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7 low-budget sure-fire ways small businesses can grow using marketing

(MARKETING) Marketing ideas are often expensive or ultra time consuming, but let’s talk about some proven tactics that won’t break the bank.

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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.

The takeaway:

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!

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Real Estate Marketing

Using the right colors in your marketing can make all the difference

(MARKETING) Simplistic assumptions about colors aren’t necessarily true when it comes to choosing a color for your brand, website, or marketing campaign.

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Woman with colored nails typing representing colors used in marketing.

You may have heard that red is the color of passion, that yellow is a happy color, and that orange makes people hungry. But a detailed analysis of the available research on colors and marketing, compiled by Gregory Ciotti, reveals that these simplistic assumptions about color aren’t necessarily true or useful when it comes to choosing a color for your brand, website, or marketing campaign.

How important is color, anyway?

The way that different people respond to colors can’t be dumbed down to simple associations. Our personal experiences, likes and dislikes, the culture we were raised in, and the context in which we see the colors all influence how we respond. These factors are complicated and ever-shifting, so don’t trust any kitschy infographics that tell you that pink means cute and white means pure. It’s just more complicated than that.

But is there any research to help marketers make smart choices when it comes to color? Of course. Most of the studies show that color makes a big impact when it comes to marketing.

In fact, one study showed that 90% of first impressions of a brand were based on color alone.

Studies have also shown that people respond more strongly to brands whose logos are immediately recognizable, and color plays a big part in that recognition.

It’s more complicated than you think

But it’s not as simple as certain colors evoking certain feelings. It has a lot more to do with whether or not the color seems to “fit” the product. You’ll sell yourself short if you choose a color based on some arbitrary notion that it evokes a certain emotion. Instead, choose a color that reflects your brand’s personality.

Also, be sure to choose a color that differentiates you from other brands. If your color scheme looks too much like your competitor’s, you won’t stand out.

There is some research indicating some gender differentiation when it comes to color preferences – but remember, gender is highly specific to place and culture, so these broad generalizations apply to the Western world, but could change easily over time and may not apply in other countries. However, generally speaking, Western men and women both like blue. While women like purple, men generally don’t. Men are more likely to select products in their favorite colors, while women are more open-minded to a wide range of colors, and to lighter shades of their favorite colors.

Tips you can bank on

For marketing materials and websites, keep in mind that contrast can make a huge difference. One study showed a 21 percent increase in conversions after a website changed the color of its “get started now” button from green to red. But the increase isn’t because red in and of itself is so powerful – conversions likely increased because the rest of the website was green, making the red button stand out more than ever.

For websites, it’s a good idea to have a base color, then a contrasting accent color that draws attention to actionable items.

Finally, studies have found that consumers prefer descriptive names for colors to plain ones. “Sky blue” will sell better than “light blue,” and people prefer “mocha” to “brown,” even when the color itself looks exactly the same.

In a nutshell, when it comes to color, don’t rely on simplistic stereotypes. Think about your brand’s personality, and choose colors that will help you stand out.

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Real Estate Marketing

Vanity metrics exist everywhere, even real estate

(MARKETING) It is often easy to fall for vanity metrics, everyone does it. But “being number one” is so stupidly subjective, don’t cave.

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Man working on laptop representing vanity metrics in real estate.

How many times have you seen or heard “#1 in sales,” “x number of satisfied clients,” or “highest-grossing broker?” Probably more than once. What do these phrases mean? Are they even really measurable? More likely than not, phrases like these come under the heading of “vanity metrics.”

Vanity metrics are things and data sets that are easily manipulated. For tech, it can include things like the number of downloads, page views, and registered users; rather than components that are truly important, such as profits and customer retention.

Vanity Metrics in Real Estate

Real estate, like any other field, has its share of vanity metrics. “Being number one” is ridiculously subjective.

While some associates/brokers/offices have absolutely earned the right based on hard data, many have not.

“Being number one” could mean receiving an award from a random blogger friend, buying an award online, or just plain paying to have the title printed on business cards and in the newspaper; it really doesn’t mean there’s anything tangible or concrete behind the statement.

Nothing tangible

Take for example the person that might say, “over 2,000 satisfied clients.” Sure, that sounds great on the surface. They must be doing something right if they’ve made that many sales. Wait? Does that mean they’ve made over 2,000 sales, or does it simply mean they’ve met 2,000 people?

It doesn’t say, “I’ve successfully sold over 2,000 homes and I have the documentation to prove it.”

It’s also another vanity metric that is intensely subjective. You need more concrete information to make a judgment on the validity of blanket statements such as these.

Also, should you really choose a Realtor® based on something so subjective?

Show me a Realtor who has been in business for more than ten years with no marks on their record (ethical or otherwise) with their local association, and has the documentation to show they’ve successfully sold homes to “happy” customers (read: they come with many recommendations) and I’ll show you someone I’ll put my faith in.

What you can focus on instead

Every team is different. This isn’t to say that major (and minor) sales milestones shouldn’t be celebrated, because they should. Rather, this is meant to be a reminder to us all the vanity metrics are so easy to fall for; we’ve all fallen for these lines, likely more than once.

Instead of looking to data sets with no meaning, teams should focus on internal metrics.

How many clients do you have right now? How many of those clients have bought a home from you? How many showings have you done in comparison to sales? Are you getting positive recommendations and feedback? How much money are you making?

Things like this can tell you where you need to improve; it is concrete data (the recommendations might be a bit fuzzy, but you get the idea).

Listen to your team. Listen to your clients. Set attainable goals and reassess them as needed. Don’t worry about those catchy little phrases, because you know what you need to do to close your sale and keep everyone happy.

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Real Estate Marketing

Real estate pros, never use Facebook stories for this reason!

(MARKETING) Facebook Stories are a fantastic marketing tool, but open up a huge Pandora’s box – and it’s better to nix them.

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facebook stories on iphone

For over a decade, we’ve been touting the importance and merit of social media, educated the industry on best practices, pioneered the culture, and played a role in so many of your campaigns.

This may confuse some of you who are thinking we’re out of touch old folks, crapping on social today, but that’s not the case at all. We care about your rear end. Hear me out…

Last night, I saw an amazing Facebook Story (which disappears, just like Instagram Stories).

A Realtor friend of mine in Texas was sharing the interior of a new listing he had, and it was absolutely stunning.

But he made some mistakes.

Most of them were rookie mistakes that you know not to make (calling a neighborhood “safe” which is subjective and makes you legally vulnerable), but others were pretty serious. He noted that the listing was near a mosque, so it was perfect for his “fellow Muslim friends.” Can you say steering? Fair Housing violation?

I reached out to him to learn his process. What did he say?

“They’re gone in 24 hours, it doesn’t matter.”

Okay, but it could matter to the person who screenshot all of the Facebook Story whose calls you never returned, and because they’re Protestant, they now believe you’ve discriminated against them because they aren’t Muslim like you.

It matters to the person who watched and thought “my car was broken into on that street, it’s not safe,” and shares your Facebook Story, mocking it.

Of course this can happen on any social media platform, in any format. It can happen in email. Why are Facebook Stories so unique?

Because they aren’t archived (unlike Instagram Stories where you can turn archiving on).

In the practice of real estate, you are required to keep copies of all communications, files, and marketing for a specified length of time, depending on your location.

How can you keep record of something that disappears, leaving you completely vulnerable, especially if someone else has saved a copy of it? You’re saying “who cares if they saved a copy?!” but I’m saying that if someone else saved a copy and you didn’t, they can edit it any way they wish with no records to compare it to, and a judge may not see your side of the story.

Skip Facebook Stories altogether.

Do Instagram Stories and archive them, if you must, and if you’re ultra tricky, turn on archiving on Instagram Stories, then cross-post them to Facebook Stories. That way, there’s a record of you that proves whether or not you’re liable.

You already have Groups, Pages, and your personal News Feed to update – put Stories on the backburner, even if they’re a great promotional tool. Future You Being Sued will thank you. #cya

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