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The 5 essentials of effective contact management

Contact management is a frequently overlooked tool for professionals, but with these five tips, the process will be maximized for higher returns and more meaningful interacting with clients and prospects.

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Effective contact management

Do you know what contact management really entails? Think you’re doing it correctly? In this article I’ll discuss the five essential components of effective contact management. Effective contact management will help you to convert more leads into clients and maximize the amount of referrals and repeat business you get year over year.

Having a consolidated database

I speak with real estate sales professionals daily who have client and prospect contact information scattered in many different areas: Outlook, their iPhone, their website, pieces of paper, etc. Without a consolidated database, these REALTORS® waste far too much time hunting for the information they need to manage their business – often hours a day.

A solid, well-managed database can be worth more than a million dollars in real estate commissions over as little as 10 years. In fact, the only real tangible asset Realtors have is their database. Upon retirement, a well-managed database that produces a six-figure income in referral and repeat business year after year can be sold for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Having a consolidated database is extremely important. It’s actually the foundation of effective contact management and the starting point to building a truly successful business based largely from referrals and repeat clients. Without a consolidated database, it’s hard to stay organized and manage time effectively. Lacking a consolidated database, it’s almost impossible to master the four other “essentials of effective contact management” I’m going to discuss below.

Categorizing and segmenting contacts

Once you’ve consolidated all your contacts into one database, the next step is to categorize them appropriately. At the most basic level, this might entail categorizing people as either Clients, Prospects, Personal, or Business-to-Business. Another popular approach is to apply the 80/20 Rule by segmenting your contacts as either “A List” or “B List.” More advanced segmentation can include creation of community groups such as former work colleagues, church group contacts, people in your baseball league, etc.

The big benefit of segmenting and categorizing your contacts is that it allows you to communicate with specific groups of people in a way that is more personalized, relevant and timely than the dreaded “batch and blast” approach. When your mass communications are relevant to the people receiving them, they are far more likely to be opened and appreciated, and hence far more effective from a marketing perspective.

Keeping in touch with past clients

You may have heard the idiom that it takes seven times the amount of time, money, and energy to acquire a new client then it does to keep an existing one. The saying is very true. It’s your responsibility to stay “top of mind” with past clients and make sure that they don’t forget you. Your clients are likely meeting real estate agents through friends and family members, hearing others recommend Joe Smith’s Realty Services down the road, seeing billboards and posters of Realtors boasting that they’re number one. So, don’t automatically assume that a client who you’ve helped to buy a home five years ago will remember you and call you up again next time they need a real estate agent.

It’s in your best interest to ensure that you have the right technology, such as a contact management system, and a plan in place, so you can keep in touch with past clients effectively.

So, how should you keep in touch? Schedule quarterly keep in touch calls (better yet, try to call one past client each day), send out a monthly e-Newsletter, send direct marketing pieces to your best past clients, plan client appreciation events and various educational seminars, use social media, the possibilities are endless. A good contact management system (my specialty) will make organizing and executing all of this as easy as possible. I recommend that you make contact with your past clients at least 17 times per year.

Make sure that when you reach out to past clients, whether through a phone call, email, or any other method, that it’s all about them, not about you. You don’t want to keep in touch with them by always promoting your services and how great you are. Send out an e-Newsletter with helpful and interesting articles on home decorating, for example. Make a call to ask if they need any recommendations on a business professional such as a Plumber or Landscaper.

Assigning leads to marketing plans

As soon as you get a new lead, enter them in your CRM immediately and then assign them to an “automated lead nurture marketing plan” (also known as a marketing Activity Plan).

A lead nurture marketing plan consists of a number of emails and phone calls at regular intervals over time. The emails are sent automatically (also called “drip email), which means that you don’t have to worry about remembering to keep in touch with all your new leads. The system will remind you when to make a call, and will send relevant email communications to your prospects in between. By nurturing your new leads in this way, your conversion rate of new leads to clients will improve dramatically.

You can use your contact management system (your CRM) to create your own lead nurture marketing Activity Plan. Alternatively, good CRMs have pre-designed marketing plans created for you, so you don’t have to do a thing.

Tracking sources of business, including referrals

You need to know where your business is coming from. Knowing this information will provide you with insight into where you should be investing time and money. Use your contact management system to run various reports, such as an “Original Source of Contact” report and a “Referral History” report. Don’t waste your time and hard earned dollars guessing about where your business is coming from or about what you could be doing more and less to fully maximize your time.

Matthew Collis is part of the Sales and Marketing Team at IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading North American real estate CRM firm. In addition to overseeing many of IXACT Contact’s key sales and marketing programs, Matthew works with REALTORS® to help them achieve their real estate goals through effective contact management and relationship marketing. IXACT Contact is a web-based real estate contact management and marketing system that helps REALTORS® better manage and grow their business. The system includes powerful email marketing capabilities and a professionally designed and written monthly e-Newsletter.

Business Marketing

A more environmentally sensitive Pantone color of the year

(MARKETING) Why is Pantone’s coral color causing a ruckus? Marketing is just marketing, right? Maybe not…

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pantone unofficial color of 2020

Every year Pantone declares the Color of the Year and for 2019, the institute declared Living Coral to be the “it” shade calling it “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” And it totally is. Imagine bright red orange swimming in a sea of crystal blue water.

Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman even goes so far as saying it that Living Coral was what “consumers craved” and that it incites “human interaction and social connection” which might be a stretch. It is just a color after all.

However, some found this messaging to be anything but convivial and well, off-color.

Jack Railton-Woodcock and Huei Yin Wong, partners at Jack and Huei, a Melbourne-based design agency, took umbrage with this decision and for good reason.

Their native Australia has front-row seats to the dying of the Great Barrier Reef and for them, coral is anything but lively. If anything, it’s on life support.

To call attention to the tone-deaf decision, the duo preemptively christened Bleached Coral as the Color of the Year 2020.

Touche.

The duo furthered their burn, saying, “It’s the responsibility of all of us, creative or otherwise, to find creative solutions to big problems, and right now there aren’t many problems facing humanity that are bigger than climate change.”

Oof, way to pull back the curtain, guys.

As much of a buzzkill as this pair might be, they’re not wrong, and they bring up the larger question of social responsibility in marketing.

But it’s just marketing, right?

Wrong. The very root of marketing is aspirational. We see ads for luxury cars, we imagine ourselves behind the wheel and believe that maybe we can get there. We see beauty products that promise flawless ageless skin and maybe we decide to take better care of our skin. We see Living Coral and we’re blinded to the reality that the coral just might be a thing of the past.

Yes, Pantone’s Color of the Year is one of those fun end-of-year things we in marketing get excited about, but when you’re living in a world where climate change is our reality and we see it in unnatural weather patterns and the dying off of one of our greatest natural treasures, it’s time to take pause. We can do better.

These days it’s hard to please everybody. Try as we might to make everything for everyone, if we’re going to attempt to talk about a unifying the human race through color, we sure as hell shouldn’t choose a color that reminds us all that our environment is in rough shape and it’s largely humanity’s fault. Bleached Coral isn’t the color we need, but right now, it’s the color we deserve.

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Business Marketing

Video marketing is here to stay – 5 ways to change your SEO strategy

(MARKETING) Video marketing now constitutes the majority of all web traffic – is your brand getting lost in the shuffle?

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video marketing SEO

Video marketing has grown as a content strategy over the past several years, as the explosion in mobile devices and fast mobile internet has made it more feasible to stream videos on the fly. And considering more than three-quarters of all business using video marketing are seeing results, it’s unlikely that video marketing is a trend going away anytime soon.

If you’re a search marketer, video content isn’t a trend you can ignore. You need to adapt your SEO strategy if you’re going to thrive in this new market and capitalize on the new opportunities that video provides.

Videos as Part of SEO

How exactly do videos impact your campaign?

  • Platform-specific optimization. Google gets all the attention in SEO, but it isn’t the only search engine you can optimize for. Video-centric platforms, like YouTube, function as independent algorithms with dedicated audiences. That represents an additional ranking opportunity, and the chance to get your content in front of new audiences.
  • Onsite value. Videos are also powerful ways to improve the authority and value of your onsite pages. Integrating a video into your how-to guide, for example, can make visitors spend more time on your pages and engage with your content in more meaningful ways. Accordingly, high-quality videos could increase your onsite authority.
  • Brand reputation and links. Good videos have the potential to quickly improve your reputation as a content creator, making you visible to more people and making people appreciate your content more. That means you’ll have opportunities with more external publishers, and you could potentially attract more links to your domain.

How to Adapt Your Strategy

So what steps should the average search marketer take to adapt their SEO strategy for the future of video marketing?

  1. Create more videos. For starters, you can spend more time creating and publishing video content as part of your overall content marketing strategy. Including them onsite, as part of your articles and guides, can bolster your onsite strategy, while including them offsite can help you optimize your offsite presence. Learning to create high-quality videos isn’t as hard as it seems; you don’t need expensive equipment, nor do you need much experience (though it does help). As long as you’re focused on creating content that your viewers want to see and are converting your videos to the appropriate file formats, you should stand to gain from the efforts.
  2. Leverage multiple mediums of content. Your videos don’t have to exist exclusively in video form. In fact, if you transform your videos into multiple different formats, you can benefit from it in multiple contexts. For example, publishing your video content, then including a written transcript and a downloadable audio file can expose you to multiple audiences simultaneously, while giving Google more content to crawl.
  3. Learn to title and tag your videos appropriately. Depending on where you publish your videos, you’ll likely have the opportunity to label them with a title, a brief description, and possibly categories and tags. These are incredibly valuable for helping algorithms “understand” what your video is about, and an opportunity to captivate your audience at the same time. For example, a catchy or compelling video title will attract more clicks when you’re featured in search results, and including the right tags can ensure you come up for more searches.
  4. Take advantage of YouTube’s algorithm. Don’t optimize for YouTube the same way you’d optimize for Google (though there are some similarities to consider). Instead, learn how YouTube’s algorithm works and use strategies to capitalize on its functionality. For example, you can tweak your content to get more likes and comments or optimize your channel to get more subscribers. You can also look at how your competitors are tagging and categorizing their similar videos, and either mimic or complement those strategies.
  5. Foster a video-centric community. Finally, take the time to build and nurture a video-centric community. Engage with the people who are commenting on your videos, and reach out to people on social media to see what they think of your video content. Doing this motivates people to continue following your channel, and will attract more people to your brand at the same time. Best of all, earning more regular subscribers and viewers will increase your authority as it’s perceived by algorithms like those from Google and YouTube search.

You don’t have to include videos as part of your content creation strategy to be successful in SEO, but it certainly has the potential to improve your performance. At the very least, you should be aware of your competitors making use of videos in their strategies, and adjust your tactics to reflect the nature of this new era.

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Business Marketing

How right and left brain thinkers market differently

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There is a long held belief supported by neurological data that personality traits and how a person analyzes information depends highly on whether they are right- or left-brained thinkers. The right brain is creative and the left side is logical and people are typically wired to lean more strongly toward one or the other. Using data from the Daily Telegraph and Razorfish, Marketo created an infographic dissecting how marketing campaigns differ depending on the marketer.

“In marketing, there is a similar divide between emotion-based, artistic marketing and value-based, practical marketing. The marketers who design these ads can be considered lef-or right-brain thinkers,” Marketo notes.

If you are a marketer, the type of thinker you are guides the campaigns you design, or as a business owner, the following will help you to understand where your marketers are coming from. Which type of marketing are you more in line with – left brain inspired marketing or right brain inspired marketing?

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