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Real Estate Marketing

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.

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

Stupid Facebook rule will not show your ad if you use these words

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Facebook has plenty of other things to worry about other than abbreviations, but your ad could go invisible if you use these…

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Social media advertising expert Jon Loomer has been in the game for a long time. You’d expect him to know any Facebook rule inside and out—so would he. So he was surprised when he uncovered a fairly niche rule that caused one of his recent ads to be rejected. Basically, don’t call FB “FB”.

Facebook’s rules require that ads not reference Facebook or Instagram in a way that goes against their brand guidelines. Since Loomer’s business involves educating people on Facebook marketing, he usually asks for a manual review and calls it a day. But this time around, someone specified that abbreviating Facebook and Instagram to “FB” and “IG” aren’t permitted in advertisements.

Surprisingly, Facebook will let you use the Facebook and Instagram logos in its ads, so long as you use the most up-to-date versions, and don’t spell their names wrong.

There’s no word on whether Facebook’s rebrand as FACEBOOK will be reflected in the new ad requirements, but that rebranding seems to be limited to the parent company, and not its flagship website and app. (That rebrand, the recipient of a great deal of online mockery, appears to be an attempt to dodge an FTC breakup.)

Facebook’s advertising side is notoriously difficult to work with. Advertisers do get customer support in a way that end users very much do not, but the rules can be ill-defined and selectively applied, especially if you’re working in a highly-regulated field.

And yet, Mark Zuckerberg recently stated outright that politicians, specifically, will be allowed to tell verifiable falsehoods in political ads on his platforms, framing the issue as a question of free speech. (Another fun little fact about Facebook’s advertising standards: In January 2018, they banned all cryptocurrency ads because they “are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” Now they’re launching a cryptocurrency of their own.

Even as Facebook (er, sorry, FACEBOOK) expands into new arenas, its public persona is very much that of a multi-billion dollar company that somehow manages to be on its back foot all of the time. In April, Zuckerberg announced that it was going to become a “privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform,” roughly a year after appearing in Congress over Facebook’s spectacular failure to be a privacy-focused anything.

All that to say – if you’re running for office, you can lie all you want, but for the love of all that’s holy, don’t abbreviate Facebook to “FB,” or your ad will be rejected.

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Real Estate Marketing

Your website copy may be too hard to read; these services help

(MARKETING) Your website copy may be too dense, unreadable, and turning away sales. Here’s some tech to help you out.

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You’ve got a killer product or service you’re about to unleash on the world. The bank accounts are made, coffee pot is running, and you’re ready to start reeling in the sales. With your slick new website, you just know your phone is going to start ringing off the hook. But then, it doesn’t.

What gives? Bad UI? Typo in the phone number? One possible reason you’re not getting DM-ed may surprise you – your web copy.

Developing the clear-as-water copy that is going to get you hired or your product sold can be a toughie. Those words you loving poured your time and energy into might be making your potential leads mash the back button. Why? If you or one of your employees wrote the website, you can know your subject too well.

That expertise and familiarity, which makes you amazing at your job, can make it difficult for an outsider to understand what you do. The more difficult you make that understanding for your reader, the less likely you’ll turn a sale.

Case in point: Most people browsing the internet spend less than 15 seconds on a website. That means you have less than 15 seconds to hook your potential client before they remember they have a cat video to finish.

Many a great business died on a piles of jargon, dense sentences and trendy buzzwords. But never fear! Since hiring an army of copywriters is cost-prohibitive, we’ve got some suggestions on services you can use to make that copy do work.

Clarity Grader

Clarity Grader allows you to put a website’s full text into its grading portal or even analyze a url. What you get is a free plain language report and clarity score emailed to you. Of course, if you want the ultimate features, you’ll definitely have to pay for them.

But Clarity Grader’s paid options runs hundreds of checks on your copy, including spell checking, broken link checking and consistency checks. Plus, there’s a free trial to figure out if you want to spend the dough on the premium features for this nifty proofreader.

Jargon Grader

If you’re more worried about relying too hard on jargon, Jargon Grader is a free web-based service without many bells or whistles. Just paste the concerning text into the text box and it’ll run checks and highlight which words detract from your writing. Jargon Grader also reminds you “that some over-used words may be acceptable in context.” A quick run through Jargon Grader, and you’ll be zapping all your buzzwords in no time.

Hemingway Editor

Hemingway Editor isn’t just for fiction writers. Another free web-based service, Hemingway Editor helps you emulate the bold and concise style of Ernest Hemingway. It flags words and phrases for readability, passive voice and conciseness. Hemingway Editor even highlights adverbs to keep you crystal clear.

If you’re trying to make a sale, web copy shouldn’t hedge or hide under lots of needless words. Run your words through Hemingway Editor and be bold.

Grammarly

The Big Daddy of web and desktop free-mium apps, Grammarly is a must for any small or solo enterprise. Grammarly does seemingly countless grammatical, spelling and clarity checks on what you write. It does paywall some of the clarity features, but by cobbling together all the other services plus free Grammarly, you should be covered.

And, bonus, the extension can be installed in almost every facet of your business (email, web-browser, phone apps). That means no one will be confused by how your website reads crystal clear and how your emails read like a ransom note.

So whether you’re a broker trying to save coin or an army-of-one real estate tech freelancer, arm yourself with a few nifty tech tools, and you’ll start improving your lead generation efforts.

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Real Estate Marketing

Are iBuyers actually beneficial to Realtors!?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) IBuyers buy and sell homes quick, which seems bad but after a careful look realtors have no real qualms and they may actually help in the end.

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iBuyers dream

With so many i-themed Apple products (iPhone, iPad…etc), iBuyers sure sound like yet another addition to the Apple lineup. Instead, it’s a common term used in real estate: iBuyer actually stands for “instant buyer.” An iBuyer is a person or company that uses technology to quickly buy a home, typically with the intent to resell that home for a profit.

Thanks to technology, iBuyers can move fast, especially when they’re not deliberating over a home the way a client might. In fact, iBuyers leverage their speedy purchase with homeowners eager to sell, often purchasing a home at cheaper than it might have otherwise been worth. Essentially, sales to an iBuyer often prioritize time over profit.

Laura Brady, CEO of Concierge Auctions, has been watching alternative home selling/buying options –including iBuying – since 2005. According to Brady, there are four major reasons why people might want to unload a home quickly: death, divorce, debt or disaster. Sellers undergoing one (or more) of these events might be more partial to selling to an iBuyer.

While iBuyers might seem like a growing threat to Realtors®, Brady disagrees. Currently, not a single iBuyer company has profited from the system. In fact, less than one percent of homes in 2018 were sold by iBuyers. As technology advances, there might be growth, but even then, Brady projects that iBuyers will still only make up around 10 – 15% of the market.

In fact, not only are Realtors® safe from having their job overtaken by iBuyers, Brady believes real estate agents can actually use iBuyers to their advantage. Not only could a faster buy be appealing to certain individuals, but it could create a more efficient work system for agents, allowing them to take on more clients.

It might not be a fancy new Apple gadget, but iBuying is certainly out to make lives more convenient. Only time will tell if the phenomenon will grow to become a regular facet of the housing economy. In the meantime, iBuyers can be a boon to anyone hoping to buy or sell a home quickly without posing a significant threat to Realtors®.

“At the end of the day,” Brady explains, “this business is about achieving our client’s goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

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