The Need For A Simple Speed Solution

Before - 20.72 Mbps with Linksys G

In retrospect, this is a no brainier. But…It simply fell off my radar.

The Short answer is – if you have an older – even 3-4 year old wireless router for your home or work network, a small investment will help your download speed- allot.  The time savings are incredible and well worth the trip to the store.

My new Linksys E4200 looks sharp and I was really happy to see a 26% increase in download speed.  Very Cool.

The iPad, and iPhone love the faster and longer range Wifi and the other devices that are hard wired run predictably faster as well.

Features I really like include the Duel Band, HD ready and Guest login – separate from my desktop login.  It was under an hour to set up.

I purchased the E4200 at Micro Center while it was on sale (List $180 – Paid $139).

It takes under a min to test your speed using the Geek Squad tool

After - 27.27 Mbps with Linksys E4200

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Twitter Advertising with Zillow & Trulia

200 million of us are on twitter, with a reported 30%+ following at least on major brand. That percentage is rising.  Until now, we have seen the organic (read: advertising agencies) results of major companies efforts.

Twitter launched a well documented ad platform a year ago to sell promoted tweets. Last month those  tweets began show up at the top of your timeline as advertisers now pay a hefty sum to get in front of you. Discussions of the “downfall of twitter” aside, Ive been curious to see who in the Real Estate space adopts the new ad format first.  Typically, early adopters are on the bleeding …err… cutting edge of more than just advertising. This move (pun intended) will be telling.

zillow on twitter advertising

Zillows Tweeting Edge Marketing.

While logged into my “other” twitter account for an upcoming event ( @rebcKC ) I was pleased to find my answer.  In a non fact checked study, industry giant Zillow is officially the leader in twitter advertising.   Well Done Zillow!

Would you take the bait?  Would you click the promoted tweet?

I dont clip coupons, buy Groupons or save direct mail.    I feel like that’s the norm.  But Zillow is banking on demographic and geographic, market centered rapid fire 140 character tweets and follow suggestions paying off.  Zillow must know something and they must have  invested a ton.

I clicked it.

trulia and zillow twitter war

"You might also want to follow Trulia."

All the marketing efforts of zillow on twitter worked, and got me to click “follow”.

Then the remarkable, astonishing and amazing non-advertising organic twit-suggestion occurred: “You Might also want to follow Trulia

Do you think Zillow had this in mind?




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The Screaming Vulture Sales Attack Works

Last week I went shopping for 2 new pair of glasses at xyz store.
Select the frame, pay and leave.  I’m a guy, that’s how I shop.  (rather, that was the plan)

Unknowingly, I had innocently walked into a marketing trap.
Selecting the frame could be difficult – but I’m pretty simple, so this was easy. It took five min.
That was more than enough to spring the trap.

sales vulture in marketing

Vulture Photo Credit Teunie Polak / Trek Nature

First I got stuck with the “upgrade” pitch – you know the one.  Anti scratch coating, is the best, blah blah, You should get the destruction or dismemberment insurance.  “No thanks” I declined.
With a raised tone she persisted with pressure- you will see better at night with the anti glare… “Thats ok, no than…”

I was cut short –

Screaming like a bottle rocket from above a sales vulture swooped in with horror stories about helpless clients with broken glasses.  She went for the kill; From under her desk she pulled a baggie with a dog chewed pair as proof.
“This could happen to you.” She said with a glare in all four of her eyes.

I gasped for air – I had been pounced on like prey. The “double eyeglass fear sales attack” had me surrounded.  (I think they snuck up on my blind side)
“Anti glare could save you and your family when driving at night”
They tore into my sense of decency, ripped at my fiscal concerns and then offered an upgrade as the only salvation.

It was a fight.  Me vs The screaming attack sales vulture.

I declined.   In that moment of shock, I was able to escape.

I ran away, vowing never to do business with them again.

In the end, I got my new shades.  They were a great deal, fair quality and fast.

There are lots of products sold with fear and scare tactics.  Fear sells, however, I strongly dislike this tactic.

Educate clients and help them make an informed decision.   If you provide information not otherwise available, you create value and build trust.  Become a trusted reference, not a screaming sales vulture.

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Virtual Tour App for Real Estate

Easy Virtual Tour apple iconReal Estate agents rejoice. No longer do you have to download photos to your computer from a camera only to upload them to your virtual tour provider.

Finch Mktg just launched EasyVT the virtual tour app for apple iphone.  Realtors may photograph a listing, select a virtual tour vendor and EasyVT automatically uploads the content all from their iphone.

Crisp 5 megapixel photos look fantastic from my iphone 4 and my apple 3GS cranks out great looking content as well.

Finch Mktg Head Developer Kevin Mitts created a simple to use but very powerful tool.  Currently we are focused on looking for any outstanding issues. We are hunting for bugs before we make a loud launch – so consider this the soft launch.

Feel free to try EasyVT since it is FREE. Just Click the link below to download to itunes.  In return, just give us some feedback or like us on facebook!

Virtual Tour Real Estate app

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Launch is Imminent

Easy Virtual Tour Camera photography view

The Camera View of EasyVT

EasyVT got a shot of adrenalin in the past two weeks boosting the sending speed of content, yet the process resulted in delaying launch a bit.

This is overall good news as it improves the user experience.

I’m excited to show off the cool new iphone app for real estate agents at Real Estate Bar Camp New Orleans and the National association of Realtors Conference and Expo.

We also got the new Website live at along with our new Twitter account @EasyVT and Facebook

Its only a matter of time till launch and I’m counting down the days.

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Kansas City Real Estate Bar Camp

No Mosquitos or Flashlights and the Bar opens at the end of the day – So Why name it Real Estate BarCamp?

ReBarCamp Kansas City REBCKC REBC kcBar Camps are a national phenomenon where people gather to discuss and share ideas and tools to help everyone grow and learn. The focus of this event is Real Estate Marketing, Social Media and Websites.  Its referred to as an UnConfrence. No Suits, No Sales Pitches. They are fantastic events.

I was suckered – er… volunteered to host REBarCampKC and have been fortunate to work with a great team of other Real Estate Gurus from around the Kansas City Metro.

This event will Sizzle! We expect to draw from St. Joe, Springfield, Columbia and St Louis in Missouri – Topeka, Wichita, Lawrence  and Manhattan in Kansas.  There will also be a national influence, as top marketing and social media RE people will fly in from both coasts, Texas, Minneapolis and Nashville.  We need to show these folks a good time here in KC.

Want to attend? You don’t need to pay for a ticket – but you do need to RSVP as we have limited room.  Check out the Website for more info and to RSVP.

Help Sponsor or Volunteer – The event is run by and for the Real Estate community here in KC!  We are already half way to our Funding Goal – so the event will rock.

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The Premium Virtual Tour

A Virtual Tour can take many forms and look very different in the minds of buyers and agents in different regions.   How do you want to portray your listing and your brand?

FloorPlanOnline Virtual TOur with photos, video and floorplan

1886 Newport Mansion Virtual Tour by FPO

There has never been a larger range of quality in online real estate marketing.  On the lower end of the spectrum, many agents take a few mls photos and create a slide show.   On the high end agents will pay professional photographers and TV crews to come in at night and film the sunset over the listing.

Buyers expectations are changing as well.  Three years ago 10 photos of the listing set the listing apart from the competition as a premium listing.  Today  most buyers seem to expect to see very detailed information about the listing  including photos, video and a floorplan. 20 plus quality photos has become the norm.

A recent survey showed that Buyers most want to see photos first, FloorPlans Second and video third.

If you are trying to attract buyers, There are a few appraisers and engineers out there that you can hire to sketch the floorplan of your listing.  You may also spend a heap of money on a high end photographer.

There is a simple solution. You can hire  the Services of  FloorPlanOnline.  The FPO service provider will photograph and measure your listing, and create a top of the line Virtual Tour including an interactive floorplan.  I know of no other single property website that delivers such a quality representation of the property.

Im not alone in my analysis of the high quality of FloorPlanOnline.  Here are a few other takes:

StarPower, the organization of the top 1/2 of 1% of agents Included FloorplanOnline as its 14th recommended supplier. Sue Addler, the top agent in New Jersey, and current Star of the month, Uses FloorPlanOnline on her listings.

“This has been the best value and service I have leveraged in my Real Estate Career” -Tami Garneau

TechSavvyAgent recently highlighted FloorPlanOnline in a Video interview – calling FPO “Very Tech Savvy”.

FPO has been recommended by real estate guru Barbara Cochran on the Today Show.

Mike Muller Highlighted FPO 2.0 in his weekly Radio Show “the m files

FloorPlan Online is a recommended tool in the Real Estate tool book “My Blue Goose”.

FloorPlanOnline is simple, effective and affordable. Visit to register for free. Since its not subcritpion, there is no long term contract – just pay per tour to try it out.

Full Disclosure: While I firmly believe in the product and service, I’m biased on this topic, as I’m the Marketing Director For FloorPlanOnline.

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Friday the 13th & Groupon Shameless Plug

My wife loves Groupon.  2-3 times a week I get a groupon update from her like “Piano & guitar lessons at 60% off, that’s a great deal and you could use some lessons”…. What ever, I play guitar like a rock star.

The success of Groupon got me thinking that we should not screw around with “little” discounts.   So now’s the time when I try a deep (read painfully deep) discount to move the dial.

Here’s the informal Video Plug I made for FloorPlanOnline this morning in my backyard.  I’m placing it in several specific locations, Posterous, Active Rain etc.  Ill be tracking the click thru, & how frequently the code will be used in one week.  Like Groupon, its a 50% coupon – an amount I’ve never done before.

Happy Friday the 13th from FloorPlanOnline – Use this 50% off Coupon Code on the Self Service Photo Tour before time runs out.
Its Simple. You take the photos of your real estate listing and upload them to FloorPlanOnline. Enter the code “PhotoTour” to receive the discount. Self Service Photo Tours Only. Its a one time use Code that will work until Friday the 13th is over!

FloorPlanOnline creates Premium Real Estate Marketing Websites and Virtual Tours for Top of the Line Realtors.
FPO Tours are Simple, Effective and Affordable.

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The Airport is a Person.

I shouldn’t have done it, but did.

Kansas City has a very easy to use medium sized Airport that is in the middle of nowhere. Like many, I get to spend lots of quality time at this modern transportation hub. While waiting on a flight to Atlanta for ReTechSouth, The Public Address system was droning on… “Please Report unattended bags”. “Amanda Hugandkiss to the White courtesy phone”. You know,the normal background noise. But then I was caught off guard. The Flat PA system voice said “Follow KCI on Twitter, @KCIairport and friend us on Facebook”.

KCI on Twitter social media

The airport is @KCIairport on Twitter.

Over the PA system? That bugged me. It seemed very George Orwellian. Big Brother was telling its people where to obtain taxi service and to follow them on Twitter. Every 7 min the message was replayed. Using the The Public Address system to a captive audience to gain followers is a bit over the top.
So that’s essentially what I tweeted.

That was a Mistake.

Twitter is a type of PA – My semi rude tweet was blasted out there. Just as the captive audience had been told to follow KCI on Twitter over the PA – in the same way I publicly addressed my dislike for their method. Then it got personal. The airport – it / he/ she / they / @KCIairport started following me. They engaged me. They were nice.

It was an ah-ha moment for me. A Place, is now a person…wow. It may be easy for you to grasp, but that’s hard for me to get my head around. Do we have to treat every THING like a PERSON?

Social media photo from twitter

The Empty Delta Flight.

Two weeks ago I was with the family and delayed and frustrated while transferring planes in Detroit. The Delta Airlines flight crew was not around. While entertaining my daughter we looked out the airport window at our Delta plane sitting in the sun with no crew. The empty Plane was older, and missing some paint on the nose cone. In fact, it looked the opposite of “Shiny and new”. I photographed the plane. The tweet with the photo said: “Dear Delta, Our Plane needs a crew and a paint job.” I uploaded the remark and pic to twitter and facebook too.

I shouldn’t have.

When on Twitter, should we all talk nice from our work related accounts? Frequently that means puppy dogs and rainbows, not religion or politics. But now it may also mean don’t call out corporations or things or places thinking inanimate objects – such as corporations or airports are immune. They are people doing their jobs. My negative opinions are not said and forgotten – they stick around, and reflect back upon me.

On the flip side – if your business is not listening to or participating in social media you are ignoring the conversation. You have decided to turn your back on those customers.

But even as a satisfied customer – not one who complains often and knows better, I was willing to open up with my displeasure on twitter. Your happy clients are providing you valuable live testimonials about your service and products. What could you do with live testimonials? What could you do to help resolve an issue to prevent a boil over?

For the record – Delta sent me an apology letter with free miles. KCI no longer broadcasts “follow KCI on Twitter” via the PA, and I have learned first hand that places and corporations are people.

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Star Power: The Top Tier Realtor Conference Review

This was my first time at a Star Power Conference and my first time in Nashville TN. What a cool (Read HOT) town!
Thanks to Nashville expert and National TV personality Brian Copeland (@nashvillebrian) I had the hot tips on where to eat via Twitter. The best was Mad Donnas. I give it 4.5 stars – the same number of stars you could see at any given moment at the Star Power Convention.
A “Star” is selected and crowned each month. Next months Star is FloorPlanOnline customer Sue Adler (@sueadler) I believe there are around 200 current stars, with most of them at the event. Typically Stars are the top 1/2 of 1% of agents nationwide. They sell tons of listings, make tons of money and in my experience are very approachable, humble and willing to share information with their competition. How cool is that? Also willing to share and help people was former real estate agent and the events Headliner Dave Ramsey Dave’s talk was inspirational, helpful and entertaining.
The Event, classes and hallway conversations included talk about Marketing, technology and how to grow business in today’s social online market. There were cool people to chat with around every corner. Ive long admired Chris Smith (@techsavvyagent) who walked up to our booth and was so impressed with FPO 2.0 he recorded an interview with me on the spot!
Below, check out my brief review of the event that includes photos and video. The video was created on my iphone using the cool ReelDirector app.

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