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Business Marketing

I Must Give Up Something

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Saying it Out Loud

This is not news, only a self realization. I can’t be all things to all people; not alone, anyway. There, I said it, out loud and for the world to read. I should feel better now, but I am still left with the task of sorting out the “I must do’s” from the “someone else can do”, so I can concentrate on the dollar producing activities.

In theory, this should be a simple task, requiring little effort. Ha! Another realization is, I don’t let go of tasks easily. It seems easier to keep doing, rather than delegating. But, I must give up to accomplish my goals. If I repeat this phrase several times an hour, will it make it easier? It hasn’t yet ?

The busier I get, the further behind I fall aptly describes many of my days. Except for staying up until midnight every day, I have to find a better way. I know the better way requires an assistant to handle the “tasks” I don’t need to do. Why is that so difficult?

In Search of a Perfect Fit

Finding the perfect fit in another person requires due diligence and a bit of trial and error. This person must be totally opposite of me; loves being in the office, filing; all the detail work. I have thought about a Virtual Assistant, but, I need someone local who can do more than files and marketing for me and my team. I prefer to have one person who can handle many different tasks.

While I am sorting my “to do” lists for my future admin person, I would love your input. If you have an administrative assistant, what tasks do they do for you? Are they licensed? What programs do you use to keep everyone organized and on the same page? Any ideas are welcomed.

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Matt Thomson

    August 14, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    You may want to pick up Gary Keller’s “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.” He’s got an entire section in there on how to make hires, when to make them, etc. There’s even a detailed task list of about 192 real estate tasks that can be a great guide.
    It’s really a very valuable book for anybody looking to make a hire. You can get it from Amazon.

  2. Mariana Wagner

    August 14, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    OMG … We are doing this too. We just hired a listing coordinator and an “official” admin assistant, in addition to our licensed transaction coordinator. If you know about the DISC test, you probably need someone who is a high S-C to be your admin asst.

    Our Admin asst is not licensed, but has a great background in admin. and LOVES being a supportive member of our team. She helps up maintain contact with all our leads/clients, hounds both our short sale clients and their banks to assure all ppw is in to avoid foreclosure, keeps us accountable with the phone calls that we need to make each day, manages our schedules, keeps in contact with our agents and helps with all our team marketing (like newsletters, etc.).

    She needs a definitive job description, but will do whatever she needs to to get the job done. And she is very friendly – yet, very professional.

  3. Mariana Wagner

    August 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    … and what Matt said. Here is the link: MREA

  4. Jennifer in Louisville

    August 15, 2008 at 5:02 am

    We recently hired an assistant after looking for someone for quite a while. You need someone that can be “somewhat” of a pain in the ass thats always following up making sure that everything that is supposed to be happening – is. We use Top Producer, and Treo phones to communicate back and forth. [Any changes to my schedule, appointments, or even customer base, etc – the assistant makes the changes as appropriate throughout the day – and I just get home and sync up my phone and poof, I’ve got my schedule updated.] Any appointments I get a notice on 2 days prior so that I can prepare for whatever it is that I’m needing to do. She’s currently not licensed, but I see her eventually getting licensed.

  5. Paula Henry

    August 15, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Matt – Thanks – I recently bought a new copy. Couldn’t find my original.

    Mariana – Congratulations on finding a right fit for you. It sounds like you have exactly what I need – the one person who does a little of everything. Thanks for the list – It will help me define my list and think of activities I may not have thought of.

    Jennifer – Another great list of assigned tasks to add to my list. The biggest obstacle I am finding is assigning specific activities and defining an assistants job description. It can’t be too much, but enough to allow me to do what I do best,

    I find it interesting neither you or Mariana have a licensed asssitant. I thought I wanted someone who was licensed, but have found some agents only want a “filler” job until the market returns or they want the big checks and go back on their own. I’ve seen it happen with other agents. Painful!

    A pain in the ass is exactly what I need 🙂 Someone who keeps me on task behind the scenes.

  6. Ginger Wilcox

    August 15, 2008 at 8:08 am

    I have 2 part time assistants. Both are licensed. One handles mailings (yes I still do them!), general errands and occasional open houses. The other handles all my escrows, listing paperwork, etc. I really like having licensed assistants personally. Neither of them in enough of a pain to keep me in line, however.

  7. Paula Henry

    August 15, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Ginger – Maybe you don’t need to be kept in line 🙂 Sounds like you have the perfect combination. Those are all tasks I have to give up. Little details!

    Thanks everyone – this has been difficult for me and am glad to see I am not alone in taking more time than I thought it would take to find the right person.

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    August 16, 2008 at 8:16 am

    I have a hard time with this, as I am always looking for something new to try that might make me money, or enhance / replace those things that are making just a little money. It’s more complicated when I realize that some things that I do today may not work for 12 months from now…

  9. Paula Henry

    August 20, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Matthew – I have really taken a slow approach to hiring an assistant. In line with your thoughts, I, too, am a bit more creative at times – trying new things, without tracking their success; sometimes not giving new ideas enough time.

    I feel like an assistant to handle the office tasks, paperwork and tasks I don’t like may free me to analyze my marketing, new ideas and hone in on those which are most important. My thought is, a good assistant should free me to do the money making activities.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(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.

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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 Lines: Think 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 Intro”: Never 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 Video: Email 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 Moving: The 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 Much: It 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

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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