Archive | Digital Marketing

How Aussie agents are shooting themselves in the foot

It happens every single day in my Facebook feed, another agent posts a property listing with a link back to one of the portals.

There is no better way to shoot yourself in the foot in the real estate industry than to send traffic to one of the portals instead of your own website.

There are a number of reasons, you don’t want to be sending traffic to the portals instead of your own website, firstly the portals use their traffic statistics to justify an increase in what they charge you each year. So by sending traffic to the portals, you’re essentially helping them charge you more.

But that’s just the tip of the ice berg. The biggest reason you shouldn’t be sending people to the portals is because when you do, you lose control of the data.

Now I get for many, data may be something that you really don’t care much about, you may even see it as belonging to the realm of the geeks and nerds – after all, that’s how it has always been.



But times, they are a changing.

Moving forward, your profit (and I mean your REAL profit), is no longer in your product or service, it’s in your data.

Take for example the situation spelled out in this recent blog post.

The example spells out how when you post a property listing or video on Facebook, you can then re-target any person who engaged with that listing/video and market to them with any other relevant property and in time, turning them into a seller or buyer. (Hell if they clicked on a property on your site, you could put EVERY single property that you have listed in that same suburb in front of them – it’s incredibly powerful).

Had you directed that person to one of the portals, you would have lost that data. Actually it’s worse than that, you would have willingly handed that data over to one of the portals and instead of you re-marketing to those people with your properties, the portals could instead re-market your competitions listings to the people who were initially YOUR potential buyers.

Now for the double whammy…’s not just buyers who check out property listings and videos on your website and Facebook, it’s sellers too.

So that data that you’re handing over to the portals could very easily contain your next potential seller, hell it could contain your next 10 potential sellers. But instead of you being able to re-market to them, establish your brand, stay top of mind and become the obvious choice for those sellers, you’ve handed them over to one of the portals to do with what they will.

Coming back to the “data is for geeks” sentiment above, it’s important to note that is no longer the case. With a few clicks in your Facebook ads manager, you can actually create all the tools you need to manage and use this data  rather than be handing it over.

One of the best things Facebook has done, is created a straightforward platform that enables everybody to take advantage of their own data without having to wear inch thick glasses and have a degree from MIT.

It’s this alone that puts the power back into the agent’s hands.

So please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t post links from the portals – use your own website links instead.


This disruption BS in the real estate industry


Right now there is one word that can induce a Harley Quinn, baseball bat swinging, homicidal rage in me like no other……”Disruptor”

It’s not that real estate isn’t “ripe for disruption,” it is. In fact a blind, deaf, mute hedgehog can see that real estate is ripe for disruption.

It’s that every time we see the word “disruptor” or one of it’s variants in use in the media, it’s attached to a new portal or real estate brand launch that is supposedly going to do things “differently.”

Then comes the (now compulsory) mentions of Uber and AirBnB…….but EVERY. SINGLE. TIME both the media and the “new disruptor” completely ignores what Uber and AirBnB did…..they took the two sides of a transaction (supply and demand) and made it easy for the common individual with supply, to meet the demand of another common individual.

They essentially became a facilitator, a hands off middle man, who got paid for making the introductions (and paid well).

So it should go without saying that a new “cut price” real estate brand is NOT a disruptor and nor is a new portal.



With this in mind, it’s only reasonable that the next question would be “what would a disruptor in real estate look like?”

Well it depends on which side of the real estate transaction you’re standing on.

If you’re a homeowner, then a disruptor will be something that will allow you to buy and sell your house, completely online with everything from offers through to legals through to settlement being handled in a completely digital manner and most likely from your mobile phone.

(Now if you’re an agent reading this, there’s a good chance you’re rolling your eyes and chuckling to yourself, maybe even muttering “like that will ever happen” – fair call, real estate is a messy transaction business – but checkout – they’ve got the online buying and selling part down pat, how long before they expand that to cover every aspect of the transaction?)

If you’re a real estate agent, then a disruptor takes on a very different look. In fact for sometime, there has been ground swell in the industry from agents, pushing for the type of disruption that would see the two big portals fade into oblivion. Consistent price hikes, oppressive contract clauses and a general lack of “win-win” offerings being the main drivers of such feeling.

It’s fair to say then, a disruptor for agents would be something that unseats the portals from their respective thrones – essentially cutting out the middle man. Currently, the portals are the main conduit to buyers in the market and therefore a service that would remove the need for agents to depend on the portals would certainly cause disruption.

Does such a service exist?

Actually it does and here’s the delicious irony of it. MOST AGENTS are using it every single day, they just don’t realise the power it has.


It’s Facebook.

(Now before you light torches and gather up the internet trolls, hear me out, yes I’m a Facebook marketer, but that doesn’t change the fact that Facebook can get you directly in front of your buyers and sellers without the need for a portal).

Let me be clear from the outset though, I’m not talking about marketing to your “Friends list” and, “boosting” your listings only forms a VERY small part of the equation. In fact boosting without understanding what a boost is designed to do, is one of the biggest mistakes agents make on Facebook, but more on that another day.

Allow me to demonstrate just one small facet of this monolithic marketing behemoth.

Look at the URL (web address) of this post, up the top of your browser – you should see the word “hogswash” in the web address of this post. Based on that word alone, you’re now going to get re-marketed to by me. In fact, because you’ve visited this page and read this blog, I’ll be able to re-market to you for the next 6 months even if you don’t engage with any other content I produce in that time.  Everytime you do engage with new content though, that 6 months restarts. So long as I keep putting out content you engage with, I’ll be able to continue marketing to you.

Now, that all sounds a little bit scary, so lets apply it to your business and a listing.

You put up a new listing, with a video and a link to the property listing on YOUR website (make sure it’s your website and not one of the portals). Any buyer or seller who watches that video or clicks through to the link, now becomes part of your digital farm area and you can re-market to that person again and again and again until they stop watching your videos or clicking your links.

Just let that sink in for a moment: a buyer watches the video or goes to the site but that listing isn’t for them, instead of losing them to the ether, you can now make sure that every other similar property you have listed gets in front of that buyer and every other buyer who engages with the video or listing.

And there is not a portal in sight.

Here’s the kicker, that’s just one small part of the Facebook marketing engine.

I’m not going to claim it’s the Uber of real estate, but what I will tell you, is that it’s just the basics of Facebook FOR real estate and if you’re an agent, don’t you think it’s about time you learned how to use it?


Likes! Oh Vanity be thy name!

Okay okay, so waxing lyrical is probably not going to endear me to too many people. Most of us hated Shakespeare in high school and those of us that didn’t are probably rolling their eyes!

The only defense I have is that I’m a father and as such, bad puns, dad-jokes and misappropriated 500 year old references are my birthright! (See what I did there?)

But lets get into the nitty gritty, LIKES! Everybody likes them (sorry, that wasn’t intentional), but the biggest problem is that they actually don’t do anything in a business sense – at least not in the way most people are using them.

They’re what most marketers call a vanity metric – it looks good, but it really doesn’t mean much in terms of sales and profit. Lets face it, if we’re spending money, or time on Facebook in business, then we MUST see a return on that investment.

Adding insult to injury is that in order to get your content seen by as many people as possible, you’ve actually got to spend money to do it these days. (Have you ever noticed how your content only gets seen organically by 15-20% of the people who’ve liked your page?)

To get it seen by everyone, you’ve got to boost the post and shell out some coin and in return you get likes, shares and comments on your post……but no sales, no profit.

Its frustrating isn’t it?

The reason behind this is that a boosted post is designed to reach an “Engagement Audience” – this is an audience that has been optimized by Facebook to be full of people who are most likely to Like, Comment and Share your content……..not necessarily take action that leads to sales or profit.

This is one of the most common frustrations I see day to day working with clients, they are boosting posts but aren’t getting sales and its because they don’t understand this key audience optimization by Facebook.

There is a solution however, but first it requires a shift in your strategic thinking. The likes, comments, shares aren’t the end goal, sales are – getting the engagement is just the first step along the road to getting the sales and building an audience that loves your product or service.

Facebook has provided us with one of the greatest marketing tools in history (fair warning, I say that A LOT and I mean it every single time).

We’ve all heard the cliche` “Actions speak louder than words” – on Facebook, actions are everything. By liking, commenting or sharing your post a person has taken an action that identifies them as an interested party – a potential customer for you.

This is a wonderful thing – it definitely beats mass marketing efforts to everybody and spending a ridiculous amount of money. Using that boost you’ve just had a whole bunch of people identify themselves as a potential client because of the way they interacted with your content!

That’s huge!

What is even bigger, is that through your ads manager, Facebook allows you to create a custom audience based off these actions so that you can then specifically target these potential clients with your ads.

So the boosted post that got likes, comments and shares but was ultimately frustrating because it didn’t generate sales – just became a vital asset in your marketing matrix. Its the first step in any good Facebook marketing funnel – it allows your potential clients, the people most interested in what you do or sell, to put their hand up and say “Hey! I’m interested!”

Now all you have to do, is put together an amazing offer and get it in front of them!


If you’d like to learn how to get more likes and turn your likes into profit, join John Hellaby on Friday night at 7.30pm AEST for a FREE webinar! Register at:

The challenge of authenticity in a digital world

Hanging with my awesome EA @ Eau De Vie after 2 days training in Sydney

It’s not easy being cheesey, even less easy being yourself in a world full of perfectly posed photographs, video editing and status updates so manufactured that they could be American cheese slices.

The delicious irony is that in a world where we have more ways to connect with other human beings than at any other time in history, we are craving genuine, authentic connection and we’re not getting it.

It’s one of the first things I try to instill in my real estate clients when I’m training them in Facebook marketing – be authentic.

Invariably the question always comes up, “Should I do/say/be X?”

The answer, at least from me, is always “Be yourself, be true to you. You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you’re not here to work for everyone. You have limited time and limited energy, so work with the people who will genuinely connect with who you truly are.”


So it was a massive reality check for myself as I started my own “public figure” Facebook page back in May. It may seem a little odd that I didn’t have a “Public Figure” page before now and that’s a fair statement. The reason lies in my love of being the ninja behind the scenes and is no doubt, heavily influenced, by my two decade long battle with PTSD.

But sometimes in life, things happen that change the status quo. In my case, its a chronic illness (afflicting my sister) that requires a hell of a lot of money to treat. The best way for me to help, is to hold training workshops where all the funds are donated to help fund medical treatment.

This also line up perfectly with my intrinsic belief that Facebook marketing is the way of the future for Real Estate – in fact, agents who learn to master it will thrive without the need to rely on the portals.

So out from the shadows I stepped, taking off my ninja mask and changing it up for the professionally polished image of a “Facebook marketer.” This image, was based off what I had seen was the common image presented by every Facebook “guru” in my feed.

For a week, it sat like that – my about/story/profile description and images all an imitation of what was out in the market place and a poor imitation at that. Its just not who I am.

I am not polished or hardcore, cookie cutter professional in the old-school IBM Salesman kinda way. Nor am I polished and well rehearsed in the snake oil salesman pitching his wares kind of way.

I’m raw, authentic and rough around the edges. That has nothing to do with my ability to get results or the effectiveness of my marketing (Hell I’m one of only a handful of Facebook certified marketers in the country and the only one I know of specializing in real estate) – but it has everything to do with how I should be interacting with my target market.

I had fallen into the trap that most of my clients fall into. I had completely ignored my own training and my own wisdom on the subject and started out trying to “be a Facebook marketer” instead of being me.

This badge verifies certification and you can click through to verify the person and the skills it certifies.

For a week, my stomach churned and I felt anxious and out of sorts about my page. I couldn’t put my finger on it, not until I was doing school run late last week and it hit me like a bolt of lightening.  I suddenly knew why I felt so horrible about coming out from the shadows and removing my ninja mask. I wasn’t being me.

I’m the guy you’re most likely to catch wearing a LIVIN T-shirt instead of a suit. (LIVIN is an amazing non-profit dedicated to breaking down the social stigma about mental health issues and spreading the message “It ain’t weak to speak.”)

I immediately made changes to my page that weren’t inline with the image of how a FB Marketing professional should appear, but are far more in line with who I am. The last thing to update is the profile image. As much as I love the black and white professional photograph, its not who I am. It’s the American cheese slice version of who I am.

Besides, I’m not wearing a LIVIN T-shirt and that’s pretty much all I wear these days!

When it comes to your own marketing, don’t try to be someone you’re not, don’t try to fit a mold or an image. Just be you and know that anyone who doesn’t like that, was never destined to be one of your people anyway. I can say that now, with an even greater understanding of just how damned hard it is to stay true to you – but no matter how hard it is, do it anyway.


It’s like that internet meme says “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde