The Inman Connect #ICNY 2017 Recap!

Jan 21, 2017

Inman Connect in New York this year was their biggest one yet with approximately 4,000 attendees. Its busy and a lot of new speakers this year. The speakers were a combination of motivation, mindset, showing off research/data, and tactics. If you’ve followed my blog I’m more of a research/data and tactics type of guy.


It was a great event and here are some of the highlights I found that may be worth a read.


The Importance of Mobile & Video


We’ve been hearing for a while how important mobile and video is but now we actually had people from Google and Facebook there to talk about it. They, along with other speakers as well, shared some amazing information about mobile.


When marketers include video in an email the Click Through Rate (CTR) increases 200-300%. Are you using video in your email? BombBomb is a great tool for doing that. The CRM I use, AgileCRM, also has a built in feature similar to BombBomb now. Its newly released and I haven’t tried it too much yet so I’m not yet sure of the quality.


When using video email, using the word video in an email subject line can increase the open rate by 19%.


People are spending 3 hours a day on mobile and 62% check their phone at least 30 times a day. 50 minutes on average of that time is spent across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.


As Gary Vaynerchuk has said repeatedly, with the internet replacing Television as the go-to medium; platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc… are becoming the new CBS, NBC, Fox, etc… in the battle for attention. Right now Facebook is winning that battle but its still early.


Video ads are becoming even more important. 82% higher attention for a video ad viewed on a smartphone than TV with 79% lower distraction on a smartphone screen than on TV.


An interesting stat that Scott Shapiro from Facebook shared about people who are in the buying/selling phase of their life: People check into Facebook 16% more when they are in the moving process.


Bottom line from Scott Shapiro of Facebook


  • Mobile first world
  • real estate is a mobile first business
  • engage with expressive storytelling
  • use your data strategically
  • Experiment with effective ad units
  • Embrace prospective home buyers every step of the way


According to a speaker from Google, peoples path to purchase online of real estate is borderline unpredictable. 59% of people use Google searches when searching real estate. However, 85% of them did not have a brand in mind. This goes more to my theory that most of the value of a brand these days in real estate is subconscious and more in how the brand supports the agent. Not in how they present to the public.


One of the fastest growing search trends is “realtors near me” on mobile, its seeing exponential growth year over year. Have you tried searching “realtors near me” on your phone? Check it out and see.


An interesting development as well is not that desktop based Google searches are dying with the rise of mobile. Year over year desktop searches are actually increasing but they’ve plateaued and just not rising nearly as fast. Mobile is growing exponentially which has caused this misconception.


Confirming this too, Zillow reported that 2/3 of their site traffic on weekdays was mobile and on the weekends that goes up to 3/4. I think people need to stop looking at Zillow while at the office!


Working the Luxury Market


There was also a great presentation from @mayursky who works with a luxury suitcase company (you can find them at if you’re interested). He had some excellent insights into working in the luxury market.


The key is that you need to be able to tell stories. You want to inspire the people to follow their day dreams. The best brands don’t sell a product. They sell what they believe in. With luxury, the desirability is also directly related to the exclusivity. You need to be able to offer something exclusive.


It’s also not ok to provide an average customer experience, it has to be based on going above and beyond. You have to be willing to commit to doing that at every step. You need to think about every single little detail. A luxury buyer or seller has more options and freedom of choice usually and they are willing to use it.


The Future of the Internet


With thousands of apps and devices throughout the world the internet is becoming a noisy place. This noise can cause people to get overwhelmed. That’s why the next step in the future of the internet is what’s being called “The Internet of Me”.


This is where the programs you use all talk to each other and essentially become your assistant. Imagine this scenario: You have a morning meeting on the other side of town. Your phone, noticing it in your calendar sends you an notification “Hi Andrew, we see your meeting is at 123 Main Street at 9am this morning, would you like us to pre-order your usual Starbucks order at the location near there?” Then, as you get into your car Waze automatically sends you on the best route. As you start driving it notices that there is traffic and now you are going to be 20 minutes late. Now Starbucks will automatically be updated as to your arrival time so your pre-ordered beverage will be hot when you get there and everyone in the meeting you’re having will automatically be notified of your new arrival time due to traffic.


That’s the internet of me. It’s personal. Its helpful. It’s what is going to be the future of internet. Now the internet of me would never replace an agent, what the internet of me will mean is that agents will eventually need to up their knowledge of technology. Homes are going to become smarter. As more of a home is controlled by smart technology, and clients lives are helped run by it, you’ll need to know how it works.


Zillow Did Good


Zillow did what individual agents can’t do easily. They do a true consumer housing trends report to understand people’s behaviour. They polled over 13,000 people to understand the trends in buyers and sellers. Note: Since many of my readers are Canadian, all these stats are US based but many of these trends in US are just as relevant here.


They were able to find some interesting insights,  some of which were actually surprising.


  • People born after 1980 are almost equally as likely to find an agent online vs via referral (31% to 29%). This number is only going to increase over time.
  • Nearly half of all buyers are Millenials
  • On the topic of Millenials, just like their marrying and having kids later in life, they are buying later in life as well. Often even skipping the starter home phase and going straight to their forever home.
  • 62% of millennial considered multiple agents while older generations only 32% considered multiple agents.
  • 41% of buyers are moving to a different city or state.
  • 63% of sellers are first time seller’s. This presents an incredible opportunity to create content to teach people how the process works.


They also found out what the top seller regrets were from when they sold their house. This is incredible insight into what to create in terms of providing great content and improving service. The top 3 regrets were:


    • Not starting to prepare their home for sale earlier
    • Taken more time to find a new home
    • Moved into new home faster


The top 3 things that mattered the most when it came to hiring an agent were:


  • Responsiveness
    • Trustworthy
    • Local Market Knowledge


Get your own copy of the report at


It’s Not Just the Sessions


As always, a lot of the true value out there was done via “lobbycon” which is the practice of drinking in the lobby and talking to fellow attendees. The lobbycon once again proved to be vary valuable.


Seth Price, the speaker, marketer, and soon to be author extraordinaire as always proved once again he’s a marketing genius and all around nice guy. Spending a lot of time sharing his knowledge freely over a glass of wine. He has a new book coming out called The Road to Recognition and its all about building your personal brand. It highlights so many ways you can do that. We talked about all the ways you can build your brand from blogging, podcasting, video, Facebook, and so many other methods available. Seth has studied it extensively and while you don’t need to do all of them, all the successful brands do several of them and do them really well! Once his book comes out stay tuned, I’ll be buying several copies and giving them away.



Another great time was talking with Gary Ashton of RE/MAX Advantage in Nashville, Tennessee. He generates 60-80/leads a day through his websites and he recently launched and it will be interesting to see how that progresses. Gary is also the Official REALTOR of the Tennessee Titans. At every home game he does a big tailgate party. One recent initiative he added to the Tailgate experience was Tagger the Bear, his new mascot. He’s been a success at the Tailgate parties and people can take pictures with Tagger and tag themselves to potentially win tickets to future Titans games. Gary also bought a pair of Snaptacles so make sure to follow him on Snapchat to see what he gets up to with them.


An agent on a panel also shared a good idea. Curate your Instagram gallery. Go back and delete old photos to make your profile look how you want it. Control the images that paint the picture you want of your business. Not every photo needs to stay!


A few Random Tech Tips from the Conference


  • Go on the app store and install the GBOARD keyboard on your phone. Great tool.
  • – Gets captions on your videos. This is incredibly important for Facebook video where 70%+ of videos are watched without sound.
  • – Syncs with your calendar and sends you research on people you are meeting with. I use this and while its not perfect it does help from time to time.
  • – make photos go from day to dusk. Very affordable and apparently has a great turnaround time.


As always, one of the issues with these conferences in the USA is that much of the technology either doesn’t work in Canada or has dropped a lot of functionality out of the program. We need a Canadian version of Inman that also showcases providers that offer full functionality in Canada!


One of the big things this year too is talking about seller leads. Buyer leads online are becoming easier and easier to get but as most markets are seller markets everyone wants more listings. BostonLogic, a data company in the USA, says that their research has found that on average the seller lead incubation period is a whopping 24 months which shows the importance of a good follow up strategy.


Overall, the Inman Connect conference was great. A lot to be learned and even this is only just a scratching the surface of the information available. I’m only one person and couldn’t attend all the sessions. Maybe next year I’ll have to bring some people with me and make sure we get every session covered!


If you are attending one of these conferences I definitely recommend spending a lot of time outside of the sessions as well interacting with the people who are attending. You can often learn just as much in these little conversations as you do in the big sessions.


Until next time!



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