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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.

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Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos

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African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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