My Notes from SmartZip Webinar on How to Farm

– Recorded April 13, 2017

This webinar was an interview with one of their customers Hugh Price, from brokerage HER Realtors. Granville, OHIO, Hugh does 100 – 135 sides a year in a market with population 5,646.

This webinar was sponsored by a company called SmartZip that provides statistical information on which homes are most likely to sell in an area. Hugh uses post cards, letters, landing pages, introduction package, very local newsletters, online ads, facebook, and email nurture.


1. Can provide phone number for prospects.
2. SmartZip mailers can be branded.
3. Has a CRM for one farm area.

Intro package – help people get to know you, and that you are big players.

1. Profile – you do a lot of business.
2. Resume
3. Where we market
4. How we market
5. Testimonial page

This neighbourhood has 300 to 400 homes. But over 300 is a good size.

1. Neighbourhood newsletters, delivering them door to door.

a. What homes sold, what hadn’t sold
b. Write-ups on people who lived in the neighbourhood, restaurant owner interviewed
c. Just listed/just sold postcards

2. Send people lots of stuff, and follow up all the time. They start to think you know their neighbourhood better than other agents.

3. How to pick a farm

a. Is there enough turnover
b. The type of neighbourhood where people tend to relocate a lot, not the most expensive homes.

4. With SmartZip you can farm a 2,000 home farm, and SmartZip will tell you the 400 homes that are most likely to turn over.

5. SmartZip sends out post cards with a URL to your Landing Page on your website. Or that go to a page on the SmartZip website. So I can get all their contact information.

6. Get some information on the home, and then call immediately.

7. People can see a CMA if they enter the Key Code on the post card. Good to phone them immediately. Or mail them a Thank You note for asking for a CMA. Maybe send them a small box of cookies that seem to be home-made.

8. Hugh and his team got 11 listings in the first 13 months using SmartZip and this method, so that’s almost one a month.

9. When someone says “I’m not going to sell. I just want to know what my home is worth,” still follow up like you would anybody else. Send them a weekly email or phone call in 3 weeks. You can ask “If you’re thinking about it at all what would be the ideal time frame”, and then contact them 4 weeks before that. “Or if you want an update on what’s happened in your neighborhood recently, let me know.”

How to break into a new neighborhood that I haven’t been in before.

10. Found an area where there wasn’t a big dominant agent already. It was adjacent to the neighbourhood we already had.

11. In a new area Hugh closed 15% of SmartZip predicted listings in that area. 4 listings in 8 months.

12. Instead of it taking 3 years to become established in building a farm, it should take half the time. 1 ½ years.

13. Time to response. Call immediately when you get a ClickThrough.

14. Be gentle. “I saw you had an inquiry, and I’d love to give you that information.”

15. Stay with them, even if they say they’re not going to sell now.

16. Stay in front of them with your mailouts.

17. People that come through an open house are thinking about selling.

18. Newsletters go out every three months instead of monthly just because they take so much work. He creates them in Publisher, exports to PDF, and sends them to a local printer.

19. The homes he sells are between $250,000 to $500,000. Most are $320,000, probably average.

20. Don’t make a phone number REQUIRED on your forms, so the relationship starts off as non-threatening.

21. Floyd Wickman training for scripts have been great for Hugh.

22. For making cold phone calls, a good time to call is 10 am to 1 pm, for about 90 minutes at a time. Or in the evening.

23. Hugh’s listing presentation

a. First section is about who we are, what we do.
b. Where we market properties.
c. Then about the brokerage where we work.
d. The relocation piece.
e. Where our listings go when we put them into the MLS
f. Where we spend money in online marketing.
g. 15 pages, always a bound document.
h. Comparable sales in their area.
i. Hugh does almost all of the listing presentations himself.

24. Online ads. Done some. Thinking about doing more.

25. Bought URL’s specific to neighborhoods in their farm, e.g. when people go to that it redirects to Hugh’s SmartZip landing page. “Name Your Price” landing page is interesting.

26. Hugh doesn’t do Door Knocking. But goes to Garage Sales, gives out goodies – pens and tags so they can change their prices. Also gives out cookies, bottled water.

If you have any questions on the above article please make an appointment on my calendar or let me know when you have a few minutes and I’ll contact you.

Please leave a comment below, and if you like it please share it on your social media. I’d appreciate it. Thanks, Ken

8 Simple Steps to Guarantee Good Leads From Your Real Estate Website

Ever wondered how to turn your website from a money pit into a lead generation machine? The 8 simple steps in this article will ensure it brings you good quality leads and makes you money.

Every step is explained in detail and in plain language. You’ll know exactly what to do and how to do it. Your success will mean you’ll be a hero to your spouse, colleagues will admire you, and brokers will court you. Am I promising too much? Read on…

To get good leads you must have lots of traffic to your website from good prospects. The best way to do that is to optimise your website for top rankings on Google organic for the area you’re farming. A little advance planning will ensure your time and money is an investment, not a waste.

1. Choose a Target Market for Profit

a. Smaller Is Better

A counter-intuitive point is that the more narrow focus you have with your target market the better. It’s best to farm a town that is a bedroom community for a large center, or even a large neighbourhood in a major city.

Another reason to farm a small area is that unless you have a huge marketing budget you won’t be able to complete with the big companies who have websites at the top of Google organic search now for those large centers.

b. You Need “Turnover”

Your farm needs to have enough inventory, that is, homes for sale. And they need to be turning over. You can check your local MLS to see how many homes sold in the last 6 months, for example.

c. Build a Persona

Find out as much as you can about the people who live in your farm, their demographics, job status, what social media they use, social habits, magazines they read, even their views on current issues in society if you can. The more you know about your prospects the better.

d. The Money Is In Their Pain

What keeps them awake at night? What do they complain about? Figure out how your service takes away their pain, or gives them something they want, such as access to something other areas don’t have, or more respect, more prestige.

e. Unique Value Proposition

Then you need to come up with a reason why your target market should buy from you rather than anyone else. If nothing else this could be your personal branding, your experience, even your personality.

2. Website Content for Top Google Rankings

Then you create a great deal of content about the area you’re farming, so Google sees your website as an authority. If you can it’s good to have some kind of interactive questionnaire that provides instant gratification, and leads them to believe they’ll be happy living in your farm. They will share it on social media, and it will keep them on your website longer. Website engagement and length of stay on your website are important Google ranking factors.

3. Harvest Prospect Emails

Then it’s good to develop a Lead Magnet to collect email addresses from prospects. If you’re going to convert prospects to customers you need to communicate with them. Even though email marketing has been around a long time it still has the greatest return.

Your Lead Magnet could be as simple as “Just Sold/Just Listed” or a “Local Market Analysis”, any information that helps your prospects solve their problems. You don’t have to give too much away, but you need to provide real value every time. It will take some people longer to trust you than others.

4. It’s So Much About Trust

Your homepage should have as many Trust Signals as you can muster, awards, industry associations you belong to, courses you’ve taken, a testimonial(video testimonials are the best), whatever you’ve got. You need to show prospects they won’t be your first customer, and that you are real, that you will actually deliver what you promise and provide great value.

5. Now The SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. After the website is built it’s good to optimize every page for your main keyword phrase, as well as related keyword phrases. If you have access to the background code of your pages you can include your keyword phrase in the url, at the beginning of your Title Tag, in your Description Tag, in some of your ALT tags. Even if you don’t you can include them in the headline of the page, the first 100 words of the page, the last 100 words, and very occasionally in the text if it’s a long article.

Be careful to only put your keyword in enough times in the text so Google will know what the article is about. If you put it in too many times Google will penalize your rankings.

6. Easy Backlinks

After your website is an authority, backlinks are Google’s most important organic ranking criteria. It’s good to make a list of your suppliers, friends, relatives, local charities you’ve donated to, clubs you’ve been involved in, and ask them to put a link on their website that would take people to your website when clicked.

One good idea is to provide a scholarship to a local school. The school will put a link on their website to the page on your website where students can fill out the application form. Local papers or current events websites might be happy to write about your scholarship, and link back to your website.

7. Counter-Intuitive Backlinks

Most of your backlinks will come from content you write that is not targeted to your customers. It needs to interest the websites in your industry who give links to other websites. Then you show them your content improves the value of their website. This is the art and science of great SEO.

For example, you could have a photography contest of the area you’re farming, and have the general public vote on which ones they like best. We’ve done that successfully for a local real estate agent.

Another proven method is to start an article about a current hot topic in real estate or about your area, find pundits who are writing about this issue on their websites, and ask them to contribute to your article. They will put a link on their website that points to the article on your website where they contributed.

8. Make Money With Social Media

Then you need to find one social media platform your prospects are using, and answer their questions for a few months without being salesy at all. Then offer something free to get them to your website.


Following the 8 steps above will Guarantee your real estate website brings you lots of good leads on a steady basis. It sometimes takes a few months to get good organic rankings, but it’s worth the wait. As Forrest Gump would say “One less thing to worry about.”

If you have any questions on the above article please make an appointment on my calendar or let me know when you have a few minutes and I’ll contact you.

Please leave a comment below, and if you like the article please share it on your social media. I’d appreciate it. Thanks, Ken

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