The agent’s guide to acronyms you should read ASAP

Real Estate Agent's Guide to Marketing and Business Acronyms

Have you ever been in a webinar about a cool new marketing solution and suddenly heard an acronym you’re completely unfamiliar with? Before you know it, you’re lost in a sea of letters, but you don’t want to be the one to ask for an explanation and seem out of touch. First, let me say I’m a firm believer that there are no stupid questions, as long as they’re sincere. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve asked a few in my day that received immediate responses of “Are you serious?” To which I slowly reply “No…just kidding,” and then immediately go type my question into Google, who never gives me such condescending looks.

In today’s fast-paced digital marketing technology typhoon, there are sure to be times when you hear a new acronym that stops you in your tracks. So, I’ve put together a list of marketing, sales, technology, and real estate acronyms with quick explanations and links to more information that I hope you’ll find helpful. Some of them you’re sure to know, but maybe someone else isn’t.

Check it out, and hopefully next time someone says “Let’s look at the CTAs in your PPC ads to see if we can up your CTR and boost your ROI,” you can say, “Gladly!”

AVM – Automated Valuation Model – Ever heard of a Zestimate®? This is one example of an AVM: an estimated calculation of a property’s value by utilizing available information on the property and also comparing it with similar properties in the area. Of course, these are somewhat inherently inaccurate, since they rely on complex algorithms that can’t take all necessary factors into account. But, they really aren’t meant to be used as hard evidence for what a seller should list their house for, or what a buyer should offer. The problem is, many times buyers and sellers don’t know that. That’s why it’s so important for you to put your expertise to work in coming to the smartest list or offer price. Love ’em or hate ’em, AVMs are here to stay. It’s probably best to find ways to use them to your advantage.

CMA – Comparative Market Analysis – A CMA is a report that gives a seller information and context on how their property compares to the market. It usually includes things like comparable properties (expired, active, sold, and pending) recent sale prices, absorption rates, days on market statistics, and more. *Shameless plug*… Our free iPad app, RE:Focus Analytics, offers CMA publishing as one of its most popular features.

CMS – Content Management System – A CMS is simply a computer program, software, or application that allows users to intuitively publish, edit, and modify the creation of content on the web. Essentially, it’s a way to manage your website content without diving straight into the code and having to know programming language. Oh hey, we have something like that

CPC – Cost Per Click – CPC is a type of online advertising campaign in which you pay for each click your online advertisement receives. Different ad companies set CPC differently – for example, Google AdWords offers automatic bidding and manual bidding. Automatic bidding lets Google choose what fits within your daily budget, while manual bidding gives you more control over how your ad is displayed and who sees it. It’s sometimes used interchangeably with PPC (pay-per-click). While it’s possible for an agent to manage their own CPC/PPC campaigns, it’s probably best left to experts, unless you’re pretty tech savvy and have a lot of time on your hands to create campaigns, review performance, optimize ad copy, etc.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand – Wait, shouldn’t it be CPT? Well, the “M” in this case is for “mille” meaning 1,000 in Latin. This term is used when establishing the price of 1,000 impressions for an online advertisement. According to Google AdWords, this type of advertisement works best for companies seeking brand awareness. For companies whose main goal is sales or website traffic, CPC/PPC advertising makes more sense.

CR – Conversion Rate – A conversion can be a variety of customer actions, such as filling out a request information form or downloading an eBook. The conversion rate tracks the amount of conversions you receive for each click on your online advertisement. In real estate, a popular conversion rate measurement is lead conversion. If you buy 100 ads from Zillow, and you “convert” 25 of them to clients (whether buying or selling), your conversion rate for that lead source is 25%. Knowing your conversion rate is crucial to improving your marketing ROI and increasing revenue (check out Pipeline ROI).

CRM – Client (or “customer”) Relationship Manager – A CRM is a system to manage past and future customer interactions. A CRM allows businesses to track sales, marketing campaigns, and contacts with customers to establish the best strategy for reaching them effectively. A CRM essentially serves as the hub for all your business contacts, and helps you leverage those relationships more effectively.

CTA – Call To Action – A CTA is a compelling statement on your website, email campaign, or any other marketing piece that encourages readers to take action, such as calling you to discuss selling their house. A strong, effective CTA can be the difference between generating a lead, and letting someone slip off the hook. There are tons of studies out there about what kind of words work best in CTAs, what kinds of button colors get more clicks, etc. CTAs are a fascinating aspect of marketing, and it’s always a good idea to test different combinations of words, colors, and locations to see what works best with your target audience. Quick tip : Don’t use the word “Submit” on your lead capture forms. Instead, point out the value to the potential client. For example, use a button that says “Get my free market report.” Would you rather submit, or get something free?

CTR – Click-Through Rate – CTR is a gauge for measuring (partially) the success of an online ad campaign. This is generally measured as CTR = Total # of Clicks / Total # of Impressions. For example, if a banner ad is delivered 1,000 times and receives 10 clicks, the CTR is 1%.

ESP – E-mail Service Provider – This is a company that provides e-mail marketing, including services such as providing information and statistics regarding an e-mail campaign, like CTR. We actually provide an e-mail marketing solution for real estate agents called XSellerate, that helps you reach your sphere with timely, valuable messages. It also tracks ads sent, read, and sites visited so you know what campaigns are working and what aren’t.

GA – Google Analytics – This is a service offered by Google that provides statistics about a website’s traffic, such as number of page views, what actions visitors are taking on specific pages, where your traffic is coming from, and about a million other things. The possibilities are pretty much endless, but you might want to have a professional help you with this if you’re interested in looking at anything other than the basics. You can find out more here.

HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language is the standard language used in the creation of web pages. Web browsers read and translate the HTML codes into web pages. Of course, it’s just one of many programming languages used in web development, but this probably isn’t the place to get into that.

MLS – Multiple Listing Service – Let’s hope you know this one! An MLS in an organization that accumulates, organizes, and dissemenates information about homes for sale, listed by its members. Access to an MLS is restricted to agents and brokers who are appropriately licensed by their respective state. MLSs exist for many reasons and perform many functions, but at their core, are meant to facilitate efficient cooperation between many agents and brokers in the sale of properties.

PPC – Pay Per Click – This is the cost of running an advertisement based on the number of clicks it received. The basic formula is PPC = Advertising Cost / Number of Clicks. This term is also sometimes used interchangeably with CPC. PPC ads have gained more and more popularity, especially with real estate agents and brokers looking to generate more traffic to their websites, leads, etc. It can definitely be a viable alternative (or addition) to just buying leads from Zillow, Trulia, etc.

ROI – Return on Investment – ROI is a valuation on the efficiency of an investment based upon the total cost. Basically, what are you getting back from an investment you’ve made? The simple version of the “formula” would be ROI = (Gains – Cost) / Cost. Let’s look at a quick example. If you spend $2000 on leads from Trulia, and only one of those leads ends up closing, and after commission splits, you make $3,000, your ROI would be (3,000 – 2,000) / 2,000 = .5 or 50%. Of course, this simple example doesn’t factor in costs outside of money spent directly on the leads. To be more accurate, you’d have to take into account the amount of time you spent getting that lead to close, money spent on marketing the property, etc.

RT – Retweet – On Twitter, a “retweet” is a tweet that has been re-posted by a new user, and will also be displayed to that user’s followers. Increasing RT’s allows more people to see your tweets, potentially increasing your audience. Say you have 100 followers, but someone with 5,000 followers retweets one of your tweets. Your message now has potential to be seen by 5,100 people instead of just your 100. Retweeting others is also a good way to build social relationships and gain followers.

SEM – Search Engine Marketing – SEM is a type of internet marketing that utilizes SEO and PPC advertisements to increase a page’s search engine visibility.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization – SEO is a strategy used in SEM that is meant to increase a page’s search engine (usually Google) search rank. Generally, the higher a page ranks on Google, the more page views it receives. There are several strategies for optimizing SEO, such as using keywords in content, increasing the amount of links back to your page, and updating your content frequently. The Ghostwriter function on our XSites takes the hassle out of content updating. You can set Ghostwriter to automatically update your website’s content every 30, 60, or 90 days. This will increase SEO by showing the search engines you are keeping your website fresh. Check out our free eBook ” 5 Common sense SEO tips for your real estate website.”

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