Archive for April, 2009

Rock Your Marketing World…It’s Here!

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Realtors, Technology on April 26, 2009 by realtordebbie

Direct Mail…Expensive Flyers, Brochures, Newsletters….Newspaper Advertising…Boring text E-mails…and a Contact Database management system from,…well,.. not a good place. That used to be the story of my career. Then there was a “voice!” I’m going to share something with you that will rock your marketing world!

Video - It Will Change Your Life!

Video - It Will Change Your Life!

How much do you spend on advertising, on say direct mail alone? For years as a real estate agent, I have used direct mail campaigns such as “Just Listed” and “Sold,” campaigns as well as personal flyer’s and brochures and tons of Open House announcements. I can probably count on two hands the number of leads and calls I have had from those campaigns. While it may have created a slight “conditioning” advantage over other Realtors, these campaigns did little to bring live customers to my door! So, I began looking for alternative, cutting edge marketing tools. My first investment as an agent was a website. I was one of those who watched what successful people were using.. and well,.. took their lead!

I’m an avid reader of trade magazines, and I am an Internet junkie. As I began my search for products that saved me time, money and gave me a tangible advantage over other marketers, I found the results overwhelming and the costs of usable products staggering. I even spent hours using my contacts on Facebook and Twitter, interviewing industry experts, program developers and techno geeks! I learned a lot, but never got to the nuts and bolts of “the” product that could handle my needs. I will be the first to admit I got sucked into several that were of no real use at all. I spent probably close to three years researching and I hope that just a little of what I have learned and will share with you will save you valuable time and money.

The funny part of this story is that I stumbled into this product at Starbucks while having coffee with a friend! As I was about to rush away.. to go back to the office and finish some work I just happened to mention about how I market to others and what a dilemma I was having getting it all to come together. That’s when Ted stepped up and said, “Well why don’t you take a look at this,… I’m in this business, and I think I may have something that will work for you.” Now, I am open, but I though.. oh no.. here we go again! So, leaving with a short description of a product that uses video email,.. I left somewhat intrigued. No one else in town was using video email to my knowledge! All I knew was that I could get it for $9.95/month. I thought.. well.. that’s cool.. I spend that much on two trips to Starbucks! I might even impress a customer or two. (Try about 2000 my first month!)

When I looked at the initial videos, I thought it was too good to be true.   Surely I would be the first to use this here perhaps! After a few more question and answer sessions, I was given the sites for a few Realtors who had been using the product and I was convinced that I had to have it.. and after learning that I could make money while using it.. I “got it!” Meaning, I “got” the product, I “got” the technology, I “got” the system and I didn’t care if it’s sold by multilevel marketing or not.(it’s available as retail too.. without joining).. it  simply made sense. I “get” that people everywhere will soon be using this in their day to day lives and this is the beginning stages of the digital revolution. It’s here, right here, right now! Are you a dinosaur? take a look at this and decide:

The more I looked at this product I soon discovered, I didn’t want just the $9.99/month retail product, I wanted the whole thing.. I was going BIG.. and I want to share it with others. There are people in my business starving for this! I continued to read a lot of articles on digital media.. and when I got to the final question…PRICE,..I was blown away. I kinda got a little sick at how much I had spent before this actually!

So what is it? Is it some kind of secret? Heck no… this is the coolest thing since color TV. ( to the shock of some of you, I’m old enough to remember black and white TV! ) This product is a combination of things that I use and now incorporate into my business every day:

  • Contact Management System – Like Outlook on crack! It contains opt in/out features, analytics, (who opened campaigns, most effective, etc. using graphs, charts, etc! – similar to Google analytics.. but how many of you know “geek” and can figure out Google analytics?), spam word filters (to keep your email and flyers from getting spammed!), automatic contact capture (soon to put constant contact out of business!),.. and much, much more.
  • Video Email – Video email with customizable banners and linking capabilities to 4 custom sites of your choice. Banners can be photo, graphics, flash graphics, power point presentations, slide shows..etc. The best part.. NO ADS,.. no spyware, etc.. just your content.. you own it, it can not be removed by someone else or sold because it gets so popular! (hint, hint for you Facebook and MySpace users!) Customizable, brandable.
  • Live TV Broadcasting – Yep, be the star of your own show..Showcase your product, hold a seminar (and charge a pay-per-view – oops,.. did I just say “this might be how you can make money?”) Live TV broadcast also enables you to take comments or questions from your audience, push you own polls, showcase a power point presentation, feature a guest broadcaster from another location anywhere in the world! Customizable, brandable. This product on the net costs by the minute.. and you don’t want to know how much, really!
  • Video Instant Messaging – Unlike free products.. there is video AND audio,.. and the capability to have 6 people on and LIVE at one time…again,..from anywhere in the world. Travel to board meetings..travel to meet with a customer for 10 min or half a day,… how about sit in your home or office and never board a plane! People pay hundreds for conference programs.
  • A Media Vault – ever wonder where your information is stored, who has access once you post it and how to access it once it leaves you? No more questions. This product contains your media vault, you never loose it,.. you can pull it up to resend a week from now, a year from now.. to add to a broadcast, pod-cast, an e-mail. You can record your own content directly to the vault, or import it from other areas or files. Want to review the video email you sent three weeks ago? Point,.Click and you are there. It’s just that easy.
  • Pod-casting – Save your broadcasts, your videos, publish them, make them available for your RSS feeds.
  • Blogging – well.. using that right now. Again,.. your blog, your information, containing your videos, your audio, your music or pictures or just your wisdom!The codes are at your fingertips to place your publications anywhere!
  • SEO – If you have to ask what that is.. well.. you may not “get” all of this just yet,.. but I will be happy to teach you! Search Engine Optimization occurs when you can link your websites to other sites, use content that is fresh and unique and usable to others. Trust me when I say, link to your Hello World site and see what happens!

So,.. folks.. want more.. I am warning you.. you will not want to put this down! Check out the DEMO by clicking HERE. Grab a pencil and piece of paper, sit back for about 30 min and listen closely,..just the tip of the iceberg. Never has there been a better time to re-vamp your marketing plan, re-organize your contacts, expose yourself to new and old customers or advertise your product and your skills. with this product you will most certainly STAND OUT!

Email me with any questions: debbiekirkland@vmdirect.com

Don’t be a dinosaur.. It’s Right Here, Right Now.. and VM Direct is the product for you!

Thoughts Born In Sleep

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 by realtordebbie

I’m sure everyone has them, dreams that keep you up at night, thoughts that are born as you sleep. Did you know that babies dream about 8 hours a day?  That thought brings back many memories of watching my little ones.. smile, coo in their sleep, sometimes even cry. Wondering what, where and how an infant brain with little to no life experiences would possibly have entertaining their young minds.

My dreams are usually ideas, strategies, marketing themes, and random screens. Sometimes,. its’ chapters. A book in my head, a theme I hear over and over. Sometimes full lyrics. funny thing is, I can’t remember actors names, movie scenes, etc. Couldn’t tell you what I said someone yesterday sometimes, much less last week or month!

I’m in a period of my life.. the second wind. I look back on my teen life.. and wonder what I did with all that time, what I wasted it all on. they say a mind is not fully developed until your early twenties, I believe it. I’m a thinker now.. in my teens I was an action figure,.. my twenties a manufacturer of children, my 30’s were a mix of emotions and obsessions. the next decade seems to be a microchip.. on fire. I can’t fuel the fire of the desire for knowledge fast enough, nor sufficiently add to the bank of knowledge, nor quench the desire to experience, to see it all, to do it all.

I’m reflecting as I met with a potential business partner tonight who is near my age.  Amazingly, we share some of the same thoughts and have pumped each other up over the possibilities for our new venture. I’ve noticed it, have you? The connections people have at different times in their lives. Over the  past few months, I’ve met a litany of women who share the same interests, wisdom and humor on, of all places, Twitter. (#Twitterqueens). Who would have thought, me , on the Internet more than my kids. Funny thing is, my kids don’t get it.  My 19 y/o thinks I’m losing it as I literally laugh out loud when talking to the Twitterqueens at midnight. My kids are in their twenties.. the action/emotion stage.  They are not in the micro-processor stage yet I suppose. They just don’t get it.

Social networking has opened up chapter after chapter of experiences, of outlets for sharing thoughts, dreams and general BS that no one else close to you really wants to hear, (aka children). So, with journal by the bed, the lights are off for tonight,.. but the flashlight is handy, just in case a thought has to be recorded.

mountainskyline

“Channels are blocked in the mind, from the day.  Lie down in blackness of night, forgotten remnants rush to the mind, or creeping slowly appear in the dreams. ” ~Nathaniel LeTonnerre, translated

Make Mine a Double!

Posted in For Buyers, Market Trends, Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , on April 17, 2009 by realtordebbie

It’s great when a plan comes together,..but when it comes together twice in one family, that is even more exciting! Great Financing terms and loan programs are making home ownership affordable and possible!

Case #1. Sweet young couple, hoping to be engaged, but committed to purchase a home together begin their search for their “first home”.  In this case, as with many first time home buyers, both of these young professionals are working and contributing to a household income. They are not making a killing, but are able to afford car payments, nights out, vacations and a few of the simple pleasures in life. Their goal however is to be married soon, and to acquire a home. Enter, Realtor Debbie.

The first step was qualifying,.. the second was finding a home with land.. a little piece of the American dream! Looking for land is easy, as we are surrounded by plantations, unrecorded rural subdivisions and estate properties. A small subdivision just outside the city limits fit their needs. Paved roads, half to one acre lots, only 25 home-sites and a new construction home, Sycamore Ridge was the answer! The best news.. this home qualifies for the US Rural Housing Home Loan… 100% financing with NO Mortgage insurance! With a builder willing to pay closing costs, the couple ended up bringing $28.07 to closing! What would be their down payment became money for a fence and some needed furnishings! Even more good news.. now construction like this is hard to find in Tallahassee..ergo..their value just escalated! 

Affordable NEW Homes with 100% Financing

Affordable NEW Homes with 100% Financing

Within days of closing,.. I was given the best post-closing gift ever.. a referral. The homeowner has a brother, with a wife and twin toddlers.. and they want to move up as well.  Same process..same loan product.. and a successful closing on a home with immediate equity!

Today I had dinner with these kids.. all 4 and the twins..their treat! It seems they both received their first time home-buyer credit money.. and took me to dinner! What a complete and utter surprise! This makes it all worthwhile!

To find out if you qualify for a rural housing 100% financing loan e-mail me at Debbie Kirkland. To read more about the First time home buyer credit for 2009 Click Here.

p.s. If you are wondering about Realtors getting customers in over their heads with 100% loan products..don’t forget:  REALTORS are bound by a code of ethics…I take that seriously. Counseling home buyers and working with customers for AFFORDABLE homes and SMART purchases is  both my business and my obligation. My buyers are well prepared and represented!

Do you LOVE your Realtor?

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Buyers, For Realtors, For Sellers, Market Trends, Real Estate Advice, Uncategorized on April 4, 2009 by realtordebbie

According to someone on Twitter.. today is “I Love You Day” or something! I have no idea.. but my mailbox is full of LOVE today. Who cares.. I feel loved for sure!

sf-heartEverybody loves their Realtor! Why?  I have a  pretty good idea! 

This morning I got up at 7 am to have breakfast with my two last customers.. my first time home buyers, who took me out to breakfast with a part of their $8000 first time home-buyer credit money!  (Wow.. now that’s a treat!) But, while eating, an idea came to me.. so what better to do than write about it while sitting at open house.

Your Realtor.. are they smart, funny, intelligent,.. do you connect or is there silence (hello… anyone home???)  People forget we are people too. Most agents have NOT been in the business their entire lives.. although there are few locally raised in it.. and that’s all I hear… booorrring. Good people.. just no connection. Anyway… It is my belief that the BEST in the business have a great deal more knowledge than all that pertains to the very important real estate knowledge. They have,.. well.. life experience. They connect to people, they laugh, they have fun.. they shop at the same grocery as you.. and yes.. some have even cleaned your teeth before! (did I say I was a dental hygienist in my previous life?) 

When I started in the business.. some.. well.. 8 years ago now, the first thing I did was interview all the local “Big Boys and Girls in Real Estate” business, ( a great book!!).  How’d they do it.. Why do they still do it, and What can they tell me about how to make it happen?  those were me three questions.  Well, they’re still doing it.. and I am there with them.

Three things they, now we, have in common.

1. They love life… if real estate ended tomorrow.. these people will be having fun.. somewhere. I’m amazed.. artists, former PR people, Moms, geeks, teachers, probasketball player,.. you name it.. people in real estate are used to change and variety. They thrive on it! 

2. They work about 90 – 100 hours a week.  Hmm..how many of you think Realtors drive around and play golf all day? Think again.. my customers get my finest email compositions at 2AM.

3. They are social, connected, passionate and involved.  Whether at Board meetings (where they market your property), Chamber events, Commission meetings (where they help protect your property rights), showing properties (Where they bring qualified buyers to your property) or at a school function, they are working.. 24/7.. the wheels turn, the connections are made to set up the perfect match between buyer and seller.

So, I set up camp using those three cornerstones. It wasn’t hard! Those who know me, know I love to talk, love to explore people and places. I’ve always had a good real estate website for marketing, I belive in technolgy and that the internet and  the digital world (My Hello World)will be as much a part of out lives as a grocery store! It is a necessity! So I began with Facebook, then some blogging.. some broadcasting and video e-mails, all good for work. But the social highlight,  My good friends on Twitter.. the Twitterqueens…. now there’s a group. Keeping each other motivated, entertained, laughing and in tune to what’s new wtih technology,.. music and well.. just about anything. Connections. Social. @FloridaSunSales… all about the people and 72 characters. Conversations and mutual admiration, challenges and fun with @HeyAmaretto, @MayaREGuru, @LeslieLambert, @DeeGeeBee, @kvBuckley @KimWood @elainehanson ,.. uhh don’t worry, if I forgot someone I am SURE they will remind me! #Twitterqueens Rule.

So… find you a REALTOR.. a good one.. these are lifelong connections.. I want to see your babies grow up, (Thanks Lynn and Bob – my 4 .5 year customers.. we’ll make it happen soon…*fingers crossed*), and we really do care about you! 

So,…lighten up, enjoy the adventure,… and,… if you are coming to FLA… I’m your real estate girl. Email me… @FloridaSunSales.

hellobadge-fss