Flip Flop Friday: The Digital Truth is Out There...

Services for Real Estate Pros with John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc.

For several months now I have had a feeling that the digital world is not panning out as it was hyped up to be.

I have seen posts here mentioning that faith in the combination of social media, FB, SEO and other trickery has waned or is not reliable, or does not produce results (as 'promised').  I think that SEO is more important than any of these...

But this is what caught my eye yesterday...

"4 million blogs are posted every day"

That's a lot of blogging. Think about it: EVERY DAY.  What is Google and Bing doing about this information??  My guess: very little.  They are overwhelmed.  Perhaps.

The days of being found via an informative blog may be waning. Some here continue to get leads from blogs and perhaps it works to some degree.

But the same can be said about just everything that is thrown in the digital bin.  Yes, some are making money as influencers, some with blogs that are very specific and targeted.  But the time and effort typing frantically away on your keyboard, at least to me, is showing diminishing results.

Guess how many new websites are created every minute: 380!!

I think a reality check is in order.

About 25 years ago, before Internet -- 'BI', I went to the public library to cull names and addresses from phone books in order to develop a mailing list.  I was ushered into a large room about 18 feet high and 40 x 40 in size.  On every wall of that room were white pages of every citizen in this country.  I felt immediately defeated and walked out.

Fast forward to about 15 years, after the Internet -- 'AI', and now we have this: Billions and billions of webs.  In a few short months, there will be 2 Billion Webs online.

so what, you ask?

So, I ponder... hmmm.  Life went on BI just wonderfully.  People did exactly what they are doing now, they performed the exact basic services and were able to communicate with each other in order to start and build successful businesses.  There were no social media platforms, no webs, no email, no internet.  So how in the world did things actually happen without all this digital gadgetry??  Folks, we have been steered down a tenuous path... at the least.

We have bought this notion that electrons through space will solve all our problems.  Pretty moving pictures on bright screens, interrupted by countless ads and commercials, claiming that success and riches can be eeked out of multiple keystrokes, is the route to progress and untold wealth.

I have to admit: I am just not convinced anymore.

I think this is FAKE ELECTRON talk.  

Those who invented this stuff have obviously made the most money.  Like a pyramid scheme, they gather others who drank the Koolaid around them offering lesser platforms and wild promises if they just used their systems to get ahead.  "Advertise to your contact lists and find more people who share your interests!"

If you are like the millions out there who spend most of your time daily fiddling with content, keywords, sending out blanket emails, tweaking your webs, posting videos, trying to make Instagram, Pinterest, and other platforms work for you, trying to understand the latest algorithms, trying to write blogs ... and find yourself at the end of the day with a blank expression on your face, then you know innately that something is not working.

It happens that those with the most funds available to advertise on SEs are getting the best results.  Plausibly.

Have you tried magazine advertising lately or sending out unsolicited brochures in the mail?  It has a very low ROI.  Why?  Everyone is relying on their social media platforms to navigate the world.  For every reason and need plausible.  For almost everything.  

So the bottom line is that digital warriors everywhere are using the same techniques to promote their business.  But the algorithms shift constantly.  If you sit still for a minute you will get passed over.  If you sit unaware for too long, you will be forgotten.  That is: digitally.  If everyone is trying to do the same thing then it stands to reason that all rise and sink together.  Very strange notion. 

So one has to ask: is a web a calling card, a portfolio, a showcase of your work and services, a compendium of items for sale, and is it the principle method to obtain new work?  A few years back that's what we all were told.  Then everyone put up websites.  Now there are 2 billion and counting.  If you made any mistakes with your metatags, content, keyword count, illegal backlinks, etc. then you pretty much got canned.  And did you even know what had happened?  Only until Google Analytics was brought out.

Then, the thing to do to 'get ahead' was to get on social media.  Everyone jumped in.  The earlier the better, it actually turns out.  That didn't work quite well after a bit and so we had to start paying for promotions on these platforms, including SE's.  After spending a few thousand with little or nothing to show, I am not convinced.

The latest way to get noticed: Create a great video and pay to be the first advertised on videos dealing with related subjects -- geared towards a target audience/market.

Oh, I need a professional to do all this stuff for me.  OK. That would be nice.

Bottom line: too much time and effort spent in the digital world, too little on person to person contact.  The consensus recently is that the latter is going to be best for you.

Thanks for reading to this point. As far as I'm concerned... I don't want to get fooled again.

Get out and meet or introduce yourself to potential clients.  Call them on the phone.  Go by their office or house and shake hands, tell them how you can best help them reach their goals.

Some solid info for those of you who wish to continue to blog:

1.  Weave your personal story into your blog.  Capture the attention and imagination of your reader.    A great story intro yields a 300% better chance your reader will follow you to the end.  Average time looking at the blog also increases 5 fold

2.  Make yourself the main character and relate your own experience.  Throw in a few outrageous statements...

3.  Use anecdotes from your experience.  Relate to human emotion and responses so that your reader connects with you on a psychological and emotional level.

4.  Make sure the story has an 'aha' moment where your audience can relate to your assessment and conclusions.

5.  If you run out of ideas, just Google a topic that you have on your mind and weave in some content and theme.

6.  A 'How To' title or one that sounds somewhat subversive or informative at the least is important.  "A Guide to.."  "10 Ways that.."

7. According to Chima Mmeje, your blog should be:

  • Entertaining and fun.  Interesting
  • Educational
  • Easily Relatable
  • Organized
  • Memorable

"... feature at least one character, introduce conflict and close with a resolution of conflict."




Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
the internet will solve all problems myth
losing faith in online marketing

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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

John, I think there are several different ways to approach this whole AI thing.

One, I've heard over and over that AR doesn't have the juice that it used to, but typically the statements are made as if that's AR's fault.  What they ignore is what you point out, the amount of content is exponentially higher than it was 10 years ago (although since 50% of it is porn related, at least there's not as much competition as there MIGHT be).  Early AI days, I suspect high quality content wasn't needed.  Throw something against the wall and chances were probably good that it would stick since so few other real estate agents/inspectors/architects, etc. were doing.   The tech barriers to entry were beyond what most individuals could do.

Obviously that's no longer the case.  Free websites, low cost websites, high cost custom built, everyone has the opportunity to be out there.  The big gorillas got bigger so going general means you get crushed by them.

That's what I love about niches.  I provide content others don't, so I can still place page 1.  The drawback is a time of VERY low inventory, I'm attracting buyers and can't find anything for them to buy.  For the most part, my blog/search pages DO NOT attract sellers.  Sellers already know a dozen agents, so they're not going to the web to find me.

As far as the rest of social media and keeping up with the latest algorithms, I don't even try.  I try to write plain English posts that inform to my niche.  As far as Chima's advice, that's fine if you're trying to develop a daily following.  Frankly, that's not my goal.  My goal is twofold:  for my posts to be the answer to some Google query OR just to be top of mind to folks in this community if they know someone in my corner of Ohio that needs an agent (and that last part has been abysmal for years despite blogging every day).

I'll keep doing it because to date it still works for me.  Bill

May 10, 2019 06:50 PM #2
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi John- as I read your post, an image of someone planted at their desk clicking away trying to tweak their website and add images to their social media and waiting for the phone to ring. What's missing in this picture??? The old school methods of getting out and actually talking to people and getting your face out there. 

May 10, 2019 08:36 PM #3
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Hi John. I laughed when I read the beginning of your post - my younger son would so agree. He says the whole Internet thing is "fake." He uses it, but gets mad when he searches for something like "Yamaha parts" and gets Honda parts instead.

Meanwhile... I agree that face to face is best. Unfortunately, if it weren't for the Internet, I wouldn't have any business. Only one of my clients is local. The rest are hundreds or thousands of miles away. The majority are in Florida or California - places where real estate is expensive, so agents can afford to hire a writer.

May 10, 2019 09:08 PM #4
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

John as always great pondering, great observations and great message... The problem I see is that we have become  a Society of Sound Bites.... so sixty characters or less is the attention span of the average reader on the Internet... so with that said I have exceeded it already....Hence my take is I do not worry about it, I have connected with many  members on this platform and when the rare opportunity arises then we send each other referrals... more importantly we developed friendships and some we developed acquaintances.... Now my niche market is putting food & wine on the table and pays for the vet bills, so what more do I want?:))Endre

May 10, 2019 11:41 PM #5
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning John.

Thankfully, at this stage in my life I really don't care.  I believe I have about another 5-7 years before I retire for the last time.  While I'm slowing down, I'm not out for the count yet.

May 11, 2019 02:13 AM #6
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667 (MT), 914-419-0270 (NY), Broker in NY with Grand Lux Realty and in MT with (coming soon!) - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Getting out and meeting and talking to people, in person, is still the best way to truly connect. Having all the internet stuff is a way to connect with those we can't meet in person, but I agree that there is so much of it, so many websites, so many people posting. We cannot all be #1 in search results.


May 11, 2019 02:56 AM #7
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


We have been preaching for a long time that face to face is the best form of communication.  No one has listened for a long, long time.  The FOMO factor (fear of missing out) ruled, and still does to some extent. There was a dude who thaught social media when it first evolved.  He used to start his pitch by saying, "The Internet is A River of Gold!". In 2008, we explored it all, and bottom line, we had more gold the old fashioned way, which we did not give up, even though the whole social media stuff took up more time than its worth.

We also were hounds of privacy, and I cannot tell you how many people laughed at our antiquated ideas...Well now even FB is touting privacy...And Google jumped on the bandwagon also, now that is an oxymoron!

Now there some waking up happening.  One of the firms we are working with, the owner has been #1 in his state when it comes to luxury sales and listings...for 40 years and still is...We are working with a new office he started, and the managing broker is of the same opinion we have that, The INTERNET is here to make your life easier, get out of the office and meet people!  LOL.  A

May 11, 2019 06:21 AM #8
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon John. Wow, what a post. The film vignettes are perfect and beautifully exemplify your points. I didn't know what the word blog meant until active rain. I just got rid of my mailing labels too. 

May 11, 2019 11:20 AM #9
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


May 11, 2019 07:17 PM #10
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Interesting perspective, yet, the IOT is always evolving, so, what worked yesterday may not and probably won't work tomorrow, or will it? 

May 12, 2019 02:28 AM #11
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Awesome post, John!  It's very timely for me because I just created a new niche website/blog.  Even though I am in a very specific niche with essentially NO competition, I know that "getting found" through SEO is not going to happen for a very long time, if ever, due to the ever changing algorithms. My strategy is to build a network by first connecting with my target audience and encouraging them to share.  It's really network marketing, without the hype and promises. 

May 12, 2019 06:16 AM #12
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi John:

As always something to ponder and consider. It seems that it really still comes down to the basics - staying in touch, face to face, and simply doing a great job for your clients so they want to refer you.


May 13, 2019 04:01 PM #13
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning John - you always get us thinking.  I don't think I ever went crazy on social media or blog and I continued to do face to face.  Maybe that is why I am not lamenting the lesser influence of digital.  Too much of a good thing is too much.

May 18, 2019 04:06 AM #14
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi John Henry - Another outstanding blog. I read every comment. I have no delusion of tons of referrals coming from SM or my blogging.  I do it because I enjoy learning and seeing other points of view.  My client base is people who were here BI and my goal has always been getting out in front of people. I am most comfortable in front of a client, showing property and custom marketing a listing based on what I know of the area and the client. 

May 18, 2019 06:37 AM #15
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Good morning, John Henry another winning post.... and networking always wins...nothing trumps face to face contact.... that's "back to basics" marketing....and it's very powerful... too many real estate agents devote most of their time online.... meet new people in their environment.... blend in and participate with them and you'll be #1 on their list.... 

May 18, 2019 07:25 AM #16
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning John Henry ,

Love your pondering and the content....real estate is a contact sport and if you're not out there communicating one on one you are missing out on relationship business which in my book is the best kind!

May 18, 2019 01:24 PM #17
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Love this post-John Henry  I will say after the April Shower Challenge I received some calls but and emails stopped my reports as became very busy. Consistency and quality - 

May 19, 2019 01:49 PM #18
Randell Brooks
Century 21 Realty Advisors - Weatherford, TX
Serving North Texas and Parker County since 2010.

Great post, John.  You actually inspired me to create a post that shares my experience of a being a 12-14 hour per day slave to the ruthless cycle of trying to do everything anyone ever mentioned that I should do, develop,  or purchase in order to make my real estate business successful.   I no longer burn the candle at both ends, choosing a kinder gentler approach to my life, so the post may take a day or two to be published to my blog.   Thanks for the inspiration. 

May 21, 2019 07:48 PM #19
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I love how you weave in the fun movie bites to make your point!

May 23, 2019 09:54 PM #20
Michelle Carr Crowe,Altas Just Call...408-252-8900!
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Thank you for the humorous clips, and way down below...the good advice, including Get out and meet or introduce yourself to potential clients.  Call them on the phone.  Go by their office or house and shake hands, tell them how you can best help them reach their goals.

Jun 13, 2019 12:32 PM #21
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