Couldn’t have said it better myself!

At the last 4RealzEd event, a wonderful real estate videographer by the name of David Toth agreed to film our event as well as some reactions from attendees. My favorite video, for reasons that will probably be obvious if you watch it, is when he captured me talking with attendees after the event:


Here are some links so you can learn more about the people featured in the video:

Our next event is in Pasadena on May 30th! And just like the Irvine event, we’re hoping to blow this one out of the water and close registration down early again for lack of space, so now is the time to register! 😉

And finally, I also want to thank Jessie B of ReTrove. He went out of his way to connect us with David Toth so that the videos could be possible! Not only did he capture the testimonials above, but he also edited down our presentation into three pieces to give you an idea of what to expect if you attend (4RealzEd Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Obviously, if you’re looking to connect with a real estate videographer in Orange County area, you should consider talking with David because the guy knows what he’s doing!

(By the way, don’t be too surprised if I drop off the internet for the next few days as I travel and present in Toronto at RealtyQuest early this week…)

Been crazy for a few days getting ready for…

…in Realty Quest.

Here are some of the things I wanted to talk about this week, but haven’t had the chance:

  1. 4RealzEd is coming to Pasadena on May 30! The buzz from the first two events has been wonderful and I’m already seeing people sign up without any real marketing on our part! I love it!
  2. Move, Inc lost $4.6M in Q1 and not releasing “transformational” product. About the only positive news is that they are “announcing” a beta site that has been live (with a link from the homepage) since December. I feel bad for my previous colleague in marketing who has to spin this stuff.
  3. Keller Williams gets Zillow fever. Consider the great relationship between Top Producer (owned by Move) and KW, this must have been particularly painful for Errol Samuelson (runs both Top Producer and Realtor.com)
  4. Trulia teams up with the Silicon Valley Ass of REALTORS.  The traditional walls are slowly crumbling.
  5. Seattle times reporter/blogger wonders covers conference with Move, Zillow and Google and wonders who will create the real estate destination portal of the future
  6. Todd announces RE BlogWord… A special real estate track for the popular BlogWorld conference in Vegas. My guess is that there will be a bunch of big names from the world of real estate social media so this should be a lot of fun.
  7. Had a great, GREAT, meetup yesterday (dubbed: Doctor’s Note Gathering) with real estate and tech folks from the valley.   Linda and Ted had nice write ups!
  8. Getting excited about a panel this year at Inman led by Jeff Turner called: Growing Pains: Take Your Blog to the Next Level (more announcments around RE Connect are sure to come!)
  9. Krunching.com launched earlier this week. I like everything about the site (from the perspective of a  first public launch), except the business model.  I think they will either need to be a tech provider (i.e. selling tech to consumers/professionals) OR a brokerage (commissions!), but not both.   Otherwise, the site is great and I look forward to seeing more!
  10. Niki let me know that he launched Homethinking Mortgage earlier this week.   I feel bad that I haven’t had more of a chance to check out the site, but ANYTHING Niki does is worth checking out.   Some of the things, like the heat maps of average loan amount, are interesting, but I just haven’t taken the time to figure out how they will be useful!
  11. BeatYouThere launches (yet) another national real estate search site.  I kinda feel bad for anyone trying to start up in this space at this point, even if they are well funded.   Incremental improvement in the search just aren’t going to be enough at this point.
  12. And speaking of things that will be forgotten about in a few months…   I like Louis a lot and he’s definitely doing a great job reaching out to the online real estate community, but…
  13. CyberHomes redesigns the site.   I can’t help but wonder when will they start seriously marketing to consumers?

4RealzEd Irvine was exhilarating!

What an awesome crowd!

4RealzEd Irvine

People seemed interested, engaged, and enthusiastic about the material.   Thanks to everyone who helped make this event happen!

Also, I just posted a few of my photos from the event on Flickr… including photos from the evening before when a group of us went out for dinner at an unbelievable too Mexican restaurant in Newport Beach.

What a blast!

Wednesday Night Meetup in Orange County

Considering there’s a great crew sponsors and attendees traveling to Orange County for 4RealzEd event on Thursday, we thought it would be fun to meetup at Javier’s Cantina the night before.

Jim made a reservation for 16 people…. and considering Rudy, Joel, Jeff, Loren, and Drew have already RSVPed, you’ll want to get your name on the list quickly if you want to reserve a spot!  It should be a blast!

(By the way, there’s still a handful of spots left open for our event on Thursday and we’d obviously love to fill the place up.  If you know of any real estate professional in Southern California interested in getting a jolt of internet marketing education this Thursday morning, we’d obviously appreciate it if you helped spread the word!)

Learning, learning, learning…

After last Thursday’s event, Jim and I took the weekend to relax and digest what we learned. The break was nice, but now we’re ready to hit the next event up harder than ever!   😉

Here are some of the things that I learned from our first event:

  • The people in the audience seemed to respond really well to the entire program, with almost everyone telling me the course was a great value (including agents who I’d consider to be quite internet savvy!). However, in marketing it to brokers and agents, many felt that the price ($149) and the time (8 hours) were too much.
  • The enthusiasm of the sponsors and the ability for us to get exactly the sponsors we wanted was a pleasant surprise.
  • The audience really responded well to Jim’s presentation on measuring and tracking ROI.   There’s obviously a lot of pent-up demand for this kind of extremely practical, nuts-and-bolts, education.
  • The most effective marketing was when brokerages/sponsors recommended that their agents/clients take part.

Based on what we learned, here are the changes we’re making to our next event in Orange County:

  1. We’re dropping the price to $49 per person!
    • This can only be done because of the awesome sponsorships we’ve been able to get from companies like Altos Research, Inman News, Zillow, Top Producer and Diverse Solutions. The willingness of the sponsors to support our effort to spread quality internet marketing education to agents is the ONLY reason we can drop this price so darn low!
  2. We’re going to squeeze all of our content into 4 hours
    • This will let us start at 9am and end at 1pm. To make this work, here is our new schedule:
      • 9am to 9:15: Intro (by Dustin)
      • 9:15 to 10:15: Creating a performance based website (by Jim)
      • 10:15: 10:30: 1st break
      • 10:30 to 10:45: Effectively engaging in social networks (see change #3)
      • 10:45 to 11:45: Creating local communities with blogs
      • 11:45 to noon: 2nd break
      • Noon to 1pm: Measuring and tracking your marketing ROI
    • The things we have to cut to make this work are lunch (1 hour), my discussion on social networking (from 1.5 hours to only 15 minutes), one break (15 min) and each presentation by 15 minutes.
  3. We will offer all attendees a free, 90-day, follow up course tentatively called Get 4RealzEd with 15 minutes a day
    • I’m more convinced than ever that the best way to get people knowledgeable on how to be effective within the various social networks is NOT to lecture on them, but to simply walk agents through a variety of social networks in simple steps.
    • At least for the first round, I’m going to keep this simple and send out a daily email with a simple (~15 min) social networking, blogging and/or ROI activity.
    • Attendees seemed to really respond well to this idea, so I’m quite excited about it going forward!
  4. Our next event will be in Orange County on April 17th
    • We’ve pushed back the dates on both the Orange County and San Diego events. We’re quite fortunate that some of our sponsors we’ve brought on in the past few weeks have shown an interest in helping us promote these events, so rather than rush things, we want to give them enough time to work their magic!

I really want to thank everyone for helping make the 4RealzEd event in LA such a success.   I learned a tremendous amount from the first event and feel more confident than ever that I’m on to something really big!  Because we’re still in the early stages of this roadshow (we haven’t even announced any events outside of southern California yet!), I expect we’ll continue to tweak things based on feedback we get from attendees and non-attendees alike, so please feel free to fire away with ideas, tips, critiques, and/or feedback… We’re listening!

The 1st 4RealzEd event was yesterday and…

4ealzEdI think I’ve recovered enough now to actually post about it! 🙂

Despite our best efforts to be prepared, the day started off a bit rough with a nearby mudslide taking out power in our building in the morning (meaning no hot coffee and no projector) and a 9-car pileup on a nearby freeway slowed me down tremendously. AHHH

So, to say it started rough would be an understatement… But once it started, things seem to get on a roll quickly.

I started with an overview of consumers expectations in a web2.0 world to set expectations for the day… Jim followed up with presentation on optimal features and design for a real estate website. Then it turned back to me for a presentation on social networking… lunch… then another presentation by me on creating value through blogging about communities. And we returned for the day’s finally with Jim giving a engaging presentation on measuring and tracking marketing results to ensure a positive ROI.

All around, it was a wonderful day! And, maybe they were just being nice, but the attendees who talked with me said only good things about the education.

Because I promised attendees I would give them a list of all the sites I mentioned in my presentations (so that they wouldn’t have to ask me to spell out each URL), here is the list for everyone’s benefit.

Consumer Expectations in a Web2.0 World:

Engaging in Social Networking to Earn Clients

Using Blogs to Build Communities

I wasn’t tracking the sites that Jim mentioned, but there were not nearly as many of them in his presentations…

And thanks again to all the bloggers who have helped spread the word about the event, the sponsors who helped us keep the price low and all the attendees who made the day possible!

I received some incredible feedback from all three groups, which is going to lead me to make some changes to the upcoming events (I’ll announce those early next week!). Great stuff all around. Thanks again to everyone!

Inman launches a new site with a new…

look and lots of new features. Congrats to everyone involved.

I know having talked with the team that they’ve put a lot of effort into this endeavor, so a huge congratulations to making it happen! Out of all the changes, I’ll be most interested to see how real estate professionals adopt some of their new adding social networking features. And based on the bloggers they were able to recruit to their new blog network (personal bias alert: they included 4realz), they are off to a great start!

But wait, there’s more news from Inman News!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce that the extremely busy team at Inman News has also agreed to be a sponsor of the 4Realz Internet Marketing seminars.

The genesis of the sponsorship started a few months ago when I had a conversation with Joel where we marveled at how responsive real estate professionals have been to our various presentations on social media marketing.

When I left Move and decided to start the 4Realz seminars, it was a no-brainer for me to reach out to the Inman News team as they obviously know how to put on a real estate event.

However, our conversations quickly went deeper than just sharing information as the Inman team seemed to genuinely share my vision for creating a platform that educates real estate professionals on how they could use internet marketing tools to improve their business.

Between their massive new design, new professional social network, new blog network, new consumer angle, etc., the Inman News team is clearly firing on all cylinders at the moment, so I want to give a special thanks to them for taking the time to make this sponsorship happen!

I’ve been so incredibly busy lately that I neglected to announce some really big news!

Both Zillow AND Top Producer have come on as sponsors!

As you can imagine, the more sponsors that we can bring on board, the better for everyone involved because (1) it helps to drive the cost of the event down for real estate professionals and (2) it gives attendees who’ve earned “REALZ” more ways to spend their marketing dollars!

As always, Jim and I are being very selective in who I reach out to for sponsorship. I really want to make sure that we’re only inviting companies that can demonstrate that they add real value to real estate professionals.

So why are we seeking out sponsorship from Top Producer and Zillow?

In many ways, my real estate blogging experience really took off at the same time as Zillow. I learned a ton from meeting up with that team while I was living in Seattle, as well as covering them in their early days! In many ways, RCG really started to hit it stride around the early days of Zillow (Our traffic more than doubled the month they came launched!). However, beyond just a great relationship, I’ve always watched Zillow grow into a company that has added real value to real estate agents all over the country! At a recent event where I spoke alongside Sara, I was impressed with the examples she’s able to show of agents quickly being able to generate a great ROI with their product.

The Top Producer team has done some wonderful things for me in the past including sponsoring my round of educational seminars (when a virtual who’s who of the RE.net showed up!). But beyond the seminars, the TP team showed a real interest in reaching out to me while I was at Move in order to get my ideas on how they could improve their product. The organization is filled with wonderful people doing a great job meeting the needs of existing clients as well as making commitments to continuously integrate and improve their product to meet the changing needs of real estate agents.

I honestly couldn’t be happier that so many wonderful real estate companies are willing to take a chance on sponsoring the 4Realz Education seminars!