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How To Really Economize Your Business

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During slow market conditions the prevailing advice for us business owners is to “economize your business.”

At the surface level, this makes sense, right? Unfortunately, too many agents mis-interpret this advice and end up costing themselves more than they need to – it can even cost them their real estate career.

Savvy agents don’t think of economizing as slashing budgets, instead they make sure their marketing is going to get them the biggest bang for their buck.

Now, we could go down a tangent here and relate this to scarcity mindset versus abundance mindset, or reactive versus proactive but let’s stay away from ideologies and look at practical business sense.

Practical Business Sense

Your business is fueled by sales. Clearly, sales profits are the only true objective measure for business success. Without them, you don’t have a business you have a hobby. And as you know, marketing creates sales.

Those that mis-interpret “economize your business” to mean “slash your budgets” are going to be in a world of hurt.

Sure, you may have a full pipeline of prospects today but if you slash your marketing – the one thing that fills your pipeline – you’re going to run dry in about 3 months time and you will not have a sustainable business. Bye-bye real estate, hello retail sales.

How To Really “Economize”

First off, it’s important to recognize that there are two types of marketing – expensive and inexpensive. Savvy agents know that expensive marketing doesn’t cover the investment they’ve made, while inexpensive pays rich returns.

See, economizing has nothing to do with cost but everything to do with results. This is why it’s so important to track your sources of business.

Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Test your investment – before rolling out a large scale campaign, conduct a small test so you can track the results to see if a larger campaign is even worthwhile.
  • Focus on the past – stay in touch with past clients since they already have expressed their trust and faith in you. They’re in prime positions to give referrals and may even be ready to become repeat clients.
  • Commit to a plan – the bane of many businesses is trying to do a little of this and a little of that. In the end, there’s no major impact. Commit to a focused plan and stick to it.
  • Create timeless marketing – many agents waste money on marketing that must continually be updated and re-created. Make your marketing timeless. For example, rather than being in business for 7 years, say that you’ve been in business since 2001.
  • Target wisely – don’t waste precious time and resources on folks not likely to buy from you. Instead, turn your efforts to your most likely prospects and profitable clients.
  • Hire a pro – amateur marketing is an invitation to disaster. To get the biggest results it makes sense to hire a designer/copywriter/consultant to create a powerful template, then produce new materials following the same format.

Obviously, these tips are timeless and should be followed in both boom and down markets.

Here’s the thing: marketing creates sales and you need to market smart in order to survive.

Yes, economize your business – demand a return for your investments. But don’t start slashing the budget to that which fuels your business.

If you don’t invest in smart marketing today, you’ll have less to invest tomorrow.

What are you doing to “economize” and get the biggest bang for your marketing dollar?

photo credit

Mark Eckenrode is a Certified Master of Guerrilla Marketing raised on comic books, punk rock, and Pepsi. He's also the chief marketing trainer at HomeStomper where AgentGenius readers can learn unconventional methods for winning with social media.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Rob Aubrey

    November 27, 2008 at 8:46 am

    A shifted market makes you really look at each item on the budget and ask are you carrying you weight?

    It is healthy for your business to get rid of bad habits (spending money on crap that doesn’t create profit).

    The trick is to NOT CUT the quality of service.

    One of the things that will help an agent survive is to stop using words like up or down market.

    There is no such thing as a good or bad market. It is a buyer’s or seller’s market and the shift between.

    During the unprecedented seller’s market it was not always good for the buyer and no one called that a bad market. It was called a hot or great market, the people that it was great for were the unskilled, because they could make money in spite of their lacking.

    I would like to ad one more tip. Understand what is selling in your market and go there. It sounds very obvious. But most are not doing it. If you sold higher end homes, then you need to become a student of FHA and learn how to get people to the table, tht is what you are paid for.

  2. Missy Caulk

    November 27, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Test, test, test. If it works continue on and if it isn’t then move on to what does, or put more money in the things that are bringing in business.

  3. Russell Shaw

    November 28, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Wonderful post, Mark! Great job. Real words of wisdom. This was something I had intended – for about a month – to write about and never got around to it.

    Cutting out all promotion to “save money” is a sure-fire route to complete failure.

  4. Mark Eckenrode

    December 1, 2008 at 9:42 am

    great additions and comments from folks. thanks.

    i find most folks are quick to cut their marketing because they don’t see returns from it – meaning, they don’t actually track where business is coming from.

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Business Marketing

Video is necessary for your marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As technology and social media move forward, so do marketing opportunities. Now is the time for video content social media marketing!

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video content

As an entrepreneur, you’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are on, but even brands that aren’t directly talking about this pivot have increased their video production. This shift stems in part from studies showing users spend more time on pages featuring video content. Social media has also played a significant role, and recently, new social platforms have made the pivot to video even more important.

Snapchat and TikTok are leading the social video sector as emerging social media platforms, but the audiences for these platforms skew especially young. The content on these platforms also tends toward the meme-worthy and entertaining, raising the question: are these platforms a good use of your time and resources? The answer depends on your industry, but whatever your field, you can certainly learn from the pros dominating these new platforms.

The promotional angle

One of the primary ways that businesses use video content across platforms is by creating promotional content, which range widely in style, cost, and content, but there are a few strategies that can really help a promotional video succeed.

First, a great promotional video hooks the viewer within the first few seconds. Social media has shrunk everyone’s attention span, so even if your video is on a longer form platform, the beginning has to be powerful. Having a strong start also means that your video will be more flexible, allowing it to gain traction across different platforms.

Audience matters

What you’re promoting – what your business does and who it serves – plays a critical role in what kinds of video content you make and what platforms you use. TikTok is a lot of fun, and it’s playing a growing role in business, but if your entire audience is age 30 and up, there’s not much point in trying to master the form and build a viewership there. You need a sufficient youth-heavy market to make TikTok a worthwhile investment, but Snapchat, which also serves a youth-heavy market, might be a different story.

Even if you don’t intend to make heavy use of Snapchat, the platform recently made a big splash in the video sector by opening up its story tools to other platforms. That means businesses will be able to use Snapchat’s tools on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where they may already have an audience. It will also make crossover content easier, allowing you to maintain consistent branding across all platforms. You may never download Snapchat proper, but you may soon be using their tools.

It’s all about strategy

However you choose to approach video content, the fact is that today video is a necessary part of your content marketing strategy. In part this is because, while blogs aren’t going anywhere, and short-form social media is definitely ascendant, both make use of video, but that’s not the only reason. Video is so powerful because it’s deeply personal. It makes your audience feel that much more closely connected with you and your brand, and that alone is enough to change buying patterns.

Another key advantage of video is that, consumers genuinely enjoy well-made videos. Unlike blogs, which most users will typically only seek out if they need information, there are brands out there who are known for their video content. They’ve found a way to hook viewers and make them feel like they have two products: entertainment and whatever it is they actually sell. You, too, can do this with enough creativity and today’s social media tools.

It’s critical that you don’t let your brand fall behind on video right now, because if you even stop for breath, you will be left behind. As TikTok and Snapchat have made clear, video doesn’t stop for anyone. At this point, video isn’t the future of social media or ecommerce – it’s the present.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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