Real Estate Site Educates Its Clients

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PrivateCommunities.com, a site that generates leads for master-planned and gated communities, has taken it upon itself to educate its clients about Internet marketing through a print newsletter that will be mailed next month.


The site functions as a middleman for the upscale real estate community. A potential buyer can provide information at the site about the type of home he is seeking. PrivateCommunities.com e-mails the leads to the appropriate real estate developers.


The site discovered that several developers did not know how to use e-mail. "Some would send the e-mails back to us, instead of [to] people who inquired about the property," said Cathy Norvell, director of administration and research at PrivateCommunities.com, Vero Beach, FL.


"These are hard-core real estate leads. Most clients would specifically state they want a home in the $400,000 to $600,000 range. They know what part of the country they want to live in. They've done their homework. You have to take good care of clients like that if you want to make a sale."


Norvell also found that some responses from developers contained terrible mistakes. "What was really disheartening was to see clients inadvertently misspell a name," she said. "They had trouble with some of the basic things. They'd tell them to go to a link when the person sent their phone number."


Additionally, some clients had begun to create their own sites, which also contained basic errors.


"Some had put so many graphics on the page that it was so slow. No one's going to wait around for it to load," Norvell said.


PrivateCommunities.com's print newsletter will educate roughly 1,500 marketing, sales and technical people as well as members of agencies that represent the communities. The newsletter includes basic and advanced information ranging from "10 Secrets of Successful Web Sites" to "Reader Friendliness and Usability Assessment of Your Web Site." The frequency of the mailings will depend upon reader response.


The newsletter "takes the mystery out of basic information," Norvell said. "There's something for everyone."


Norvell believes the site's efforts will draw new clients. "When we do pursue other communities, they can see we know what we're doing," she said.


PrivateCommunities.com appeals to home buyers age 40 and older.
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