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Out with the Old, In with the New

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Old Things Pass Away

Sometimes you just have to say good-bye.

Sometimes it is just not working out the way you hope it would or the way it started out working.

I found myself in that position for the last three years and I finally just did it.

I got a new web-site. Now that you can relax and know I am still happily married after 31 years let me tell you about the journey.

We start out with a web-site, don’t know much about SEO, source code, writing, buyer’s behavior, sellers behavior, key words etc… But, as we grow we learn more and more and realize that the old is just not working as it did a few years ago.

In my situation I had been with Number1Expert since 1999. At first I was one of four other agents in Ann Arbor.I got a lot of leads and although the site was expensive it more than paid for itself. In fact I closed 10-12 transactions from it each year. Like most Realtors I don’t mind paying for marketing IF it is working and for years it was.

Make Way for New Things

But, times change, people change, companies are bought and sold, and we grow. I found myself frustrated having to wait for a web-master to change things that I had learned how to do.

So after debating with myself for three years, I made the change.

Loyalty can be good or bad, right?

I hung on…debated…gave them opportunity to grow and evolve with Social Media, blogging etc… it just wasn’t going to happen.

New Wine

In the Real Estate Industry things change too. We are dealing with banks, short sales, loan mod’s and foreclosures. Yea, I didn’t want to do that either and use to refer them out. But, found out in my area, if I was going to still be successful I had to embrace them.

Learning and growing requires change. You know the saying, “you can’t put new wine in an old wineskin, or it will break and crack the skin and the wine will spill out.”

New is exciting, fun and yes stretching. I can now inform the consumer about all the neighborhoods and subdivisions available in my area. If I was relocating, I would want to know what a neighborhood looked like, what price range of homes were there, what the style of homes were, and what the market trends were in an area.

Just like the photo, the old must move out of the way so new growth can come.

What new things are you currently adding or changing in your business?

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Elaine Reese

    April 30, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I’m in a similar situation with my web site which I began in ’99. It was originally with Homeseekers but has changed owners since. They haven’t kept up with SEO improvements and are unwilling to make changes to the back-end. I’ve customized it as much as I can but the subdomain pages get no Google juice. This year rather than sign up for a full year service, I’m on month-to-month so I can do “out with the old”.

  2. Matt Stigliano

    April 30, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Missy – Looks good. It is hard to let go of “old friends” sometimes. I like the neighborhood feature and it gave me an awesome idea actually. So not only am I happy for you, but I owe you one too.

  3. Lani Rosales

    April 30, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Missy, the bottom line is that change is hard, so sometimes I’m just used to a product despite its effectiveness. Email is a good example, I’ve just recently moved from Outlook to Gmail and find it to be more suitable to MY career. I *should* learn Photoshop since I do so much graphic design but anything with a high learning curve can be scary, right? Change is hard- good on ya for finally making that leap!

  4. Brad Rachielles

    April 30, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Thanks for the timely post. Just decided to make the same change yesterday having been comfortable with the old site because I had better things to do. This is part of the insanity of expecting the different results by doing the same old things.

    While I’m tempted to blame the provider for not staying up on changes in SEO, not providing other tools du jour and doing nothing on my (the client’s) behalf to improve my results, I suddenly realize that the buck stops here.

    Your new site looks great. Please do a follow-up on this in a few months to let us know if the 10-12 transactions from the old site have been equaled/bettered by the new page.

  5. Drew Meyers

    April 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    The site looks great Missy – congrats. I couldn’t help but notice that the default rate on your mortgage calculator is 8%, which isn’t quite up to date. Of course I’m biased, but have you considered using rates from Zillow Mortage Marketplace to give consumer a feel for what current rates are?

    FYI that there is no title tag on your good place to retire page. SEO wise, would be worth fixing.

  6. Cindy Marchant

    April 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Missy, you are always a leader so I’m sure your decision will influence many. You are so far ahead of me; heck I’m still with a templated website because I’m so cheap! The new look is great and the blue and gold could be mistaken for Notre Dame!! (But, I know better!)

  7. Missy Caulk

    April 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Drew write a post, email it to me and I will add it as a page. The default was from Dakno so I will have them change it.

    How did you find he no follow link, I have a lot of links in that post, which link?

  8. Drew Meyers

    April 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Missy-
    It’s the title tag that I found. I didn’t find a nofollow link.

    Does this blog post work for you? If you’re looking for something specific, just let me know what you want me to send you.

  9. Missy Caulk

    April 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Brad, yes I will do that, already getting leads on it.

    Lani, my friend at Google asked me why if I am using all the other apps at Google, I don’t use Gmail. LOL I guess I am just use to doing all my folders in Outlook and now Mail which works the same way. I know folks who use it love it and I have a gmail account just forward to my missycaulk.com email.

    Matt, glad it helped I’ll just have to take you up on that with you being a Mac user. I’m still learning.

    Elaine, well it took me 3 years to finally take the plunge.

    Cindy, GO BLUE!!! 🙂

  10. Jim Rake

    April 30, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Missy – I, too, recently took the REW plunge. They’re building it as we speak. Hard to argue with their quality.

    And, you hit the nail on the head -“Learning and growing requires change”, and, smarter choices make the growing a bit less painful.
    Looks like you’ve done just that!

  11. Missy Caulk

    April 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Jim, Dakno marketing built mine but I am adding content to it daily.

    Drew, can I just copy that, you might want to email me with your contact info so we can chat a minute about the rates. I did have Dakno change it to the six % and you have kept me busy going back to add my title tags all day.

  12. Jim Rake

    May 1, 2009 at 5:39 am

    OOPS – I stand corrected – guess that’s what happens when I read too quickly!

    Well, obviously your site speaks for itself – lots of good stuff, content rich.

    It’s interesting (and a bit disappointing) to examine agent’s sites, when Swanepoel’s survey and others let us know exactly what consumers are looking for, yet many agents just don’t get it.

    As they say, “Old habits are hard to break.”

  13. Missy Caulk

    May 1, 2009 at 6:13 am

    No problem Jim, just wanted credit where credit is due!! REW does a great job. I just chose to stay with DAKNO, since they did my blog and support is amazing.

  14. teresa boardman

    May 1, 2009 at 8:17 am

    My business has changed a lot in the last few months. I got rid of all the services that were not giving me the ROI they should. I got rid of my template web site in favor of one that I built myself. That was getting rid of the old. For the new, I bought some hardware and software and expanded my hosting account. Oh and I moved to a much smaller local real estate company too. Change really is good when we make the changes our selves instead of letting the economy or someone make them for us.

  15. Missy Caulk

    May 1, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Teresa, I am so impressed with you doing your own web-site. Not surprised but just impressed.

  16. Amy Chorew

    May 2, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Missy,
    Thanks for the post – i get asked this question all the time in class, now I am just going to refer them to this article! and your site . . .

  17. KimWood

    May 2, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I guess change is hard for everyone – it doesn’t surprise me that you took the leap ….. 🙂 Change brings growth – and I look forward to all that is to come from you !!!! Yay that you recognized it was time to move on, Missy!

  18. Paula Henry

    May 3, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Missy – Love your new site! Great content, clean design and in line with with your complete online presence. Congratulations!

  19. Susie Blackmon

    May 3, 2009 at 8:48 am

    I like your new site Missy! You’ve encouraged me to make the change from !@#$% Outlook to GMail as I keep inching toward it but don’t jump because I of time, etc., with learning, as you mentioned. Dakno built my new horse site which I haven’t posted in yet because I started 2 Breaking News Sites (so far) with Pat Kitano and Kevin Boer, but today I plan to finally get started on the horse site.

  20. Matt Stigliano

    May 3, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Drew – Is there a way to localize the widget so that they rates coming up are more in line with the area, so that the user doesn’t have to click through to Zillow first and then go through the process just to find out the local rates?

  21. Drew Meyers

    May 4, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Matt-
    Mortgage rates by state are available in our API for developers to utilize, but not available in our rate widget. Rates do vary a little bit by state, but the mortgage industry is not nearly as “local” as the real estate industry.

  22. Drew Meyers

    May 4, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Missy-
    You updated the default rate, but mortgage rates are constantly changing throughout the day. Here is something more along the lines of what I was thinking in the way of an integration 🙂

  23. Andrea

    May 5, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    I am becoming a financing “expert.” With rapidly changing financing regulations buyers are confused. I try to be there to un-confuse them so that I will not lose a sale that can be saved.

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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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