Get ranch real estate marketing tips from the ranch land marketing experts at RealStack.

A Beginner’s Guide to Google My Business for Land Brokers

With Google’s ever-increasing preference to show its own controlled web properties on search results, having a Google My Business (GMB) listing nowadays is as important as having a website. That makes maintaining and optimizing it as important as well.

Not only does a GMB listing act as an extra web property on search result pages, more importantly it shows up for branded searches (searches related to your name, company name, or brand). This offer users quick information about you and several call-to-actions aimed at converting users to a lead.

Having a GMB listing will also improve your chances of appearing on local pack results.

Fortunately getting started with and optimizing your GMB listing is quite easy. Below are just some tips. This article assumes you have already either claimed your GMB profile or have setup one up.

1. Make sure information is accurate

Take extra care to ensure that every piece of information is accurate, especially your address and phone number. Keep in mind that users will rely on your GMB listing to contact you, go to your website, or visit your location. Inaccuracies will likely mean lost leads.

It is very important to have the exact same name, address, and phone number (NAP) has you provide on your website. Google can detect the NAP character for character and match up your business based on NAP with your other web properties (your website, LinkedIn, Facebook, online directories, etc).

If you change your location or phone number don’t forget to update our GMB listing as well.

2. Put as much information as you can

Google My BusinessGMB allows you to enter various info about your business. As much as you can, fill up every field as this can help your listing perform better to appear in search and user engagement.
Category, for example, will help your listing appear for relevant search queries.

Google My BusinessAnother key area is the business description. Although it accepts up to 750 characters, only about 245 characters will appear on load of search results without searchers clicking on the “read more” link. So make sure to be concise and mention key phrases early such as areas you service or if you specialize on certain property types.

3. Set hours of operation

To set user expectations, and also to avoid getting calls at 10 in the evening, it is best to set your hours of operation. In this section you can also define your workdays.

Google My Business

4. Appointment link

Another great conversion point that GMB offers is the appointment link. This can be pointed to your Contact page of your website or other land page.

Keep in mind that users that will click on this link are ready to talk business so it would be best to link it to a clear, simple page with your contact information or form.

Google My Business

5. Upload your best photos

Although you can upload as many photos as you want, it would be best to just pick those that represents your business best.

Some photo ideas to consider:

  • Your office including an exterior photo, your lobby, and other interesting areas.
  • Your team of brokers, agents, and staff
  • Recent notable property listings
  • Epic ranch photos

Also upload or pick a photo that would best suite as a Cover photo, profile photo, and logo which would be used to brand your GMB listing.

6. Ask for reviews from previous clients

Unlike restaurants, shopping centers, and other ultra popular businesses, reviews are harder to come by in the ranch real estate industry so make each one count.  A quick email or private message asking previous clients to leave a review will go a long way. It will be good to mention to them how easy it is to leave a review.

Google My Business

One helpful tip to get more reviews is make it easy for clients to provide the review by giving them a direct link. In the Google My Business Help article it provides steps to generate a simple URL that clients can click to give you a review.

7. Reply to reviews if needed

Google My BusinessYou don’t need to reply to all reviews but it would look good on your GMB listing if users see that you are active.

If someone leaves a positive review, do your best to highlight your experience with that client.

In case you do get a review with even just a hint of negativity, reply professionally to address the issue and provide resolution.

Blank one star reviews are a nuisance and can pull down ratings. Instead of leaving it as is, at the very least leave a reply asking for more information.

8. Answer Q and A’s

Users can ask questions about your business which anyone can answer. Get on top of this quickly to make sure that it is addressed correctly and again to show that you are active.

9. Google My Business post

Google My BusinessThis a relatively new feature introduced by Google wherein, similar to Facebook and Twitter, you can now post “updates” about your business. These posts will appear with your GMB listing and can be used to further help convert searchers.

There are several forms to choose from all of which can be linked to any of your pages thus making this a great place for advertisements or promotions.

A post expires after 7 days though so remember to update frequently. If you create a Google Business Site, it will appear on there indefinitely though. A Google Business Site is another good opportunity to create a business web property that can help your SEO. The REALSTACK SEO team can help you with that if interested.

10. Google My Business Insights

GMB Insights has dramatically improved in recent years and now includes powerful “Insights” which are reports. These power packed reports give your brokerage great visibility into the importance of ranking on Google for both your branded keyword phrases and market defining phrases.

Insights are broken down into 3 categories of reports and include the following:
Category 1 : Acquire

  • How customers search your business – displays both direct searches for your business and other market keyword searches.
  • Queries used to find your business – Google can literally tell you the exact phrases used to find your business or that your GMB profile ranks for.
  • Where customers view your business on Google – this report can provide customer visits to Listings on Search vs Listings on Maps.

Google My BusinessGoogle My Business

Category 2 : Engage

  • Customer actions – Google shows an interesting chart to demonstrate the most common actions that customers take on your GMB listing such as visit your website, request directions, or call you. Good information to know.
  • Directions requests – for most land brokerages this may not be a big number, but it implies the importance of having a solid GMB profile when it is needed by a prospective customer.
  • Phone calls – good bar chart to show when and how many times customers call your brokerage.

Google My Business

Category 3 : Compare

  • Photo views – The number of times your business photos have been viewed, compared to photos of other businesses like yours. Make sure to upload your own photos to GMB!
  • Photo quantity – not the most powerful chart, but good to visualize the number of photos that appear on your business, compared to photos from other businesses.

Google My Business is very easy to setup and configure.  It can be an important web property for your land brokerage and also make you look stronger online.  Get started by visiting their website.

If you’d like help with GMB or search engine optimization, contact our great marketing team at REALSTACK.  We know land marketing and love helping brokerages!

LandFlip Now Added to REALSTACK LandSync Feeds

LANDFLIP NETWORKThe ever expanding REALSTACK platform has now added LANDFLIP and its network of land websites to LandSync, our system to feed land brokerage listings to any online advertising website automatically.  With automated listing feeds to online classified websites, land brokerages can input their listings once and then have those completed listings synchronized with their accounts with online land websites such as LandFlip.

LandFlip is the host to a number of powerful sites within their network, including:

In 2003, LANDFLIP was founded by Ryan Folk in Atlanta, Georgia.  Ryan was a successful real estate broker with experience in software sales and consulting, and with the demand to create an alternative to traditional print media he launched LANDFLIP.com.  It soon became his main marketing channel of his own listings and even more so for other brokerages in the region.  In the early years Ryan was able to bring on a partner, Tate Reddick, who together they have grown the LANDFLIP network to be one of the most popular land marketing platforms in the industry.  In recent years, they have rebranded as the LANDFLIP NETWORK and is now managed by former land brokers and boasts one of the largest sources of land listings, land buyers, and land professionals from across the nation.

“We couldn’t be more excited to add the LANDFLIP NETWORK to our growing list of integrations with REALSTACK,” commented REALSTACK Founder, Chad Polk.  “They run a great business with solid results for our clients so it was a no-brainer.”

REALSTACK is now a LANDFLIP marketing partner: https://www.landflip.com/partners

Latest Print Ad Designs for Land Brokerages

Not only have we been hard at work on software here at REALSTACK, but we’ve also been building stunning print ad designs for land brokerages. Print advertising is a staple in the marketing mix for land brokerages across the United States and they don’t come cheap. When land brokerages chose to do print ads they better have the chops to design a killer ad that is meant to impress and drive leads. Land brokerages call on REALSTACK for just that … print ad designs that impress potential leads to pick up the phone.

Print Design for Land BrokeragesOne of our latest print ad designs for land brokerages is with Hortenstine Ranch Company in Dallas, Texas. We handle all the digital and print marketing for HRC. The latest is one of our favorites to be published in The Land Report this Winter 2016. Click image to view full ad.

Notables from the ad:

  1. Headliner ranch property.  In this ad we had a clear alpha listing …550 acre lake on 1,800 acre.  We made it front and center with an attention grabbing aerial photo of the massive lake.  Now that we had their attention …
  2. Confidence badge.  Maybe this is a new term to land brokers, but confidence badge(s) have been used for years by marketers to associate their business or product with already established brands, awards, or accolades.  In this case, The Land Report Best Brokerages award is a highly distinguished list to be on as a land brokerage.
  3. Water.  Clearly a critical attribute to any property is water and it sells very well in the market.  We provided a gallery of listings with great water for ag use, recreational, livestock, fish habitat, and overall visual appeal.
  4. Limited listing information.  Figuratively speaking, you have limited space on any print advertisement.  Telling the full story or even a paragraph highlighting attributes of the property is overkill.  The point is to get the phone to ring.  So we advised to less text, information, or highlights and if a lead is interested they will certainly pick up the phone.
  5. Whitespace.  You’ve probably seen excellent print advertisements and subconsciously thought how great that design looks.  Apple is one of the best designers of whitespace.  Often times designers use whitespace to create simplicity and focus.  Too much information and imagery overload simply causes prospects to flip the page and move on.  Too much to digest or consider.
  6. Website URL.  We used a tasteful font size that fit the design and different color from the rest of the ad, so we were sure that viewers would see the brokerage website URL.  If they are not motivated enough to call, then we certainly want them to go online for more information where we have a rockin website that captures lead email addresses …but that is another article.
  7. Color Palette.  So often we see land brokerages that are not true to their brand or don’t really know what their brand colors are.  In the case of this ad, we certainly made sure the colors used matched HRC design guidelines exactly.

The objectives of the ad was market top shelf properties, position the Hortenstine brand in the market as a high end brokerage firm, and get new visitors to their website.  This ad accomplished all three objectives.

Hopefully we have given you points to consider for your next big spend on print advertising for land brokerage.  Print design is very daunting when considering the amount of dollars your are about to invest.  And invest is the keyword.  An investment is an outlay of cash where you expect some return on those dollars in the future.  Yes, you should expect some return on print advertising for land brokerages.

View more designs and digital marketing works from REALSTACK here: https://realstack.com/digital-marketing/marketing-portfolio/

Simple Photo Editors for Ranch Land Marketing

We’ve all heard the cliche – a picture tells a thousand words. And when it comes to selling majestic large ranches or turn-key ranchettes, you have to nail the photography. So we at REALSTACK wanted to share with you 2 awesome – and SIMPLE – tools that anyone can use to make your ranch land marketing photos look like a fit for the front cover of Open Fences Magazine.

Think about all the places your photos go these days …brochures, magazines, your website, LandsofAmerica, LandWatch, LandFlip, Land Broker MLS, and hundreds of other classified websites. Not to mention posting and getting shares on social media. So much opportunity for distribution of your marquee ranch photo or all the photos. Why not take 10 minutes to enhance the imagery and deliver an electric visual of the property you represent?

Fotor photo editingFirst up we found a power packed photo editor that works on both desktop and mobile devices – Fotor.

From their website: This company has brought powerful, easy to use photo editing tools into the hands of anyone and everyone with an internet connection. Fotor has made professional-level photo editing accessible to everyday users through a clean, intuitive interface and workflow. Fotor strives to provide the highest quality tools in the most accessible manner and continues to pursue this goal with each new product and version release.

 

 

 

Our favorite features include:

  • State-of-the-art photo processing engine
  • Adjust exposure, brightness, contracts, and more
  • Crop, straighten, rotate, and resize
  • Add borders and frames
  • Create a collage
  • Tilt-Shift meaning it gives images the depth-of-field normally only on pro-grad cameras. Critical for long views on ranch properties.
  • 1-click enhancement options
  • Ability to import and export a wide range of image formats
  • Effects and borders. We’ve all seen this on instagram, but now available to you for any photo
  • Text overlay on images

Overall Fotor provides a high power photo processing engine, but what we use 90% of the time is their 1-click enhancements or effects. Super cool result and highly recommended for website and social media photos.

Canva graphic design appOver to our other favorite photo editor, Canva, that is really built as a graphic design app that anyone can use. Photo editing is limited compared to Fotor, but if you are the 1-click photo editor then this will be plenty of horsepower. Canva positions themselves as “Amazingly Simple Graphic Design” which we couldn’t agree with more.

With Canva you can design flyers, presentations, Facebook covers, blog graphics, business cards, posters, invitations, and much more. The team here at RealStack constantly uses it for social media mini-infographics and art for our clients.

One of the best offers from Canva is the stock photography and graphics that come with this FREE online application. That’s right, Canva is free. You only pay for the stock photos you use (if any) and even at that they are only $1 per photo. Super awesome deal.

Our favorite feature is all the thousands of free template designs for just about any use. They’ve already built the art with awesome color palettes, typeface, icons, badges, design elements, and more. We consistently use this product for social media posts and blog content graphics. Canva is an asset to RealStack and our clients. Check it out at http://www.canva.com

We know these two awesome tools will help your ranch land marketing look better and become more efficient. Enjoy!

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7 Keys to Improving Email Marketing for Land Brokers

Email marketing for land brokers can be the lifeblood of your real estate marketing. The demographic of these buyers of land have spent the last 30+ years living out of their inbox. Email is likely one of the first things they check after they awake in the morning and often times the last check before going to bed. Throughout the day the frequency of checking email is almost constant, especially now with everyone having a smartphone in their pocket. According to a study out of the University of British Columbia, the average person checks email 15 times a day. The study also showed that 92% of U.S. adults use email to communicate with others and 183 billion emails are sent and received each day (66,795,000,000,000 each year).

Needless to say you need to be doing email marketing and doing it really well. So, we are going to start by helping you with these 7 email marketing tips for land brokers:

1. Design for Mobile

Land Broker Email Mobile DeviceDid you know that almost half of email opens are now happening on mobile devices? The great folks over at litmus.com published some eye catching trends they’ve captured in email opens over 4 years.

Email opens on mobile devices were barely a blip on the radar in 2011, and made up just 8% of email opens. Then, fast forward to 2014 and nearly half of emails are opened on smartphones and tablets …that’s a 500% increase in just four years!

Based on some adjustments Gmail has made recently to their webmail, mobile, and desktop, Litmus calculated adjusted figures that open rates are 22% for desktop, 25% for webmail, and 53% for mobile. Of the mobile opens, 41% were on Apple iPhone & iPad and 7% on Android devices.

So the action item for land brokers is craft your emails in “mobile responsive” templates. What is mobile responsive? It is a web design aimed at building sites and emails for the most optimal viewing across a wide range of devices. Now, email templates can’t truly be mobile responsive as they still have to adhere to older coding methods to be compliant with email clients (i.e. Microsoft Outlook), but the images can scale and the entirety of the email should be easily read on a mobile device.

Almost all modern email marketing platforms provide mobile friendly templates you can customize, so ditch that old email layout you’ve been using for 5 years and move to a mobile responsive design.

2. Lead with imagery

As land brokers, you sell an extraordinarily enchanting product. Since that is a given, let’s maximize the visual appeal of your highly sought after and dreamed of product.

The header can be brokerage branding or a featured property photo with your brand watermark, BUT do now put a bunch of clickable links in the header. You’ve spend many hours pulling together this email to either feature 1 listing or a group of listings, but you’ve now distracted the email recipient with large amount of links to other sections of your website. Email 101: every email must have a purpose so stick with that purpose. If you want them to focus on 1 ranch or a small group of ranches, only offer links to those specific listings in the email.

3. Small photos just don’t cut it

Too often I see land broker emails with thumbnail photos and feature highlights. Use larger photos and even cut the content down a bit if it means having larger photos displayed. Also just as important as larger photos, use enhanced photos to get more attention and clicks. There are many easy to use photo enhancement products available, so take advantage of this simple enhancement to your ranch land photos. Two good ones are Fotor and Canva.  Notice the example in #4 below has multiple photos large enough to get a viewers attention versus photos 1/4 the size of those below.  The standard email width is 600 pixels so when possible use 600px photos in your email.

4. Multiple Photos where Possible

Next, when the email campaign includes one or a small number of listings, include multiple photos of each property. Pictures say so much more than text. Pictures with a caption enable you to compliment the photo. With captions don’t just state the “feature”, but instead craft a statement that is intriguing. I also suggest putting links on every photo for a listing in the email campaign that directs the user to the ranch listing on your website.

Ranch land photos

5. Show highlights, spare the details

Land brokers as a whole seem to lead with product features. Thinking in features of the product (land) is the default first thought. As an industry we have to sell value and that value is the experiences a piece of land offers your buyer. So, why do we lead with acreage, price, and price per acre? Why can’t we lead with “abundant quail and deer population”, “legacy ranch property”, “turn-key sporting property”, “magnificent topography and views”, “family retreat and outdoor recreation”, etc. In an email campaign, value get’s buyers attention. Price and acreage immediately rules out or in the property for the buyer before you’ve ever had a chance to sell the value. Lead with value then features.

6. Create multiple links to your website listing page

Within any email campaign you have many opportunities to create links back to your website and listing. Use all of them – photos, text, and buttons. You don’t know what will spark someones interest enough to click to view more. Maybe it is the photo of large whitetail deer buck, equestrian barn, live water, children playing, or a call-to-action button. You don’t care how they get to the listing on your website, you just want them to get there.

7. Use Call-to-Action Buttons

This point is probably the most overlooked best practice in land broker email marketing. People will respond to a call-to-action (CTA) button over text link. Research shows most people scan email campaigns rather than reading them word-for-word, so that means buttons stand out to the skimmers. Buttons stand out because:

  • Size
  • Design
  • Color
  • Whitespace

Finally, a CTA button is exactly as it’s name suggests …an “action”. Experiment with your own action statements, but here are a few we consistently use for land brokers:

  • View more photos
  • Download Brochure
  • Contact Us
  • Visit Listing Online
  • Learn More
  • Check out Listing Here

CTA button examples:

land-broker-email-button-1

land-broker-email-button-2

land-broker-email-button-3

We’ve given you 7 easy action items to improving your email marketing for your brokerage and most importantly your landowners. We trust you’ll put these to use in your next email campaign that will wow the client.

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Farm & Ranch Broker Opinion of Value Template for Land Brokers

Broker opinion of value (or broker price opinion or comparative market analysis) can make or break you getting a listing.  So being well equipped to provide the most accurate analysis is at the top of your priority list as a land broker. This broker opinion of value can be a lot of intense work so qualifying your prospect or client will be important before embarking on the research journey.

A brokers opinion of value (BOV) is simple that, an “opinion”. It is not an appraisal. Appraisals may only be completed by someone who is licensed or certified as an appraiser. Therefore, TREC rules require that BPOs and CMAs contain the following statement verbatim:

THIS IS A BROKER PRICE OPINION OR COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AN APPRAISAL OR OPINION OF VALUE. In making any decision that relies upon my work, you should know that I have not followed the guidelines for development of an appraisal or analysis contained in the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice of the Appraisal Foundation.

A BOV is an assessment of current land market value based upon a careful research of market and property conditions that affect the value of a farm, ranch, or other rural land. This process is usually undertaken when an owner is seriously considering the possibility of selling the property. Other needs for a broker opinion of value may be for an estate, trust, or bank. While this is not an appraisal, it provides that land owner, estate, or bank with useful data and guidance.

At REALSTACK, we’ve created a well designed broker opinion of value template for land brokers.  Click the button below and download the template.  You can change the colors, fonts, and more to make it your own but is a great starting point.

Ranch Marketing: It’s Time Ranch Brokers Understood ROI

Understanding ranch marketing ROI for ranch brokers

What? Brokers do not look at returns on their ranch marketing dollars spent? You just fronted $14,000 on the ranch listing you just took on. How soon will you get that money back? What is the ROI on that ranch marketing investment? This article is probably going to be a “duh?” article that we all read …one where it states the obvious on a subject we already knew but what the article does is formulate the thought and process into an actionable list for ranch brokers.

I’ve found that the ROI calculation for ranch brokers is simple, but where you get tripped up is costs. Allocating costs to a listing isn’t always clear and straight forward. What is cost of goods sold (COGS), operating costs, marketing costs, etc. I’ll hold off on allocating costs discussion until the end of the article to maintain the simplicity of our example below.

Let’s begin with high level ranch marketing budget. The best way to develop a marketing budget is to treat that budget as if it’s an investment, i.e. something that delivers an expected return. Your listings represent the portfolio of investments.

Review last years ranch marketing spend and calculate the ratio of cost to revenue to give you a benchmark starting point in the new year. So if your firm did $500,000 in fees and spent $100,000 in marketing (yes you need to include fees from outside vendors) then your marketing cost ratio is 20%.

Now, there is a catch. If your brokerage let’s say carries 10 ranch listings on average your ranch marketing cost ratio is likely higher than if your brokerage carries 30 ranch listings on average. The ranch brokerage with more average listings count gets an economies of scale in most cases because resource costs are spread over more listings and higher total revenue. An example of this is print advertising where larger ranch brokerages put more listings on their full-page ad. A smaller brokerage may only be able to put 4 listings in an ad whereas another brokerage may have 10 listings in the ad.

Another example would be somewhat fixed service costs such as SEO or social media. Whether you have 10 listings or 30 listings those services may not increase with more listings.

I see marketing cost ratios vary from 10% to 25% depending on the total revenue of your brokerage and other variables. The important data point here is get your benchmark ranch marketing cost ratio from last year and use to measure against going forward. This is a measurable key performance indicator (KPI) for any brokerage.

Now that you have your ranch marketing cost ratio, let’s get into an example listing and ROI. I like round numbers so let’s start off with a property for sale at $1,000,000. It has 400 acres with a nice cabin to add some liveability. That’d make it $4,000 per acre.

Easy commission calculation is $1,000,000 x 3% = $30,000. So if your marketing cost ratio was 20% last year then your planned ranch marketing spend could be up to $7,500. This listing marketing budget doesn’t mean allocating all of it to paid ads such as print, social, video, etc. You have to leave plenty of room in there for services.

NOTE: I don’t like to plan commission percentages on “double ending” deals. The best practice would be to budget a marketing spend around representing one side or the other on a transaction.

The next number we need is “average days on market”. Take each listing that sold last year (or last several years) and individually calculate days on market from listing creation date to closing date. Sum the days on market for all these sold listings and divide by total number of sold listings in your data set.

I personally prefer to look at months so take your average days on market number and divide by 30. You probably won’t get a whole number so just keep it to 1 decimal place.

Let’s presume that your brokerage average months on market is 10 months. This means that your $7,500 investment will likely come back to you in 10 months. If all goes well the brokerage commission will be $30,000. This would be net return on investment of $22,500 or 75% Return on Investment (ROI) or 360% annualized yield.

Now take this a step further …your brokerage has 30 listings and each listing has $7,500 in marketing costs tied up in them. That totals $225,000. So presumably you’d have about a quarter of a million dollars tied up at any given time in marketing of ranches. If you’re running this as a line of credit with a bank then there is a carrying cost associated with these allocated funds.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Benchmark your marketing cost ratio. Work from there moving forward. Possibly work to lower it with more efficient ranch marketing spends that can achieve better or same results in sales as in past.
  2. Benchmark your average months on market. All brokers want to sell listings fast but in many cases the velocity at which a listing sells is largely due to a number of factors …months supply of similar listings in that area, popularity of an area, proximity to major metro areas, income production, land amenities, and much more.

By benchmarking your ranch real estate brokerage you’ll be able to target new listings that fit your formula for marketing cost ratio and average months on market. Any time you can make a more informed quantitative decision, the more likely you’ll realize the anticipated ROI.

Quick notes on allocation of costs to listings …

I’ve found it hit or miss that a brokerage will assign direct costs to specific listings. Here are some simple practices to start allocating costs to listings accurately and some suggested practices.

  • When you purchase a print ad and receive an invoice from the publication, enter the invoice into your financials then itemize the total to each “product” aka listing. By itemize, if the total print ad cost $3,000 and included 6 listings then each listing would get charged $500 when itemizing the invoice.
  • You’ll also have direct costs from outside vendors that can get directly charged to the listing such as professional photographer/videographer, surveyor, GIS mapping services, soil samples, etc. When you have these direct service costs, assign the invoice to a specific listing.

Ranch marketing expenses that appear to be operational expenses:

  • SEO services
  • PR services
  • Social media services
  • Brochure design services
  • Website hosting
  • Online classifieds subscriptions (i.e. Lands of America)

These ongoing marketing expenses can be consistent or fluctuate depending on how you operate your brokerage. My suggestion is take your monthly average spend on services used monthly and divide by average # of listings you carry at any given time. So if your monthly services average $5,000 per month and you carry 20 listings on average then each listing costs you $250 per month it isn’t sold. Then if your average months on market is 10 months that equates to $2,500 per listing of services carrying costs for the year.

Remember the $7,500 marketing budget from earlier? Well, there goes $2,500 of that budget in marketing services carrying costs. Now you have $5,000 left in the budget.

Bank fees and interest. There is always interest cost if running your brokerage on a line of credit (LOC). That interest is certainly entered into the financials each month during reconciliation. Again, you can chose to average it out based on months on market to arrive at a month finance fee to charge to each active listing that has money tied up in the LOC.

If your brokerage has an in-house bookkeeper, controller, or CFO then you should make absolutely sure your business begins measuring these number every month, quarter, and year. If you use outside financial services, then make a point to set down with your bookkeeper or accountant and get a game plan together to begin tracking these numbers and measuring against your brokerage benchmarks. This is how efficient business are run!

Get started benchmarking ranch marketing cost ratios and listing average months on market. Take a deeper look at how best to allocate costs to individual listings and establish cost averages where fees are spread over all listings.

To learn more about ranch broker marketing, visit https://realstack.com/digital-marketing/

Blake Hortenstine Feature Interview with Chad Polk

Listen in as Blake Hortenstine of Hortenstine Ranch Company provides incredible insight into becoming a top broker in the state of Texas, keys that improve the value & marketability of the land, and state of the Texas recreational land market.

To learn more about Hortenstine Ranch Company visit https://hrcranch.com/.

To learn more about REALSTACK visit https://realstack.com/

Aerial Imaging Interview with Matt Dunn

Our founder, Chad Polk, had an opportunity to set down with Matt Dunn, one of the ranch industry’s top cinematographers, for a REALSTACK feature interview. He and his team has filmed the likes of The Great Western Ranch, IX Ranch, Kessler Canyon, Taylor Estate, Lobo Ranch ….we think the only high end ranch they haven’t filmed is Waggoner Ranch! Wouldn’t be surprised if they get tapped to film the King Ranch down in Texas some day.

Without further ado, read on about Matt’s work that makes us all jealous …

Chad Polk: I want to start out with the 3D modeling video I just saw on your vimeo channel. I can’t make out if many of those renderings are real or 3D models …incredible. Give us some insight into this new offering from AIP.

Matt Dunn: I’m glad to hear that you can’t tell the difference. That means we are doing our job! The first version of our 3D demo video only showed the final product and we soon realized that people didn’t understand the product we were delivering. Like you, they didn’t know what was real and what was 3D. So our adjustments to the demo revealed the development stages, much like those you might see for a “making of” big Hollywood film where they show the before and after.

This new offering provides the client with a “close to finished” look at their future development project. Some examples include a custom home built on a mountain side, to high rise condos, to drill site phases for the gas and oil industry. Many architectural firms, developers and real estate agencies have found this to be an exciting and powerful new tool.

We are learning new tricks along the way to ensure a successful match with our aerial footage. It’s exciting to see how this new service will influence the industry.

Chad Polk: You’ve positioned your business in the market as Full Service Media Production. For the average marketer, what does that encompass?

Matt Dunn: We provide end to end production services including aerial cinematography, traditional cinematography with a large selection of support rigs (sliders, stabilizers, jibs etc), 3D model integration/compositing, geo-spatial tours, script writing, voice over and video editing.

Chad Polk: The AIP team has spent a lot of time on mega ranches and exceptional properties. How do you begin the process to tell the story of each property through video?

Matt Dunn: From a mega hunting or cattle ranch to a small gentlemen’s fly fishing retreat, telling the right story is key. The process begins with a great deal of communication with various individuals that know the property well. We talk to anyone and everyone that is available in hopes to understand the complete picture. We interview the broker first, then typically the manager and in some cases the property owner/seller.

Simultaneously we’ll gain a tremendous amount of information by using Google Earth Pro. Dropping in with a birds eye view while on a conference call provides a very good understanding of the property.

Chad Polk: From your portfolio I see lifestyle, recreation, informative views, geo spatial layouts, narrative, and more. Tell us how you build up to the end video product that helps market and eventually sell your client’s product or services.

Matt Dunn: We feel very fortunate to have such a talented team and fantastic tools here at AIP. Each of the items you mentioned have an equal value to them. From the visuals to the narrative and music, it all plays into creating a compelling and informative product that drives results. Beautiful cinematography typically is what engages a viewer. Captivating and retaining them is the challenge. We really strive to maintain good rhythm and intrigue from beginning to end. We were delighted to know that a cash offer of a mega ranch was made within two days of watching the video we produced without the buyer having set foot on the property. If that doesn’t display the power of video I don’t know what does!

Chad Polk: As I talk to real estate brokers and other videographers, I hear time and again that AIP is the standard. Their stuff is always epic. What drives you as artists and creatives to really push the envelope of cinematography and creativity?

Matt Dunn: I’m flattered to hear that we’ve set the standard. You know one of the biggest things for me personally as a filmmaker, is to create magic and make people feel something. It’s exciting to be able to draw emotion out of a viewer for something like a property video which is not always an easy task. If you can tell a compelling yet informative story, it can make quite an impact. We always strive to make each video better than the last. Obviously though, the amazing aerials is what launches the videos into epicness. That’s a word right?

Chad Polk: Aerial video has come a long way in the last decade to say the least. How has AIP kept it’s competitive advantage through the proliferation of a consumer drone market?

Matt Dunn: Simply put, our pilot Brent Murray is exceptional. He has a true gift for composition and is aware of everything. His long history of drone cinematography has made him a master in this field. I can honestly say he is one of the very best in the world. Drones like the DJI Phantom are everywhere these days and it is possible to get great shots now and then but what we provide is consistency, reliability, wisdom and a tremendous amount of creativity. We are very blessed to have him on board.

Chad Polk: Matt, you’ve been so generous with your time today. To our readers out there, what more would you want us to know more about AIP …yes, you are open to any shameless plug here …

Matt Dunn: Thank you! Well, 10 years ago we had the idea to film with remote control single rotor helicopters (long before multicopters aka drones). Our pioneering of this new medium was not an easy task and we acquired many bumps and bruises along the way. We knew the technology would gain momentum. Now that it has, we see nothing but an abundance of possibilities. Our shameless plug might as well be the announcement of our new company RanchVideos.com. The site is nearly ready for launch. Our goal is to provide a service that is focused on one thing… Ranch Videos. We’ll be able to market ourselves much more concisely and feel it’s been a long time coming. After all, we have set the standard for ranch marketing videos. Why not create a company centered around our passion?

Chad Polk: Great insights Matt. You guys keep crushin’ it and we’ll keep watching all the epic ranch videos. Best wishes.

 

See all their videos at: https://vimeo.com/aip/videos

YEAR END Lands of America Advertising Assessment

Have you ever truly evaluated your Lands of America advertising with real analytics?  You can now …

It’s that time of year when brokerages are evaluating their marketing spend and performance. Lands of America advertising performance will certainly be one of the top segments evaluated in a brokers marketing mix.

For many brokers, just being online is enough. But with today’s online buyers doing months of research and monitoring for land listings and brokerages, the online presentation (merchandising) is the critical starting point for a buyer.

Lands of America works for a lot of brokers and agents, but critically evaluating the data and how you merchandise property on this network of sites can result in thousands of dollars in new found money. In this article we are going give you key analysis techniques and data points to evaluate Lands of America advertising and better yet tips to improve your brokerage merchandising of land listings on Lands of America.

Lands of America Advertising Analytics
lands of america advertising assessment templateLike most online classified websites, Lands of America provides some basic analytics for your land listing performance on their site. They provide some simple metrics such as Searches, Views, and each of these data points over time with a line chart. Ok, great, but really how do I evaluate performance of my brokerage or individual listing?

If you get 10,000 searches on a listing …is that good? What if you get 1,200 views …is that good?

These are good for showing sellers that they are getting online activity on their listing, but individually they really don’t demonstrate much in the way of results in most cases. Now, if we compile some of these data points we’ll get incredible performance insight as to how your listings are performing against others by calculating averages, rank, and per day analysis.

Let’s unpack this data to better assess its performance.

I’ll start by explaining that when a visitor searches LandsofAmerica.com and listings display on screen, the default sort is price highest to lowest. This inflate your “Searches” total. You see, if your are one of the largest acreage listings for a particular county then it is very likely that you are one of the highest total price listings. That means you are by default at the top or near the top of the list. Also, if you are in a county that has very few listings then it is more likely that you’ll be page 1 or at the top.

The important point here is you want to be on page 1 of typical searches you believe the buyer will perform. There are countless articles and research to support that being on page 1 of a search result is critical. We’ll save this topic for another article.

Being at the top of the list has value no doubt, but I just want to be clear that it inflates your “Searches” data point for this listing. Searches (for Lands of America) is the quantity of times a listing appears in a visitors search results. A Searches rate on LandsofAmerica.com can vary widely because of demand or popularity within certain counties and as already mentioned being one of the top ranked in total asking price.

So overall, Searches on its own for individual listings isn’t much of a value …which brings us to combining it with the next data point to create a real meaningful Key Performance Indicator (KPI).

Lands of America uses the word “Views” to mean the number of times a listing is clicked aka viewed. This is pretty simple, Listing A appears in the Search Result and a buyer clicks on Listing A. That click counts as a “View”.

As with Searches, Views are generally interesting, but as a single data point not very insightful because it can vary by thousands based on days on market, county demand, and total price rank.  Check out #1 below for a better performance indicator.

Ok, time to really pay attention!! Here is the important metrics of four key performance indicators.

4 Key Performance Indicators for Lands of America Advertising

lands of america ctr

1. Click Through Rate (CTR) – this is number of views divided by number of searches to give us a percentage rate that site visitors click on a listing.

Based on general marketing click through rates, a good CTR average should be 3-5%. There are several factors that play into your CTR though. Consider your marquee photo displayed, did you use video, or is your written copy compelling?

So evaluating yourself and your brokerage here is key. Spend some time critiquing your own listings compared to others in your market. The best performing listings have professional photos with professional color enhancement or display video as marquee photo, and have compelling intro sentence about the listing.

Which listing would you click on?
lands of america photos

Actually the question is which one would you NOT click on …B!  You are asking the full market prices and $2.8M, but you can’t even get the photos done well.  So B is obvious, but lets critique A & C.  Photo A is ok, but it really doesn’t sell me any value.  It is shadowy, the road really just looks like a worn path, and trees don’t lend to picturesque scene.  Every ranch has a scene like this one pictured, but surely there is a better scene somewhere else on property …you have 800 acres to pick from.  I don’t know this for fact but I bet the agent took this photo or unqualified photographer.

Now take in photo C.  The tree line is perfect horizontal centered, the water feature is clearly large, sky is awesome blue bird day, reflection on the water is enchanting, water totally calm, and there is fish habitat on the shoreline …ok, I’m interested …click.

Just for the exercise, read the description excerpts of each listing A, B, and C.  Are you starting to see a better merchandised listing surface?

I took some description excerpts from other listings as well just to focus on my point.  Here is a comparison of example written copy:

  1. 560 Acres WKL RANCH, BLANCO COUNTY 181 Pape Lane, Blanco, Texas 78606 DESCRIPTION: Conveniently located just 2 miles west of the town of …
  2. Spectacular acreage tract just west of Blanco. Gorgeous spring-fed creek and Pond on the property, along with incredible views in all directions

I’d go with listing #2. It is more intriguing to get me to click with talk of spring-fed creek, a pond, and views. This excerpt is the first words you put into your description. Choose your words carefully and be persuasive to get the click …something advertising experts have been doing for decades.

lands of america

2. Searches per Day – this is the most accurate way to compare listings in your portfolio. It takes out the “totals” and evens the comparison by accounting for days on market. Easy calculation is number of searches divided by days on market.

Your average searches per day should be between 100 and 200 per day on average.

The important assessment for your own listings is comparing it to your average. Download the REALSTACK spreadsheet for easy calculations here.

lands of america views

3. Views per Day – this is where it matters to a broker or agent. Again, we factor in days on market to give comparisons a common denominator. Simple calculation is total views divided by days on market.

In marketing, when a visitor clicks on a listing this is a behavior. A behavior in this case demonstrating that they are interested at some level. We don’t necessarily know where they are in their shopping process or marketing funnel but statistically it does help us gauge market interest. Most importantly, this data point helps us benchmark each listing against a consistent average.

Your average views per day should be between 5-9 per day. Although views per day can vary from brokerage to brokerage depending on your portfolio of listings. It is important to establish YOUR averages.

Download the REALSTACK spreadsheet for easy calculations here.

lands of america leads

4. Leads per View – now we’re talking …leads, people who engage with your online listings.  Just as views are a behavior, so are engagement.  Engagement meaning a visitor to your listing inquires, shares, prints flyer, visits your website, or views your phone number.  This is a slightly stronger behavior than a view right?  Absolutely and as marketers we’d say they are moving down the marketing funnel and hopefully on their way into the sales funnel.

Leads per view is import metric because we must understand why people are engaging more or less than other listings.  To calculate, take number of leads divided by number of views.  This will give you a percentage of leads per view.

Your leads per view should be between 1% and 2%.  Remember this is based on views total for a listing not searches.

Self assessing your marketing is a must-do activity that any business has to do. Land brokerages are no different. I encourage you in 2016 to make statistics and analytics part of your quarterly evaluation of the business and your portfolio of listings. Start simple and grow from there.  Getting a baseline for averages will be the key starting point.

I’ve created a spreadsheet intended just for you to get started in the new year at evaluating your brokerage performance with Lands of America advertising. Get your download copy today and be on your way to better decisions and marketing practices with your land brokerage.

 

Click Download button to get your Lands of America Advertising Assessment template spreadsheet.

lands of america advertising assessment

 

 

P.S. There are two other factors that directly impact your online marketing results …Price per Acre to Market (PPATM) and Price per Acre Rank (PPAR). Often times these can be the 2 most important factors for marketing results.  People just don’t waste their time on overpriced land and if you are priced correctly at price per acre but in the top of total price then you’ll have to exercise some patience.

Definitions:
Searches – the quantity of times a particular listing appears in the search results.

Views – the quantity that a listing is clicked or viewed

Click through rate (CTR) – the ratio of times a listing appears in search result compared to number of times a listing is clicked. LDV / LSR = X%

Price per Acre to Market (PPATM) – percentage of a listing price per acre to the average price per acre for similar listings in that market.

Price per Acre Rank (PPAR) – numerical ranking of listings from highest overall price to lowest overall price.