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Are You Connecting to Your Community?



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Connecting to Others

I love Twitter, Linkedin, ooVoo, and Facebook as ways to connect with those around me! These applications have allowed me to connect with real estate agents all across the United States, Canada, and parts unknown. It was great, getting open, honest feedback from agents not in my market area. All of a sudden, I am reading about best practices, ways to advertise, other points of view, great technology to use, and so much more.

In March of this year, I noticed something. Despite having these great real estate connections, I have very few local ones. I realized I needed to incorporate these tools in to my practice to find clients, since we all know “real estate is local.” Spending time on these tools were great, however they were not bringing me any business.

What is an agent to do?

One of the first things to change and implement, connect with local folks on Twitter, not to sell them, but to get to know them. I started searching Twitter for people who lived in communities in my metropolitan area of Columbus, Ohio. Then I narrowed my search for my home town, Delaware, Ohio. Ironically, the only other Twitter user was a real estate agent (just my luck!). Then I moved out to communities with in a 20 mile radius. This started working, suddenly I was connecting with new friends in the area and talking about Central Ohio, what we do, getting together and yes, real estate.

This is great for new friends, however, is there more?

Yes, there is! If you are using social media, odds are your family, friends you lost contact with; old colleagues may be using it too! My search turned to phrases to find people from high school, marching band (yes I was a “band geek” if ya have sumtin to say about it allow me to remind you I am 6’ 4” and 270 lbs! ;^) ), alumni from drum & bugle corps I marched with, friends from former employers, and old summer camp acquaintances. The list goes on and on and on!

Wow, it’s been forever. What are YOU doing?

Suddenly, my contacts are growing exponentially. People I had not spoken with for over 15 years are connecting with me and each has the same question, “What are you doing?!?!?” What a great segway to passively tell them, “Hey, I sell real estate!”


When I start connecting with family and old friends, I do not use a canned response. These are people I want to reconnect with first and foremost, catch up with, and get reacquainted. They do deserve more. With that said, I usually start off telling them about my wife and son, age’s, plus any major life changes we have made (like starting kindergarten), where I am living, mutual friends I’m in contact with, and any news (try to stay way from gossip) of folks we have not heard from. Then, moving on to my career just becomes a natural part of the conversation. I tell them I am a real estate agent working for Minister Realty. I do not try to solicit a sale, a listing appointment, or referrals. That conversation will come up organically in later conversations. Remember, you are connecting with people that were once a part of your life in some way. Have a reunion and do not be a salesperson.

What’s the effect?

In most cases, by the 2nd or 3rd contact you may find out that “We are looking to buy a house” or “My parents want to move,” or even “We just bought a home 3 months ago.” If you do receive the latter response, its ok, life happens and we can not sell to everyone. Hopefully, you will receive one of the former responses, but if not, give it time. Not only have you connected with an old friend, you now have a potential client. At that point, let them know you will always give them superior customer service.

How are you connecting with family, old friends and co-workers?

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  1. Genuine Chris Johnson

    September 24, 2008 at 11:20 am

    to what end though, man.

    Is it a fun distraction from doing real work? I’m talking about the, more than old friends.

  2. Chris Shouse

    September 24, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Rocky that is a great way to connect with friends from the past and meet new ones. Thanks for reminding me there are more ways to connect than sending out postcards.

  3. Rachel

    September 24, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Don’t forget that social media tools are usually free (other than the time you spend) and don’t use environmental resources like traditional print media most realtors use. 🙂

  4. Ben Goheen

    September 24, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve been noticing the same thing lately, all my twitter friends are Realtors. I have to ask – what drum corps did you marched with? I’m an alumni and have recently connected with a lot of former members on Facebook.

  5. Chris de Jong

    September 24, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Great article Rocky, I know exactly where you are coming from when you mention local connections. I personally started using Twitter in order to connect to my friends and colleagues but soon started adding members of our local tech community.

    One thing led to another, and now we have a great community and are even holding a city-wide BarCamp tomorrow! 🙂

    @Genuine Chris – As far as being a “fun distraction” from work, leveraging services like Rocky mentioned are entirely what you make of them. Sure, it is fun to send random links and pictures of lolcats to everyone, but I know many people (myself included) that have used social media to help them build their RE business – be it meeting new customers or increasing your exposure.

  6. Rocky VanBrimmer

    September 24, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Chris, there are many ways to interact with people you meet on social media. However you can not go in to it thinking you are going to “sell them” and they will use you, just because. The great thing about web 2.0 is the “block” button. You can control what you see. I will be going in to ways to connect and interact with 2 follow pieces on this.

    Chris, I have a post boiling about old school and new skool real estate. Great point.

    Rachel, EVERYONE loves FREE!

    Ben, I marched Limited Edition in Columbus Ohio, Dutchboy from Kitchner/Waterloo Ontario, and Bluecoats in Canton Ohio.

    Chris, someone just recommended an RE Barcamp in Ohio. As well, love your point to my good friend Chris!

  7. Toby & Sadie

    September 24, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    I’m going to back Rocky on this one. There is more ways to skin the perverbeal client.

    Is Web 2.0 a great way to connect with people? Yes. Is it just as easy to miss the mark and waste your time and efforts? Yes.

    I am not good (yet) at social media networking, but sitting for an hour with Rocky and it becomes obvious that he has a plan. I’m developing mine, not there yet but soon.

  8. Rocky

    September 24, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    So says the one person from Delaware Ohio on Twitter! LOL, Thanks Toby!

  9. Paula Henry

    September 24, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Rocky – I just had an old friend connect with me today on Facebook. I do need to keep up with the Twitter crowd in my area, though.Thanks for the motivation!

  10. Genuine Chris Johnson

    September 24, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    There is a part of 2.0 that is highschoolish and cliqueish. People feel offended when they have bad ideas & bad plans you attack, and get all huffy. That is the part I can do without. I don’t monetize people, but I do want to extract recreation and value from what I do online.

  11. Lisa Sanderson

    September 25, 2008 at 5:23 am

    Rocky: Good point about connecting with locals-this is something I’ve been *trying* to work on. Tweetdeck makes it kind of easy by letting you set up feeds based on keywords. I find it helpful in spotting potential new friends on twitter without a huge amount of searching. Haven’t figured out how to automate that on facebook yet. Also, I’ve reconnected w/a few high school people too…unfortunately it was through myspace bleh.

  12. Tim McDonald

    September 25, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    As we initially hooked up on Twitter (as realtors) I have been able to take some great ques from you and this article hits it on the head. I have been asking myself, as I get started, how do I find more local connections? While I’ve experimented a little, you provide some great options to “meet and greet” others in the local area without them all being realtors.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?




Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.



Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.



Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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