Realtors Using Autoresponders

THE LEADERS POST - Issue #64 - January 14, 2002

By: Doug Towes, Editor

About the Leaders Post

The Leaders Post is the newsletter for professionals committed
to Net Success - from, an online community of
professionals dedicated to providing excellent service to their
clients. If you prefer the online version, the current issue as
well as previous issues can be viewed by clicking
Internet Marketing Tips For Real Estate Agents

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sent in it's entirety.


- Annual Rant About Auto Response
- Carolyne's New Client
- Jim Crawford's Internet Tutorial Site
- Tracking Visitors From Paid Links
- One Good Reason For Not Moving Your Site
- Search Engine News - Yahoo's Annual Fee
- Search Engine News - Northern Lights Out
- Tip Of The Day

Net Success

A new year is upon us and you know what that means - its time
for my annual rant about automated response :)

Agents frequently talk glowingly about autoresponders being
"the way to go" - they like the fact that their work is being
done for them and they do not have to spend their own time
answering email and following up with leads.

At the same time, few say that they have had much success
actually converting a prospect to a closed deal using this
approach. This is not surprising as real estate is a
relationship business and it is hard for a prospect to build a
relationship with an autoresponder - even a personalized one.

What exactly is an autoresponder? An autoresponder is a special
email address. The address is programmed to instantly "bounce
back" a pre-formatted email reply anytime it receives an
incoming message.

Autoresponders can be used to respond to specific inquiries,
where the person requesting knows the information will be
delivered by autoresponder - such as delivery of a special
report that is requested. They should not be used to respond to
your general mail.

If you've ever written a conventional mail letter to a company
and in return received a form letter, you'll understand just
how impersonal and unsatisfying that can be. In many cases such
a reply will cost you the opportunity to do business with your
web visitor.

When someone sends you an email, in their mind they have the
illusion that it has reached a real live person and is being
handled in a professional manner. They don't really expect you
to be sitting there in your office just waiting for their
message to arrive. But the good feeling of having started the
process is satisfying.

Sequential autoresponders, which send out repeated email at
regular intervals to a prospect, have become quite popular
recently. In most cases the prospects have no idea when they
first requested information from the Realtor that they would be
receiving "canned" email regularly after the initial
information was received.

Think about your own response to unsolicited email for a
minute. Isn't it amazing how adept you have become at picking
out which email was sent just to you and which was personalized
but sent to many people at the same time?

I recently request some "reports" at an agent's site so I could
experience firsthand what a prospect receives from a popular
autoresponse system which is touted by the supplier and agents
alike as having messages that are well crafted and information
rich. I have to tell you that as a "prospect" the follow up
emails I am receiving just seem like spam to me and I am sure
most prospects see it the same way. The unsolicited information
being received may be educational in nature but is not targeted
to the prospects specific needs - so why would they read it?

I don't know about you, but with the amount of email I get, I
have to make decisions which messages get read and which don't.
More and more people have to make that same decision every day,
and come to realize why unsolicited email (known as spam on the
internet) is despised so much.

Automatic followup systems are all the rage and initially may
seem like a good idea if one is looking for a follow up system -
but the agent who follows up personally will always get the
business over the agent using an automated system. Why?

Because about a week or sooner after you were first contacted
by the prospects on the internet - they changed their criteria
(almost all do). They are now working with an agent who followed
up personally with a phone call after the initial email response
and knows their revised needs and has started building a
personal relationship. You are just the agent who keeps sending
them information about houses that don't interest them.

People are becoming more and more resentful about the spam they
receive. Carolyne Lederer recently
listed a home as a result of a visitor to her web site. Carolyne
told me that "This seller seems to have gotten so many email
solicitations asking her to sell her house, and she was so
annoyed that she wouldn't list with those guys under any
circumstance - sort of like the phone ringing right at supper
time, I guess."

Carolyne also mentioned that this seller hates to visit web
sites that save her information using cookies. Many people
today are concerned about spam and assume that cookies must be
responsible in some way. People who are concerned about cookies
(which are really harmless), have their browsers set to notify
them when a cookie is being "requested" - so they know whether
or not your site is using them and often leave quickly for a
"friendlier" site.

What she and others are also upset about is agents whose sites
pop up the message (upon entry to the site) requesting
permission to save the visitors email address to send them spam.
That gives the visitor the idea that since the site owner has
scooped the visitor's email address already that their privacy
is being invaded.

Before using some of these systems - put yourself in your
visitors' shoes and remember that the most successful agents
follow the platinum rule and "treat people as they want to be
treated" (not "treat people as I want to be treated").


The Results-net House and Home Real Estate Page for your area
is a proven effective web presence system and comes as a fully
customizable package and is continuously updated to conform to
the changing criteria required by search engines - so you can
sleep nights and concentrate on selling real estate! Check it
out at Realtor Websites

Happenings At

Do you sometimes wonder how many visitors click on your link
that you paid for on a community web site or in a real estate
directory? Evaluating the worth of such paid links has been an
impossible task - until now!

We have recently installed software that allows us to track
hits to links on other web sites so our clients will be better
able to decide if they are receiving value for their paid
inclusion into various directories etc.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this service which
is available at no charge to our clients, let me know and we
will set it up for you. The system does not work with existing
links as a unique URL is assigned for each link so they can be
tracked independently.

We are currently using the system on our own real estate
at to track the
hits for agents who have paid the $20 annual fee for having
their photo included with their free listing.


You can promote yourself very well by participating in the
Agents Online Real Estate Discussion Forums,
which are visited by hundreds people who are each viewing
several messages a day now looking for real estate information,
agents, and property listings! All are welcome and
participating in the discussion with over 1300 other members and
sharing your insights is great FREE advertising!


This and That


Search Engine News

Yahoo has changed their $299 inclusion consideration fee to an
annual fee. So far this will affect new submissions only but I
would not be surprised if they extended it to those currently
listed as well.

I for one would not pay it as I believe that the traffic
quality for real estate sites from Yahoo is over rated and there
are no "side benefits" to being listed in Yahoo as there are in
LookSmart and the Open Directory - both of which affect your
ranking in other search engines.

Northern Light will cease being a publicly available search
engine as of January 16.



If you are happy with your web site but not with your search

RNC Internet Services has a proven record of producing
effective web sites that place well in the major search engines
for targeted keywords and may be able to help you make the
changes to your existing site and improve it's search engine

Tip Of The Day

A bend in the road is not the end of the road -- unless you
fail to make the turn. - Unknown

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