Creating drop-down menus for your Agent Voices blog

One of our bloggers has asked how to create a drop-down menu from their blog header and since I have now managed to remember/figure out how, I thought it would be good to share!

In order to have a drop-down menu, you need to use the Twenty Ten theme, which you can activate under Appearance > Themes in the left-hand menu of your blog admin:

Any pages you have created will appear in the header of your blog, as with any of the other themes.  However, with the Twenty Ten theme, any sub-pages you create will now appear as a drop-down menu when your readers hover over the title of the parent page:

To create a sub-page go to Pages > Add New in your admin menu or open an existing page on your blog.  Once the page is open you can use the ‘Page Attributes’ options on the right-hand side of your screen to assign a parent page, simply choosing one from the drop-down options:

Now just create as many pages and sub-pages as you like!  If you want to change the order in which the pages appear in your menu, just return to the ‘Page Attributes’ options and assign the page a number under the ‘Order’ field:

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Learn Marketing with Social Media in 7 Days

Venturing into the world of social media can be daunting at the best of times and in a lot of cases people jump in head-first without any strategy or thought for what they want to achieve from social media and how they can get it.  Some manage to figure this out over time and successfully find their niche in the social media space.  Others continue to wander aimlessly, wondering what it’s all about and why they bother!

Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be the case any longer.  I’ve just finished reading “Learn Marketing with Social Media in 7 Days” by social media consultant Linda Coles.  The book is a great resource for those who are new to social media or those who are giving it a go but are still unsure of it all.  Even those who consider themselves quite adept at social media are sure to find some gems here.

The book provides all the practical information and tips you need to master Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube and to will assist  you in creating a marketing plan to help determine and achieve your social media goals. It’s a book you will refer back to time and again as you establish and build your social media presence and is a must for anyone who wants to promote their business successfully online.

Linda has very kindly given us three copies of her book to giveaway.  Just email us, listing three social media sites covered in the book (can’t ask anything too hard on a Friday!)  First three correct responses will win a book.

 

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USFqi_5m0NA

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Does your email address mean business?

If you want to promote a professional image, you need a professional email address. It’s that simple.  All too often I come across agents using a gmail, hotmail or yahoo account and it makes me cringe.  As a real estate agent, you are in a trusted position and are often privy to highly sensitive information shared by your client.  Having an address like jimandann@gmail.com or smithfamily@hotmail.com does not inspire confidence or give you any professional credibility.

I can understand why Gmail in particular is widely used, as you can access your emails easily from any computer or location and can use Google docs and a host of other useful Google tools.  However, you can redirect another email addresses to your Gmail account and have the ability to reply to people with an alternative email address listed as the sender, rather than your gmail address.

Follow the directions provided by Google and make use of this facility.

If you don’t have an alternative email address, then register your personal domain name and use the associated email.  Domains ending in .co.nz can be purchased from as little as $20 per year from sites such as 1st Domains or Freeparking.  You then also have the option of redirecting your domain to your blog or personal landing page.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Our top 5 apps for real estate agents

There are so many apps available for smartphones, iPad and Android tablets that it’s hard to know where to start!  Here’s our top 5 must-have apps, which will make your life infinitely easier when you’re on the go.  If you’ve tried and tested these apps or have some other great apps you can recommend, please leave your comments below:

Dropbox

An oldie but a goodie! Dropbox is a free app allowing you to access your documents, photos or videos anywhere. You can also share files with other dropbox users easily and securely.

Realestate.co.nz app

I know, shameless self-promotion!  The Realestate.co.nz app is now available for iPhone and Android and while not we do not have a version specifically designed for the iPad or tablet yet, the app will function on those devices also.  Use the Realestate.co.nz app to stay up-to-date on what is being listed in your area.  At listing presentations it’s a great tool to show your prospective vendors what else is selling in their area and at what price.

Evernote

This popular app was designed for notetaking and archiving.  Use it to save ideas, create to-do lists and record things you see or do at any time.  Your notes can be text, photos, webpages or voice memos.  They can be shared with colleagues and are available from any device or computer you use.

Open Home Pro

Sick of trying to decipher email addresses and phone numbers after your open homes? Spending too much valuable time inputting details into your database. Open Home Pro makes your job easy. With Open Home Pro visitors to your open home can enter their name, email address and search preferences. Their details are saved within the app and can be easily exported as a .csv file.  This app is currently only available for iPad.

Docusign

Docusign provides a fast, efficient and secure way to send, sign and track documents allowing you to complete contracts on the go, reduce your use of paper and fast-track your business transactions.  Once you install the app you can create a free account allowing you to send three envelopes per month or you can pay to create a full business account for unlimited sending.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Virtual Business Cards

These days most people have a number of different contact points online including blogs, Facebook business pages and Twitter pages.  So if someone asks where they can ‘find’ you online, it can be hard to choose the most appropriate place to send them!  Granted, some people have personal websites which solve the problem for them but if you haven’t had the time, money or inclination to set up a personal website yet, there is a simple and inexpensive fix available in the form of a personal landing page or virtual business card.

The concept of online business cards is nothing new and there are a number of options you can choose from but I recently stumbled upon a site called DooID, which although it has been around for a couple of years was new to me and so I had a little play around!  The site is incredibly easy to use and within five or ten minutes you can have a customised webpage including your profile, contact information and links to all your social networking sites or any other sites you choose to link to.  As with most sites, you can set up a basic page for free and then upgrade to use additional features, if required.

Sharing your details with someone has never been easier and with DooID you also have the option to keep personal contact details hidden if you wish but can make them available to viewers via a ‘guest password’.  Your site will also have a v-card link allowing visitors to download your contact details directly into their address book or email program and you can download a QR code which you can print on the back of your next set of business cards, allowing smart phone users easy access to all your details and sites too.

If that’s not enough to convince you, have a look at this article detailing 6 ways a personal landing page can increase your business.

And if you’re the type of person who likes to shop around, this article from Lifehacker looks at five other personal landing page websites you can check out!

 

Posted in Online Marketing | Leave a comment

Stay Alert!

For those of you who maintain blogs, Facebook business pages or Twitter accounts you will no doubt have experienced times when you just can’t come up with ideas or find anything relevant to write or post about.  If you’re not already using Google Alerts, then you should start now.  Google alerts make it easy to stay up-to-date on what is happening in your area or within the industry, allowing you to share relevant news or updates with your followers.  The alerts will come direct to your inbox so you no longer have to go scouring the web for news.  You can set your alerts to receive news ‘as-it-happens,’ so if you’re quick to pass it on to your followers they may be hearing it for the first time from you, making their connection with you all the more relevant and valuable.

 

All you have to do is enter the relevant keywords, select how often you want to receive the updates and what kind of content you want, enter your email address and then click ‘Create Alert’.  Then just sit back and wait for the news to hit your inbox!

It’s a good idea to use the ‘Preview results’ option when you are setting up your alerts.  This will give you an idea of the information that will come through.  You may find that the suburb you entered also exists in the UK and USA and most of the results relate to those suburbs instead of yours.  If so, you may want to refine your search and add a city or region after your suburb.  Try a few options until you are happy that the results you’re seeing are relevant to you and then create your alert.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Online workshops – win a FREE ticket!

In our June newsletter we asked agents to register their interest for participating in practical workshops focused on establishing or improving your online presence.  In response to the positive feedback we received, we will be holding our first workshops next month in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.  See below for details.

Participants will need to bring along their own laptop and during the workshop will complete profiles on Realestate.co.nz, LinkedIn and Google.  In addition, we’ll help you set up a blog, Facebook business page or Twitter account – or all three if you want! – and will provide you with practical tips and advice to help you maintain those accounts.

The workshops are three hours long and the cost is $65, providing a cost-effective way to build your online presence.  And if that’s not sweet enough, we’re also offering an early-bird deal – register and pay by Tuesday 23rd August and it will only cost you only $49.  We have limited the workshops to 15 people to make sure that each participant can receive the assistance they need, so get in quick!

PARTICIPATE FOR FREE!

We’re giving one free registration for each of the workshops.  All you have to do to be in the draw is to ‘Like’ our new Agent Pro Facebook page by on Tuesday 23rd August and then comment on the post about the workshops, indicating which of the workshops you would like to attend. Easy!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Google+

There are already a number of great Google tools for real estate agents and it’s likely that Google+ will be another tool agents will be using to promote their business soon.

Launched on 28th June this year, Google+ is a new social networking site.  Those of you who are just getting familiar with Facebook may be groaning right now at the thoughts of trying to work your way around a whole new site but feedback from early users has been very positive and within only three weeks the site had over 10 million registered users.  From all accounts, it appears that Facebook will have some stiff competition ahead!

There are a lot of features to get used to but even after just spending a small amount of time on the site, I have to say that the Google+ set-up appeals to me more than Facebook.  I say that based purely on one feature, Circles.  Circles allows you to drag and drop your family, friends and acquaintances into different groups and you can then control what content is shared with which group or ‘Circle’.  Anyone who has used Facebook will have had that awkward experience were an acquaintance or colleague has asked to be your friend on Facebook but you don’t want to accept them because you don’t feel comfortable sharing all your content with them.  Circles eliminates that issue as you can now accept people into your groups but limit the content they can view.  People can see that you have added them to a circle but they aren’t told what the circle is.  So you can separate your friends from your business contacts easily and only share relevant information with each group.

Actual business profiles are not available yet on Google+ but should be released later this year.  So for now, you can just set up an account, get used to the features available and build up your contacts so that when the business profiles are released you’ll know exactly what you’re doing!  To help you find your way around the site Mashable have put together Google+: The Complete Guide, a brilliant article which will fill you in on everything you need to know to get started.

As it is still in trial, access to Google+ is currently by invitation only and each person who signs up has 150 invitations they can distribute to friends or colleagues.  If you don’t have an account yet and would like to take a look at how it all works, email us and we’ll send you an invite…while they last!

If you have used Google+ and have any feedback or tips or just want to let us know what you think of it, please leave a comment below.

Posted in General, Online Marketing | Leave a comment

Creating Online Profiles

When was the last time you checked to see what Google had to say about you?  If you haven’t taken the time to set up online profiles, chances are that people searching for you online will have a hard time finding relevant information about you.  If you have already set up profiles in the past, take this opportunity to make sure that your contact details are up to date and all information is still current.  You may have some recent testimonials that you can add, for example.

 

Creating a number of online profiles gives you some degree of control over what people read about you online.  At the very least, you should have a profile on your company website and on Realestate.co.nz, where you can add a free profile through our Agent Pro site.  From each of your listings on Realestate.co.nz,  there is a link to your profile page and if someone does a search online for your name, your Realestate.co.nz profile will usually be one of the first entries that will be displayed.  Use your profile as an opportunity to showcase your expertise and provide a few testimonials from clients to back it up.  To set up your Realestate.co.nz profile, just download our flyer and follow the steps provided.  If you have any problems, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0800 732 536 or email us for assistance.

While you have your profile handy, here are two other sites where you should promote yourself too:

LinkedIn – with over 120 million members, LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network.  You can choose to register and simply complete your profile or you can use the site to network, build your contacts and help grow your business.  This article provides some great tips on getting the most from LinkedIn.

Google Profiles – another opportunity to create a public profile and share relevant information with potential clients.  Google profiles are integrated with most Google services, including Google+ and there are a number of ways you can make your profile easier to find.

If setting up your profiles is something that has been on your to-do list for a while but something you never get around to, consider booking into one of our upcoming workshops.  In addition to helping you set up your profiles, we can help you set up a blog, Twitter account or Facebook business page too.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adding a Twitter Widget to your Blog

If you’re a blogger and also a Twitter user, you may want to add your twitter feed to your blog sidebar, as can be seen on this blog. I had a query from one of our Agent Voices bloggers wanting to do just that, so here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Go to https://twitter.com/about/resources/widgets/widget_profile

2. Enter your Twitter username in the field provided and press enter/return on your keyboard. You’ll then see a preview of the widget appear on the right of the screen.

3. Next click on ‘Preferences’ which allows you to decide on a number of different features, e.g. how many recent tweets show, or whether you want a scrollbar or avatars included. You can preview the different options at any time by clicking on ‘Test settings’ at the bottom of the screen so have a play around until you decide on what you would like.

4. Under ‘Appearance’ you can adjust the shell colour, background colour, link and text colours to suit your blog. Just click on the coloured square beside each option and you can adjust the colour accordingly. If you’re very particular about your colours and need an exact match, you can even enter the hexadecimal colour code. You’ll find a pretty extensive list here.

5. Once you’ve got your colours right, move on to the ‘Dimensions’ tab and for your blog sidebar you should choose the ‘auto width’ option as this will automatically adjust the width of the widget to suit your sidebar.

6. Assuming you’re happy with the look of your widget, you’re good to go. If not, repeat steps 3 & 4!  Then click on ‘Finish & Grab Code’ at the bottom of the screen. Just click once on the text to highlight the entire code and then copy and paste it into a text widget on your blog and there you have your new widget.  Note: for those of you using our Agent Voices blogging platform, you will have to email me with your code and I will insert it into your blog sidebar for you.

Posted in Blogging | 3 Comments