Move My Realty - Real Estate News

Aug. 13th Update

August 13th, 2007 10:17 AM by Ron Mastrodonato

Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Get prospects to interact with your Web site by crafting appealing incentives that will set you apart from the competition.


BY MICHAEL RUSSER

Imagine having something to offer on your Web site that prospects will perceive as being so valuable that they’ll practically slap their forehead and say “I gotta be stupid to say no to this!” Not only that, they’ll be so anxious to receive this thing of value that they’ll happily share information about who they are and what they want from you.

Sound impossible? It’s not. All it takes is a little creativity and niche marketing. Here’s how to create irresistible offers that will open the door to communication between you and those elusive online prospects.

What It Takes to Be Irresistable

Many real estate practitioners offer their Web visitors some type of fairly generic “special report” on the local real estate market. But that doesn’t cut it anymore, as these reports have become way too common. Many real estate template Web site vendors even build these now-ubiquitous reports into their sites.

To get consumers’ attention nowadays you need to step it up with an “irresistible offer” — the term I use for a special package, piece of information, document, or item that will be viewed as extremely valuable by your customers. Here are the qualities of irresistible offers:

  • Targeted to your specific niche market.
  • Considered extremely valuable by members of that market.
  • Is unique — only you are offering it, or better yet, you are the only one who can offer it.
  • Uses an attention-grabbing headline or has a catchy name.
  • Uses a request form that invites the visitor to share personal information, and assures them that their information will be kept private.


They’ll Return the Favor

The idea of irresistible offers is based on the law of reciprocity, which states that anytime you give something to someone, that person will be inclined to return the favor. In this case, consumers will give you their contact information in return for your special little gift.

To grab the consumers’ valuable contact information, you’ll need to connect your irresistible offer to an online form that the visitors must complete in order to receive the thing of value.

That said, don’t force Web visitors to fill out anything more than they need to receive the item, otherwise you’ll risk eroding their trust.

But by all means, give them the opportunity to reveal more about themselves and what their interests and concerns are — just don’t make it a requirement. And don’t forget to include a highly visible link to your privacy policy that assures them their information will not be shared with anyone.

Geared to Your Niche

Niche marketing is a key component of any irresistible offer. Remember, creativity counts. Let’s say your target market is first-time home buyers. Here are some examples of what you might offer:

  • Neighborhood discount coupon book. A “Welcome to the Neighborhood!” coupon book (branded by you) that offers discounts from various neighborhood retailers and services specifically for first-time buyers. If such a coupon book doesn’t already exist, you can work with local retailers to create one. That would make this book exclusive to you.
  • First-time buyer teleseminar. Offer monthly teleseminars featuring guest speakers, including your area’s most prominent tax attorney or CPA on the benefits of homeownership, the area’s most experienced loan officer on first-time buyer financing, or the area’s best remodel contractor on what to look for in existing home construction.
  • First-time buyer evaluation. A special first-time buyer evaluation is a pressure-free way to help prospective buyers prepare for their first purchase.


Now, let’s say your market is buyers of golf-course properties. Here are some ideas for them:

  • Meet the Pros. Assuming you handle properties at more than just one country club, you can record a special interview with the golf pros from each club and have them expound on what is special about their particular course, which holes are the most challenging, and tips for those holes. The “package” could consist of a CD of all the interviews plus brochures for each country club.
  • Golf VIP Club. Have prospects complete a special form on your Web site (which will give you all of their information to their particular wants and needs). This is the way they become a member of your Golf VIP Club, which entitles them to a free round of golf with you at the course of your choice and a coupon book for each of the participating pro shops. If you work this right, you could probably “zero cost” this whole package through a co-op with the clubs.


Make Yourself Irresistible

Not many real estate Web sites have truly irresistible offers, which means you have plenty of room to differentiate yourself from competitors in this way.

The type of irresistible offers you create are limited only by your imagination, so now’s the time to start brainstorming about what you have to offer. When they’re done right, these kinds of offers will give you a unique way to begin a conversation with online prospects.


Note: Mr. Internet, Russer Communications, and its staff and officers receive no compensation from any third-party vendors and make no recommendations as to the suitability of the products or services mentioned in this article. Always thoroughly investigate any product or service before purchase.

 

Universally appealing
Home Design for Everyone

Universal design elements, such as wider doorways, step-free entrances, and decorative grab bars, are a draw for buyers both young and old.


 

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Curb appeal may get buyers in the door, but a home’s interior design and layout determine how they’ll enjoy the property after they move in. If the buyers — or their close friends or family — have physical disabilities, then special accommodations should be made so they can easily use the home and its amenities.

Some home owners make handicap-friendly modifications after they move in, but more homes are built from the start for owners who plan for the day when they may have bad knees, poor eyesight, or need to use a walker.

This fore-sighted planning goes by the name of universal design. It’s incorrect to think that only baby boomers and seniors are thinking that the idea is smart. While baby boomers certainly are a target market, accidents and physical disabilities can happen at any age, and many younger buyers see the advantage of building a home where they can stay for the long term.

In fact, a whopping 82 percent of U.S. home owners say they want to remain in their homes as they age, even if they require assistance and care, according to a survey by the American Society of Interior Designers.

By expanding your knowledge of universal design, you’ll put yourself ahead of your competition, says Kathy Sperl-Bell, CRS®, SRES®, a salesperson with RE/MAX Realty Group in Lewes, Del., who has built her business around the boomer niche.

The Basics of Universal Design

The concept of accessible design dates back to World War II, when injured veterans modified their homes to adapt to disabilities, says Richard Duncan, director of Universal Design Training at The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.

Today the focus is much broader. Its goal is to make places and things easy to use for the widest possible range of people. “Universal design emphasizes the importance of investing in smart designs for a diversity of ability,” says Valerie Fletcher, executive director for Adaptive Environments, a Boston organization that promotes design that works for everyone, from a busy mom with her arms full of groceries to an elderly man who’s recovering from hip surgery.

Universal design features fall within one of these seven guiding principles, according to the Center for Universal Design:
  • Equitable use. The design doesn’t disadvantage any user. Example: Front-mounted controls on a range allow someone in a wheelchair to reach them.
  • Flexible use. The design accommodates a range of abilities and preferences. Example: Levers, rather than knobs, make doors and drawers easier to open.
  • Simple, intuitive use. The design is easy to understand. Example: A universally designed thermostat incorporates simple icons, numbers in a large font, and contrasting colors to indicate cold or warmth.
  • Perceptible information. The design communicates necessary information. Example: A doorbell with a light flashes to alert a home owner with diminished hearing.
  • Tolerance for error. The design minimizes hazards and adverse consequences of unintended actions. Example: A step-free entry into a house or curb-free shower stall helps owners avoid tripping. No-slip tile and low-pile carpets also prevent falls.
  • Low physical effort. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably. Example: Microwave drawers eliminate reaching high to pop in a frozen entrée. Lower rocker-style light switches and higher electrical outlets.
  • Size and space for approach and use. Space is provided to approach, reach, and use an area regardless of the user’s size, posture, and mobility. Example: Doors that are wide enough for a wheelchair or walker to easily navigate.

Similarities to Green Movement

On its Web site, Fletcher’s organization compares universal design to the green building movement: “Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin … Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, universal design on social sustainability.”

Also similar to green construction, universal design has enjoyed an increase in general acceptance recently. Why? In part, because of its good looks. Thanks to architects and designers, universal design features can be “invisible” in a home. A grab bar may resemble a towel bar or chair railing, yet it provides sturdy support for home owners who are shaky on their feet.

Another plus for new-home buyers: It’s roughly a third cheaper to add universal design features during a home’s initial construction than to wait and add them several years down the road as a remodeling project, says Rebecca Stahr, who started an Atlanta consultancy, EasyLiving Home, which offers a Universal Design certification for builders.

Many Minds Hard at Work

There’s no shortage of advocates for universal design. To learn more on the topic, tune in to one of these organizations. All offer plentiful information on the Web.
  • The Georgia Tech Research Institute. Part of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, this organization works with manufacturers to help develop and improve products so they’re easier for everyone to use.
  • Universal Design Living Laboratory. The organization’s co-president, Rosemarie Rosetti, was paralyzed at age 44 in a bike accident. Today she’s interviewing builders with husband Mike Leder (also co-president) to construct a 3,500-square-foot Prairie-style home and garden in Columbus, Ohio. The one-story demonstration house will incorporate elements of universal design and eco-friendly construction. The couple’s goal is to position it as a home for people of all ages and abilities.
  • American Association of Retired Persons. The association provides home design resources online, including tips for making a home more safe and comfortable — good resources for your clients.
  • The National Association of Home Builders offers a certification called CAPS, an acronym for Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists. The program educates building professionals on how to modify houses according to universal design criteria. Since the program was started in 2001, 1,400 members have graduated, says Therese Crahan, executive director of NAHB’s Remodelers division.
  • The American Society of Interior Designers. Visit the society’s online knowledge center on Universal Design, which has articles and helpful links on the topic. You can also access other knowledge centers on aging in place and accessibility.
  • Senior Real Estate Specialist. The SRES® designation from NAR trains real estate practitioners on how to meet the needs of “maturing Americans.” The coursework includes content relating to Universal Design standards. More than 15,000 REALTORS® already have been certified.
  • Universal Design Alliance. This nonprofit corporation is committed to creating awareness and expanding the knowledge of universal design for all ages, sizes, and abilities to designers, builders, and consumers through educational programs, services, and resources.
  • IDEA Center. The Center for Inclusive Design and Access is dedicated to improving the design of environments and products by making them more usable, safer, and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities throughout their life spans.

Posted in:General
Posted by Ron Mastrodonato on August 13th, 2007 10:17 AM

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