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Can the ‘Blemish Effect’ improve your closing ratio?

(MARKETING) It may feel awkward to use the Blemish Effect, but it could mean more money in your pocket.

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself.

Delivering something inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Jack Lloyd has a BA in Creative Writing from Forest Grove's Pacific University; he spends his writing days using his degree to pursue semicolons, freelance writing and editing, oxford commas, and enough coffee to kill a bear. His infatuation with rain is matched only by his dry sense of humor.

Real Estate Marketing

Quokka: Retargeting ads for people who ignored your email

(MARKETING) A new startup named after our favorite animal amplifies your ad efforts even after being ignored. Sweet!

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Potential customers who ignore your emails just aren’t the obstacle that they used to be. If you’re tired of sending out countless emails and receiving nothing in response, Quokka’s ad retargeting service may be the solution for you.

Aside from having the objectively cutest animal of all time as their namesake, Quokka allows you to follow up with people who don’t respond to your initial emails. Instead of firing off an additional email, however, Quokka’s response is a bit subtler: it shows retargeting ads to the offending customer. This method gives your product or service a second chance without giving the customer the opportunity to bin your follow-up email sans a read.

Quokka also provides you with statistics regarding how many emails were sent out, how many were opened, and how many customers are available for retargeting based on those numbers. This information is provided on an email-by-email basis in their easy-to-use interface.

Once you’ve allowed a certain amount of time to pass, you can plug your mailing list into Quokka and select a platform on which you want to display the retargeting ads. Quokka will determine who on your mailing list didn’t open the email and then show them your ad on your selected platform (e.g., Facebook). While social media ads haven’t been faring particularly well as of late, we may see Quokka find its niche in other marketing venues.

As it sits, Quokka plugs into your Facebook, MailChimp, and Campaign Monitor services. Based on comments from the platform’s founder, Quokka’s future includes additional integration with existing marketing platforms. Ideally, Quokka will eventually be usable with the bulk of mailing services and marketing automation, but getting the app to that point will undoubtedly take some time.

2018 marketing practices already look like they’re going to have to evolve away from some of the pre-established paradigms, and Quokka appears to be one appropriate answer to the underlying “How?” question here. As customers become more suspicious of ads in their inboxes and ad-blocking software use continues to grow, services such as Quokka may be viable solutions for those hoping to reach the most stubborn demographic.

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Real Estate Marketing

18 business card designs that will inspire you to redo yours

(MARKETING) First impressions count, and your business card can make a pretty boring first impression. Let’s fix that.

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Let’s face it, most business cards look the same- horizontal, primary colors, 1993 Glamour shot, alphabet soup, fax number, phone number, website, blog, twitter, facebook, broker, license number, weight, height, etc.

I exaggerate, but the point remains that the majority of all business cards are uninspired.

We’ve written on this topic for years and today, we continue by bringing you some eye candy and hopefully inspiration for your own business card upgrade. Think outside of the box!

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Real Estate Marketing

Can you really fight back when social media traffic returns are diminishing?

(MARKETING) Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

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Social media is a doubled edged sword -while its ubiquitous nature in the realm of marketing makes it impossible to avoid, a variety of caveats ranging from rising fees to government-imposed limitations on content have contributed to more than a few headaches.

The most recent entrant on the migraine list — a diminishing return on social media traffic — is sure to turn heads, but rest assured that you have some options at your disposal.

According to social media expert, Neil Patel, the bulk of social media advertising traffic (paid or otherwise) has seen a slight but consistent decline over the past few years. Chalk it up to whatever you like — consumer awareness, technophobia, a surplus of tinfoil hats — but the fact is that your social media ads are performing worse than they used to, and will continue to do so.

Fortunately, there are a few habits you can break in order to reverse this effect (if only temporarily).

The first thing you should realize is that common advertising trends which started out as successful strategies have become stale with age. These include things like constant video or photo uploads, frequent text posts, and links to your company’s blog; while these pieces of content should still appear on your social media accounts, they are no longer enough to keep your customers engaged.

“Engagement” is the key vocabulary word here. If your customers aren’t interacting with you or a member of your business in some format, they’ll be dissatisfied; even if the manner in which they interact is simply through an Instagram Live video or a Reddit AMA, you’ll notice an increase in traffic right away.

“But Jack, it’s completely asinine to expect a business owner to do a live Q&A session with any kind of frequency” you might say — and you’d be absolutely right.

To that end, using an automated chatbot to keep customers informed without tying up valuable assets in the meantime is probably your best approach. Most major social media platforms either have or support multiple chatbots, and Patel’s site shows a steady increase in the number of businesses using them anyway — don’t get left behind.

Naturally, you’ll need to keep uploading a variety of content, so letting customers see your beautiful face in a live video from time to time is still a good idea.

Other ways to increase customer engagement and conversion range from using SMS notifications to implementing social media platforms you wouldn’t usually consider (WhatsApp, anyone?), but the bottom line will always involve giving your customers a two-way avenue of communication.

Missing out on traffic because of antiquated practices isn’t the end of the world; if anything, it should be the beginning of a plethora of new practices for you and your company.

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