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Business Marketing

I Knew It Wouldn’t Work

Get Your Pom Poms Ready

I market to a small walkable neighborhood with a hyper-focused blog. It’s my own little petri dish. There are all forms of real estate – SFR, town houses, lofts rentals. There’s also a variety of restaurants, a chain grocery and coffee shops.

The task: Become the face of the community.

The question: How?

The solution: Recruit.

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I thought I was going to get kicked out on my keester, but I approached the businesses with a cheer: Reciprocity! R-e-c-i-p-r-o-c-i-t-y! I’ll market you – you market me. Something totally unexpected happened. They said yes. Huh? What? Yes, we’d love to.

Remarkably it wasn’t just the sole proprietors. The chains are jumping in too. And guess what? The big daddys have marketing departments. See the vision?

You go into a shop or restaurant in this little pocket carrying a discount card that I’ve delivered and sign your check with a pen with my blog address on it – oooh, I can hear the clicks on my blog now. They’ve tripled. Business yet? Nope. I’m not discouraged. I’m expanding to another neighborhood.

Get out there and network – make friends. This will work in your neighborhood too.

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Written By

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate



  1. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    August 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    There are all kinds of ways you can do this, not just with restaurants.

    Rock on!

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    August 11, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I LOVE the idea of reciprocity! I believe that other businesses that rely on referrals and word of mouth are the most understanding of this concept- hair stylists, maid services, interior designers, veterinarians and the like. Thanks for the inspiration, Vicki! 🙂

  3. Vicki Moore

    August 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Daniel – Out with it. Share your ideas man!

    Lani – I agree completely. This marketing project is one that I’ve had the most fun with. These businesses have been amazed that I want to help them – but it’s mutual. The first question they ask is how much. I also think that the economy has opened up people’s minds to new ways of growing their business.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    August 11, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Vicki – My broker actually just went with a similar idea for business cards. Our in house guy makes them cheap and they have 4 different discounts on the back…its a multi-use coupon basically. The only thing that stopped me from ordering them was the quality of the companies involved. I didn’t see the people I want to work with having a need for discounts at the places offered. Of course, this gives me an idea to strike out on my own and do some of this. I know of a couple of places in my local neighborhood that I think would be accepting of this sort of thing…and I could make it hyper-local at the same time. As Lani said, thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Brad Shaffer

    August 11, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    I absolutely love this idea. I am getting ready to launch two hyper-local blogs and websites with plans of incorporating restaurant and business reviews for the local area. This is a great way to further market your blog at a minimal cost. Fantastic!

  6. Paula Henry

    August 11, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I love success stories! This is great Vicki – chalk up another for ingenuity:)

  7. Vicki Moore

    August 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Matt- I’ve seen those cards and thought about them too. The company I looked into required that you recruit the businesses yourself. That’s a way to get who you want on the card.

    Brad- That’s fantastic. I hope you’ll come back and share your experiences with it. I think you’ll find that the businesses will appreciate your help.

    Paula – Thanks. I hope you’ll give it a shot too.

  8. Upstart Agent

    August 11, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    That’s a great idea! It’s always nice to not be flat out rejected all the time. You’ll have to let us know how it works out & if it brings any business.

  9. Mike Taylor

    August 11, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Good on you! I think there is a lot of power in these hyperlocal blogs. Keep at it, the business will come.

  10. Holly White

    August 11, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    Fantastic work Vicki! The idea is to become a household name in the neighborhood and it looks like you’re on your way. High five!

  11. Vicki Moore

    August 11, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks guys. I don’t want to be alone in this. Let’s all do it! — or maybe you want to see if it works. 🙂 It’s only been about two months – about 4 impressions.

  12. Jamey Bridges

    August 11, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    I like it! I think it’s grass roots ( a little viral too) and I always think that those out in their farm and have a blog can have some of the greatest impact. I look forward to hearing about your conversions next 🙂

  13. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    August 12, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Think about this: what are the most popular entities in your community? They may be restaurants, but they may be rec centers, or they may be museums, or they may be farmer’s markets, whatever. Promote THOSE things to the rest of the community. Establish relationships with those who run or coordinate for them. Those are the folks who are most plugged-in to what is going on, and who know the most (and more importantly, the right) people.

    Take a page out of the Jeff Turner book and go and interview those folks, talk about them on your blog, share their stories with people. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, and everyone who runs a store or a community center, or any sort of entity that relies on the community wishes that they could get their story out to more people. Use the voice you have to help enhance theirs.

  14. Ines

    August 12, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Love it! I did something similar but your idea is more clever. I wrote about the restaurant on my blog and in return asked for them to put a cling-on (one of those sticker-like thingies) that reads to put on their front door or the approach to the restaurant.

    I find that many people find the restaurants from the blog, but not vise versa…..the reciprocity is not all that great. Thanks for the idea!

  15. Vicki Moore

    August 12, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Jamey – Ooo. Viral – I think I like the sound of that.

    Daniel – I like it. Gotta get out that Flipcam.

    Ines – I heard you mention that cling-on thing before – I think that’s brilliant. I hope this idea is something you can add to what you’re already doing so successfully.

  16. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Awesome! Way to go get ’em

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