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Are You Wagging Your Tail? Begin Now. Here’s How.




Are you familiar with Chris Anderson’s theory?

If you’re unfamiliar, or need to re-up, here’s my take:

The Long Tail Theory centers around the impact of Google style indexing, searching and filtering all things on-line and humankind’s ability to find today’s hottest and urgent, as well as yesterday’s and yesteryear’s relevant and important.

Here’s a few plain-english definitions from Chris Anderson’s blog:

Best Definitions:

  • “The Long Tail is the realization that the sum of many small markets is worth as much, if not more, than a few large markets.” –Jason Foster
  • “The Long Tail is the 80% of stuff that didn’t used to be worth selling.”–Greg
  • “The Long Tail is the story of how products that were once considered fringe, underground or independent now collectively make up a market that rivals the bestsellers and blockbusters.” –Bob Baker

The question is…

Is The Long Tail Theory Relevant To Real Estate Agents?

When the book was written in 1995, “blogging” was a baby, “Twitter” was a hatchling, “Facebook” was a pimply punk kid and smart phones were dumb.  Our on-line opportunities were small and our tails, if we had one, were minnow sized too.  Today, these 4 factors make the Long Tail Theory worth revisiting.

  1. Google, Bing, Yahoo and others are indexing more information everything.   Recently social media streams, Twitter and Facebook, have been added. [For Extra Credit >  Check out this Web 2.0 Mind Map.]
  2. On-Line publishing [blogs, websites, video, audio, etc.] and conversation [social media, comments, etc.] are filling an infinity-deep, information ocean.
  3. Our on-line participation, contribution and engagement will be included, indexed and found, easily and forever.
  4. The more we share,  the more we receive, in unexpected ways [This almost sounds like an affirmation?].

People we want to do business with use Internet search to find, research, compare, evaluate, discover and select, it’s critical that we show up and shine on-line.  If we can’t be found, we’re invisible and irrelevant.  If we’re invisible and irrelevant, we’ll starve.

Why Is Our Long Tail Important?

Daily.  We focus on our To Do’s.  We prioritize, organize and scramble.  What if our daily efforts didn’t vanish at the end of the day? What if our daily efforts were indexed, catalogued and added to the searchable blue ocean of human on-line publishing and conversation?  By taking our knowledge, conversation, observation, commentary and expertise on-line, overtime, we add to the collective on-line ocean of information.

Why does this matter?  When people search for real estate expertise in your market, you’ll be found.

More.  While sharing and engagement is helping to fill a blue ocean of on-line information, we are also filling our own personal lakes. [ Curation is the next big trend and The Future of Sales Is Social]  When people find you and are comparing and evaluating who to choose, the depth and breadth of your personal information lake will help influence the wisest choice.  If you have a lake and she has a puddle, you WIN.

Are You Wagging Your Long Tail?

Let’s talk about how to grow and wag your Long Tail.

  1. On-line contribution and participation is growing your Long Tail.
  2. Engaging frequently is wagging your Long Tail.

These are the 6 most significant opportunities.

  1. Facebook: This is the MOST important conversation, connection, trust building, broadcast tool on planet earth.  There are new developments every week.  Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc., they’ve all been given permission to index public profiles, updates and more (unless you’re security settings nix it.  I wouldn’t nix it).  This is huge and oxygen like.  If you haven’t started breathing deeply, get started, pronto!  If you have, engage, engage, engage (30 minutes a day).  It’s FREE and SMART.
  2. Blog: A blog is the best way to fill your personal lake with relevant, hyper-local real estate information and showcasing your expertise .  Good news.  Getting started is easier than ever.  You have choices.  Go Posterous or WordPress.  Don’t obsess over which to choose.  Pick one and get crack’n.  Tips. More.
  3. SlideShare:  All those presentations, marketing materials, flyers, brochures, things printed, can be stored digitally and shared on-line at  Using Slideshare makes sharing your stuff easy, interactive, discoverable and shareable.  Get rid of those dented file cabinets and mountains of paper, and go Long Tail.  Here’s an example, use can do 100X better.  Your Slideshares can automatically appear on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages as well.
  4. Twitter: Tweets are now indexed by Google and Bing, plus, geotagging has just been added.  Used strategically, Twitter is now worthwhile.  Here’s a few tips from Chris Brogan.  Here’s a Simple Guide To Twitter.
  5. Video: People love to watch.  Think about the consequences and repercussions of  THIS – Google uses speech recognition for video indexing and cataloging. If you haven’t, create your own channel. Here’s what a bare bones channel looks like – Bare Bones Youtube Channel.  More.
  6. Smart Phone: Your smart phone now empowers your on-line sharing and conversation.  If you can think of it, there’s an app for that.  While you’re out and about, working and playing, loving, and living, send photos, post updates, share observations and broadcast announcements to Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Slideshare and your blog.  It’s easier than ever to share, contribute and engage.  Train yourself to do it daily.

Remember an Avalanche begins with a single snow flake.

Good Luck.  Wag Your Tail and swim like a Mermaid or Merman.

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Photo Credit

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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  1. Erin Golding

    November 30, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Seriously great stuff here Ken! Usually I just read these and lurk around. After reading Crush It by @garyvee and now your blog post I’m commenting on everything I read to leave my foot print and wag my tail. I’m hanging onto this post so I can read all the other blog links you’ve added. I’ll have to comment on those too ; ) Engage, engage!

  2. Kathleen Buckley

    November 30, 2009 at 8:34 am


    I really enjoy your posts because they are challenging in a way that motivates rather than intimidates. My goal this week: get all over SlideShare.

  3. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Erin G – Amen, that’s exactly correct, footprints, fingerprints, social DNA, YES, you’re living out-loud and that’s cool. Get Crack’n, go get’m. Cheers.

    Kathleen B. – Thanks for the compliment, Slideshare rocks on many levels, just like you! Cheers.

  4. Bill Risser

    November 30, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Ken – Simply put, a post I will be sharing with every agent I come in contact with! Great job of laying out a roadmap for the beginner in new media, as well as confirming the path some have already begun traveling…

    Thank you very much!

  5. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Bill – Thanks. Yes, things are changing and evolving at break neck speed, it’s a journey not a destination, so every little step matters. Cheers and thanks for reading.

  6. Benjamin Bach

    November 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Great article Ken, but I’d like to discuss two of your points:

    “Facebook: This is the MOST important”

    I disagree – I think facebook is a really usefull way to ping lots of people and distributre your content, but I think it’s best used when you’re using it to supplement and push people to your site. Facebook shouldn’t be your main place, because you don’t own you facebook presence. If Mark Z decides to sell the company and it changes, and it was the basis for your online presence, you need to start from scratch. Plus, the ‘cool’ sites change every few years (icq, msn messenger, myspace, linkdin, facebook, twitter, etc). If you own your own blog and use facebook to introduce people to your site, you’d still be ok. Your own blog/space is the most important fo your long tail.

    2) “Twitter is now worthwhile.”

    Twitter has been valuable, long before it was indexed for SEO. The best use for Twitter is listening and responding to your market. Use the search function to see every tweet that mentions “Austin” or “Galt Ontario” and see what people are talking about. Listen to what they say about your brand.

    This will let you meet your prospective clients. I think if you look at twitter as a tool to get indexed with, you will miss out on a lot of it’s true worth.

  7. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Sharp points Benjamin. I believe that Facebook is the most important social tool. Why, because it powers the 3 things that create Top Of Mind Awareness – It’s “Relevant” because it’s personal, it provides “Repetition” because you can interact daily and it’s “Remarkable” because it’s personal and so many aren’t. There is the danger that Mark could do something radically wrong, odds are, the tools and benefits and connections and conversations and sharing opportunities will only grow. I’m definitely down with a blog, you’re spot on there. But a blog won’t create Top Of Mind Awareness or conversation, or interaction or the ability to share yourself on a personal and professional level…doing so builds trust and familiarity…which leads to being chosen/hired or referred.

    As for Twitter, I’ve been on twitter for a couple of years and have always thought it was valuable or would become so. I believe the new indexing, geotagging, lists and who knows what’s down the road, finally make it a Must Do. As soon as people/companies/business figure out how to make geotagging totally relevant, Twitter will zoom. There’s some talk that Facebook will launch their own geotagging feature, this will, IMHO, smack Twitter and Fouresquare in the mouth and make Facebook even more omnipresent.

    Love the feedback and sharing. Thanks. Cheers.

  8. Joe Loomer

    November 30, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Gotta echo what Kathleen said – I started reading your post an hour and a half ago – then got caught up in the great content on Slideshare. Now I need two more hours in this day to read all the other links you have in here! Thank God I’ve already read most of the posts you linked to!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  9. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks Joe – Yeah, there’s a lot of material there. I’m torn, I know that short powerful posts are best, but this subject requires additional backup, how to, etc. I always appreciate your feedback. Cheers.

  10. Bob

    November 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Long tail is greatly over generalized in the real estate business.

    The danger here is to over-simplify this to the point where you are telling people that is all there is to it, so go out and waste your time with all this. The odds are your tweets and facebook entries are not going to out rank those who have a a designed strategy to capture targeted long tail traffic. Long tail is where the money is in search and you wont get it with a willy-nilly strategy.

  11. Doug Francis

    November 30, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Wow, I was hoping to watch Monday Night Football, but now will spend most of the evening working through all your links! There is a lot to take in here, folks.

    I often think about how many comments that I have left in the last 12 months, and not just for a “long-tail” Google strategy but because I wanted to chime in. For years my friends were shocked to see my letter-to-the-editors of Businessweek, This Old House, Newsweek, Windsurfer (in the 1980’s) and many more. It’s a habit that I picked up from my father.

    When I decided to write my own real estate newsletter back in 1994, it evolved because I knew that I was my own PR department with tons of material that comes from our day to day interactions. Now I blog and it is better, long term better.

    Okay, now time to get comfy on the couch in front of the TV with my laptop and do this homework.

  12. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I’m with you, it appears over simplified because it’s a blog post and not a sit down consultation or a step by step How-To. I’m not advocating “wasting time”, and I agree with you whole heartedly, a “Willy Nilly” strategy won’t work with Facebook, blogging ,twitter, FSBOs, REOs, Short Sales, Expired Listings, Direct Mail, Open House, Chamber of Commerce style networking, etc. Willy Nilly is….well, it’s Willy Nilly.

    Also, I agree that if you’re embracing these Social Media tools in hopes of being discovered and having strangers call, it won’t work. I believe using the Tools I’ve shared (wisely) will generate Top Of Mind Awareness within your personal sphere – this will lead to more referrals and opportunities to be chosen. Another benefit, you grow the size of your sphere by interacting and engaging with your friends and their friends – just like IRL socializing.

    Also, I believe that buyers and sellers do on-line “Search”, “Investigate” and “Research” the agents they may be considering to represent them. If one agent has a considerable on line presence (Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, YouTube, Blog, etc.), and one does not, opportunities are the does-not are lost, and the worst part is, they might never know why, the phone simply doesn’t ring and nobody shares their name with their friends.

    I believe that targeted efforts to generate inbound leads is the futile approach for the average agent. Even the most savvy companies have horrible conversion rates for the leads they generate. Survey and survey and personal experience show that the majority of buerys and sellers choose an agent they know or an agent who was referral recommend by a trusted friend. If anything, all the wasted time, money and energy dumped into chasing strangers would be better used cultivating relationships with people who already know and trust you.

    What I am advocating is an individual, personal approach to positioning oneself as the first or second person someone thinks about when they have a need – Social Media works well for helping this happen (Top Of Mind Awareness). This is the very reason that old school, well connected and trusted real estate agents still thrive – even if they can’t spell Facebook or Search or SEO or Google.

    I may be wrong, but I don’t doubt, eventually, these Social Media tools will be as common place and embraces as email and cell phones. Might as well start growing and wagging your tail today – that’s what I say.

    And lastly, your advice is perfect, Willy-Nilly won’t work. You need a strategy. Then again, anything worth doing is worth doing badly in the beginning. The main this is to get crack’n.

    Cheers Bob, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  13. Ken Brand

    November 30, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Doug – What ever you do, don’t miss tonights game, it’s a brawl. I’m like you, watching and clickty-clacking my way across cyber space. Multi-tasking rule. Thanks for reading and I hope my yammering helps you grow you business. Cheers.

  14. stephanie crawford

    November 30, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Wow. There’s almost TOO MUCH information here. I’m loving the Slide Share.

  15. Ken Brand

    December 1, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Yeah Stephanie, it’s kinda dense and I sorta got carried away. The subject matter lends itself to linkage, thanks for reading and commenting. Hope I didn’t give you a headache. And, lastly, yes, Slideshare is super cool. Cheers.

  16. rosstherrien

    February 22, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Great tips, Thanks.

  17. Norman Frenk

    March 15, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    smart. sooooo smart….

  18. Maxwell McDaniel

    May 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks so much for the awesome post. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something like this post comes along and makes me realize just how little I really know. Thanks. Seriously.
    I agree with your comment that Facebook is the most important piece of the social media puzzle. At least at the moment. One of the things I’m experimenting with is having my Facebook posts feed my Twitter, which is picked up on my website. It certainly helps distribute the content efficiently.
    I’m also experimenting with FB PPC advertising, both to drive people to my FB page and also my neighborhood specific listings on my website. My click through rates are about .15% which seems really low. I have about a dozen different campaigns running for different landing pages on my site. Costs are 40 cents to 90 cents per click.
    Curious if anyone else would like to share their results of any FB PPC campaigns.

  19. Ken Brand

    May 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Maxwell, I’m not sure we’ll ever have it figured out. It’s sorta like trying to figure out a river or what make fire, fire. You’re approach is the one I try to take, keep moving forward, keep an open mind, experiment, learn, share, grow.

    I haven’t used any of the PPC campaigns, but it’s an inexpensive way to test things. If I had any advice, I’d say, we all need to remember that people choose people they trust. in-person and on-purpose contact and conversation is the fastest and best way to build trust, discover needs and share solutions and other relevant stuff…which all leads to getting chosen (hired) or referred.

    Thanks for the comment. Cheers.

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.



Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.



Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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Business Marketing

7 simple tips to boost your customer loyalty online

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Without a brick-and-mortar store, building rapport and customer loyalty can be a challenge, but you can still build customer loyalty online.



Man and woman at kitchen table online shopping on laptop together, boosting customer loyalty.

With many businesses – both big and small – operating online, there are less opportunities for building those face-to-face relationships that exist in brick and mortar stores. According to smallbizgenius, 65% of the company’s revenue comes from existing customers.

It’s important to keep in mind the different tactics at your disposal for increasing customer loyalty. Noupe recently released a list of actionable tips for increasing this loyalty. Let’s examine these ideas and expand on the best.

  1. Keep your promises – Stay true to what you’ve agreed to, obviously contractually, but stay true to your company values as well. Even if you feel you’ve built a good loyalty where there is room to take a step back, don’t rest on your laurels and be sure to remain consistent. If you’ve provided a good experience, keep that going. The only change that should happen is in it getting better.
  2. Stay in communication – In addition to the ever-so-vital social media platforms, consider creating an email newsletter to stay in touch with your customers. Finding ways to have them keep you in mind should be at the front of your mind. By reaching out and being friendly, this will help retain their business.
  3. Be flexible with payments – No, don’t sell yourself short, but consider installment plans for pricier items or services. This will help customers feel more at ease when their wallet’s health is at stake.
  4. Reward programs – Consider allowing customers to accrue loyalty points in exchange for a freebie. The old punch card method is still an incredibly popular concept, and is a great way to keep people coming back. The cost associated with giving something away for free will be minimal in comparison to loyalty you receive in order for the customer to get to that point. Make sure that what a customer is putting in is about equal to what they’re getting out of it (i.e. don’t have a customer spend $100 in order to get $1 off their next purchase). If all of this proves successful, this can eventually be expanded by creating VIP levels.
  5. Prioritize customer service – A first impression is everything. By prioritizing customer service, you can help shape the narrative of the customer and how they view your business. This splinters off into them giving good word of mouth recommendations to friends and family. Be sure to keep positive customer service as the forefront of your mind, as giving a bad review is just as easy – or even easier – as giving a good review.
  6. Value feedback – Allow customers a space to provide their feedback, either on your website or on social media. Find out what brought them to you and gage how their experience was. Be sure to thank them for their feedback and take it into consideration. Feedback – both good and bad – can be vital in helping shape a business.
  7. Avoid laziness – Stay sharp at all times. Don’t treat all customers as nothing but currency. Include personalized touches wherever you can. This will make all of the difference.

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