I was talking to Jim Cronin from The Real Estate Tomato ealier today and he mentioned that there are three things that increasingly are defining consumers on the Internet.
- They want access to as much information as possible.
- They want to maintain their privacy and anonymity.
- They don't want to make a committment until they are ready.
If you try to take away their anonymity or make todays Internet consumer commit before getting information, you will end up hemmoraging potential clients. This is one of the reasons that blogging is fast becoming such an effective tool for "pull marketing" because it allows for an exchange of information and gives the consumer control.
To further build on this concept ActiveRain is launching, "Ask a real estate professional" a question and answer service to allow consumers to get answers to real estate questions they have while maintaining their privacy. By answering questions, real estate professionals can create a dialog and build trust with potential clients.
This weekend you will see an link for this service begin to appear on certain pages of both ActiveRain and Localism.
Consumers will be able to use this functionality to send questions to members of ActiveRain. These questions will be flagged with a region, so that members can easily find the questions to answer that are in their market area. The consumer will have control over how they receive the responses from our members. We'll allow as many members to want to provide and answer to the question, which will then be made available to the consumer who asked the question.
It should be noted that that "Ask a Real Estate Expert" functionality won't appear on profiles or personal blogs, only more communal areas of ActiveRain. We plan of extending it so that members can place it on their personal pages or even their own web sites in the future. In this scendario the questions from their pages will be directed specifically to them instead of being answered by the full community.
During the initial "testing" phase we aren't going to open this functionalty up to the whole community, instead if you are interested in participating in the test send an email to us via the feedback form and we will give you access. As always let us know if you have any questions or your concerns because your feedback will help us shape the final functionality.