Our post titled "Don't Forget to Like Yourself - Facebook Listing Pages with RealBird" is now at the top sponsored position on ActiveRain for 24 hours. It's paid for, but nevertheless at the top position :)
We had many feature releases in the last couple of weeks, plus many improvements of existing features. The article below summarizes the result of the last month R&D efforts here at RealBird. I organized the new and updated features by products, but note that some of the improvements are interconnected, hence providing additional benefits by channeling visitors from one of your RealBird services to the other.
But first thing first. Check out these examples of the just released embed code optimized for ActiveRain, Localism and your regular blog with SEO in mind. Just enter your listings in RealBird as usual and use the new link on the member management page called "Embed it in ActiveRain & blog post". You can configure the width and show or hide contact info and center or left align the widget.
New RealBird embed code examples
PGA NATIONAL GOLF ESTATE - Escape To Your Private Oasis
||Nestor and Katerina Gasset|
Unforgettable Views Olympia Waterfront
Our recent listings
Stylish New West Olympia Condo
Unforgettable Views Olympia Waterfront
Perfect West Olympia Starter
Multi-Family Zoning Near Downtown Olympia
Gorgeous Olympia Rambler
Live Work TownHome in Market Common - Incredible Location and Price
Our recent listings
Windy Hill Dunes Oceanfront Condo for Sale in N. Myrtle Beach SC
Kenley Court - Apartments for Sale in Loris, SC
Live Work TownHome in Market Common - Incredible Location and Price
Adorable Home in Cherry Grove Beach
The Best of Both Worlds: Ocean and Marsh Merger
RealBird Listing Publisher - new features
- "Homes for Sale" tab widget for both your Facebook Profile and Facebook Page
- New ActiveRain and Localism optimized embed code with stunningly good looking slideshows (see examples above)
- New Photowall listing inventory widget
- Updated configuration tool for the Featured Listings Map widget with Google Earth 3D view and options to generate maps for your sold and pending inventory as well
- iPromote integration
- Your RealBird single property websites now link to your RealBird Property Search, providing more comparable properties for your visitors. All leads go to you.
RealBird Property Search - new features
- The search RSS now includes MediaRSS extension
Photos are now attached to the RSS items with the industry standard machine readable MediaRSS extension, hence allows advanced reusability, e.g. tou can use it now to create slideshow and other media widgets using 3rd party services
- Mapped search results as default option
PRO subscribers can now configure the service to show the mapped results by default.
- Advanced configuration options.
- Configure the service so that clicking on the property search result keeps the details page in the same iframe. The default behavior is to break out of the embedded frame into new window.
- Hiding header and footer for smooth integration.
- These are PRO options as well. Please contact us for instructions.
- Your featured listings are now promoted on your Property Search interface.
- Cross-market and showcase your own listings under a prominent "Featured Listings" tab. This is a PRO feature also.
- The RealBird widget for Facebook Pages and Facebook Profiles also links to your RealBird Property Search
New PRO subscription option - go monthly for only $11.95
Some of the new features are RealBird PRO only options, like the industry-first Facebook Profile and Facebook Page widget, MLS-compatible unbranded virtual tours, ad-free Property Search. To make your upgrade decision easier, we introduced a monthly payment option for only $11.95/month. You can upgrade instantly through the member area. Just log in and click the Upgrade link either on the member landing page or on the listing management page
If you like these new features, please consider upgrading to the PRO account in the RealBird member area. It's only $11.95 per month (equals only a few bucks or less per listing per month)
Another week, another promotion. We are now experimenting with social media marketing. More specifically, we are attempting to create a viral marketing event in the form of a sweepstakes. Aside from the obvious, which is to promote our own brand, we want to be able to demonstrate to our readers and members how to utilize social media to achieve a marketing goal. We selected ActiveRain (as the viral hub) and Twitter to be the core platform for this experiment.
In our opinion, the four rules below are the basis for a successful social media campaign:
Rule #1 - The transaction cost for participants has to be as low as possible
Transaction cost means not only the monetary cost, but the abstract cost of efforts, time and mental resources as well. We designed this sweepstakes so that it only takes a few seconds to enter. Just click here to post the following message to Twitter and you are in.
"RealBird http://bit.ly/YSWDK is giving away a free iPod Touch #realbird1 ReTweet to enter Rules: http://bit.ly/96ge"
Rule #2 - An incentive has to be provided
Incentives do not have to be monetary in nature. They can be a reward as trivial as feeling good because of the participation, as it would be the case in charity campaigns for instance. In this particular case, the incentive is two fold: 1) the Apple iPod Touch which will be the prize for one lucky participant - this is a monetary incentive 2) the excitement of participating in something of this nature - this is a mental incentive. I suggest not to underestimate 2) either in terms of its effect.
Rule #3 -Ideally, do some good in the process
Related to Rule #2, good campaigns are those with secondary or by-product value for participants. We designed this campaign in a way that the tweet contains a link to randomly selected active RealBird listing website. So while the message will be traveling on the web, every instance of the message will link to a random RealBird listing, hence bringing exposure for a RealBird member and their property; for free.
Rule #4 - Be as transparent as possible
Transparency creates trust. Trust increases participation. We made sure that you will see as much of this campaigns internals as we do. You'll see all participants by searching Twitter for the topic #realbird1 and you will also be able to see the click-through rate, peaks and drops, viral hubs and sources through the amazing URL shortening service bit.ly.
Enough of the theory: this is the single step to take in order to participate:
Simply Twitter (or retweet) the message below. Make sure that the Twitter topic #realbird1 is presented in the message.
Current participants: See as participants join the sweepstakes
Click-through traffic: See bit.ly stats here
Sweepstakes rules and disclaimers:
- No purchase is necessary to participate
- A participant is defined as a Twitter user, uniquely indetified by his or her Twitter username
- One prize for one randomly selected participant: an 8GB Apple iPod Touch (2nd generation)
- One entry per participant no matter how many campaign tweets are posted
- US and Canadian residents can win only (although we welcome others to retweet )
- Drawing is on April 2, 2009
- Free shipping of the free prize, no cost to the winner
- The linked, random RealBird property website may contain 3rd party advertisement. This advertisement only shows when visitors arrive through this campaign's channel and there are no advertisements on the RealBird single property websites otherwise.
- No association or business relationship is claimed by RealBird with ActiveRain, Twitter, Apple or any other party mentioned in the campaign.
- While RealBird employees and their families can Twitter the message, they can not participate in the sweepstakes and their Twitter account will be excluded from the list prior to the drawing
- Prohibited where local and state laws disallows such promotions
- The winner will be announced on this blog and we will contact him or her via email, Twitter and phone (if it is publicly available) for delivery information. If we can not reach the winner within two weeks from the drawing date, we'll conduct a new drawing.
The updated pie chart below shows the relative click-thru traffic from major real estate portals; i.e. consumer destination sites where RealBird listings are syndicated to (automatically or manually). It is based on the web analytics data of the last 200,000 click-throughs to RealBird single property websites:
Some notes and assumptions:
- Craigslist is a manual distribution option for which we provide all the instructions and code. However, - due to the fact that it requires agents to manually post their listings after entering them in RealBird - the number of RealBird listings published on Craigslist is much less than the number of listings automatically syndicated to portals (Trulia, Zillow etc.). The traffic ratio of Craigslist would be way higher if all RealBird listings were published there as well by our members.
- Trulia and Zillow consumer traffic is comparable (see Compete.com) but the click-through traffic from Trulia is almost three times as much. I suspect, that this is due to the fact, that Trulia has a big, prominent button "See more photos and details" linking to the RealBird property sites, while Zillow has a smaller, regular link on their property pages. In other words, Trulia's property page is more click-through friendly, hence more consumers actually end-up on the RealBird listing websites.
- Since our number of syndicated listings is relatively small compared to the whole for-sale, active, US listing dataset, this chart does not implies in any ways the importance of those sites in terms of consumer traffic or the level of exposure your listing will receive. Statistically speaking, this chart can not be used as a base for making projections on traffic of the included portals. Our dataset is not a representation of such information. It only shows the distribution of traffic sources to the RealBird dataset. Use Compete.com or Quantcast.com for more accurate info on this.
Update: Based on the conversation with Sara from Zillow (see comments below), I'd like to emphasize it again, that the chart shows the ratio of referral traffic only, which does not have direct relationship with other metrics, like lead conversion etc. For example: one may receive more leads directly on the sites we syndicate to, without the user ever clicking-thru to the RealBird listing website (hence no referral traffic is tracked).
- It is interesting to see that the click-throu traffic from Overstock.com is higher than the traffic from Vast.com, even though OverStock.com's real estate classifieds are powered by Vast.com. It is probably due to the fact, that Overstock has way higher traffic than Vast.com (See Compete.com for details)
- We decided to include ActiveRain traffic that is not click-through referral, but impressions of RealBird widgets embedded on ActiveRain. It may artificially improved the relative rank though. We did so, because we wanted to emphasize the importance of posting listing widgets on ActiveRain, and because we could not find an easy way to separate the two types of web analytics data
Thank you for Juliet Johnson for making us create an updated chart :)
ActiveRain - one of the leading and certainly the most dynamic real estate social networks - has 91,690 members, as of the time of writing this post. ActiveRain is free service and the value is unprecedented in terms of access to the vast amount of information shared by other real estate professionals and online marketing in general.
We call on all of you, real estate professionals (agents, brokers, appraisals, stager, mortgage lenders etc.) to join for free and let's help them together to reach the 100,000 members count.
- ActiveRain is a blogging system in the sense that it
enables you to write articles, it lists them in chronological order,
syndicates it via RSS and feeds the search engine monster for maximum
exposure and clearly identifies you as the author and authority.
- ActiveRain is a training ground:
Many of us come to ActiveRain for advice, discussions and to learn from
each other. Training each other on business, marketing etc. is what
creates the loyalty and incremental benefit, and this sets ActiveRain
apart from other services.
- ActiveRain is an ecosystem and a team marketing platform:
One participant's success depends on the success of the overall
ecosystem and AR members directly and indirectly enhance each others
marketing efforts. For example, there is such a deep interconnection
between the 1 million+ AR pages Google knows about, that search engines
pay extra attention to content published via ActiveRain and value the
content as highly relevant.
- ActiveRain is a unique social network:
Valuable social networks are those, where the connections between the
participants create a value-add, which would not exist without these
connections. That is, there are 1) new and 2) valuable information born
from these relationships. In other words, the relationships between
ActiveRainers are as important as the content generated by individuals.
To celebrate ActiveRain's contribution to the real estate industry, we - at RealBird - have released an ActiveRain Social Network Widget, which can be used to merge your ActiveRain and RealBird account into a handy, great looking, team marketing platform. Market your ActiveRain associates (the ActiveRain members you selected as your inner circle), each other's business profile, each other's listings (published through RealBird) and each other blog posts!
Below is an example of the widget with viral marketing capability built into it:
The widget above shows our own RealBird ActiveRain associates, their RealBird listings and the blog posts. To get your own, join ActiveRain and RealBird (both for free) and get your own widget from the RealBird member area.
Enjoy the benefits and let's give ActiveRain a helping hand to reach the 100,000 member mark.
-- Zoltan Szendro