I think Pat Kitano at TransparentRE is one of those guys who has brilliant and useful insights to anyone interested in exploring what Real Estate 2.0 might look like. And despite disagreeing with him on a specific thing here or there in the past, I continue to think his blog is valuable and his insights invaluable. His latest is no exception:
Blogging is currently touted as real estate marketing’s magic bullet, but many new real estate bloggers don’t realize that the impact of blogging lies in its ability to build a social and informative relationship with its readers. Simply put, the consumer wants a social relationship with no tit-for-tat, not a business relationship in which the agent shares their expertise in exchange for the implicit obligation that the consumer owes them. This is one major difference between soft sell and hard sell… the hard sell obligation seeds the “call for action”, and consumers cringe from this arm-twisting implication.
The brand new real estate blogger, knowing nothing about blogging culture, often uses the blog construct as a kind of daily loudspeaker trumpeting their business prowess. Every article is another opportunity to present various aspects of their business (see these two example blogs ) – foreclosure help, requesting referrals from other agents, their property listings, success stories – and are peppered with links to call and email them at the end of every single article. Almost all of the blogs I see that do this only last a few months if that long, and then these bloggers complain that blogging doesn’t work. Of course not, their blogs reinforce everything the consumer doesn’t want to see – a self aggrandizing sales person intent on bugging them as a component of their “contact database”.
That sound you hear is me standing up yelling, “Hear hear!” And “preach it brotha!” And so forth.
Here’s the thing, though, for both Pat and myself and other cheerleaders of the new Real Estate 2.0 paradigm. Pat writes:
And best of all, the enlightened blogging agent doesn’t need to rely upon all those resource intensive, intrusive consumer reach out tactics to win business, he/she becomes the recipient of the “out of the blue” phone call when one of their blog readers decides to explore becoming a client.
Any proof to this claim?
In other words, what evidence is there that this “new marketing” works better for agents than the “old marketing”? And I include myself in this challenge. I advocate a Cluetrain method of marketing, but can’t show you any ROI comparing the non-Cluetrain companies to Cluetrained companies. In fact, there is some evidence that suggests that the Old Way is very much alive and well, even in an industry as “clued-in” as computer hardware and software. Apple is the furthest thing from Cluetrain or New Marketing, but their success speaks for itself.
Anecdote is not the plural of evidence. That one agent here or there claims that blogging has completedly changed her business around is not evidence that the new non-intrusive marketing approach yields a better return on investment than the old-school hard-sell method.
What data, what metrics are available to show that in fact those agents who practice the non-intrustive New Marketing are more successful in dollars and cents terms than those who do not? Is there any data from ActiveRain or one of the blog-focused realty companies or blogging coaches to show that the social-network marketing, soft-sell method is more effective? I’m looking for classic lift-over-control metrics here.
If such data does not exist, then we need a marketing firm or a smart market researcher to do a comprehensive, statistically valid study on this topic. If we’re going to advocate a New Marketing for real estate, and advocate a Real Estate 2.0, then we have to be able to prove that our method in fact works to make more money for its practitioners than the Old School hard-sell method.
Of course… as a blogger just opining away, I reserve the right not to undertake such an expensive, time-consuming study before opening my virtual yap. But we have to have proof that what we advocate works.