Tools to FIND customers:
- UNIQUE, CONTENT-RICH, SEO WEBSITE built on Wordpress (preferably designed using the Thesis theme). Content should include videos (not crappy hand-held video clips either - no prospective buyers or sellers want to view videos produced by Blair Witch Realty), articles, IDX feeds, photos, and more. Make sure to also have several call to action buttons throughout your site.
- ADWORD CAMPAIGNS - in my opinion one of the most under utilized tools out there, and even when used, done so very haphazardly and ineffectively by most. To be done well, you should read the book 'Advanced Google Adwords' by Brad Geddes. It's my bible when it comes to this tool and will set you apart. Good tool until you are able to reach a strong search engine positions organically.
- SYNDICATION WEBSITES - Create profiles within, and utilize websites such as posterous, amplify, digg, delicious, and stumbleupon to syndicate your content into other venues that would allow for more readership of your articles.
- DUPLICATE CONTENT - Also, once you have solid content (again, useful, unique, etc.), post it on other websites such as yelp, topix, outside.in, neighborcity, and especially on real estate focused sites such as this one here, realestatevoices, activerain, chime-in, biggerpockets, and identi.ca. Make sure when you replicate content you provide a link to the original article on your website. For a variety of reasons, these activities should increase your site's authority as well as drive potential buyers and sellers to your site.
I get that this all takes plenty of time to do, and it's a long-term strategy that I believe will pay off in spades if done properly.
Favorite Tech Tools to COMMUNICATE with customers:
- CELL PHONE: Calls and texts. If you have internet, it also provides immediate access to emails.
- MAILCHIMP - great for drip campaigns and tracking analytics of campaigns. It's also anywhere from free to relatively inexpensive, depending on the size of your mailing list
- VIDEO EMAIL - highly effective when trying to establish authority, recognition, etc. with prospective clients. Also very easy to stay in front of prospects who aren't yet part of your "A" list.
- MLS - I work with plenty of clients who are out of state and in Canada, so I have several on auto-emailers
Favorite Tech Tools to ASSIST customers
- WISEAGENT (I'm a solo agent and this provides all I need, and it's free through my title company)
Note: I am also a firm believer in doing very effective Open Houses (high traffic area, tons of strategically placed signs, strong knowledge of the community and other homes on the market, etc.) and using the home as an "office" during the day (when no one is through the home) to do the work necessary to provide the fuel for these tools. I'd also say that becoming moderately tech-savvy can take some time, so those that don't have a passion for learning or who want the "quick fix" are likely going to be casualties. I've also seen far too many agents use the "same old, same old" as far as websites go, and there's nothing appealing to end buyers and sellers - the information is generic and ubiquitous - complete waste of time if you ask me.
Anyway, those are a few thoughts from me at this late hour!