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Why Every Agent or Broker Should Have a Real Estate App

REW IDX App Header

Real estate technology is constantly evolving.

We live in a world that's downright obsessed with smartphones, tablets, and overall screen time.

Yet, mobile apps are still a highly underutilized marketing channel for real estate businesses, often ignored completely in even the most competitive of online strategies.

But they're starting to gain popularity. Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin now have mobile apps.

So it's time for agents to step up and take advantage of this new marketing channel.

Why would agents need an app and a website?

You may ask yourself, "I have an amazing website. Why do I need an app too?"

As a real estate tech provider, we had to ask ourselves the same question. And when we did, we found overwhelming evidence that we should be building apps too, which is why we created the REW IDX App for iOS and Android.

Let's recap the major reasons that convinced us why every agent and brokerage should have a real estate listings app.

Nook Real Estate's REW IDX App

1. Apps Provide a Better User Experience

Remember the main reason your clients are using your technology: They want a convenient way to search for homes.

Therefore, your goal should be to provide potential and existing clients with the best possible home search experience.

And apps do just that.

Apps are Optimized for Mobile

Consider that even the best mobile websites are a compromise. A mobile site takes all of the information from a desktop website and adapts it as best as possible for smaller screens and touch interactions.

The end result is an information-heavy experience, full of detail and distractions.

But because mobile apps are downloaded later in the sales funnel, they can forego a lot of the detail expected on a desktop or mobile site.

Mobile app users don't expect or need to find a home buyer's guide, or company biographies, or detailed neighborhood descriptions.

Instead, people using real estate apps just want to search for homes in the most convenient way possible. That's it.

Apps are Lightweight

"The more functionality you have, the more complicated it gets for the user to understand," said Andy Madan, the lead iOS developer at Real Estate Webmasters.

"This problem exists on desktop websites too but is significantly amplified on mobile devices. Because of size constraints, apps have to focus on what users want or need the most. There's simply no room for excess or fluff."

Without all the distractions required on a desktop or mobile site, real estate apps can focus on the goal of creating the best property search possible for each individual device. Every feature and function is created and optimized for device-specific interactions, and that results in a stronger user experience.

"When we build real estate apps, we intentionally construct every element and consider it within the mobile context. We're constantly thinking about how the user is going to interact with each element on their device and optimize the app for the micro-moments that intuitively guide our decisions. Significant time and care are put into user experience and, as a result, native apps are easier to use and understand than mobile sites," said Andy.

2. Apps Are Stickier, with More User Engagement

87% of millennials never part from their phone. As a real estate agent, that means you can connect with a huge portion of the buying population at any time once they've downloaded your app.

Research by Criteo concluded that apps deliver 2X the new user retention power when compared to mobile web users, and app users are twice as likely to return within 30 days.

Why? The result of superior mobile experiences is better stickiness, loyalty, and conversion.

In fact, Criteo's research of the retail shopping industry concluded that apps have the highest conversion rate out of any online channel. By contrast, mobile websites have the lowest conversion and desktop falls in between the two. Users naturally gravitate away from the poor experiences they have on mobile, even if they aren't consciously aware that it's happening.

commerce marketing insights

But apps have another secret weapon that actually exists outside of the app itself:

Push notifications.

Once a client has downloaded your app, you are free to send push notifications directly to their device—and it's a tool that you should take advantage of.

For example, the branded REW IDX App for iOS and Android can trigger push notifications in any number of ways:

  • New listing updates
  • Price reductions
  • Property recommendations from their agent
  • In-app messages from their agent

These notifications are far more likely to result in user engagement than an email. And best of all, they keep users coming back to the app, over and over.

Of course, more user engagement ultimately results in more closings for you, the agent.

3. Apps Lead to Brand Loyalty & Recognition

Several years ago, Adobe reviewed data from over 600 brands and published their findings on mobile apps and their correlation to loyalty.

The quick summary is that apps are used more frequently and for longer periods of time than mobile websites, and the study concluded that "building a mobile app is a worthy investment as users of mobile apps are more loyal to the brand versus those who just visit the website from their mobile device."

time spent per session

Couple Adobe's research with the "effective frequency" concept, which tells us consumers need to see a brand approximately 20 times before they feel loyal to it, and the increased visibility and usage of mobile apps suggests apps are a fast-track to securing new business (without having to do a thing!).

In the case of the REW IDX App, the app is branded with your logo and colors, meaning your branding will be solidified with your user every time they load up your app.

4. Major Portals like Zillow and Redfin Already Have Apps

A lot of buyers and sellers don't enjoy browsing real estate on the mobile web. In fact, they'll actively avoid it and seek out apps instead. We discovered this behavior during our own formal market research, which will be publicly released later this year.

When the only apps available in a market are from portals like Zillow and Realtor.com, users are practically driven straight to these competitors, who are then given the prime opportunity to secure their loyalty and business for life.

"I use mobile, but not for agents' sites. You get way better functionality on the Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin apps," explained one of our research respondents.

If real estate agents genuinely want to compete with the portals, they need to be on the playing field, at the very least. Mobile apps put agents in the game and provide the opportunity to keep mobile traffic on their own site.

And that's not all...

While brand loyalty, user experience, and user engagement are convincing enough, there are several other reasons real estate professionals would be smart to invest in a mobile app:

  • Demonstrate savvy and innovation
  • Improve company visibility
  • Directly connect with consumers using push notifications
  • Stand out from the competition
  • Show clients you're successful enough to afford apps

At the end of the day, there are a lot of great reasons to invest in a mobile app, and the data outlined above shows us that consumers agree.

How To Get People Using Your App

Now that we know why real estate apps are important, let's talk about how users find apps in the first place. Many real estate agents are familiar with the concepts of lead generation and lead conversion, but they aren't quite as clear where mobile apps fit into those processes.

The answer? In between.

Apps are the perfect lead nurturing tool. Just like drip campaigns or long-term action plans, mobile apps are a phenomenal way for you to keep in touch and maintain a relationship with a buyer until they're ready to make their next move.

But first, you need to get buyers onto your app.

The need for app marketing is reinforced by Google and Ipsos Reid research, in which users were asked: "In which of the following ways have you first become aware of smartphone apps?"

  • 52% - friends, family, and colleagues
  • 40% - browse the app store
  • 27% - search engines
  • 24% - company website
  • 22% - TV

Notice that all of those answers rely on an informant. Someone or something had to make the person aware that the app existed. So, let's talk a little bit about how we do that with a real estate app.

1. Tell People About Your App

First and foremost, agents and brokers need to tell their clients that they have an app!

This sounds obvious, but we have seen numerous real estate agents purchase an app and then never try to promote it.

While they do get a few users here and there, it's nothing compared to the agents who actively push their app out there.

For every potential client you meet, show them your app. Put it in their hands. Download it on their phone for them. Do that, and you're off to a great start.

2. Convert Website Users to App Users

The most obvious opportunity for getting leads onto your app is through your website.

Your leads are already on the website and the app is going to sync data between the two, so it's a natural hunting ground for app users.

Here are a few ideas for converting website users into app users:

  1. Include the download links in your registration auto-reply
  2. Add the official download buttons to a visible spot on the website
  3. Send an email reminder every few months
  4. Include the Apple Store and Google Play buttons in your email signature

Remember, the goal here is to get your website leads onto your app so they can have a superior customer experience.

3. App Network Advertising

How do you get your app in front of people who aren't on your website but already love apps? Advertising.

According to Google research, 47% of people have downloaded an app from a banner or graphical ad within apps. Mobile app advertising is a skill in itself, but it can be extraordinarily effective in driving app downloads. Real estate agents who want to get into this space should look into mobile ads to ensure the best possible audience is being reached.

For Android devices, Universal App campaigns allow you to share your app across the search network, display network, Google Play, and YouTube. Similarly, Apple enables people to advertise in the App Store or within other apps using a couple different campaign options.

4. Search Engine Advertising

1 in 4 app users discover an app through search, and people are searching for apps in the search engines. That's pretty cool because it means there's potential for users to find your app "accidentally" before they know you exist.

In fact, let's take a look at the Google Trends for the search term "real estate app" in the United States:

Google Trends - Real Estate App

People are more interested in real estate apps more than ever and there's no sign of that stopping anytime soon.

The real opportunity for app promotion is in the more generic real estate keywords, like "New York Real Estate." Ranking organically in the search engines is an undertaking in itself, and it's highly unlikely that a mobile app page will outrank big real estate websites, but you can use paid ads to get your app in front of major keywords.

Better still, they can target ads specifically for mobile devices, and geotarget their audience right down to a specific location. As a result, there's a huge opportunity for increasing app awareness through paid advertising.

5. Optimize Your App Listing

In addition to letting people know about your app, it's important that it's easy to find.

Some people naturally seek out apps, while others will be referred by a friend. In either scenario, it needs to be extraordinarily easy for these app seekers to find your app when searching for it or any other related apps.

Both the Google Play and Apple Store allow app descriptions and metadata to be updated. Ensure you have a complete profile that accurately describes your app, including the location that is served, and contains relevant keywords.

You can also make your app easy to find by including it on your website, in your email signature, and in any other location where buyers and sellers might look up your company or contact info.

A Missing Link for Real Estate

Real estate apps are an incredibly powerful means of engaging and building loyalty with users, yet they are missing in far too many agents' online strategies. If you're a modern agent or brokerage who wants to build a meaningful connection with buyers and sellers, and differentiate from your competition, it's time to take a serious look at real estate apps.

There are numerous benefits that real estate professionals can take advantage of, including:

  • Maximize user engagement
  • Increase brand loyalty & recognition
  • Take back portal traffic
  • Create stronger user experiences

Any single one of these benefits is enough to justify the investment, but together they represent a powerhouse of opportunity. If you're ready to differentiate, the next step is to begin drafting your app marketing plan to ensure you're taking full advantage of the benefits, improved customer relationships, and potential ROI.

Does your real estate business have an app? Take a leap forward and learn more about branding the REW IDX App for iOS and Android for your business.


09/18/2018 01:41 AM

How Drive Time Will Change Real Estate (and Make You a Better Agent)

People no longer measure distance in miles or kilometers. We measure distance in time. In this post, we'll explore how this will impact real estate in a big way.

We'll also explain how adding the ability to search by drive time to your REW website will have huge benefits to home buyers and your real estate business.

We Measure Distance in Minutes, Not Miles

Test yourself:

If you were driving to work and your boss called you, would you say, "I'm 1 mile away," or "I'm 5 minutes away?"

If someone asked "how far is it to the nearest gas station?" Would you say, "2 miles down the road" or "5 minutes down the road?"

If someone were looking for a home, would they want a home that's within 30 miles from work, or within 30 minutes from work?

The reality is that we now measure distance in minutes, not miles.

And our world is changing to reflect that. In many cities, digital highway traffic signs are already reflecting how "far" away you are from downtown, in minutes. People aren't interested in how far they are. They're interested in how long it will take them to get there.

What does this mean for real estate?

Fact: Home Buyers Care About Drive Time

73% of home buyers consider drive time to work and/or school a key factor when searching for a home. Other key buying factors are price, beds/baths, and schools.

For a real estate listing, you would never guess the number of bedrooms or bathrooms in a home. And you would never guess which school board the home falls into, or the price of the home.

So why do real estate agents (and their websites) guess when it comes to typical drive time from a home? After all, it's a key buying factor.

It's time to take the guesswork out of buying a home.

What's the Difference Between Real vs. Typical Drive Time?

One crucial distinction to make is the difference between real-time driving data and typical driving data.

You have already asked yourself, "can't I just search Google Maps to find out drive time?" But Google maps only provides real-time data. That's live traffic data, with current traffic or weather conditions.

On any given day, there could be a mattress on the road, a sporting event, bad weather, or a car accident. In fact, there are 28,000 car accidents per day in the US.

It's rare that real-time driving data will actually give you an accurate depiction of a typical day.

The same goes for testing the drive out yourself. How can you reliably know that the test drive you made on a Monday is actually reflective of a typical commute to work?

What home buyers actually want to know when they're making the decision whether or not to invest in a home is typical drive time. That is, what morning or evening commute should they actually expect?

By the Way, Traffic is Getting Worse

It's also important to know that traffic is bound to get worse. Much worse.

The economy is directly correlated with traffic. The more money people have, the more cars they buy. As the U.S. and Canadian economies improve, you're bound to see more traffic.

Add to this fact that in the U.S., the middle of the country is hollowing out. 77% of Americans now live 1 hour from the coast.

And in Canada, the number of people moving to metropolises like Toronto and Vancouver is only expected to increase.

And one more thing: Self-driving cars are coming. Once people don't need to focus on driving in their cars, they'll be able to focus on other things.

If people are able to work in their car, as part of their commute, they're far less likely to care about a short commute time. That means more cars, and more driving.

As a result, traffic will get worse, harder to understand, and more frustrating. You don't want your customer to b e upset and have buyer's remorse thanks to faulty driving estimates they received from their agent when they bought a home.

But we have a solution.

About INRIX Drive Time

INRIX Drive Time provides the typical drive time data that home buyers need.

Through data collected anonymously from 300 million cars, GPS devices, and cellphones, INRIX is able to calculate typical commute time between any two distances.

This has a big impact on how people can search for homes.

Now, INRIX Drive Time comes as an add-on to every new Real Estate Webmasters website. On top of usual search fields like price and beds/baths, site visitors are able to search by homes by specifying:

  • Location
  • To/From
  • Arrival time
  • Desired drive time

The result is a polygon search of all homes in the market that land within that specified commuting time.

For example, you could specify all homes within your desired price range that result in a 30-minute-or-less typical commute time to work.

Imagine how much easier that is than trying to guess which neighborhoods are "close enough" to work.

But beyond providing a much better user experience, Drive Time data actually reveals new findings about real estate, and dispels a few common myths.

Two Real Estate Distance Myths

There are two pervasive "distance" myths when it comes to real estate:

  1. Living physically closer to work results in a shorter commute time than living further away.
  2. A longer commute means more house for your money.

Let's break those down.

Myth 1: Living Physically Closer Means a Shorter Commute

This is a common belief that is easily dispelled. Living closer to downtown can actually mean longer commute times.

Why? Many suburban or less central homes have quicker and easier access to highways. They face less traffic when leaving their neighborhood.

Those who live downtown may actually face bumper-to-bumper gridlock their entire commute to work, making the drive time longer than their counterparts who live physically further away.

Myth 2: A Longer Commute Gets You More House for Your Money

Right now, people pay more money to live physically closer to the city core, because they believe it will mean a shorter commute (myth 1).

But people don't want to live physically closer. What they really want is a shorter drive. We just learned above that closer does not equal faster; therefore, it's also a myth that a longer commute will get you more house for your money.

Dispelling the Myths with INRIX Drive Time

When you search for homes within driving distance, you'll see that driving distance isn't a perfect circle, it's more like an irregular polygon.

This irregular shape reveals there it's quite common for homes to be physically further away, but with a shorter commute and lower price than homes that are physically closer.

With Drive Time search, you get the best of both worlds: you can live further out and save money, but actually end up with a shorter drive time.

Conversely, Drive Time also gives home sellers the ammunition not to have to give a price discount for people to have to drive further in distance.

How Drive Time Benefits Real Estate Agents

Having dispelled the myth that living further away always means a longer commute, you as a real estate agent can help your clients make smarter, more educated decisions, identifying neighborhoods where others may not be looking yet.

And your clients will thank you for years.

Of course, any benefit to your clients is a benefit to you. But how does Drive Time directly help you a s a real estate agent?

1. Show Fewer Homes Per Sale

According to the NAR, it took approximately 100 million showings to sell 5 million homes in 2017.

That's an average of 20 home showings per transaction. As a real estate agent, your time is money. The more you can reduce the number of showings, the more return on investment you get for your time.

How do we reduce the number of showings? It starts with the online home search.

Typically, home buyers search for homes online that match their criteria, and then ask the agents to show them their list of favorite homes.

Then, the home buyer will visit the home, and rule it out. Remember, there's a 95% chance they won't choose that home.

As an agent, your online search tool shouldn't just be finding homes they might like, it should also be ruling out homes they won't like.

By giving your clients the ability to search by drive time, they'll rule out homes that are too far from work, school, daycare, or whatever is most important to them.

You'll be able to reduce the average number of showings down from 20 to maybe 5 or 10, allowing you to do more with your time.

2. Shorten Your Sales Cycle

Here's a typical scenario: The buying couple is down to 5 houses. They want to know what their commute time from work will be to/from each home every day.

The agent tells the couple to try the drive from house A on Monday, house B on Tuesday, house C on Wednesday, house D on Thursday, and house E on Friday.

This adds 5 unnecessary days to the buying cycle.

By Friday, it's possible that house A may not even be on the market anymore. Even worse, the couple could experience a slower-than-usual drive, and change their mind based on an anomalous commute.

Thanks to drive time data, the buying couple can shorten their decision cycle without having to guess the drive time. That means more sales for you, in less time.

3. Win More Leads from Open Houses

At most open houses, the visitors dodge the listing agent as much as possible.

Their belief is often that they don't need an agent until they've decided on a home, as they can simply search for homes online. After all, that's how they found this house.

But now imagine that you could impress them with drive time data, live from the house.

Providing clients with information they can't find online is far more likely to convince them that you should be their agent—compared with handing them your card.

That's what a real estate agent has to do: provide value that potential clients can't easily find online.

And as of 2018, the search portal giants like Zillow and Redfin don't have INRIX Drive Time data—so that's a unique advantage you can offer your clients.

4. Earn More Relocation Leads

Relocation clients will benefit from drive time data more than anyone else.

When moving to a new city, their number one intention is to find a home close to their new job—because that's why they're moving in the first place.

By offering a useful tool like drive time search, relocation clients are way more likely to choose you over the competition, because right away, they can see that you provide value that they can't find elsewhere.

5. Provide More Value

This bears repeating: by having more information at your disposal, you will help your clients make better decisions—which is your primary function as a real estate agent.

Not only does that help your clients, but they're also far more likely to refer you to their friends, families, and coworkers if they had an incredible home buying experience—all thanks to you.

How Do I Add Drive Time to My Website?

Real Estate Webmasters is proud to offer the first widely available implementation of INRIX Drive Time for agents, teams, and brokers.

With every new REW site (both the Vision and Discover), a subscription to INRIX Drive Time means that the drive time home search is built directly into your website.

It's time to:

  • Show fewer homes per sale
  • Shorten your sales cycle
  • Win more leads
  • Provide more client for your clients

To learn more about adding INRIX Drive Time to your Real Estate Webmasters website, visit our INRIX Drive Time page.


09/12/2018 06:58 PM

Custom Work Forecasting At REW - An inside look at how things work

So this month I decided to join our sales manager in a really fun sales contest against our entire sales team. You can read about the contest at this facebook post (please feel free to share).

As I've started to discuss projects (especially large custom projects or upgrades) the subject of the "queue" comes up. IE what is the wait time to get a project started / completed?

People are often surprised by the answer (and that is there is a pretty long waiting list) and someone today asked me to explain why.

Because part of my contest is social media; in the spirit of transparency and because I feel I will be able to reach the most people by putting in extra effort in more robust content that I can then share for the benefit of all, I've decided to write a post about how we look at booked demand (business we have already sold / promised) as well as provide some never before insights into "how it all works" at REW.

My hope is customers will have a better understanding / appreciation for why wait times exist at REW and also I hope to create some urgency and get them really starting to talk about their projects now instead of pushing them down the road a month, or two, or three.

I'm also going to address the inevitable question, "What are you doing about it?"

So here goes, an inside look into the agency / professional services side of Real Estate Webmasters Inc.

With the help of our awesome PMO leader Aayaam Kapoor, I was able to put together a forecast based on demand and capacity and have shared with you this fancy graph to help illustrate the current reality of supply / demand here at REW.

Below on the graph you will see 3 data points plotted on a monthly basis:

1: Month's demand: these are the hours already sold for "that month."
2: Capacity: this is the amount of labor hours we have available from the CORE professional services group for projects.
3: Managed demand: this is the month's demand PLUS the hours we were not able to complete in the previous month.

Let's talk about managed demand. This is what creates the wait list, often referred to as the "queue".

As you can see, September is already oversold by 1,674 hours. This means we have to add those 1,674 hours to October's workload. And of course October has all of its resources sold as well, so this means combined we have 5,512 of demand in that month, but only 3,520 of capacity.

The net result, we "should" be able to complete all the carry over work from September in October, but some of October's work (1,922 hours of it in fact) must now get pushed to November.

November is where we can start making up some ground. In November, only 2,390 hours have been sold (less than our capacity of 4,382), meaning we should be able to make up most, if not all of the "queue" in that month, and in fact it turns out we would only have 43 hours of work we had to push to December.

Make sense?

Now a few points of clarity (before I start making it complicated).

It's not like those 43 hours that got pushed from November to December have been waiting since September (a whole 3 months in the queue). It's more like Septembers hours had to wait until October, Octobers hours had to wait until November, etc.

The reality is, this looks like about a 4-6 week queue which is in fact very normal at Real Estate Webmasters. Once you've waited in the queue for your spot, we generally have all the resources you need available within a few weeks and complete the project shortly after.

Projects less than 100 hours generally take 2-6 weeks to complete depending on size / complexity.

Now here is the problem.... this is all true TODAY!

But it's only September 6th. This means that those numbers will only go up. Every day that goes by is another several orders of tens to hundreds of hours. This means by the end of the month of September, we will likely add several thousand more hours to demand thus adding another 2-4 weeks "at least" to the queue.

In reading this, your first instinct might be to say: Well I don't want to wait, I'll just hold off until things slow down and place my order then. This is a fair enough thought BUT as any long term REW customer will tell you, there has never been a time in our 15 year history where there was not a queue of some kind. So you're actually not saving any delay, you're adding to it.

So can you / we do about it?

There are a few things we can do to help reduce the queue:

1: Borrow resources. We actually have a LOT more programming and design resources than just our agency / professional services group. We have programmers in product development / R & D, data feeds, tier 2 support even sales has a programmer or two!

Of course, borrowing resources has an impact on those groups and their mandates (taking from R & D for instance delays the release of new features that would benefit all customers). So this is not an ideal solution for any significant amount of time. We are currently borrowing some resources to reduce that September number already. We have a large project with a deadline, so we're doing all we can to make that happen. So it's not actually quite as heavy as it looks for September.

2: Hire more people! This seems obvious (and it is). We are actually always hiring great programmers and designers at Real Estate Webmasters. Unfortunately, amazing talent is rare, and our growth often outpaces our recruiting. We're working on getting better, and I do know we have several great candidates, so help is on the way!

3: Encourage you to start planning earlier! This is the big one! It only "seems" like a wait time if you don't factor in / plan around a start date. If you're thinking about doing a big project in January, let's start talking now! You can get your order in well ahead of your desired start date (so you can start on that date) and get your expenses in before the end of the year.

4: Don't wait for a promo. Every year, we have our 12 days of Christmas promotion (we will this year as well) but we will almost certainly NOT be offering professional services as part of this year's promotion. The reason is likely obvious, it makes no sense to increase demand by offering "discounted" hours when there is a multi-month line of people waiting to pay retail.

So there you have it! Insight into the current REW professional services queue as well as a transparent look at how we calculate / estimate wait times for our agency / professional services work.

Any comments / questions or if you want to take me up on my free consulting for the month of September via social media, let me know!

Cheers
Morgan


09/06/2018 04:26 AM

What's New in REW's Second Summer Release

REW is happy to announce our second product release of the Summer. This update includes exciting new features to Discover, the launch of INRIX Drive Time™, improvements to the REW IDX App, and bug fixes to REW CRM.

Here are some of the biggest updates you'll see over the next few days:

New Updates to Discover

We designed Discover to offer the best real estate listing search experience in the business, and that's only improving with our latest release.

So what's new with Discover?

Support for Multiple MLS Feeds

Discover now supports feed switching, meaning your website can feature multiple MLS feeds.

The MLS feed switcher will be available to users both on the home page and the hybrid map IDX page—meaning users can conveniently select their desired feed, no matter where they're searching from.

Discover home page MLS feed switcher

Default Search Settings

Another improvement to the Discover search experience comes in the form of default searches. As a site admin, you are now able to create a default search for your website users. This default search applies to both the home page and IDX search page.

You can now set defaults for: location, property type, price range, beds, baths, sq. ft., lot size, year built, and days on market—so you can feature the most important properties to your business.

IDX Social Connects

The easier you make it for your site visitors to register, the more likely they are to do so!

Discover site visitors can now sign in or register for your site using their Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Yahoo! accounts, which instantly pushes their lead data into REW CRM.

Discover IDX Social Connects

For more information on how to set up IDX Social Connects, visit our Support documentation.

Agent & Team Sub-Domains

One of the most powerful features of the REW platform is the ability to create sub-domains for any agent or team in your brokerage.

This popular feature has been added to Discover, so you can now enable Agent or Team websites from REW CRM.

For more information on how to enable subdomains, check out our Support documentation for Agents or Teams.

Additional Discover Features

But wait—there's more!

We've added a handful of other new Discover features, including:

  • Google VR support for Enhanced Listings
  • Saved Searches now have the option to send to the user immediately
  • Improvements to IDX listing layouts on mobile devices
  • Site logo uploader
  • Community call-to-action styling updates

And stay tuned for more updates, because Discover is only going to get better and better.

Introducing: Drive Time Search

Did you know over 70% of home buyers consider drive time a top factor when searching for a home?

Real Estate Webmasters (REW) has teamed up with INRIX to be the first to bring Drive Time™ to agents, teams, and brokers in North America in our out-of-the-box platforms. Until now, INRIX Drive Time™ has only been available through large-scale customizations that are often out of reach.

What does this mean for you?

Vision and Discover sites now allow users to search for properties based on how long it will take to drive.

With the addition of the Drive Time module, simply enter the location, time of day, and desired travel duration, and the IDX search will return all homes that match the search criteria.

Discover - Drive Time

For a limited time, you can sign up for 3 months of INRIX Drive Time™ for free. Terms and conditions apply.

Learn more about adding INRIX Drive Time to your site now.

REW IDX App Updates

The REW IDX App for iOS and Android is an incredible way to improve your brand recognition, drive engagement, and increase client loyalty.

We've added three new features to our branded IDX apps this month.

Property Notes for Users

Your clients who have downloaded your branded app now possess the ability to write notes about an individual property listing.

This helps your clients to have a better shopping experience, making notes about what they liked or didn't like about a property.

IDX Property Notes

Prices as Markers (iOS Only)

Property markers on the property search map now appear as prices instead of pins on the iOS version of the REW IDX App.

Price markers make for a simpler search experience for your users, as they only have to check out properties within their budget.

Property Images in Push Notifications

Push notifications are an incredibly powerful lead nurturing tool. Users are far more likely to interact with a push notification about a new property listing than they are with an email.

Our newest update adds property image thumbnails directly to property push notifications—helping the user remember that exact property, and making them more likely to check back in to the app.

Property images in push notifications

CRM Updates

The second summer release includes improved search functionality within REW CRM. You are now able to search directly for agents, blog posts, snippets, and pages from those respective sections of the CRM using the magnifying glass.

Finally, this release also comes with a variety of bug fixes to REW CRM that were only possible thanks to your suggestions and feedback.

Thank you for helping us deliver the most innovative products in real estate.


09/05/2018 04:31 PM

Sell me on the App! Customer AMA

At Real Estate Webmasters, we are constantly creating new features and tools. I was recently in a conversation with one of our most progressive and innovative clients Davis Bass from Florida (we were discussing REW's new "Home Search App") and he challenged me with this question:

"Sell me on the App"

As I replied to him, I realized that this was probably a question many folks are going to ask, so I decided to put some additional effort into a more robust response—one that all REW prospects could benefit from. I also realized that part of my answer applied to a much greater subject than the Home Search App.

What came to me as I was responding was that in order to properly describe the advantage of the App (to "sell him" on it) I should speak to why our first core value is Innovation—how we approach it, and how we leverage it for marketing and use it to drive customer engagement.

First and foremost, it must benefit your customer.

Innovation is tied to our 2nd core value: Customer Success. Before we make anything, we ask ourselves, "will it benefit our customers?"

While this can be a very robust conversation, I often start with the most obvious questions / categories to benefit to our customers.

Here are 2 of the primary questions I ask (think decision tree here):

Does it benefit my customer's customer? (For Brokers, their customer is actually the agent, and for agents of course their customer is the buyer or seller)

Or

Does it benefit my customer? (Our customers are broken down into agents, teams, brokers and enterprise customers).

I'll focus on a single persona (the persona of the question) and that is the selling team / brokerage.

In this persona, the majority of revenue is derived from buy / sell sides. Their goals are things like:

  • Lead generation (PPC, SEO, social)
  • Lead conversion (lead to sale)
  • Marketing / brand awareness
  • Recruiting (adding great new team members to their team or brokerage)
  • Retention (keeping their awesome agents)
  • Increasing productivity (saving time by optimizing, automating or eliminating tasks)

Obviously this list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea.

I would also look at my customer's customer: the buyer or seller.

Buyer:

  • Does it help them save time?
  • Does it help them find the home they are looking for?
  • Does it help them stay organized?
  • Does it improve communication / reduce stress?
  • Are they more likely to find the home they want and not miss out?

Again, this list could be far more robust, but in the interest of time (and so I don't lose you) this list should suffice.

Back to the question: "Sell me on the app"

In order for me to make a successful pitch, I need to be able to prove to my customer that there is a true benefit to them if they use it. If I REALLY want to sell them on it, I should also provide some guidance / insight into how they might leverage these benefits into dollars.

So here goes:

The app itself for buyers: For the most part, in its current form, the App is a buyer's tool. It connects directly to our MLS data feed and provides access directly to available inventory in a native environment (iOS and Android).

Buyers will love the convenience of the well-designed interface, map search (Polygon / Radius < note we will likely be adding drive time in the future as well). They will be wowed and excited to show off the upcoming Augmented Reality functionality, and they will love the collaborative tools like notes, listing sorting and more.

And of course, with push notifications, they will be instantly notified on their device (that thing they look at hundreds of times per day) when a new listing hits the feed.

So, back to our list. I think we can safely say the buyers will love / use it.

  • Does it help them save time? Yes
  • Does it help them find the home they are looking for? Yes
  • Does it help them stay organized? Yes
  • Does it improve communication / reduce stress? Yes
  • Are they more likely to find the home they want and not miss out? Yes!

So to sell you at this point I'd say: Your costumers will love this new app that you gave them. And because it's branded to you, you will have constant exposure and be top of mind. Your relationship will be more sticky and the likelihood of them contacting you when they are ready to transact (because of the convenient contact tools within the app) will be much higher. They might even share it with their friends! :)

Now let's talk about my customer bullet points (teams / brokerage)

Lead generation (PPC, SEO, Social): The world has been "mobile first" for a long time now (but clearly not everyone has caught on, that is an advantage to you!). By having your own, fully branded app, you can leverage new / less crowded advertising channels to promote your app and your brand. Because there are so few good home search apps that are "local" in your market (often times none), the competition (and thus cost) is far less to promote through these App-only advertising channels.

You can share, boost, promote through social, and even catch phrases in organic SEO like "home search app Florida." And a bonus / pro tip for all those folks who do NOT prefer apps (the other half of your customers) you are getting absolutely FREE advertising through PPC, because they will see your name come up again and again, but that group won't be clicking because they don't prefer apps. BOOM extra recognition for your brand (see below).

Lead Conversion (lead to sale): The app is tied to the REW CRM (and anything else you have your CRM tied to generally). This means you can watch your customers' behaviour and know the exact time to contact them. Additionally, push notifications and in-App contact features mean they are far more likely to contact YOU vs. someone else when they finally see that home that pulls on their heart strings. If you don't have an app, and they prefer apps, what are their alternatives? Zillow, Redfin, Realtor? A direct competitor? Even if they "were" (or would have been) a customer of yours, if you don't capture them and keep them, they might go somewhere else, especially if that "other app" advertises agents that are not yours.

Marketing / Brand Awareness: I touched on this above, but I will do so again. When you have your own app, every time they see it, open it, or receive a notification, they are being reminded of your brand, helping you be "top of mind." Because let's face it: while we would love ALL our customers to automatically be loyal, this is not the reality.

But now let's talk about the other advantage of the App: if you are first to market with a custom App, (or even if you're just the first to actually market yours) you can leverage it into earned or paid media.

Examples are press releases, newspaper articles, blog articles, social shares, etc. Not only is being the first to get attention GREAT for exposure, it's also great for SEO as well (and we all know how hard it is to get good earned links these days!).

Imagine for a second that you are the FIRST person to bring "Augmented Reality" home search to your area? Headlines like: "It's like Pokemon Go For Real Estate" - "Local brokerage bets big on augmented reality" - "This morning on Good Morning Florida, a local brokerage brings a new way to search for millennials" (begin TV segment).

And what about all the agents that see this? Remember those recruiting / retention bullet points below? EVERYTHING they are reading right now from Inman / RIS / RT and social are all saying "Tech Enabled Teams and Brokerages are going to win."

Do you want to be seen as a leader in tech, or a laggard?

Agents will see you as tech forward and innovative and you will have one more amazing benefit to offer those thinking of joining your team. Are you sold yet?

  • Recruiting (adding great new team members to their team or brokerage)
  • Retention (keeping their awesome agents)

And finally there was Increasing productivity (saving time by optimizing, automating or eliminating tasks): We want to make interacting with your clients as easy as possible. Providing you the ability to engage them through the app & CRM through messaging, texting, push notifications, etc.

You can save time intensive manual emailing / calling and having to go to the MLS to recommend / share listings and in many cases the app & CRM eliminate this entirely by automating these updates for you.

So there you have it! That's me selling you on the App! But not just that, I do hope that I have sold you on our partnership. Our goal is to constantly improve your business and increase both your top and bottom lines by giving you new tools & features that enable your business and give you your time back.

Our thesis is simple: If we can do this for you (our valuable customers) continuously, we should be able to maintain an extremely viable and long term business.

I hope this has helped. If there are any other questions you have of me, I am happy to answer as part of the free consulting September I am participating in.


09/05/2018 01:21 AM

Express PPC Promotion - 3 Months of Free Real Estate Leads (Expired)

Express PPC Promo - Real Estate Webmasters

**Please note this promotion has expired**

A website without leads is like a car without gas.

For agents like you, lead generation comes down to time and investment. You don't have the time to learn the ins and outs of pay-per-click advertising, but you want to know if it's worth the investment before spending a penny.

With Real Estate Webmasters' (REW) new Express PPC promotion, we can free up your time and investment.

What is the Express PPC Promotion?

Three Months of Free Google Ad Spend & Program Fee

When you purchase a Vision or Discover ($5,000 USD) with a three-year SAAS retail contract, we will reinvest the cost of the website into three months of Express PPC.

That's three months of a Google Ads monthly spend plus a 20% program fee—a total value of $5,000—at no additional cost to you.

Industry-Leading PPC Campaigns

We will put our industry-leading proprietary PPC techniques to work for you to get the most out of your free PPC ad spend—attracting and driving home buyers and sellers to your website in the exact moment they are searching for properties.

And Real Estate Webmasters gets results:

Our PPC Clients see stronger conversion rates at lower costs than the industry average:

We perform at240%The industry average conversion rate

at17%the cost

(2018 Google Ads Benchmark, 2018 REW PPC Statistics)

REW's PPC specialists will build a Google Ads campaign tailored to match the needs of your business. You just need to sit back and watch the traffic and leads roll in.

I'm in. How do I get started?

Where's the catch? There is none.

Try 3 months of Express PPC on us, and if you don't enjoy getting 1-2 leads per day, simply cancel your Express PPC program as outlined below*.

But act quickly, as this promo is time-limited to Friday, August 31st at 4 pm PT.

If you have questions or want to place an order, please fill out this form.

A member of our sales team will be in touch.

Please note this promo is for new clients or current clients within the final 12 months of their agreement and not currently subscribed to a PPC program.

*The Fine Print

Terms and Conditions: To qualify for the offer of $5,000 in free PPC advertising, you must purchase the Vision or Discover at retail ($5,000 USD) on a 3-year SAAS contract ($499 USD per month for first 50 users. $10 per month per additional user) and subscribe to our Express PPC program. Monthly payments occur on auto-pay.

Express PPC program includes a monthly Google Ads spend of $1,388.89 plus a 20% program fee. The first three months of Express PPC program will be discounted at 100%—a $5,000 value. Express PPC budget adjustments can be made quarterly. The program can be cancelled with 30-days written notice. (Note re: non refundable)

This offer is available to new clients and current clients not already on Managed PPC program within the final 12 months of their contract.

The promotional period is to consist of three months scheduled to begin:

  • The first week of the calendar month following site launch or
  • 100 days following contract execution (whichever is earliest).
  • This promotion is only available from August 7th - August 31st, 2018.


    08/24/2018 08:35 PM

    3 Ways to Top Zillow with Real Estate Webmasters

    One of the most common questions we receive from our clients is, "How do I become the top-ranked real estate website in my market?"

    Perform a quick Google search for real estate in any U.S. market, and you'll almost undoubtedly see search portal giants like Zillow and Trulia holding the top ranking spots.

    How have these search portals come to dominate the search results? And what can you do as an agent to surpass them?

    Why Do Users Love Real Estate Portals?

    To start, we must ask ourselves why users love portals to begin with. And the answer is simple: users love their intuitive platforms.

    Pull up any real estate listings portal and you're likely to see a "map to the left, listing thumbnails to the right" layout. This listing layout has become the standard—home buyers have come to expect it, and it's become second nature to them to use it.

    Search portal giants have invested millions of dollars into R&D to perfect these platforms, and they're constantly tinkering to stay modern.

    As an agent or brokerage, it can feel impossible to compete with these industry titans.

    That is, until you remember their weakness: portals can offer adequate search technology to cover any market, but they can't offer true hyper local expertise in any individual market.

    And this is a major opportunity for you. At REW, we asked what would happen if we put portal-inspired search in the hands of the real estate industry's top professionals.

    Here are three ways REW will help you dominate your market.

    How You Can Take on Zillow and Win

    1. Recognize search portals as your true competition

    Until recent years, Realtors have measured their success against other Realtors. They've compared their website and rankings relative to their local competition.

    But the game has changed. If you're aiming to truly dominate your market, you have to consider search portals like Zillow as your direct competition.

    Ultimately, search engines like Google want to return the best website for any given search. So don't settle for having the best website relative to local agents. Aim to have the best website you can possibly build.

    Take inspiration from portal IDX technology and then take it to the next level using knowledge that only you have about your market.

    2. Dazzle users with your local knowledge

    Agents and brokers will always have the advantage of being local. As hard as portals like Zillow can try, they will never know what it's like to live in your market—to know every question a local home buyer or seller may have.

    Research indicates that even 75% of millennials would rather work with a local agent rather than an online resource, citing local insight and personal touch as their biggest factors.

    So while Zillow can offer basic information like price range, beds, and baths, brokerages and agents can provide so much more:

    • In-depth, first-hand knowledge of the local market and its history
    • Rich narrative and storytelling about the community
    • Captivating visuals, like 360 photos and videos

    3. Integrate your local knowledge into your search technology

    Returning to what users love most about search portals—the search layout—it's crucial that you leverage your local knowledge into your search.

    To go above and beyond Zillow, start with the side-by-side listings and map search that users love, but then come over the top with far more local information than Zillow can offer.

    For example, are you in a market with heavy traffic congestion? Imagine how useful it would be to allow your site visitors to search for a home based on drive time to work. Zillow can't offer that.

    Do you live on the coast where your clients only want to search for luxury waterfront properties? Then provide that functionality directly in your search.

    Whatever it is that people are searching for in your market, be the site to provide it to them. That's the value of cus tom.

    The only way to beat the portals and their generalized search is to invest in a custom real estate platform that includes an intuitive search layout, but beyond that, allows you to provide the hyper local search experience that users crave.

    Introducing: Discover by Real Estate Webmasters

    Real Estate Webmasters is already known for our best-in-class front end design—and now we've added portal-inspired home search technology to provide an exceptional localized search.

    What sets Discover apart?

    Designed by Real Estate Webmasters' in-house Research & Development team, Discover will help put agents and brokerages back on top of the real estate search game.

    Portal-Inspired Search

    Discover delivers the side-by-side map and listings search functionality that users demand, with the added ability to customize the search to suit your market.

    Beyond the basic search fields, you can add any search field offered in your local MLS feed to give users the homes that search their exact criteria.

    Want even more? Additional data integrations like Onboard Informatics, Inrix Drive Time, or nearby amenities are easily added to your order of the Discover platform.

    Sophisticated & Responsive Design

    Not only is the search modern and fresh, but the rest of the design is too. The frontend looks equally stylish on any device, designed to impress both desktop and mobile users.

    The platform itself is incredibly fast, mobile-responsive, and SEO-friendly—setting the table for search engine success.

    VR and 360 Capabilities

    Discover features the ability to dazzle your users with 360 degree photos, videos, and slideshow options on the home page and enhanced listing pages.

    Nothing impresses a potential client more than giving them a full 360 or 3D walkthrough of their own home.

    Backed by the REW CRM and REW Leads App

    Your lead management strategy should be as sophisticated as your site. The REW CRM and the REW Leads companion app enable you and your team to manage every lead effectively and efficiently.

    Want to see how Discover can be tailored to your market? Contact one of REW's Product Consultants now:

    Interested in Discover?

    Want to provide the best search experience in your market?

    Contact our team now to learn more about Discover.


    08/22/2018 04:55 PM