“Whoopeee! Another realtor.”
Realtors are a dime a dozen at the moment. In the current economy, they face increasing pressure to perform and that requires differentiating. The current report of the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors presents the area as a buyers market with 1,965 listings lasting an average of 68 days on the market.
So, as a realtor how do you shine in this kind of market?
Differentiation. No matter what label you give it – unique selling position, elevator speech, or distinction – your difference separates you from the competition. Defining your difference means finding and highlighting the things interesting to your audience.
NOTE: This everyday question could and should be addressed by every business professional, not just realtors.
The realtor I referred to had a news release prepared for local papers. Now, the simple news release can work for nearly any company. I talk about the how of news releases frequently when I talk about online media rooms and I’m presenting a Lunch N Learn today for AIBA; participants leave with their own news release begun.
For realtors, the challenge of differentiation may seem overwhelming. Sally (her name is changed to protect the innocent)had significant homebuilding experience behind her. In speaking to her marketing tactics, I recommend she capture and highlight her expertise with a special page on Facebook. Sally had already begun a Facebook page.
Social media works if one works the media. (See my post of June 2, 2008 on LinkedIn.) Sally can post her news release on Facebook. She could invite connections from prospects. In this new phase of her career, Sally might ask homeowners with whom she worked previously to recommend her. She could also provide links to any media coverage of her award-winning homes.
Further, I suggest Sally write a special report using her expertise as a builder to offer prospects information they might not from other realtors:
- 10 structural things to look for in your next home
- 20 Insights to the Well-Built Used Home
If Sally can’t write such a report, she could hire it done from a ghost writer. I’m certain that her 20-plus years as a contractor and builder offer her plenty of stories and information that a professional could develop.
Once the Special Report is complete, she needs to build a prospect list of her own. One way to do that involves responding to email requests for the report; in addition she might offer it to prospects who gave her their contact information on Facebook, in the broker’s office, or at other places where she can post a flyer about her offering.
Her ultimate goal: become the expert, the go-to realtor in that arena. This approach would differentiate her from dozens of other realtors who don’t have the hands-on experience as a builder.
It’s not a get-rich quick scheme but then almost nothing is. This approach highlights a true difference and separates Sally from hundreds of other realtors. Now Sally can begin to influence future buyers.
How do you plan to highlight your difference?
Celebrate July Fourth with a Close Look at the Value of Sustainability!
What do John Adams and Thomas Jefferson have in common? Founders of the constitution, early Presidents of the U.S. and feuding friends, these two fiercely independent Americans stood proudly for their beliefs. Both died on July 4, Independence Day, a day marking the celebration of independence and independent businesses in communities across the country.
Organizations like Albuquerque Independent Business Alliance, AIBA, present opportunities to their membership for involvement and fellowship annually during “Independent’s” week
AIBA’s Indie Week 2008 urges businesses to be smart and think green in an effort to help make Albuquerque a sustainable leader. The celebration includes a fiesta at LEED Gold Certified Jefferson Green, the offices of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini .
Attendees will experience one of the leading examples of sustainable architecture in the country, discuss becoming a vendor with the City, learn more about alternative transportation, growing a water-wise garden, green considerations in remodeling your office, the “Great Streets” project, and why buying locally produced food makes a difference in our economy and food supply.
More importantly, independent businesses can combine their efforts to be part of an organization dedicated to nurturing and sustaining a value as American as they come: independence. Join the independents!
The success of marketing plans, in my opinion, comes from consistent and persistent adherence to a plan. And, the secret of planning lies in keeping it simple. Remember that acronym K.I.S.S.? Keep It Simple, Sweetie.
Because yet another association asked me about a marketing plan, I’m reviewing the “how-to” steps for a mini marketing plan that I refer to as Marketing 101:
- Pick three tactics. Three gives you a specific number on which to concentrate. It’s enough to allow for a mix and not so many as to get one mixed up. For a trade association, the marketing plan tactics might look like this:
a. Email notices to membership
b. Website – posting of updated information
c. Postcard/flyer/brochure – collateral materials for board members and other involved parties to use
- Once tactics have been identified, schedule a timeline for implementation, setting dates as far into the future as necessary to meet the goal.
a. For example, the trade association promotes an annual conference. Identify the weeks (by date) between now and conference and note what tactic (if any) will be used each week.
b. Define themes for the communiqués in order to create more impact. A repeated theme provides effective frequency – people have to hear something at least three times in order to get it and seven times in order to act upon it.
c. Note due dates by project parts: for instance, a flyer requires graphic production, then committee approval before it can go to press, so a “real” deadline might be 10 days in advance of the due date.
- Assign responsibilities for each tactic and begin to move your project forward. In other words, implement the plan.
One caveat: know there will be other opportunities, other tactics that beg to be incorporated. It’s possible to change and be successful, although not likely. In today’s world, there are simply too many variables. Instead, it’s KEY to move forward, based on a plan that works adequately. You can enhance, improve upon and revise your marketing plan at any time. Just don’t neglect, abandon, or abdicate without realizing your outcome will be severely impacted.
By the way, I can hear the hooting from my friends in the business who think that this is far too simplified …kindergarten, not marketing 101. Simple works, people. Could the K.I.S.S. Marketing Plan work for you?
“In 2007, 5 of the top 10 best-selling books in Japan were written on a mobile phone.”
–Brent Lewis, Director of digital commerce at publisher Harlequin
As seen in Fast Company, June 2008
How large were these books? My thumb hurts from texting a page, let alone a book.
Who edits these books? I’ve seen email I’ve texted. It’s not pretty. My editor has enough trouble with my regular writing.
What kind of phone are we talking about? The Verizon 6900 battery would probably last through chapter one!
Where are these people that they have to write on a phone? Isn’t it worth taking the computer? What about pen and paper?
Are these best-selling books being compose on the subway? at a restaurant? in a company meeting?
Is Harlequin getting this kind of demand for romance fiction?
Are authors this inspired that they can pound it out with best-selling style on a mobile phone? Puh-leeeeeze.
What am I missing? Is this some kind of trend I need to watch?
I’ll grant you one thing: I’m looking at Fast Company July with a whole different attitude.
“And they say marketing doesn’t work!” Dallas Nessleroad looked proudly around the room. As director of design and production for EXHIB-IT! Trade Show Experts, Dallas takes responsibility for the success or failure of events and this one got high marks for success. Dallas, Marketing Director Audrey Anderson and all EXHIB-IT! employees collaborated on the event. It showed.
Business professionals, dignitaries and customers networked, munched and roamed in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd proving against all odds, EXHIB-IT! conducted one of the best-attended re-grand openings of the month.
Lots of people repeated “Marketing works!” during the official ceremonies. Some of the things done well:
- E-marketing campaigns from EXHIB-IT! let customers know about the event.
- Announcements from alliance partners and sponsors were part of other newsletters as well.
- An ad event was posted on the front page of the EXHIB-IT! website.
- Sponsors received recognition at food and drink booths as well as in banners and pre-advertising materials.
- Early and frequent notices of the event got it on calendars.
- Personal phone calls followed email and further reminded participants to attend.
- Free food and entertainment served as a draw.
- Local Chamber of Commerce officials and ambassadors completed an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
- The Congressional delegation sent representatives.
- State delegates were present.
- EXHIB-IT! customers sponsored activities.
- You could easily recognize EXHIB-IT! employees; not only did they wear matching lavender shirts, they sported new, flashing digital name tags.
- Local media representatives snapped pictures and jotted notes throughout the evening.
Marketing does work. It’s the result of everything you do and an event like this one only underscores that fact. EXHIB-IT! CEO D.J. Heckes earned the right to be proud. Congratulations, D.J.! Well done.
You schedule an event, slam out a press release and send it to every publication in town. When nothing happens you blame the media for not picking up your story. A busy news day overshadowed your information.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you may not care about Press Release Grader. This new tool lets you evaluate your press releases for free. Simply cut, paste, and wait for your report.
It takes less than 60-seconds to display your score. Like a teacher with a red pen, it reviews basics: word count, sentences, link count and readability or minimum education needed. Then, PressReleaseGrader offers simple suggestions for improvement.
For example, it suggests that every release carry an “About Our Company” segment at the end. PressReleaseGrader compiles basic factors from various public relations experts with advance options from the Internet; the result provides a sense of overall effectiveness.
In one release I submitted, PressReleaseGrader reminded me:
“The anchor text for this link is a duplication of a prior link. For SEO reasons, it is generally advisable to use unique anchor text with specific keywords for each link in the release.”
In addition to Link analysis, the tool looks at Keywords and spotlights “Gobbledygook Words” – those like the word “unique,” – overused and lacking specific meaning.
What a present! If you doubt this could work, watch the video about the Grader tool.
Now anyone can evaluate a press release for free. Of course, if you prefer to think that it was a busy news day, you’ll probably want to pass on the tool.
Remember when you connected the dots and got a pretty picture for your trouble? Easy. Rewarding Uncomplicated.
What if marketing could be that simple? I wouldn’t put myself in the technophobe category, but I admit that my eyes glaze over sometimes when I must jump through hoops to accomplish a goal.
Take LinkedIn. Until now, I accepted invitations to link as they came my way; beyond that, I had no proactive strategy for this social medium, nor did I clearly understand how, or if, it enhanced my marketing.
Fortunately, Jason Alba, author of “I’m on LinkedIn – Now What?” painted the picture for me. He outlined a way to make LinkedIn work harder, beginning with profile completion. (Look at his profile and compare it to yours, for example.) As he explained, LinkedIn helps you do the following:
- Find others and be found
- Leave a positive impression
- Increase your networking
- Promote your website
- Use your new contacts off LinkedIn if you choose
- Make recommendations
- Gain recommendations
Just as the paint-by-number pictures of old came to life when you connected the dots, so did this. Jason highlighted the added value that LinkedIn can provide and made a clear case for ease of implementation. In just a few minutes, I put a number of his suggestions into action.
I now understand. Understanding creates belief and from belief comes strategy. I look forward to making LinkedIn an effective part of my online marketing strategy. Tell me, is it working for you?