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"Make it rain online!"

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Dan Gooder Richard Photo
8/6/04 Interview with Dan Gooder Richard

Gooder Group
2724 Dorr Avenue, Suite 103
Fairfax, VA 22031

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Offline and Online Marketing

  1. The majority of agents now use email and web site resources to complement traditional marketing; both advertising/direct mail marketing and websites/email are necessary for maximum real estate marketing success.
  2. Personal marketing (promotion of an agent) has remained strong in print and other offline methods, but the big expenditures now are for property advertising via web sites and for technical help.
  3. Print, radio, television, signage and other offline sources are being used increasingly to drive traffic to web sites.
New Rules for Online Marketing

  1. The old rules learned in the 1990s are being applied this decade with significant twists; Richard outlines 20 rules in his latest book, RealEstate Rainmaker®: Guide to Online Marketing.
  2. For example, old rule: the Internet changes everything; new rule: Accept the rules of business.
  3. Old rule: the Internet will change real estate as we know it; new rule: your business is your business, and the Internet is a tool to be used.
  4. Old rule: your name is your brand; new rule: your brand should never be your name; Richard notes that heavy-hitting e-rainmakers consider their marketing strategy to be relevant to an exit strategy ‹using their name to brand their practice would limit the potential sale of the business.
  5. For maximizing e-marketing results, the most important rule is #14 ‹old:content is king; new: the right customer-focused content is king.
  6. Everything on a web site and in email marketing should be directed at providing solutions to the customer's problems; avoid being ego-centric.
Driving Traffic to Your Web Site

  1. WebSideStory, tracks over 150,000 web sites and can determine where visitors come from (previous web page), the service has determined that in general 66% of visitors come to a site through direct navigation, 18% through strategic links, and only 16% through search engines.
  2. The lesson is to concentrate on direct navigation by promoting your URL in all of your marketing; then graduate to strategic linking and finally to search engine link optimization, paid placement and pay-per-click.
  3. The Society's free CoolTool Bar through SeeYouAgain Software makes getting to the Society site easy; the members' version takes them right intothe Members-Only section; the public version takes visitors to other interesting places at
Converting Visitors to Prospects

  1. Many RE pros fall down in this critical area because they lack follow-up;an example of a good follow-up system is Fonville-Morisey Realty's (Raleigh,NC) "able, willing and ready program" with four steps: generate, incubate, scrub and capture.
  2. Leads are first generated with an online offer to capture names and emails; these are incubated through email follow-ups; the email list is scrubbed by making phone contact to qualify leads; customers are captured by having prospects make an appointment.
  3. Timing is all-important; leads need to be followed until they are ready to use the agent's services ‹often a year or more; to be on the prospects' radar screen when they are ready to move, put leads into an email data base and tie them into a drip-marketing program to maintain steady contact.
  4. The secret of a good drip program is to be in touch with the information that people want at the frequency they request; a drip campaign is automatedto spare the agent the trouble of writing and sending each effort.
RainMaker E-Central 4.0

  1. The two parts of this product can be seamlessly integrated to run a drip campaign; part one consists of hundreds of pages of content that can be linked to a web site; part two is an automated database of several hundred emails and two monthly newsletters.
  2. The second system auto-registers prospects into the database and launches a follow-up action plan to send email automatically; the product is very flexible, allowing agents to choose messages and customize their selections.
  3. Agents do not have to use their own email software; agents can import contacts into the RainMaker system, update the databases to treat new namesas a group or individually and then have the automated process begin.
  4. The term "rainmaker," borrowed from the legal profession, signifies the key person who brings in business; the rainmaker is supported by various assistants focused on particular business areas.
Differentiating Your Email from Spam

  1. To get through people's filtering systems and not have your messages confused with spam, make the information relevant for the customer and use merge fields to personalize email messages.
  2. Keep messages short to minimize the chance of using words being filtered out by software; avoid high-risk words, including "opt out," "remove," or "unsubscribe" ‹instead use "contact us" with a form to do so or use other innocuous words.
  3. Listservers (contacts opt in) are good resources, especially for commercial agents; the Society's free Email Broadcast Wizard tool makes 55 listservers available to members without cost.
Favorite Places on the Web

  1. is a helpful resource for getting a customized logo for your brand ($25 for a logotype; $45 for one in high-resolution color plus black-and-white).
  2. (free) and ($50/year) offer programs that send automatic messages to your contacts to update your address book.
  3. offers a good selection of customizable postcards; the service can be added to your own site.
Update on Richard's Prognostication

  1. The prediction that the Internet would become a critical marketing outlet has come to pass; NAR statistics show that consumers using the Internet to shop for property are up from 42% to 72% between 2002 and 2003.
  2. It remains true that successful Realtors® must use the Internet along with the complete array of traditional resources to avoid missing whole segments of buyers and sellers.
  3. Major changes in real estate marketing to expect in the next 3 years include: (1) website makeovers as more agents upgrade to destination sites;(2) larger lists, better-written messages and more sophisticated automated systems in order to compete with spam; and (3) greater use of virtual assistants and tech staff to free rainmakers from their keyboards.For a special, discounted offer to Society members for purchasing Richard's books, visit the custom web page:
Contact Information for Dan Gooder Richard:

(v) 703-698-7750
(f) 703-698-8597

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Special offer for Society members
Real Estate Rainmaker® Online
The Gooder Group
SeeYouAgain Software
Fonville-Morisey Realty