The cost of paying for somebody to click your ad on Google can be anywhere from $1 to $10: that’s for just a click! So what does it end up costing to get somebody to call you or email you? This is a big dilemma for many small business owners looking for new clients. In fact, sometimes it might seem easier to just send a good, old-fashioned letter!
When I started my first business in Sydney’s Dee Why in the early 1990’s, I was amazed that most restaurants and cafes, as well as other retail shops like dress shops, didn’t even know who their customers were!
Many business owners knew their customers by face, but they missed out on lots of opportunities to market and make contact with these customers when business was slow or they were overstocked. Are you working your database?Continue reading Is Business Quiet? Need More Money/Sales? Use a Database!
Real estate agents are seeing purple!
THE 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
Take 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,
- Facebook and
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?
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.
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.
Social Media Marketing Course for 2017
Digital 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.
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!)
EzyLearn 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 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.
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
Most 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:
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 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.
In 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
Google 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]
The Value of Content Marketing
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.
Business Blogs vs Paid Advertising
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
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.
Take Your Own Digital Marketing Images With Your Smartphone
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!
If 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.
Learn How to Run a Business Online
In a post I published about starting your own business in January 2017, I said that all small business owners should have an understanding of traditional and digital marketing. You’ll be surprised how many don’t!
All businesses have a digital aspect to them these days so it’s vital that business owners and managers know how to manage the digital aspects of their business. This starts by understanding some of the terms used and how websites, domain names, hosting and the Google search engine works.
It doesn’t matter whether you intend to start a fully digital business (i.e. a home based bookkeeping business or online shop for example) or if you will start a more traditional bricks and mortar business (a cafe, retail clothing or gift shop, or some other business with office or retail space), you need to understand how to use the internet to develop new leads, engage with your existing customer base, and build your presence online.
Register for Our FREE Digital Business Foundations Course
I created a free Digital Business Foundations Course to help new and existing business owners understand how to digitise their business. You can register for our free Digital Business Foundations Course (scroll about half way down the page) to begin receiving the free course content. Some of the things you’ll learn include:
- Insights into websites
- Domain names
- Web hosting
- How Google Search works
- How businesses use Content blogs for SEO
- What SEO really is, plus much more.
Each of the principles discussed in the free Digital Business Course were applied to EzyLearn, when it transitioned from a bricks and mortar training centre business to an online only training business, and have been used by 123ezy, which provides content marketing for real estate agents, content writers and bookkeepers across Australia.
Case Study: Baby Massage Business
I wrote about Sonia Mitterdorfer and her baby massage business in August this year. For most of her working life, Sonia had been a registered nurse. After raising her family she wanted to return to the workforce in some sort of meaningful capacity and heard about baby massage. Her first introduction was a seminar (incidentally, run by a middle aged bloke holding weekend retreats helping new parents understand and bond with their babies!)
Sonia had her website created by a registered BAS agent who wanted to have add another feather to her bookkeeping bow (and wanted to do more “creative” work). Sonia’s website has been pivotal as a means for her to demonstrate her credibility and explain about the nature of her work.
There’s Much More to Domain Names
So many business people think (wrongly) that a domain name is simply the cost of a website, but that’s just the name — you need to:
- point it (DNS) to a web host
- set up your email at the web host (I prefer to outsource that to Google Apps — now called Google G Suite)
- install website design software like WordPress
- create the pages and menus
- insert images (source them and edit them)
- write some words (that Google thinks are relevant).
Don’t worry if you feel a little bamboozled — we cover all of this in our WordPress course!
Add an Online Dimension to Your Business
The majority of people, when they’re looking for a product, service, restaurant, cafe, real estate agent, bookkeeper, virtual assistant — online training course, even — will search online. Even if you think your business is already doing well, if it’s not optimised to deliver online leads, then it could be doing much better.
Reach your business’s full potential, register for our free digital business course to start a digital business or transition into one today.
Case Study: Tradespeople Using Xero Cloud Accounting
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
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!
As 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
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.
Getting video into social media advertising and marketing is king for real estate agents
You 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:
- 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.
- 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.
Facebook advertising and impressions of you
Has someone been telling you you must get onto social media? Are you a real estate agent with a Facebook page that is pushing people away? Are you spending hundreds of dollars per month and pushing your Facebook community away from what you do and to all the big companies!?
Target home owners in your suburb
This is why everyone loves social media isn’t it? The fact that you can almost perfectly target your marketing message to your ideal customer makes social media perfect, the only issue you have now is “Are they ready to buy”? Are they ready to use your services at that moment? What happens if they aren’t?
I interviewed Michael Griffiths when he ran his Internet marketing business for our business marketing course and he pointed out was that only about 3% of the people who come to your website are ready to transact, the rest of the visitors are exploring, learning and getting to know people (hopefully you are one of them) who they may use in the future. That’s why recommendations, testimonials, blogs and social media pages are important because they show prospective buyers that you are active, current and in tune and the messages you give out will almost help them define whether they like who you are.
Facebook may not work immediately
The dilemma for real estate agents is whether they should advertise using Google Adwords or with Facebook Advertising and the answer is really both, but for different reasons.
- Google Adwords gets you in front of people who are searching for you or the services you provide
- Facebook enables you to get in front of all of your potential market
- Social media, blogs and newsletters help you remain front of mind
ReMarketing keeps your ad in front of prospects
Everyone is talking about remarketing and giving you to power to show your ad to your target audience no matter where your prospect goes online. The problem is that they may never need or want your services and you’re continuously paying for the ad to appear. The problem with some Facebook ads is that you pay for impressions – every time someone sees your ad – as opposed to PPC (every time someone clicks on your ad).
It’s better to offer your prospects a way to be reminded of you and you do that by getting people to like your page, follow you on twitter or LinkedIn and subscribe to your blog. Every time you create new and interesting content your prospects will see you and if they are no longer interested they’ll disconnect, unsubscribe, Unlike, Unfollow you.
Facebook is best for your past clients and potential advocates
The best way I believe to use Facebook advertising is to create a custom audience of all your past clients and make sure you show up when they are using Facebook. It builds the likelihood of them recommending you to their friends and it keeps you front of mind, particularly for real estate agents where the sales funnel can take several years sometimes for someone to use your services after getting to know you.
123ezy is a digital agency that creates real estate agent websites and helps them navigate the changing world of property marketing and building an online reputation based on all the hard work they have already done. EzyLearn creates courses to help students learn how to use office productivity, accounting and marketing programs to manage their business or work. We’re assembling a Facebook Advertising for Business Course and you can register for our free Facebook Advertising Course now.
6 Weeks from Zero to Hero in Google Organic Search
I HAD A GOOD, long think before writing this blog post. However, I’ve decided it’s OK to write this blog — because the blog should be about helping business people reach Page One in Google’s organic search results (that’s the FREE ones!)
You should see the number of emails I get each week from overseas companies in Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and even the US and UK.
All of these emails are telling me the same thing: How they will get my company onto Page 1 in Google!
You might be thinking, “Yeah, so what? I already know how to do that!” or let me see your list of companies. Point is, there are lots of these self-professed experts around — and I’m probably no exception!
I last wrote about real estate agent, Derek Farmer, before Christmas when we had already created his new website. The aim of this was to help property owners find him when they’re ready to explore selling their property.
We’d already begun the process of creating relevant content but ramped it up in the last 6 weeks and the results were amazing as you can see from the chart!
The work we did to help Derek get onto Page 1 of Google WITHOUT spending a cent on advertising, involved all the tools we use at EzyLearn just to run our business. The thing with this is that we practise what we preach.
That’s the beauty of running an online business: You get pretty good at all the technical and content stuff, particularly when you have to compete with the marketing muscle of billion dollar organisations like MYOB and Sydney University!
Of course, Derek was a good real estate to begin with. He had a great existing reputation in Sydney’s Lower North Shore and over 170 property sales under his belt. Quality speaks volumes.
Give something away
Derek had also spent a lot of time, considerable money and brainpower coming up with an educational series of videos. These helped his vendors (people selling their homes) and prospective customers better understand the various stages of the sales process.
This reflects the need for businesses to generate great quality content that people will find valuable — it’s something everyone needs do in the “Google information era” we all now live in.
See what Derek has done and learn more about Automated Response Marketing
virion: A brand I am proud to work with
Virion is the arm of the business that helped Derek achieve such tremendous online success.
Check out the Blog and Subscribe
Whereas the EzyLearn blog is chiefly about what we teach, the virion blog covers more of what we do. I’d love to share the work we do with you. Who knows if you see something you like, you can even join us and get involved!
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Real Estate Agents Want to Get Discovered Online By Property Vendors Ready to Sell Their Property
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll notice the slant towards accounting, bookkeeping and the frenzied competition between the software companies that provide software for this purpose. However, we also teach students how to use WordPress so they can take advantage of the massive benefits of content marketing.
We’ve also changed the layout of this blog using a responsive theme in WordPress. This enables the blog to be read easily no matter what device you are using (computer, tablet or phone), or at what orientation (portrait or landscape). I am also involved in an exciting new project that enables real estate agents to build credibility online using the tools we use at EzyLearn.
Real Estate Agent Websites
Real estate agents can build a credible online profile by creating a website and use content marketing to help people who are interested in selling their property and it might be a good time to do that in the heated Sydney and Melbourne property markets!
Derek Farmer is a successful real estate agent in Cammeray (in Sydney’s Lower North Shore) and he has created a series of educational videos that demystify the process of selling a property. His video topics include:
- Tips for Buyers on Auction Day
- Tips for Sellers on Auction Day
- Nothing is Happening After Months on the Market
- How to Handle an Offer
- How to Handle Feedback
- Commission – How Much Should You Pay
- Preparation – How Much Should You Do
- Marketing – How Much Should You Pay
What I love about this project is Derek is part of a new breed of real estate agent who is open and transparent with information and he has gone to the trouble of creating these videos because it also give him an opportunity to reveal himself to potential sellers. He’s effectively pitching himself to thousands of potential property sellers with information they’re looking for and he’s taking the opportunity to enable them to get to know him – electronically.
Content marketing involves video, images and text
Content marketing involves the use of relevant content that people find useful and if you do a good job at it potential customers will connect with you to learn more and stay connected until they are ready to use your services. If you’d like to learn more about the importance of having a website and keeping it updated regularly watch the video interview I had with Michael Griffiths, the referral marketing guru.
Good content marketing keeps people at your website longer and even takes them to other parts of your website and all of this visitor information is tracked by search engines like Google, who then improve your rankings in organic search results. It means that when you spend time and money on good content marketing you gradually build a credible online brand with a reputation that lasts a long time. It’s a long term strategy taken by committed people who want to be in business for the long term.
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Receive “Content Marketing for Real Estate Agents” Information Pack
If you want to learn more about our 123ezy service or share it with a real estate agent you know visit our Real Estate Agent Website page and learn more about the Automated Response Marketing System. There’s also an opportunity to work with us as a writer which you can learn about at the StartUp Academy.
Traffic from Russia, Eastern Europe, Philipines and India?
We’ve been busy these last couple months in upgrading and optimising our websites, fine tuning our online marketing and studying our Google Analytics and came across a Russian based website that was sending a lot of traffic to several of our sites. After closely monitoring our website traffic, landing pages, bounce rates, time on site etc, we found a lot of in bound traffic from a Russian site called Darodar. It made me wonder why we’re all so scared of web traffic from the USSR. In fact it’s a reminder of the fact that labour is very cheap in some of these countries and some companies or individuals can go to great lengths to
The best thing to come from all this really is that by looking at our statistics regularly, updating all scripts and plugins and server side applications not only do we have an up-to-date website with security and protection against online risks, but we understand our website traffic in detail. This is helping us fine tune our website content constantly to provide our website visitors with what they are looking for.
I don’t normally write like this
I don’t normally like to write about all the technical details we have to go through as an online training course provider, but we’ve been assembling some marketing information about our new online business opportunities and realised this is exactly the type of information that we’ll be sharing with students who come along on our online marketing business opportunity.
As it turns out the type of traffic we were getting is called HTTP Referrer Spam or just Referrer Spam and hundreds of people are talking about it online already. Here’s a snipped of some of the sites we discovered. There is a lengthy conversation on an official WordPress Support Forum, and an article on a popular article site called Reddit.
The Best Answer
The best answer we found was this link that confirmed that this type of attack is not malicious to your website, is not a server side issue and won’t affect the ranking and traffic to your site. The biggest issue is that we spent all this time and even ended up going to the site in question (that’s one of their goals!!) and that it distorts our Google Analytics information.
We disable the Darodar Spambot and any traffic from this location. It’s not the best solution because we can’t do this for every website that performs this type of activity, but again, it gives us more clarity about what is happening with our website traffic.
If you want to get to know more about our online marketing contractor business opportunity go visit the StartUp Academy website for more information. I’ll be sending more information out shortly so stay tuned – including the services we are launching to help people start their own bookkeeping business..
I’ve recently attended some business building and networking events and have been fascinated at the number of people who speak about the importance good first impressions and having a professional website. What’s most amazing is that many of these people have a website that hasn’t changed in 2 years!
This is amazing because there are some very powerful and free website content management systems (CMS’s) like WordPress and Joomla and very inexpensive but professional templates (also called themes) where all you need to do is add hosting and a domain name and you have a website that you can change whenever you want. You can also easily update the news section of your website (usually called a blog these days).
The most important thing about a website though is that it is often the first time potential customers get to know something about you and how you operate your business. Your warehouse and office are things that they may never see, plus, you can use your website to give them some important information that makes them buy from you straight away.
Our WordPress course contains all the training you need to setup a professional website and start adding and modifying the images and words when and as you please. Plus, we have cheap student hosting through 123ezy online services. If you are an MYOB student that wants to start their own business, this is the next course you should take.
Many people think that creating a website is complicated and expensive but it’s not and here’s why. WordPress is an open source program which means that anyone is free to download and use the software (for building websites).
The only complicated parts of using WordPress to create your own professional website is installing it on your hosting and using the right combination of words and images to encourage people to call you, complete a form or order from you. Even getting a professional new logo for your business is now cheap and fast using crowdsourcing.
Our online training website where we deliver one of Australia’s most popular MYOB Online Training Courses is built using WordPress and we have a WordPress course that teaches you how to use the software.
The other piece of great news for small businesses that want a website is that you can choose from thousands of professionally designed “themes” that cost from zero, free and zilch to a modest amount like $50-$200.
For tricky parts including buying a domain name (use companies like NetRegistry or MelbourneIT) where you can buy a domain name for less than $20 pear year and hosting you can find from thousands of large and small providers.
NEW: We use and recommend Rose Hosting and SiteGround
The hardest job when you have a company website is that you should be adding to, editing and improving your website every week by creating new and relevant content that Google Search Engines collect and then share freely with people who are looking for you. That’s called Content Marketing!
This is a general announcement to anyone with a WordPress website. We have a WordPress Webmasters course to help small business owners setup their own website or blog and also to help individuals learn about WordPress so that they can earn a living creating websites, blogging and participating in social media.
You may recall that this EzyLearn Blog was actually affected by a WordPress Malware attack back in mid November 2011. It’s a known fact that there are occasional vulnerabilities in all sorts of software and that includes online software (they call them scripts rather than programs), like WordPress.
The recent issue with WordPress was caused by the TimThumb.php script for inserting, cropping, editing images etc and rather than go into the details here are some links that you’ll find interesting.
- Trend Micro wrote a blog about it
- The WordPress Plugin Market now has Vulnerability Scanner that you can install onto your website to identify the risk and provides a resolution.
- There is a website that you can use to scan any website to see if it contains malware or other risks.
Why are we writing this post? Because it highlights the importance of using a theme club or theme maker that constantly updates the themes they create.
We recommend ElegantThemes and Woothemes and they both wrote articles about the vulnerability when it was discovered and provided updated themes with the risk removed.
It’s only days before Christmas 2011 and from all of us at EzyLearn HQ we want to thank you for watching our training videos, using our training worbooks and completing our knowledge reviews, reading our blog posts and telling your friends about us. I personally also want to thank the core EzyLearn team for enabling us to grow and provide a great online training solution for thousands of Australian’s and international students.
Thank you Frankie, Yvette, Richard, Jacci, Ross, Amy, Luke, Iroshini, Warren and Allison. Also a big thanks to Simon, Scott, Amy J, Faisal, Jennifer, Nicholas and Mathew. You have made a real difference to EzyLearn this year and to our students and the hard work you’ve done will reward students for years to come.
This year has been one of our best years because we made a commitment to be the best online training company for
- MYOB accounting software and bookkeeping
- Microsoft Excel & Microsoft Word, and
- WordPress website Content management system and blogging platform.
Other training companies spend their time and energy trying to provide hundreds of courses with the aim of trying to get anyone they can. We decided to focus on our core skills and give everything we could. We also tried to make our online training courses affordable and inclusive so you don’t have to worry about your availability or skill level.
Here are some highlights during the year:
Creating a WordPress blog post
Social media has gripped us all this year and if you are a business that didn’t know about websites, blogging, Facebook pages and Twitter you were considered lost. We’ve used WordPress to create our own websites for years and this year we introduced the WordPress Training Course.
You might find it interesting that we were writing blog posts about WordPress back in 2007 and even earlier, but this year we expanded our content significantly and included Google Analytics, Feedburner and other skills in it.
LIFETIME student membership
In January 2011 we introduced lifetime access to our online MYOB Training Course. This gave students access to all courses (Setup, Day-to-Day, Bank Reconciliation, Payroll Introduction) and it also provided them with a safety net and a resource when they are in the workplace. Rather than say thank you and goodbye once our students have completed their online course we welcome students to come back as often as they need.
A significant benefit to this offer is that students get access to all new content that has been created for the course or updated content for the existing material. An excellent example of this is our online Microsoft Excel course. We have training material since 1999 on Excel version 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2010 and as we create new content for Office 365, existing students will have access to the new material for no extra charge.
Welcoming Entrepreneurs as Business Partners
Our Business Partner program has enabled other dedicated professionals to use and promote our training material as part of their own business activities. This has enabled us to focus on the delivery of training materials and management of a learning platform while other business owners earn money by their promotional and sales activities.
We are 100% dedicated to this program going into 2012 so if you are interested please ensure you make contact with us.
Testing your MYOB knowledge and skills
Online training is still relatively new for many prospective students so we introduce the concept of knowledge reviews and skills tests to demonstrate how they are a learning tool as well as a testing tool.
We created a significant volume of new tests and quizzes as part of our online training courses this year and as a demonstration of their efficacy we introduced a free public MYOB skills test to see how much you knew about MYOB. It was also a great way for students to discover a new way of learning something online.
Partnering with Bookkeeping Industry groups
A significant number of our online training students complete their training to perform bookkeeping tasks as an employee or as an independent contractor. To demonstrate our commitment to “would-be” MYOB Bookkeepers and provide you with reputable accredited MYOB courses we became an accredited training provider of the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. EzyLearn is also a member of the Australian Institute of Training and Development, the Australian Web Industry Association and the International Coaching Federation.
We join these associations to support the online training and coaching industries, demonstrate our commitment to professional industry ready courses and keep abreast of all new training techniques and technology.
More than just an online training course
Support is an important aspect of online learning and it is also a source of significant costs for organisations like EzyLearn. In balancing the costs of maintaining our current team members will the benefits of some rudimentary customisation of our courses we introduced EzyLearn Q&A. With a separate Q&A service for Microsoft Excel, WordPress and MYOB.
We’ve subsequently called this service EzyLearn ANSWERS. It’s a way of providing new training materials based on questions from our students. Students ask questions relating to their needs and our software specialists create a short answer to lead students to a solution. We use this service to increase the breadth of topics covered in our courses.
More team members to serve your needs
This year we added 8 new team members to help create new training content, manage our online learning site, answer questions and provide support. Most importantly it has helped us significantly reduce the time it takes between when you complete your course and when you receive your certificate.
You’ll meet more of these team members during 2012 and we hope to bring more people into EzyLearn to support your learning needs.
Faster loading videos and better online learning tools
We listened to the feedback from our students to improve as much as possible and to complement the addition of new team members we significant upgraded our video hosting capacity to ensure faster and easier viewing and navigation of our online training video tutorials.
This technology update enabled students with new devices like iPads and other Apple products to view our training videos and participate in mobile elearning regardless of their chosen devices.
Training for office administration for small businesses
This year we formed a partnership with virion business grade VoIP to provide online training tools for their installation partners. As part of this project we included some new training materials to help office admin staff not only configure their new VoIP telephone systems, but we also provided spreadsheets for them to use as part of their phone bill analysis reports for customers to demonstrate how much money they could saving using Voice over IP.
We started looking at VoIP solutions for our own business in 2008 when we tried out the features of MyNetFone. In our constant search for better technology and support people we discovered the VoIP solution dedicated to small businesses, virion.
In 2012 we will strengthen this relationship by providing more in-depth training videos and tutorials. Our commitment to online training is focused on providing students with the tools they need to be efficient and productive in small business across Australia as well as provide these small businesses with the tools they need to operate great businesses.
If you think we have made a lot of improvements in 2011, just wait until you see what we have planned for 2012. We will:
- create more training content for our MYOB course and WordPress / Webmasters course
- implement more services to help support your online learning
- help you find more customers (for small business owners using your website and Google adwords, Analytics and SEO)
- provide more tools to help you find a job (for job seekers by helping you write better resumes, perform better at interviews and be more confident in your work)
Thanks again for reading and following our progress we want to demonstrate your successes in our 2012 blogs posts.
All the best from the EzyLearn Team.