Few of my blogs have brought the criticism and praise that my Bad Advice in the Digital Age has.
Check out the commentary. I got responses from agents with positive and negative commentary. John Boudreau the actual writer that prompted my original blog chimed in.
I would like to further the conversation by clarifying a few points.
I mentioned that a website does not sell a property. And of course it does not. And it never will. Not until you put a contract and ecommerce shopping cart on a Realty site. Try that one and wait how long it takes for the wrath of the State AG's to come down on you. It is not to say that someone won't call you to see a house off an open non-forced registration. They --MIGHT.
One reason, that I am against an open MLS without forced registration is that it imply's a free service of data that is not free. It is paid for with a heavy price by the industry. And as an ex-Realtor and vendor that benefits from this industry called real estate, I feel it necessary to come down on practices that I see counter intuitive to everything I know about Marketing.
It is not to say that the day isn't coming whereby I think there will be a shakeout of the industry. I do believe that we will see fee for service as more common practice some day. Heck, what is too stop Big Brother Google from creating MLS.Google.com? They do have a goal of indexing the worlds information. But that is a topic for another day.
The second reason is that an open registration is analogous to a person working up desk & giving out all the information on a property without any reciprocal information back in return. "Ya'll just feel free to call me back now". There are many styles, but the only successful people in real estate are those who know how to sell. And the only way to sell, is via some sort of communication. That requires interaction. Not what in affect is brochure marketing. Any sales class I have taken, Corporate or Private, has always laughingly reminded me that when I hand out a brochure, it goes right into the round file.
An open MLS is a passive process. You are waiting for a "prospect" to come back. Study after study has shown that loyalty is fickle on line. Again, when it takes up to two years to buy a home, I would rather not count on Joe and Mary home buyer's "bookmarking" system in their browser. It is for the same reason you make people register at an open house.
To call people smart who don't want to give up information is contrary to current trends. In fact, many sophisticated searchers are now looking for services to packet information together for them. As they are tired of having to package together information. This is why Google, Yahoo and to some extent, MSN, keep coming out with narrower forms of search. You have Local search, Blogging Search, Music, etc, etc.
So my experience tells me that people whom are serious shoppers don't mind opting into a follow up system and appreciate the service.
In fact, just recently DM news reported that 78 Percent Buy After Seeing Ads, Promotions ,"New consumer data shows that e-mail marketing works--quite well, in fact. Seventy-eight percent of respondents to DoubleClick's sixth annual consumer survey, "E-mail Solutions," said they've made a purchase as a result of receiving an e-mail, 59 percent said they've redeemed an e-mail coupon in a store, and nearly one-third said they've clicked on an e-mail and made an immediate purchase. Users are now comfortable with e-mail; the report says they understand and accept the fact that marketers collect and use data to send them relevant e-mails. "
The opt-in is the transaction of your website. There is not a sale, except of your MLS data. The purchase is when they give their information away, for the MR/MRS Realty's MLS data. Of course the above study isn't from real estate. But it does show a favorable behavior trend.
Now, by the same token, expecting someone to show you loyalty just because you showed them your listings after opt in, is still wishful thinking.
However, now you have the opportunity to swoon them with your direct response and drip strategy.
Now, after all that, I do not think it unreasonable to test partial information as a tease to tempt the visitor to opt in. We see this often whereby visitors will go to a real estate thumbnail page of listings, and then have to opt in to get more information.
Everyone is welcome to comment. As you can see from the previous posts, I listed positive and negative comments. One teetered on the edge of being more of a flame than a post. However, I chose to approve the comment because of the point the writer finally did make.Don't be afraid to list your company. At the same time don't make this into an advertisement without adding to the conversation.