This was my second Inman Connect, my first in New York and WOW, WHAT A WEEK! I met so many new friends, reconnected with old ones and paved the way for new opportunities. In case you have never been to Inman Connect, I will tell you what it is like . . . It’s a four day conference held twice a year: once in New York City and once in San Francisco. Everything from how to run a successful team to what tech will be like in real estate in five years is covered. Each day, there is a general session in the morning, breakout sessions and learning labs in the afternoon and happy hours, dinners and cocktail parties in the evening. IT IS NON STOP. The name of the conference truly reflects what it’s about. The connections you make are priceless. Everyone is eager and willing to help you meet who you want to meet or if you aren’t sure, they will help you figure it out. Now that I am home and able to review my notes, I wanted to share what stuck out the most.

Video was mentioned a LOT, especially Facebook Live. Videos, live or not, have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts. And if it is LIVE, people spend three times longer watching video live versus when it’s not live. Steve Pacinelli, Chief Marketing Officer at BombBomb, did an excellent learning lab on video marketing. He spoke about sending a quick video to a lead instead of a text or an email. If you have access to who has visited your website, record a 20 second video thanking them for visiting and letting them know that you’re here if they need anything but if they don’t need anything, feel free to visit the site anytime. The more “off the cuff”, the better. It makes you relatable and approachable. Do not worry about being perfect!

Virtual Reality was another thing that was talked about. I will admit, I was totally lost during the first talk. I do not understand VR and when I do not understand something, I tend to zone out. But when it came up again, I forced myself to pay attention because I started to see how VR could be a tool that has the potential to make an agent stand out. And, when you can stand out, you WILL win more clients. That’s a fact. Picture this, if your clients are going out of town or do not live here, you could give them your VR headset and show property to them, in a much more unique way than Facetime, while they are out of town. All you need to make VR “happen” is a VR headset, which you can get for as little as $79.00, and a smartphone. Talk about standing out from the competition. My marketing wheels are turning big time with all the possibilities of advertising to and attracting overseas buyers just because you have a $79.00 VR headset. I know, I know, this is too much. But honestly, the more AHEAD of the tech game you are, the MORE clients you will attract. So WHY NOT give it a try? I think it’s a game changer.

Next up is retargeting. Retargeting is a form of online targeted advertising by which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous internet actions. Do you ever wonder how the boots you looked at online show up on the right side of your Facebook feed? That is retargeting. How can YOU use this to attract clients? It starts with having killer content on your website. Whether that is videos about the DC area or a blog post about family friendly events in Alexandria or Gaithersburg, it has to be compelling content. You can push that content out to social media and then retarget the people that click on your post. Another thing you could do is do a post for homes for sale in Fairfax County within $400,000 and $500,000 and retarget an ad to the people that click on that. If someone click on a post about homes for sale in a certain area in a certain price range, chances are they are (or will be very soon) interested in making a move. By taking that data and using it to advertise YOUR SERVICES in a subtle way, you will convert more people from Facebook to clients. This is a little above my head but I am committed to figuring it out and doing it. That is how I have done everything else so I am up for the challenge! Who’s with me?

Another takeaway has to do with the handy dandy database. We all have one. We all need to clean it up and we ALL should be utilizing it MUCH BETTER, right? Rivers Pearce from BoomTown gave an amazing talk at a Learning Lab sponsored by DotLoop about the rebirth of the database in an audience centric world. He said you need three basic categories: people you’ve done business with, people you are currently working with and people you want to work with. He said the way we contact people in our database is CHANGING BIG TIME. The days of direct mail and geofarming are over. Your focus should be on SMART digital marketing, creating hyper local content, having a mobile friendly website and engaging social media posts. Many people are still responding to texts and emails but that will change soon as well.

Last but not least, I was inspired. Kala Lous and Valerie Garcia both gave fantastic talks. Kala is the Founder and CEO of JK Realty in Arizona. She is a visionary and a forward thinker. Her hard work and positivity has led to a very successful brokerage. Valerie Garcia is the Director of Training for the North American operations of RE/MAX Integra. She encouraged us to choose to give up what you know (because it’s comfortable and safe), be a disrupter (you can do it!), be willing to be seen (don’t deprive the world of your awesomeness!), be willing to ask for help (no one knows everything), overcome fear with practice and make bravery an employee benefit. WOW!

I hope you will consider attending the next Inman Connect Conference. Here is a link to get your tickets. The sooner you buy them, the cheaper they are:

About the author:

kara-best-picKara Macdonald is the Vice President of Pruitt Title, LLC, an independent, woman owned title insurance company licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia with offices in Tyson’s Corner and Rockville. She can be reached at 571-432-9382 or via email at

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