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I Wasn’t Campaigning, I Was Prospecting

Viral Marketing?

I’m the gal that was busy begging everyone to vote for her in the Virginia Association of Realtor’s Blog Brawl last month.  You might have read about it on Twitter, on my blog, or gotten a personal email from me asking for your help and support. You might have seen it on Facebook as an ‘event’ and were prompted to vote from there, or saw it as a bulletin on MySpace. I even held up signs on DailyMugshot (that’s the picture above.) You might have been annoyed that I asked, or you might have been happy to help me out.  A few fantastic friends created “Vote for Heather” videos! Some people were helpful enough to ‘re-tweet’ my request, forward the email, invite their friends. (Is that ‘viral’ marketing?) It must have been thorough enough, because I won the brawl and spent last week at the Inman Connect Conference in New York City on VAR’s dime.

You Heard? Then It Worked

So that makes me kind of like a politician, right? Campaigning? Covering all the bases? Welcome to a functioning public relations campaign. Reaching out to my audience in many different ways to get the message across. I used the same methods when I did the Kiss a Pig contest last summer, although I thankfully didn’t win that one.  I got a lot of the ‘I voted for you!’ while I was in New York…but now that I’m home, I hear the “I voted for you” in the grocery store, at work, at the golf course…

It was a reason to reach out to my sphere of influence that was not real estate related. It wasn’t the “Hi, how are you? How’s the family? Still liking your house? Are any of your friends looking to buy?” conversation. It was a “Hi, can you help me out with this?” with my real estate contact information at the bottom. It conveys the message that I’m still alive, working on something fun, and still selling houses, without pushing the salesy pitch on my contacts.  Since the contest ended, I have received emails from people that I never thought would have paid attention or taken the time, to let me know that they voted for me three or four times, and that they were tickled for me that I won.

Building a Brand

I confess that being known as the Kiss a Pig girl isn’t my favorite thing, so if I can usurp that with being the Blog Brawl Champ, I’m happy. Giving people a reason to come up to me when I’m out in town and say hello and congratulations is priceless. It’s not just about the votes, it’s about the contact. And the contact leads to referrals, which leads to sales. (Which, at the end of the day, is why we all do what we do. Putting food on the table and all that.) Attending the conference and gleaning tons of fantastic ideas is the icing on the cake.

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Aren’t we always looking for ways to distinguish ourself from the competition in a crowded marketplace? Could you do the same thing yourself? Reach out to your clients to benefit a local charity? Create an event that you could invite your sphere of influence to? Spread the word about something happening locally? The results from unconventional marketing are undeniable.

Written By

Heather is a Realtor with Century 21 Redwood Realty in Ashburn, Virginia. She's also the 2008 VARBuzz Blog Brawl Champion, mom to four fantastic kids, and the wife of a golf professional. If she had free time, she'd probably read a good book or play golf. You can find her on twitter, @hthrflynn, or writing on her blog,



  1. Tim McDonald

    January 13, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Congratulations on the win, both for the trip and the great exposure you created for yourself. I was glad to be a part of it, especially from the way it opened my eyes (and hopefully others) to a way to create so many contacts in such a fun and engaging way.
    Keep up the great work and I hope to solicit your support once I find my “campaign”. Strike that, I mean prospecting event.
    Your fellow tweep

  2. Bob Carney

    January 13, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    How about that Blog Brawl gurl kiss a pig and went to New York. LOL… You did a wonderful job at promoting yourself. MWa

  3. Derek Overbey

    January 13, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    This is funny Heather because it brings me back to my brokerage days. I would meet with agents to map out their marketing plan and I would always start off by asking them how they were marketing currently. Nine times out of ten they would say they were sending out Just Listed, Just Sold or Market Update cards. It is situations like yours that removes you from your role as a real estate agent and makes you a real person. This is what builds long lasting relationships and I would bet that these efforts you put forth for the Blog Brawl will provide benefits long after this post. I’m so glad you won because I was able to hang with you in NY but I know you will be glad because it will pay huge dividends to your business in the future.

  4. Craig Barrett

    January 13, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    I didn’t think you were begging. You politely asked and graciously thanked folks for their participation. Your delivery was genuine and included us in the excitement. It made me want to help you and I suspect others felt the same.

    I learned some things from this and from you. Things I’ll use in my local events we have coming in May and October. Thanks for the lesson and great job!

  5. Paula Henry

    January 14, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Heather – Congratulations, again! I agree with Craig – I didn’t see your emails and blog posts as begging – it was you and your personal style which had people (me included) wanting to go vote, then happy our vote counted when you won. Way to go market yourself!

  6. Missy Caulk

    January 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Kissing pigs…

    New York…

    Reminds me of Green acreas, “darlin I love you but give me Park Avenue”.

    Congratulations !

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