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Confessions of a Self Made Mediocrity

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The Proof’s in the Results

The other day I was with a small group talking to Colorado Rockies manager Clint Hurdle. In discussing one of his pitchers he said that the hitters usually will tell you how effective you are as a pitcher. Translation: get the hitters out, and you’re doing your job. Don’t and you’re not.

Oddly enough, this got me thinking about my own career as an accused self made mediocrity. When first affixed with this label several months ago I took considerable offense. But then I realized the real feedback is how I performed … either I did my job and sold houses or I didn’t. It’s about that simple.

Last year, I had 20 closed sales plus two other closings referred to other agents. Clearly, I’m not Russell Shaw, though the gross commissions I earned since the switch to RE/MAX placed me in the top 17% or so of franchise agents – and that coming in about nine months of work.

Then again, maybe I overdid it. It seems that just over half that number of sales is all one needs to close to become an expert on who else might be a self-made mediocrity. Who knew real estate sales expertise when measured was in reverse proportion to actual closed sales, the non-PETA approved skinned cats we all seek?

At least, I assume that’s what the name of the real estate sales game is … actually selling.

As for the other particulars, I’m muddling along with a PR 4 on my blog and a PR 3 on my local websites. My only solace in regards to these inferior rankings is I’m currently generating about as many leads as I can handle, and a bit more than I can handle solo if I want to take off any time for such things such as sleep, dinner and possibly seeing my family.

In the same vane, my Technorati ranking is woefully inadequate compared to the real estate sales experts. I guess I’m fortunate in that no buyer or seller has ever wanted to know my ranking before hiring me as their agent. And my wife’s never looked at me with bedroom eyes and asked me to show her my big Technorati ranking because my BlogTopSites ranking got her sooo hot …

… Wow … Where was I?

I don’t have signs where Tobey is the featured attraction and I can’t program php from scratch (though I’m just handy enough with a WordPress blog to generate business.) But I did have five sets of buyers in town two weeks ago (two of the five purchasing), another half-dozen coming in this month and another couple in the wings waiting for their own homes to sell. It may be mediocre, but it’s enough to keep me busy.

Of course, the other thing I don’t have is hypocrisy. I don’t tout freedom of expression and then bash those wishing to exercise it across the heads like a defenseless harp seal. I don’t position myself as an unabashed bully, all the while hoping in the darkness of the night that no one actually looks to see my production ahead of pressing the PayPal button.

And I don’t invite people to my blog by encouraging comments and then take offense when those comments aren’t sufficiently sycophantic, like there aren’t enough folks breathlessly parroting Bundini Brown as it is. It wouldn’t seem that spitting on the carpet would matter when the spittle’s falling on yards of accumulated feces, but that’s not my call.

Truth be told, my business still isn’t where I want it to be. This is the year I want to incorporate a buyers’ agent, all the while making sure I’ve got enough business of my own so as to be able to allow someone else to earn the money on my behalf. And there’s always the next major sales standard RE/MAX has, though it’s going to take more than a few $43,000 homes to get to that point. Stranger things have happened, though.

A self-made mediocrity? Perhaps. But an honest one. And one that’s outperforming more than a few others.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    March 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Pikes blend with 2 raw sugars and a dose of half & half is shooting from my nose. Another fine shire soiled.

    Harp Seal, Spittle, Show Her My Big Techorati.

    You crack me up! May I have another?

    Cheers.

  2. Ken Brand

    March 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    By the way, that’s “fine SHIRT soiled”, not shire.

    And what kinda mutt is that in the picture?

  3. Erion Shehaj

    March 5, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    I was at Sweet Tomatoes when I read this. Now my sweater smells like Big Chunk Chicken Noodle Soup 🙂

  4. Bill Lublin

    March 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    If I were Toby, I might be upset that I was not featured on your signs. I would point out that in the case of my dog, Cisco, and Toby, and any other dogs, they are generally smarter than their owners. After all they live in the same houses as we do, but they don’t need to work.

    Got to tell you that I’m not big on telling others whether they are or are not successful, and I think that doing so is presumptuous to say the least. You’re right that success in our business starts with what you sell and how much you make, not with your page rank. I might suggest that professional growth and contributing to the community come next, and that the truest success comes after your financial security and professional reputation have been established, and that success is found in charitable works and self-fulfillment, but maybe I’m missing something. I just don’t understand where your Google page rank comes into any of that.

    In any case, if Toby is happy then you must be a success, his opinion is probably the most important one of all.
    😉

  5. ines

    March 5, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I measure success in weather people like me or not? 😉 …without even saying cupholders

  6. ines

    March 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    that’s “whether” – I hate when I think in Spanish and type in English

  7. Chris Lengquist

    March 5, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    This has nothing to do with anything other than to say I was in Royals Stadium during Clint Hurdle’s very first major league at bat. Over the right field wall and into the fountain. I’ll never forget. I was just a kid….

  8. John Wake

    March 6, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Congratulations on your success!

    And you are covering the Cactus League too? Holy Mackerel!

  9. Elaine Reese

    March 6, 2009 at 9:18 am

    As always, I love your posts. Only the income counts. I love (NOT) when someone says you MUST do this or that, or they brag about their ratings, traffic, etc. THEN you look to see if they have any bu$ine$$.

    Now about your big Technorati rating ………

  10. Melina Tomson

    March 6, 2009 at 11:22 am

    As long as you make your income goal who cares? Some people want to make $50k a year, some $500K.

    Some people have kids that they actually want to spend time with. Some people would like to stay married.

    People need to find their own balance and be okay with it. If you aren’t making your individual goals, then you need to continue to work hard to get what you want.

    People don’t want the same things out of life.

  11. Russell Shaw

    March 6, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Even I am still working on fully being Russell Shaw and I had quite a head start. Nice one, sir.

  12. teresa boardman

    March 7, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    If you are mediocre then I hope to reach that level one day too.

  13. teresa boardman

    March 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Except for the technorati rating and the page rank. LOL Just kidding you know I love you. 🙂

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Business Marketing

Simple way to send text, email appointment reminders to clients

(MARKETING) This new app has tons of automatic tools that help small businesses continue to move into the digital age with ease of use.

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reminders

As the world becomes more heavily reliant on automated messaging and computer-mediated communication, we become more reluctant to actually speak to someone on the telephone. While I often find myself in this category, I also feel saddened by what Alexander Graham Bell must think. I digress.

We can certainly argue that a major reason we prefer to text or email rather than sit on the phone is for convenience. We can send a quick text while working, as it’s much more difficult to get away with a phone call on the down low.

That’s why it’s become so popular for places such as doctor’s offices and salons to begin using text and email alerts as appointment reminders. Now, Remindr is getting in on the action.

According to their site, “Remindr.co is a tool for small businesses to schedule automated email and text message appointment reminders. Reduce your meeting no-shows by alerting your clients beforehand. Easily confirm appointments with your customers via text message.”

They proclaim that they’re “great for any business that schedules customer appointments or client meetings,” citing their top use cases as restaurant reservations, nail salons, personal trainers, barbers, tattoo shops, spas, real estate agents, independent car mechanics, and tech sales scheduling customer calls.

This is a win-win as it’s convenient for the customer, but also saves time on the business’s side because it eliminates hours of reminder calls. Additionally, the method supports the reduction of no-shows, which is incredibly important to businesses – especially small ones.

Remindr features include: text message, email, confirmation, reusable templates, schedule alerts, and easy user interface. With text messaging, businesses can send personalized SMS messages to customers from your Remindr phone number.

With email, businesses can send personalized email reminders to their customers through Remindr email addresses. Then, customers can confirm their appointment via text messages or email, and businesses can review confirmations on their Remindr account.

Businesses can create their own personalized reminder templates to pre-fill the reminder form (for example: “Hi NAME! We’re looking forward to your appointment tomorrow (DATE) at TIME. Respond YES to confirm your appointment.”) Reminders can be automatically sent via email or text at a predetermined time.

Remindr provides an easy user interface where businesses can start scheduling reminders instantly, use full-keyboard form navigation, and it is mobile friendly.

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Business Marketing

10 easy steps to get into Instagram marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want to up your social media marketing game? Start better with Instagram for your business using these easy tips to quickly get established.

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Instagram post open on a tablet

When Instagram first came on the scene, it was simply a place to share pictures of your cat or a pie that you just baked. While it still is a place for that kind of content, it has also grown into a platform where one can influence others and build an empire.

So, if you’re looking to step up your social media marketing game through use of Instagram, look no further than using these 10 steps from Neil Patel.

  1. Switch to a business profile: This is super easy and can be done in just a few clicks. Switching from a personal to a business profile gives a better look at your followers through Insights, allowing you to see analytics and impressions. It also adds a contact feature that takes a visitor right to an email draft to you – just like it would on your website. All this and it makes it possible to publish ads.
  2. Use free marketing tools: Because Facebook owns Instagram, they operate kind of similarly. As mentioned in #1, Insights allows for a deep dive into personalized analytics to see what kind of posts are clicking with your audience and which aren’t. That way, you know what kind of content to continue with and what to do away with.
  3. Post product teasers: There are a variety of ways to do this, including posting about flash sales or linking business platforms that sell your product to make it easier for your customer to shop. The trick here is to not be pushy, but instead be enticing and make the post convenient for your consumer.
  4. Create a sponsored ad: Like Facebook, you can post ads and include a specific budget of what you want to spend. You can showcase one ad or multiple with the carousel feature. You can also target the exact demographic you’re looking to hit.
  5. Instagram stories: These last 24 hours and don’t have to be as “fancy” as a regular post. Give followers a glimpse into your brand with behind-the-scenes shots, polls, fun questions, etc. Make them feel like they’re part of the experience and use this as a way to tell your brand’s story.
  6. Partner with influencers: Work out a deal with influencers who have a decent following. Send them one of your items in exchange for them posting a photo of the item and tagging your brand. This will reach their whole followership and build your credibility.
  7. Collect user-submitted photos: Share photos posted by customers loving on your brand or product. Either share them to your story, or use a regram app to repost customer photos to your feed. It’s basically free advertising for your product.
  8. Hashtags: Come up with an interactive hashtag solely for your brand. Think in terms of verbs (a la Nike’s “Just Do It”). It can be punny or practical, but something that people attribute to your brand and your brand only.
  9. Timing and over-posting: Look into the best times to post – this is when your users are most active. It will be helpful to use Insights to understand when your time to shine may be. According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post. Also, don’t over post. It’s annoying and it’s always best to err on the side of quality over quantity.
  10. Track the right metrics: Insights do no good if you aren’t looking at the right data. You need to keep tabs on whether or not what you’re doing is increasing your follower growth as well as growth for your interaction. With research, use of Insights and a little trial and error, you’ll get yourself to where you need to be.

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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.

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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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