Foxy Property Chat Podcast Interview

Back on the 20th Nov 2019, I was interviewed by Cody Shorter from the Foxy Property Chat Podcast.

In it, I discussed digital marketing for real estate agents, comic book heroes (!), how REA has dragged the Aussie real estate industry 10 years behind the rest of the world digital marketing wise, and what agents should be focusing on to generate more leads and sales using social media, etc.

Enjoy and if you have any questions, drop them in the comments below and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

PS: Thanks to Cody for the interview. It was a fun experience to be on the opposite side of the microphone! 🙂

Transcription begins:

– All right. Welcome to the “Foxy Property Chat Podcast”. Eran Malloch, our real estate marketing specialist from How are you today, Eran?

– I’m good, thanks, Cody. Yourself?

– Excellent, thank you. Now, I’ve got a question for you, before we really get into things. I read one of your Linked-In articles that you’re a bit of a comic geek. So kick things off, who’s your favourite superhero?

– You know, that’s a good question.

– That’s why I’m here.

– Do you know what? One of my favourites is a bad guy from the DC Universe. Slade Wilson, Deathstroke, The Terminator. I don’t know if you recognise that name. I’m a bit, lot older than you so, that it’s going back a bit.

– I like it. I appreciate that. And I might have to do a bit of Googling after this. Check out who that is. Beyond your mainstream Marvel, guys, I don’t know. There’s lots of them I like, so.

– Yeah, fair enough. So, can you tell me a little bit about your business, your base in Perth, aren’t you?

– Yeah, that’s correct.

– Okay, so what is it that you do for all your clients?

– So I’ve been in the digital marketing space for almost 14 1/2 years now, and I’m probably about three or four years ago I got the opportunity to become self-employed and decided to start up offering those kind of services. And for better or for worse, I chose the real estate industry. So what I mostly do is help them with their online lead generation. And because most sellers are interested in selling leads, it’s primarily that side of it. But also, I do a fair bit of work helping them with growing their brand online and getting people to know I can trust them around the marketplace.

– Okay. And so how long have you been doing that for now? Working with agents, probably I would say, maybe that three years, I guess. There’s about a year, a year and a half where it was fairly part time. My my partner, unfortunately, got diagnosed with cancer. And so that kept us busy with the looking after her. Thankfully, she’s okay. But I was kind of a part time occupation there for a while.

– And how did you get sort of into marketing in the first place? You mentioned about 14 years ago, was it?

– Yeah. So I was actually in sales for about, I’d say probably about twelve odd years. I used to be in the IT industry. So it was computer hardware and software.

– Okay. And also IT certification training and software training as a rule. And I guess at the end of the day I got sick of cold calling for a living. And I guess, I think it was the Google that started the just become popular with AdWords. And it was kind of, I like the idea of having the prospective client come to me rather than may have to chase them and harass–

– Common sense.

– Yeah. So yeah. It just made the career to switch and got lucky and finding it found a job that got me into the industry. And you haven’t looked back since.

– You look like you got a lot of books there behind you. I can’t see many of the titles. Are they sortive fiction–

– They’re all marketing.

– Oh, they’re all marketing?

– Marketing.

– This site is some fiction stuff, but all of that is marketing, mostly marketing and sales related.

– What’s one, if you can? I don’t know if you can turn around and see one. But what’s one or two of your favourites? What one would you recommend to people?

– Oh my god. They’re so.

– Or they’re very specialised.

– There’s so many.

– So many.

– Do you know what? That’s a tough one.

– That’s all right.

– Yeah.

– Look, they’re all around different areas, so it kind of depends on where you’re at and what you need to learn. So.

– Suffice to say, you’re well read, man.

– I try. You get time to read these much, much these days, but.

– Fair enough. So from what you’ve seen in your three, three and a half years in real estate, what to you makes a really good real estate agent?

– Look, marketing aside, I think like any kind of sales role, because like it or not, a real estate agent is first and foremost a salesperson. I think someone who’s honest and ethical. Because whether they like it or not, the real estate industry doesn’t have a great reputation in that department. And it’s the same. All the usual few small bad eggs tarnish the rest of them. But, you know, ethics and honesty is a good thing. You’re willing to work hard. And being, I guess, committed to giving your customers a great result. And it doesn’t hurt if they just generally a nice person. I mean, we’ve all run across the yard. Particularly in sales, not just the real estate. We’ve all run across the arrogant,

– Of course.

– Narcissist. They’re everywhere.

– Sure.

– But, you know–

– I guess all those traits equal success in sort of any industry.

– Yeah. And I think you could say that for any job. Always sort of characteristics are gonna apply across just about any job.

– Yeah, sure. So compared to other industries, professions, how would you rank real estate agents when it comes to digital marketing? Do you think as a whole, they’re doing a good job? Really?

– I get big thumbs down.

– Really? Really, why?

– Well, like, seriously, I had clients 10, 14 years ago in basic little industries like physiotherapy, chiropractic, tyre shops that are more advanced when it comes to digital marketing and the real estate industry as a whole. And I think that’s partly got to do with has such a huge big power in the industry.

– Yeah, that’s a good point.

– Yeah. And so agents have never really, I guess, been forced to have to learn to do this stuff themselves, and they kinda, I guess, outsourced that to some extent, to

– Yeah, I’ve never thought about that before.

– It amazes me the level of expertise, or lack of expertise I see out there. I mean, I get lots of people coming to me for help because they just don’t know the basics. So, you know, there’s obviously something wrong out there. Now, there are individuals there that do a fantastic job.

– Of course, yeah.

– Here in Perth, we’ve got a guy by the name of Paul Tonich, who some of your listeners might know. He’s probably one of the best real estate agents on from the social media perspective out there. He’s probably the star. There’s a guy in,

– Was his surname, Tonich?

– Tonich, T-O-N-I-C-H. I think he’s just, He had his own agency. I think he’s just moved across to. I think he’s going across to the agency.

– Okay.

– Like in the last, I think it started in the last week. But he’s been around for a long time. There’s another guy in Queensland that I know and have interviewed before on my website by the name of Scott Lachmund from Richardson and Wrench in Caboolture. In my opinion, he’s probably one of the bright stars in the world when it comes to digital marketing. And his is more around content creation, using a website and using YouTube rather than running ads space. Like he’s the market leader in his space because of what he’s done.

– Wow, okay. Well, thanks for that. I’ll certainly check them out. I’m always looking, This podcast, I speak to people like yourself who you work with agents. But I’m am always looking for agents themselves to see if I can find people doing really good stuff.

– Happy to introduce you to Scott if you want, ’cause I know you.

– Yeah, I’d be fantastic. Yeah, I’d be fantastic. That’d be really good, and just pick his brains, I suppose. Yeah, as you say, it’s actually been kind of hard for me to find a lot of examples of people doing a really good job. I have found some. And to be honest I haven’t spent heaps of time, but it’s not as easy as I thought it would have been to find the agency. It’s really killing it on social media and digital space.

– That’s why. I give an example, things like, you know, if I was a real estate agent, which I’m not an I don’t think I ever would choose to become one, but if I were to, the first thing I do is set my own website up. But practically no agents have their own website. They all leave it to the agency Web site and some agencies won’t even let them have their own website, which I think is not very smart. Yeah, really? I didn’t know that.

– As a tool. What is that do you think?

– Because I think in a lot of cases they want to control the brand.

– They want the control, yeah.

– They don’t want people to go off. And look, there’s always the risk. I mean, we’ve got to be honest about it. There’s always the risk that any agent will do a great job and eventually leave the agency and they’ve got their own brand. So from a perspective of an agency principal, I understand that mindset, but I think they still, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot by not letting them do it or even helping them do, so. And that’s just one simple example.

– So it actually transition perfectly into my next question, which was around, what’s the minimum if you had a checklist that every agent should have as a minimum? So a website is one. Their own website is one.

– Look, I think having your own website is good. And there’s a couple reasons way beyond the obvious. So you have if you’re gonna run any advertising offline and or online, then it’s great to have a website that you can send people to that you have control over the process. Excuse me. So that’s first thing. And secondly, it’s a great way to build your profile and brand by publishing contain only whether it’s video or written stuff like blogs, for example. So it’s certainly that. And then, you know, the obvious thing, I would say everyone should have a Facebook page for themselves. And as a consequence of Facebook ad account. They’re kind of the minimums I would start with. I encourage agents to also have a Google ads account, but they don’t necessarily use that. That’s a whole different ballpark.

– Yeah, right. And what about would you suggest they look at things like LinkedIn? I know you’re on there and maybe like Instagram as well?

– So LinkedIn. I actually had this conversation with a guy yesterday or the day before. LinkedIn’s a great platform. But it’s B2B if you’re playing in the, And the most real estate agents in the B2C business to consumer market. So it’s gonna be really difficult for you to connect on there with people like that unless you’ve got a specific target audience that’s in the B2B space. So, you know, if you chose to be the agent that deals with, you know, IT managers, just as a wild example, then LinkedIn would be a good place to find them. Most people-

– Perhaps commercial real estate as well.

– Yeah, well, commercials, the one where you probably got a better choice though. A lot of people don’t do LinkedIn. Well, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t use it a lot. It’s not my favourite platform. But I know in the right circumstances, the right person with the right strategy can be very effective. And Instagram. Look, sure, I’ll set up an Instagram. I’m not a big Instagram user. I have to be honest. I don’t quote-unquote get it. I just find Facebook is a much better platform, but that’s a personal choice, and I know a lot of people use Instagram very successfully. So I certainly say, it’s free account. Set it up, link it to your Facebook page and your Facebook ad account and you can do stuff for with it.

– And you said it’s a whole ‘nother topic and maybe we could have a separate podcast on it. But in, I don’t know. As briefly as you can, what would be a strategy behind or how are people using the Google ads in real estate?

– So there’s. I guess there’s two sides to Google ads. And most people familiar with the side where you go to Google and do a search. So that’s called search ads. So it’s very easy for you to get your ad there If someone searches a real estate agent and your suburb name, for example, you can have your ad shot. Now easy to do. Expensive. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll get crucified by the big legion companies like Open Agent and those are the guys. But it’s certainly something anyone could set up pretty easily. But Google also has a separate side, which a lot of people don’t know about, called the Google Display Network. So often when you do up, you know, when you’re visiting other websites, you see banner ads all over the place. A lot of them are served from Google ads. So you can actually have branding type ads out there on other Web sites that literally people can see when they’re going around. You can even follow them around using remarketing or retargeting or as was we in the industry like to call it, online stalking. It’s still nothing creepy about that at all. So, you know, it can be a powerful tool if it’s used properly. I would have to say for an agent, if I had a choice between Google and Facebook, I’d go Facebook. At the moment, I think it has more flexibility and more options. But Google’s a powerful tool if you learn to use it properly.

– Gotcha. All right. So when it comes to creating content and posting, what’s some maybe, low hanging fruit or some ways that people can get started in the digital sort of marketing landscape? Does that make sense? What sort content can they be,

– Yeah.

– If they’re just getting started, what sort of content should they be posting?

– Sure. So probably easiest thing to start with is, there’s something I call the give to get investment. And what that means is find out the questions people have about buying and selling real estate in your market and answer those questions in, preferably videos is the easiest way to do it. Get your phone out and shoot a video and then publish it. So, like everyone buying, Everyone selling real estate has questions like, how much is my home with? When’s the best time to sell? What do I need to do to my home to increase the amount of money I make from it? How are you gonna get more buyers through the door? Literally, every agent could probably come up with one 100 questions over time. And shoot essentially Q&A type questions.

– Okay.

– Record them in video. You can publish the video on Facebook. You can publish it on YouTube so you can repurpose it. You can have the video transcribed very cheaply using a Web site called, Rev. That’s R-E-V dot com. And they cost one US dollar per audio minute of transcription. I’ll use them all the time. And then once you’ve got the transcription, you can then take that, go to your website and post the text as a blog post with the video at the top. So you got multiple ways you can create one piece of content and then repurpose it in multiple ways. And that’s a great way to get up there. And over time, put together 50 or 100 different types of pieces of content, answering questions people have. And then you can direct, If you’ve got your own website or even a YouTube channel, you can direct people day to check out that content. That’s a great way to brand yourself as being a useful and a helpful real estate agent, rather than someone who’s got a bad case of commission breath.

– Yeah. No, I like that. And and hopefully that helps get some conversation started, too. Some people might have following questions and you can start engaging in the community and all that sort of stuff.

– Absolutely. You know, here’s the thing. You look at this from a home seller’s policy, because most agents want people to sell at home, or they want a list with the agent. So know I don’t know what the stats are depending on where you are. But most people I hear say that people sell a home maybe once every 10 years, and that could be up to 10 now. So let’s say it’s 10 years just for round numbers, probably about nine years and then six months of that 10 years, they don’t give a damn about real estate. They’re not in the, I’m thinking of selling my home. I need to start thinking about this, researching, et cetera, et cetera. So what are you gonna tell them? What are you gonna give them that’s not just, hey, call me to get an appraisal on your property, or call me to list and sell your home or you know, or here’s my home open times and here’s what I listed and sold and here’s how much money I made from it? What are you gonna do in that other nine months, or nine years and six months?

– That’s a good point.

– So, you know, that’s I think that’s a big thing. And that’s something anybody. You don’t need to be anyone special to do that.

– We might’ve sort of talked her ended a little bit. What are some of the mistakes you see real estate agents making when it comes to posting online?

– Well, look, the first biggest mistake that just about all of them make, is they, It’s particularly on social media ’cause it’s it’s so easy to post on Facebook. So, you know, that’s the one that most people do. And also, most people don’t have a website. So the probably the biggest mistake they do is they only post their listings, their home opens and they sales results, and call me if you want to sell your home and I’ll give you a free appraisal. Like I said, nine months and six, nine years and six months out of the average 10 years or whatever it is, they don’t care about that stuff. So don’t talk to him about that, because all you’re doing is just getting in their face and annoying them. So, you know, I give them information that’s useful. I mentioned earlier Scott Lachmund from Richardson and Wrench. So he’s a perfect example of somebody who’s taken this to The Nth Degree. So he basically went out and started interviewing people in his community on video, just about community related stuff. So whether he was interviewing a shy counsellor about some special thing coming up, or a cancer survivor who has had a group going, or someone at the school that’s got a project or whatever. And he started publishing those videos initially on YouTube. He then built a website, a community website for Caboolture, which is And if you got a look at that site, Scott gets on average probably somewhere between 90 and 100,000 visitors a month to that Web site, which is massive. And I don’t think he spends any money on Google ads for that. It’s coming in organically from Google searches. So, you know, that’s a fantastic way to brand himself.

– Yeah, wow. Have you got any other examples, I suppose of? We touched on where people should have it, or should have as a minimum and what they should be doing as a minimum. But there’s one really good example from Scott. Have you got any other examples of what people can do to sort of, who are really upping the game?

– Look, there’s plenty out there, whether I can think of them. I know–

– You don’t to give names. But just in general, people who are. I don’t think there’s any sort of good marketing examples out there. Well, I know that in Queensland, there’s an agent by the name of Chris Gilmore who is very good at it. If you know Chris.

– Yeah, we know he’s some pretty close to where we are located, actually.

– Okay, cool

– A warehouse here.

– So you’ve probably seen all of his stuff on Facebook. So he’s pretty prolific in his publishing of content and videos and all that kind of stuff. So he’s a good example of someone who’s done a far better than average job. One of my clients here in Perth, Murray Wellington from Wellington and Bob Real Estate. Over time, I got him into the state of being able to, you know, get content out there. So like, FAQ style videos. I talked about earlier, we’ve done a lot of video sessions recorded them and we publish a lot of them quite regularly, mostly using Facebook to push them out to a bigger audience. So they’re just a couple of examples.

– Say if someone’s posting some regular content, helpful content, Q&A type content. Would you suggest then, and also repurposing it across the website, maybe a LinkedIn article with a transcription from R-E-F dot com on Facebook video. Would you suggest they then take it to another level and perhaps run ads to go to that content?

– Yes. See, here’s the thing. If you’ve got stuff on Facebook, anyone who’s got a Facebook page probably already knows that when you post something, if you’re lucky, one person or 10 people in the thousand might see it. So at one stage when Facebook first started, if you had fans of your page and you posted stuff, everybody saw it, and that was like, yay, free publicity. So Facebook slowly but steadily turned that down. And that’s, you’re pretty well now in a position with Facebook you gotta pay to play. So that means if your you’ve got content and you want to get it out to your audience, you have to spend money on ads. And it could be as little as, I think the smallest amount you can do is it’s either one or two dollars a day. For most clients, I say, look, if you can spend, you know, five or 10 bucks a day, just getting regular content out to your audience on an ongoing basis, that’s a good way to stay in front of your audience. And most agents work at a local level, so that its target an entire city. They may only need to target one or two suburbs, and a small budget will get through to a lot of those local things quite easily.

– Yeah, and it’s not. We do a bit of ads, and it’s not too difficult once you play around in ads manager to learn what you’re doing. And you can certainly, It can be complicated, but it can be pretty straightforward as well, once you’ve once you run ads.

– I think most agents still just use the phone and the boost button, which is fine. I mean, for on the run, it’s great. I tell people without intending to be rude about it, it’s kind of Facebook ads for dummies, but it’s a good tool to use only on the move. But the Facebook ads manager, which is the more advanced platform on a on Facebook, is much more powerful, gives you a lot more options. One of the things I’ve done over the past is trained agents in digital marketing. I used to teach at ReWa for about a year 1/2 doing that. So a lot of them came in, and a lot of them hadn’t even seen the ads manager before, didn’t know it existed. And by the end of that, they would be able to know how to set up an ad and choose a little targeting options they want. And whether they were promoting, get a free appraisal or hey, here’s my latest article about X. It’s still a great tool to get your message out there.

– Absolutely. What do you think is stopping people from posting more regularly?

– Well, the first thing I’ll say is posting more regularly is not necessarily the answer. Well, posting it all maybe.

– Yeah. So posting it all is. Look, I’m sure time has a factor there. Look, like I’m in the space. I’m of the mindset and I still struggle to find time to do stuff or at least to remember to do stuff. So I’d say that’s the biggest one. And then I think for other people it’s, it’s probably a case of what do I say? I don’t know what to say. I’ve put my home opens up. I put my listing results, I’ve put my sales results up and I told people if they want a free appraisal, call me. What else do I say? And that’s why I said, you know, sit down and write that list of 50 or 100 questions that people have. And the easiest way to find those questions, number one, look in your emails. Say you’ve got emails from clients and prospective clients. Put all the questions out, put it into a spreadsheet. Look in your phone and SMS for questions, and go to other agents in the office and say, what are the common questions people ask you? When you do home opens, what kind of questions do people ask you? Any time I have an agent I’m talking to about becoming a client, If I asked me a question that I hadn’t thought about before, write it down and then I will try and shoot a video or write a blog post later on. So if you get in the habit of looking for what people are asking, you and then creating content out of it, it can become a. Almost like anything. It’s a habit. You build muscle with repetition and habit and exercise. And it’s the same with content marketing. If you’re gonna do it’s just something you have to make time for and make it as quick and easy as possible. That’s why I love using the phone for just about everything. You can turn it on. You can shoot a 30 or 50 second video, send it live, done.

– Yeah. So that’s a good one. I appreciate that. And so, if someone was sort of wanting to learn more about you, your website is Yeah.

– So that’s, I guess my main site. And I also have a separate site that just launched in the last a couple of weeks. And that’s mostly for agents who are wanting to, wanting help to get seller leads, which is what they mostly want. So, you can check out

– That’s right. We’ll put those links in the podcast show notes and on the YouTube channel as well, if it’s up on YouTube. Just briefly, so what’s that all about, the leads business?

– Apart from leads.

– So look, as I said, I was a guest trainer at REIWA for about a year and a half, teaching agents about basic digital marketing, and I turned that into online course at REIWA’s request. And then at the last second, the government department that manages the CPD Points programme decided it wasn’t gonna get any points. So I had this course, and no one to sell it to at REIWA. So I basically started selling it around the country and discovered a lot of people like the course, but they didn’t have time to get in and learn it and put ads up. So what I’ve done now is I put together a package, where you can get the course and I’ll set up my best performing seller lead gen ad in your Facebook ad account, and a lead capture web page with it, so.

– I like it.

– Doing great things with it. I think we sold 20 of them in the last week, week 1/2.

– Well done. I like it.

– So, pretty exciting. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast there.

– No problem. And if anyone wants to reach out, is your website the best place or LinkedIn or Facebook?

– Probably just ring me or SMS me if you want.

– Give ’em a call.

– At 0412-799-688 That’s the easiest. I got too many places

– Perfect. around there.

– No, I understand. No problem at all. Well, thanks very much again, Eran.

– No worries, Cody. Nice to meet you, and all the best.

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