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Business Marketing

Blogging for Business Simplified



You have all heard me talking about John Paul and Deb Micek tons of times, they are the epitome of great business people that engage and “get it”. (follow them on twitter:  @JPmicek and @coachDeb).  They are the authors of Secrets of Online Persuasion and have a blog called Tribal Seduction.    The reason I follow them is because I have learned so much from them and find them to be a wealth of knowledge that have helped my business.

Blog Content Creation Question

Just this week, JP announced a new blog series he is writing for about Blogging for Business – go read Part I …..I’ll wait

2 things stuck with me from that article, JP’s quote from his mentor: (which needs no follow through explanation)

Always look at where the person giving advice is at in their life. If their lifestyle and achievements are what you’d like to aspire to, then take their advice in to consideration. If not, then ignore it.

And the never ending, controversial question about BLOG AUTHORS and CONTENT CREATION that we have discussed here many times.  Do you sign your name to something written by someone else?  Do certain types of business allow for others to write your blog-copy?  Would your business benefit from someone else blogging for you?

Don’t do it – It’s bad business – is it?

I know what the consensus here is:  It would not be honest, it could hurt your business, blogging is about engaging and putting your personality out there….etc, etc.   But then a light-bulb went off.  Of course we are going to think so here – we all like blogging, we are all doing it for business, we are getting results!!  We are preaching to the choir….but we may be a bit close minded (read what follows)

I decided to ask JP in the comment section about face-to-face businesses like Real Estate and what it would mean for someone else to write your blog for you.  Mr. Persuasion went out of his way to respond to me in another blog post (JP and Deb are just too cool) – Content Creation and your business blog:

Well, Ines is absolutely right! IF a person has the time, talent and desire to create content for their business blog — they should. Especially in a professional sales situation where direct face-to-face selling is going to take place (like you as a Realtor.)

In these cases it is essential for building rapport and closing more sales. But that still doesn’t mean you need to do it all yourself. More on that dichotomy in a minute. But first let’s clarify what makes content creation for your business blog easier if you are going to do it yourself.

Authentic Blog Copy

He goes on to talk about communication style, personal content creation as a “motivational killer” and how blogging services can make content “authentic” (I confess I’m still a skeptic, but it makes sense for certain types of businesses and different levels of business as well).

Bottom line is that there is not right way or wrong way.  You need to do what feels right for your own business and that fits your personal style.  The answer may be guest authors or supplementing your articles or even as simple as getting a virtual assistant to do your market reports and listing posts for you.  I would never sign my name to something written by someone else, but that’s MY choice and it doesn’t mean it’s the right way.  And then I found this to be genius:

We match the client’s Communication DNA with a member of our team who has as close a matching communication style as possible. And finally we choose a channel (written, audio or video) to match what would be expected from the actual person.

So as a skeptic, my curiosity has gotten the best of me and I will follow the rest of the series – I am sure I will learn something and will be able to apply it to my business. They never disappoint, that’s for sure!

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  1. Mack

    September 19, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for the links Ines. You failed to mention that reading the first article was going to be like a slightly condensed War and Peace. Even though it was long, it made a lot of sense and I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment. John Paul’s response via part 1b was on target as well. Perhaps we have some food for thought from these 2 articles. I totally agree that in no way should we put our name on someone else’s work, however a guest author on our blogs may very well suffice.

  2. Jim Gatos

    September 19, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I can’t look at MY blog with someone else’s content; although I sometimes have to “rack” my brains to write a post, I write ALL my own posts. It’s authentic to me and the personal experience of blogging can be just as rewarding as the end result of the blog itself…

  3. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 19, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Mack – what I found interesting is that it WOULD be Ok for certain business blogs to be written by others – depending on the product and industry….and even more importantly, the fact that we enjoy blogging and are hands on about it may even put us in a minute category that not necessarily spells out how it should be done.

    Hey Jim, as much as I agree with you and handle it the same way, I can also say now that I grasp the concept, that it would be OK for someone to do it totally differently and approach this marketing medium with another perspective.

  4. JP Micek

    September 19, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Great overview Ines. Thanks for expanding the conversation. As much of a dichotomy it may seem to be, with proper planning and production content created by others can safeguard authenticity. Of course successfully marketing with New media starts from the inside out — with you. And that’s what’s critical whether it’s the core concept or the content as a whole,

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 19, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    JP – you accomplished your goal,I have been officially persuaded 😉 I can see where it can work if done correctly. The right tools are always important – you make excellent points.

  6. Bill Lublin

    September 21, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Well thought and great points – I think the content is important – and depending upon your purpose – so is the author – But AgentGenius proves that the owner of the site can control the content without providing all of it, and still be authentic –
    I guess it depends upon the voice you want you rBlog to have –

  7. ines

    September 21, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Bill, you are absolutely right – first things first, you need to be able to have a concept for your blog and know what you are trying to achieve and who your audience will be – then it’s easy to establish who’s voice is important for the success of the blog. (sounds simple when I write it but I know it’s an ever changing and developing concept for many)

  8. Missy Caulk

    September 21, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Well, since I am enjoying writing it would not be an option for me. But, I have learned to never say never. Especially with all my localism posts I am trying to keep up with on Activerain. Sure I can add the personal touch to restaurants and events, but it has been tempting.

    For now I’ll stick with me, but who knows………….. it would be interesting if some VA’s chimed in or people that have done it to hear of their successes.

  9. g. dewald

    September 22, 2008 at 9:06 am

    There is always the issue of “authenticity” in blog posts. But really, this is about business at the end of the day. If someone else can write better than you about stuff that your target audience wants to read, it would be foolish not to engage that someone else.

    Some of this would depend on whether your blogging strategy placed more importance on increasing backlinks, increasing new visitors or increasing engagement (ideally all three of course, but in which order).

    I think “authenticity” is just one of several tactics that can be applied to blogging. It gets the most airplay because those of us who blog love our advantage. But hiring out well-written blog posts to someone who can do it better is a completely valid way to run a business blog.

  10. ines

    September 22, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Missy – I think once you reach a level of success with your own blog and have been doing it for a while, you realize that you can get help with certain types of posts. I would also be interested for people to chime in to her of their successes (or lack thereof)

    G – You have a very valid point there. I can tell you that in our own business, we have reached a couple of obstacles when it comes to my own writing. I do not, by any means consider myself a good writer, I’ve just learned to put my personality in my blog posts and you will either love it or hate it. Now that we have buyer’s agents and our team is growing, the question of “authenticity” applies to those clients that contact me for me and don’t want to work with other team members.

    Personally, I think that a well rounded blog will have various voices and will attract different types of clients. It’s about getting to the next level and having different people write may be the answer at least for our business.

  11. Rentals In St George

    September 22, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I like the statement which I have heard a lot through my life. Only follow those who you wish to become like. You do not want to take financial advice from a poor person or from someone that is not as wealthy as you wish to become. I know when I started my St. George Rental business I followed other property management companies who were successful.

  12. ines

    September 22, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    George – and we can take that a step further in our Real Estate Reality to look at those that are able to come out of the struggle and how they are dealing with the slow market – thinking outside the box, marketing methods and being flexible to change.

  13. Gordon Baker

    September 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    My worry would be that someone who read a blog that I did not write starts to ask me about the information and I have no idea what they are talking about and it becomes evident very quickly. Ouch!

  14. ines

    September 23, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Gordon – you would always need to keep control of your blog and know what is being written about. It would be similar to having buyers agents writing on the blog and referring a particular question to the writer of the piece since they would be the “experts” on the subject.

    If someone calls Lani today and asks her about Miami Real Estate, do you think she’ll try to answer the question or have them contact me directly?

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Business Marketing

7 Low-budget marketing ideas for small businesses [sponsored]

(MARKETING) Marketing ideas are often expensive or ultra time consuming, but let’s talk about some proven tactics that won’t break the bank.



low budget marketing ideas

The following marketing ideas are provided to you buy Threadsy:

No matter the size of your business, marketing matters! It’s important for small and big businesses alike to attract new customers, establish brand awareness, and to create buzz around products and services. But we know that not every business owner has tons of funds to devote to their marketing strategy. The good news? There are some highly effective marketing tactics that are also budget-friendly!

Here are seven low-budget marketing strategies for small business owners and side hustlers to grow their reach:

1. Sponsor Local Events

One of the best ways to get to know potential customers? Actually meet and talk to them! When you sponsor local events, you can be on-site to help people put a face with your business’s name. Sponsoring events is also a fantastic way to offer branded merchandise that can help you get your name and your logo out there.

Besides branded materials like signs, banners, or fliers, think about offering some fun items like wine bags to give away to attendees. Goody bags also make fantastic take-home options for local events. A branded canvas tote can be repurposed as an environmentally-friendly grocery bag, lunch bag for work, or a carry-all accessory for conventions and tradeshows. Print your logo on the outside and fill your goody bags with customized items like water bottles, notebooks, pens, and towels.

2. Let Your Colors Fly

Make some cool t-shirts featuring your logo! Wear them to the sponsored events mentioned above, out in the community, or anywhere you may encounter potential customers and can strike up a conversation. You can also offer t-shirts at a discount in-store or online, and turn your loyal customers into advertisers.

Quick tip: Purchase wholesale shirts to reduce manufacturing costs.

3. Social Media

If you’re not already leveraging social media to promote your business, it’s time to start! Think your customers aren’t using social networks? While certain demographics use various platforms more than others, according to fundera, 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions. Plus, 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy.

So use your social media channels to level the playing field. To maximize your time and effort, determine where your audience members spend their time. Which platforms are they using? If you have a dedicated social media strategist on staff, they can perform audience research to tailor your approach to your existing and potential customers. If you’re running your own social strategy, spend some time digging into the demographics to determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand. From there, you’ll need to decide on the types of content you want to post, how to interact with your customers online, and create a social media calendar to plan your strategy.

4. Host a Giveaway

Once you’ve got your social media strategy up and running, why not host an online giveaway/sweepstakes to build some buzz, boost engagement, and attract followers? Pick a social media platform where you already engage with your customers. You’ll want to offer an item as the prize. This can be anything from a free product, a discount on an expensive product or service, or inexpensive swag like hats to help you promote your brand.

Once you’ve chosen the prize(s), decide on the terms for your giveaway. For example, an Instagram sweepstakes might look like this:

  • Create posts about the giveaway and explain the rules (multiple stories and 1 or 2 posts depending on the length of the contest)
  • These posts should specify the terms, for example:
    – In order to enter, potential winners must follow you
    – Encourage your followers to tag other people who may be interested. Each “tag” gets them another entry into the contest
    – You can also specify that contest applicants must share your post on their own profile
  • Once the contest has ended, pick a winner. Tag them in a post and story announcing what they’ve won and ask them to also share these posts to their own profile

Quick tip: You can also offer smaller or less-expensive items as consolation prizes. People love free swag and it’s an easy way to get your name out there!

5. Referral Discounts

Offering friends and family discounts on your products or services can help you establish loyalty and promote exclusivity. Offer discount codes or create a refer-a-friend program. You can also offer small incentives for customers who share about your brand on social media. Referral discounts are a great marketing strategy whether you use them in-store, online, or both.

6. Create or Update Your Blog

If you already have a website, you can put it to use to help build brand awareness and attract high-funnel customers. Blogging is a low-cost way to generate organic traffic (website visitors via Google or other search engines). If you don’t already have a blog, there are a number of free and inexpensive blog platforms you can use including Wix and WordPress.

You’ll want to write about topics that are related to your product or service and are of interest to your customers. For example, if you offer graphic design, you might want to create content about how to find an effective graphic designer online, or which projects you can do with an online platform like Canva vs. more complex projects where you should hire a professional designer.

Your website and blog are also great places to post “about us” content to offer website visitors an opportunity to learn more about you, your business, and your mission and values.

7. Update Your Google My Business Profile

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to share important information about your business like your address, hours of operation, and contact information. When your listing is optimized with this information, it’s displayed in Google Search and will also appear in Google Maps, which can help you attract local customers.

To get started, you need to create a GMB profile and verify your business information. This is a relatively simple but important step to ensure customers are able to find your business or service online. Make sure to keep your listing updated if you change any information like your website URL, address, or hours.

The takeaway:

When creating your marketing strategy, remember to stay true to your brand. Not every tactic will be the most effective for every business. Choose the tactics that make sense for your brand or product offering. Another way to prioritize is to consider the perceived impact and effort of each marketing strategy. Use the strategies that require the lowest effort but will potentially drive the highest return.

Once you have those in place, decide which of the other strategies make sense for your customers and your business goals. Also, make sure to keep track of all of your marketing expenditures and the sales from these tactics so you can assess which ones were successful and which ones you may need to re-evaluate or alter.

Remember, when it comes to marketing, it’s an ever-evolving system. Trust the process and try to have some fun with your marketing strategy!

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Business Marketing

Yelp listings now show companies’ COVID-19 policies

(BUSINESS) Yelp has updated their settings to allow business owners to make their COVID-19 policies public, so consumers are aware in advance.



yelp covid policies

Yelp recently added tools to help businesses share their COVID-19 restrictions and policies with consumers, focusing for now on vaccinations. This is the latest in a series of attempts to combat misinformation and illegitimate reviews plaguing the platform.

Yelp has rolled out two new attributes for businesses to add to their profiles last week.

One option, a tag that reads “Proof of vaccination required,” communicates clearly the need to carry one’s vaccination card (or, presumably, wear a face covering) to gain entry. The other – ”Staff fully vaccinated” – speaks for itself.

These attributes stand to increase customer awareness of the circumstances facing them before visiting a business, thereby cutting down on frustrations – at least in theory.

The general public’s dearth in understanding regarding social distancing protocols and business restrictions certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that different states had different responses to COVID-19 – and that’s not even taking into account the microcosmic changes cities found themselves making.

For example, while the state of New York may not require proof of vaccinations to enter restaurants, New York City certainly does.

Rumors are that San Francisco may be implementing similar legislation, positing that other cities may very well go in the same direction.

To compound on this lack of uniform response, small businesses are finding themselves having to make their own policies as the cities around them ease up on restrictions. It isn’t out of the norm for a restaurant staffed by at-risk employees to ask customers to wear masks, so as Delta surges in places with low vaccination rates, it isn’t terribly surprising that those same establishments would ask to see proof of vaccination.

Yelp looks to make this process as transparent as possible with their profile attributes, but they’re aware that there was a general uptick in frustrated customers leaving poor reviews for restaurants that required masking or other social distancing actions.

“Yelp says the practice [of review bombing] has gotten worse in recent months,” reports TechCrunch.

In response, Yelp will be employing both automated and human moderation measures to ensure that businesses aren’t unfairly targeted for their protocols. This is actually something the company did after adding the “Black-owned” attribute (and subsequent identity attributes) last summer as well.

If you’re interested in adding either of the new attributes to your business profile, you can find them on the “Yelp for Business” page.

As the pandemic continues to develop, we may see additional COVID-19 attributes from Yelp.

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Business Marketing

Society has changed – no one wants help in a store anymore

(CUSTOMER SERVICE) Times are changing in the retail environment: a once customer-service driven experience is evolving into a minimalistic customer service approach.



retail store help

Once upon a time, good retail management meant good customer service skills – asking customers if they needed assistance, helping them decide what looked best on them, and politely stalking customers to insure a sale was completed.

As technology evolves and become more prevalent and pervasive in our lives, these skills are no longer needed or wanted. A new study suggest that shoppers want to be left alone while browsing in stores, rather than be stalked, questioned, and coaxed into buying items they may not explicitly want due to persistent pressure from sales associates.

An HRC survey found that a whopping 95% of shoppers would prefer to be left completely alone while navigating the retail environment, rather than shopping under a constant barrage of questions: “Can I help you find anything?” “How are you today?” “What brought you in?” and the seemingly endless stream of inquiries, not to mention the sales pressure from those employees working on commission, can simply be too much for consumers looking to relax, browse in peace, or simply get in and out of a store quickly.

While the greater majority of shoppers may prefer to be left alone, this should not come as too much of a surprise, considering how much technology has supplemented the shopping experience. With enhanced apps and self-checkout lines it’s not hard to understand why most shoppers prefer to browse solo.

Smartphones have given us the ability to check prices, order goods, and check stock all without interacting with another human.

For many shoppers, this is an efficient way to save both time and money while shopping. For other shoppers, like myself, smartphones offer another way to shop without triggering my anxiety. Asking for help, or a price is nearly impossible – I’d rather go without an item than have to ask someone for help.

Sounds ridiculous? Believe me, it feels ridiculous too, but nevertheless, having alternative ways to shop without interacting, is a blessing for many people, for a variety of reasons.

What does this mean for stores? It’s time to take another look at your apps and/or mobile presence (and in-store wifi availability). Since customers are shying away from human interaction, is your app allowing people to scan for prices? Can your customers check stock and order things online to be picked up in store? Can customers use your app to enhance their shopping experience in-store? If not, you may lose customers to stores that offer these enhanced apps.

Times are changing.

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