Previous month:
September 2009
Next month:
November 2009

Listing Marketing Checklist, Quick Share page, Message Archive RSS and other productivity updates

We released a set of productivity features and improvements for the RealBird Listing Publisher and RealBird Property Search services. Below is the list of the new and improved features.

Listing Marketing Checklist

The downloadable, printable Listing Marketing Checklist makes it very easy to keep track of repetitive online marketing activities such as reposting to Craigslist and other classified ads websites.

Download the PDF file from here or print through the embedded version below

 

Listing Publisher Quick Share interface

The new Quick Share page lists all of your RealBird property websites on a single page with links to the sharing code for the most popular destinations. Once you bookmarked this page, you do not have to log back into RealBird to access it. Just load your bookmarked Quick Share page and post to major classified sites with a few click. You can find your Quick Share page in the member area as shown below. You won't have to log in again on subsequent visits.

RealBird-Quick-Share

Message Archive RSS

Whenever a visitor to your listing website or RealBird Property Search sends you an email inquiry or a showing request or forwards the property information to a friend or family, these messages are also stored in the RealBird Message Archive. With this new release, there is a 3rd option now: you can subscribe to your own Message Archive's RSS feed and get notified on new inquiries or forwards instantly. Never miss another inquiry due to spam filters. You can access your RSS feed in the member area as shown below:

Message-Archive-RSS-3

Improved Craigslist embed code with better click-through rates

We improved the Craigslist embed code to increase the click-through rates to your RealBird single property websites. The large primary image on the top left side is no linked and the call-for-action link is highlighted and the text changed to "More photos and additional info", as shown below. Use the Listing Marketing Checklist and the Quick Share page to manage your Craigslist marketing with RealBird

Craigslist-RealBird 

See the original listing website of 76 Randolph St, Atlanta, GA

Improved BackPage embed code

BackPage - another popular classified sites  - is very flexible in terms of the HTML content. We updated the Backpage.com code generator and now your properties can be advertised with the high-impact RealBird slideshow widget. Just log into RealBird or use the Quick Share page to post to BackPage.com

Ability to link to your Facebook Page from your property website and property search

Both the RealBird listing websites and the RealBird Property Search can be linked to your Facebook Page. Until now, you could only link the Facebook icon to your personal profile on Facebook, but more and more of you are using Facebook Pages for business and driving traffic there makes more sense. To link to your Facebook Page, just log into RealBird, go to the Profile page and paste the full Url of your Facebook Page into the Facebook ID textbox. It's that simple.

Wordpress slideshow embed code fixed

There were some formatting bugs with the recently released ActiveRain and Blog embed code, which rendered the slideshow code improperly in Wordpress blogs. This is now fixed.

Hiding header and footer on the RealBird Property Seach

You can now hide the header and footer section of the RealBird Property Search. Just add &header=0 and or &footer=0 to the end of the search Url.

Well, that's it for now. More new features and products are coming soon... Should you have questions, just comment or call and ask.

-- Zoltan 
RealBird.com

 


Large Street View with deep linking added to the RealBird single property websites

Many of you may remember when we first released the Google Street View for the RealBird single property websites just 28 hours after the API was introduced by Google. That fast turn over even got us some coverage on Google's own blog. Since then we added more, advanced, large Street View implementations to the MLS-compatible unbranded RealBird Virtual Tours and to the RealBird Property Search service as well.

So it was time to finally improve the original Street View implementation on those single property websites too that are syndicated by default. From now on, your single property websites have a dedicated Street View tab (where available). Here is the list of advanced features for your visitors to browse around your property:

  1. It's a large view, so navigation is much easier
  2. The new Street View now includes the latest UI improvements by Google. Your visitors can double click on a nearby building and the Street View will automatically pan there and turn the viewpoint to face the building. 
  3. The Flash viewer now also shows the approximate address of the location. It is refreshed automatically as your visitor navigates the Street View 
  4. With the icon at the top right, your visitors can get a full screen version of the current Street View
  5. You can deep link to the Street View page of your single property website. Just load your default RealBird site and click the Street View tab. Then link to this Url. Your website will open with the Street View page via this link. Click the image below to see a live example of a gorgeous RealBird property website and an example of the deep linking directly to the Street View page.

737 NE 87th St, Miami, FL 33138
737 NE 87th St, Miami, FL 33138

With this release, we also added the advanced slideshow viewer to the default property website, the same one that was already used on the RealBird Virtual Tours and in the new ActiveRain embed code.

-- Zoltan
RealBird.com


Google Wave and real estate

This post is a reblog of our ActiveRain post

--

First, please watch this YouTube video by Epipheo Studio explaining why Google Wave will revolutionize email communication. Then see how it will change online real estate transactions and sales cycles for the better, by making it integrated, manageable and streamlined. 

Most of what I write below is based on my expectation of the exact features of Google Wave without actually having access to it and to the API sandbox (Google - please send us an invite already, will you?) 

As you can see from the video above, Google Wave improves email communication by solving the mess, that the back-and-forth, multi-participant email communication creates. Any process (business or other) that has a relatively long timespan and involves many participants are a pain to conduct via email. That applies to the management of a web design project as described in the video above, planning a wedding or a corporate event, and true for real estate transactions as well. Since real estate transactions and the real estate business cycles are 1) lengthy by nature and 2) they involve many stakeholders besides you and your client (inspectors, assistants, insurance folks, lawyers, interior designers, vendors etc.), it is very well suited for improvements by the Google Wave platform.

What is Google Wave?

At its basic level it is:

A communication platform, that combines different features and benefits of

  • email
  • threaded discussions
  • media-independent sharing (any digital object - text, video, PDF etc. can be attached to the Wave)
  • real-time chats
  • open, standard extendability

If we dig deeper into its capabilities, it will clearly show that the sum of all these things is bigger than what the individual features by themselves can deliver:

The real estate business cycle consists of 4 major components:

  1. Self marketing and prospecting
  2. Servicing active clients 
    Listing marketing (etc) for sellers and home finding (search, showing etc.) for buyers
  3. The closing process
  4. Customer retention (CRM, farming, newsletters, market updates etc.)

Even though, during the last decade or two, most of these processes became computer aided and many of them went online, integration of individual business processes are still cumbersome if at all doable. 

Google Wave has the potential to change this. You will be able to set up a Wave, invite all participants to communicate in one communication channel, attach all information to one thread and you and your clients will be able to track progress, communicate decision points all within one environment. 

Let's talk about Extendability:

I believe, that Google Wave will become an overnight success for many reasons, but the emphasize on extendability can not be stressed enough. Theoretically, you could imagine that one software vendor could create a service for you that supports the whole real estate business cycle via their proprietary system, but in practice a system like this can be prohibitively expensive and always lacking and slow to adopt to new requirements. Alternatively, you could ask the many vendors supporting your individual business processes to pick up the phone and start talking to each other and integrate their systems (IDX and eDoc and marketing tools and lead management and CRM etc.) but quite frankly, the chance of this happening is close to zero. The cost and risk is too high for the vendors and their interests overlap and collide. This is where Google Wave extendability comes to the picture. Wave is designed from the ground up to be a platform that provides the infrastructure for 3rd party vendors to add their own custom functionality to it. It is a centralized standard that vendors will adapt and you will be able to replace an under performing vendor by simply signing up with a competing one WITHOUT jeopardizing your overall service.

Via the Google Wave's robots and gadgets specification, software vendors like us at RealBird and Zillow, Cyberhomes, Altos Research, Trulia and many others will be able to create extensions that interact with your Waves and enhance them with added functionality and information.

The easiest way to imagine how a Google Wave application will look like is to take all the scenarios where you or your visitors or your clients initiate an email conversation. Replace the email communication with Wave and imagine how much better the whole process will be when other stakeholders and 3rd party information can be attached to the conversation thread.  

For example, take a RealBird single property website. Some prospective buyer finds it through syndication or search engine marketing and is interested enough to share it with his or her spouse. Currently they send an email using the built-in email tool. We will provide an option for them to not only send an email but create a Google Wave - which eventually invites the spouse to join the conversation via email. They start their discussion about the property within the Wave. Let's say they decide that they want to see this property, Currently, they would send you another email, a step which starts breaking down the communication process to unconnected channels. With Google Wave, they will invite you to join the existing Wave as a participant. With the built-in permission system, they will be able to add you to the conversation without disclosing what they talked about before. Once you joined the Wave, you will be able to add calender events and todos to the conversation (maybe using a 3rd party Wave extension gadget) and attach more information such a disclosures, floorplans and any other info that you think will enhance the process. Let's say, your prospective buyers like the property and for the sake of argument, let's say they have their own buyer's agent already. At this point - or maybe earlier - they invite her to join the Wave. Again, with appropriate permission control. Eventually, they make up their mind and make an offer. Let's say the offer is accepted. From this point the Wave will turn from a prospecting channel into managing the closing process. You will be able to add new 3rd party "robots", maybe one from DocuSign or other eDoc providers, and you will invite title and escrow people etc. You get the point: the Wave - with it's core platform and with its 3rd party applications - will help you cross the current boundaries and disintegration points of the business process, melting them into one, easy to manage integrated environment.

This is just an example process, simplified for the sake of the example, but I think it's good enough to show the power of Google Wave to manage business processes. This particular one shows an example from the buyer's perspective, how they can add stakeholders to the process, but you can take other processes and apply the same exercise with you being the "chairman" of the thread. Or imagine a Wave for a home search, with RealBird Property Search "robots" participating and posting matching listings into the Wave. Or conducting office collaborations. Or open house marketing. Only the imagination is the limit. 

Google, if you are reading this post, please send us an invite already, we can't wait to start developing Wave robots and integration points for RealBird. Will you? Thanks.