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I’m Going Local and I Think I Like It.

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Go LocalThere’s a lot of talk going on about the future of the media, and how real estate businesses essentially have to become nanopublishers if they want to really make an impact with their online marketing.  I’m not a Realtor, but I do see the value in Hyper-local online marketing… and it’s not just for real estate.

I see the beginning of the wave.  The ease of modern publishing on WordPress combined with the the ability to bootstrap marketing efforts using social media is too exciting to pass up.  Curbed.com just got a 1.5 million investment to expand it’s concept to Chicago.  I don’t think investors Brad Inman or Nick Denton are shooting blind.  With big news in ’06 and ’07 regarding online media and newspapers migrating focus online in droves, big opportunity exists.

This is why I decided to quit watching and try my hand.  I plan to take the morsels of knowledge I have gathered from countless articles read in 2007 and attempt to put it to good use by building a hyper-local blog for my city… and build local traffic that would be invaluable for a real estate professional or any local business for that matter.

What is my motive?  The hope that my site will become popular, serving with and along side other media sites in my area to bring relevant information to people.  How I use it from there is going to be the fun part.  Right now, I’m focused on people.  In the words of Derek Zoolander: “but what people?”.  And my answer is: “I don’t know, local people!”.

So what defines a hyper-local blog?  What does a local blog for a typical suburb, in a typical city, do for people?  What information is useful?  What are they looking for?  Is this audience already online?  If so, where do they hang out?  How local should I go?  What is the scope of the category content?  How will I promote it online?  Offline?  Where do I start?  Is it possible for one person to handle it or will I need help?  What does the future hold?

These are some of the many questions I will attempt to answer as I chronicle my journey into the local terrain. I need help from geniuses.  Stay tuned… I will roll out the concept in coming posts.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Mariana

    January 17, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I have a city-blogsite (for the city I work in), as well as a couple hyper-local blogs. I really should have made them ONE blog, but I decided to keep one purely real estate focused and one strictly community focused. I promote them in my newsletters and when I deliver things door-to-door in the area. People LOVE the sites, and I always get awesome feedback.
    LivingInGreenhaven.com and GreenhavenRealEstate.net … if you wanted to see what I put into my hyer-local blogs.
    Good luck!

  2. Benn Rosales

    January 17, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Carson, having looked at what you’re doing, I have to say- you are the man… I am glad to know you’re getting close- hurry up! Our readers will want to see this… (no pressure ;] )

  3. Lani Anglin

    January 17, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Carson, I think that your project is an amazing way for your small city to connect and having been a local and your watching it explode over the years gives you unique insight.

    It will be helpful to EVERYONE to read a chronicle of making a hyperlocal blog because we typically only see an unveiling and never learn what it takes to make it happen behind the scenes.

    Hyperlocal blogging is definitely time consuming, but the readers and writers here are always quick to come up with suggestions if you hit any road blocks. I have a really good feeling about your site’s future success!

  4. Jack A

    January 18, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I am in the middle of implementing an entirely new business plan with deep roots in hyper-local community and real estate website, structured follow-up programs and tons of video. I am from 13 generations of ere and love the community. The bennefit is that by creating this type of site and philosiphy, you create the PERFECT venue for promoting real estate and invaluable and unique services to buyers and sellers. I ave enjoyed the video from Connect that I have seen on successful blogging. I am going the route of finding good, local authors to contribute to the cause.

    Consider the market downturn as an opportunity to prepare for the next generation of consumers and be first to the punch in your local market.

  5. ines

    January 20, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    When I created miamism, the concept was to be hyper-local….but it’s not easy – I’m still trying to answer all the questions you asked.

    Of course hitting it from the non-Realtor side like Curbed does is an amazing concept.

  6. Steve Simon

    August 12, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Local is a relative term. the amount of work that blogging requires is vastly under estimated.
    Done well its a couple of hours a day.
    If you have three and four blogs that would mean you might need to invest six to eight hours a day to do them justice.
    I am not talking about sitting down for six minutes and banging on the keyboard until tow or three posts appear.
    I’m talking about picking your current topic target, reading eight to ten top sources for input and stimulation then forming you own synthesis; and ultimately getting to the page.
    Then there is the tech aspect of blogging, making sure your read is clean, you have made it easy for readers to share, keeping pace with the evil doers (spammer, hacker, etc) and of course the ever present need for SEO.
    Google has changed the way they do certain things fifteen times since I have been watching! That doesn’t make them bad, but it does mean unless you read the Google forums you will be left behind..
    Just my thoughts 🙂

  7. Laura Cannon

    August 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    There is something very intimate and rewarding about a hyper-local blog. I have one, and I really enjoy writing it. It makes me feel connected to my community. My clients like it because it makes them feel connected to me, and more importantly, to something larger than I am, i.e. the online community that visits the blog. In turn, this helps me build trust and authority with my sphere.

    I think that one of the most important aspects of a local blog is local pictures. I change my blog header picture about four times a week, and I add local photos to my articles. People in my area are not used to seeing their village up in lights and the beautiful parts of it highlighted on the internet. They are flattered to be reminded of how lovely their community is. I get more feedback on my pictures than anything else. I bring my camera everywhere, and I love capturing the “under-the-radar” beauty of my hometown.

    I look forward to seeing your project unfold. 🙂

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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nostalgia

Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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