August 2nd, 2016 marked the first day of Inman Connect SF 2016, and a monumental shift for the KoaWare team. We embarked on a journey up the coast to San Francisco to not just walk the show as we had intended, but snatch a coveted tech demo space 10 days prior to the conference. Saying we perfected the prep time scramble is an understatement. But as we set up for Day 1, we were filled with positivity, excitement, and energy as our pitch came tumbling out of our mouths. The week long conference was an opportunity for us to learn, educate, and connect, and we walked away with truly valuable insights.
1.Let’s Go All In. That was our mantra when signing up for a booth, well, in our case, a table. We’ve been working hard to offer cutting edge, innovative software to make your lives easier; and while many of you know us for our Property Website creation tool, we have much bigger things in the works! We’ve been working fast and furiously to improve our current website builder, while working on future innovations to be released this fall. Inman was a way for us to go all in on a pre-launch and not only introduce our Brand and company on a bigger scale, but also gather valuable feedback on our platform.
2.Tell Your Story. You are a story teller. Write, share, create, and tell your story – everywhere. Every product we develop is with the intention for it to be a storytelling tool. Every property, listing, company, Brand, and person has a story to tell – and in most cases, it’s up to you to create it, and find a way to showcase it in the best way possible. Gary Vaynerchuk unsurprisingly proved to be the takeaway keynote (watch here), emphasizing the fact that each and every one of us is a Media Company. Every agent, broker, small agency, big brokerage – everyone – needs to and should be curating their own content. “Be the Mayor of your town.”
A lot of people ask us about SEO, and how to improve standings, and while behind-the-scenes optimizations are important, our go-to answer is always: create original content.
Is there an art walk in your town? Share the details, do a livestream, and a write a recap. Is your listing near a great new restaurant? Hello instagram foodie shots. Write a review, interview the chef, plug the restaurant and you may get some social love in return. Show who you are and what you represent – and if your story isn’t obvious, dig deep and create it.
3.Solve a Problem. Throughout the week we spoke to hundreds of agents/brokers/techies, walked the show to see and learn about other companies, and were even able to catch a few panels and keynotes. In today’s tech landscape, innovation and the constantly evolving improvements are happening faster, more often, and in a bigger way. In an information driven world, many tech companies find themselves firing off the deepening list of features & benefits and sometimes, can get carried away in the details.
A valuable lesson we honed in on, was solely starting with the problem we seek to solve:
“Why are we expected to spend time and money building and re-building a website every few years, when by the time it’s completed it’s already outdated? Future proof your website with KoaWare, and grow with digital trends in real time.”
4.Listen & Connect. KoaWare is a tech company…plus a million other things. It’s hard work, entrepreneurial, real people, idealists, innovators, happy hour enthusiasts, surfers, change makers, listeners, connectivity specialists. Inman was a way for Alex and I to tell our story, and hear yours. It was important for us to shake every hand, learn names, listen when people spoke – and I mean, actually listen! How can we better ourselves, our brand, our company, if we don’t open up to other people’s stories, needs, and wants? We were thrilled to hear our audience’s thoughts and general reactions, and we are so excited for what’s to come.
4.Challenge Yourself with Technology. Building your business is no easy feat; there’s no short cut or easy way out to achieving your true goals. We are all forced to grow and adapt to change, trends, and new technologies. Yes, change is hard, change is scary, but it’s time to stop fighting it. One of my favorite quotes of the week, again was when Gary V said that “I didn’t grow up with this stuff” is the sorriest excuse we can make. Or as he eloquently put it, “You didn’t grow up driving and you figured that out!” Just because something is new, and may take time to learn or understand, does not mean “it’s too hard”, time to walk away! Be open to new tech, embrace learning, and throw away the excuses you don’t have time – make time. We can all find 15 minutes in a day to watch a youtube video, read reviews or how-to’s, and try something new.
So in conclusion, it’s only fitting to quote my main man Gary (I swear I’m not obsessed), who encouraged us all to ask ourselves, “What are you doing in the 2017 landscape to better your business and tell your story?” We’ll continue to do our best to tell ours, and help you share yours.
Get a sneak peek at our fall launch below, courtesy of Dan Smigrod at Matterport User Group forum & We Get Around. (And click around – it was shot on a 360˚ camera!)
Kristyn is Co-Founder/CMO of KoaWare, the most easy to use website builder for Real Estate Professionals. Kristyn and Founder/CEO, Alex Gustafson, work tirelessly and passionately to continually innovate & improve the KoaWare platform.
Kristyn also founded 21 fish., a boutique marketing agency that helps brands make a splash through creative Brand Marketing strategies, and her passion project, Make Waves, a campaign to spread awareness and education about autism. She’s a fitness enthusiast, former-collegiate-swimmer, wannabe-chef, french-fry-obsessed, marketing nerd, and relapsed workaholic who can usually be found in a bikini.
You are a Brand.
Everything you do contributes to your Brand Image, Brand Quality, and Brand Personality, with a capital B. Real Estate Agents fall into the mindset that they