May 31 2009

A Twitter Account Is The Next WWW Domain

The growth of Twitter is staggering.  The adoption of group texting has become the most convenient and efficient way to connect and stay connected to the people and information you want.  

Check out the following growth pattern of Twitter - it's snowballing with no signs of slowing down:
March, 2009: 131%
February, 2009: 55%
January, 2009: 33%

The March, 2009 numbers reported by comScore showed worldwide visitors to Twitter.com increased 95 percent in the month of March from 9.8 million to 19.1 million. This compares to 9.3 million visitors in the U.S.

These numbers only count visitors to Twitter’s website, and does not include people who interact with Twitter via desktop or mobile clients, which is a large segment of users.

Other noteable Twitter news includes Ashton Kutcher’s race with CNN to one million followers, Oprah using Twitter, Twitter providing TV channels for media like CNN, and Verizon's vision of incorporating a Twitter widget into its FiOS TV interface.

This all adds up to Twitter being as critical as the world wide web domain rush.

For the most part, all the good .com domains are long gone.  The Twitter trend is quickly letting us know that all the good Twitter accounts will also soon be gone.

The Vision - Each New Home Community Has Its Own Twitter Account

Ultimately, new home consumers will expect each new home community to have a Twitter account in order to help them with both their home shopping and home buying decisions.  A Twitter account for each new home community will dramatically increase consumer satisfaction.  Timely and accurate communication has always been the foundation of successful consumer satisfaction and Twitter is the perfect solution for the home building industry to drive sales and consumer satisfaction.

Twitter restrictions that homebuilders employ now will have to be relaxed and new home sales professionals will have to be trained on how to effectively use Twitter - but that's easier than email.

You've got to get your Twitter account ASAP or chances are someone else will.  Then you'll be stuck with some wacky Twitter account like @JimAdams234 instead of just @Jim_Adams.  I was an early adopter of Twitter and I still missed out on the simple @JimAdams.

So what do you do if you've already missed out on the Twitter name you want? 

The most simple solution I've found is to purchase a www domain and forward that domain to your Twitter account.  For instance, I purchased www.TwitterMeJim.com and it points to Twitter.com/Jim_Adams.  You can purchase your name with a .me domain also (www.JimAdams.me), which I've chosen to display all my social profiles.

Twitter is inevitable.  You may not use Twitter now but you had better get your account so when you change your mind, you won't be left out in the cold.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com


May 26 2009

How Important Is Twitter For Brand Building?

In case anyone wasn't sure, Twitter is officially mainstream media. Watch a story of both the benefits of using Twitter and the consequences of ignoring the use of Twitter.  Hollis Thomases, CEO of WebAdvantage.net, talks about how Twitter can be used for building brand reputations and customer relationship. She refers to a Whole Foods success using Twitter and then describes a "horror story" that happened to Exxon Mobile when their Twitter handle got hijacked.

Should homebuilders consider Twitter when marketing their new home communities? Absolutely.  There are too many success stories to ignore.  The challenge: clearly define your objective; then allocate the resources to make it work because it won't on it's own.

 

 
Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com

May 25 2009

Hyper-Targeting Your Audience Through Facebook

Here are a few reasons homebuilders should consider using Facebook to advertise their new home communities.  Facebook has a spectacular audience:

More than 200 million active users
More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older

Check out other Facebook statistics.

You can hyper-target your audience by displaying ads only to the people that fit the demographic or have the interests you choose.  This video will  get you up to speed.

 

 

 

 

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com


May 24 2009

C21 Real Estate Drops Television For Online Advertising

Just thought I would share this video I found on YouTube.  You know YouTube is the second most Internet site only behind Google?

 

 

Beverly Thorne of Century 21 Real Estate said C21 decided to leave national broadcast television advertising and reinvest those dollars in online advertising.  The C21 2008 case study showed a leads increase of over 237%  while at the same time reducing the cost per lead by 62%.

While the decision was clear cut, the change was difficult emotionally - as Beverly said, "none of us likes change".  "The reality of the fact that our consumers are online is a huge plus and we now add the same emotional pull to our online advertising that we had with our TV broadcast advertising."

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com


May 24 2009

.TV Is The Next .COM

You used to have to have special skills to publish content to the Internet.  Today you can set up a free blogging account with Blogger.com and be publishing within minutes.

You’ve seen the YouTube phenomenon.  Did you know there are now more searches on YouTube than Yahoo!?  Did you know you can publish HD video to YouTube?  I see the same trend with video as with what has happened with blog publishing.  

Hardware is cheaper.  Bandwidth is faster.  Bandwidth is cheaper.  Video creation software comes with the Mac and Microsoft Window operating systems.  The technology for publishing video publishing to the Internet is here.  It will get much easier and much cheaper.

Having your own TV channel is right around the corner.  Very soon you won’t have to publish your video on YouTube; you’ll be able to create your own TV channel just like you can create your own blog now.

Video is creeping up on us like blogging did and is going to explode.  Get your .TV domain now so that when you develop your own TV channel you won’t have to beg and buy your TV domain from a slimy domain broker.  Worse yet is to have your TV channel on a non .TV domain.  Having a video channel on a non .TV domain will be like having a .NET domain.  Ugh.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com


May 22 2009

A Consumer First Impression Is A Moving Target

It’s been said you only have one first impression; and that impression has a huge influence on future perceptions.  The evolution of a consumer’s first impression of a homebuilder has been a moving target over the last ten years.

A consumer’s first impression of a homebuilder used to be when he or she walked into the sales office and was greeted by a sales professional.  When we started using the Internet as our primary home search resource, the builder website quickly became the first impression.  And to a large degree the builder website still is the consumer's first impression, but it's still a moving target.  

A website is the face of a company, much like a retail store is the face of a retailer.  A consumer perception of a builder, or any company for that matter, is largely based on their web experience.  As technology has evolved, the web experience has rapidly morphed from a one page static brochure into a dynamic and rich experience with the incorporation of databases, animation, and an increased level of interactivity.

The web is now billions of pages with millions of pages added daily!  Consequently we have come to rely heavily on search.  Google has unquestionably given us the best search experience of any search providers.  They do it quicker and cleaner, with far greater relevancy than anyone else.  The phenomenal growth of the web and our dependence on search has made the first impression target move farther and faster than ever.

According to PEW Research, search has now become the number one Internet activity along side email. When it comes to the home search, we really have no other option other than to do a Google search.  Sure you may search MSN or Yahoo!, but with Google serving upwards of 70% of all Internet searches, Google is the search engine we need to be found on.  Yes, you can make an arguement about Yahoo! Real Estate or MSN Real Estate, but would YOU go there to look for a new home?  I wouldn't.  I've asked several people - they wouldn't either.  Obviously people do it, but it's not a natural psychological behavior.  The natural psychological behavior is to do a search.  Consumers don’t know the name of the builder or where a builder is building.  They only know where they want to live and their price point. So they search.

All that being said, a consumer first impression has now extended beyond the website to the Google search results page.  If your company is or is not found for a relevant Google search, it affects that consumer's perception of your company and it certainly affects your chances to connect with those home shopping consumers.  Being found on a Google search, whether it be a natural listing, a paid listing, or by being on a website that is in the natural/paid listings, has become business critical.

The consumer first impression has moved from the homebuilder sales office to the Google search results page.  Consumer impressions will continue to be a moving target because as technology evolves, consumer expectations will also continue to increase.  The web experience has now become the most important customer acquisition element to homebuilders.  Does budget spending reflect this? Not yet, but if we want to stay in business, it will – eventually. 

Have you heard that 90% of consumers start their home search on the Internet? 
Have you heard there are 200 million Facebook users? 
Have you heard there are 900,000 recorded blog posts added to the Internet daily? 
Do you hear it? 
That is the sound of inevitability.

Technology is not regressing and is not cyclical.  Just as builders have adopted to the consumer expectation of a website experience, we will also have to adopt to the notion that the web experience, whatever that means today and tomorrow, is now our first and most important priority in customer acquisition.

I continually hear stories where marketing departments are spending tens of thousands of dollars on a one day or one month print ad while at the same time can’t find half those dollars to breath life into a flailing or inadequate consumer web experience.  Builders are slashing Internet marketing jobs and budgets but still spend money on expensive and outdated marketing campaigns.  What’s up with that?

As a CEO in the building industry I implore other homebuilding executives. You can’t hide your head in the sand and hope this will go away.  If anything, the social media explosion should show us all that we have moved into warp speed with no intention of slowing down or coming back.  The Internet is NOT some side gig we’re doing for a small segment of our consumers.  The Internet gives us the best chance at being profitable with our marketing dollars. Spend your money and resources there and commit to delivering the best web experience to your consumers as possible.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com


May 21 2009

The Future of Personal Calling Cards

While the Internet has brought about the most convenient way of communicating, it has also brought more noise and distractions than we could ever have imagined.  In spite of being more efficient and getting things done faster, it seems we are busier than ever.  I’m busy.  The people I do business with are busy.  I rarely even pick up the phone and call a business associate out of the blue.  I email them and ask for a time to chat.

As convenient as Social media communication is, the number of social media profiles has gotten out of hand.  I have a blog, a Jim Adams Twitter account, a Facebook account, a LinkedIn account, a MySpace page, a Flickr account, and a Jim Adams Google profile.  

How do you share all your accounts with your friends and colleagues?  
This is not going to work.
http://www.linkedin.com/in/newhomesdirectory
http://Blog.NewHomesDirectory.com/
http://twitter.com/Jim_Adams
http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Homes-Directorycom/46112714186
http://www.YouTube.com/NewHomesDirectory
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24860369@N02/
http://www.MySpace.com/newhomesdirectory

The .ME domain is the answer.  I’ve purchased plain business cards with one thing on it – JimAdams.me.

GoDaddy is promoting the .ME domain as a personal domain used for personal blogs, etc.  I am using the .ME domain to display all my social media profiles.  Each social media account is represented by the appropriate icon, with a link to that profile.  No more having all those crazy links in my email signature.  Just ‘Visit me socially at Jim Adams .me’.  No more sending a chotic number social media links to my friends and colleagues – Just JimAdams.me.

I’ve purchased the .ME domain for my entire family.  It’s the future of personalized calling cards.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com

 

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