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It Started Last Year

In February 2008, I had the honor of chairing the Short Sale Working Group appointed by President Dick Gaylord. A group of REALTORS from all over the country, representing a number of standing committees met to address the issues created by the mounting number of short sales.
I just got an email from one of the Work Group Members, J.T. Tsighis, who wrote the following;

Remember this thank you we received from our esteemed chairman on the important work we performed last year on that chilly day in Chicago February 20, 2008?

Well now, just a little over one year later, with our informative Short Sale Work Flow Process document in circulation for months and copies of our report to Risk Management, Professional Standards, MLS, Conventional & Finance committees long past gone…we owe one big thank you our NAR leadership team (past and present) for taking the time to consider and take definitive action on our suggestions…here’s an abstract from the weekly update sent to all FPC’s last week…I know how good it made me feel and wanted to make sure you knew about it just in case you missed seeing it…

“Many of you have expressed concern over the short sales process and wondered what NAR could do to help try to correct it. Since then, NAR developed the Short Sales Working Group in 2008 which came up with a number of recommendations toward a solution. NAR reviewed the recommendations and has now released a response. To have a look at the working group’s suggestions and the NAR response, please visit REALTOR.org:
https://www.realtor.org/wps/wcm/connect/8c4828804d6ed92ea5e2ef76015fd4f4/short+sales+flyer+3.19.09.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=8c4828804d6ed92ea5e2ef76015fd4f4 .

Just another great example of REALTOR® volunteerism at work with great support from responsive NAR leadership…thanks to all…and proud to be a part of it!

“J.T.”

James J. Tsighis GRI,CRS,CRB,ABR,e-PRO

I sort of feel like I’m cheating here since the work assembling the short sale flyer was done at NAR, the material contributed by the entire Working Group, the additional actions taken by our leadership at NAR,  and the letter written by JT. But the job itself was incredibly satisfying in the journey as well as in the destination. 

The Journey was Great

It started when the issue was identified in the Risk Management committee. It was brought to President Dick Gaylord’s attention by then Chairperson Diane Disbrow, who immediately formed the Short Sale Working Group. We all met in Chicago for a long and arduous meeting, and then spent considerable time memorializing the findings of the working group. Those findings were presented  to leadership and the various committees for them to take action. And as you can see the impact of that work is still being felt and moved forward by President Macmillan today. I am proud to have been one of the volunteers that helped this move forward.

It Takes Two to Communicate

As I read this over, before hitting the “publish” button, I feel a little embarrassed. I don’t want to seem too formal or pompous or bang the drum too hard, but the fact that my actions and the actions of this working group impacted hundreds of thousands of real estate practitioners, their clients and customers amazes me. And that occurred because the REALTOR leadership that is so often questioned and maligned was being responsive to their members. So the next time you think that NAR is some monolith that doesn’t respond to its members, think about what you did to open that communication – and what it might mean to you and the industry if you did open it successfully.

Image by dannyfowler via Flickr

Bill is an unusual blend of Old & New - The CEO Century 21 Advantage Gold (Philadelphia's Largest Century 21 company and BuzzBuilderz (a Social Media Marketing Company), He is a Ninja CEO, blending the Web 1 and 2.0 world together in a fashion that stretches the fabric of the universe. You can follow him on twitter @Billlublin or Facebook or LinkedIn.

Business Marketing

What you absolutely *must* know about digital marketing in 2019

(MARKETING) Because you have a pulse, you know you should be focused on digital marketing, but if you haven’t been, this guide will get you up to speed quickly!

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Justin Staples is an entrepreneur who specializes in providing businesses with results-driven SEO, custom web design, and content development. Below, he offers a modern guide for any business to ensure their efforts are modernized and effective:

Growing a successful business is anything but easy.

If you want your business to scale, you need more than a good product or service. You’ll also need tried-and-tested processes to deal with anything from sourcing products, managing employees, dealing with customers, and more.

Beyond that, you also need to figure out how you can reach as broad of a customer base as possible, and that comes down to marketing.

There are a thousand ways to market your business. However, every day that passes, digital channels become more important. Now more than ever, customers are more likely to look up products online before spending a single dollar.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of digital (or online) marketing, now’s a great time to learn some basics, so let’s get to it.

A Quick Introduction to Digital Marketing:

Every type of promotional activity that involves electronic devices falls under the banner of digital marketing. However, some online channels are far more important than others when it comes to promoting your business.

Social media is the easiest example. Unless you’re a hermit, almost everyone you know probably uses it.

Perhaps the best thing about digital marketing is it enables you to reach a far broader audience than old-school approaches – such as handing out flyers, magazine ads, and others.

If you run a local business, you can use online marketing to gain customers from all over the country, and even the world (depending on what you’re selling!). It all comes down to choosing the right channels.

10 Must-Knows of Digital Marketing in 2019:

In this section, we’ll walk you through the key terms you must know to get started with online marketing and some of the best channels you can focus on.

Keep in mind – some businesses will find more success in some channels than others, and it all depends on who your audience is. By the time we’re through, you’ll have all the information you need to make some important decisions!

1. Framework

Throwing money at marketing without a plan might work, but it’s not a sustainable or scalable approach.

To reap the full benefits of online marketing, you need a framework, which is a fancy name for a business plan. Here’s what it should outline:

• What your goals are (i.e., finding new leads, getting more traffic, sales, etc.)?
• Who is your audience?
• What online channels will you focus on?
• How much money do you plan to spend?
• What process will you use for tracking your results?

Frameworks are the basis of a great online marketing strategy. By laying out all that information, you’ll gain insight into why some marketing approaches work while others fail.

2. Brand Story

Branding is essential for any business. It enables you to establish relationships and build trust with your audience, which can help transform them into customers and keep them around.

The concept of branding is often very vague, but you can boil down what your brand is by answering a few simple questions:

• Who are your ideal customers?
• What problem do you help those clients solve?
• How do you want your audience to perceive you?

To put it another way, the products and services you offer may be at the core of your business. However, it’s your branding, web design, and the value you bring to your customers that determines what they think about you.
Before you embark on any marketing endeavor, you need to have a clear idea of what your brand is or what you want it to be. That way, you’ll be able to keep things consistent throughout every channel.

3. Traffic Acquisition and Conversions

When it comes to online marketing, we often don’t talk about sales, sign-ups, or leads. Instead, we refer to those things as “conversions.”

The more traffic you can drive to your website using digital channels, the more potential conversions you get. Those conversions might not always lead directly to sales, but ideally, they’ll get you one step closer to that finish line.

At the end of the day, the value of your services is what convinces visitors to become clients. Digital marketing is just the set of processes you use to get them in the door.

4. Paid Ads

Most online channels enable you to pay in exchange for traffic. That includes social media platforms, search engines, websites, and more.

Depending on which channel you use, you’ll be able to run different types of ads. Usually, you’ll pay for clicks, impressions, or more specific interactions.

In online marketing, we refer to groups of paid ads as “campaigns.” Ideally, you’ll test different campaigns across marketing channels, figure out what works, and then scale upwards to get more conversions.

5. Email Marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, email is king.

Almost 90% of online marketers use it as their primary channel. That’s no coincidence, either – email marketing offers an average ROI of 4400%, and that’s not a typo.

To reap the full benefits of email marketing, you’ll need to build up a sizable list of subscribers and develop engaging campaigns. It’s a ton of work, but the numbers speak for themselves.

6. Live Chat

If you take a quick look at some of your favorite websites, we’re willing to bet a lot of them have live chat windows.

Nowadays, live chat is by far the most popular channel for customers to communicate with you. In fact, 44% of visitors say having someone that can answer their questions directly is a big factor deciding whether to make a purchase.

Once someone gets to your website, it’s your job to explain what your products and services can do for them. The best way to do that, by far, is telling them yourself, and live chat provides you with a channel that enables you to do that.

7. Affiliate Marketing

Think about affiliate marketing as a commission program for the digital age. In short, businesses that run affiliate programs pay end-users or marketers to promote their products.

These days, affiliate marketing drives over 16% of all e-commerce sales, which is a staggering figure. If you can set up an attractive affiliate program, it can become a cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy.

8. SEO

If you’re trying to grow an online business, then you need to learn how to love search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engines can make or break websites. If your business shows up on a high position in the search engine result pages (SERPs) for popular terms, they can drive massive amounts of traffic to your website.

The problem is, there’s no magic formula when it comes to SEO. What you can do is follow best practices, which evolve all the time as search engines refine their algorithms.
SEO involves a lot of trial and error, but it’s key to the growth of most – if not all – online businesses.

9. Public Relations (PR)

If you want to get people talking about your business, one of the best ways to do it is through good old-fashioned PR.

Traditional press releases, for example, can drum up a lot of interest if you can get attention from publications with a big following.

Nowadays, there are a lot of online tools you can use to build relationships, with leading online publications. What that means is that in 2019, you don’t need the help of a PR firm to get the word about your business out there.

10. Social Media

As a marketer, the only thing you need to know about social media is that almost 44% of the entire world uses it.

Some platforms are more popular than others, of course, and not all of them might be a great fit for your business.

What you want to do is identify which social media platforms are more popular among your audience, and then use them to promote your business. In most cases, that means running paid ads, setting up profiles to promote your content, and engaging with your followers as often as possible.

What Digital Marketing Will Look Like in 2020:

The main thing you need to know is digital marketing is only becoming more important with every year that passes. Over half of the world’s population is already online, and a lot of them use the internet to decide where they’re going to spend their money.

As far as specific trends go, 63% of online marketers say they want to focus on social media in 2020.

Mobile use only keeps growing as well, which means more and more people are using voice searches to find what they want. Making sure your digital marketing strategy is mobile-friendly is key to staying relevant.

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Business Marketing

Create perfectly coordinated font combos with this online tool

(MARKETING) Typography is an important component of any design. Type Genius helps ensure everything coordinates beautifully.

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Designing a website can be one of the most important things you do to boost your business presence, but doing it on your own can be frustrating, and hiring someone can sometimes become costly. Luckily, there are several other alternatives you can examine to to help your business shine.

Type Genius is one such alternative. This site helps you keep typography clean, consistent, and professional. Typography is the art of creating and arranging text in a visual manner. This is one a fairly critical element of your design, especially considering all the advertising placed in front of consumers on a daily basis. It becomes even more important to design and use type in such a way that it attracts the reader’s attention and gives them a clear understanding of the message.

After all, the advertising will not do any good, if no one wants to engage with it. This is where Type Genius comes in to help.

When you click on the site, you will be prompted to select a font style you would like to start with; if yours is not listed, try to find the closest match. Once you have selected your starting font, Type Genius helps you find subsequent complementary fonts to enhance your website, or marketing materials. By having fonts that truly “go together” your marketing materials will look more professional and become more useful.

For example, I selected, “Comic Serif Pro” as my desired starting font and the suggested font was “Quicksand.” They look similar, but there is enough difference that you could use one for titles and the other for headers to emphasize the differentiation.

Type Genius displays the new font for you to see and if you like it, you can find the suggested font quickly by clicking on the gray square right above the description; this will launch a Google search for the font. This is a great place to begin formulating design ideas before you take a bigger leap into web site design or promotional materials.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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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 an item which is 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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