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Are You a Renegade Realtor®? Just Wondering …

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For those of you who know me even a little bit, you have often heard me say, “I can’t STAND real estate agents” as I roll my eyes in utter disgust. Ugh… My life would be so much easier if it weren’t for so many of those “people” that have those “real estate licenses”. Yes. I can be quite the little ranter. Someone once called me down off of my soapbox long enough to tell me that I should call become a Renegade Realtor®. Pretty sure they were joking, but it DOES have a nice ring to it …

A couple days ago I read REALTOR MOST DESPISED – AN OPEN LETTER (an absolute MUST READ) where RE comrade (and fellow Genius) Realtor® Benn Rosales looks at the current real estate agent “situation” through the eyes of the public and makes some dead-on observations about the perception of Realtor®.

That post got me thinking, and those who know me, know that me=thinking is not always productive and often gets me into trouble. Well, this time it brought back some memories, as well as an itch that still needs to be scratched.

If you have read my “real estate rants” for any amount of time, then you probably read: Perception = Reality: Real Estate Agents Suck – in which I go off on the awful, yet well-deserved reputation that has followed real estate agents throughout the decades. (Funny thing, if you type “Real Estate Agents Suck” in to Google, a version of this post pops up as #1. I outrank an agent-hating FSBO. Gotta love that Google-Juice, there!?!)

Of course, I AM a real estate agent, a Realtor® in fact. Many of my BFF’s are in “the business”, too. (For those of you without the “luxury” of raising a teenager (lucky you) and having to learn the “code”… BFF= Best Friends Forever.) And, I completely stand behind what I wrote. But I also stand behind the small-but-growing population of RE agents that seem to “get it”. Maybe a “new wave” of agents will become the motivating force in the paradigm shift that NEEDS to take place in the world of real estate and rebuild a better reputationa better business.

Now, I have found (over the past year) that many of the others who share my view are mostly here, in the Blogosphere – other real estate agents whose skins crawl at the current image propagated by a large chunk of “our” industry. (Is there a correlation between “those who blog” and “those who promote stereotype busting“? Hmmm … Maybe.)

Anyway, so now what?

What needs to happen now? We all know that things need to change. (I can say “we” because I know that there are not any of those “other” agents reading this.) What forces need to rise above the Blogosphere … enter into the real-world of real estate and hijack the current reputation and turn it into something that we can all be proud of? What are YOU actively doing to change OUR reputation?

Are YOU a Renegade Realtor®? … just wondering.

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. ines

    October 23, 2007 at 3:39 am

    Woooo Hoooo!! Pretty awesome Mariana! I can tell you that you are probably right about the blogging Realtors…..we’re a different breed.

    I am a Renegade Realtor and will blog away until I have bloody fingers.

  2. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 3:54 am

    A different breed indeed. Now, let’s go take over the world.

  3. Todd Carpenter

    October 23, 2007 at 3:59 am

    It’s funny, because I’ve had so many RE agents and Loan officers ask me about blogging, and how they can get business through it. I’ve also had a relative handful ask me about blogging because of their advocacy of the industry. It’s the advocates who go on to blog.

    The greatest thing about blogging is that it’s a affordable and effective marketing tool that only the “good guys” seem to have the creativity and thoughtfulness to implement.

  4. Vicki Moore

    October 23, 2007 at 4:11 am

    You are awesome. I’m getting a feed right now.

  5. Mariana Wagner

    October 23, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Hi Todd – You said it perfectly. The advocates ARE the ones out there blogging.

    Hey Vicki, Thanks!

  6. monika

    October 23, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Mariana…You ROCK! That original post took on a life of it’s own! LOL!
    I’m one of those REALTORS whose skin crawls when I hear and see what some other agents do. Change happens but it sure does seem to going slowly!

  7. Lovely

    October 23, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Did someone say “Renegade”?? I’m in 🙂

  8. Carey

    October 23, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Mariana congratulations on being a genius!

    Part of the reason your skin crawls when dealing with the “other” agent is because they do not know who they work for. It has become so much about getting a check (especially in this market) and not so much about doing what is best for the client. I love it when I get a new agent or a discounter(who only gets part of the cooperating compenstaion) making offers on my listings. I know I can beat them into submission because it is only about the bens for them. The referrals keep rolling in when you know who you work for and communicate that through action and words to the client.

  9. Benn Rosales

    October 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    haha Mariana, what a kick ass post, and a kick ass way to kick off your contribution to agent genius- absolutely fantastic! I heart renegades.

  10. Mariana

    October 23, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    Monika- HEY THERE! I just hope that at some point some critical mass is obtained and the current slow-go turns into a hurricane of action.

    Lovely – OF COURSE you are in! Duh.

    Carey- You hit the nail on the head: Are you working for your client? Or are you working for the Benjamins? It makes all the difference in the world.

    Benn- Wow! Thanks! Your recent post really re-fanned that fire that I have in my head about this issue. I *heart* renegades, too!

  11. Bonnie Erickson

    October 24, 2007 at 1:54 am

    Hmmmm. Out of the box, into blogging, like quality, look out for the client instead of me? Sounds pretty revolutionary to me! Quality, professional, REAL? Has anyone thought about putting the REAL back into REALTOR? If all of that makes me a renegade, then I’m in, too!

  12. Mariana - Springs Realty Scoop

    October 24, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Putting the REAL back into REALTOR… I like that.

  13. Nicole Mills

    November 1, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    Geez, I’m so glad I’ve started hanging out here! Great Post, Mariana!

    I found AG through Bloodhound (I think, anyway…the memory isn’t what it used to be), and I have to say that AG is definitely more my speed. Bloodhound is wise & worldly, but doesn’t quite feel like home to me. If there’s room for one more Renegade…

  14. Toby & Sadie

    December 17, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    I love it! Renegade REALTOR®! I think I am one and didn’t even know it. Wait till I tell my wife 🙂

  15. Mariana

    December 18, 2007 at 10:04 am

    I think it should be an official NAR Designation: Renegade Realtor…

  16. Lesley

    September 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I am a complete renegade realtor! After this post I am ready to leather up and kick some bad realtor butt!

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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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Simple logo creation tools perfect for any freelancer

(MARKETING) You already know that even if you’re a solo writer, or lone developer, you need a brand in today’s online world. If you’re on a budget, check out these logo creation tools!

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logo creation

Freelancing is a major part of the landscape nowadays. In that capacity, you’re running your own one-person business. As such, you need to brand that business. You know that, but let’s discuss the actionables.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “branding”, I immediately envision logos (which is super convenient because it brings me to my next point). You should absolutely have a logo as a freelancer, even if it’s simply just your name in a rad – but professional – font.

This will be useful on your website, social media, on invoices and beyond. You can even pop that bad boy into your email signature!

Ideally, you should hire a graphic designer that knows what they’re doing – you’ll get the best results. But if your budget is zero dollars, don’t you dare ask a professional for free work.

Instead, if you want to develop a logo for your personal freelancing brand on the cheap, check out five of our favorites below and see what works for you. The best part? These all have some free components.

  1. Picfont: Let me start with personal experience. My freelance logo (which is the cover photo of my Twitter), is literally just my name in a script-like font, and was made using Picfont. You can upload a blank background (or pick from fun royalty-free backgrounds) and choose from a variety of font options. Pick what you like, shape it out, download, and use. Easy
  2. Looka (formerly Logojoy) is also a great, easy-to-use online logo maker. You simply type in your company name/your name and go through a process of selecting colors and styles that you like. Looka then generates a selection of logos based on your choices. For an example, I created the logo for The Tidbit using Looka.
  3. Online Logo Maker: a wonderfully self-explanatory name. This logo maker is almost like a combination of Picfont and Logojoy. You can play around with different fonts, colors, and symbols to make a logo that fits you. This option also features high-quality Vector files.
  4. Canva is a great option because you can design a multitude of material (including flyers, presentations, graphs, etc.) If you’re planning to build a full-on portfolio with supplemental materials in addition to a logo, Canva may be your best bet as you can design everything to have a similar look – which is incredibly important for branding.
  5. DesignEvo: Their website describes it best, “DesignEvo is a free online logo maker with 8,000+ templates that anyone can use to bring to life a compelling, unique logo in minutes.” They have a drag and drop interface and hundreds of fonts.

Take some time to test drive these sites, play around with different logo types, and see which one gels best with you and your freelancing-self. Happy branding!

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How to use offline marketing to your advantage in a digital world

(BUSINESS) We often become obsessed with new marketing strategies, favoring the internet over some traditional methods that continue to drive traffic timelessly.

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offline marketing open sign for small business

Everywhere you look, people want to talk about digital marketing. In fact, if you don’t have a digital marketing strategy in today’s business world, you’re not going to last long. But just because digital marketing is popular, don’t assume that offline marketing no longer yields value.

When used together, these strategies can produce significant returns.

“Some people will argue that traditional marketing is dead, but there are several benefits to including offline advertising in your overall marketing campaign,” sales expert Larry Myler admits. “Combining both offline and online campaigns can help boost your brand’s visibility, and help it stand out amongst competitors who may be busy flooding the digital space.”

How do you use offline marketing in a manner that’s both cost-effective and high in exposure? While your business will dictate how you should proceed, here are a few offline marketing methods that still return considerable value in today’s marketplace.

1. Yard signs

When most people think about yard signs, their minds immediately go to political signs that you see posted everywhere during campaign season. However, yard signs have a lot more utility and value beyond campaigning. They’re actually an extremely cost-effective form of offline advertising.

The great thing about yard signs is that you can print your own custom designs for just dollars and, when properly stored, they last for years. They’re also free to place, assuming you have access to property where it’s legal to advertise. This makes them a practical addition to a low-budget marketing campaign.

2. Billboards

The fact that you notice billboards when driving down an interstate or highway is a testament to the reality that other people are also being exposed to these valuable advertisements. If you’ve never considered implementing billboards into your marketing strategy, now’s a good time to think about it.

With billboard advertising, you have to be really careful with design, structure, and execution. “Considering we’re on the move when we read billboards, we don’t have a lot of time to take them in. Six seconds has been touted as the industry average for reading a billboard,” copywriter Paul Suggett explains. “So, around six words is all you should use to get the message across.”

3. Promotional giveaways

It’s the tangible nature of physical marketing that makes it so valuable. Yard signs and billboards are great, but make sure you’re also taking advantage of promotional giveaways as a way of getting something into the hands of your customers.

Promotional giveaways, no matter how simple, generally produce a healthy return on investment. They increase brand awareness and recall, while giving customers positive associations with your brand. (Who doesn’t love getting something for free?)

4. Local event sponsorships

One aspect of offline marketing businesses frequently forget about is local event sponsorships. These sponsorships are usually cost-effective and tend to offer great returns in terms of audience engagement.

Local event sponsorships can usually be found simply by checking the calendar of events in your city. Any time there’s a public event, farmer’s market, parade, sporting event, concert, or fundraiser, there’s an opportunity for you to get your name out there. Look for events where you feel like your target audience is most likely to attend.

Offline marketing is anything but dead.

If your goal is to stand out in a crowded marketplace where all your competitors are investing heavily in social media, SEO, PPC advertising, and blogging, then it’s certainly worth supplementing your existing digital strategy with traditional offline marketing methods that reach your audience at multiple touchpoints.

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