This past week I got the email I’d been hearing about for the previous 10-14 days.  Google sent out their new privacy policy recently to all of their users.  The new policy is intended to ease the burden of having a different privacy policy for every single product they offer.  Google also says the policy will help it to better understand your browsing experience.  This means that whatever you do while you are using a Google service can/will be considered when you are searching.  So, whatever you watch on YouTube will factor in to results while you are Google searching.  With this policy change, Google is confirming that your search results are different than my search results. 

Well, what does all of this mean to you and me?  It means we need to separate church and state… well, actually business and personal.  You may want to open a separate Google account for your business for each Google service you use.  So, if you have one Gmail account, and you use that account for personal and business emailing and you use Google for search while you are logged in to that one Gmail account, then your search results will be influenced by your personal emails sent on Gmail.  So, the best thing to do is set up a Gmail account for your business use (if you don’t have one through the server with your company) and a Gmail account for your personal use.  Do this same thing with YouTube, Google Voice, etc, etc.

After you do this, be sure you pay extra special attention to which account you are logged into when you are searching on Google because your search results will be affected going forward.  Remember to keep personal personal and business business.

For the most part you will notice very little change in Google’s services if you follow the tip above.  I know, I know.  We now have another whole set of passwords and usernames to keep up with – which gives me the idea for my blog topic for tomorrow… my tip for unique and easy to remember passwords.  The new policy is part of Google’s way of making their search algorithm more personal and, therefore, tougher to duplicate (sorry Bing!).


I know, by now, you’ve heard of Google Voice, and I hope you jumped on the GV train early and registered your very own Google Voice phone number. I also hope that you’ve set up your Google Voice to ring all of your phone numbers. The fact that someone can dial one number and reach you on any phone number you’ve set up in your account is too cool. Google Voice can sure make your business card much lighter to lift because it won’t have all of that ink for your 3 or 4 or 5 different phone numbers on it. Well, in addition to that really cool feature, here are a couple of other ways to use Google Voice to help simplify your real estate life.
Ad Tracking – Ad tracking is the process of determining which ads are producing results and which ones are sucking your wallet dry with no return on your investment. Google Voice can be a wonderful business partner for you to enlist the services of for this less than dignified, but oh so necessary, task. Google Voice tracks each and every phone call that is made to your Google Voice number. You can access a history for that phone number that will show the date and time for each phone call made to your Google Voice account, whether you or your voicemail answer or not. This way you can determine how many calls each ad is producing you and ditch the ads that are not producing results. Why not save yourself some money and improve your marketing efforts at the same time.
One other benefit of using Google Voice is that you can have a different Google Voice phone number for each of your listings. If you want to track the activity on each of your listings for your sellers then set up a different Google Voice phone number for each listing. Copy and paste the weekly activity into an email and send it to your seller each week to keep her informed of the amount of activity on the house. This one action on your part will make you look like a real estate rockstar (which we already know you are) and it will cut down on the amount of phone calls you receive each week from your desperate sellers wanting to know what is going on with their home. Tip Within A Tip – Replace a couple of the digits from each number with an X before you send the number to your seller. You don’t want your seller calling these people without your knowledge – and you know some of them will do it!
Here’s another tip for you… while setting up your new Google Voice number for each ad or listing, Google will only allow you to have your cell phone number listed one time as a forwarding number. There is a work around to this, however. Instead of listing your cell number as your cell number on each Google Voice account that you own, list your cell number as the home or office phone number for that GV account. This work around will allow you to have your cell number receive calls from as many Google Voice numbers as you want to own.
Ok, start using these couple of tips to get your marketing dollars maximized and your sellers pacified! After you’ve set up your multiple GV accounts, come back here and tell me how smart I am. I love compliments!


So, today I want to do something a little bit different. We go to the doctor annually or biannually for check ups to make sure we are healthy, but we rarely ever stop working long enough to analyze our marketing efforts to see if those efforts need to be on life support or if they are ready for a marathon. So, let’s take a few minutes and give ourselves a social media marketing checkup. Heck, it could (and should) be much quicker and much less painful than that proctologist appointment you had a few months ago.

I’m going to ask you a series of yes/no questions, and at the end I’ll give you a link to my website where the answers and the points associated for those answers are posted, along with your report card. We are short and sweet today, so grab your paper, number it 1 – 20 down the left side and let’s go…

1. Do you have a Facebook fan page for yourself? Yes or No

2. Do you advertise on Facebook to drive more targeted traffic to your fan page? Yes or No

3. Do you post business postings/updates on your personal Facebook profile? Yes or No

4. Do you post photos of your satisfied clients in front of their new home or at closing on your Facebook fan page? Yes or No

5. Do you post testimonials from your clients on your fan page? Yes or No

6. Do you have a personal real estate website? Yes or No

7. Can someone find your website on Google without searching for your name or company name? Yes or No or I Don’t Know

8. Does your personal website have a blog embedded within the site? Yes or No or I Don’t Know

9. Do you blog at least 3 times per week? Yes or No

10. Have you set up your Google Places profile yet? Yes or No

11. Do you have your clients post reviews of you on your Google Places profile? Yes or No

12. Do you use Twitter for your real estate business? Yes or No

13. Do you use Search.Twitter to find leads in your local market? Yes or No

14. Do you have a lead capture form on your website? Yes or No or I Don’t Know

15. After you capture names/emails/phone numbers, do you regularly follow up with those contacts? Yes or No

16. Do you use email marketing software such as Aweber, iContact, etc? Yes or No

17. Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Yes or No

18. Do you use YouTube or another site for video marketing of yourself and/or your listings? Yes or No

19. Do you use optimize your videos for search engines after uploading to YouTube? Yes or No

20. Do you think social media marketing is a waste of your time? Yes or No

Bonus: Do you have a lead capture form on your Facebook fan page? Yes or No

Ok, click this link to go to my website to get your score and your report card. Post your score in the comments section with a backlink to your website – Heck, I’ve gotta give you something in return for giving you a quiz, don’t I?


We all want to have the “Go To” website for our area. We envision thousands of buyers and sellers spending countless hours on our website reading reports viewing virtual tours, and finally calling us to beg us to take time out of our busy schedules to show and sell them their dream home they located using our web tools.
Well, it is not impossible; however, most of us get wrapped up in our everyday real estate marketing efforts to really figure out how we can accomplish the above. The first step in making our dream a reality is determining what consumers want in a website. So here are a few features that buyers and sellers want to find on their ideal real estate website.
1. Photos – I know. I just blew your mind with the first feature of an awesome real estate website, didn’t I? Well, bear with me here because consumers don’t want just any photos. They want lots of really good, high quality photos, Before you upload a photo for your listing ask yourself, “If I owned this house would i want a potential home buyer to see this?” Look at every detail of the photo foreground and background before you answer the question.
2. An Updated Listing of Homes for Sale – Nothing will make a potential home buyer leave a website faster than old, stale lists of homes for sale. you can prevent this by using an IDX type service that automatically and seamlessly will add, update, and delete listings as information is changed in your local MLS.
3. Information – Buyers and sellers want information that they can use when they come to your site. Provide them plenty of reports so they can educate themselves about the buying or selling process at their own speed. If you are their trusted source for information, they will come to you when they are ready. Tip Within A Tip: Blog! Provide helpful information in your blog to assist their learning. Tell about yourself and your local area. Blog about awesome restaurants and local businesses. Tip Within A Tip Within A Tip: Send the local business a link to your blog in an email and ask them to send the link out to their database. Talk about getting that blog post some attention. (Man, this is good stuff, and I’m getting fired up just talking about it).
Ok, now I’ve gotten myself motivated to get out there and do some selling myself, so concentrate on making sure you provide the three items above in enough quantity and quality to keep your web surfing buyers and sellers coming back to your site for more.

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