Never miss a buyer call again: SMS lead capture for any homes on your market, not just your own

Homes-By-SMS-Share 1

We just launched a new standalone product and we hope you'll like it!

Introducing Homes By SMS™

Unlike the existing RealBird SMS text code marketing service which allows you to set up distinct text codes for your own listings or for specific website links, Homes By SMS extends the capabilities and you can now capture buyer leads for general location inquiries: Home buyers can simply text a location to a dedicated number and see all matching properties via your system and you get their details at first interaction.

Grow your buyer side business with seamless lead capture and stand out of the crowed.

Currently, the Homes By SMS service is available in 3 MLS markets: BAREIS, MAX/EBRD and MLS Listings in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, but we are working on making it available nationwide using the RealBird Property Search service and also with 3rd party homes search services. Stay tuned for more announcements soon. 

You can head over to HomesBySMS.com and see an overview, the all-inclusive pricing and submit the Getting Started form.

Let us know what you think !

Thanks

-- The RealBird Team

 


RealBird Wordpress Real Estate Plugin Updated

We just launched an updated version of the RealBird Nearby Homes Wordpress Plugin

RealBird Wordpress Plugin Blog Splash

This update greatly simplifies the installation process because the RealBird plugin is no longer dependent on any 3rd party ones. Just install the single RealBird plugin, activate it, set a few configuration options and you are ready to geotag your posts and automatically add your RealBird Map-based Search to your blog posts. 

How does it work?

Every time you write a new blog post (or update existing ones), you have an option provided by the RealBird plugin to add a location to it. It can be a city, a zip code or an exact address, depending on the context of your post. When you save the post (or page), the RealBird plugin will automatically geocode the location you entered and it will automatically include your private labeled RealBird Map-based Search in the post footer, centered to the place you selected. 

In short: Just enter a location with your Wordpress post and page and the RealBird plugin takes care of the rest. See the screenshot below:

RealBird Wordpress Plugin Post Editor Screenshot

Requirements:

  1. The map-search plugin is available for RealBird PRO members
  2. Works with self-hosted Wordpress 3.0 or later: This should not be an issue as best practices suggest to always update to the latest version of Wordpress
  3. PHP 5 is required: Most modern hosting platforms provide PHP 5 so this should not be an issue either for most of you

Installation for the first time:

If you haven't installed the previous version of RealBird plugin before, than all you need to do is

  1. Download the zipped plugin from the RealBird member area at Member Area > Property Search > Get Code > Wordpress plugin
  2. Go to your Wordpress Dashboard > Plugins page and upload the RealBird plugin's zip file. 
  3. After the succesfull installation, you will have to click the "Activate Plugin" link to finalize the plugin setup. 
  4. Finally, you have to configure the plugin on the WP Admin > Settings > RealBird page. Just enter your RealBird Public ID and your default city, state and you are done with the one-time set up.

If you installed the previous RealBird plugin, you have to do the following:

  1. On the Wordpress Dashboard > Plugins page, deactivate and also delete the existing RealBird plugin (version 0.9.0)
  2. On the Wordpress Dashboard > Plugins page, deactivate the GeoPress plugin, you may not need to delete it, if you want to retain geotags for your previous posts. Otherwise you can delete the GeoPress plugin too and add locations to previous posts
  3. Follow the install instructions above to set up the new plugin (current version 0.9.5). 

We hope you like the ease of use of the updated RealBird Wordpress plugin.

Should you have questions and feedback, just call or email.

-- The RealBird Team
www.realbird.com 

 


Summary of new RealBird features launched in 2011

RealBird-Bird-LargeToday is the last business day of 2011 and we thought it is the good time to summarize the main new RealBird features that we launched in 2011. 

Switched the RealBird Property Search from Google Base to Oodle data

As you may recall Google suddenly announced in January '11 the discontinuation of Google Base. Because the RealBird Property Search was based on data from Google Base, we had to find another solution. We successfully ported the application to use real estate data from Oodle, soft launched in March and made it available for all RealBird members in June. The new search application has been working great ever since and has delivered thousands and thousands of buyer leads to RealBird members.

New listing inventory widget replaced the old version, with color themes and custom transition effects

We retired one of our legacy sidebar listing inventory widgets and replaced it with a brand new one, which can be configured with custom color theme and custom transition effects.

The first version of the RealBird Mobile Real Estate Website was launched

In March, we launched the first version of the RealBird Mobile Real Estate Website service with vanity domain name and QR code support. Within weeks, thousands of mobile sites were set up by RealBird PRO members. It also received coverage from Inman News.  

The second version of the Mobile Real Estate Website added Property Search support

Soon after the initial launch, we also completed the mobile user interface for the RealBird Property Search and added to the RealBird Mobile Property Website service. Update to the platform (and the new desktop IE support) also made it possible from then on to embed the mobile real estate website on regular blogs and pages with the handy RealBird widget, including the inclusion of the QR code and a call-for-action message.

Default Property Website Theme editor added

One of the powerful features of the RealBird single property websites has always been the versatile theme editor. We realized however that even with the easy-to-use interface, it has been an unnecessary hassle to set up the custom design for each listing one by one, so we introduced the same powerful theme editor tool as a global configuration option. In other words, RealBird members can now set up a default custom design once and all new property sites will inherit this theme.

Introduced 3 Facebook Real Estate Page applications

Just in time for Facebook's application platform overhaul during the summer, we released three Facebook applications for different RealBird services. You can now easily add your listing inventory widget, map-based property search and your mobile real estate website to your Facebook business page.

Diligent SEO work brought major results: video thumbnails of your property websites are now shown on Google

We've been always focusing on SEO best practices, but 2011 brought some break throughs: Finally, over 1 million pages on RealBird has been indexed by Google and to our great surprise, RealBird became one of the few real estate information providers whose pages have been enhanced with video thumbnails on the Google search result pages. This is a very positive and stunning SEO news and together with the high ranking of the RealBird property websites, it represents a major improvement in visibility for our members.

Tighter integration of your RealBird featured listings and map-based property search

We also introduced a small, but powerful feature for RealBird PRO members. The RealBird map-based property search can now be configured to show your own featured listings as "sticky", highlighted icons on the map. We call them "sticky" icons, because they are shown on the map independently from the actual search criteria, as long as their location falls within the current map boundaries. This a great, non-intrusive advertisement of your own properties to home buyers using your map search.

United Kingdom coverage added to RealBird

We also extended support for most of the RealBird services for estate agents in the United Kingdom. With this launch, RealBird now provides online marketing services to US, Canada and UK agents and brokers. 

Brand new, major redesign of the flagship RealBird single property website platform launched

It's been a long time coming and finally, in October, we launched a major redesign of our flagship RealBird Listing Publisher property website platform. The system has many, many improvements and new features, while remaining fully backward compatible: new layout design, improved SEO, improved load speed, deeper social media integration, better lead capture, more automatic integration with 3rd party services such as Walkscore, ability to add more custom pages and content and many more features. We were very happy to receive an overwhelmingly positive response from all of our members regarding this major update.

New Craigslist property ad generator released

A revamped Craigslist property ad generator was launched in November, making it much easier for RealBird members to create a Craigslist ad with unlimited color theme options. Craigslist is one of the most popular classifieds ad platforms and this new tool makes it way easier to create much better looking ads for your RealBird listings. 

SMS keyword property marketing added to your mobile marketing toolkit

Just in time for the holiday season, we added a new listing marketing service to the RealBird mobile toolkit. We integrated RealBird with the leading SMS technology provider, Twilio and introduced SMS keyword marketing for your properties with an amazing, automatic lead capture feature.

Last but not least, 7,616 real estate professionals joined RealBird in 2011. This is our highest yearly registration number ever and we thank you all very much (long time and new members as well) for trusting your real estate marketing on the RealBird platform. 

We Wish You All A Very Happy & Successful New Year !

-- The RealBird Team
RealBird.com 


Your Featured Properties Shown as "Sticky" Icons On Your Map-based Search

We added a simple but powerful new feature to the RealBird Map-based Property Search tool yesterday.

Your own featured listings - published through the RealBird Listing Publisher service - are now shown as "sticky" icons on your RealBird map search. By "sticky" we mean that it is search criteria independent, so no matter what your client is searching for, your own listings within the specific map boundary are always presented to them using a special icon.

Featured Properties Sticky Icons

Click here or the image above to see a live example of this feature, courtesy of Katerina Gasset 

By default, we use a distinct red icon to distinguish between regular properties that match a particular search criteria and your own "sticky" featured listings. We also label the content of the popup with the text "Featured Property" when users hover over these icons.

There is also a configuration tool in the member area: You can turn this feature off, or change the color of the featured listing icons from the default red to green or to blue to blend in with regular matches. The screenshot below shows the simple settings page for this. You can access your own configuration tool in the RealBird member area, under the "Configure Service" tab of the Property Search section.

Sticky Icons Configuration Tool

There are also Url parameters to overwrite your global settings, per map deployment: As you probably know, you can create unlimited pre-set RealBird map-search widgets for different niches. Let's say you have a global configuration for this feature to show your "sticky" listings with red icons on all of your search widgets, but for a few special pre-set widgets, you'd like to turn this new feature off. Adding the Url parameters described below, you can have global settings and overwrite it per deployment. Just add one of the following parameters to the end of the generated widget Url to achieve this:

  • &mapfl=0 (turn this feature off for the particular widget)
  • &mapfl=1 (use red icons for featured listings)
  • &mapfl=2 (use green icons for featured listings)
  • &mapfl=3 (use blue icons for featured listings - blends in with regular search results)

We hope you like this new feature as much as we do :) Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

-- Zoltan 
RealBird.com

 

 


Facebook Page Apps: Map-based Search and Mobile Real Estate Website

You can now create three distinct Facebook Real Estate Page Tabs with RealBird PRO

  1. one for your Featured Listings
  2. one for your Map-based Search and 
  3. one for promoting your Mobile Real Estate Website
    with live preview and with a call-for-action including your QR code

See the examples below and link to the tutorials:

Map-based Search Facebook Page Tab

Map-based Search Facebook

See a live example on Janie Coffey's Coral Gables Real Estate Facebook Page

or on our RealBird Facebok Page

Mobile Real Estate Website Facebook Page Tab

Mobile Real Estate Facebook

See live example on Janie Coffey's Coral Gables Real Estate Facebook Page

or on our RealBird Facebok Page

Featured Listings Facebook Page Tab

Featured Listings Facebook

See live example on Janie Coffey's Coral Gables Real Estate Facebook Page

or on the RealBird Facebook Page

How to add these modules to your own Facebook Page

We wrote 3 step-by-step tutorials, one for each modules. You can find them on this page. At first glance it may look long due to the screenshots showing each step, but it is really simple:

  1. Add the Static Iframe Tab application to your Facebook Page
  2. Copy and paste the code (mobile site, map-search or featured listings photowall) into the config box
  3. Rename and rearrange the tab link

SEO benefits:

According to the whitepaper we posted earlier and also based on our own experiments, Facebook Page Tabs (and also status updates) are now fully indexed by Google and Bing.

Picking the correct label for those sidebar links and adding the right content may increase your visibility in search engines as well. It's similar to adding multiple pages to your website and blog to target long tail keywords. Adding multiple tabs with the proper headers, tab labels and tab content can help with your Facebook SEO as well. Based on our tutorials, you may want to set up several neighborhood map searches and properly name the tab links accordingly. It is a good Facebook SEO practice and also great for engaging your fans.

Should you have questions on how to use these new features please do not hesitate to ask.

Thanks

 

-- Zoltan 
RealBird.com