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1 Hour for 1 Month: Social Media & Email Marketing Content Creation Strategy for Real Estate Client

In this week’s YouTube video, I wanted to focus on using social media as a part of your content strategy in your real estate career. Here’s how you can grow your social media channels by contributing one hour of time for the entire month.
 
Create a video discussing a topic you’re an expert in, and build out social content from that video for the month.
 
Step #1: Planning
Create a spreadsheet mapping out your social content ideas for the month. It helps to choose a general topic for each week, and create bullet points for discussion items across topics.
 
Step #2: Recording
You don’t need fancy camera equipment to get started. Standard video tech—like a smartphone or laptop cam—will get you going. You’ll spend about half your time creating your videos, which might take a while to nail down at first.
 
Step 3: Post Production
With a slightly bigger budget, you can focus on post-production to add a finishing shine to your content. Light balancing, audio tweaking, and perhaps some animation might be a welcome addition to your final video.
 
Check out the YouTube video to learn more about getting your social content on autopilot.

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Using Minimalism in Design

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A few weeks ago, I discussed web design trends for 2020 and one of those trends was minimalism. This week, I’d like to expound upon this minimalist trend. Here are a few key elements you should be aware of: 

White Space
White space helps eliminate the clutter of web design, embodying the “art of less” in minimalism. This offers fewer distractions and better user experience. 

Bold Typography 
Clean and strong typography is a key element of minimalist design. Typography creates focal points, commands attention to important content, and adds a strong visual layer to design. 

Color & Contrast 
Use a limited number of colors, but focus on a palette. Colors convey moods and act as a tool for visual performance. Consider the 60-30-10 rule for color in web design; 60% is the dominant color (typically white), 30% a secondary color (the color most associated with your brand), and 10% an accent color. 

Balance
Well-balanced design wins every time. Visual elements should be balanced white space, content, and color. Keep symmetrical balance in mind without relying too much on the mirror effect. 

If you need help creating minimalism designs, I’m happy to help get you started. Let me know how I can help you with your web design journey

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2020 Website Design Trends: What to Stop and Avoid

Unfortunately, many web designers hop on the bandwagon for trends that don’t really help convert site visitors. In a recent YouTube video, I reveal five website design trends you should AVOID when it comes to real estate web design.

#5: Coming Soon Page

If no one’s visiting your website, focus on marketing what’s to come.

#4: Hero Image Sliders

Studies have shown that most people don’t click through the slideshow images on a hero slide selection.

#3: Flat Design

Flat design is an outdated trend that detracts from brand personality.

#2: Autoplay Video and Audio

Most people will leave immediately if sound or video automatically plays.

#1: Hamburger Menu

A hamburger menu is terrible for desktop devices because it hides important information and makes it difficult for users to understand where to go.

There you have it! Check out the video for a more in-depth explanation.

If you were thinking of or currently have any of these features on your website, it’s time to reconsider. Reach out if you have questions or comments!

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Tips For Using Animations In Web Design

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I wanted to take a moment to talk about using animations in web design. A couple of weeks ago, I discussed 2020 web trends and micro animations were a part of that.

However, there’s a right and wrong way to go about adding animations to your website. With that in mind, here are a few tips for nailing your animation tactics:

Utilize Micro Animations

Micro animations are a major 2020 web design trend. Micro animations are small, brief animations that enhance the digital experience and divert the eyes to a particular area of the page.

Know When to Use It

Animations aren’t for every page—or even for every website. Don’t be tempted to use animations just because. Keep usability in mind; does your animation help guide users, highlight an important message, and enhance UX? Are you animating to “decorate” your website or to provide a meaningful purpose? Keep these questions in mind as you build your site.

Animate in Moderation

The key to animation is moderation. Too many animations on the page can easily become a distraction and detract from the user experience.

Avoid Surprise Elements

Rarely is there a case where animation surprises are useful in web design. Your main goal should be to make the experience as intuitive as possible. Each of your animations should move just as expected. Modern users seek familiarity and consistent patterns, and you should deliver motion objects as such.

As you can see, website animations require a precarious balance. Take a look at how other brands are using animations (both right and wrong) to give you an idea of what would work for you. I hope these tips were useful to you! If you have any questions about web design or how animations can be leveraged on your website, feel free to reply to this email.

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What is Real Estate SEO and How Does it Work?

Every week, I get calls from real estate agents who want help with their website. During these conversations, they usually ask whether I can help with search engine optimization and mention knowing someone who “does real estate SEO.”

Unfortunately, I believe you’re being misled by web developers who claim to be a jack of all trades when it comes to design and optimization. During this week’s YouTube video, I debunk what SEO is, what it does, and how it can help you as a real estate agent.

So, what is SEO?

In layman’s terms, SEO refers to the process of getting your website higher up in Google’s search engine results pages. Any time you make a Google search, the links that appear beneath the ads are organic search results. That’s where you want your business to be.

What’s the value?

The first position on an organic Google search gets 93% of the business. To rank for competitive search terms, this takes a lot of work, a bigger budget, and a bit of luck. No one can guarantee you search engine results, and Google algorithms are notorious for changing and being a bit cryptic. But once you’re there, your brand exposure increases exponentially.

On-Site and Off-Site

In this video, I discuss the two main components of search engine optimization: on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

On-site SEO refers to the structure of your website, including title tags, alt tags, metadata, and internal linking. Many website developers do have the ability to spearhead your on-site SEO efforts in addition to tackling web design—but in most cases, this is not enough to rank in Google’s top 3 positions.

On the other hand, off-site SEO is different—but does require significantly more work. Offsite SEO can be explained with a simple math equation:

Series of tasks + Consistency + Repeated over an extended period of time = Ranking

These IMPORTANT tasks include content, business citations, social media, and link building.

Black Hat Tactics

Google’s algorithm is highly intelligent. If you try to take shortcuts and trick the algorithm (such as by spamming your links to get link juice), you’ll definitely get penalized.

Wrapping Up

If you take your onsite and off-site SEO, mix them together and maintain that mixture for a year, it’s very likely that you’ll rank on the first page of Google for the key terms you’re vying for.

My goal is to make sure you’re not misled by the “SEO” buzzword. It takes a long time to master, and you need someone that’s grinding out consistently—a good SEO strategy takes 6 months to a year to establish. Watch the video to learn more about what’s happening behind the SEO curtains and how your real estate business can avoid key mistakes and see success.

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Designing for Lead Conversion

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There’s no denying that beautiful web design can create strong first impressions and help differentiate your business from your competitors. But pretty layouts and graphics don’t matter as much if it isn’t designed thoughtfully. That’s why this week, I want to focus on conversion-driven design. With that in mind, here are a few tips for designing for lead conversion:

 

  • Let your value proposition shine—preferably in your copywriting headers. Your value proposition should detail how your product or service solves a problem for the customer client.
  • A well-designed, clear and concise call to action. The last thing your visitor wants to do is have to look around your website for direction on where to click or what to do next.
  • Make it measurable; it’s not enough to make an improvement and assume it will perform better. You need data to prove design effectiveness and should leverage split tests to make continuous improvements.
  • Cluttered web design is overwhelming. In modern design, simplicity and white space are what’s converting.
  • Design with Hick’s Law in mind; when there are fewer options, your visitors will respond quicker.
  • Use color and contrast to help certain web elements and designs stand out from the rest.

Each time our team at Square 1 Group sits down to focus on client design, we think about the customer journey. And of course, that customer journey depends on the audience.

Research and testing are critical to design success. Take a look at some of your favorite brands and notice how they communicate with design. What words, colors, and design elements stand out? Why?

I hope these quick tips were useful. And if you have any questions about how to make your own design convert, let us know.

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Using Google Ads to Generate Leads for your Real Estate Business

There are plenty of options out there when it comes to generating leads online. Whether it’s SEO, Facebook ads, Instagram ads, LinkedIn marketing, or even email drip campaigns, it’s clear that there are way more avenues for lead generation than you can take on at once—especially when you’re just starting out. In this YouTube video, I’ll help you understand how Google Ads works in real estate and what it means when in terms of lead generation. Even with a smaller budget, you can drive traffic to your business using Google Ads.

Google Ads has multiple tools under its umbrella. In this video, we focus on three for real estate lead generation:

Google Search

These ads appear right below the search bar and above organic results. Keep in mind that ads that appear at the top generally receive a bulk of the traffic for that particular search term. This is why understanding bidding and honing in on keyword research is so important.

Google Display

Google Display is valuable for branding through remarketing. Start by creating a banner ad and then building a campaign in the Google Display Network to target potential clients that have already demonstrated an interest in agencies like yours.

Essentially, this builds brand awareness and makes it more likely for an individual to recognize your brand and feel comfortable reaching out. 

Video Ads

Customers enjoy watching videos, and many of them turn to YouTube to expound upon initial Google searches. Video also allows you to put a name, face, and voice to your brand.

Video ads are unchartered territory for real estate agents, which offers you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from other agents and take a major market share.

Many real estate agents delegate their Google Ad campaigns (and other lead generation tactics) to their VAs. However, this is an area that you want to dedicate a piece of your budget to. To get desirable results, you need someone who has experience setting up and executing these campaigns.

Approach Google Ads like a scientist creating an experiment. Consider the scientific method: create a hypothesis, test the results, and review the data. Watch the video here to go deeper into what to expect from these three Google Ads tools!

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Importance of Copywriting in Digital Marketing

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This week, I wanted to take some time to discuss the importance of copywriting. Believe it or not, copywriting plays a very important role in digital marketing, and has long-term implications on the health of your website.

Having a great design simply isn’t enough. Web design may attract visitors with first impressions, but copywriting keeps them there. Here are a few things strong copywriting can do for your business:

  • Creates a stellar user experience and instills comfort
  • Improves your SEO, thereby increasing visibility and brand reach
  • Makes your brand more memorable
  • Gives your brand a voice that differentiates you from other companies
  • Helps you form relationship with visitors
  • Nurtures visitors with useful and valuable information
  • Encourages visitors to take action and leads them to convert

Good copywriting is compelling and persuasive. If you’re redesigning your website or starting a website from scratch, don’t leave content in the dust. As you navigate the language for your website, keep these copywriting tips in mind:

  • Don’t be afraid to break the rules to communicate effectively and establish the tone for your brand voice
  • Use paragraph breaks—digital content should be easily digestible and should embrace white space
  • Refrain from referencing industry jargon that isn’t widely understood
  • Consider the problem your company solves, and use emotion to instigate a solution
  • Craft a story and create a reader journey

If you aren’t a solid copywriter, all hope isn’t lost. There are several avenues you can take. For starters, here at Square 1 Group, we have our own team of dedicated copywriters and designers to give you the full package. Otherwise, you can hire a freelancer of your own—but be sure they have experience in your industry.

Contact Square 1 Group if you need help with web design and/or copywriting.

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How to Hire Virtual Assistants

Designing the perfect real estate website is about much more than putting together neat navigations and typography. Part of creating an effective website involves analyzing the latest web trends to make sure you’re capitalizing on popular techniques that work.

In this week’s YouTube feature, I discuss how to hire virtual assistants.

I’ve been using VAs for over a decade now and have set up VA teams for many of my real estate clients. While it’s clear that VAs can streamline many of your tasks, it’s important that you understand that there are concrete ways to integrate virtual assistants into your day to day operations.

From transaction management and marketing to sales and cold calling, VAs have become the backbone of a real estate agent’s routines. However, jumping into the VA landscape haphazardly will set you up for failure.

Throughout my video, I talk about critical key points:

  • Defining what a VA is (and common misconceptions)
  • How to find the right VA
  • Onboarding your VA
  • Setting the right expectations and communicating the plan
  • Day-to-day fulfillment
  • Measuring results

Check out the video here to learn more about hiring your own team of real estate virtual assistants! Armed with a bit of extra help, you can focus on key areas of your real estate business that only you can manage.