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.
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.