Choice is becoming more critical as options increasingly expand. I have read about this potential problem for years and now we seem to be well along the road to increasing abundance of options. As real esate agents, we're inundated with options regarding web sites, social networking avenues, blogs to read, models to consider, marketing techniques to employ and advertising venues to use. It's the flip side of the blessing, the curse of too many options and the problem of choice.
One of the benefits of sites like Bloodhound is that people are giving consideration to these problems and openly writing about what has been found to be the best practices. Awhile back I talked about an article written years ago predicting how the internet would intially be chaos, then experimentation and selection and winnowing, then a standardization period. I want to give credit to the writer, but I can't find the source. Perhaps someone will remember.
It seems we are still in the experimentation stage, but as we quickly change and learn, choices will hopefully become easier. There is still a dearth of statistics showing the effectiveness of blogging, social networking and online marketing through website providers, RE sites and social sites but antecdotal evidence and personal experience based on analysis are beginning to give us an indication that these new forms of doing business have much potential for those who are adopting the right methods and utilizing them in a committed way.
I do have evidence in my own company that online business has increased by at least 20-30% each year for the last three years, I just haven't pinpointed which methods produce what part of that business -- perhaps it's a holistic effect of it all.
Making choices is based on knowledge gained through experimentation, our results and the results of others, developing certain guidelines I can use to measure new offerings. In other words, I'm getting to a point where I don't have to experiment with every new online offering, wasting money on useless gimmicks -- it's easier to tell now which ones have merit and which ones are just a snazzy remake of something I've tried that didn't work.
I suspect many real estate agents who have been connected for awhile and have been committed are finding the same thing, that choosing among all the options is easier. Hopefully this will have the positive effect of encouraging innovation. As we all become more sophisticated online we don't jump at anything shiny and buzzed -- it must have merit and it must be useful. Perhaps we are going into a standardization period. We can quickly assess a certain new offering and apply certain principles we've learned about what works and what's useless. Companies who want our business will have to create value.
If not completely gone, soon will be gone the days that new online players can create fear of being left out in order to sell any old usless method to get the growing online business. I've talked about value and service for awhile and it appears the shaking out of online sites will be along the lines of service and value. The survivors of the real estate industry, agents and mortgage brokers and investors, will have a stronger hand in demanding value and service from those who want our money -- they will see the ones who used fear and gimmicks and leverage-of-the-new-and-mysterious fall broke by the wayside.
Some may think that RE service providers are being beaten down by the new, changing world of web 2.0, but real estate will still be based around the immediate service that's provided by agents to buyers and sellers, and we who survive will rise stronger, more leveraged, smarter, more sophisticated and in a better position to have our services recognized as valuable.
Yes, service providers who fail to change and grow will gradually fade away, but those who have gotten smarter will be there cutting through the worthless buzz, better able to provide service and utilize only those marketing methods and tech tools that acutally work and provide value. At that point we can demand what we choose to pay for and let the rest who predicted our death dance in a frenzied circle trying to make rain.
Fear will be gone and the best practices will emerge as industry standards -- then only true innovation and value will catch our eyes or make us reach for our wallets. All the marketing gurus and SEO experts and shiny new sites will actually have to know what they're talking about and produce results.