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Business Marketing

It’s the Premise, Stupid.



This grin comes over my face every time I hear the “worn and torn” arguments against  internet marketing. It is possible that your follow up stinks, like your favorite Lead Reseller likes to say.  It could  be that your leads are weak, Glengarry style. Perhaps it is because you require registration in your IDX (which equals murder, by the way). All that could very well be true. But it’s not the reason why internet marketing is not working for you. The truth is you might have never had a chance to begin with…

It’s the premise, stupid.

Internet marketing works for a lot of people – many of them in real estate. Stratospheric return on investment rates driven by rows upon rows of skinned cats generated at relatively minuscule costs. Internet marketing is spinning wheels in the mud that get nowhere for a lot of people, too.  Ever wonder why that is? Is it because the first group are smarter, geekier, more forward thinking visionaries while the second are tech-challenged Jurassic Park residents? Not in the slightest. What the first group understand that the second one doesn’t is this:

Prospects generated by your marketing are as good as

the premise that was used to get their information.

Think about that for a second. Once you grasp that concept, you can look at marketing through a brand new lens.  Now you see why leads generated by that “Enter your name, win a free iPod” banner ad are bored 12 year olds? Do you understand now that offering a free CMA will get you many names but not very many Sellers? Is it clear now why that sugarfrosted “Why Rent, when you can own for $150/mo” sign makes the phone ring off the hook with suspects that have less than a popsicle’s chance in hell to get approved? It’s the premise.

Four tips to convert more prospects into clients

Now that your thinking is along the correct wavelength, how can you translate it into more Washington mini-portraits and less frustration.

Ask for MORE information, not less

I see countless cases of “just enter your name and email” contact forms on websites. From personal experience, that’s a huge mistake especially in our field. If your goal was to build a fat list of names and email addresses, that’s the way to do it. But take your list to your local banking institution and ask them to convert it into cash and get back to me. Serious prospects have no problem filling out contact forms so ask appropriately. In our forms, we started asking for phone numbers, timeframe for purchase and if they’re already working with someone, upfront. It will help you focus your effort on the prospects that you actually have a chance at converting into clients.

Give browsers room to breathe

You know that feeling you get when you step into a store just to look, only to have a pushy salesman unfold a whole script on ya? That’s how a lot of prospects feel when you bombard them with questions, emails, newsletters immediately after they filled out a form for more information. The solution is: Give your prospects a chance to say that they wish to be left alone for the moment. It will save you many-a-hangup.

Tailor your follow up to your premise

If your strategy is to offer a free whitepaper in exchange for an email address, so you can then utilize an email campaign to convert them,  you must realize that results might take a while to surface. So take a consistent but long term approach and make sure you see it through the whole way. If instead you are looking to generate prospects of a property that’s a good value and available for a short time (i.e. foreclosure), you must establish contact right away so you will need a phone number. Likewise, if your prospect clearly indicates they’re not ready to move for another 3-6 months, realize that you will not convince them to rearrange their life to fit your pipeline needs. Adapt your approach to the premise.

Sharp Call for Action

The flavor of your marketing message does not matter as much as the substance of it. If your call to action is anything other than the prospect asking to be contacted and provided more information, the results won’t be as stellar. That’s the reason why a someone registering in your IDX (so they can move forward) are less likely to convert (at first) than the prospect that requests information for a specific property they found using your IDX. How you structure your call to action has a lot to do with the prospect’s willingness to provide the information you need to contact them.


Houston Real Estate Rainmaker and Uberproud Father/Husband (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not skinning cats or changing diapers you can find me on Twitter or Facebook. I blog about marketing, social media and real estate. I might not always be in agreement, but you can rest assured I'll be honest. Oh, and I can cook a mean breakfast...

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  1. Ed Kohler

    September 17, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Great post, Erion. It’s interesting how many people say “we need more leads” when they’re not first creating a quality experience that is capable of generating the types of qualified leads they’re really interested in. For example, agents working under the premise that providing property photos online will keep the phone from ringing are likely steering people away from their listings and generating “leads” of people who are not nearly as qualified as someone who’s thoroughly reviewed a property online before contacting an agent.

  2. Ken Montville - MD Suburbs of DC

    September 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    I like he form. Not too much. Enough to see if they really want to take the next step or, as you say, just browsing. My personal challenge seems to come with the number of visitors. Who knows? I may be going about it all wrong but my guess is that you still need the numbers even if you have the right premise.

  3. Jonathan Dalton

    September 17, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    One item missing from my form that I need to add is the timeframe … was there once upon a time.

    Beyond that … it’s still a numbers game. More leads in the front end equals more conversions on the back end. That assumes they’re real, convertible leads.

    Have a love/hate relationship with the folks that say they have an agent. Added a field asking for the agent’s name just for the folks who may be saying yes for the hell of it but at the end of the day probably is best to realize they just don’t want to be bothered and focus instead on those who want to buy.

  4. Daria Kelly Uhlig

    September 18, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Excellent points. Statistically, having more leads in general may result in more qualified leads over time, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to higher profits. It’s not only a numbers game. It’s also one of productivity. We have to factor in time lost chasing bad leads that could’ve been devoted to more productive activities.

  5. Ken Brand

    September 18, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I concur Rainman. Your stuff makes me pause and think, which is good and important. My main take away – “Before I run off quarter-cocked, I should sit and think-hard, “What’s my premise”, “What’s my goal”, “Who am I speaking too.”

    Wise words.

  6. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 18, 2009 at 9:07 am


    Like the post. Well thought out and full of good information, I think I learned something. I completely agree with the theory here and have never targeted anything other than well, targeted traffic for my site. (..allow myself to introduce myself….A. Powers)

    I like your form, asking for a tick more information. I once read a statistic that the typical internet home shopper is 6-9 months away from doing anything, if ever, and I’ve seen this pan out myself over the last few years. So a lot of success has to do with what one does with the leads after getting them.

    Your article was great so I won’t debate this one with you:

    “Perhaps it is because you require registration in your IDX (which equals murder, by the way).”

    I will just say that the ONLY way I would ever NOT require registration is if my site traffic was SO HIGH that I wanted to use registration as a screen.

    Rob in Atlanta

  7. Missy Caulk

    September 18, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Asking the time frame is good. I will tell you that many people say a year out and when you call are ready now and thankful for the call.

  8. Bob

    September 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    “you require registration in your IDX (which equals murder, by the way).”

    What proof do you have to back up this statement? If you are writing on AG for the sake of helping people, then stating an opinion as fact, with little facts to back it up, is irresponsible. If you are wrong, which I think you are, then this statement is even worse.

    Come on Erion – prove it!
    Give me something solid. Give me solid data. Give me numbers and time frames. Give me user behavior. Give me something more than an agent’s opinion.

    Show me yours and I’ll show you real data.

  9. Bob

    September 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    “In our forms, we started asking for phone numbers, timeframe for purchase and if they’re already working with someone, upfront. It will help you focus your effort on the prospects that you actually have a chance at converting into clients.”

    Tell me why this doesn’t apply to IDX as well?

  10. Erion Shehaj

    September 20, 2009 at 3:48 pm


    I was being sarcastic RE: IDX registration. Probably should have qualified it with a smilie or something. I am a BIG believer in requiring IDX registration.

  11. bob

    September 21, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for clarifying.

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Business Marketing

How a Facebook boycott ended up benefitting Snapchat and Pinterest

(MARKETING) Businesses are pulling ad spends from Facebook following “Stop Hate for Profit” social media campaign, and Snapchat and Pinterest are profiting from it.



Phone in hand open to social media, coffee held in other hand.

In June, the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign demanded social media companies be held accountable for hate speech on their platforms and prioritize people over profit. As part of the campaign, advertisers were called to boycott Facebook in July. More than 1,000 businesses, nonprofits, and other consumers supported the movement.

But, did this movement actually do any damage to Facebook, and who, if any, benefited from their missing revenue profits?

According to The Information, “what was likely crumbs falling from the table for Facebook appears to have been a feast for its smaller rivals, Snap and Pinterest.” They reported that data from Mediaocean, an ad-tech firm, showed Snap reaped the biggest benefit of the 2 social media platforms during the ad pause. Snapchat’s app saw advertisers spending more than double from July through September compared to the same time last year. And, although not as drastic, Pinterest also saw an increase of 40% in ad sales.

As a result, Facebook said its year-over-year ad revenue growth was only up 10 percent during the first 3 weeks of July. But, the company expects its ad revenue to continue that growth rate in Q3. And, some people think that Facebook is benefitting from the boycott. Claudia Page, senior vice president, product and operations at Vivendi-owned video platform Dailymotion said, “All the boycott did was open the marketplace so SMBs could spend more heavily. It freed-up inventory.”

Even CNBC reported that Wedbush analysts said in a note that Facebook will see “minimal financial impact from the boycotts.” They said about $100 million of “near term revenue is at risk.” And for Facebook, this represents less than 1% of the growth in Q3. However, despite what analysts say, there is still a chance for both Snapchat and Pinterest to hold their ground.

Yesterday, Snap reported their surprising Q3 results. Compared to the prior year, Snap’s revenue increased to $679 million, up 52% from 2019. Its net loss decreased from $227 million to $200 million compared to last year. Daily active users increased 18% year-over-year to 249 million. Also, Snap’s stock price soared more than 22% in after-hours trading. Take that Facebook!

In a prepared statement, Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman said, “As brands and other organizations used this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to evaluate their advertising spend, we saw many brands look to align their marketing efforts with platforms who share their corporate values.” As in, hint, hint, Facebook’s summer boycott did positively affect their amazing Q3 results.

So, Snapchat and Pinterest have benefited from the #StopHateForProfit campaign. Snapchat’s results show promising optimism that maybe Pinterest might fare as well. But, of course, Facebook doesn’t think they will benefit much longer. Back in July, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees, “[his] guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”

Facebook isn’t worried, but I guess we will see soon enough. Pinterest is set to report its Q3 results on October 28th and Facebook on the 29th.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(BUSINESS MARKETING) In the midst of a pandemic and with winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.



Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Healthcare during pandemic goes virtual, looks to stay that way

(BUSINESS NEWS) Employment-based health insurance has already been through the ringer with COVID-19, but company healthcare options are adapting for long term.



Stethoscope with laptop, showing healthcare going virtual.

Changes in employment-based health insurance may end up costing employers more, but will provide crucial benefits to workers responding to the healthcare challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the Business Group on Health, a member-driven advocacy organization that helps large employers navigate providing health insurance to their employees, businesses will increase access to telehealth, mental health resources, and on-site clinics in the upcoming year.

Besides the obvious impacts of the coronavirus itself, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have also rippled out to affect other aspects of public health and how we engage with medical care. With so many people staying home to reduce their in-person contacts, there has been a significant increase in the use of telehealth services such as virtual doctor’s visits. According to the survey from Business Group on Health, whose members include 74 Fortune 100 companies, more than half of large employers will offer more options for virtual healthcare in the upcoming year than in the past.

The pandemic, resulting economic fallout, and dramatic changes to our lives have inevitably exacerbated peoples’ anxieties and feelings of hopelessness. As we move into cold weather, with no end in sight to the need to socially distance, this promises to be a particularly dreary, lonely winter. Mental health support will be more necessary than ever. In 2019, 73% of large employers provided virtual mental health services. That number will increase to 91% next year, with 45% of large employers also expanding their mental health care provider networks, making it easier for employees to find the right the therapist or other mental health service provider, and making it easier to access those services from home, virtually.

In addition, there will be a 20% increase in employers offering virtual emotional well-being services. Altogether, 9 out of 10 of the employers surveyed will provide online mental health resources, which, besides virtual appointments, could also include apps, webinars, and educational videos.

There has also been a slight increase the availability of on-site clinics that provide coronavirus testing and other basic health services. This also included an expansion of resources for prenatal care, weight management, and chronic health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

These improvement won’t come free of charge. While deductibles will remain about the same, premiums and out-of-pocket costs will increase about 5%. In most cases, employers will handle these costs, rather than passing them on to employees.

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