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Realtors Employ RSS Feeds to Sell Homes
By S. Housley

Daily more and more realtors are turning to RSS as a tool to
market homes for sale. The growing RSS phenomenon in the
realty market makes perfect sense. Unlike email RSS feeds
have a 100% delivery rate. In addition the costs involved in
creating and managing an RSS feed are insignificant when
compared to the print advertising Realtors spend on each
week. Imagine the amount spent each week to promote various
properties in circulars and weekly newspapers, compared to
the costs associated with updating and managing an RSS
feed.

How it Works:

1. Create Specific Feeds.
Create RSS feeds of homes for sale in a specific town or zip
code. Another consideration is to create an RSS feed based
on the home cost or create a feed of scheduled Open Houses
in a specific region. RSS feeds can be created manually
using a text editor. 

A step by step guide is available at
http://www.make-rss-feeds.com or software specifically for
RSS feed creation can be used.The realtor publishing the RSS
feed controls what information is syndicated in the RSS
feed, so ultimately it is the realtor's decision as to
whether to include teaser copy or full articles. Generally
most Realtors use copy similar to those in print ads to
attract the home-buyers attention.

Once you have constructed an RSS feed, you will need to
transfer the feed to your server. This can be done using a
standard FTP client (if it is not built into the feed
creation software). The feed is usually placed in the
domain's root directory like this:
http://www.mydomain.com/nameoffeed.xml or a subdirectory
like this http://www.mydomain.com/rss/nameoffeed.xml

2. Promote the Feed.
Once you have an RSS feed you will need to promote the feed
on the realty company website, submit the feed to the
numerous RSS feed directories and tell customers about the
availability of the RSS feeds. 

In order to signal to website visitors that an RSS feed
containing content related to the website is available,
include a colorful graphic on the website. Realtors can
customize RSS feed buttons by selecting the text on the
button and the color scheme of the button. Once the color
and text is entered, a custom graphic is instantly created.
Webmasters can easily match the style of the RSS button to a
website's theme.

Create custom RSS buttons -
http://www.feedforall.com/public/rss-graphic-tool.htm Many
website visitors who have RSS readers/aggregators installed
will automatically detect an RSS feed on the website if you
add a small portion of text to the header field of your web
page. Use the following format to assist RSS readers in
auto-detecting the location of the RSS feed.

[link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS"
href="http://www.yourdomain.com/rss.xml"]Replace the
brackets [] with less than and greater then symbols <> and
replace http://www.yourdomain.com/rss.xml with the URL to
the RSS feed.

In order to increase exposure of a realty RSS feed, Realtors
should submit the feeds to RSS search engines and
directories. This can be done manually. Just as you would
submit the URL of a website or web page to a search engine,
or you can use software to automate the process. There is a
large list of RSS directories at
http://www.rss-specifications.com/rss-submission.htm . If
you prefer to automate the submission process, consider
evaluating RSS Submit available from:
http://www.dummysoftware.com/rsssubmit.html

3. Update the Feed.
Update the RSS feed(s) daily or weekly by adding a new feed
item, as new properties are made available. Repost feed
items for any properties that have experienced a price
change. 

4. RSS Feed Tips.
In order to maximize the benefit of marketing using RSS be
sure to include the realty company phone number or link to
the website in the description of the feed, so that any
prospective buyers will call the appropriate office to
receive additional details, or schedule a viewing. Include
images of the home in the RSS feed's description, so that
the property will attract the viewer visually. Highlight
different homes each week or emphasize different property
features each time a property is listed.

It is also suggested that Realtors communicate success
stories by letting prospective buyers know when homes are
under-contract but still on the market, or communicate when
properties are sold and no longer available. The realty
market will benefit from RSS as a technology as it is a
natural fit for the Real Estate industry. 


About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing,
publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon
manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a
wireless text messaging software company.