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We are in a crazy business!  I’ve tried countless times to organize my daily tasks by doing what the experts say.  I’ve tried writing my tomorrow’s “To Do” list today and not adding to it.  BUZZ!  Didn’t work!  I’ve tried time blocking but with only marginal success.  Yes, I’ll drop cold calls, when a client calls and is finally ready to move forward on something. So, my time blocking gets blocked… don’t you judge me!  The real estate business is just too unpredictable to make these scheduling tricks from the gurus work properly.  We have to deal with last minute snafus like the buyer (it’s always the other agent’s buyer, isn’t it?) with cold feet who won’t show up for closing, the last minute closing package for the 5 pm closing, the termite report that causes the surprise need for a structural inspection, etc, etc, etc, etc.  Time blocking and To Do’s written in stone be damned!

The only tried and true method I’ve found of getting tasks done is the good ol’ handwritten “To Do” list.  Honestly, my list looks like a 2 year old got a hold of it with an assorted box of 20 different pens.  There are tasks written in black and underlined in red, tasks boxed in blue, and tasks astericked in black, and even a drawing of what appears to be Mickey Mouse.  I really don’t know what any of this color coding means, and I wrote it all.  There is no consistency, no meaning, no system, and no method to the madness.  Sound familiar?  (I sure hope I’m not the only one.)

Well, I recently discovered my new 2nd favorite tool (see this blog for my new #1 favorite tool).  This new tool is called Wunderlist, and it is wunderful!  Wunderlist is an online, rolling “To Do” list where you can reorder tasks, add new entries, mark tasks as completed, create new lists of tasks (right now, I have a Work list, Honey Do list, and a Lake list).  Wunderlist allows you to give your tasks deadlines, and any tasks you don’t complete today will automatically roll over to tomorrow.  The program is a cinch to use and very easy to learn.  Wunderlist even has apps for mobile devices as well  Check it out, and let me know what you think about it below in the comments section.  You’ll have it mastered and fall in love with the application in no time.  I need to wrap up this blog now so I can add “fishing” to my tasks for my “Lake” list before I forget.

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You may not know that I have recently started tech coaching Realtors with a local real estate coaching program here in Birmingham.  I coach each agent/student of the coaching program once per month where I teach them how to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, search engine optimization, and email marketing to get leads, maintain communication with those leads, and turn those leads into active buyer and seller clients.

When I meet with a new student for the first time I have them fill out a quick survey to evaluate what level they are on with their tech marketing.  I am amazed at how many Realtors do not blog, do not want to blog, do not understand blogging, and/or refuse to blog regularly.  The most common excuses I hear are “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to blog about” or “I don’t write well/My grammar and spelling stink.”  I struggled with those same excuses for not blogging as well before I started blogging.  Well, today I want to share 3 of the main reasons to lose the excuses and start your real estate blog right now:

1. Google Loves Blogs – It is true that many websites ranked #1 on Google do not have blogs on them; however, I can tell you from personal experience that Google will visit your website more often if you add fresh new content several times per week.  When I started my new website I was lucky if Google visited my site once every 2 weeks.  Now Google crawls my site at least once daily.  So, how did I do it?  I blogged 5 times per week for over a year.  Google learned that my site was a source of fresh new info and it wants to index that information and present it to its users so Google started crawling my site because the information being added could not be ignored.

2. Google Loves Blogs – Blogs are the perfect place to strategically place the keywords that you are optimizing your website for.  Once you post that blog on your site and distribute that blog to the social bookmarking sites (like Digg and StumbleUpon) and Google crawls those sites as well as your site, you’ll start to see your site’s rankings improve.  You will also see your traffic increase as well. 

3. Your Prospects Love Blogs – What better way to establish yourself as the real estate authority in your area than to have page after page after page of relevant expert information on your site?  Answer… There is none!  Consumers turn to the web for info.  Give it to them, and you will profit!

So what are you waiting on?  Go now and add your real estate blog to your website and leave a comment below with a link to your site and most recent blog post.  Real estate blogging is just smart SEO, and it is just too darn good for your business as well.

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I’m almost embarrassed to write this, but I am just recently discovering and using Evernote.  If you are like me a few months ago and you have never heard of Evernote, then let me tell you a little bit about it.  Basically, Evernote is your cloud based storage cabinet, rolodex, receipt manager, tax organizer, word processor, etc.  According to Wikipedia, “Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for note taking and archiving that can be had in a paid version or a more restricted, advertising supported, free version.” Evernote allows you to categorize and store countless notes and items for retrieval at a later date.

 

 

Over the past week, I have used it to declutter my desk.  Yes, I still have a little bit left to do, but this is a drastic improvement over what it looked like before – the only unpapered spot on my desk was the approximate 18″ x 18″ work area immediately in front of my chair.  So, here is how I have been using Evernote to declutter my life, and three ways I believe it can help you do the same for you in your real estate business.

 

 

 

1. Word Processing – Evernote allows users to write blog posts, notes from meetings with your broker or prospective buyers, etc. from any device.  GoogleDocs doesn’t work well on mobile browsers, but Evernote does.  Once you get to a stopping point with the document or you complete it, you can simply save the document and Evernote syncs that document with all of your devices, and your web account.  Pretty cool stuff.

2. File Cabinet.  I store all my monthly invoices on Evernote now.  When a bill comes to me in the mail, I simply take a photo of the bill with my smartphone and send it to Evernote with a tag of the due date.  When bill paying day rolls around, I just search for the month and year in Evernote and all of the invoices I have stored in my account are there for viewing and payment.  I am also using Evernote as a rolodex to store an image of any business cards I receive now.  Take a quick snapshot of the card, upload it to Evernote and give the card right back to the card’s owner.  Some may think that is rude until you tell them politely that you are just trying to save them money, and the environment by using Evernote.

3. Receipt Manager.  I used to save all of my receipts in a desk drawer until tax prep time when I would go through all of them to prepare information for my accountant.  Once I was through with them, I would store them in an envelope inside a box for 3 years only to throw them away later.  Not anymore, now I just take a picture of the receipt and upload it to Evernote, and then throw away the receipt.  When tax time rolls around, I will just search in my receipts folder for receipts from this year.  In addition to freeing up drawer space, I can easily search the tags I entered for a receipt that should I need to return to an item previously purchased.

These are just 3 of the countless ways to use Evernote in your real estate business.  If you have another really cool way of using the service, then please leave that in the comments section below.


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Have you ever stopped to think about why you read and interact on the blogs that you do? Since I am a regular blogger I am always striving to write the one blog that will drive tons of traffic and create lots of buzz in the comment section. Over the past year or so that I have been blogging consistently I have noticed a few patterns in some blog posts that tend to drive more traffic and comments. I decided to share these patterns with you today, grab a pen and paper and take some notes to look at while writing your next post:

Write a Strong Title – I’ve experimented A LOT with titles. I’ve tried funny titles, short titles that make the reader curious, and titles that cut through the bull and tell the reader what the post is about. Hands down, the winner is the titles that cut through the bull. I believe the reason is simple – time is at a premium and readers don’t want to read something they are not interested in. Tell them what the article is about and you will get better read rates.

Be Clear and Concise – Try to keep your real estate blog post to 400 – 500 words. I have found the most opened and commented posts are the ones that share tips, how to’s, secrets, benefits, lists, etc that people can really use.

Go From Point A to Point B – Have a clear message you want to deliver to your reader. Beginning your blog with a question, followed by a short story and then the answer to the question you asked is a good format to follow. Don’t get stuck in a rut though. Mix your format up a little bit.

Be Credible – I know I’ve stopped reading many bloggers’ work because they lost credibility with me somehow. Be you, and check your facts before you post something. It is ok if others disagree with an opinion of yours, in fact it can be good because it will drive interaction. But don’t say anything that can be proven to be untrue.

Comment on Comments – This is VERY important, and you know why. You wouldn’t ignore someone who spoke directly to you while in an almost empty elevator would you? Not commenting or interacting with others is the same thing.

I hope you’ve gained some useful info from today’s post. If you have any other tips about blogging you would like to share, please do so below in the comment section. I look forward to meeting and interacting with you there.

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