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Fierce Competition




Main Entry: com·pe·ti·tion Listen to the pronunciation of competition



Late Latin competition-, competitio, from Latin competere


1: the act or process of competing : rivalry : as a: the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms b: active demand by two or more organisms or kinds of organisms for some environmental resource in short supply 2: a contest between rivals ; also : one’s competitors

When I got into real estate, I knew there would be competition, but NEVER did I imagine it would be so fierce!  In my immediate real estate market, stories of my clients walking into open houses and declaring openly that they were working with us – they got attached like bloody chum in a sea of sharks!  Horrible and unprofessional to say the least.

Then came blogging and social networking – what a relief to be able to share stories and experiences with like-minded professionals who saw us as colleagues, not “competition”.  The ability to network and ask questions across the nation while making connections – it was so pleasant to be able to swim in a predator-free ocean.

New Competition Challenge

But then the next challenge appeared.  Our site was successful; our innovative local blog was getting results and soon started being used as an example to other Realtors.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s very humbling to walk into a showing and having the listing agent get excited and say “OMG!! You are Ines from Miamism!…..I’ve been following your every step!”   Then to see top producers plagiarize our content, or nasty competitors try to play dirty tricks and report our site to Google as “spam”, or use keywords in our profile for a porn site.   So then I realized that at the local level, Internet competition was just a fierce or even worse!

And then a light bulb went off when reading Jack Leblond’s post on SEO and Mark Eckenrode’s post on Marketing – our goal is to attract people that want to do business with us, if you copy me……there goes THAT strategy.  If you are malicious…..then sorry, I totally believe that it will get back to you.  If you are not truthful about your intent, you will only be cheating yourself.

Be Smart – use common sense

For those of you that are looking to get into this medium and start a blog or a hybrid-site like many of the Agent Genius Contributors have, please pay attention and learn from what’s out there but don’t copy.

  • Jay Thompson’s style may not suit you in Washington or Mariana in Ohio or Teresa in Orlando
  • You will need to strategize and find a way to personalize it and make it your own
  • You bring value to the industry, write about it and why you are different
  • If you don’t have time to market yourself in the web2.0 medium, make sure whoever you hire will not hurt your reputation by doing things that are unethical
  • Go out and read other blogs, learn from them, ask questions. Don’t copy your competition
  • Did I mention “Don’t Copy”?

What I find amazing is that I had never crossed paths with certain local agents in my real estate career and now consider them “rivals” because of their shady Internet practices.  I know we have to work harder than ever because of the condition of the real estate market – but I wish we could keep it clean.

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. Matt Stigliano

    September 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Ines – Funny, I just wrote this great post called “Fierce Competition” on my blog. No, not really…I’m just kidding. Actually I find this very interesting as I’ve seen a few things (not on a personal level) recently that were flat out “copied” from elsewhere and it made my stomach turn. I’ve read a lot of other blogs and when I do and something has given me an idea or concept, I’ve asked the author to allow me to use their idea, but in my own way. Recently, Brad Nix, gave me some incredible inspiration and told me to go with it. I think those of us out here who are trying to do things the right way are more than happy to share and inspire each other, which is why people who outright copy you will never get it. I feel like everytime I speak to an AG writer, the conversation usually ends with them encouraging me to use, borrow, adapt, or to do something they came up with, so its amazing to me to think that someone would blatantly steal, when if they were working in the community and understood how passionate and helpful most of you are, they wouldn’t need to steal, but could benefit from a friendship instead.

  2. Jack Leblond

    September 15, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    When I was a boy, my Mom drilled into my head “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” In other words, don’t bash your competition – they do a good enough job on their own.

    When I was teaching web design classes, I would tell my students that no matter how big the internet gets if you say something you shouldn’t, or copy somebody else’s work, you’ll be amazed and how small it quickly becomes.

  3. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    September 15, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Ines, I’ve read your article four times now and what resonates so strongly with me is your choice of word, “colleague.” Many people that are new to the space don’t understand that the culture is not of offline vicious back stabbing, it’s a collaborative effort to better ALL of our businesses.

    There are thousands of agents in every market and it is ridiculous for an individual to think that they directly compete with every one of them and that there should only be one agent per city. It’s equally ridiculous to think that there should only be one real estate blogger per city and the behavior of anyone who feels this way is as irrational as the thought that they should be the exclusive real estate blogger in their city. There’s not a fine line here, it’s very black and white- don’t do something online that you wouldn’t do in front of the competitor you are smearing and YOUR lawyer because *HERE* our culture is that we are colleagues more than competitors.

  4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 15, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Matt – very funny! 😉 the truth is that many of us are learning as we go – and tons are being innovative – so the whole “copying” thing is definitely flattering – but there’s a right way and wrong way to go about it. Copying a whole post verbatim without credit is plain wrong and there is no excuse for it.

    Jack – not only does it become small, but your reputation can be ruined in a matter of seconds. (link corrected btw – thanks for that)

    Lani – you should have written this article….you have a way with words my friend.

  5. Teresa Boardman

    September 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks for writing this. My blog works because it is me and it is St. Paul. copying it is the worst mistake anyone can make. . . yet they do. Like a blog is a magic bullet or something

  6. Matt Stigliano

    September 15, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Its funny because if you read my comment and Lani’s comment, you’ll get the point…twice. Except her’s is much better written. I think she went to college or something.

  7. Mack

    September 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Treating our colleagues in an ethical manner and with respect should go without saying but it doesn’t. I don’t understand why some agents seem to want to be adversarial. It just doesn’t make sense unless they think that is the only way to protect their clients.

    Are all the doctors in a city competitors or are they colleagues who treat each other with respect. We can all learn from each other just as I do in this and several other forums. Heck I’ve even made some online friends here.

  8. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 15, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    T you would have died laughing reading a post about me being an architect and loving color as a little girl – in a blog authored by a man! LOL

    Matt – I think you copied her 😉

    Mack – I don’t get it either, but it’s rough. If we can’t even get along within the industry, how do we expect to have a good reputation in the consumer’s eyes? If a Realtor is willing to steal someone else’s client, what does it say about what they are willing to do for THAT same client.

  9. Kim Wood

    September 15, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    You have run against crueler than cruel in the fierce competition there, Ines! (The below doesn’t apply to you)

    I think competition can be a good thing – it tends to keep you on your toes and constantly working to improve and be the very best.

    Copying? Sheesh – Idiot is what I call them – they can’t come up with something on their own.

  10. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 15, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Kim – for the benefit of the doubt, there are some big dogs in Miami who don’t want to take the time to blog or learn about it, hear it’s important for their business and hire someone to take care of it. Those “hired” people then steal content and plaster it all over the Realtors blogs making them look really bad. It’s happened to me with several people here and it has taken a phone call for them to be absolutely embarrassed and they remove the content right away.

    I’ve definitely been in cruel hands…..but it’s all good! 😉

  11. Matthew Rathbun

    September 15, 2008 at 9:14 pm


    I think we (ok, mainly me) tend to spend too much time worrying out our enemies (the folks stealing or screwing with your porn, er um, website) and not enough on realizing that the folks hailing you as a hero are far greater in number.

    All these things are long term – the haters are short-term and have no staying power; which is why they are pursuing the short cuts that are proven not to work.

    You’re awesome – keep the course!

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    September 15, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    You are so cool Matthew – thanks for that. We do tend to forget that the positive far outweighs the negative and a few jerks cannot ruin it for us. You are right……it’s not easy and the ones taking the easy route and short cut, will probably NEVER be any good at it anyway.

  13. Rich Jacobson

    September 15, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Whenever I think of competition, I think of that line from the movie “GumBall Rally”…where the French driver rips the rearview mirror of his expensive Ferrari, and says to his co-pilot, “Whatsa behind me, she’s a no matter!”….that’s the way we should live. Pedal to the metal, and no looking back!

  14. ines

    September 16, 2008 at 7:50 am

    You’re funny Rich – until of course you are rear-ended and then it gets ugly! 😉

  15. Linsey

    October 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm


    As someone that is still relatively new to the blogging world, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the warmth and openness of the blogging community. As I work on finding my own voice, I consistently read the wonderful content on so many of these blogs. I’m committed to growing my blog as part of my business. I know how important these connections are and that content is sacred. For those that jump into this world and copy content, they won’t be participating long. They are participating on a superficial, temporary level.

    I also will repeat what my kids hear frequently from me: ‘The ripples we create return to us.’ For those that are nasty, it’s coming back around.

  16. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 1, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Hey Linsey – it’s all about attitude and common sense – I have complete confidence that you will have a successful blog – keep at it and those ripples will return to you.

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Business Marketing

The secret to crafting consistently high-converting emails?

(BUSINESS 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 LinesThink 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 IntroNever 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 VideoEmail 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 MovingThe 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 MuchIt 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

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?



A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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Business Marketing

The rise of influencer marketing and its effect on digital marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) More businesses are planning to invest a larger part of their marketing budgets on more relatable, branded content and influencer marketing.



Influencer speaking to camera for marketing segment.

The digital age has created more savvy consumers, and the barrage of advertising on top of the plenitude of content online can be a lot. Many consumers have learned to hide ads or they simply scroll past them to their content of choice. Most business owners know that digital marketing is a crucial part of any ad strategy, and branded content and influencer marketing continues to grow in the market, because consumers see that it’s different from traditional advertising.

Hardly anything stayed the same in 2020, and traditional advertising also has shifted. Advertiser Perceptions reported on the trend for 2021, based on a survey from late 2020.

“More than half of advertisers using paid branded content and influencers say doing so is more critical than it was a year ago. Throughout the second half of 2020, 32% increased spending on branded content and 25% spent more to back influencers. They’re now putting 20% of their digital budgets into the complementary practices, which is more than they put into any other digital channel (paid search is 14%, display 13%, paid social 12%, digital video 12%).”

The benefits of branded and influencer content are that you are speaking to the consumer where they already are, when you choose an influencer. The people who follow their accounts are more likely to trust that the influencer would only share something they like or use themselves. The best matches are when the influencer marketing fits nicely into the kind of content, the voice, and any specialties they already deal with.

The word “influencer” as well as the concept rubs some people the wrong way. Marketers see the value, though, as influencer marketing can be effective if done well, and the cost to hire them is often less than a traditional ad campaign. If I want to know about food in a city, I’ll follow the hashtags until I find a local food blogger or micro-influencer whose style I like. Then I’ll seek out those restaurants when I visit. Sure, some of the meals are comped, but the truth is that food bloggers and influencers like to share their food recommendations. I have been influenced this way more than once, and not only for food. I am not alone in this, either, which is why it’s an important part of a marketing strategy.

In influencer marketing, the content creator is then given free rein to create within their own style, voice, and persona. They need to connect with their audience in an authentic, familiar way without creating a dissonance for their followers between their public page(s) and the brand. The level of trust is fairly high with influencer marketing, and many influencers realize that promoting something crappy or something outside of their area of expertise or recognition hurts everyone involved.

The power of storytelling comes into play here, as with all good advertising. Branded content is specifically all about the story, often the story of the business’s philosophy or some lifestyle aspect that goes with the brand’s vibe–or is so off that it goes viral. Some branded campaigns join into or build off of conversations already happening in the wider world. The purpose is to have people engage with the brand, with the content, build awareness, encourage conversations, sharing, comments, all with the long term goal of fostering a positive image of the brand so that down the line, they will become consumers.

Think of 2004 Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, based on a study showing that around 2% of women saw themselves as beautiful. The widely studied, award-winning campaign featured women of all backgrounds and body types, without airbrushing and Photoshopping them into a narrow vision of “beauty.” While some people hated it, many loved it and applauded the brand for treading into traditionally uncharted waters. Among haters, fans, and people who weren’t sure what to think, the Dove Real Beauty branded content campaign generated conversations. The campaign also encouraged women to feel good about themselves and lift up other women. One could argue that the campaign you could argue that the Real Beauty campaign was a forerunner to the currently popular body positivity movement, which started gaining traction around 2012. Dove increased sales by at least $1.5 billion in the first ten years the branded content campaign ran.

The goal of branded content is to raise awareness of the brand, but the path from point A (creating the content) to point B (brand awareness, ultimately leading to better sales) is not a straight line. Brands are paying attention to grabbing attention, aka building brand awareness via more upper funnel marketing than lower funnel.

One thing that marketers are looking for now, however, is almost eliminating the funnel. With the mind-boggling increase in e-commerce since the beginning of the pandemic, clickable sales capability becomes important in any kind of marketing, including influencer and branded content. It pays to listen to customers, to find an influencer who meshes with your brand’s purpose, and to create thoughtful branded content that isn’t out of line with your core product or service.

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