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Business Marketing

A multi-channel approach to marketing communications

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Make money by doing more

As a business professional, you want to make sure you’re taking a multi-channel communication approach with your sphere of influence (SOI). Just like firing off a “Happy Holidays” card every year usually isn’t enough to stay top of mind or successfully win more business, simply calling the clients you feel most comfortable with every year isn’t enough either.

In an ideal world, most Realtors would plan to see all their past clients every quarter, call everyone in their database every month, and so on. Unfortunately, in the real world, this just isn’t practical. Keeping in touch with people takes time and money, two things that are often in short supply. As a result, many sales people swing to the OTHER extreme; they give up trying to keep in touch with their database entirely. And that – as I’ll talk about later in this article – is a tragic mistake!

The keep in touch dilemma

One of the best ways to break this “keep in touch dilemma” is to take an intelligent multi-channel approach to your marketing communications. A multi-channel approach means communicating with your SOI, your prospects and clients, through a variety of different methods or channels, focusing the most expensive communications on your highest value contacts, and using less expensive methods for keeping in touch with lower value contacts.

What do I mean by communication channels, and how do they compare in terms of cost? The most common, in order of decreasing cost, are meetings, phone calls, direct mail, and email. If your time is worth $50 an hour, a two hour lunch costs you $100 plus the actual cost of the meal. A 15 minute phone chat costs you $12.50, a direct mail piece in the range of $.50-$1.25, and an email often less than a penny. Group events are another possibility, and the cost per contact can range from very high for an exclusive event for a select few at a swanky venue, to very low for a Halloween pumpkin patch giveaway.

How to implement

The way to implement a multi-channel approach is to segment your contacts database into three categories, an A-List, B-List, and C-List, and apply the communications methods that give you the best return on your investment. Your A-List would include all current and past clients, hot prospects, and active referral sources. Your B-List would include the rest of your prospects, while your C-List would include everyone else in your database.

While the best approach to keeping in touch is a highly personal thing, here’s a starting point to get you thinking:

If these numbers don’t feel right to you, use the model and define your own multi-channel approach. It’s far more realistic than hoping (and failing) to give everyone in your database a call every month, as so many coaches would like you to do. And it’s far more effective than giving up entirely and watching all the referral and repeat business that should have been yours fade away into nothing.

The most effective approach

In order to be effective with this multi-channel communications approach, a CRM system is an absolute must. A good CRM is like having a top-notch Personal Assistant by your side, remembering important dates and reminding you when they arise, simplifying the planning process for you, sending out emails on your behalf, and keeping track of communication history with each one of your clients and prospects.

This multi-channel communications approach will help you stay top of mind and build stronger relationships with your sphere so the next time someone in your SOI is looking the services you offer, you will be the one they choose.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found that 85% of home sellers said that they would use the same real estate agent again or recommend the agent to others. Of course, in order to do this, these sellers would have had to have remembered the agent’s name. Sadly, less than one quarter actually used the same Realtor again simply because the agent failed to stay in touch and was forgotten.

This finding is likely characteristic of a lot of other industries and services aside from real estate. It underscores the magnitude and significance of staying in touch and continuing to nurture the business relationships that you have.

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

Business Marketing

10 inspirational print brochure examples

We believe that print is nowhere near dead, it is just changing as things go digital, and only the best stand out.

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Below are 10 inspirational print brochure examples that show print is not only alive and kicking, but when infused with a bit of creativity, can make an enormous impression. Gone are the days of horrid clip art and walls of text that overwhelm. Clean typography and design are the name of the game, and added flair can go a long way. Here are some ideas to get you started, click any of the images below to see more photos of each campaign and to dig deeper:

Craft Beer Field Guide

With this fold up brochure guiding Madison’s Craft Beer Week attendees, a vintage vibe is created through color and typography choices, with an emphasis on function and ease of reading. The guide is so enchanting, it is likely that most attendees kept the brochures, a dream for any designer or marketing team!

Italian Loft Brochure

In this Italian Loft Brochure, a classic Tiffany & Co styled blue and chocolate brown highlight the features of this luxury loft community, and is presented in a beautiful, heavyweight cardstock cover that keeps all additional papers that come along with tours. It’s more than just the brochure’s design, it’s the presentation, simplicity, and choice of materials that is eye catching about this print brochure.

Campaign for Freedom

Expressing the dire situation in North Korea, this campaign brochure uses simple to digest infographics and keeps to four colors – black, white, red, and yellow. It is effective for sticking to the point and using bold graphics.

Gourmet Natural Foods

Retailers often go overboard either by offering too many walls of words and facts, or by trying to be clever. Instead, this company’s design focuses on the simple ingredients that goes along with their streamlined, organic-looking containers. This brochure makes you want to go start eating hippie food, even if you’re a cow eater, just because it’s so aesthetically pleasing!

Graphic Designer Portfolio

When a seasoned graphic designer shows off, you can be sure that their presentation will never be an aged headshot of them with bullet points of their accomplishments. No, graphic designers show instead of tell, as below:

Typefamily Brochure

When introducing a typefamily to the world, a designer can choose to slap up a website, or go the traditional, and more elegant route of printing a type booklet explaining the type and giving buyers of the typefamily (font) a closer look at what they are buying. Brilliant.

Yahoo! Brochure

Yahoo’s brochure is a reminder that simple design elements can go a long way – a folding tab, white space, ditching clip art, and keeping consistency between pages all work in harmony to create a quality print brochure.

Antique News Format

In a very clever move, this commercial and residential space is being sold in the form of a large, folding antique- looking newspaper, complete with appropriate fonts and an antique layout, with surprisingly sharp and never cheesy images.

Architect’s Timeline and Story

Promoting an architect’s impressive timeline and story, this print campaign shows the power of red, black and white, making a dramatic impression at a quick glance. Using high quality photography and traditional movie poster tricks, the campaign is stunning.

Our Favorite: Lennar’s Old School Fun

Lennar’s new “Spencer’s Crossing” community brochures got a touch of old school, making the brochure a game that anyone can play. It’s more than a gimmick, it is consistent with their collateral that appeals to the youthful nature of the product and area.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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