WOW: 8 foot by 2 foot custom banner by Kiamichi Realty for their RealBird mobile real estate website

This is very cool. Rob from Kiamichi Realty just sent us a few pictures of their brand new 8 foot by 2 foot banner that they created for promoting their mobile real estate website:

Kiamichi-Realty-1

We blurred out the SMS phone number so that we don't create additional charges for them through this post but you can still get the idea: Nicely design banner with large call-for-action message asking prospective clients to text the special RealBird keyword "M" to access Kiamichi Realty's mobile real estate information. They also added the a large QR code. If you have a QR reader on your phone, go ahead and scan it to see their mobile site in action.

Both mobile access methods redirect prospects to Kiamichi Realty's RealBird mobile real estate website showing their featured listings, their property search and the contact information with links to their social networks as well. The SMS text messaging platform also captures the prospect's phone number.

The picture below shows how large this banner is. Also note the cute dog - called Pedro - in the corner, relaxing after a job well done ! 

Kiamichi-Realty-2

You can visit Kiamichi Realty's website to learn more about their services and read their RealBird success story on our testiminials page.

If you are new to RealBird, you can read about the RealBird mobile real estate marketing platform here. 

Great job Rob and team ! Thank you very much for sharing the pics with us !

-- The RealBird Team
www.realbird.com 


What a difference good photography makes ! Or visual communication in real estate marketing

It's no secret that a correctly priced property in an active marketplace will sell in a predictable time frame.

However:

You could speed up the sales cycle, and even sell the property at a higher price by employing professional staging, higher quality photography, and using innovative ways for marketing the listing to reach more well qualified prospects..

As a RealBird case study, please meet this beautiful home on Audubon Lakes Dr in Baton Rouge ( courtesy of Mike Denham & Carmen Widmeier ) 

14815 Audubon Lakes Dr Screenshot

Click the image above to see the actual property website

Following are some of the highlights that make this property website stand out:

  1. Visual communication #1: The background picture instantly suggests that the property is a golf property. No reading of the fine lines is required, it takes just a second for the visitor to realize it - it is visual and intuitive.
  2. Visual communication #2: The property pictures are outstanding and hence suggest "luxury" and "quality". They also suggest that the seller of this property and the real estate agents marketing it take pride in what they are selling. This results in another powerful motivation: "trust". Again, without the need of explanation. It's communicated visually.
  3. Visual communication #3: The primary photo taken during twilight is perfect for communicating "peacefulness" and "relaxation". At least that was my very first thought when first looking at the website. These are two very important considerations for buyers for calling a place a home.

As you see, attention to details like this is very powerful: within seconds of visiting the site, prospective buyers already know that the property is associated with "golf", "leisure", "luxury", "peacefulness" and "trust". Without reading a single sales pitch or digging through detailed descriptions. Powerful marketing right there.

Once these concepts are set as a baseline - as we noticed - Mike and Carmen have put a lot of effort into sharing the website with their network. They also started to announce the availability of the property on their Facebook page, days before it actually hit the market, hence building up excitement. If you click through to the property website, you'll see the growing number of social media shares (Facebook Likes, Tweets etc.) which again, add to the visual communication: New visitors instantly see the many Facebook Likes (35 at the time of writing this) and again, without thinking twice, those social counters provide positive feedback for them that the property is special and desireable, and in the case of an actual prospective buyer, this may create a sense of urgency. We also believe that the higher the counters on those social widgets are, the more likely that a new user will re-share it with their own network of friends.

So go ahead, "walk that extra mile", take good pictures, get inspired by other RealBird members' creations and make sure that you always share your own listings on your social networks. Those counters are part of the visual communication. And it takes only a few seconds.

Carmen and Mike - Congrats. Very well done ! And thanks for letting us use your RealBird property website as a case study. 

-- The RealBird Team
www.realbird.com 


RealBird Virtual Tour released - with Google Street View, Google Earth and more

We released the RealBird Virtual Tour product during the weekend: a low cost add-on to the free RealBird single property website. It is an MLS-friendly virtual tour service,  which utilizes most of the technologies we developed over the last year for the free single property websites.

This new product closes a very important loop in our listing marketing platform: The free RealBird Listing Publisher provides many ways to reach home buyers with minimum effort through 1) organic search engine marketing 2) automatic syndication to classified ads portals 3) unique and growing set of listing widgets for publishing on blogs and social network like ActiveRain 4) and additional tools to make it easy and fast to manually post on classified sites - like Craigslist - that do not allow automatic syndication.

With the new, low cost RealBird Virtual Tour add-on, you can now utilize the MLS too, as a distribution platform for your online listing presentations. IDX searches are ubiquitous home buyer tools on real estate websites nowadays. In order for your listing to be highlighted on IDX searches with the virtual tour icon and link, you have to include an unbranded virtual tour though. The RealBird Virtual Tour provides both unbranded and branded version so that you can fully comply with your MLS regulations. It is an optional add-on and costs only $9.99 per listing or $14.99 when purchased with a property domain name. As far as I know, the RealBird Virtual Tour is one of the most cost effective virtual tour on the market to reach home buyers through widely deployed IDX searches.

Unique features include:

  • Large Google Street View where available - your virtual tour is now also a neighborhood tour
  • Complete web analytics - get detailed traffic analysis for your virtual tours using Clicky, Google Analytics and MyBloglog. You will be able to see which local competition brings the most traffic to your virtual tour
  • Unlimited variations of design themes with background images and color themes
  • 7 different maps and live traffic report

See some of the examples below. You can preview your virtual tour, by creating a free RealBird account (or log in if you are already a member), publishing your listing with the Listing Publisher and preview your virtual tour using the links provided. Both branded and unbranded. Make sure you upload high quality photos for best results.

The virtual tour is an optional, low cost add-on to the free service, and we are really excited about the capabilities. So go, check it out and let us know what you think and what you would like us to add to make it even better.

Here are a few examples:

2.7 AC wholesale nursery
Janie Coffey's listing is one of the most unique designs and properties in RealBird.

See the unbranded Virtual Tour
Branded Virtual Tour



Fort Worth, TX single family home
Listing by Brenda Magness, Brenda Blaser & Pam Yoakum Realty Group. Note the Street View and the Market Statistics tab.

Unbranded Virtual Tour
Branded Virtual Tour



Holliston Massachusetts New Construction
Listing by Bill Gassett.  The screenshot shows the embedded 3D Google Earth.

Unbranded Virtual Tour
Branded Virtual Tour

Let us know what you think.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com


Google Street View - amazing neighborhood virtual tours

We could not wait until Google provides access to the amazing Steet View imagery via their Google Maps API, so we went ahead and for the first time in the industry, we made Google Street Views available for RealBird members with a very simple manual embedding process.

As many of you already know, Google started to take 360° panoramic photographs of streets in 2007, starting with major metropolitan areas. Many in the real estate blogging sphere covered Google's product release and most of them including me found it an amazing and a very valuable tool for real estate virtual presentations. Slide-shows and interior panoramas provide virtual walk-through of the house; maps and aerial photos give great information about things in the vicinity including buildings, schools, points of interest, roads and more and now, finally, with Google Street View, home buyers from remote locations can "walk around" in the neighborhood, virtually, without ever leaving their own place. From interior virtual tours through neighborhood walk-thrus to bird's eye views, finally you can provide virtual presentation for all aspects of your property.

While Google still does not provide API access to this feature (i.e. enabling 3rd parties like us to automatically use this imagery), they quietly released a feature in December, which allows you to embed the interactive Street View  widget into your website and blog. And now with RealBird's capability of handling any kind of embeddable widgets, you can use the Street View on your single property websites built with RealBird Listing Publisher.

How to add Google Street View to your RealBird single property website

Let's see a live example for demonstration, then I will show the simple steps it actually take to do it for your own listings for free.

Click the image below, then on the property website, click "Street View".

Amazing, don't you think?

OK, so  here  are the  steps for setting up a single property website like this. (You  will need to have a free RealBird account)

See if Street View is available for your location

Go to http://maps.google.com, type in the address and see if the Street View button appears on the top right. If Street View is available, drag the little yellow icon to the location where you want your viewpoint to be set . The streets with "Street View"  capability will be highlighted once you click the "Street View"  button.  Drag the person-icon to a location on one of the highlighted streets. As you will see it in the next step, the actual, current Street View will be provided as widget, not your initial location. In other words, fine tune the view of the location before you continue to the next step.

See if Street View is available for your location

Grab the code

Click the "Link to this page" link above the map on the right.

Link to this page option

The second text box contains the default iframe code, which you can copy and paste just like that. You can further customize the widget. Click the link: "Customize and preview embedded map"

Step 3 - Customize code

There is another feature, which can be very useful, but is not obvious as an option on the configuration screen. In some design layouts, you may want to have a full bleed 100% width for the widget. Just take the code Google provides and replace the width="xyz" with width="100%". The Street View widget's width will automatically scale to whatever design you embed it into.

Embed the widget into RealBird single property website

Login on RealBird (or get a free account in a few seconds).

RealBird

Add a new listing or edit an existing one. On the listing editor page, click the Embedded Media tab (it can be used for any widgets: video, slideshow, audio, iframe, in this case we are going to embed the Street View into a listing website)

Post Street View on your RealBird site

Enter "Street View" in the "Tab text" field and paste the embed code into the large text box. "Publish" or "Save as draft" and it's done.

~~~ Easy, elegant and absolutely cool presentation. ~~~

I believe, this is a must have widget for any online listing presentation if Google has coverage for your area. While these manual steps will not be necessary once the Google Maps API gives access to it, but until then, this feature on your RealBird sites can be a great marketing vehicle for virtual presentations and to separate your listings and yourself from the crowd.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com

 


Powerful listing presentation with background images

As part of our best practices series, below is an example of a very nice listing presentation by Ceci Ellis for her Daly City, CA listing.

She used one of the unique features of the RealBird Listing Publisher, i.e. you can upload a large size background image for your listing to capture the attention of visitors and home buyers. Her take of a casual, sunny moment at the Pacific Ocean (looks like Ocean Beach in San Francisco) creates a perfect backdrop to her nearby listing and emphasizes the neighborhood characteristics and mood much better than any property image or description could.

Here are some other ideas you may want to try for your background image:

  • High resolution image of the subject property
  • Nature pictures, forest, mountains, the land
  • City scape, something characteristic of the location

Remember, the purpose of the background image is not necessarily to communicate a specific feature of the listing, but to deliver the mood, the style and the lifestyle the property represents.

Setup is easy and takes less than a minute:

  1. Login or register for free with RealBird
  2. Add / edit your listing
  3. Select "Change theme"
  4. Select "Single property background image" as an option
  5. Finally, upload the image from your hard drive and save the settings

Don't forget to send us an email with your listing (or add the link as a comment below), if you use this customization feature. I think this is a very powerful presentation utility and I would like to show other examples of nice listing presentations.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com