How people perceive us…
Are we trusted?
Are we interesting?
Are we attractive?
Are we memorable?
Are we referable?
Will we attract and hold attention?
Are we worth our price?
We’re in the business of being chosen. Chosen to manage the successful sale or purchase of real estate and the everything in-between details. In our markets, there are hundreds of choices, you and I are but one of them.
73% of our competition is no competition, their quest for attention, relevance and selection in chaotic, haphazard and sporadic. 27% of our competition is most likely, bright, focused and uniquely distinctive.
Bright. Focused. Distinctive.
Bright: The opposite of dull and boring. Interesting. Engaging. Memorable. Trustworthy. Candid. Surprising. Generous.
Focused: Consistent in quality. Consistent in design. Consistent in intent. Consistent in delivery. Consistent in response and reliability. Consistent in communication. Consistent in execution. Consistent in follow through and follow up. Consistently reinventing and evolving.
Distinctive: A combination of bright and focused, plus, unique in design, interaction, commitment, communication and delivery.
Intellectually, I believe we all understand the importance of creating and delivering Bright, Focused and Distinctive services and solutions. I believe that you and I press forward, daily, in our quest to do so. I’m certain that how you and I might define and deliver Bright, Focused and Distinctive would vary, the more important question is, how do civilians define it and will others know it when they see it? Would they know it was us if our labels and branding wrappers were scraped away?
To answer the questions, we can test ourselves. We can…
Take The Scrape-The-Label Test – If They Didn’t Know It Was You, Would They Know It Was You?
Scrape off the labels, names, and brands in your marketing collateral and see if you can tell if the company/product/service is still unquestionably you, or if it could be anyone at all – maybe not even in your industry.
For me, the example that first pops into my pin-head is Apple. Have you ever unpackaged an Apple product? When I open the packaging for any Apple product, if the Apple logos were removed and only focusing on the clean, crisp and artful surprise of the packaging, I would know it’s an Apple package, not a Dell, or Toshiba or a Sony. It’s the same thing with the Apple website. When I see other websites with similar features, design, layout, etc., I always think, “they are copying the Apple style”. Apple is Bright, Focused and Distinctive.
To discern if we are truly, Bright, Focused and Distinctive, imagine that we’ve removed our logo’s, our smiley glamour shots and our contact information from all that we share, promote and broadcast. If we did that, would our competitors, clients, friends, suspects and prospects know WE created what they are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and experiencing? Or, gulp, would our sharing, promoting and broadcasting be lost in a brown cesspool of average, ordinary, forgettable?
For example, if we removed our logos and personal identity…
- When buyers and showing agents view our listings, would they know it was one of ours by how it was priced, by the artfully staged interior, the snappy quality and rich content of our interior marketing materials?
- When buyers, sellers, agents and prospects view our listings on-line, (remember, all identifying information is removed) would they recognize the listing as ours by the crisp quality of our photos, the engaging and persuasive copy and the wealth of information provided?
- Would our blog posts be identified and attributed to us by the style (voice), content and tone of our writing?
- Is our on and off the web advertising and marketing recognizable and memorable by the colors, the message, the design, layout and media chosen?
- On Facebook, Twitter, etc., if our status updates were broadcast naked and without our avatars, would our tribe know it was us?
- If 10 of our emails were included in a collection of 50, and all author identities were hidden, would our emails be distinguishable from the other 40?
- If the tone, content, confidence, courteous-delivery and on-timeliness of our conversations were heard among others, absent voice recognition, let’s say all the conversations were modulated to sound the same, would people we converse with be able to identify ours as unique from our competitors.
- If one of our recently closed buyers was describing their home buying experience to a friend and didn’t reveal our name in the telling, and their friend had bought a home from us 3 months ago, would the listener recognize the real estate agent in the story as us?
- If someone googled us, would our absence be surprising or expected? Would our presence be bright and reassuring?
I’d bet my on-order iPad, that if you and I consistently run our sharing, communication, promotion, presentation and broadcast through the Scrape-The-Label Test and made appropriate enhancements, we’d electrify our business.
When should we start?
Cheers, thanks for reading.
I remind myself that it’s possible to remove all the labels and have people recognize your communication, sharing, promotion and broadcasting as crap. This of course would be worse than being invisible. Why? Because people rarely talk about, hire or refer the invisible, average and ordinary, they love to talk trash and torpedo the lame, rude, disappointing and dangerous.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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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