Folks, I have compiled the first in a series of helpful discussions between three leaders in our industry…and moi – the court jester. This first installment includes the following illustrious crew: Brandie Young, Ken Brand and Paula Henry. They were directed to answer my questions in ten words or less. These respected business persons can teach you a lot about real estate and marketing. The other one is an idiot, but she can show you where all the bodies in Hollywood are buried. This may have been an online discussion, but I want you to imagine all four of us sitting in our favorite pub discussing sales, real estate, and the economy. Ken, of course, is outnumbered, but as a result, he is enjoying all the attention. I am head down in a bowl of beer nuts…but you probably already knew that:
GBB: What is the best way to get new clients? PH: Internet leads BY: From current or past clients. KB: … Find fun people, mix-mingle-interact-converse-listen-share-ask questions-discover-solve problems. GBB: You broke the ten word rule Ken. Kindly put a dollar in the jar. Okay, so we were talking new clients – well, I do pretty well down at Hollywood and Vine. Oh wait, we’re talking real estate… In that case, blackmail is an effective tool. That’s what makes L.A. work – just ask the National Enquirer. Oh, puh-leeze, don’t pretend you never do that!
GBB: What characteristic do you most like in a client? BY: Engaged, enthusiastic… KB: A funny, friendly good looking, whip smart, recently homeless person with a million dollars cash and no where to live, until we find them a home. GBB: Gimme another buck, Ken. PH: Sense of humor GBB: Duh! Lakers Tickets!
GBB: What characteristic do you least like in a client? BY: Nit-pick, whiny. PH: Micro managing a process/project they know nothing about. Oh, and when they can’t pay. GBB: Why are you looking at me when you say that, Paula? Lani is paying for this. KB: If people are disrespectful, I dump them. GBB: I hate ankle monitoring bracelets. I’m just saying…
GBB: What can an agent do to assist with an appraisal now that we have the new HVCC guidlines? BY: Make certain the appraiser actually knows the area. PH: Not sure anyone has this figured out. GBB: I concur. Another chili in your Bloody Mary, Brandie? KB: We provide our appraisers with an appraisal package. Updated comps and a laundry list of any and all improvements… GBB: If the appraiser is a woman, I bring a Prada bag full of chocolates. If it’s a guy, I bring Pamela Anderson.
GBB: What is your opinion of Real Estate reality shows? KB: They’re stupid. Put me in one, I’d sell circles around those clowns. Actually, I find some of the negotiating stuff interesting. GBB: Ken, for a genius, you sure can’t count. But that’s okay, I’m an idiot savant myself. Gimme another buck. PH: [Reality Shows] are so not real. BY: [Reality Shows] crack me up! That one in LA is so far out of reality, it’s hysterical. GBB: Actually, all of L.A. is beyond reality, dahling. I was on “Flip That House,” and all I got out of it was a stalker. Matter of fact, he looked a lot like you, Ken. Uncanny resemblance… I’m packing pepper spray, Ken!
GBB: What is your opinion of bus bench ads? BY: We don’t really have buses in my area. I think this is community specific. PH: Only Teresa Boardman’s virtual bus bench is worth the price. I don’t want anyone sitting on me. GBB: I’m confused. Who’s Teresa Boardman? Did I miss something when I was in the rest room? Bench ads to you, Ken. KB: Generally speaking, “Lame.” Unless it’s an enormous picture of me and someone else paid for it. GBB: Love ‘em! When someone carves gang signs in my paper forehead I consider it a sign of deep affection. Ken, you REALLY look familiar… Is that a restraining order in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
GBB: What do you like best about your job? BY: I don’t work for a__holes any longer. I get to pick and choose with whom I work and I can fire clients when our agency isn’t a good fit. GBB: You said a bad word, Brandie. Put a dollar in the jar. No, I’ll hold the jar. Let go, dangit – the cash is mine! KB: Being the boss of my self. Picking and choosing who I work with. My raise is effective as soon as I am. GBB: That’s clever, Ken. You really should consider a bus bench ad. PH: No two days are alike. Getting to the closing table; not because I get paid, but the sense of accomplishment. GBB: I like happy hour. No, Ken, I don’t work here, and stop bogarting the peanuts! Who’s buying the next round?
GBB: What is your most successful means of advertising? BY: I am very interested to see what people say here. Would love to see a mix of very small town/community answers vs. others. GBB: You are a regular brain trust, Brandie. Will you take my brokers’ exam for me please? PH: Internet GBB: Paula, I love how you are both brilliant AND succinct. You are the only one who followed the ten word rule. …Paula? Somebody wake her up so she can tip the waitress. KB: Traditional advertising is like earning a fast nickel. Personal relationship building, on-purpose and in-person contact is a slow dollar. Go for the dollar. GBB: Nice. I have business card with a hologram of myself. I tell people I am virtually there whenever they need me. Also, bad publicity is a real pay-off in my town. Hence my desire to jump up on this table and start dancing.
GBB: What subjects other than real estate would be advisable for prospective agents to study? KB: How to write and speak persuasively. Social Media marketing and relationship building strategies. How to live in the now… GBB: Right! Where were we? PH: How to interpret data as it applies to the likelihood an area will thrive. BY: Appraisal GBB: Man, I’m outta my league here – I was going to say “animal husbandry.” Why are you all taking away my car keys?
GBB: What will your real estate tombstone say? KB: Cheers Friends. It was FUN. I’ll be back. GBB: Brandie? Brandie? (Brandie didn’t answer this one.) Did we offend her? Don’t look at me, Ken. It was your idea to put half a jar of chilies in her Bloody Mary. Maybe she’ll forgive us before our next get together. So, what will your real estate tombstone say, Paula? PH: She sold her last home. GBB: I like that. I guess mine will say, uh…’Good till the last drop?’ No, no…make that, ‘This escrow closed on time.’ No, No, I don’t like that one. How ‘bout “Death by Hollywood?” Now back to you, Ken…you look strangely familiar – even with that party umbrella tucked behind your ear.…
Thanks to my colleagues for their valuable input and their willingness to participate in the fun. Ken Brand, a veteran in real estate, is the Real Estate Sales Manager of Prudential Gary Green Realtors in Woodlands, Texas. Paul Henry is the dynamo leader of the top notch Henry Group at Red Door Real Estate in Indianapolis. Brandie Young is a San Francisco marketing guru, trail blazer and founder of consulting firm MarketingTBD. Host Gwen Banta is the L.A. based realtor who is only allowed out of Sunnyside Home for the Demented on weekends and holidays. (Lani, did you pay our bar bill yet?)
7 low-budget marketing ideas for small businesses to grow their reach
(MARKETING) Marketing ideas are often expensive or ultra time consuming, but let’s talk about some proven tactics that won’t break the bank.
The following marketing ideas are provided to you buy Threadsy:
No matter the size of your business, marketing matters! It’s important for small and big businesses alike to attract new customers, establish brand awareness, and to create buzz around products and services. But we know that not every business owner has tons of funds to devote to their marketing strategy. The good news? There are some highly effective marketing tactics that are also budget-friendly!
Here are seven low-budget marketing strategies for small business owners and side hustlers to grow their reach:
1. Sponsor Local Events
One of the best ways to get to know potential customers? Actually meet and talk to them! When you sponsor local events, you can be on-site to help people put a face with your business’s name. Sponsoring events is also a fantastic way to offer branded merchandise that can help you get your name and your logo out there.
Besides branded materials like signs, banners, or fliers, think about offering some fun items like wine bags to give away to attendees. Goody bags also make fantastic take-home options for local events. A branded canvas tote can be repurposed as an environmentally-friendly grocery bag, lunch bag for work, or a carry-all accessory for conventions and tradeshows. Print your logo on the outside and fill your goody bags with customized items like water bottles, notebooks, pens, and towels.
2. Let Your Colors Fly
Make some cool t-shirts featuring your logo! Wear them to the sponsored events mentioned above, out in the community, or anywhere you may encounter potential customers and can strike up a conversation. You can also offer t-shirts at a discount in-store or online, and turn your loyal customers into advertisers.
Quick tip: Purchase wholesale shirts to reduce manufacturing costs.
3. Social Media
If you’re not already leveraging social media to promote your business, it’s time to start! Think your customers aren’t using social networks? While certain demographics use various platforms more than others, according to fundera, 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions. Plus, 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy.
So use your social media channels to level the playing field. To maximize your time and effort, determine where your audience members spend their time. Which platforms are they using? If you have a dedicated social media strategist on staff, they can perform audience research to tailor your approach to your existing and potential customers. If you’re running your own social strategy, spend some time digging into the demographics to determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand. From there, you’ll need to decide on the types of content you want to post, how to interact with your customers online, and create a social media calendar to plan your strategy.
4. Host a Giveaway
Once you’ve got your social media strategy up and running, why not host an online giveaway/sweepstakes to build some buzz, boost engagement, and attract followers? Pick a social media platform where you already engage with your customers. You’ll want to offer an item as the prize. This can be anything from a free product, a discount on an expensive product or service, or inexpensive swag like hats to help you promote your brand.
Once you’ve chosen the prize(s), decide on the terms for your giveaway. For example, an Instagram sweepstakes might look like this:
- Create posts about the giveaway and explain the rules (multiple stories and 1 or 2 posts depending on the length of the contest)
- These posts should specify the terms, for example:
– In order to enter, potential winners must follow you
– Encourage your followers to tag other people who may be interested. Each “tag” gets them another entry into the contest
– You can also specify that contest applicants must share your post on their own profile
- Once the contest has ended, pick a winner. Tag them in a post and story announcing what they’ve won and ask them to also share these posts to their own profile
Quick tip: You can also offer smaller or less-expensive items as consolation prizes. People love free swag and it’s an easy way to get your name out there!
5. Referral Discounts
Offering friends and family discounts on your products or services can help you establish loyalty and promote exclusivity. Offer discount codes or create a refer-a-friend program. You can also offer small incentives for customers who share about your brand on social media. Referral discounts are a great marketing strategy whether you use them in-store, online, or both.
6. Create or Update Your Blog
If you already have a website, you can put it to use to help build brand awareness and attract high-funnel customers. Blogging is a low-cost way to generate organic traffic (website visitors via Google or other search engines). If you don’t already have a blog, there are a number of free and inexpensive blog platforms you can use including Wix and WordPress.
You’ll want to write about topics that are related to your product or service and are of interest to your customers. For example, if you offer graphic design, you might want to create content about how to find an effective graphic designer online, or which projects you can do with an online platform like Canva vs. more complex projects where you should hire a professional designer.
Your website and blog are also great places to post “about us” content to offer website visitors an opportunity to learn more about you, your business, and your mission and values.
7. Update Your Google My Business Profile
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to share important information about your business like your address, hours of operation, and contact information. When your listing is optimized with this information, it’s displayed in Google Search and will also appear in Google Maps, which can help you attract local customers.
To get started, you need to create a GMB profile and verify your business information. This is a relatively simple but important step to ensure customers are able to find your business or service online. Make sure to keep your listing updated if you change any information like your website URL, address, or hours.
When creating your marketing strategy, remember to stay true to your brand. Not every tactic will be the most effective for every business. Choose the tactics that make sense for your brand or product offering. Another way to prioritize is to consider the perceived impact and effort of each marketing strategy. Use the strategies that require the lowest effort but will potentially drive the highest return.
Once you have those in place, decide which of the other strategies make sense for your customers and your business goals. Also, make sure to keep track of all of your marketing expenditures and the sales from these tactics so you can assess which ones were successful and which ones you may need to re-evaluate or alter.
Remember, when it comes to marketing, it’s an ever-evolving system. Trust the process and try to have some fun with your marketing strategy!
No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course
(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.
Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.
You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.
Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.
Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.
Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.
Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using firstname.lastname@example.org you can use email@example.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.
Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.
Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.
Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old
(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…
Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.
While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.
Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.
One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”
Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.
After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).
Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.
Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?
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