8 Things I Want To Learn At REBCPHX

Phoenix Real Estate BarCamp is just around the corner, and the emails of support I’m receiving from our growing list of attendees has got me fired up for what I believe will be our best event yet.

With the focus this year on “getting back to the basics” of real industry professionals brainstorming and networking, I wanted to share a guest post that outlines some possible topics for conversations that potential group discussion leaders might consider preparing for.

Las Vegas Real Estate agent, Mark Madsen, packed a ton of valuable links into the following article in order to help lay a comprehensive foundation for his bullets, as well as to give any social media novices an opportunity to do a little research before we all meet.

8 Killer RE BarCamp Conversation Ideas:

Since I’ve only been given a 72 hour pass from my daddy day care duties to hang out in Phoenix with some of the brightest bloggers this industry has to offer, I prepared a list of the top eight things I want to learn more about while at REBCPHX.

This will be my third Real Estate Bar Camp, and it’s been exciting to watch the movement evolve from the first REBC I attended a few years ago in San Francisco.

My favorite aspect of the REBC un-conference style is that all attendees are responsible for the ultimate success or failure of the content provided.

However, since time and gas are not cheap these days, I thought I’d prime the pump a little by offering a few suggestions for conversations that I would gain the most value from.

My perfect REBCPHX 2011 experience would be more along the lines of a REFooCamp prepared for a real estate social media manager.

Not in any particular order:

1. Facebook Security –

My wife called me at the office in a panic a few weeks ago because she received a message from one of her friends on Facebook about the HTTPS security settings. Sure enough, after logging in to her account, it appears that eight people from different IP addresses all over the world had been snooping through her stuff.

And, after reading Mike Mueller’s post about our personal lists being exposed, I pretty much locked everything down on my Facebook settings so that my own mother isn’t even able to see the recent photos of our new twin daughters.

If somebody “in the know” at REBC could show me what I need to pay attention to, I’d love to put together a public service announcement, on company letterhead of course, and email / mail the professionally designed update to our clients and business partners.

Agents talk a lot about connecting with clients on social networks, so maybe this will give us a valuable reason to invite our family and friends over to the company fan page once they’ve updated their security settings on Facebook.

2. Managing Multiple Twitter Conversations –

While Gahlord Dewald is talking about the importance of listening vs engaging, I’m in the process of canceling out the noise that overwhelms me on Twitter.

However, I would probably be better at following a local target audience if I understood how to leverage specific social media monitoring tools.

The next step, from a productivity and time management perspective, would be knowing how to measure the results of my Twitter activities.

3. Real Estate IDX Best Practices -

The forced registration debate has been going on for years, and we can save the purpose driven blogging conversation for another group discussion.

What I really care about is how to maximize my hyper-local SEO efforts using an IDX plugin to direct a lazer focused target audience to my registration page.

Steve Jobs said it best, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

So, if a buyer doesn’t register on my site, it’s hard for me to reach out and and help them personalize their listing and neighborhood real estate search experience.

Or maybe, the best strategy would be to simply show my visitors how to actually use our technology to customize their own criteria.

4. Designing Killer Contact Forms And Auto-responders -

In my experience marketing to buyers, sellers and borrowers over the past five years, someone who is motivated to do business with me will either look for a phone number on the site or fill out a contact form.

Designing a contact form that actually works is an art form that the graphically challenged agents can simply hire out.

However, setting up an auto-responder to trigger based on specific sales activity, knowing the best times to send emails and understanding how to properly segment lists is a perfect conversation for REBC.

Not to mention, there’s also a routine contact form checkup system that most of us forget about.

5. Anti-Spam WordPress Comment Plugins That Drive Traffic –

Building a real estate blog that encourages “Good Karma” from its readers is challenging, especially with all of the spammers that overrun our comment moderation panel.

I’m noticing more and more lately that my track backs aren’t even acknowledged by other bloggers, mainly due to the fact that they’ve probably given up at even monitoring inbound links.

What I’m the most interested in at this point is learning how the Facebook comment and social plugins will create opportunities for bloggers to attract new readers, as well as expand their conversations to other social network platforms.

As a content creator, I’d like to help empower the curators with an easier way of sharing my info within their own communities.

6. Real Estate & Mortgage WordPress Plugins –

What are the top 5-10 mandatory plugins that will help my blog kick ass in the search engines, provide more value for my clients and give me a competitive advantage?

Not a widget that links back to a monster competitor’s site, or an iframe that looks cool…. but a real estate plugin built for WordPress that the non-geek agents in my market won’t understand the significance of.

This is probably opening the door for a vendor or two, but I’m cool with paying for something that will give me a #winning edge.

An important topic for this conversation would be to cover the technical issues that will more than likely break something on my site the next time there’s a WP upgrade.

Since I’m not savvy enough with WP development to know how to troubleshoot most of basics, it would be awesome to share some war stories with other agents who have also lost hundreds of hours bumping around forums trying to solve minor css or php issues.

7. Google Places And Client Reviews –

Our Las Vegas Property Management page dropped 7 spots on page one as soon as Google started displaying local listings.

Ouch! Google evolved, and we weren’t ready.

So, besides getting on Yelp, how many other client review tools and strategies do we have to master to use the recent changes to Google’s SERP to our advantage?

With so much to read about local SEM, I’m hoping to meet a few agents that have created an efficient system for getting client reviews and testimonials to work for them on the web.

8. Real Estate SEO and Keyword Research –

2010 was a busy year in SEO, especially with the most recent Panda update.

It’s always interesting to hear how our real estate blog contributors conduct their basic keyword research to determine the best anchor text to use for their link building strategies.

But, do the big trophy phrases really pay the bills, or do the long-tail niche articles do most of the heavy lifting for online lead gen?

I guess it boils down to your systems for analyzing SEO and ROI.

Either way, I’ve heard people talk about getting on page one of Google, but I’d love to have a private “transparent” conversation with a few other agents who are supporting an office with their blogging efforts.

Let’s compare traffic to conversions and come up with a few real numbers that can be used to measure our performance goals.

Bonus – QR Codes, And Other Social Media Marketing Ideas That #Fail

I can’t think of a more selfless act of giving back to the real estate blogging community than saving others from making the same mistakes that nearly cost you your business, house, car, spouse….

If you’ve invested your time and money over the past year on a web marketing strategy that turned out to be an utter failure, please share.

Even Google embraces failure, and tries to move through it as quickly as possible.

I’ve had plenty of disasters online. Some had to do with my approach, the market, a change in technology or simply being stubborn.

I saved this top for the end of my list because it’s probably a better conversation to have with a group of people at the real bar after the event.


  1. Mark, this is a killer list of things most of us need to know……and then implement. I’m very interested in the IDX best practices for a wordpress site and email list building email strategies. Would love to know the best way to convert a person who signed up to view homes into a closed transaction 2-3 months later.

    I look forward to your follow up post on what you learn. now I need to go click on the 32 links you embedded…..thanks a lot!

  2. Whoah.

    This is an impressive list of stuff to learn all in one day.

    And I can’t think of any place where it would be more possible to learn it all in one day than REBC Phoenix.

    See you soon.


  3. That’s a big wish list. I have no doubt you’re going to be able to gather a lot of that information. The only question is how quickly will you share the knowledge with the rest of us.

    I’d really like to learn about: #4,5,6. I think #4 is really the key to the new reality as more and more people are looking for information 6 months or more before making a decision to purchase. Right along those lines is as the demographics change less people are opening emails and counting on facebook/twitter for the bulk of their information/communication.

    With Twitter you’re definitely going in the right direction with HootSuite. The best part is the integration with multiple different social platforms and the ability to do a team account.

    While Indianapolis has two REBar Camps both weren’t truly in the spirit unconfrence style they were meant to be, more of a presentations with questions and some input. They were both great and I learned a lot, but I’d like to see the next one really go completely unconfrence.

    Looing forward to hearing what you learn this year.


  4. REBCPHX was a blast! As expected. Lots of great info, great people and great Brisket!!!

    Thanks to all the volunteers who work so hard making this event so great.

  5. Tylor More says:

    This was a great and creative day! A lot of good ideas and helpful hints for the Real Estate community. Now that it is over, its time to implement.
    I’ve done my first video marketing series inspired by this event.
    Check it out and let me know your thought or need help or ideas.
    I’d be glad to help and assist.
    To all our success.

  6. The Nashville reBarCamp is in two days. I’ll keep these topics on my radar. Great list BTW. Did you glean any important answers to any of these questions?

  7. Gahlord says:

    Hey Jay:

    Noise cancellation plus location specific twitter use instructions can be found at the bottom of this post:


  8. Mark Gridley says:

    Do we have a date for the next REbar camp yet? Keep me posted!

  9. We’ll be in town in 2012 for a property management convention. When is the next RE Bar camp for 2012? It would be great to attend both.

  10. The more SEO ideas the better! Looking forward to it.


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