service and thought it a good resource. Please do your due diligence before purchasing or using any product.
 Combat Post Closing Amnesia

 Combat Post Closing Amnesia Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, and owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions. With over 12 years of experience working within the real estate industry, Megan provides top notch real estate support services such as marketing, lead follow-up, social media, WordPress websites, and more. She is also author of VA Mommy and Co-Founder of REVA Academy, a Real Estate VA Training program.

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Announcing our Holiday Mailing Assistance

Holiday Mailing Assistance

Need assistance with your real estate marketing this holiday season? BVAS is here to help!

holly Announcing our Holiday Mailing Assistance

We have reached the time of year that is a great time to touch your clients for the holidays with a token of thanks, gratitude, or good tidings. Not everything is done online. Some people like the more personal approach of a personalized greeting card, calendars and more. But I am sure as a busy real estate professional you hardly have the time to gather all the cards, stuff envelopes, and affix the labels and postage. That is where your Real Estate Virtual Assistant comes in. Send us your mailer pieces and we will process and send your holiday mailer for you in First Class style.

Holiday Mailing Rates

We can order or design your mail pieces depending on your needs. Then send us your mailing list and have your pieces delivered directly to us where we will process and get out in First Class Mail time for your selected holidays.

(Client is responsible for the costs of the mailing pieces, postage, etc.)

Greeting Cards, Letters, or Calendars

  • Ordering Set-up Fee – $45 This is only if you need us to order your greetings for you. Includes helping your find the desired mailer pieces and ordering all the materials needed for us to process.
  • Mailer Processing -$110 per 100 mail pieces (greeting cards or magnetic calendars) This includes folding, adding business cards, stuffing envelopes, affixing mailing labels and postage. Postage and labels costs are additional
  • 1st Class Postage for greeting cards or letters$44 per 100 (or $0.44 per piece)
  • Custom Design from us – $85 design Fee. Printing quoted on case by case basis.

Please keep in mind that materials need to be ordered in time for us to process, by December 10th. Any time after that, additional costs in rush delivery with your vendor will have to be made.

All materials and mailing lists need to be in our hands for timely delivery by the following dates:

Deadline for delivery by Christmas- December 17th.
New Years Day – December 24th

Postcards

  • Custom Designed Postcard – $85 design fee
  • Printing and mailing cost – $58 per 100 4×6 size – $90 per 100 for Jumbo size – Includes full color printing on both sides, addressing and postage.

Deadline for ordering postcards for timely delivery

Delivery by Christmas Day – December 18th
Delivery by New Years Day – December 26th

**Referral Bonus** Refer a new client that signs up with us and receive a $60 discount on your holiday mailing processing order!

To get started, contact us here or call us at 856-896-0318 today!

Don’t spend your valuable time trying to get your holiday greetings out! Let us at BVAS handle your holiday mailings for you!

(Edit)

Need to get out your holiday greetings to your clients and sphere of influence? This time of year is busy enough with shopping, gatherings, preparations and more. So why give yourself the extra work of processing your holiday mailings to your clients when you can outsource to your Virtual Assistant?
Check out our holiday mailing plans here on my website to see what we can do to help you rest easy this holiday season and make sure you make contact to your client database.

Posted via web from megbarberva’s posterous

 Announcing our Holiday Mailing Assistance

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Unique Spring Direct Marketing Ideas

spring forward postcard v1 Unique Spring Direct Marketing IdeasSpring has sprung and it is a great opportunity to reach out and get in touch with your sphere of influence and prospects. So are you in need of some unique “out of the box” direct marketing items or client gifts to send this spring? Here are a few great “out of the box”  ideas to give your direct mail marketing a kick this spring.

The theme here for spring is items that your client can plant, and will be quite memorable.

  • Mail a Tree Seedling- Brought to you by Green World Project… Impress your clients and prospects by mailing them a tree seedling for them to plant.  This company has many options to send different kind of tree seedlings options in different kind of packaging. My favorites are the birdfeeder trees! Prices range from $2.50 a piece to $20 a piece depending on which tree package you want to send.  Green World Project will even manage the mailing part for you for an additional fee.
  • Plantable Shapes- These cool plantable shapes look like little ornaments, and have seeds embedded in them so people can just plan them as is. The best ones for real estate is the one shaped as a house, but you can go with any shape you would like.
  • Flower Stakes  w/ Seeds – The cool thing about these unique flower stakes is, you can put your inprint on these stakes and they already have the seeds attached to them.

So this spring, plant those marketing seeds with your past clients, present clients, and sphere of influence.

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My Favorite Real Estate Print Newsletters

To make their marketing efforts successful, agents want a well rounded marketing program that includes internet marketing avenues as well good offline marketing tactics. One essential piece of an offline marketing plan is a good print newsletter sent to the agent’s sphere of influence or farm.

Newsletters are a fantastic way to put yourself in front of your contacts and provides them with great information. The problem that many agents run into is writing the articles or finding good content to put into the newsletter. Some agents are just not natural writers, and need a little extra help. The other problem is getting the newsletters them printed and mailed, or finding time to do it yourself.

The following are some of my favorite print newsletter resources that provide the content for you, and allow you customize to your branding, etc. Also many of these will not only print them for you, but can mail them to your list for you, or ship them to you to mail yourself.

  • The Personal Marketing Company – They have fantastic looking print newsletters to choose from with different themes. They also give you the option to have them mail to your list for you each month, or deliver for you to mail on your own.
  • Rainmaker Newsletters from Gooder Group -  This happens to be one of my own clients favorites. They provide great content to different kinds of market segments you wish to target. They can mail it for you, or send it to you to mail yourself.
  • In Touch Today – Another company that does fantastic looking newsletters, with great content, and options for customization. They also have the 12 month mailing options, or will ship the printed pieces to you.
  • Sharper Agent – Sharper agent has newsletters that can be sent in an email version or in print. They provide great content, look pretty snappy and you can have them print, or you can arrange the printing on your own (take file to local printer or otherwise). They do not handle the mailing of the newsletters for you though, if that’s what you’re looking for.
  • REA Mark or Sparrow and Jacobs – These two companies are pretty similar and also do some great newsletters. They do not handle the mailing for you, but do do up a nice newsletter for great prices.

Of course, you can have your Real Estate Virtual Assistant help you handle all aspects of your print newsletters, from providing the content, manage your newsletter campaigns with companies like the above, or even handle the mailing services.


Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC,  and runs blogs, The BVAS Connection and The Virtual Perception. Megan has been in a Virtual Assistant for 4+ years and has spent 10+ years doing the “behind-the-scenes” work in the real estate industry assisting agents with their real estate marketing and transaction needs.

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Direct Marketing Ideas for Fall

fall 08 postcard 10sm Direct Marketing Ideas for FallThough internet marketing has taken up the forefront of many Realtor marketing plans, many agents still find success by regularly marketing to their prospects and sphere of influence via direct mail marketing. The ultimate goal is to continually stay in front of you past & present clients, prospects, and farm, so that they remember you when it’s time to talk real estate. So what are YOU doing to stay in front of your sphere?

The Fall is a great time for marketing, with many ideas or excuses for you to reach out and touch your prospects. And it is always helpful to send them something of value, that they would appreciate and hold on to. The following are a couple ideas to get you going on your fall marketing.

  1. Fall Events Calendar – Send your sphere a postcard containing fun fall events going on in your neighborhood or town. Let them know about the hayrides, pumpkin displays, fall festivals, or costume contests going on in your area. And be sure to attend some of those events to meet your prospects and show them that you are not ALL about real estate ALL of the time.
  2. Fall Time Change Reminder – The most popular fall time marketing opportunity is the fall time change reminder. It is a simple thing, but clients appreciate it, and it’s a great excuse to get in front of your contacts.
  3. Winterizing Tips – Homeowners appreciate a good home improvement tip. Remind your clients to keep one of their biggest investments, in top shape. Before the sting of winter takes it’s hold, send your clients a few tips on how to winterize their homes and get ready for freezing temperatures.
  4. Thanksgiving – Sending Thanksgiving wishes seems almost an obvious choice for fall marketing, but I recommend you do it with twist. Use it as a client appreciation opportunity and work out a discount coupon with a favorite local shop or restaurant (local business love cross promotion). To “give thanks” to your sphere, they can bring the postcard to said local business, and appreciate a discount on you. You may even get extra cards printed for that partnering business to display for you.

Do those get your creative juices flowing? Need to know how to implement something like this? Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions has your answer. Let us coordinate your fall postcard marketing with our custom designs and we arrange the printing and mailing for you too!

Announcing our “Pre-Vacation” Special – Order your Fall Time Change postcard from one of our exclusive designs before the deadline on October 6th, 2008*, and receive 10% off the design fees we normally charge. Contact Megan for more details on this and other postcard marketing opportunities.

*Orders received after October 6th for the fall time change are not guaranteed to be sent out in the proper time. Please act fast!


© Megan E. Barber, Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC

Megan Barber is a Real Estate Virtual Assistant, owner of Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC, and publisher of The REAL Advantage E-Zine. Megan has spent 9+ years doing the “behind-the-scenes” work in the real estate industry assisting agents with their real estate marketing and transaction needs.

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Realtors: Thou Shalt Not Rely on Internet Leads Alone

The temptation is there. All these slick internet lead companies are hounding you weekly, telling you that they can promise 100 “scrubbed” leads per month that are ready to buy and sell RIGHT NOW. And for a significant chunk of money, all those “great” leads could be yours. Sure, why not pay that exhorbitant amount for those leads to automatically come to you? Let’s just pull all the newspaper advertising, direct mail marketing and traditional farming and funnel all our marketing dollars into this internet lead company since all these leads will most likely lead to successful transactionsWith the promise of all these hot leads, who needs any other advertising? 

The above scenario is a huge myth and a big mistake in my opinion. Believe it or not, there are agents and whole real estate companies out there that are abandoning their newspaper advertising, direct mail advertising, and farming to sink all of their marketing dollars into the internet and internet leads. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent on fancy websites, lead capture software, search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, and lead generation companies. Real Estate agents and brokers are looking for the next big technology tool that will bring in a boatload of internet leads without them having to do much work to get them.  The problem is that internet leads are likely to cost more time and money in incubating these as leads and abandoning a well rounded marketing plan to solely depend on these internet leads can end up hurting more than helping.

Internet consumers searching for real estate are not necessarily ready RIGHT NOW to buy a home or sell real a home.  For many, the internet is where they go upon first searching homes and feeling out the marketplace. The internet gives them the opportunity to scan ads and do a “drive-by” of available listings without having to leave home. They want to remain anonymous for as long as possible until they are really ready to take the plunge. And even when they do fill out a web form for property information, statistics show that those leads can still take 6-12 months or more before they become active real estate buyers or sellers. I do not believe that the return on investment that many of these internet lead generation companies will convince you of, is as good as they promise.

According to NAR’s 2006 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 80% of buyers used the internet for their home searches. But in stark contrast, only 7% of buyers found the agent they used on an internet site.  40% of buyers used agents that were referred to them by friends, relatives or neighbors and another 13% used an agent they have worked with in the past.

Those statistics affirms my belief that you cannot dismiss the idea of having a well rounded marketing plan that involves not only the internet, but also the traditional farming and marketing methods to your friends, family, past clients and your neighborhoods you serve.  People are more likely to use someone they trust or is trusted by a close friend or relative, not some stranger on the internet that sent them an auto-email. When you continuously market to your past/present clients, friends, family, and neighborhoods through newspaper, direct mail marketing , even email if you can, you will stick out in their minds as the one they trust and the neighborhood expert.

Technology in real estate is ever growing and ever changing and there will always be something “bigger an better” that promises to generate tons of leads without lifting a finger, but they never quite live up to the hype. Don’t fall into that trap. When revisiting your marketing plan think about going back to the basics. Never underestimate the power of basic farming and advertising in your community and service area and watch the leads and referrals roll in.


Warmest Regards
Megan Barber
Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions, LLC
www.BarberVASolutions.com

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Stay Connected

Are you staying in touch with all your past and present clients or customers? It has become increasingly important to make sure you keep in touch with people on a regular basis that can in turn help boost sales and increase referrals. Doing so keeps you and your busniness fresh in your prospect’s minds and you become their “go-to” person when their friends are looking for a real estate professional, or they are ready for that next home.

Kevin Stirtz wrote this great article about the importance of follow up in The Fortune is in the Follow Up.

Need help keeping in touch with your clients?  This article found on Realtor.org illustrates some simple steps to stay connected.  The following is a selection of some of those steps. 1. Call within 24 hours of the closing to congratulate the client on the sale or purchase.

2. Send a thank-you note within one week after the closing thanking them for thier business and emphasizing what a pleasure it was to work with them.

3. Create a binder for the client containing copies of the paperwork, such as contracts, appraisals, inspection reports, warranties, and settlement statements generated during the transaction. They’ll remember you when they have to check this information at tax time.

4. Offer to provide referrals for household services such as plumbers, electricians, contractors, carpet installers, landscapers, or appliance dealers.

5. Send a customer satisfaction survey form two to three weeks after the closing to get feedback on customer reactions. With this you can ask for an endorsement or testimonial letter you can use in your presentation materials and on your Website.

6. Find out if the client has any friends, family, or business associates who might be interested in buying or selling their homes.

7. Set up a client file that includes personal information such as names, birthdays, ages, pets, and hobbies for the client’s family.

8. If you haven’t done so already, add your client to your montly mailing list or newsletter subscription.

9. Enter the anniversary date of the closing into your calendar so in the following years you can send them a greeting card commemorating the anniversary date of their purchase.

(Info provided with the help of Realtor.org http://www.realtor.org/rmotoolkits.nsf/pages/follow03 )

Coming Soon… Barber Virtual Assisting Solutions “Stay Connected” program.  Keep in touch with all past clients and friends with our new Stay Connected marketing program. Send closing anniversary cards, and monthly direct mail campaigns to keep yourself in front of your clients. Call us for more details!

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