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Business Marketing

Keeping Buyers Informed and Reducing Liability



Using your site they way it should be

There are so many agents who have a webpage or blog and don’t use it to it’s full capacity.  Regardless if you’re “Green” or not, we can all agree that the reduction of paper is a healthy and cost effective way of doing business.  Therefore, to increase the services your website can provide, as well as to cut costs and be more socially conscious, I recommend online Buyer Packets.

The Interview Process

I’ve always performed, and recommended that Buyer Agents do a thorough interview of their potential client.  Agents should spend about an hour with prospects and customers seeing what they are looking for and establishing guidelines for how you plan on working with them.  There are no end to the questions that should be discussed in this interview, but of course the Buyer’s motivation, desires, ability, ideology and expectations are all reasonable starts.  Most States and Commonwealths require certain disclosures be made to the client.  Among those are Agency Disclosures and Material Real Property Disclosures.  I would think it wise that agents write a webpage or blog post regarding how their state and company handles Agency issues.  Also, you’re policies on handling showings should be outlined in a format that the Buyer can understand and refer to.  There are examples of things that agents routinely have to disclosure and should have readily available somewhere.

Enter the Online Buyer Packet

Taking the company specific and state specific articles and adding to a list of routine resources and disclosures will help you to better prepare the Buyer for the Buying Process and not forget something potentially important.  I recommend that the Buyer Client page should be password protected.  This will help keep your competitors from snagging your ideas and will also make your client feel a bit more special, in that they have been given this information.  That being said, many of the following resources should be readily available throughout your blog / website in order to encourage clients to return. 

I recommend the following items be on this buyer page:

Be the Source of the Source,

but not the Source

One of the first and most lasting lessons I learned early on in my career, was that reducing liability was a primary concern.  It’s important for consumers to have information and for the practitioner to be instrumental in getting them that information.  However, there is great liability in providing information and perhaps being wrong.  Being able to refer the consumer to the source of information (such as five year plan or county / city zoning regulations) can ensure that they have access to information and you were the vehicle to get there, but not as liable for the information.

Do you have any favorite client sites?

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is

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  1. Ken Brand

    February 27, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Hear Ye, Hear Ye, long live Buyer’s Packets, On-line and Real Time.

    What a fantastic list. I might add:

    A sample copy of the basic contract – so they know what it looks like and can ask questions before they write.

    A sample copy of the Seller’s Disclosure – so they know what it looks like and can ask questions before they write.

    Information of Home Protection Plans

    Maybe a sample of what the Listing Agreement looks like – in case they are selling.

    Great information, I’m going to bookmark for sharing with the team.


  2. Jim Rake

    February 27, 2009 at 7:53 am


    As always, thanks for the resources!

    And the must do:

    “Buyer Agents do a thorough interview of their potential client”

  3. Mark Eibner

    February 27, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    we’re at it again Keeping Buyers Informed and Reducing Liability: Get out of your feed reader a..

  4. sheilabragg

    February 27, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Keeping Buyers Informed and Reducing Liability: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMISE..

  5. Brian Block

    February 27, 2009 at 5:22 pm


    Thanks for the homework assignment. Great idea! Now, I’ve just got to make the time to do it.

  6. Kim Hannemann

    February 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks, Matthew, some great sources here. But you might want to check how you are linking – a lot of 404s where your link is like

  7. Missy Caulk

    February 28, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I like that, explain to the buyers HOW you work, which is basically how we are going to find them a house. Not by looking at 40.

  8. Kim Wood

    March 4, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I wish your list was around when Missy and I were in the Makeover contest 🙂 I actually do provide an electronic buyer packet – and cite some sources… your list is much more complete – so thank you!!

    Great thought – be the source of the source – not the source.

  9. Jonathan Phan

    March 6, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for the info

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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!



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.



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.



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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