Placester Interview, Part 2: RE/MAX’s Carrie Klein on Building an Online Presence
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Setting up an exhaustive, all-encompassing real estate marketing strategy takes time, as RE/MAX Heritage Real Estate Owner and Director of Marketing Carrie Klein noted in the first part of our interview with her. That’s why she helps empower her team of agents by providing them with ample training and daily guidance.
Check out the second half of our conversation with Klein below, in which she details the specific marketing activities that take her brand’s online presence — and those of her team members — to new heights, and her general real estate marketing philosophy that she keeps in mind when aiding her agents.
Placester: How do you infuse email marketing into your real estate marketing strategy? Does that play some kind of role in promotion of your brand and listings?
Klein: We do. It’s mostly broker-to-broker-based, but it’s sometimes also to our lead and client base. It depends on the message. Pre- and post-closing thank-yous are something we send out routinely as well as print thank-you notes. But the bulk of our email marketing is to ensure our agents’ community is seeing their listings in the best possible light and a way for our agents to keep in touch with fellow agents in our community.
Placester: Do you make a concerted effort to get real estate reviews and testimonials from your clients? We imagine those are extremely beneficial in the luxury space.
Klein: Most of the ones we secure we post to Zillow and then we pull them and put them on the website or individual marketing pieces. We use them in a number of spaces, and that’s something our marketing assistant does at the end of closing for each of our team’s transactions. She sends an email that has a link to post a review on Zillow and we’ve used that because it’s not anything a client will do themselves and we don’t interact with what they say. We view that as a legitimate source of a review: getting clients to make their own comments about our services. As of today, we have over 60 reviews, and that’s only since we started doing our new form of testimonials we started a few years back.
Placester: What’s your general online marketing philosophy as it pertains to keeping up with the latest emerging marketing activities and tech tools? How do you ensure you and your team stay up-to-date to continually enhance their digital presence?
Klein: That’s important to us. We do an office training a couple times a year: one with me where I’ll break down a tool. Specifically, when RE/MAX INTEGRA launched with Placester, we did a full day of training, and I said to my team, ‘Here’s a specific list of things I want you to bring to class.’ They had to spend time with me and I made it around to everybody to make sure they were able to set up and optimize their sites in a way that they were comfortable.
I’ll break something down at a granular level to make sure everyone has an organized workflow and system for utilizing this modern real estate marketing tool.
Some of my agents had zero web design and site use experience, so just understanding the modules was something we had to focus on. I noted to them how to size their header images accordingly before uploading them so everything visually looks great on their sites. That’s just one example, though, of when I’ll break something down at a granular level to make sure everyone has an organized workflow and system for utilizing this modern real estate marketing tool.
Klein and her team on location for a listing video shoot
Placester: Tell us more about the workflow you implement with your team, specifically. How do you get them to understand what it takes to be a modern real estate marketer?
Klein: To start, I tell them to make sure they have pictures of the local community. We have beautiful lakes and beaches and parks and lovely downtown shops, and I say to them how important it is to have these visuals that paint a picture of the area for our audience. I said, “If you’re going to take photos, have a license. You can’t just go on Google and find a photo because a photographer has a license for that!” It’s things like that they’ve never run across.
I also teach them how to write and store their website content so they can easily copy-paste it into their sites with ease and minimal effort and how to add social media links to their sites. So we basically have needed to cover the digital marketing basics so [my team] knows the dos and don’ts. I’ve told them, “If you have all of these things in a document, you can streamline your digital marketing and complete your responsibilities much faster.” We’ve now got beginner and advanced agents in terms of marketing, so our overviews have helped.
People would constantly ask, “How do I get onto Google? How do I get onto the first page?” And I’d say, “Well, it’s not an exact science. Sometimes, it takes time.” But our sites do tend to show up pretty quickly.
This all leads into the SEO conversations, which was my second big class I ever conducted: SEO writing and finding phrases that are searchable for each property and how to build them into the titles for each website page and teaching my team how that works proved very helpful because people would constantly ask, ‘How do I get onto Google? How do I get onto the first page?’ And I’d say, ‘Well, it’s not an exact science. Sometimes, it takes time.’ But our sites do tend to show up pretty quickly. Our Placester sites are very efficient, so that if our agents have set up their sites appropriately, and they’ve got those core keywords in there, they usually come up on Google within a couple of weeks or less. So that’s not a step to be overlooked.
The last thing we talked about in training was what to do with the blog and for the folks that do have videos. I think most of my agents have done something similar to the Greenwich Spaces site. … Some people have dabbled in writing things that are area-specific, and so I’ve suggested doing things like seasonal. We’re coming up on spring, for instance, so I tell them it’s time to start thinking about getting ready for content for that season. Last summer, we talked about the best beaches to watch fireworks.
We talk about ways to engage with our community and then post that content on social media instead of sharing others’ content. When you do that, you’re driving traffic to someone else’s site when you could be driving traffic to your site, so I’m constantly teaching my team how to keep the traffic coming back to them.
The other portion is learning. I try to go to the New York convention when it comes around and that invariably leads me down some other marketing technology training path. Using the tools and figuring out what’s working best for us. Right now, for instance, I’m learning Google AdWords and doing interactive ads and rich media and video ads, and there’s some really spectacular work that you see … so I’m just starting to skim the surface of that and learn how to do that without spending a fortune.
Placester: Is there one piece of advice or takeaway you have for fellow agents, including fellow RE/MAX INTEGRA agents across North America, regarding how to make the most of their online presence, including Placester?
Klein: I’d simply say to have a plan. I think a lot of folks just dive right in and they haven’t given any thought or research to how they want their sites to be organized, so sometimes it can feel a little slapdash. I know Dolly Lenz uses Placester — one of the top-five Manhattan brokers — and so I think that looking at other people successfully using the platform and seeing what they do specifically can help them say, “That’s what I want to do — that will really help me. How can I make that my own?” Asking those questions and having an outline regarding their specific market niches, like their specialities, they need to make sure there’s some information on their sites that sets them apart from other agents and brokers. I tell my agents to have community pages that show this is really a community that you live in and love and understand. Having that kind of content to put together takes time.
Think of how you can be the most helpful and offer the most engaging site for your leads and clients so they don’t have to root through everything and they can find information quickly and easily.
Utilizing the IDX and the search and pulling apart what listings you’re displaying is also important. In other words, curate your site. Think of your niche market and the price range you work in and use that information to decide which listings to pull out of the IDX and onto your homepage and listings pages. Think of how you can be the most helpful and offer the most engaging site for your leads and clients so they don’t have to root through everything and they can find information quickly and easily. This is a way to add a more personal touch and provides a reason as to why they have to visit your site as opposed to other sites.
Improve your real estate lead generation on your website and other digital marketing outlets by downloading our free home buyer’s and seller’s guide ebooks and promoting them online.
Brokers: How do you assist your agents on a day-to-day basis? What resources and training do you offer to help agents succeed with their marketing and sales? Share your broker tips and tricks with us below!
Published on May 6, 2016
Written by Matthew Bushery
I’m the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.