Can You Ask Any Business Person What Their Day Rate Is?

Pricing your products to adapt to change

business management course online learning study how to price
Would you be able to adapt the figures to adapt to change?

THE TRADITIONAL REAL ESTATE agent model is being challenged by disruptor sites like BuyMyPlace and Purplebricks. These sites are offering homeowners low-cost way to sell their homes and agents are increasingly having to be open to different ways of operating.

But change can happen at any time in any industry and it can happen swiftly; business owners and operators in all fields need to be able to adapt to change and see it as an opportunity to do their business differently. Often times, what’s required is a change to the way you price your products and services. And there are many things other people in business can learn from the real estate industry.

I was looking for a roofer to do some work for me recently. The first roofer I spoke to said he could solve my problem for a flat $1200; estimating the work could take between one and two days. Another roofer I spoke to, and ultimately ended up hiring, said he would charge me his $600 a day “day rate” until it was fixed; it only ended up taking one day.

How much time do agents spend selling your home?

Like Rome, a home isn’t sold in a day. Depending on the property and its location it could take anywhere between four and six weeks; quite likely less, but sometimes more.

But an agent doesn’t spend every one of those days working on your property. They spend portions out of their day working on it. An agent will often have three or four listings at the same time so they’ll split their time among those listings, while also chasing down leads for new listings.

Consider the Purplebricks method

Purplebicks has determined that it will cost between $4,500 and $6,000 to appoint one of their “property experts” to sell your property. Although they’re licensed real estate agents, they don’t call them that, because the service is different. (Buyers arrange inspections and make offers through the Purplebricks “property portal,” which homeowners also use to make appointments with buyers and accept offers.)

The Purplebricks fee, which is payable regardless of whether the property is sold or not, covers the cost of an agent-appraisal, all the marketing and advertising costs, as well as conveyancing. But the homeowner does the rest via the Purplebricks property portal software.

Find an agent that’s willing

If you’re prepared to pay an agent for the time they spend working on the sale of your home, regardless of whether it’s sold, you might find one that’s willing to alter how they’re paid. More real estate agents are trying to be as transparent about the process as possible, and this is just one more way that they can be.

Sweeten the pot by breaking the process down into phases (a four-week campaign may have two; a six-week campaign three) and pay them once each phase has been reached, like you would a builder. You can even add another sweetener: a bonus if the agent sells your home over a certain threshold.

For the agent, the upshot is getting regular money (which is good for their cash flow), rather than waiting until the property is settled.

There are many things bookkeepers — and anybody else running their own business — can learn from the real estate industry; see some of our past blogs about setting prices; formulating sales pitches; how to use video and images and how to advertise on Facebook.


Stuck in a rut running a business for yourself?

“Mark Starts his Own Business…”

business and marketing help for tradiesAs part of our EzyStartUp Course, we give you real-life business case study scenarios, including the case of Mark the Painter and Decorator. This case study outlines the questions asked by every business owner when they first start a business: What should I do and how much should I charge?

 

Some jobs are small and straightforward, while others are blow out and become time consuming and fiddly; some work is complex and requires fine detail, while some work is basic and low level.
Managing ones’ time and figuring out how to price for different kinds of work is always a challenge in the successful running of any business.
Our EzyStartUp Course teaches you how to use digital and social media marketing to attract enquiries, how much to charge, and how to clearly define the work to be done. We explore productivity tools like Google Gmail and Calendar to help manage time, improve sales and customer service, and how to manage the change in your charge-out rate depending on what clients are willing to pay in the market.

Find out more about our EzyStartUp Course and Digital Business Course.


 

Ray White’s Amber and LJ Hooker Compete with Purple & Jim’s Real Estate Play

Real estate agents are seeing purple!

Woodrising a sign for Toronto Ray White Amber AgentTHE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY IS undergoing substantial disruption. Only the real estate agents and agencies that decide to innovate will make it out the other side.

A big part of that means letting go of the traditional model and embracing a new, transparent real estate sales model, but many agents are still reluctant to change.

And that’s a mistake.

Disruption to the real estate industry coming from many sources

Although much of the disruption is coming from technology companies, such as REA Group and Domain Group in Australia, as well as the tech giants Facebook and Google, other established players, recognising that the timing is right, are entering the fray too.

Together, these businesses are changing the way real estate in this country and across the world is bought, sold and rented. If real estate agents aren’t proactive about this change, they’ll end up being reactive. And they’ll miss out.

One of the Case Studies in our Digital & Social Media Marketing Courses centres upon a McGrath agent based in Sydney’s Cammeray. This agent, Derek, comes to realise his own personal brand is as powerful with local residents as the McGrath brand because he is a hard-working agent and his vendors love him.

Via the virion Digital Agency we were able to help Derek create a website and social media campaign to further hone and build his brand as a property expert.

Jim’s to cut agents’ grass

Jim Penman's Jims Group getting into low cost low commission real estate agency model - tradies might pass on vendor sales leads - AFRTake Jim’s Group, the franchise group known for mowing lawns and fixing broken antennas. Last week, they announced their intention to enter the real estate fray with a new, low-cost service for both agents and homeowners.

The division, which is being headed up by a Jim’s Group veteran and the former sales director of low-cost real estate service Hello Real Estate, will charge agents a flat $1,800 a month franchise fee.

Homeowners will also be able to suggest how much commission they’d like to pay the agent to sell their home. (It’s understood there’ll be a threshold for how low commissions will actually go.)

Jim’s agents will work remotely from their home offices — or their cars — as most Jim’s franchisees currently do, and they’ll have substantially lower overheads so they can provide the same service to homeowners as a traditional real estate agent, only for less.

As an existing and trusted franchise group in Australia, they won’t have to overcome the same barriers like name recognition and trust that new entrants to the market — your Purplebricks, say — did. (Of course, the Purplebricks service is also quantifiably different to the proposed Jim’s service.)

Agents who don’t think Jim’s will make a serious dent in the industry may be right. But that misses the point; the franchise model is about giving business owners a cushion between them and flying solo. Plenty of people work in franchises — real estate is the most franchised industry in this country — but not all of them do. There’s plenty of room for independent agents to take this idea and operate their own agency the same way — and keep their $1,800 franchise fee while they’re at it!

Proptech sector friend or foe?

That brings us to the biggest source of disruption in the real estate industry: the proptech sector. In Australia, agents need to be cautious of

  • REA Group,
  • Domain Group,
  • Purplebricks,
  • BuyMyPlace,
  • Facebook and
  • Google.

But they also need to be wary of any new entrant that puts an “Uber” spin on the sector. (Domain recently opened up its developer APIs to encourage tech startups to use their data to create disruptive new services.)

At the moment REA Group and Domain are focussed on moving closer to the transaction, but they’re also heavily investing in tech to ward off any disruption from tech titans Facebook and Google, which they consider the biggest threat to the real estate industry in this country, and the world. (eBay-owned Gumtree also shouldn’t be excluded from this conversation.)

Would you advertise with a competitor?

Mortgages

Both real estate groups have acquired (or launched through partnerships) their own mortgage broking businesses — Domain’s Domain Loan Finder is a JV with online broker Lendi; REA Group acquired mortgage broker Smartline, and launched its own white label service in conjunction with NAB, called realestate.com.au Home Loans.

Trades & Everything Else!

They each also own stakes in tradie sites Oneflare (Domain) and hipages (REA), connection services Compare & Connect (Domain) and Beevo (Domain), property data and mapping firm PriceFinder (Domain), real estate CRM MyDesktop (Domain) [read more about the best real estate agent CRM’s], and property inspection app Homepass (Domain); Domain will also launch insurance comparison service Domain Insure and real estate agent training and education program Domain Academy.

And REA Group is busy building robots and virtual assistants, which can respond to customer enquiry — requests for Section 32 documents, schedule inspections, and so on.

Neither Domain nor REA are likely to bite the hands that feed them by introducing a real estate agency service or cutting agents out of the picture entirely — this year, REA Group posted revenue of $633.5 million from its Australian operations, of which $538.2 million was derived from agents advertising on its site.

Agents need to innovate NOW

But by owning the real estate “ecosystem”, they make the role of the real estate agent much less vital — and ripe for a new service to come in (like a Jim’s Real Estate) and say, “hey we can do it better.” Before long, that’ll become the “traditional” real estate model, just as the classified websites that usurped newspaper classifieds are now considered the “traditional” model of buying and selling stuff online.

To stay ahead of disruption, agents need to educate themselves. Continuing professional development (CPD) is a mandatory part of staying licensed in every state or territory. Provided agents undertake recognised training and keep their CPD points up, they can study anything relevant to the business of real estate.

Digital marketing is a fundamental part of real estate. Agents who understand how to market themselves online to get new business and demonstrate transparency about how the process works will stay ahead of the curve. Derek Farmer used educational videos and blog posts to explain the buying and selling process, and share market news and analysis.

This makes a sales agent an indispensable source of knowledge and a trusted advisor to buyers and sellers throughout the process, which can’t be replicated by a robot, virtual assistant or app. Virion also helps agents create a digital market strategy for their business, and to fill up their website or social media pages with content that provides information to buyers and sellers they’re currently getting from … Domain and realestate.com.au!

Agents should create their own property ecosystem

Domain and REA are doing their darndest to keep people on their sites for longer. They’re sewing up the entire property buying and selling process with complementary services (insurances, connections, mortgages) and they’re pushing more and more into content (videos, journalism, content marketing); Domain is particularly innovative in the content space, thanks to its Fairfax roots.

As a result, buyers and sellers are coming to agents forearmed, and again, the role of the agent is diminished. But agents can stay in home buyers and sellers minds by creating their own property ecosystem: start a website, fill it with good quality content, use a CRM to manage your lists of buyers, sellers, tradespeople — who have become one of the most important players in the sales process — and pump messages out your database regularly.

Finally, look at introducing a different fee or commissions structure for certain types of property or across the board. This is where the industry is heading and fighting it will only leave you in the same position the newspaper industry was in with the advent of online classifieds; cable TV providers with the rise of VOD services; music labels with streaming services, and so on.

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Visit the EzyLearn website to learn more about our continuing professional development (CPD) training courses. To create your own property ecosystem with a digital marketing strategy and content, visit Virion’s website for more information.


 

Who Do You Trust More: Real Estate Agents or Tradies?

Still unsure whether you can trust online ratings and reviews?

trusting online reviews and ratings for tradesperson real estate agent online ratings and reviews
After a tradesperson? Sometimes asking a business person from a related business, such as a real estate agent, can be a good source for a recommendation.

IT CAN BE HARD to know whether you can really trust online ratings and reviews, whether these reviews and ratings are objective and even relevant and how they compare to recommendations and testimonials. By recommendations we mean word of mouth referrals from your friends and family and so forth, and testimonials that have been written by real people — with real names and real locations!

In our recent post about recommendations we suggested that you ask a friend, relative or colleague if they’ve ever had experience with a business you’re thinking of using — chances are, if your friends live locally they may well have; or if the business is a chain or franchise operating over a wide area.

Also ask other businesses

When seeking a professional recommendation you can also ask other businesses. Find out what their experiences have been, if any. Often businesses will have a relationship with each other even if it is not, at first, apparent.

For instance, a symbiotic relationship tends to exist between real estate agents and tradespeople. Agents will regularly draw up a list of preferred tradespeople that they work with and recommend to their tenants, landlords and vendors.

And there are plenty of tradespeople who do the same for real estate agents that they’ve had professional dealings with. There are plenty of other examples of these sorts of professional recommendations.

Beware professional bias

Of course, just as you should be wary of overly positive or negative ratings and reviews online, you should be likewise when soliciting professional reviews. If one business regularly referred work by another, even if they don’t think they’re a great business to deal with, neither party will necessarily say anything bad about each other.

In the end, when looking for a tradesperson, real estate agent or some other professional service, be sure to do all your research. Ask around for personal referrals, check them up online, and get in touch with each business directly to see which one is the best fit for you.

Real people, real locations

At EzyLearn we provide testimonials from our students, which include their full name and location, and why they chose EzyLearn to study in the first place. We also offer a money-back guarantee and free samples of our course content, so students know they can trust they’re making the right choice. Visit our website for more information and to see our wide range of courses.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design). 


 

Thinking of Starting a Second Business? Introducing Jerry

Case Study: Costs for starting up a second, related business

microsoft excel starting a second business
Contemplating starting a second business, related in some way to your first? Excel can help you forecast start up costs.

A LOT OF BUSINESS OWNERS branch out into related fields when their flagship business becomes successful enough (just look at Jim’s Mowing). However, this can be a bit dicey if the business owner doesn’t properly forecast all the start up costs. Not doing so can not only have an adverse impact on the new venture, but also on the existing business.

In this case study, we’re going to look at the start up costs associated with starting a real estate sales business.

Meet Jerry, our budding entrepreneur

Jerry is a male in his 40’s, currently working as an agent for a local asbestos removal company, earning a commission for helping the company make sales. In this role, he works as an independent contractor, invoicing the asbestos removal company at the end of the month. Because of the work he does, Jerry meets with lots of homeowners (and business owners too) who are renovating their home in preparation to put it on the market for sale or rent out.

Because of the client contact base Jerry is always developing, and knowing that there is no conflict of interest, Jerry decides he’d like to branch and become a real estate salesperson.

Budgeting for a new business from home

Jerry decides to operate his real estate sales business from home, as he plans to operate it as a side business, at least initially. Jerry won’t need to lease office space, but there are the following costs he will need to budget for. The costs he foresees are approximate:

  • Real estate license training course: $2,250
  • Website setup costs: $300 + training (if required)
  • G Suite account: $5/month upwards + training (if required)
  • Mobile phone: $55/month upwards
  • Business cards, flyers, other marketing materials: $99 upwards

Jerry’s ad-hoc operational costs

Although the majority of Jerry’s operational expenses will be reimbursed by the vendor once the property is sold — property marketing, auctioneer costs, etc. — Jerry will need to ensure he has enough capital to cover these operational costs. Property marketing costs are determined based on a percentage of the property’s value, usually 1 percent but sometimes lower. The median price of property in Jerry’s area is $440,000.

Because Jerry is already working as an independent contractor, he doesn’t have to incur any other operational costs (office furniture, internet, information technology, etc.), however his bookkeeper may apportion these costs differently now that Jerry is operating an additional business.

Determining upfront capital required

Jerry already has two homeowners who are thinking of selling their home in the next 12 months. He estimates that based on the value of each property, he will need to spend $5,000 each on property marketing. Therefore, he’ll need at least $13,370 in startup capital to fund his new venture for the next 12 months — although he knows that the initial $20,000 in property marketing will be reimbursed to the business within 6 months.

How Jerry will measure his success

Jerry is located in Newcastle in the Hunter region of New South Wales. Clearance rates in this region hover around 70 percent and properties spend an average of 50 to 70 days on the market, as property is typically sold by private treaty rather than auction. These two metrics will be used to determine Jerry’s success. Price is not a good indicator, as the nature of property sales means Jerry should be valuing property accurately with only a 10 to 15 percent difference in the final sale price.

Jerry should also research other real estate agents selling similar property in his local area to determine how many sales they are writing each calendar year. This can become another benchmark for Jerry’s success, although only a peripheral one, as Jerry is still only operating his real estate business on the side.

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You can use Excel to work out a budget for the start up costs for your second business, and use accounting software like Xero, MYOB or QuickBooks to forecast whether your existing business will have the capital to fund your new venture.

Our Excel training courses will teach you how to create budgets and forecasts and our cloud accounting training courses will show you how to determine the financial health of your business.


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Successfully promoting your business products and services to clients these days requires a sound knowledge of how to spread the word via social media. Whatever your field, we can teach you the online marketing techniques to stand out from the crowd and build your customer base! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Facebook Advertising

Facebook – Great for Local Marketing

using facebook for bookkeeping marketing
Facebook can be extremely useful for marketing to a local audience.

In its decade of existence, Facebook has built up a wealth of data about its users, data that it likes to sell back to those who need it, in the form of targeted advertising. Facebook advertising, though similar in its approach, is very different to Google Adwords in what it delivers. Real estate agents discovered the value of Facebook advertising early, and have used a combination of images and videos to successfully deliver their marketing messages and sale pitches directly to their target market and in order to set their prices.

Be Local, Not Global

Real estate agents specialise in knowing their local area. It’s how they get listings and it’s how they find buyers for those listings. In a former post, when we talked about setting your prices, we suggested getting to know your market and who your customer are. As a contract bookkeeper, you can, in theory, work for any business, based anywhere in the world, but you should still specialise in your local area, the reasons for which are twofold:

  1. Fewer to compete with: This isn’t about being the biggest fish in the smallest pond. It’s about getting clients, and that’s what you want. If you’re based in Sydney, specialise in Sydney. Don’t try and compete with everyone in Australia, if you can just complete with Sydneysiders.
  2. Convenience: The truth is, lots of businesses still like to meet their contractors in person. If you’re happy to fly all over the country to earn your regular bookkeeping rate, then by all means. If you’d rather not, then look for clients that are nearby — in the same state, at least.

When you’re setting up your Facebook advertising campaign, instead of trying to target everyone interested in bookkeeping services in Australia, stick to your state or local area, depending on the size of the market for your services in your local area. Sure, this reduces the pool of potential people seeing your advertisement, but it also reduces the pool of potential competitors.

When Local is Appealing to Global Clients Too

And just a note on getting international clients: Try to land international clients who are looking for an Australian, because you have skills they need — you’re in the same country as their Australian clients, you understand Australian tax, and so forth. Remember also that Australian wages are higher than anywhere else in the world, so international businesses need to be willing to pay that because you provide a service or possess skills they can’t get elsewhere.

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Our EzyStartUp Course covers researching the market, setting prices, and an introduction to marketing and business planning, plus much more. If you’re starting a bookkeeping business or you already have started on, enrol in our EzyStartUp course to ensure you’re not selling yourself short.

Facebook and social media online training courseAlternatively, learn all about marketing your business online with our Marketing, Advertising and Sales courses.

Our Facebook Marketing Course which not only teaches you how to set up a Facebook Page, but how to use Facebook for business, how to advertise on Facebook; it also features our own real life case study.

 

What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Using Video and Images

Focusing on Education Rather than Sales

how bookkeepers can use videoTHE INTERNET HAS CHANGED the way businesses market their services to prospects, from a simple sales message to an educational one.

Real estate agents caught onto this shift in buyer trends early and started creating online content to cater to these buyers.

Visit the website of any real estate agent and you’ll find lots of images and videos educating potential buyers about their services, previous sales and the local area they represent.

Just like bookkeepers can learn from real estate agents how to set their prices and perfect their sales pitch, a bookkeeper should also take note of how real estate agents are using video and images online to develop and hones their digital marketing messages.

How Video and Images Help Attract New Business

  1. Identify yourself: As a contract bookkeeper, your identity is your brand. Create a website or LinkedIn profile (or both), and include a picture of yourself. If you’re operating a business, don’t hide behind your business name. Include pictures of your team, even if that’s just you at this stage.
  2. Educate with video: Show prospects that you know your stuff, by creating short videos explaining common issues businesses may have using MYOB, QuickBooks, Xero, etc. You may also create video tutorials that explain how you like clients to set up MYOB, Xero, QuickBooks etc.
  3. Capture the local scene: Establish yourself as a local business, by taking photos when you visit a local business (whether it’s a cafe, hardware store, or clothing shop) and put them on social media. Be sure to connect with those businesses on social too, so they can share with their customers. Do the same with your clients. It’s a good way to establish firm connections with the businesses you work with, and to update them on your other business projects.

 

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smiling woman learning how to run her own business
 

Using video and images to build your online presence should be part of your broader marketing strategy.

Our EzyStartUp Course covers researching the market, setting prices, and an introduction to marketing and business planning, plus much more.

Alternatively, learn all about marketing your business online with our Marketing, Advertising and Sales courses.


 

What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Sales Pitches

Never Fear: A “Sales” Pitch Can Really Just Be a Conversation

bookkeeping sales pitch
You actually don’t need to be ‘salesy’ at all; just find out how your services match another person’s needs.

After you’ve set the correct prices for your bookkeeping services, it’s time to perfect your sales pitch. It’s good to think about the way real estate agents sell a property to prospective buyers: Good sales agents don’t pitch to the buyer at all. Instead, they get to know the buyer and their needs. If that happens to suit the property they’re selling, they tell them so. If it doesn’t they tell them that too. Often, they’ll mention another listing they have that might better suit the buyer.

A successful sales pitch isn’t really a pitch at all. Remember that. It’s a conversation with a prospect to determine if their business needs and your services are a good match. If you set your prices correctly, by valuing your services strategically, then you should have only attracted prospects that fit a particular profile of your ideal customer.

The Three Elements of a Sales Pitch

Think of a sales pitch as possessing three key elements:

  1. Identify problems the prospect needs solved: The first step is to identify their business problems, so you can offer a solution. If a prospect identifies “poor cashflow” as a problem, ask them if they’re invoicing regularly, have set up clear payment terms, have implemented a credit management policy. From here, you should determine what services they’re in need of, and explain those to the prospect.
  2. Provide references: There’s no getting around this, unless you’re willing to work for free on a trial basis, something you should absolutely avoid. Real estate agents refer prospects to vendors they’ve represented previously, so you should do the same. If this is your first client offer to do some small task (daily reconciliations, say) as a one-off service, paid of course. Remember, a plumber or electrician doesn’t offer to work for free — they don’t even provide references. You don’t have to work for free, either. 
  3. Explain your process: Be clear about how you work straightaway. Most misunderstandings between businesses and freelancers or contractors occur because neither party agreed to a particular process in the beginning. If the business has contacted you, then you have the upper hand. Outline the procedure for getting work to you, payment terms, etc. If you contacted them first or responded to a job advertisement, you’ll need to work in with their processes, so be sure the opportunity is right for you before agreeing to it.

Don’t be a Commitment-Phobe in Business

closing the sale bookkeeping

Always remember to end the conversation by asking for a commitment. This is still a sales pitch, after all, so you need to make some business proposition that they agree to. You may propose to provide a small paid-task obligation free, to see how they like working with you, before they sign onto to a long term commitment; you may ask if you can contact them again in the future, if they don’t seem quite ready for your services right now (get their business details, add them to your marketing database).

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Understanding the value of your services and how to pitch them to clients is vital to your business’s success. Our EzyStartUp Course covers researching the market, setting prices, and an introduction to marketing and business planning, plus much more. If you’re starting a bookkeeping business or you already have started on, enrol in our EzyStartUp Course to ensure you’re not selling yourself short.

What Bookkeepers Can Learn From Real Estate Agents: Setting Prices

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Glean Relevant Info from the Property Industry

how much to charge as a bookkeeper
As a bookkeeper you can learn much from the humble, or not so humble, real estate agent!

As a bookkeeper, or someone thinking about becoming a bookkeeper, you may be surprised how much you can learn from real estate agents. For an example, take the way a real estate agent has to price a property for sale.

The key to selling a property quickly and efficiently, is setting the right price. A real estate agent who sets a price that’s too high for the market, isn’t doing her or his job properly. In such cases, the property will sit around for many weeks, or possibly even months, until the price is eventually reduced to one the market will bear, sometimes to well below market value. Real estate being what it is in this country, agents rarely undervalue their properties. When a buyer tells their friends they got a great deal on their new home, it’s usually due to the property being originally overvalued, rather than undervalued.

Most New Contractors Set their Prices Wrong

When business people, such as first-time or newly contracting bookkeepers, first start freelancing or contracting professional services to other businesses, very few know what their services are actually worth. Therefore they frequently overvalue or undervalue themselves. In the case of the former, they’ll discover pretty quickly that they’re overpriced (they don’t get any clients), but in the case of the latter, it may take a while longer to determine that they’ve undervalued themselves and their services.

The lesson bookkeepers can learn from real estate agents — good ones, at least — is to never do either. Here’s how you should value your booking services, to set the right price, just like a real estate agent would.

Value Your Services Like a Real Estate Agent

Know Your Market:

We cover this in our EzyStartUp Course; and it’s important to note that knowing your market isn’t simply confined to the start-up period. Continue to look at the market throughout the life of your business, because times change and you need to move with them. When we first put our training content online, we were one of the first training companies to do it; now you can do a whole university degree online!

Value Your Services Strategically:

Have you ever seen a real estate agent market a property as being identical to another one, even if it’s right next door? As a bookkeeper, you’re already competing in a crowded space, so always establish a point of difference between you and your nearest competitor(s) — a niche industry, a particular way of doing business. Whatever it is, find it, and capitalise on it.

Don’t Try and Be All Things to All People:

Know where to find your customers. Real estate agents know where their buyers come from and precisely what they’re looking for, then they market directly to them. You should do the same. Think about your local market, your services, and the type of customer who’d be looking for a business like yours. Then market to them and them only. Don’t waste marketing money trying to be all things to everyone.

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Valuing your services correctly, and setting the right prices, is vital to the success of your business. Our EzyStartUp course covers researching the market, setting prices, and an introduction to marketing and business planning. If you’re starting a bookkeeping business or you already have started on, enrol in our EzyStartUp course to ensure you’re not selling yourself short.

Announcement: Social Media Marketing Course

Social Media Marketing Course for 2017

EzyLearn Social Media & Digital Marketing Training Course logo image onlyDigital marketing is one of those fine arts that sometimes takes many attempts to get right and I’m guilty of that myself. I wrote a couple blogs recently about content marketing because I spend a lot of my time creating and modifying strategies, optimising and planning the content that my team creates for EzyLearn and other websites. However, I think many people are unfamiliar with what the term “content marketing” means — my mistake! I should have used the words that most small businesses associate with online and digital marketing: “SOCIAL MEDIA”!

Social Media Course — We Include EVERYTHING

So, now that I know social media is the keyword, I’m going to explain how every course we offer ties into your Facebook advertising and Facebook Page and why all of these aspects are important to you if you are going to spend more time and money building a strong online brand.

Content Marketing

virion and 123ezy social media course and content marketing catalogue No matter who you are or what you do you will need content and you will use that content to promote you and the services you provide. I have been using all of these tools to help convert EzyLearn into an “online only” training company in 2006 but I was able to explore how to provide these services to real estate agents when I managed the social media strategy for Derek Farmer, a real estate agent in Cammeray at the time. Here are the content options we had to play with:

Photographs and Images

Images are used in Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin and on your blog (if you have one). They are used to make a blog easier to read and in industries like real estate where good photography is important to get a high price and make a successful sale they are used to showcase the product being sold. I recently spoke to an asbestos removal company and photographs of what they do and how they do it are also an important part of their “content”.

We show you how to include images in blogs and even include fundamental image editing skills using GIMP (it’s very powerful and it’s free!)

Video Marketing

property marketing, video marketing, Facebook Page, Facebook Ads, Youtube and video marketingEzyLearn has several hundred videos as part of our online training courses and sometimes we use them to give prospective students examples of our training, explanations about how our special offers work or even videos of me explaining the EzyLearn journey since the late 1990’s! Real estate agents like Derek Farmer use video to help educate property sellers about the various aspects of the property selling process and what to look out for.

We show you how to get your video up to YouTube, or more professional services like Wistia and show you the analytics you can get about your video viewers and how to make a better video next time — it’s all about drop off rates. We also show you how to get a Call-To-Action within the video itself.

Blog Marketing

Blog marketing is my personal favourite because I love writing; you can really play with the keywords that Google loves so much and you can fill a website up with content that shows you are active.

We teach you how to create a website, create web pages AND blog posts, how to optimise them for the keywords you want to be discovered for and how to measure and understand the visitor analytics.

Facebook Pages, Timeline Posts, Advertising and Remarketing

This is the one that EVERYONE is interested in and for good reason; the demographic targeting is fantastic. Facebook is becoming increasingly important for real estate agents to promote themselves — indeed, Social Estate and BuddyBid are just two companies getting in early to earn a couple of hundred dollars a month for each real estate agent they take on board.

Note: This is something that any work at home mum (or dad) can do! You just need to understand how to generate new content or “republish” other interesting content on a Facebook Timeline and how to create a Facebook Ad. We cover all of this in our Social Media Marketing Course.

Facebook Pages

Our written guide and training course videos show you how to set up a Facebook Page for a local business (ideal for tradies, service providers like accountants or bookkeeper and of course real estate agents). By using a Facebook page you can assign the administration of that page to someone who simply schedules posts — that someone can be YOU.

Most people with a Facebook Page then need to make sure their Timeline is filled with content so that they pop up regularly in local news feeds.

Feeding Your Facebook Timeline

Real Estate Agent Facebook Page, timeline posts and ads help property and brand marketingMost people think it’s important to create a Facebook post every day but that’s hard to do if you need to generate original content. Instead most people re-post other content that is relevant to the audience — this is often referred to as curated content (for instance, where you make a comment or affirm your belief in an article).

Real estate agents often simply refer to the plethora of real estate blogs available and here are some examples used by David Howe, an honest and diligent McGrath agent in Northbridge, Sydney, who asked our designer team to create a website for him:

  • http://www.smartpropertyinvestment.com.au/how-to-maximise-profit-without-it-costing-you-a-cent
  • http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/food/sydney-taste/sydney-eat-street-10-things-to-try-in-crows-nest/news-story/
  • http://www.apimagazine.com.au/2016/11/debt-retirement-worries-high/
  • https://www.buzzfeed.com/markdistefano/too-real-estate
  • http://www.homestolove.com.au/how-to-design-the-perfect-laundry-4236
  • http://blog.templeandwebster.com.au/work-the-trend-the-new-natural/
  • http://www.afr.com/real-estate/residential/dont-want-to-move-want-a-reno-architecture-awards-show-how-to-do-it-20161104-gshwue
  • http://davidhowe.com.au/david-howe-real-estate-agent-northbridge/

This method of posting other people’s content is good enough to show that your Facebook Page is active. However, from an internet marketing perspective it tends to send people away from your Page and onto other websites where your competitors might advertise — especially if you report material by ratemyagent, openagent, realestate.com.au or domain!

In our social media marketing course we show you how to make a post like this and schedule them all in advance but also how to get your own unique content and how to link to content where none of your competitors are listed.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Ad Views for individual property advertisement - Clarence TownFacebook ads are relatively simple to create so there is NO reason to get someone else to do them (particularly if they’re going to charge you the equivalent of 4 hours’ labour!). The key elements of a Facebook Ad are their structure: Campaigns, Adsets, then individual ads and once you get that right and understand how it works, creating a Facebook Ad can be done by someone in your office or who you trust (again, a work at home mum).

We show you the type of posts and ads that Derek Farmer paid to promote in his local area, why he chose to do it, how much he paid and what his viewer and reader statistics were. We’ll also show you how to advertise to your own client base in their Facebook Feeds and how to remarket to people who’ve been to your website or Facebook Page.

WordPress, Hosting, User Management etc

I believe that your own website is the best “landing page” for any marketing money spent because YOU OWN IT. The more traffic you direct to your own website and the more content you put there that is valuable to your customers and future potential customers the more valuable YOU and YOUR WEBSITE will become.

WordPress online training course and social mediaIn our Social Media Marketing Course we include every aspect of how to manage your own website using the very popular WordPress Content Management System. This includes having multiple users be able to publish content. We also teach you how to optimise your blogs and pages for important keywords using tags and categories, how to use meta tags on your pages and even on images so everything gets indexed by Google and how to make your website look fantastic with professional themes (templates).

Lead Capture and Email Marketing

Having a call to action on your website or Facebook Page is critical to truly analyse it’s effectiveness and understand it’s success — what’s working and what needs to change. A very important part of that is to capture the email address of people who visit your site and most websites do that using a giveaway, free reports, white papers etc. Once you have a potential clients email address you effectively have permission from them to send them email messages.

We use a number of different email marketing solutions including Campaign Monitor and Aweber, and these are very similar to MailChimp, GetResponse, Constant Contact and a plethora of other email marketing solutions. We’ll show you how to use these systems to capture website visitor details and send them messages automatically. 

Capturing, Analysing and Understanding visitor traffic

Video visitor Analytics - property marketing video for real estate agentsGoogle Analytics is the most popular website traffic analysing system and you can use it to measure the effectiveness of your website day-by-day, week-by-week and for specific date ranges.

We show you how to implement the code on your website, how to access the visitor traffic information on your PC and even your mobile phone and what elements to look for to understand what your website is doing. 

Conclusion about Social Media Marketing Course

We do all of this using our own website examples as well as Derek Farmers website so you can see what real businesses do to succeed online. Whether you want to do all of this yourself, hire an experienced internet marketer or find a suitably qualified work at home mum (or dad) this course will give you an abundance of knowledge and strategies to manage what you do.

See what’s included in our Social Media Marketing Course and enrol today at a huge launch discount!

[button link=”http://ezylearnonline.com.au/courses/marketing-training-courses/digital-marketing-social-media-courses/” color=”orange”] Social Media Marketing Course Contents[/button]

 

Video: Receive an Automatically Discounted Price for Online Course Enrolments!

Specials and Summer Training

2016-12-20 How to use the EzyLearn website to get discounts and special pricingIt’s Christmas time and we’ll be open every day (except the public holidays) which means you can make contact with questions or support during your course.

But best of all, we’re offering a fabulous special offer with a saving of over $300. Check out the quick video below which shows you how to get $663 dollars worth of training for just $296a saving of $337!

All you have to do is choose your courses at our Online Course Enrolment page and the discounts will be applied automatically.

Get New Skills for A New Year!

discounted Myob QuickBooks online courseWith the New Year coming fast we find most of our students are looking to change careers and/or up-skill so as to feel confident with their computer skills in job interviews and the like, so our current special offers will train you up to be your best, cheaply. Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Choose Microsoft Excel course (12 month’s access, all 9 courses and Certificate).
  2. Scroll down to the discounted courses section to see the Xero Training Course available for $30 less.
  3. Scroll down further to see the Microsoft Word Course (12 month’s access, all 9 courses and Certificate), which is normally $267 is now FREE
  4. Tick the box next to “Yes, I have a discount voucher code” and enter 8881818 to receive a further $70 discount off the Microsoft Excel course!

If you don’t have the time right now, don’t worry, you’ve got 12 months to complete all these courses at your own pace — so just enrol now to get the current special offers.

Watch this video to see how to get the discounts

New Online Courses for the New Year

It’s been a very busy year for new course creation and we’ve just launched two new courses that are all based on new online cloud-based services in bookkeeping and marketing/advertising. Read about them here:

QuickBooks Online

Provide quotes on your tablet computer, convert them to invoices when you get the order and take photographs of your receipts for expenses — works on your smartphone too. These are the features of America’s most popular accounting software program that is now aggressively promoting itself to Australian small businesses.

And what do we think? We believe QuickBooks is good software — find out more about our Intuit QuickBooks Daily Transactions Course.

Our New Digital & Social Media Marketing Course

Facebook and social media online training course
Tired of struggling to post consistently on Facebook and other social media sites? We’ve had a WordPress course for several years to teach you how to create your own website and blog, edit images, and optimise it for search engines (like Google). But if you’ve ever struggled with fleshing out a Facebook Page, or want to start promoting yourself or your business in social media, try our Digital Business and Social Media Marketing Courses.

We show you what you should include on a modern day website as well as including Facebook Page, Content Marketing and Facebook Advertising training (which we used to help Derek Farmer show up on Page 1 in Google for the competitive Cammeray Real Estate Agent search query).

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Most of all, from all of us here at EzyLearn, HAVE a FANTASTIC and SAFE Christmas — doing things you love!

Online computer training Christmas specials_comp

 

The New Year’s Approaching: Think About New Content Marketing for Your Business

The Value of Content Marketing in 2017

the-value-of-online-content-marketing
Finding it hard to get started in content marketing? Register for our upcoming course.

January, February and March of a new year, which is typically the quietest as people take a while to adjust to the work and school routine, is when a lot of businesses spend time setting goals for the year ahead.

Just as individuals set their own personal new year’s resolutions, many businesses use January and February to set some new year’s resolutions for their business’s marketing activities.

In 2016, there was an unprecedented uptick in the number of Australian businesses using content marketing to help drive their search engine rankings, increase customer engagement, and position themselves as opinion leaders in their industry. If the last 12 months is anything to go by, then, it’s fair to say 2017 will continue the content marketing trend.

Yes, I’ve been talking about content marketing a lot on this blog lately, as it’s a marketing strategy EzyLearn has been using, almost exclusively, for many years now, with much success — you are reading this blog post, after all! EzyLearn and our partners continue to help many businesses establish their brand and build credibility online using content marketing — something we continue to do to great effect for real estate agents, to name but a few. Whether you are an agent, bookkeeper, small business owner, or just have dreams to start working for yourself, why not register your interest in our up and coming content marketing course.

Great Content is Like an Equilateral Triangle – All the Sides are Equal

As popular as content marketing has become in the last few years, many people still don’t quite understand that great content marketing requires you to pay equal emphasis on each component. This includes the word content itself in an ebook or enewsletter for instance, but also the layout and design, the SEO etc. It also needs to be free of typos!

I know, in the past, I’ve probably been guilty of rushing to publish content on our website because I’m so eager to share what we’ve created with you. But for content marketing to be successful in the long term, it needs to be approached holistically. In other words, the copy is equally as important as the design and the layout; the messages need to be consistent and you need to keep communicating with your customers — it can’t be hit and miss. Just as every side in an equilateral triangle must be created equal, so too do you have to consider all components equally when content marketing.

Outsourcing is Okay

As a small business, you probably have at least one person in your team who is either a) design inclined; or b) a good, strong writer. If you’re really lucky, you may have both, but it’s not uncommon for a business to need to outsource part of this work to a professional, usually on a contract or freelance basis.

Take stock of the talent you have in-house already. If you have a competent designer, utilise them and outsource the writing to a professional. It’s unwise to try and do everything yourself. Producing high quality content is a time-consuming process, made even more so if there’s a particular aspect of it — the writing, say — that you’re not proficient at.

I would say that most business owners do most of what I would loosely term ‘designing’, themselves, which in the case of blogging is choosing an image that accurately reflects the message you’re trying to communicate in the main copy.

Think Outside the Stock Box When it Comes to Photos for Your Blogs

content-marketing-photos
Litter your blog posts with photos you have taken yourself – these are far more personal and usually more interesting than expensive, routine image libraries.

There is a certain art to selecting images for your blog. You want to avoid using ones that every other blogger is using, which means ditching your regular Google Images haunt and using a stock library instead. But this is where you need to do your research.

Many free stock libraries serve up the same images that you find in Google Images, which brings you back to square one. They’re also incredibly boring. At this point, next logical option probably seems like paying for a membership to a stock library.

Again, research is required here. Not all stock libraries, even paid ones, are created equally. Well known libraries — iStock Photo, for example — are expensive, while the other, lesser known ones are still boring. So what’s a content marketer to do? Get creative.

Remember, content marketing is about creating original, high quality content that’s relevant both to your customers and to your business. With this in mind, rather than paying for expensive stock photography and images, why don’t you take your own? There’s nothing more original and relevant to you and your customers than your own photography.

Publishing original content on your blog and website, whether it’s in the form of images, copy or videos (or all of the above), the harder it will work at driving your search engine rankings, while, at the same time, the personalised approach will have a longer lasting impression on your readers and customers.

Prioritise Content Marketing in 2017

Bookkeepers especially — take note!

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseIf you’re a bookkeeper looking to start your own bookkeeping business and find yourself clients, or grow you list of clients, and content marketing isn’t already on your agenda for 2017 —  it should be.

In terms of having the experience and know-how to content market to people we know what our students need to be successful to this end, after all, most EzyLearn students use our services for MYOB Training Courses, Excel Training Courses, Xero Courses and Small Business Management Training because they’re looking for bookkeeping work or want to start a bookkeeping business. Very early in the piece we started finding out why our students did our courses because it enables us to develop targeted products (and write content about) what they need.

Join our Bookkeeping Directory TODAY

We’ve launched a new bookkeeping directory which is aimed at helping people (our students primarily) find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business, but it’s also a great way for small businesses to find bookkeepers who are close to them. We’re also taking registrations for our content marketing online course.

To find out more about how you can be more than just a bookkeeper, and start a bookkeeping business, including promoting your bookkeeping services to a much wider circle of people and engaging in content marketing, read more about listing yourself on National Bookkeeping.

If you’re interested in content marketing, either for your business or because you’d like to become an independent contractor offering content marketing services to other business, you can learn more by subscribing to our blog.

Release: Concreting Business Case Study for Xero Training Course

Case Study: Tradespeople Using Xero Cloud Accounting

Concreting business uses Xero for jobs, purchasing and progress payments - online training case studyTradies across Australia are getting onto the cloud for their accounting and there’s a good reason for it — many busy people can use the system from remote locations to get their work done.

This means the estimator can use it to generate a quote at a site, the office administrator can convert quotes to orders and invoices and the remote contractor can sign in and do accounts receivable calls from their home office. This is good news! All major accounting programs now offer cloud access — MYOB, Xero and Intuit Quickbooks.

I wrote in the past about Rohan from Painters, Men in White; Ken the home theatre installer and Jason the kitchen appliance repairer. Today I’m happy to announce that we’ve released a case study in the Xero Daily Transactions course that relates to the building and construction industry — in particular a concreting business that quotes for the pouring of a 3 level apartment building. Sue, a contract bookkeeper from Yarra Junction helped me write this Case Study based on her experience in the building sector and in particular with concrete companies.

Bookkeepers Upskilling with EzyLearn

Sue is typical of the students who enrol with us to broaden their skills in cloud accounting — existing bookkeepers who want to upskill. She has a lot of experience in the day-to-day management and accounts for tradespeople and found that she could perform the bookkeeping from her own home at any time.

We’re Constantly Updating Online Course Content

While I’m blowing my trumpet I may as well add that this is an example of what we promote with our online courses — that during your student access period you’ll have access to ALL the courses you’ve enrolled into including updates and new content. This is particularly useful for MYOB and Excel Course students who enrol using the LIFETIME course access option.

Xero Course Student Testimonials

I haven’t posted any new pages with student testimonials to the website for a while (but they come in with every course) but today it must be trumpet-practising time for me because here I blow again! When Sue completed the course, she commented:

I would recommend this learning site to others and I am thinking about studying Excel next with this learning centre“. She also commented: “Convenient in that I can do it from home at my own leisure. The price was very reasonable.

While Sue was working with us we put her through our Microsoft Word and Excel courses at no cost and the main thing that really stands out to me is how much everyone benefits by doing a Microsoft Word course!

Use Microsoft Word to Create Xero Courses

Helen from Bright learnt how to use WordPress and got leads for website design work using our WordPress course
Helen from Bright is a registered BAS agent who did our WordPress course and got paid creating a website with out help!

Many students enquire about the Microsoft Excel courses because spreadsheets are complicated for people who don’t know how to use them. However, I never cease to be amazed at how many people confidently state, “I know how to use Word, that’s easy”.

Microsoft Word is used in so many aspects of a business yet too many people think that just because they can type they are good at Word. Things like:

are covered in our 203 to 205 courses (so they are considered beginners to intermediate Word skills) yet I am surprised at the number of people I meet who don’t truly understand how these work!

When we work with a new contractor, even as part of our National Bookkeeping Network, we ask new members to write up an education guide if a bookkeeping customer is looking for a certain task to be completed. We end up putting the bookkeeper through our Word course and they discover a whole new world of computer skills that enable them to do more office admin work for their employers or customers — particularly when it comes to long form documents like instruction guides, tenders and even eBooks which are becoming increasing used in online digital marketing.

Bookkeepers Can Be Great Web Designers!

One EzyLearn student helps another from MYOB bookkeeping to designing websites for baby massage using WordPressAs I’m sharing so many EzyLearn student stories, I’ll provide another example of a recent student, Helen from Bright in Victoria (check out where Bright is located in Google maps and you’ll see just how far away she is from the nearest capital city — again, the beauty of working from home using the internet!)

Helen is a Registered BAS Agent and has been for a long time. She performs all the bookkeeping tasks that many of our students aim to offer by being a BAS agent, but she is also interested in being a little more visually creative — at least part of the time — so she completed our WordPress Course and as a result we’ve introduced her to some clients. Since then she’s actually been paid for creating and editing websites! One website she created and continues to edit as required is for ANOTHER student, Sonia who completed our MYOB course years ago to help her with her husband’s business!

Sonia now spends a lot of her time teaching mums (AND dad’s) about baby massage and how they can use infant massage to build a bond with their new baby and help them relax when they are uncomfortable. With a nursing degree and a huge amount of experience with children, Sonia is able to help parents and babies alike create a special bond through touch, and ease new parents into the sometimes stressful experience of welcoming a new baby into their family.

PROMOTED: Corporate Training Licence

If you like the sound of all these courses you may like to take a look at our special bundled offers or even a corporate training licence for your staff or team members.

Referral Marketing is Something We Like

I hope I’ve managed to share with you how we genuinely like to support our students and clients in their journey. We welcome your feedback and love to hear directly how you’re progressing along the way, how we can improve what we do, and any other input you may have.

If you’re looking for a new job, we can advise you on our comprehensive courses with lots of content and examples and a fantastic price. If you’re looking to start a new business we can help you with our Business Startup Course. If you’re a small business in need of a good bookkeeper, writer or website designer — we can connect you.

Stay tuned for some new training content releases about Selling Your Property, Facebook Marketing and Intuit Quickbooks.

CPD points are available for our MYOB, Xero and Microsoft Excel courses

Earn CPD points to maintain your certification

Continuing professional development and education for registered and certified bookkeepers and BAS agentsIT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR again and many students are asking us if they can use our courses towards their annual CPD point requirements — the answer is yes and you can see how many points at the links below.

When stricter requirements were introduced by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) for anyone responsible for signing off the financials that are lodged at BAS time, the bookkeeping industry started to go through the type of regulation that has been in place for financial advisers and accountants for many years already — to continuously maintain their education regarding their industry.

How CPD points are calculated

I originally thought there was a universal method of calculating CPD points, but very soon after exploring how our online courses can help students with their CPD, I realised that the world of continuing professional education is varied. The best explanation I could find was actually from a 2008 document relating to the changing requirements for licenced real estate agents. You can get a copy of it from our “Selling Your Property Guide” Page.

That real estate industry document takes you through the method of calculating how to earn 1 CPD point, 2 CPD points or 3 CPD points and it’s centred around the type of training institution you use for your education. Government events or university courses earn the highest points while ordinary courses earn the lower points — there’s also a significant different in the price of these events 🙂

1 hour equals 1 CPD point

The most common method of calculating the amount of CPD points you’ll earn for an education activity is based on the time you spend learning. A 1 hour webinar will earn 1 CPD point while a one day course may earn you 8 CPD points, so we provide estimates of the time to complete our online courses based on how long they use to take in a classroom environment and you can learn about them at our CPD page.

The other interesting thing I learnt was that as long as you can justify that the learning you participated in applies to your industry, you’ll be able to put it on your CPD record form and present it to your industry association to confirm and apply to your CPD register.

 

Continuing professional development CPD record form for accountants and bookkeepers from Chartered Accountants Australia

Tax Practitioners Board makes the rules for bookkeepers

The TPB as they are fondly know as sets the rules and manage their compliance through Recognised Professional Associations. If you go to their association website you’ll find that there are a number of associations you can join to make certain you are compliant with the TPB requirements.

These are some other interesting links you should probably know about if you’ve reached this far in the blog and are still interested!

  1. If you are a professional bookkeeper you are required to know about the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 including the Code of Professional Conduct.
  2. A maximum of 25% of your CPD points can be earned from professional reading and here are their other guidelines on what is acceptable for CPD — they refer to it as CPE (for Education)
  3. This is how the TPB expect you to keep your records for CPE attendance.
  4. TPB’s main landing page for Continuing Professional Education.

What about Accountants?

Chartered Accountants also have their CPD requirements and you’ll want to check their CPE pages out:

Chartered Accountants Australia CPD Requirements

Association of Taxation and Management Accountants

CPA Australia CPD requirements

IPA Institute of Public Accountants CPE requirements

ICB in the UK!

 

CPD Continuing Professional Development and Education applied to bookkeepers and real estate agentsReal estate agents must complete CPD training courses to be compliant

I recently wrote about the similarities between bookkeepers and real estate agents and in doing some research our team came up with the CPD requirements for real estate agents and you can see that, along with a Certificate IV level qualification both professions need to maintain their continual education and keep evidence of it!

CPD Requirements for Real Estate Agents in NSW

Most real estate agents in Australia are sales agents and they must comply with the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act. The regulations for property ownership are different in each state and because sales agents receive deposits in their trust accounts and have a fiduciary responsibility to the people they act as an agent for, they must maintain professional standards just like accountants. Because real estate agents can misappropriate their clients deposits it is important that they maintain a good professional standing and be a person of good character.

Ongoing lifelong education is an important part of that process because it ensures that agents are familiar with the rules and regulations as they change over time but training is important for lots of reasons and one of them is to help real estate agents be better at what they do – even with their digital marketing.

 

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EzyLearn Online Course CPD points for bookkeepers and marketing professionalsWe can help with your Accountant, Bookkeeper & Real Estate Agent CPD Points

EzyLearn has helped Accountants & Bookkeepers learn about accounting software and spreadsheets and even marketing for their own businesses. We’ve also helped Real Estate Agents stay ahead of their competitors with Google, Facebook and other Digital and Social Media Marketing Courses.

Check out the total hours to complete our CPD courses and include that in your records.


 

Announcement: Learn about every person who touches your property before it sells

I’ve created some education guides for real estate agents

Selling Your Property Information Guide 2 - Learn about every person who touches your property before it sellsIf you’ve read my recent blogs about the free WordPress training video for Youtube and real estate agents or Facebook Advertising for real estate agents you’d get the feeling I’ve been pretty submersed in the real estate industry! Well, you’re right and the good news is that if you’re a bookkeeper looking to start your own bookkeeping business this will help when I start sharing what I’ve learnt about the sales techniques used by real estate agents to sell property – it could help you sell your bookkeeping services.

For now I just want to share with you the news about our latest education guide on selling your property – it’s yours for free and has all the steps in the real estate sales process from the sales contract to settlement.

About the Selling Your Property Education Guide

Now, just to be clear we’ve done a LOT of research to come up with this guide because we make it available to the real estate agents that use our Digital Marketing services over at virion. Real estate agents can use this guide as a giveaway as part of their “Call-to-action and Lead Capture“. In creating this Education Guide we interviewed:

  • real estate agents,
  • property valuers
  • conveyancers,
  • property owners,
  • property stylists,
  • photographers,
  • video producers
  • auctioneers,
  • building and pest inspectors
  • tradies
  • online marketing experts, and more

Winter is the perfect time to plan your property sale

Spring is the season that is most often touted as the best time to sell your property. Property buyers start coming out of their homes after the chilly winter to go and inspect properties at open houses and most people want a sale to be made before Christmas. If you’re one of these people looking to sell then this guide will explain why you need to start preparing now. Here’s what we’ve included in this guide, our table of contents:

Selling Your Property Information Guide 2 - Learn about every person who touches your property before it sells - Table of Contents

If you are a real estate agent you can use this

Content marketing has been my marketing method of choice since 2008 after we spent a lot of money on Google Adwords and other advertising methods to try to attract students to our online training courses. I like content marketing because people (like you) get to know a bit more about us, you get to see the quality of our work and over time (after over 500 blog posts!) you get to see my commitment to EzyLearn and EzyLearn students. This is the type of commitment I believe real estate agents will need to make to stand out from the crowd and become more relevant in a digital age.

I’ve been fortunate to work with Derek Farmer (real estate agent in Sydney’s Lower North Shore) who understands the need for agents to change the way they come across. He spent tens of thousands of dollars to create a series of educational videos about each of the steps in the property selling process because he wants his vendors to understand each of the steps. He also realised that he was spending a lot of time explaining what goes on during the selling process and created the videos to share his experiences in these situations and inform vendors about how they can deal with their emotion and what decisions they can make when these situations arise.

If you’re a real estate agent and you want to re-brand our “Selling Your Property” Education guide please make contact with us via our Digital Agency (virion). Happy preparations!

Facebook Course  - 1 Creating a Facebook Page COVER PageComing Up… The Facebook Page Checklist

Facebook is one of the tools that real estate agents are jumping onto as quickly as they can and there’s a good reason for it demographic targeting – they can promote their brand to every person who lives within 2km of their office or “sales patch”. Bookkeepers or any other businesses can also use this targeting for their marketing and we’re putting the finishing touches on our Facebook Page Checklist AND our first Facebook for Business Course – Setting Up Your Facebook Page.

We’ll be giving away the Checklist for free so make sure you subscribe to receive it via email.

 

 

Is MYOB really a CRM and which CRMs are best for people in sales?

CRM = Customer Relationship Management

THE PURPOSE OF HAVING a CRM is so that when you call one of your clients or prospects, you know everything about them and can start a conversation based on what they’re looking for — their needs.

This might seem a little strange when you think about it because you could be out of date with your info (say you’ve entered old information on this particular client) but, casting this quibble aside, CRM’s are generally a terrific way to provide excellent customer service, on a consistent basis, and this is often the competitive edge that will you need to stay in business. (I’ve written a little comparison of real estate agent CRM’s but I wanted to add a couple other ones to the mix for good measure.)

Accounting Software and CRMs

Cloud CRMs that integrate with MYOB AccountRight - online training coursesIn the early days, MYOB used every aspect of their software to sell itself to small business clients.

The fact that the software enabled business to keep contact details and search for past orders was a good reason to call the software a CRM.

However, times have moved on and even with powerful and well known CRM brands like Salesforce, there seems to be dozens of CRM providers to choose from, with prices ranging from $15 per month/ per seat to over $150! In fact if you head over to MYOB’s Add-On Centre you’ll find plenty of CRM’s that now integrate with their software.

We are now entering the integration phase of software development – which cloud-based services integrate with other services you’re using – and we wrote an article at the beginning of the year about a home appliances technician who uses accounting software integrations on his tablet to run an efficient and profitable little business.

Real Estate Agent CRM’s

best-real-estate-agent-crmsOne thing that has become apparent to our team lately (we’re working on social media marketing for real estate agents) is the difference in mindset between bookkeepers and real estate agents and if you think about it for a second it makes sense.

Bookkeepers are usually people who just want to get themselves into their work and sort out the financial and accounting details whereas real estate agents want to find big shiny things to sell and earn a commission based income.

It’s the classic back office versus front office personality style, the salesy and bold vs the unassuming and detailed office admin person.

The thing that real estate agents are looking for in a CRM are:

  • Quick and Easy contact detail collection (do it once and get all the data) – ideally at open homes
  • Automated categorisation of contact (Who’s keen and what are they looking for) – often defined by the type of property they enquire about
  • Constant messages pinging prospects with their brand (like weekly emails about their open homes this weekend)
  • Great reporting to see what works (so they can repeat it) – like how many emails sent, calls, open homes etc

The relationship with a real estate agent is often brief and very intense because property owners (vendors) will be speaking sometimes every day with their sales agent to see how the selling process is going. With property marketing campaigns in the capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne only lasting a couple weeks in some instances there is a massive amount of information to be collected yet the reporting needs to be simple.

My Preference for CRMs is Simple

zoho-crm and cloud based integrationAlthough I’ve had some exposure to Salesforce when I originally spoke to that company (many years ago and much has probably changed) they only offered yearly plans (but showed them as a low monthly fee) and the upfront cost was too high so I didn’t go down that path.

Instead I found some great nimble tech startups (at the time, now they’re quite a bit bigger) who offered software that did all the basics very well and offered normal cloud-based pricing ie. low monthly fees: Zoho CRM and HighRiseHQ

I found that these two programs did many useful things. They:

  • enabled me to integrate with our form collections (no need for double entry)
  • gave me the ability to very easily make comments every time I spoke with them
  • integrated with my email marketing software
  • enabled me to use tags to categorise and find contacts
  • offered a low monthly cost!

The Dark Horse in Real Estate CRM’s is CreataCRM

CreataCRM integrates with MYOB Cloud and is used by top performing McGrath real estate agentsI had the pleasure of meeting Reece, the managing director of CreataCRM, at Cebit 2016 and was amazed I’d never heard of this company before.

When I took a look at their software I was blown away – here is an Australian based software developer who has worked with some of the top performing McGrath real estate agents to build a complete and thorough cloud-based CRM with all the integrations you could ask for, including:

  • MYOB AccountRight (live and even the old v19)
  • Xero
  • VoIP telephony
  • Email broadcasting
  • Workflow Automation

The most amazing part about their software is that it costs just $11 per user per month! Now that is a lot of software and a VERY low price. I’m thrilled to be able to share this information with you because here is a company with a great product that focus more on their product development and software features and less on making themselves look big and flashy.

If you have had any experiences with CRM’s I’d love to hear from you and add further depth to our conversation and study into CRM’s.


Xero online training course

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses to help you up-skill and find employment. Choose from our range of cloud-based online accounting software courses, to business start up and management courses, to marketing and sales courses, or update and further your skills in a range of Microsoft Office programs (ExcelPowerPointWord) or social media and WordPress web design). 


 

 

Free Tip for real estate agents who want to use video in their social media with WordPress websites

Getting video into social media advertising and marketing is king for real estate agents

property marketing is important to sell your house in Sydney's lower north shore property marketYou may recall a recent post about the exciting work we are doing with real estate agents around Australia to help them with their social media marketing as their industry goes through massive technological change.

Real estate agents are adopting Facebook pages, using Facebook advertising and creating their own websites to make them stand out from other agents but most importantly to show property sellers that they’re very experienced in the local property market and also great people to deal with. This stuff also applies to bookkeepers, accountants and most businesses where a good personal reputation is important!

Creating videos, serving videos and displaying videos

We spend much of our marketing efforts “writing” blogs to add value to you, the reader. We also optimise these pages so they can get discovered by people who use Google and other search engines to find information. Through our digital marketing agency, virion we’re doing this work for real estate agents AND bookkeepers so make sure to check these services out or contact us if you want to know more.

The thought of creating, uploading and then displaying videos on a website is very daunting to some people and usually it’s the inserting the video into a website as a blog or a page that is the part people aren’t sure about. So, I created a video for you! Yes, feel free to enjoy my calm, relaxing, yet very capable voice go through a process that our team go through dozens of times a week.

We have a course on WordPress and this video and other new videos will shortly be inserted into that course but the other aspects of performing this type of work involve these questions:

  1. Where are you going to store the videos. We prefer Wistia because of their fantastic analytics but most people are familiar with Youtube and the fact that it’s free is a great benefit too.
  2. How are you going to display it. We prefer to keep our content on our own websites but lots of real estate agents are happy to build up a following on many different social media platforms and Youtube is definitely one of them.

Enjoy the video below and make sure to Request a Quote if you are interested in having my team and I manage your online digital marketing using quality content.

Youtube videos into WordPress Blog pages

Also, stay tune for updates about our forthcoming Facebook for Business Courses.