REsearch: New Training Format & Schedule

NEW!  Online Training Classes
 
We’re excited to move forward with our much anticipated new training format and schedule.  With the use of our fantastic trainers and online webinars, you, our members, will be able to access up to date training when and where it is most convenient for you.
 
We have scheduled the first round of online classes for next week.  To sign up immediately, simply click on the links below.  Space is limited so please RSVP soon!  If you are going to participate/watch as a group, only one person needs to sign up.
 
1. Monday, May 4, 2009 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — Basics with Andrea
 
2. Tuesday, May 5, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Basics with John
 
3. Thursday, May 7, 2009 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. — Basics with Carl
 
4. Thursday, May 7, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Searching and Formats with Carl
 
5. Friday, May 8, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Searching and Formats with John

Instructions on how to register for the above webinars: 

  • To register, please click onto the applicable link located below the class.  The link will then take you to the registration site.
  • Please complete all the required fields marked by a red asterisks (First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Phone, Organization AKA Office Name). 
  • Click “Register Now” to complete the registration process.  Once registered a confirmation email will be sent to your email address to confirm your registration along with a unique web ID number and instructions on how to login to the session on that day. 
  • If you need login assistance, please feel free to contact our Customer/Technical Support team at (800) 628-3121, press # and then 457. 

System Requirements

  • PC-based attendees – Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
  • Macintosh®-based attendees – Required: Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer.

Questions? Comments?  Please feel free to e-mail me at erin@alohaliving.com or call directly at (808) 748-8759.

May on Aloha Living

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii…

Not quite spring, but not yet summer, May is the perfect month here in Hawaii. Its arrival is marked by warm, cloudless, sunny days, light trade winds, and best yet, fragrant blooms of gardenia, plumeria, puakinikini, pakalana, pikake and more – all of my very favorite flowers.

My fascination with flowers started at a very early age, and was only perpetuated by the many hours I spent in our neighbor’s lei garden as a small child. As I grew up, during the month of April you could find me at the Kauai Museum taking lei making classes, and, come May first, I would compete in the lei contest at the museums annual lei day celebration.

Since those days, May Day, a celebration of the exquisite flora and fauna found here in the islands, has always been one of my very favorite holidays – one that truly celebrates the culture and uniqueness of Hawaii. Festivals and celebrations open to the public happen statewide on May first and second, as well as at school’s where the children participate in May Day royal courts honoring each of the islands, as well as song and dance performances and special activities.

Here is a sampling of a few events being held in honor of May Day, as well as many others happening here in our islands throughout the month of May…. www.alohaliving.com

Blog Content: Mixing it Up

Because of their journal-like nature, blogs tend to be top heavy with the “warm and fuzzy” — more personal information and anecdotes, and less facts and figures of the real estate market.  Make sure you mix it up.  Don’t be afraid of numbers – stats are fun!  You will find that blogging about current average prices, market statistics, and so forth will significantly enhance your reader’s experience.

And unlike traditional forms of marketing, such as postcards and newspaper ads, there are no space constraints for blog posts. This gives you ample room to go into detail about the numbers.  To a consumer this information can sometimes be daunting, so don’t hesitate to include a helpful graph or table (both can easily be made in Excel) so that the customer can visually see what it is you are trying to explain.

You can even attach an Excel spreadsheet so readers can download it and play with the numbers on their own.

With any form of marketing and communication, different consumers respond in different ways. Delivering a mix of data focused entries, as well as journal-like entries, ensures that everyone will get your message.

Neighborhood Blogging

How many times have you heard that real estate is all about location, location, location?  You already know that every home listing should always include both details about the property as well information about the surrounding area.  But your blog is probably the best place to focus specifically on neighborhoods.

“Neighborhood blogging” can educate your buyers, and meanwhile attract prospective clients looking for credible but personal perspectives on the area.

Whether writing short, self-contained profiles, or simply reporting on events and other community news over time, a blog is an extremely compelling way to demonstrate your familiarity and expertise when it comes to a specific neighborhood.

For your next blog entry, try focusing on a neighborhood.  Pick an area in which you have one or more listings, or where you regularly do business, and introduce it as you would an old friend.  Don’t hesitate to infuse your entry with your personal views.  Here are a few points to consider:

  • Look: Is it a beach community, up in the mountains, resort, sparsely populated?  Is the neighborhood made up of single-family homes, condos, a mix?
  • Feel: Established, new, industrial, warm, family oriented?
  • Amenities: Parks, beaches, grocery stores, shops, fruit stands, farmers markets etc.
  • Special anecdotes: Your favorite things to do, insider tips (i.e. what is your favorite ice cream at the local shop you always go to), etc.
  • Schools: What schools are in the area, what options exist (private schools, preschools, etc.), and what you think about them.
  • Sales Activity: Of course you’ll want to highlight any listings you have in the area, but also speak to recent sales and other comparable or typical properties.
  • Close your entry with an offer to answer any additional questions people might have. Many will, so a call to action is a great way to make first contact.

Taking the time to really speak earnestly about the neighborhoods in which you do business in can go a long way in making a potential buyer feel more connected to a home, and to you.  If buyers are focusing on a specific area, you’ll become the de facto expert in their minds.

Chances are, you’ll be able to come up with a dozen neighborhoods for which you have some special insight to share.  And for each neighborhood, you’ll likely be able to come up with more than a few posts. Consider adding a blog category for these neighborhood entries, and make it easier for clients and prospective buyers to browse all the areas in your realm of expertise.

Happy blogging!

Facebook: Not Just For Kids Anymore

Facebook is not just for kids anymore. Once limited to college students, it is now open to the public and has over 200 million users worldwide.  And Facebook has become much more than a place for connecting and playing with friends.

My own resistance to using Facebook was eventually overcome by the fact that it’s simply one of the very best ways to keep track of friends and colleagues, old and new, near and far.  And why not?  Posting information and photos and – most importantly – expanding your network is incredibly quick and easy.  And that makes Facebook a great platform to further your social and business relationships alike.

Without a doubt, people now turn to the web first to find information. They’re now turning to the web to make and sustain connections with other people. Facebook can be used for virtually any business or organization, offering its contacts a steady feed of information to help keep them “top of mind.” Unlike most marketing channels, the people who choose to connect with your company on Facebook have opted in to receive your announcements – they’re more likely to react and engage, to pass things on or take advantage of special officers.

And Facebook connects with other social networks and online services.  You can update your Facebook status and post information via Twitter or upload photos from your mobile phone.  Facebook can become the hub of your online activities and marketing efforts, and you can interact with it from almost anywhere.

If you’re not part of Facebook yet, but are intrigued by what it can offer to your business, here are some great tips on how to set up a business page in Facebook:  http://www.startupnation.com/forums/8805/3/1 and go here: http://www.facebook.com to sign up!

Utilizing Your Blog Audience For Maximum Results

You should consider your blog audience to be a top-tier group of contacts who follow you because they have a genuine interest in you, what you do, and what you say.  Compared to cold calls or mailers, blog readers are more than “opted in,” they’re coming to you. They want to hear from you. Take advantage of that by making sure that you always advertise things like new listings, reduced prices, and open houses, in addition to your regular posts.

All of this information is syndicated to Aloha Living and beyond, creating greater exposure and search engine visibility. But nothing beats a group of people who have been pre-qualified to a certain extent.

If you commit yourself, blogging does bring results. Beth Thoma Robinson with Hawaii Palm Properties on the Big Island is one of our regular bloggers on Aloha Living. “After a year of blogging my website stats show that after three search engines, the next biggest source of traffic is my blog,” she said. “And I get phone call leads from it.” Also, Elaine Murphy of RE/MAX Kauai has had found several clients through her blog, and has even made a $1.475M sale with it. She says, “It certainly has paid for itself!”

Through my past experience, I have found that agents have a higher success rate of making a sale from within their already established sphere of contacts rather than from a group of people who may not have worked with them before. Even if no one in this group is ready to buy or sell right now, chances are they have a friend who is, and who doesn’t like a good referral?

Maintenance Alert – Sat. April 11th 10:50 p.m.

Just a reminder!

 

HIS will be performing hardware migration for one of its SQL servers this Saturday night, April 11th, starting at 10:50 p.m. The work is anticipated to take about 12 hours.  During this 12 hour maintenance window, all REsearch, IDX and public site customers will be running in “Read Only” mode. No new listings, photos, prospects, calendar entries, or other data entry processes will be permitted until the migration work is completed.  It is anticipated that full service will be available by 10:50 a.m. on Sunday, April 12th. 

 

Administrative Notes…

In the event of emergency, you may leave a message in our emergency voice mailbox by calling the main office number and pressing * (star).   Leave your message and our phone system will notify our on-call staff that there is an emergency message.  Call 1-800-628-3121, if calling from the neighbor islands or 599-4224, if calling from Oahu.