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Taking your Online efforts Offline – Part II

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Here’s part 2 of taking your online efforts offline – I’m still getting a lot of feedback from my presentation at Inman Real Estate Connect in New York – it’s great to see that I have sparked creativity and people are seeing ROI in a whole different light.

I can’t stress enough the need to be GENUINE and not sales pitchy….remember that with everything I tell you.

I already mentioned an official launch and complementing your on-line and off-line marketing efforts.  Also mentioned the opportunity to reward your sphere of influence with your online influence, but now it’s about taking action and being creative.

Where can series posts lead?

Paul Chaney is going to get tired of me giving him credit, but I give credit where credit is due.  (BTW, he is writing a book on Social Media…..shameless plug for him).  Paul, as my mentor, suggested that creating a posting schedule for your blog is often a good idea to keep juices flowing and content fresh – he mentioned that many had series posts like fun Fridays or photo Mondays…..that’s when MIAMISM FRIDAYS was born! (have I said thank you Paul?)

Here’s what’s interesting – we started posting videos and photos of Miami to promote our community.  But later realized that not only could our readers contribute to the brand but they would be part of it.  People like recognition and will share posts with friends and loved ones and WILL remember you.  We created a Flickr group and constantly invite people to collaborate – the posts always give them credit and link love – so once again we are using our online influence to promote their business while they build our brand.

What’s important about this concept is that you need to be open to new ideas and be willing to open doors.  Test different things, be creative and keep in mind that you do not have to be a great writer, a great marketer or even a techie (I’m neither of the 3).

Branch out your blog

With the idea of promoting our city and the help of a techie friend, I decided to create a photo-blog – taking impromptu photos from my phone directly to the photo blog.  I usually go back later and include addresses and contact information.  It’s a city resource of places to visit – nothing fancy.  Interesting opportunities have come out of this blog:  A Swedish TV channel featuring Miamism in their show, photos used for Airline Magazines with credit to us and local organizations contacting us for help.

Taking a crazy idea into the Twilight Zone

Here’s where it gets wild – hold on to your seats – it shows how a trivial idea can turn into a great one.  December of 2007 I was doing some keyword research and found that “mojitos” was the number 1 searched keyword in Google at the time.  I decided to try out an experiment, told Rick to get his mojito ingredients and we would shoot a quick “how-to” video for our blog (no fancy equipment and no editing skills whatsoever).  That single post has over 32,000 views and has led to “mojitos” becoming our staple.

It doesn’t hurt that we love mojitos and it creates great conversation – but most importantly, that great conversation has lead to F2F meetings where the ice has already been broken.   The fear of negative connotations related to an alcoholic beverage being unprofessional was superseded by the powerful social implications it has brought to our business.

We get emails on a regular basis from readers of our blog saying “we feel like we know you and can’t wait to have a mojito with you” – or Twitter comments “I had a mojito last night and thought of you”.   If people are thinking of us when they think of mojitos, it is very likely they will think of us when someone mentions Miami Beach Real Estate.

From there we have created a Flickr Mojito Group, a Facebook Mojito Group and Mojito411 with reviews of mojitos from people all over the country.

I mentioned at Inman that I really don’t know where this idea will take us and don’t even know if I’ll drop it in a couple of months.   What’s important is that we are seeing positive results and making connections because of mojitos and that’s ultimately what is important.

Understand that you are capable of grabbing a simple concept and turning it into a conversation piece – conversation leads to engagement and that leads to making an impact.  Don’t discard small notions….roll with them and make them powerful.  It’s up to you to build a brand that works for you and showcases what you represent.

…..stay tuned for F2F efforts

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Monika

    January 19, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I just had my 1st Mojito the other night. In fact Jay tweeted that I was having a Ines Mojito as we sat in the restaurant. It was pretty good but being my first I have nothing to compare it to! Point is… I thought of you as I ordered it and as I drank it all the way up here in NH.

  2. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    January 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Awww! that’s awesome Moni – thank you and I hope you enjoyed it (although it IS a bit cold in NH right now to be drinking mojitos,no?)

  3. Bob Carney

    January 20, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Techie Friend?!?! I thought I was soo much more than that.

    WOW. Toprank for Mojitos? Maybe Miamism can create it’s own label. Just remember that you heard it hear first.

    Outstanding job at making F2F out of your online presence. That is what it is all about.

  4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    January 20, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Bob….of course you are so much more than that! come on! (it’s understood) 😀

  5. teresa boardman

    January 20, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I love the way the ideas go around the re-net and get improved upon as each blogger adapts them.

  6. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    January 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    T – I totally agree and we can learn from each other without a doubt and implement our own ideas that work for our own personality and market place – you are an inspiration for many (but let me not toot your horn too much 😉

  7. Bob Carney

    January 20, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    I have been saying it forever…it truly comes down to Tool Man Jeff Turners acronym. YEO… You Engaging Others. Who cares how you get there…as long as you get there.

    (and T is kinda an inspiration…no doubt!)

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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