For those of you who are brand new to the real estate industry, as well as those of you sitting down to go over your business plan for 2011, no matter what “stage” of real estate you’re in, by following the steps below and asking yourself some questions, you’ll see how things “fall into place” for you!!
IDX Solution – if you already have an IDX solution that you’re happy with, this step is done! If not, you’ll want to do some research (that we’ve already done for you!) and check out our newsletter for more details on IDX solutions. Prices can vary and range between $35 for a plugin and $199/mo for a full version.
For those without an IDX solution, most MLS Boards offer a “simple” search for viewers to search MLS listings on your website, wherever your website is hosted. It’s minimal though. You’re better off going with Point2 Agent to use their searches and handshake listings (over 200,000 members listings)
NOTE: Not all agents are able to have an IDX solution…could be the area they’re in, or the broker won’t allow it (check with your broker – if you’re a broker, check with your MLS Board), whatever the reason, you can skip to step 2.
Housing the IDX Solution – This “could” overwhelm you since there’s so many different “website” platforms out there, as well as “open source” platforms such as WordPress, not to mention the websites that IDX solutions provide as well to house the listings and searches.
If you have an IDX solution and are “not” using their housing for your IDX, you’re best off using the “open source” platform WordPress to house your IDX. And yes, you’ll hear about “plugins” and “API”, but I’m going to skip that for now! That’s another post for another day!
For those who do not have IDX, your answer is simple. Point2Agent.com. It has a membership of over 200,00 and they offer “handshake” listings – viewers can still search MLS listings, as well as receive new listing alerts, and you can even showcase listings by type or area – it’s just the members’ listings instead of the entire area MLS listings (and most MLS Boards offer a basic search feature for member agents, but it’s minimal). If you’re a brand new agent with no listings and no budget for an IDX solution, Point2 Agent is the answer, along with the search that your MLS Board might provide.
a) Does my MLS have the syndication for my listings like Point2 Agent does?
If you’ve decided on WordPress for your website and you find that your MLS does not have the syndication like Point2 Agent, then you “need” Point2 Agent. But you can get the standard membership at approx. $20/mo vs the Pro membership at approx. $50/mo. Read An Eye Opening Cost Comparison.
Social Media & Viral Marketing – A MUST-HAVE for 2011!!! If you’re not in the social media realm, you’re missing out on an entire market. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “seasoned blogger”, you can still be set-up for success and slowly get into it. But, yes, you WILL have to “get into it” at some point SOON if you don’t want to miss out on the free marketing you’ll have with just a little finger work!
Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and the like are prime examples of “social media” platforms that offer “viral marketing” free for their members! HOWEVER, in order to work “smart” and not “hard” here, feeds can be set up so when you blog, it will feed over to your social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Even uploading a video to You Tube can feed! These are just a couple of examples.
Get yourself set-up on Facebook.com, ActiveRain.com (offers free and upgraded membership), Linkedin.com, Twitter.com, YouTube.com – it’s free – and if you’re just not familiar with “connecting” things and blogging, you can hire a professional to set it up for you 🙂
Yes, I know there are many other “features” for realtors out there for both your websites and blogs, but the above are the “needs” – the rest are “wants” based on what I’ve seen over the last 4 years.