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Why?

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The Buzz.

For the better part of a year now, the RE.net (I loathe that name, btw) has been all abuzz over this concept termed “web2.0.” On the other hand, for the better part of the same year, the underlying question has remained- why? Why am I blogging, what is the point of social media- why?Blogging, and other social media such as video, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin have all been pressing in the face of those not only in real estate, but in all facets of business today- the “Why?” still remains as making the connection seems fruitless, but yet many in our profession have realized the short term sweet success of a new contact here and there, and a client once or twice, while others have tapped in to a longterm, more lucrative success story of using such media- but even then, many times it may appear it’s sheer luck, or is it? You beg the question, “Why?” are they successful?

Then & Now.

In real estate, for 100 years agents have been spoon-fed basic fundamentals of marketing and advertising. Few have questioned it because it seems to have worked for years, regardless of its corny nature. The simple, cookie-cutter approach to drawing business, although highly priced, seems to have an R.O.I. that is tangible to some degree, so it feels okay to get and stay on board until it doesn’t and suddenly we all ask the same question- “Why?”


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Well, maybe you feel the need to debate the merits of marketing and advertising, understanding generational marketing, the study of who responds to what and why, but those in the know do not. Those that spoon fed you that corny 1.0 marketing in the past cannot spoon feed you what is apparent today. Why? Because its not 100 years old. The fact is, it’s very young, and so is the demographic that built and designed it. It is that organic reality that leaves many to appear naive in balking it as the reality of this new emergence of consumer enters the marketplace with an entirely new perspective on how they wished to be reached, educated, and yes, sold.

Tomato versus Tomato.

I remember a spelling bee where I had to learn to spell ‘influenza’ and looking at my mother and asking why she called it the ‘flu.’ Maybe it was easier to spell, maybe folks were lazy, or maybe that was just the term most would recognize. I still call it the flu today, but am well aware of the actual defined medical term of the flu. I am also aware of the varied symptoms of having the flu, some may experience pain behind the eyes, others may not, but the underlying illness remains, the flu- you just don’t get hung up in the details, you simply drink lots of fluids, regulate the fever as best you can, sleep as much as possible and see a physician. One could add a new symptom to the flu and suddenly you have a new strain- physicians and the like will adapt treatments but few would debate the merits of whether you call it the flu or influenza.


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Think Different.

Folks may very well believe what they do in relation to real estate marketing is in fact marketing and advertising, but few really understand the key elements of even an actual post card. The color blue that was once popular in the 1990s is no longer the color that is modern today, but most actually do not get that it doesn’t really matter the shade of blue, but the color blue itself is the relevant factor- blue takes you off guard, relaxes you, calms you. If your goal is to excite the A.D.D side of a buyer and build enthusiasm and excitement over a product and demand action of the reader, red is maybe your answer. In fact, the psychology of color to some would seem so under the radar and so 1.0, but a truth is that color is the point and this fact will remain. All the words on a postcard matter not if you’ve not drawn the reader- it is the impact of the presentation and capturing the attention of the consumer to even get them to read the words on the card that are the goal. Some may call it over thinking something, but that’s because you’ve never thought to think about why 1.0 worked in the first place- that’s okay because you’ve been spoon fed by folks paid to do the thinking for you.


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Transcend.

Blending your approach to transcend is the step after understanding who you’re blending for. Boomers, X’ers, or millennials all have the same goal in mind when setting out to buy a home. The Why? factor is reaching a varied audience and still being successful in the delivery of your message. Using social media isn’t the the end, it’s another means to the sames ends. However, knowing who is in the social stream will simply tell you how to tailor your message in a way that has meaning to those in the stream. Grabbing their attention, holding them in place, while guiding them to a powerful landing statement which is your product.

Nuance.

Whether you get it or not we’re going to continue deeper and deeper into how we see other companies outside of real estate are using social methods of marketing and advertising and relate it back to our own profession. Anyone that reads me knows I do not buy into one method or the other, I actually prefer to blend them because I believe today that what is attractive to Generation Why? is equally attractive for different generations for different reasons. The fact is, what is new and fresh transcends all lines eventually if you have a clue where those lines are.

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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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Chris Johnson

    February 14, 2008 at 7:51 am

    I’d tell you that this was an effing great post. But you know that. Already.

    Good ideas., man, good ideas.

  2. Benn Rosales

    February 14, 2008 at 9:41 am

    I’ll take that Chris, I’ll take it… thanks for looking out.

  3. Chris Johnson

    February 14, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Yeah yeah. Anyway, it’s a good primer and is among the best content on Realtor Agent Genius.

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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