It’s no secret that 2016 was a whirlwind year for the real estate market, for Canada, and the world it seemed.
In today’s article (the final Dojo article of the year) we’re giving you insight into our own Hurricane 2016. Followed by some sneak peeks at what’s in store for 2017!
Before we dive into the good stuff, let’s get this out of the way:
RealtyNinja Holiday Hours
RealtyNinja will be closed for the holidays as of 4:00 pm PST on Fri, December 23rd. We will re-open on Tue, January 3rd at 9:00 am PST.
We’ll continue to monitor support emails for emergencies during the break, so get your requests to us ASAP!
2016 Was On
Over the course of the past 12 months, we’ve seen some exciting growth at RealtyNinja.
On the development side, we kicked off the year by launching a few new updates to all RealtyNinja websites, including the “Request a Showing” call-to-action on listings, responsive email notifications, new editor functionality, virtual tour integration, and lots of SEO and speed improvements. Many of our updates throughout this year were under-the-hood tweaks, “micro-optimizations” we call them, that help make your website better by default and to pave the way for future development such as Katana – our new REALTOR® website theme engine. In fact, development on Katana began in Q1 2016 and we’re finally on the home stretch!
Nerd alert: For some of the more technically inclined agents out there… we dramatically decreased load times by upgrading our server to the latest technology available, implemented a new generation Content Delivery Network (Fastly CDN), updated all libraries to the latest versions, set up automatic image-compression to optimize load times (a big factor in SEO) and much more.
Software aside, we’ve also been working hard on improving the Ninja brand in general, as well as our value proposition to customers this year.
We’ve been blogging and reaching out to our mailing list every week with relevant modern marketing content for REALTORS® (practicing what we preach) and it’s been paying off. Traffic on our blog is up 500% compared to last year, and our mailing list has grown by almost a thousand subscribers.
In 2016 we released a total of six Freebie marketing downloads for real estate agents (open house invitations, business card templates, thank you cards, cover photos and more) created specifically for you by Roxanne our Design Ninja. We also released parts 1 and 2 of our free Ebook: The Modern REALTOR Marketing Survival Guide which has had over 500 downloads in the past 4 months!
One of the most exciting initiatives we launched in 2016 was the RealtyNinja Marketplace. By the end of 2017, it’s my personal objective to have filled The Marketplace with dozens of exclusive deals for RealtyNinja customers, across all categories.
Which leads us conveniently to our next topic…
2017 And Beyond
Since we launched over 6 years ago, we’ve gone through many iterations of what RealtyNinja is. Are we a website software company? Are we a full-service marketing company? We’ve often debated offering everything in-house, and becoming the one-stop-shop for the Canadian real estate agent’s every modern marketing need. Earlier this year we even offered branding and graphic design services as a first step towards creating other Ninja-branded products and services such as our own CRM platform, analytics, PPC (paid ads), content writing, SEO services and so on.
The modern software industry (see: SaaS) is shifting in the direction of unbundling the services they offer, instead focusing where they’re true experts and integrating with other true experts. Competition is so fierce in the online software industry these days, and it has forced companies around the globe to focus on one core competency rather than providing a suite of mediocre solutions. The old 80/20 rule… One of the company’s apps is providing most of their value, so they focus all efforts on that app making it the best of it’s kind.
Instead of attempting to provide the absolute best real estate websites as well as the absolute best CRM, the best analytics, etc. we’ve decided to focus all of our attention on creating the BEST real estate website platform, and integrating with all of the other BEST-IN-CLASS software and services that real estate agents use to manage and grow their business.
We don’t want to be a jack of all trades, but a master of none. We want to focus entirely on building important real estate agent website features and not spend months trying to make a website analytics system that’s better than Google’s. Google has already spent millions to make the best one out there, its free and we can easily integrate with it. The same goes for CRM and so on.
With that being said, we also understand that most real estate agents just want someone to handle their marketing entirely – you don’t really care about the nuances, you just want results. I hear the words “I just want you guys to take care of all of it” so often. I hear you loud and clear.
Starting in 2017, two major RealtyNinja evolutions are going to take firm hold. Their purpose:
- Provide customers with the very best integrated REALTOR® website solution in Canada
- Connect agents with the best marketing services and tools that will help you thrive
One of these evolutions we mentioned earlier, The RealtyNinja Marketplace, is a brand new member-benefits program for our customers, which provides our Ninjas with deals and discounts on awesome services they love and use already. Rather than providing SEO services ourselves, we’re partnering with the best search engine optimization companies out there. Rather than offering design services in-house, we’re connecting with some of the most talented design firms and indie designers in the country.
We encourage you to still ask us for any modern marketing service your business needs and we’ll do our best to find you the best solution available. The Marketplace will hook you up with the 3rd party services you need, while we focus on finishing Katana and building even better features and tools your website needs to stay ahead of the game.
Before We Say Farewell
Before us Ninjas go into a brief winter hibernation, I’d like to leave you with an important message. That message is simply, THANKS. I could go on for pages expressing our gratitude to the people who help make RealtyNinja awesome every day. Our world class customers, amazing 3rd party companies we work with, modern real estate brokerages who help us, our families, friends, pets & spouses, the real estate boards across Canada, and more.
You have all been pivotal to the success and growth of RealtyNinja, and we’re so beyond grateful to you every day that we arrive at work. We can’t wait to produce awesome results for you, because you’ve produced awesome results for us over the years. You are so important to us, and we want you to know that. So again, Thanks. No really, thank you for everything over the last six years.
And thank you in advance for everything over the next six!!
Happy Holidays, and see you in 2017, Ninjas!