Blog contributions are provided exclusively from Luxury Real Estate members throughout the world.
Is your 5 Star luxury home website getting lost in the online market? Dress up your website’s description with some stars and step out of the crowd.
Standing out a little more in the search results is a good thing. Click thru rates (CTRs) often are in the single digits or low teens for a keyword phrase. Good descriptions can really bump up your results by encouraging more clicks. In this case, try adding this snippet of code "(★★★★★)" (without the quotes).
Lifetime Achievement Award
The list of nominees are….
Best Brand Integration
Best Industry Networking
Karen Bigos – Towne Realty Group, LLC
Best New Community
One Hanson Place
Best Overall Marketing Package
Best Print Marketing
Best Website Design
Best Website Innovation
Most Impressive Listing
Dixi Applegate - Slifer, Smith & Frampton Real Estate
Kelly Drum – Drum Realty
Lynn Brown Knoop – Carmel Realty Company
Most Innovative Marketing Technique
Courtney Jones – Carmel Realty Company
Outstanding Social Media Savvy
Blogged on 2010/04/06 by Ron & Alexandra Seigel
Courtesy of Apple
Do people need an iPad? No. Is iPad a must have? Yes! Therefore, iPad is a luxury. What makes iPad a luxury is the user experience. It’s tactically interactive. It is eye candy. It is, above all, simple and fun, with endless possibilities of entertainment via the Apps Store. Apple has raised the bar of EXPECTATION in user experience and has thus changed the game.
If you want to gain the competitive edge as a luxury real estate marketing professional, you must become the game changer. Your own website must create an extraordinary user experience and you must provide a superior promise of value as a professional that is newsworthy.
Two days after iPad launched, we had lunch in downtown Santa Barbara across the street from the Apple Store. People were swarming in and we decided to see what the buzz was all about, up close. Dozens of potential customers were gathered around several large tables testing iPads. One freed up and we swooped in to play with it. The experience was joyous; it was easy and very intuitive to use. For fun, we checked out how our website looked on the screen. It looked great. We turned the iPad sideways (landscape vs. portrait), we made the pictures bigger with gestures. We navigated through pages with a tap of the screen, enlarged images and giggled like kids. It was an awesome experience for us iPhone hold outs.
On the cover of Newsweek magazine a question was posed: What is so great about the iPad? The answer was: Everything! Whether or not you agree with its merits, the iPad is a game changer for the competition. On the back cover was an ad for Amazon’s best selling product, their ebook reader, the Kindle. Fueled by the hurricane of publicity that Apple commanded (which is a story unto itself) leading up to the iPad launch, 300,000 units sold in one weekend. This has put Amazon, the market leader in the ebook product category, on notice. They very well may have to settle for the back seat in this market space. The Nook, Barnes and Noble’s “me-too” ebook reader may never recover from a distant 3rd place. Other ebook readers are no longer on the radar screen.
If gaining market leadership is your aim, the power and speed of publicity via social media can completely disrupt the competitive playing field and give you the competitive edge “overnight”. That is, if you have identified an uncontested market niche that you can dominate like Apple, create a new category of service, and thus, create a truly newsworthy story.
Because of Jim Walberg’s focus on a global internet marketing strategy, we are serving Buyers from all over the world. The latest Buyer called from Greece last month.
We have a very focused internet marketing strategy for our San Francisco Bay Area and Caribbean real estate services. In addition, our participation as members of the exclusive Who’s Who In Luxury Real Estate allows us to have all of the properties we represent on LuxuryRealEstate.com - the worlds most viewed website for luxury real estate throughout the world. That one website receives between three to four million hits a month!
So, here is the rest of the story regarding the latest home that we sold in Blackhawk Country Club. You may recall I was in Paris last January speaking at the Luxury Real Estate’s international conference. Just before we left for Europe we received a phone call and immediately picked it up. It was from a man calling from Greece who had found us on the internet and he was looking for a single story home. We happened to have a single story listing in Blackhawk Country Club. ( The key to any of the inquiries from our internet listings is an immediate response. Most of the time we answer the call immediately when it comes in. )
Our new client calling from Greece let us know he wanted to purchase a home for his parents who lived in the East Bay, because he wanted them closer to his younger brother’s family who lived in San Ramon. At first we thought it was some type of a joke. But, as the subsequent conversations continued, he told us he was flying out on a Friday and wanted to complete the purchase by Sunday night. He did exactly as he said. We met him at the home, he previewed it, and he asked us to write up a purchase contract for it. Within just a few hours the transaction had been accepted by our Seller. It just closed escrow several weeks ago.
The added fun to this story is our Buyer was making this purchase without his parents knowing about it. Since it closed escrow, we arranged for new hardwood floors; travertine; bathrooms; window coverings, and interior painting. The Buyer even had ordered very item a home would need and had it shipped to the home; silverware, appliances, linens, towel, outdoor furniture, light fixtures, etc. Everything was prepared for a turn key move in by his parents.
He just flew in from Greece a few days ago in order to prepare the home for a “Welcome Home” party for his parents. He told his parents that he wanted them to join him at a friend’s home in Blackhawk to celebrate the birthday of their grandson. They still didn’t know the home was for them. They arrived, thinking that it was the home of their son’s friend and they brought presents for their grandson. After taking them on a tour of the spectacular home, and having some appetizers and wine, the son broke the news to them that the home was actually a gift to them. They were speechless, and there were lots of tears, and non-stop comments such as, “You should not have ever done such a thing for us.”
This was one of those magical moments that happen from time to time while we are serving the needs of our customers. And, it would have never happened if we didn’t have a laser focused global internet marketing program. Plus, always getting back to the people who contact as fast as possible. Contact me if you ever have questions or need assistance. Until next time…more good news to follow regarding how we are coming out of these challenging economic times…
While recently reading the November 2008 Overseas Property Professional magazine (OPP), I came across great and innovative ideas shared by Lawrence Hefler in the article titled “It’s all in the name.”
Online marketing represents one key element of today’s marketing mix to connect with the highly affluent buyers. Agreeably, Mr. Hefler argues that the marketing mix must adopt a new focus to appeal to the wealthy through “consumer-focused brand marketing” and “relationship selling.” Precisely, the future of branding is about “targeted, objective, and consumer oriented messages that recognize consumer trends and behaviors.”
Above all, consistent service follow-through must become part of the business experience to be expected by affluent buyers and within the luxury real estate business model. Because status also means consistent superior service, superior quality and feeling special, wealthy buyers prefer collecting unique experiences over simply acquiring physical possessions. In other words, affluent buyers wish to collect superior experiences to go with the luxury goods they purchase.
Clearly, marketing in a competitive luxury real estate marketplace is taking a new dimension. Branding your firm and offering superior products is only part of today’s successful marketing mix. Developing superior relationships with and delivering superior service to affluent buyers will establish who the strongest luxury real estate firms are.
By Michael Marquette
From his blog: Should I Buy a Franchise or Go It Alone?
How much is a brand worth when deciding whether to join a franchise? Throughout Australia there are plenty of agencies willing to sell their letterhead and designs to almost anyone willing to pay the money to get it. Real estate names like LJ Hooker, Ray White, Richardson & Wrench, Laing+Simmons, First National, Hocking Stuart and now McGrath are all competing with many others to get the agent-come-entrepreneur’s buck.
To secure the franchise there are a number of requirements – an office in a prominent position is usually one of them. This, in itself, is cause for alarm in a world where the Internet is a part of life and online searches are an everyday thing. Most of us use Google some or most of the time as an Internet search engine, yet how many of us have been to the Google office? Where is their office?
The answer is probably not one person reading this blog has visited a Google office, yet the Google brand is massive worldwide and is a shining light indicating how business will be run, won and lost in years to come.
As you might be able to tell by now, I am not a fan of outdated business models with high fixed costs that hinder innovation. Real estate is becoming more and more an online industry where agents and brokers visit clients or meet at properties – not the real estate office of old. It’s estimated that spending on newspaper property advertising will decrease by around 18 percent this year and the trend is expected to continue.
Our world is changing quickly and it is essential to look forward to how the world might look in five years time before committing to a franchise that might not allow you to best keep pace with the changes necessary to be successful – one of them is to keep fixed costs low!
Michael Marquette is the co-Founder and Director of Marquette Turner Luxury Homes, a member of Luxury Real Estate in East Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Founded on Australia Day 2007 by Marquette and Simon Turner, Marquette Turner is a property consultancy company covering the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria. Marquette has a background in medicine and a large retail and wholesale business. Michael makes some excellent points about the current market. We definitely need to be flexible as luxury markets change. The photo above is from www.flickr.com/photos/danielbroche/2258988806 and it is the copyright of danielbroche.
By Jean-Yves Piton
The classic marketing mix, with its 4 Ps (Product, Price, Promotion and Place), is evolving to meet current global business needs. It now includes 3 more Ps: Positioning, Packaging and People.
Keep in mind that Positioning should not be confused with Promotion. Although advertising efforts are inherently part of both Promotion and Positioning, the latter P mainly focuses on your competitive position within the marketplace and image amongst consumers.
Are you and your firm positioned as “the luxury real estate expert” in the marketplace? You must ask yourself this question to better compete in the global struggle for differentiated products, services and brands.
How are you and your firm’s products and services perceived by your prospects and clients? In essence, your positioning strategy should assist you with your brand recognition in the marketplace.
Your advertising efforts support your positioning strategy, which, in turn, builds your brand equity.
For instance, BMW has used the slogan “Ultimate Driving Machine” for over three decades now, positioning this tagline as the ultimate one in the automotive industry. BMW clearly advertises its passion and talent for top innovation and engineering, which positions its brand as one of the finest amongst luxury consumers.
In fact, Jack Pitney, Vice President of Marketing, BMW North America clearly articulated that: “BMW has carved out a unique niche in the industry by placing a premium on constant innovation and inspiration and this campaign will reveal the company behind The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
To that effect, while crafting your marketing plan you should carefully select your advertising initiatives to reach and appeal to your targeted audience. Your advertisements should unmistakably position you and your firm not just as “a luxury real estate expert” (one amongst many others), but as “the luxury real estate expert” (the best).
Jean-Yves Piton is the Global Services Membership Manager for LuxuryRealEstate.com. He assists Bente Madtsen, the Director of Global Services, in expanding the LuxuryRealEstate.com brand into even more countries around the world. What a great discussion. It’s definitely important to position yourself, through word and deed, as a standout performer. The photo of the blog apartment building is from www.flickr.com/photos/paytonc/925383449 and it is the copyright of Payton Chung.
By Janice Ridge
There are studies that indicate that both buyers and their agents are attracted to online listings that include photos. In fact, when I am searching MLS for a property for a client, I won’t even look at a listing that doesn’t have photos! And I am a real-estate professional! Truth is, most MLS photos are not that good. That’s why most real estate professionals go directly to the agent’s website to see better photos. I imagine the online consumer does, too.
In general, you would think that with the huge marketing opportunity of presenting photos online the quality would be better, but it isn’t. At LuxuryRealEstate.com, we are committed to making our photos stand out. I think we do a great job, don’t you?
But what I want to know is this: Does anyone know of any studies that show that videos on the Internet help to sell real estate? Is this something in which LuxuryRealEstate.com should invest for our members’ listings? Or are you as happy as I am with the quality of the online photos on LuxuryRealEstate.com?
As the Director of Membership & Relocation at LuxuryRealEstate.com, and herself a licensed REALTOR®, Janice Ridge is devoted to coordinating the efforts of all of the LuxuryRealEstate.com membership and Account Managers, so that each of our members is given superior service. Photos are essential for advertising luxury homes for sale, whether in print or online media. I can’t think of a better photographer than Ilya Moshenskiy, the Principal Photographer of Ilya’s Photography. He is one of the finest luxury photographers in the business, and he can bring out the most amazing qualities in your homes. Jim Walberg recently gave some wonderful praise for Ilya’s fine photography. The photo above is an example of Ilya’s work and it is copyright of Ilya’s Photography.
By Janice Ridge
Don’t miss the opportunity to advertise in the August 1 issue of The Wall Street Journal! Here’s what other LuxuryRealEstate.com members are saying about the results from advertising in the Journal:
I received two calls from my ad in Luxury Real Estate’s June 27th Wall Street Journal ad. They were both within one week of when the ad ran. One from Arizona and one from Northern California. Both are genuinely interested and are planning to come down to visit.
Trudy Stambook, Centre City Properties
San Diego, CA
As the Director of Membership at LuxuryRealEstate.com, and herself a licensed REALTOR®, Janice Ridge is devoted to coordinating the efforts of all of the LuxuryRealEstate.com Membership and Account Managers, so that each of our members is given superior service. Print is definitely not dead, and it’s actually a very useful way to reach target audiences. Plus, every Wall Street Journal ad we run is also posted online so it’s doubly useful. Check it out!
By Brian Langhorst
The luxury real estate market place is filled with various companies with very strong branding messages for the corporation. What are you as an agent doing to stand out from the other competing agents in your own company?
Brian Langhorst is LuxuryRealEstate.com’s Membership Manager. He meets members’ unique needs through the dynamic services LuxuryRealEstate.com provides. Short and sweet – just the way I like blog entries! LuxuryRealEstate.com can help you stand out with print and online advertisements in The Wall Street Journal, LuxuryRealEstate.com Magazine and more. The above picture is from www.flickr.com/photos/vieuxbandit/499540173 and is the copyright of vieux bandit.
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