New BlueRoof Website Includes Phoenix and Denver Markets

BlueRoof expands to Denver and Phoenix markets

Since BlueRoof first launched three years ago we have accomplished a lot- we’ve been voted “Best Real Estate Website” three years in a row, we’ve won the W3 Award (Silver in 2007, Gold in 2008 ) for Best Homepage, Visual Appeal and Navigation, we’ve sold hundreds of homes/year with only a few people, and we’ve built a strong brand in the Utah market with very devoted clients.

And although I have been offered (over two dozen times) to expand into new markets, I haven’t. Don’t get me wrong, the plan has always been to grow, but so far I have not had the chance for a few reasons- first of all Prudential bought the BlueRoof brokerage (but not the website or technology)  just 5 months after I started it, back in 2006, and I had to sign a contract stipulating a few things that prevented me from doing anything else. Then we started BlueRoof360 (in April of 2008 ) and in the last 8 months have built over 1200 websites for agents and brokers around the country, which has obviously taken my focus.

BlueRoof Agents

But the most important reason I did not expand BlueRoof sooner was that I needed to decide what was the best way for me to grow the brand while ensuring the client experience would not suffer. I’ve watched as other brands have grown to other areas but I didn’t want to grow in the same ways.

Roost partners with a company in each area, meaning the leads are going to any of the company agents, some of whom will do a good job for the clients and some will not (every company has good and bad agents) so they are basically selling leads. Redfin hires their own agents in each market, but that would require me raising capitol and they hire agents who are relatively inexperienced (top agents don’t want to be a desk jockey for another company). Estately refers leads out to other agents and although I like that they have say in the quality of service these agents provide, these agents don’t have an investment in the brand so they aren’t going to promote the brand or be dedicated to it.

I did not want to franchise the name because that would risk the brand being diluted by bad agents/brokers or not being marketed properly and I would have no control over it. I did not want to open my own brokerages in other markets because I would have to bring in investors to raise the necessary capitol and then have other people who do not know the brand, or the real estate business, telling me how to run it. And I didn’t want the website to simply be a lead generator. .  I wanted BlueRoof to be represented by people in each market that were invested in the promotion and growth of the brand and the overall experience the client receives working with the BlueRoof team.

I needed to find good, strong, established Realtor teams to work with. Teams who have a lot of experience and can handle the new business that will come, would be dedicated to growing the brand, and also offer excellent service to their clients. People who shared the same vision I have that technology should not only be used to get new business, but to improve the home buying/selling experience of our clients.

Today, I am excited to announce that I have found these teams to partner with in the Denver and Phoenix markets. Teams that I am proud to have represent the BlueRoof brand. And today we are all together  launching a new version of the website with some  cool new features and upgrades, but have maintained the overall look and feel of the original, award-winning, design.

Bob Maiocco

Our Denver, Colorado team is led by Bob Maiocco with Keller Williams. Bob got into the business in 1992 and he and his team have a lot of experience working with online web visitors, in fact has been a speaker at Keller Williams technology events discussing best practices in utilizing technology. Bob’s team averages $12-$15 Million/year in sales.

Nate Green

In the Phoenix market our team is led by Nate Green, also with Keller Williams. Nate was named the agent recruit of the year in 2004, Rookie of the Year in 2005, was ranked #10 in the nation for volume at Keller Williams November 2005,  in 2006 he was named “Cultural Icon” , in 2008 his team were spotlighted in Residential Executive magazine, and the last two years they have been the top agent and team in their office of 120+ agents and have consistently closed $12-$15 Million in sales.

BlueRoof Client Area

Our new backend system gives our clients tools that are unlike anything else in the industry, including the ability to follow their entire transaction as it happens and see showings and feedback on their listings immediately as it is left. Our new search is, in my opinion, the best in the industry- with the most visual and fun home searching experience online.

I believe that design is the most important element in a website. And by design I don’t just mean looks. At BlueRoof360 our philosophy can be summed up by a quote by Steve Jobs,

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works.”

We still have a lot of cool social and mobile features we’ll be adding soon, but we wanted to get the new site launched so we can begin promoting it for the spring season and using the cool new back end system for our clients. By the way, I realize that having a landing page that is a map is so… Web1.0, but I wanted the actual site to be able to represent each area separately, but also allow the web visitor to select which area they are interested in.

If you have a few minutes to spare, stop by and look around. I’m always interested to hear what people think.

Here’s to the economy stabilizing, a new presidential administration that actually cares about people who don’t give them money, the Utah Utes crashing the BCS party again, and to a fun and prosperous 2009!

Greg

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The Most Important Stat to Track on my Website

There are a lot of statistics for me to follow with my website, BlueRoof.com. Some things are interesting to watch (what states people are visiting my site from, what web browsers they use, etc.) and every stat has some value (where to spend marketing, which browsers to optimize my site for, etc) but some stats are more significant for me to watch than others.

There are some stats I watch more than others. Here are the things I check daily:

Overall Traffic (and compare to the following Day, Week, Month)

Unique Visitors (and compare to averages and following Day, Week, Month)

Average Time on Site

Traffic Sources

Now this last one, traffic sources, tells me something very important. In fact it is one of the most important things for me. It tells me how many people are coming directly to my website by typing in the URL, meaning they knew where they were going.

You can see about 70% of my traffic comes from people going directly to my website. This figure continues to grow. Two years ago none of my traffic was direct because I was a new company and website. last year I was reaching for 50% of my traffic to come directly, and now I’m about 70%. And I’m spending about 25% of the marketing I did last year, getting the same amount of traffic and the same amount of leads.

I also check the top ten keywords people searched for to find my website because that also shows me how many people searched for my website. You can see that most of the people who find my website by search engine already knew they were looking for BlueRoof.com.

This is important for me to know because I want to see how many people are being referred to come to my site. Most of the traffic I get to my site now is direct traffic (about 70%) or people who are searching for my site. BlueRoof.com is not a name you would necessarily know to type in to search for homes unless you knew what the website was.

If my marketing budget stays the same and the my traffic rises, or if my marketing budget goes down but my traffic and leads increases then I am getting referral traffic, and that is what I really want because it tells me people like my website enough to refer it to people they know.

My website is very visual so there is not a lot of content (text) for search engines to grab onto and determin rank. I haven’t packed it full of links and text so it is not optimized for search engines at all. And because of that I’ve had to pay for my traffic by using pay per click (PPC). But once people get to my site they enjoy being there and I get business. And I can see that people like it enough that they are referring people to the site.

This tells me that my strategy is paying off. My strategy is not the same as everyone else when it comes to how to design my site and what to put on it. My strategy is to make the experience the best I can for the consumer and they will choose to work with us because we offer them value.

Watch for a new release of BlueRoof.com to launch in a few weeks. We’re making some upgrades in usability, function and information. The most important thing to me is the user experience (design) so I’m excited to add new features to BlueRoof.com while maintaining great design.

BlueRoof.com Wins W3 Awards Again

With BlueRoof.com about to be re-launched  with some cool new features, we are very pleased to announced that the W3 Awards were just announced and we were notified this morning that BlueRoof.com has won some more awards. Last year we won three silver medals, with Zillow taking the Gold for Visual Appeal (the award I really wanted).

This year we take the Gold Medal for “Visual Appeal”

We also won Silver medals for these categories;

Overall Real Estate Website

Homepage

Structure/Navigation

Watch for a new BlueRoof.com to be launching in the next few weeks…

BlueRoof360- Industry Best Realtor Websites, Lead and Client Management

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Custom Websites for the price of a template…

In 2007 we closed 114 homes because of our website. Last year, in 2008, we closed just under 100 without me selling (my buyer team agents did the selling).

While the majority of real estate agents were seeing their businesses slow down significantly and the overall market lose energy, our business has stayed, and is still staying, very consistent.

You may not even want to be a top-producing agent, but I’m sure you wouldn’t mind an extra sale or two each month.  Technology does not take the place of personality and personal contact but, when utilized correctly, it can help us connect with our clients and also bring us new business.

Understand, I am not a technology guy getting into real estate. I am a Realtor (over 14 years) who uses technology very well.

As a real estate agent, if you want to get business from the internet and offer real value to your clients what are your current choices? You can use Point2, Advanced Access, Homes.com or myriad other template websites, you can (even worse) just have a page on your broker’s website, or you can spend a lot of money building a custom website and hope the people building it know anything about real estate and design. This has been the challenge for Realtors and brokers.. until now.

Now, finally, there will be another choice that brings the power and design of a custom website, the newest, innovative technology, a simple and intuitive back-end system, and client services technology, for a price that is lower than many of the templates.

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Enter BlueRoof360

BlueRoof360 costs only $100/month and is a complete online solution for real estate agents and brokers. Attract new business, offer better service for your clients, give more value to the consumer, and grow your team and your bottom line.

I have been the managing broker for several large (100+ agent) real estate offices. I have become a student, learning what consumers like and want when searching for homes. By meeting buyers from my website and working with them I have been able to learn a lot about how to use the internet for real estate over the last five years. And because I am a real estate agent and I have managed, recruited, trained and hired hundreds of Realtors, I understand what real estate agents need and what they like and want.

Paying for a template website because it’s cheap is not always the best approach.

As Greg says, “If 10,000 people exhibit a casual interest in your product, you will have earned nothing, whereas if one person actually buys, you will have earned a huge pay-check.”

Consumers want a better overall experience including value, service, interaction and information. They want to feel as though they are being taken care of but that they have good information and still run the show.

Agents want simple tools that enable them to focus on the relationship and they want business that comes to them without referral fees.

To offer real value to the consumer and get real business from the internet I believe you need to have a few very important pieces that all work together. It all begins with a destination website. Not a form-filled, SEO-crazy, template website, but a website that is designed well, has cutting-edge technology, is fun and easy to use, and has great information for the consumer.

Next you need to know how to drive traffic to your website. How to make it seen and how to make it a place that people will want to come back to again and again, and tell other people about.

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When someone asks for help or requests a showing on a property you need to respond very quickly- 15 minutes or less (under one minute is ideal). You need to have a near-immediate connection. People do not want to wait and they won’t wait. They’ll usually work with the first agent to get back to them.

You need to be able to stay in touch with your leads, clients, past-clients, family, associates and friends. You need to give the consumer (your current and potential clients) excellent service. You need to WOW them.

You need to continue to grow and learn from others who are doing it. 

And it has to be easy. It has to be simple to do. Real estate agents do not like complicated, difficult programs and hours of learning how to use stuff. We like fun, easy and simple.

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BlueRoof360 will give you a custom website. Not a template website, but a custom website. A template gives you pre-defined spaces that you can change text and images in. We give you a custom website and if you ever want to modify or add new pages (you have unlimited pages) you can add them anytime, and it’s simple.

You can have instant chat, videos, podcasting, widgets or whatever you want.

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You’ll also have a complete, but very simple to use, lead and client management system and a notification system. When someone requests to see a property you’ll be notified immediately by text message and email and that person’s information is automatically entered into your lead management system for you. Assign an email keep-in-touch campaign with a click. You can make new campaigns or edit the campaigns and make them your own anytime you want.

We have tried “Top Producer” client management system twice, but both times our team would not even use it because it was so complicated. We paid over $90/month and it just sat there. We’ve designed ours to be simple and easy to use.

You can allow your clients to log in to their own account and see their file. A listing client can see everything you have done on their file and when. They can see when the magazine ad went out and when the sign was ordered and every showing. They can see all the feedback from their showings and your own personal notes. This doesn’t take the place of your personal communication, but it helps you to stay in touch with them even when you are busy and it helps them stay connected to the transaction in a new and interactive way.

Keep doing what you are doing now and just use this to add some extra deals every month. Or go full-out and close hundreds of deals this year from your website. Either way, a long-term online presence will grow your business and give you tools to give better service and value to your clients.

As Jeff, TheXBroker, says…

“So where is the middle ground of killer technology and rePro listing penetration? I think BlueRoof is headed down the right path. Technology (Solvent) + rePro (Solute) = A Solution…one that both consumers and professionals can benefit from.”

The internet is a simple, powerful way to connect with people and grow your business and now BlueRoof360 will give you a simple and powerful way to do it.

To get a quick demo contact us at sales@blueroof360.com or 801-699-6619.

BlueRoof360- Custom Websites at a Template Price…

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Tired of a template website that doesn’t bring you business?

If you are looking for a custom real estate website with lead management (CRM) system and more, contact BlueRoof360 (http://blueroof360.com) at 888-850-4867 Ext#1 or sales@blueroof360.com.

What Real Estate Consumers REALLY Want

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Every week there is new set of charts and graphs that come out. They analyze every minutia of data and all the information imaginable. New killer-apps are being released at such a rapid pace it’s tough to keep up with them all. And why?

Well, according to the techno-listing sites, the third-party aggregation websites, like Redfin, Zillow and Trulia, apparently what people really want is…. yep, more data. That’s right- more and more data. Every conceivable number and metric they can think up.

It’s like a race now. Who can churn out the most data, and cram it onto their website, the fastest. Who cares if it’s relevant or if anybody will actually use it- it’s DATA! It’s cool color charts and graphs that can show you everything you never thought possible. Come and see how many times people in this neighborhood walk their dogs on Tuesday mornings or find out the ratio of homes that sold for 1/25th of their initial listing price, during the first 118 hours being on the market, after being sold 2-3 years earlier, that have a redwood deck, and were listed with a Realtor named Sally- all in a cool pie chart.

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So, this is where all the investment capital is going with all these techno-listing sites- more data? Millions of dollars are being pumped into these companies by investors who are counting on profits from all this data, yet none of these companies have made any profit. Think about how ridiculous this is. Redfin gets $20Million and it’s whole model is based around the idea that if they give more data and info, people will just buy homes online. The whole Redfin company, with all of their PR, news coverage, and dozens of full time employees and agents, only sold about 1000 homes last year.  For a comparison, I sold 114 homes last year. And these investors keep pumping money into this sinking ship.

Zillow just got another $30Million and Trulia has now received almost $18Million. And the business models of these companies is to get advertising (more stuff to put on the websites). I guess they figure at a certain point people will just become so buried with all the data on their websites that they’ll just have to fall over and surrender to them. When these companies run out of money (like they all keep doing), they simply come up with some new graphs and heat maps and show the suckers investors how this new data will finally get them some of that “profit” they keep hearing so much about, but alas… it does not come.

I receive a lot of advice on what I should add to my website. I have had no less than twenty companies approach me to sell me some cool new data field or information feed.  And I like data, and using it to give people good information, but enough is enough.

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 People don’t want more data- they want a great experience.

I don’t want to climb over piles of charts and graphs to find what I’m looking for. If I’m thirsty I don’t really care if the glass has twirling lights and does my taxes- I just want the water that’s in the glass. The next cool drinking glass that has dancing girls and live-streaming music might be hot for a little while (like these tech-sites), but in the long run I believe that people will always use simple, easy to use water glasses. Because when they are thirsty they want the water, not the glass.

My point is- don’t cram your website with as much stuff as you can find. Instead, use good data and information, and present it in a way that offers a good, fun experience for your consumers. Give them a presentation that is visually appealing, as well as powerful and technologically advanced. Don’t forget that people make decisions based on emotion, and we always will.

Give me a great experience and I will give you my business.

BlueRoof at Inman Connect NYC

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One of the best parts of attending a convention is the networking that takes place. Getting your story out, building those connections and relationships, and learning from others- these are all intregal pieces of growing a brand and a successful career in an ever-changing industry.

From the convention comes this write-up from Marc Davison, head of 1000Watt Consulting, who is helping to guide real estate brokerages into the future with consulting services.

This interview from brokerIPTV.com, who captured many of the speakers from the convention for private interviews.

With the launch of BlueRoof360, we are hoping to help change the industry for the better through guiding agents and helping them craft their own online presence and value proposition for consumers. Having fine companies spread the message about us is an enormous help, and I’m grateful for the generous publicity both of these companies are giving us.

BlueRoof on HouseHunters This Week

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Trisha, my wife and business partner will be featured on HGTV’s HouseHunters later this week. She’s the only Utah Realtor to ever be on the show, and most certainly the most beautiful to ever appear on network television.

The show is titled, “To Be or Not to B&B”

From the HGTV website, “In Salt Lake City, a young couple searches for a place to hang their hats and their shingle.”

Shows times are:

€     December 20, 2007 10:00 PM ET/PT
€     December 21, 2007 2:00 AM ET/PT
€     December 22, 2007 5:30 PM Mountain Time