Guests: Marci James, Daniel Ramsey
Recorded: August 28, 2019

Excerpt

We’re joined by Marci James, the Brand Ambassador and Director of Social Outreach at Realtor.com®. She has over 20 years of marketing experience in the Real Estate industry and is passionate about digital marketing and social media. She is an industry leader of Inman’s Top 100 Industry Influencers, a Top 20 Social Influencer on the Swanepoel Power 200 list.

Marci manages various professional social profiles and communities, helping the Realtor.com® agent and broker community with their digital marketing strategy both within and outside the suite of products and services. She’ll be a new but familiar face working with agents to help them make the most of your business in the online world.

Marci brings with her more than 18 years of marketing experience, specializing in real estate business services. She previously served as vice president of marketing at Obeo for more than 12 years and most recently served as vice president of marketing for tech startup roomy. She has a passion for marketing and loves to share her knowledge with others in the industry. Although she’s experienced in all aspects of marketing, social media has become Marci’s greatest strength.

“Marketing has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, and the biggest driver of that change has been social media—particularly social engagement,” she explains. “I’ve learned that digital marketing is about more than just an online advertisement—you need to build communities, provide valuable content, develop trust, create relationships, and strengthen your brand.”

Transcript

00:00:09:00 – 00:00:31:10
Daniel Ramsey
Daniel Ramsey here with MyOutDesk. And today we’ve got a special guest, Marci James from Realtor.com. Here’s the thing. My artist is the world’s leading real estate virtual assistant company. And we get really smart people like Marci on a call today to share hurts and just basically drop knowledge to help you win in real estate and do double your business.

00:00:31:11 – 00:00:36:09
Daniel Ramsey
That’s what we want you to do. We want you to double your business. So. Marci, thanks for being here today.

00:00:36:15 – 00:00:38:07
Marci James
You’re welcome. Thanks for having me.

00:00:38:14 – 00:00:48:11
Daniel Ramsey
So you’re the brand ambassador and director of social outreach at Realtor.com. I don’t even know what that means. Tell us what you do every day.

00:00:49:16 – 00:01:12:18
Marci James
It’s it’s actually a really fun job, but somebody has to do it. And I’m the lucky one that gets to do it. So basically, I have a team under me that runs all of our B2B social channels and groups, and so I manage the strategy for all of our B2B channels, everything from list hub to realtor, pro to producer, things like that.

00:01:12:21 – 00:01:42:10
Marci James
And then as far as the Brand Ambassador outreach piece, I do a ton of travel. I travel to all of the major industry events, and I network face to face with the people that I normally network with through social media and online. And I get face to face with them. And just you strengthen those relationships and try to be a great brand ambassador, improve sentiment, answer questions, help people with any needs they may have.

00:01:42:21 – 00:01:44:24
Marci James
All of that fun stuff, that’s awesome.

00:01:44:24 – 00:01:53:22
Daniel Ramsey
And you have 20 years of marketing experience. Let’s talk about how you got started in the marketing industry and how did you get into real estate?

00:01:55:03 – 00:02:31:14
Marci James
Well, I know that’s a long story, but I actually have a degree in Earth Science with a minor in geology. So nothing to do with marketing. But that’s from a long, long time ago. And I started back in my early thirties working for a Prudential franchise in South Florida as a marketing coordinator and basically grew from there, went on after a few years to another, a different franchise, a better Homes and Gardens franchise as their director of marketing worked there for several years and went.

00:02:31:14 – 00:02:55:14
Marci James
So I’ve been on the industry side as far as the brokerage side and I’ve also been on the vendor side. From there I went to a company called Odeo, which was a little startup back and doing virtual tours, photography and floor plans. And I ran the state of Florida for about five years. I grew that into the largest a second largest territory in the US or for Odeo.

00:02:55:23 – 00:03:22:23
Marci James
And then my husband and I decided we wanted to move back to Colorado. So I turned the territory back over to Odeo and I took over the VP of marketing role with them, and I did that for about another six years. So I was there for a very long time and from there I jumped over to Realtor.com. So I’ve kind of been on both sides, both vendor side and the brokerage side in marketing roles.

00:03:23:10 – 00:03:57:08
Daniel Ramsey
You kind of understand the industry, the pain points, all the kind of issues, right? If you’re listening right now, one of our one of our main talking points is the consumer complaints. Realtor.com, like the the industry, like the general population, thinks that realtors and Realtor.com are connected. So you guys probably get all kinds of complaints and concerns. So talk to us about the top two complaints that we get from consumers and how agents can actually avoid that by building, you know, systems or processes in their business.

00:03:57:21 – 00:04:30:21
Marci James
We we get a ton of complaints on our website related to follow up. Everybody knows we sell leads. And the two complaints that we see most often online were real tours are where consumers are complaining. There’s two of them. Number one, no one responded. I submitted a lead form and nobody responded. And the second most popular complaint is that three or four people responded, five people responded, and that the consumer feels like they’re now they’re being harassed.

00:04:31:05 – 00:04:51:04
Marci James
And the reason that happens, I just want everybody to know we do not sell our leads to more than two people. And, you know, clearly, if you’re buying a shared zip code, so it goes to two people occasionally. One of those people that bought that is a broker or a team leader who sends those leads out to everybody on their team or multiple people within the brokerage.

00:04:51:04 – 00:05:10:08
Marci James
And that is where the issue happens, because then the the consumer is getting multiple phone calls and that’s a bad consumer experience. So we really want know brokers and team leaders. There should be one specific person that handles those leads that responds and not multiple.

00:05:10:08 – 00:05:13:12
Daniel Ramsey
And hopefully they’re a virtual assistant from my out desk.

00:05:14:01 – 00:05:16:04
Marci James
I think it’s a great idea right there.

00:05:16:14 – 00:05:32:13
Daniel Ramsey
I love it. I love it. Okay, so let’s talk through like, what is your I mean, been 20 years in marketing? I think that’s an area that you can really serve our audience. So what are some of your tricks or tips or secret sauce when it comes to marketing for real estate folks?

00:05:34:07 – 00:06:00:14
Marci James
Well, there’s you need to focus on local marketing for sure. Real estate is a local business. You need to embed yourself in your local community as much as possible through Facebook groups, through face to face engagement events, and and just sharing online everything that’s so just focus on community. Community using community hashtags is all about local for realtors.

00:06:00:14 – 00:06:26:12
Marci James
And then another big question I get, of course, is about social media and the biggest complaints I hear from realtors is I just don’t have time to create the content for social media and try to tell people you don’t have to create content to be visible on social media. I get told all the time, Oh, I see you all over Facebook or I see you all over social media, but I almost never post on social media.

00:06:26:16 – 00:06:43:16
Marci James
What I do is I go to where I know my audiences and my audience is, of course, any agent or broker in the real estate industry. So I go to the places where I know they’re hanging out and I comment and I engage on the content that they’re putting out there. So I don’t have to create my own content.

00:06:43:17 – 00:06:55:22
Marci James
I can go on to Facebook twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes and comment and engage. And people think I’m everywhere, even though I’m really not I’m not spending very much time on social contact.

00:06:55:22 – 00:07:05:24
Daniel Ramsey
So your your piece of advice is get local, get involved in your community, and then over to just be out there commenting and expect and liking things.

00:07:06:10 – 00:07:30:18
Marci James
Right? Think about social media as and networking event. It’s not about promoting yourself in your listings. It’s about getting out there and engaging and building relationships. And that’s how social is really meant to be used. If you want to promote, take out a Facebook ad, but don’t spend time doing that on a daily basis. What you’re doing on a daily basis is engaging and networking.

00:07:31:11 – 00:07:47:22
Daniel Ramsey
What if a realtor was to build content because you’re a digital marketing person? That’s your your space. What kind of content would somebody in our space likely build that would create kind of a good audience and good engagement?

00:07:48:06 – 00:08:23:13
Marci James
Well, you always have to think about what your consumer would consider valuable, and it’s all about creating value. So I and I always recommend you have a niche within your local market and have a niche of some kind, whether it’s first time homebuyers or people that want to live on a golf course. Golf course properties waterfront properties, have a niche and then create content focused on that niche or create content if you want to serve everybody, create content for the first time homebuyer for that, the expanding family homebuyer for the empty nester homebuyer.

00:08:23:13 – 00:08:48:15
Marci James
So create content for each of those different issues that they would consider valuable, whether it’s a blog post with tips or any any type of community photos, you know, a list of the top ten golf course communities in Fort Lauderdale, let’s say. Those are all sorts of things that certain consumers would find valuable. And that’s the type of content you want to create videos as well.

00:08:49:16 – 00:09:02:18
Daniel Ramsey
What? Give us some advice about video. Video is becoming kind of like a battleground for eyeballs. I mean, I, I actually hate that YouTube is like sending ads every time I want to watch the thing.

00:09:02:18 – 00:09:06:09
Marci James
Now it gets annoying. Yeah.

00:09:06:15 – 00:09:07:22
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, but, you know.

00:09:08:09 – 00:09:13:09
Marci James
The countdown to ad will end in. Yeah, I’m just waiting for that countdown so I can hit.

00:09:13:13 – 00:09:13:19
Daniel Ramsey
This.

00:09:14:05 – 00:09:14:20
Marci James
Right.

00:09:14:20 – 00:09:28:14
Daniel Ramsey
And I refuse to pay the money to not see that. I refuse to do that. Right. But if let’s talk through video, like how would you do that correctly to cause eyeballs on in and drive? Right.

00:09:29:11 – 00:10:09:19
Marci James
So video, I can tell you from our experience with social media, we get the best results from video ads. We get really good results. But it has to be short, has to be you have to create a little bit of emotion in there. You want to capture interest. And emotion is a really great way to do that. So any way you can create emotion, whether it’s like, you know, a video, let’s just say you wanted to market one of your properties with video, creating that video that that stirs a little bit of emotion in the very beginning, whether it’s a beautiful backyard with the birds chirping or a sunset over the waterfront, waterfront property, something

00:10:09:24 – 00:10:34:03
Marci James
that’s going to stir emotion and then go into the details. You have to capture them in the first few seconds of the video. So that would be my advice for any sort of marketing video or just regular social content. Not everybody is good at it. And I don’t like you go into an event all the time. There’s people preaching it on video.

00:10:34:03 – 00:10:58:04
Marci James
Do your video, and I’m going to sit here and tell you not everybody is good at it and not everybody is comfortable doing it. And I don’t want people to feel bad if it’s not their cup of tea. If you’re good at it, it’s going to work phenomenally for you. Pinkie out of Naples is phenomenal with video, which she’s good with video, and that’s why she’s so successful at it.

00:10:58:09 – 00:11:22:20
Marci James
It’s not like she’s not she’s not getting on video and she’s not uncomfortable at all on video, which is why people love her. When you watch a video where someone is incredibly uncomfortable sometimes and it’s not engaging, it’s it creates discomfort in the viewer and then they don’t want to watch. So I would say if you’re good at video, if you enjoy getting on in front of video, Barbara Batts is another one.

00:11:22:20 – 00:11:42:18
Marci James
She’s phenomenal at video and she gets on video and talks to her audience all the time. But she’s great at it. Don’t feel pressured to do it if you’re not comfortable with it. If you are comfortable, then by all means, get out there and talk to your audience on a regular basis. On social media, it’s super easy. You can do they do videos literally every single day.

00:11:42:18 – 00:11:50:13
Marci James
They take 5 minutes out of their day to talk to their audience on video. And it’s incredibly successful, very authentic.

00:11:50:23 – 00:12:10:23
Daniel Ramsey
We’re going to put in the show notes. We’re going to below just put a link to those to people so you can kind of show up. I think that’s going to be great and we’re going to jump in real quick to the Realtor.com, because you’re giving away kind of a kind of a cool thing. It’s a free tool for realtors out there.

00:12:11:04 – 00:12:15:02
Daniel Ramsey
Talk to us about that real quick. Setting up your profile on the platform.

00:12:15:09 – 00:12:38:22
Marci James
Right. I may start off by telling you that in the month of July, we averaged over a we hit over 75 million unique users for the first time. We were 71 in June. In July we hit 75. So we get a ton of traffic. We’ve been working really hard on SEO and delivering just a really good consumer experience and it’s starting to pay off big time.

00:12:38:22 – 00:13:09:11
Marci James
We’re really, really attracting a lot more viewers, so 75 million people using our site. Another stat that I want people to know is that we have almost 80% longer. People stay 50% longer than any other real estate portal. And we feel that’s because we’ve done a really good job of attracting serious home buyers and sellers who are really out there actually searching for homes, not just popping by to see what the value of their home is.

00:13:10:06 – 00:13:44:03
Marci James
They’re out there really using it as a tool for for specifically for real estate research with that. So 75 million unique users are on there searching. One of our most searched or our points on our website is our agent search, where people can go in and search for agents in their zip code and when that happens, people that have completed their profiles will pop up and the consumer then can look through all of the people that have completed their profiles that are within that zip code.

00:13:44:10 – 00:14:06:13
Marci James
The issue we have is that only a small percentage of realtors out there have actually completed their profiles. So we offer these 100% free of charge. There’s no there’s no cost to have a profile on Realtor.com. You can go in and add your reviews. You can add video, foot photography. You’re buying all the information about yourself, feel that out completely.

00:14:06:18 – 00:14:24:15
Marci James
And then when people search, you’re going to circulate to the top. The more info you have, the higher you’re going to go in the search, the more robustly filled out your bio is. And those are free leads. When if someone clicks on you and fills out the contact form, that’s 100% freely that comes to you.

00:14:25:24 – 00:14:42:21
Daniel Ramsey
And that’s what you’re giving away. And if you click below, we’ve got a free link to actually how to do that correctly. And if you have a virtual assistant, you can do it with them and they can set you all up. Marci, you’re awesome. What? What would you like to leave our audience with? You’ve shared a bunch of stuff.

00:14:42:21 – 00:14:51:10
Daniel Ramsey
I love having you here and kind of you deep on the marketing world. What’s the one thing that you’d like to leave the audience with?

00:14:51:10 – 00:15:17:03
Marci James
Oh, gosh, I should kind of think I prepared for this one. I would say try to, I think, try to attend events. I’d be like too many people get sucked into their little local real estate world and are looking at the bigger picture. And I think attending, at least I would say at least two or three events a year.

00:15:17:03 – 00:15:41:07
Marci James
One could be local, one could be your local, your state association event, but maybe an Inman or an NPR like an event event and an event. Get out there and meet realtors from other areas. Find out what’s trending in real estate, what’s going on. I think too many people just stay in their little, little world here and don’t invest in these events where there’s so much value to be had.

00:15:41:07 – 00:15:45:21
Marci James
As far as networking and learning, that would be my big piece of advice.

00:15:46:07 – 00:15:49:22
Daniel Ramsey
All right, Marci James, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate you.

00:15:50:04 – 00:15:58:23
Marci James
Thanks for having me.