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Beat the Economy – Be the Hero – IDEA!



An Idea in Mid Thought

So we’re brainstorming about the economy, buyer and seller realities versus perceptions and an idea sparks. I typically like to try or test an idea before I bring it to the table, but how to go about this is more up to the individual agent rather than the concept, so I share this concept in hopes that it sparks a fire in you and in your neighborhood.

Using the Economy to Your Advantage

Because you are the neighborhood pro who loves to blog and talk about goings on in your neighborhood, it’s lately become complicated by the state of the economy- pessimism is at an all time high and buyers and sellers are virtually in a state of unknown.

Understanding this is the advantage, and you’re about to provide the solution.

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Print marketing
  • Your blog, or hyper-local blog
  • Local economists or local experts
  • Title officers familiar with market stats and conditions
  • The local press
  • You
  • Every buyer and seller in your neighborhood (not working with other agents)
  • A local library or event hall

Who’s on the Panel

  • Mortgage pros [refi, first home, & investment]
  • Title officers who know the realities
  • Local real estate professional [for both buyers & sellers, aka you]
  • Economist [specialty should be real estate]
  • Real estate reporter [you’re going to need them- give them a voice]

The Event

Your goal is to bring potential clients an interactive 2.0 State of the Union Event that is approximately two hours in length held in the evening. Your purpose is to bring to bare every market tool at your disposal to give an honest assessment of their neighborhood, conditions, and opportunities good and bad. You’ll want each panelist to be given 10-15 minutes to hash out what they’re seeing and one hour of moderated floor time for the neighbors.

Who’s Invited

Those who are seeing homes in their neighborhood in foreclosure, those who may need to refinance, those who are facing foreclosure, those interested in buying or selling in the neighborhood and especially those who are now leasing in the neighborhood.

Consumer Side Pitch

Essentially with a door to door campaign or knocking and knob hanging, you’re going to pass out literature that empathizes with the neighborhood realities and fears, and that you understand that national economics isn’t really painting the picture for your neighborhood hyper-locally. So you’ve gone about the task of assembling the best minds that are the most familiar with your local market.

Their number one goal is not to sell something but rather create a town hall meeting because the neighborhood needs to be informed, and neighbors need answers to alarming questions. You want to help provide an opportunity to answer their needs as the neighborhood expert with a plan.

Preparing is Important

Once you’ve assembled the team, you will need to have a round table discussion to compare your facts with those of your panel. You’ll want to cover specifically “when should sellers list,” “when will it be a good time to buy or sell,” “what should market prices be at or near,” “options for refinancing, and what to do if refinancing is not an option.” These are important to cover because the business you’re creating for later might just be business right now- you need to understand the page in order to be on it.

Designing Around the Event

Your local or hyper-local blog should begin speaking directly to what you believe are consumer concerns – namely values, days on market to expect, and up to the minute evaluations of the market. In doing this, your invitation should lead directly to your blog with a capture mechanism for an RSVP so that you can remind and keep in touch with those that will be in attendance, while also reminding them to invite their neighbor.

You should also look at the neighborhoods around the neighborhood that you also work and begin telling those markets what you’re doing and ask them to request it for their neighborhood. The local reporter you’ve slated for the panel will be vital to spreading the word about what you’re doing to drive more demand and focus.

The Event Itself

Don’t be cheap- feed them snacks, give them beverages, and by all means, give them white paper to read before and after with the names and business contacts of each panelist. Assign them homework during the event that will inspire your neighbors to follow the advice of the panel – this should be easy because you’ve already met in the round table to discuss all of your findings on the best course of action for the neighborhood.

You should be prepared to provide instant bottom line CMAs based on no upgrades, but simple two or one story and reported square footage in order to provide an idea to the audience where their pricing currently falls in a range only- obviously you’re happy to come by next week with specifics for those in the room who want to know, or buyers who didn’t think it was time to buy.

The Hero Part – Leadership

If you can provide folks with real leadership and a belief that you have an answer while others are either pessimistic, alarmist, or just plain uneducated, you’ve not only beat the economy, but filled your database with real relationships and gained market share through leadership, not hyperbole.

Be Mindful

There are strict laws about market steering or price controlling that you need to be mindful of. Also, we’re not allowed to create market panic, rather, our mission is to educate and make recommendations. Stick to generalities in areas that may lead to misunderstanding- the consumer wants information, so give it to them while making suggestions that can help guide them now for the near future. Whether that be in the importance of upgrades and spending where it should be spent, or selling later if it’s at all possible. Educate on the importance right now of neighbors helping neighbors in selling properties that have been on the market for long periods, while helping those in need avoid costly foreclosures. Demonstrate the hazards of the foreclosures on the market and the need to get them purchased and off the market. Invite investment in these homes, or first home buyers the opportunity to pick these homes up today rather than tomorrow, and define to future sellers why this is absolutely a priority in the values of their existing homes.

We’ve Picked a Neighborhood

We’ve selected a neighborhood already for just this purpose and will begin to put this together over the next month to be held at the beginning of February. We hope some of you will give this idea some thought and maybe help us build on it.

The art I’ve used above is just filler that I threw together in a few minutes, I’ll follow up later with a more thoughtful piece.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Teri L

    December 5, 2008 at 6:09 am

    This idea has legs! And plenty of ways to tangent off to provide real value to a community. Good luck!

    (And can I add how nice it is to see your contributors again! 🙂 )

  2. Benn Rosales

    December 5, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Teri, we think so too- over coffee this morning I was thinking this is sort of the counter of the foreclosure bus tours in Florida. I think the difference here, and I do mean difference, is that the positive results are long lasting within the community where you and your business and trust is concerned.

    As for seeing the contributors again, the old way we managed images had man hours involved so we wanted a way for writers to have more control over their image destiny, unfortunately, you’d be surprised how many folks do not have a gravatar- so it took a little time to get everyone faced up in order to turn on the code- the bio boxes have always been there 🙂 So why not go get your gravatar so everyone can see your contributing face 🙂 Thanks for chiming in!

  3. Teri L

    December 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

    >So why not go get your gravatar so everyone can see your contributing face

    But this way I get to feel like a ninja. 😀

  4. Paula Henry

    December 7, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Benn – We’ve talked about this before and I am going to give this a shot. It may be a March timing, because it is cold here in February. Thanks for the step by step plan.

    BTW – My gravatar shows up everywhere but AG. Whassup with that 🙂

  5. Paula Henry

    December 7, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Ooops, there it is! first time it showed up.

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Business Marketing

The advertising overload strategy needs to stop, here’s why

(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 that 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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Business Marketing

SEO: The Unsung Hero of Digital Marketing Success

(MARKETING) Despite sexier emerging trends, the reality is that you can’t build out a successful online presence and marketing strategy without SEO.



SEO Analytics

If you want to win with digital marketing, you need to stop focusing all of your energy on TikTok and hot trends and instead emphasize some of the more foundational elements that make up successful marketing strategies. This includes search engine optimization (SEO).

Why SEO Matters in 2022 and Beyond

It’s easy to forget about SEO. It’s one of those staples of digital marketing and online business growth that’s been around for so long that we tend to lump it into the “has-been” bucket. But despite sexier emerging trends, the reality is that you can’t build out a successful online presence and marketing strategy without at least paying some attention to SEO.

Here are some specific reasons why it matters:

  • Organic search. Even in a world of paid traffic, organic search reigns supreme. It’s the traffic source that continues to give you clicks regardless of whether you’re footing the bill or not. It’s a free source of qualified traffic that’s interested in what you have to offer before they even click.
  • If a user continues to see your website and brand name pop up on Google, they’re going to assign a certain amount of authority and credibility to you. This can be leveraged to drive conversions.
  • Good UX. You can’t have good SEO without paying attention to intelligent UX and high-quality content. If you follow today’s SEO best practices, you’ll position your brand far ahead of your competitors.

We could list dozens of other reasons why SEO matters, but it basically comes down to these three things. If you can drive traffic, establish authority, and implement a compelling user experience that engages the right people at the right time with the right content, everything else is going to fall into place.


Tips for Mastering SEO

Understanding the importance of SEO is one thing. Now, how do you go about implementing a successful SEO strategy that propels your larger digital marketing efforts? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Establish These 3 Pillars

It’s easy to get sidetracked with your SEO efforts. There are dozens (if not hundreds) of different tactics and techniques you can implement. But if you don’t start with the basics, everything else will be a waste of your time, energy, and effort.

Chain Reaction, an SEO company in Dubai, is a firm believer in what they call the three SEO pillars:

  • Technical. This is the boring part of SEO, but it has to get done. This includes tasks like fixing technical errors, using the proper URL structure, setting up the right website hierarchy, managing page speed, etc.
  • Content. While more exciting and creative than technical SEO, content is time-consuming and expensive (if outsourced). Having said that, it’s the fuel to any good SEO strategy. Without it, you aren’t going anywhere.
  • Authority. You need to tap into the authority of other websites to set your brand apart. The more you align with other trustworthy sites, the faster you’ll grow.

If you can win in each of these areas, everything else has a way of falling into place.

  1. Go Local

Did you know that 46 percent of all Google searches have local intent? Or that 88 percent of people who perform a local search visit or call the company within 24 hours?

Google is no longer reserved for high-level research or answering simple questions. People go to Google when they want to find a specific product or service in their area. The companies that prioritize local SEO are the ones that pop up in the search results. Make sure that’s you!

  1. Invest in Backlinks

Few things move the SEO “needle” quite like backlinks. When acquired from highly authoritative and relevant sites in your niche, they can amplify your results and prove your credibility. While you can wait to “earn” backlinks, it’s generally recommended that you take a more aggressive approach through strategies like guest blogging. 

  1. Analyze and Iterate

There’s no perfect SEO strategy. The rules are constantly changing and, as a result, so are the best practices. By constantly analyzing the data and studying analytics, you can identify when and where to optimize. An iterative approach like this is the key to being successful.

Putting it All Together

SEO doesn’t get nearly the same buzz as the latest social media trends or web design tactics. However, it’s arguably more important. Make 2022 the year that you invest in SEO for your business. It’s a decision that you won’t regret!

SEO is the unsung hero of digital marketing

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Business Marketing

Pay employees for their time, not only their work

(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.



pay employees for their time

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.

Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.

One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.

From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.

In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.

Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.

Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.

Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.

The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.

For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.

There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.

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