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I Knew It Wouldn’t Work

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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.

Surprise

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.

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 Blog.com.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  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

    Vicki,
    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 miamism.com 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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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.

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Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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Business Marketing

Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It may feel tough to decide if you want to be a jack of all trades or have an area of expertise at work. There are reasons to decide either route.

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jack of all trades learning

When mulling over your career trajectory, you might ask yourself if you should be a jack of all trades or a specific expert. Well, it’s important to think about where you started. When you were eight years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher? Doctor? Lawyer? Video Game Developer? Those are common answers when you are eight years old as they are based on professionals that you probably interact with regularly (ok, maybe not lawyers but you may have watched LA Law, Law & Order or Suits and maybe played some video games – nod to Atari, Nintendo and Sega).

We eventually chose what areas of work to gain skills in and/or what major to pursue in college. To shed some light on what has changed in the last couple of decades:

Business, Engineering, Healthcare and Technology job titles have grown immensely in the last 20 years. For example, here are 9 job titles that didn’t exist 20 years ago in Business:

  1. Online Community Manager
  2. Virtual Assistant
  3. Digital Marketing Expert
  4. SEO Specialist
  5. App Developer
  6. Web Analyst
  7. Blogger
  8. Social Media Manager
  9. UX Designer

We know that job opportunities have grown to include new technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, consumer-generated content, instant gratification, gig economy and freelance, as well as many super-secret products and services that may be focused on the B2B market, government and/or military that we average consumers may not know about.

According to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics after doing a survey of baby boomers, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12. That number is likely on the rise with generations after the Baby Boomers. Many people are moving away from hometowns and cousins they have grown up with.

The Balance Careers suggests that our careers and number of jobs we hold also vary throughout our lifetimes and our race is even a factor. “A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age. Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.”

In order to decide what you want to be, may we suggest asking yourself these questions:

  • Should you work to be an expert or a jack of all trades?
  • Where are you are at in your career and how have your skills progressed?
  • Are you happy focusing in on one area or do you find yourself bored easily?
  • What are your largest priorities today (Work? Family? Health? Caring for an aging parent or young children?)

If you take the Gallup CliftonStrengths test and are able to read the details about your top five strengths, Gallup suggests that it’s better to double down and grown your strengths versus trying to overcompensate on your weaknesses.

The thing is, usually if you work at a startup, small business or new division, you are often wearing many hats and it can force you to be a jack of all trades. If you are at a larger organization which equals more resources, there may be clearer lines of your job roles and responsibilities versus “the other departments”. This is where it seems there are skills that none of us can avoid. According to LinkedIn Learning, the top five soft skills in demand from 2020 are:

  1. Creativity
  2. Persuasion
  3. Collaboration
  4. Adaptability
  5. Emotional Intelligence

The top 10 hard skills are:

  1. Blockchain
  2. Cloud Computing
  3. Analytical Reasoning
  4. Artificial Intelligence
  5. UX Design
  6. Business Analysis
  7. Affiliate Marketing
  8. Sales
  9. Scientific Computing
  10. Video Production

There will be some folks that dive deep into certain areas that are super fascinating to them and they want to know everything about – as well as the excitement of becoming an “expert”. There are some folks that like to constantly evolve and try new things but not dig too deep and have a brief awareness of more areas. It looks safe to say that we all need to be flexible and adaptable.

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