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Why Do I Do This?

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Why Do I Do This?

I’ve been asking myself for months now, “why do I do this? Why do I continue blogging?” For 20 months I’ve been writing a little blog about real estate in the New River Valley, and when I read accounts of what others are doing with their blogs (at the risk of leaving someone out let’s just say you can find many of them here at Agent Genius), I wonder where I’m missing the boat. Tales of clients lining up by the truckloads after reading Agent A’s blog … hearing that Agent B gets 90% of her business from online sources and blogs, while Agent C reaches international clients his peers just ignore (there’s J Dalt’s shoutout). I wanna be one of the cool kids!

Tonight, I was reminded why I do this. I met with a customer who wants to list a home in our area this evening. He sent me an email a couple of months ago and said he and his wife would be looking to sell in a couple of years. While it was great that he contacted me, we were still a few years away and I didn’t think much of it. Last week, he emailed me again to say that their timetable had changed and they wanted to get together soon. And tonight I met him and his wonderful family … when I asked him how he found me, he said “your blog – it’s working.” You’re damn right it is! THAT’S why I blog! For the icing on the cake, he asks “we want to buy a house in Salem, and we were hoping you could help us with that.” As a matter of fact I can, thank you for asking.

Someone’s Listening

This post is written to those of you who have been lurking and wondering what this whole blogging thing is about. You might have been reading about all the success so many people have been having with blogging – look at Agent Genius, Inman’s Innovator Award winner for 2008. It doesn’t get much better than that, and there are agents all over the Interweb experiencing success as well! If you’re a blog writer and you’re not seeing the success you’d like – don’t give up! If you’re considering a blog but don’t know where to start – just start!

I included the two quotes above, by Ben Martin of VAR and VARBuzz.com and Jeff Corbett of thexbroker.com, because they speak to where I am right now in our writing, and where I think many of us have been. Writing a blog isn’t a therapeutic thing for me … it can be hard! I have trouble coming up with ideas I think someone might care about, and I struggle with putting my thoughts into a coherent thought. To date it hasn’t – to my knowledge – contributed a dollar to my bottom line. But by being consistent, by following Ben and Jeff’s advice and putting my voice into my content, one word at a time, it’s working.

Find Your Voice

Maybe you’re reading and saying “one client after 20 months doesn’t a business make”, and you’re right. But I’m not relying on my blog for my business, it simply supplements what’s already working for us, it’s another arrow in the quiver. If one day we begin to see more business from it, great! Whatever you’d like to see, I’d encourage you to keep pushing, to keep writing, to keep finding your voice. Someone’s out there listening, and they want to know who you are.

Will you tell them?

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    I hear ya 100%- I have not been blogging for that long, but have had internet success- through my website, but it has not been where I would like it to be. I don’t have clients lined up at my blog either, in fact I look at the stats- and it is not impressive. But I look at my blog, in a new way recently- it acts as in some ways as an online journal. I am sure the business will come and I am forever learning and having fun in the meantime. Great post!!

  2. ines

    August 4, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Hey Jeremy!! well put – I remember being into it for almost a year and finding blogging “entertaining” but with absolutely no ROI – that was back during Project Blogger days when “THE” Paul Chaney coached me into the blogging maniac I am today. (sometimes I wonder if I put too much personality into my writing).

    The biggest advice I give new bloggers is to be consistent and to keep at it – it took about 6 months after I started Miamism for us to start getting real clients from blogging and now it’s a part of our life, and I’m having fun – what can be better?

  3. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Great post Jeremy. Contrary to what some may feel and say, it’s not all about the clients. I bet you’ve learned a lot in the last 20 months, about real estate, about others, and most importantly, about yourself.

    And I know others have learned from you. That’s worth something, isn’t it?

    Todd Carpenter, who built the REMBEX real estate blog search engine wrote this on Twitter today:

    I’ve been reviewing the blogs in REMBEX for about three weeks now. 1800 plus URLS Roughly 1 in 5 is dark by at least 3 months.

    In other words, a full 20% of real estate blogs don’t last 3 months. I suspect if you go out to 6 months, it’s at least double that.

    You’re succeeding where most others fail. The clients will come. If they don’t, the opportunity to learn, grow and share certainly will.

  4. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    “sometimes I wonder if I put too much personality into my writing”

    No Ines, you don’t.

  5. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    August 4, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    There are a few people who have found themselves in an extremely profitable position and dominate Google for real estate in their area, but the truth is that they’ve been at it for a long time and have been through endless trial and error. The gift of early adoption (which we’re all still in with RE blogging) is the advantage over those who still haven’t even heard the word “blog” yet. Many people wear thin as the anticipation grows that there is a finish line, but there is not, only the strength to climb one flight of stairs at a time.

    For the first months, we were very frustrated with our local blog until we started asking people who had become clients if they’d seen the blog and most of them had given overwhelmingly positive feedback in stating that it had a major impact on their decision to choose the brokerage (despite ALREADY reporting that they’d been referred, or found us by other means). None of those people had or do comment and it’s not the most highly trafficked site in the nation, but it has become, like you said, ONE “arrow in the quiver.”

    We’ve spent a MASSIVE AMOUNT of time offline promoting services and much time online using social media other than blogging. The people who sell blogging as easy and you should expect to be turning hundreds of leads down are either high or have found jack’s magic beans (God bless ’em). There’s no easy button and because of that, survival of the fittest is guaranteed no matter how tired we get!

  6. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Like Jay said- since I have been blogging and ready blogs, I have learned a great deal from other agents, and not about blogging, but about real estate. When looking/thinking about something to blog about- I research and learn- which I think, makes be a better agent.

  7. The Harriman Team

    August 4, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    And to think, someone on the RealTown community had the gall to say this: Blogging is “cute, fun and new today, but an overhyped, time-consuming idea whose time has come and gone.” Your experience, and those of other successful blogging agents, should repudiate his remarks completely. I think I’ll go over there and point him to this post. maybe he’ll “get it” then!

  8. first time home buyers loan

    August 5, 2008 at 2:28 am

    consider blogging as tool to monitor online activity, don’t rely on for getting business i know more agents they are not tech and internet savvy getting more client by word of mouth.
    never compare yourself with other as many time we not aware about others actual marketing tactics many time they lie in order to get other jealous.

  9. Ginger Wilcox

    August 5, 2008 at 2:38 am

    You do just have to keep pushing forward. Hearing people talk about leads flooding in from their blogging does make you question if you are doing right. I can tell you the leads are not flooding in for me, but like Lani said, I find people are hiring me because of mine blog. Just closed one last week where the people were referred to me, but the blog was what cemented it with them that they had to hire me. I just keep pushing on and I believe it will continue to grow and develop.

  10. Mike Taylor

    August 5, 2008 at 3:55 am

    “but the blog was what cemented it with them that they had to hire me.”

    I think this happens more than we, or at least I, realize. Clients read your blog and will decide to use you or not use you based on what you have to say in your blog. For the most part they are not going to leave comments; they just lurk in the background and get to know you and hopefully contact you when they are ready.

  11. Jim Gatos

    August 5, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Man, I’m glad I didn’t give up!

  12. Matthew Rathbun

    August 5, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Ok, at the risk of repeating others… 1. It’s a good reference when you get a question from someone “fishing.” You can say, ‘Hey, I wrote about that awhile back and here’s the link” 2. Look at the market difference from NRV and Phoenix, AZ or other bloggers dense markets. In our local market area there are only 24,000 people in the county. (North of us is packed with people) We’ve had several hits and a good chunk of readers from that small pool of people, so I think we’re successful.

    And like Lani said, it’s a matter of time and consistency. I’ve had a particular blog for almost 8 months and it’s just now REALLY getting Google juice and it’s getting phone calls for @livtopraise.

    Its a matter of realizing that blogs will take over the static agent’s pages soon.

  13. Norm Fisher

    August 5, 2008 at 7:14 am

    One client, two ends, and who knows how many referrals or recommendations might result from the contact. You’re obviously making an impression with your writing. Keep it up and it will continue growing results. Once you absolutely know that you’re connecting with people through your blog you can really start to make things happen there. This is just the start for you. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing this great experience. It says a lot about your determination and your commitment.

  14. NikNik

    August 5, 2008 at 7:57 am

    “Icing on the cake.”

    Isn’t the icing the best part anyway?! And yes, bloggging doesn’t no always yield the result we are looking for or hearing about (RIGHT AWAY). But after blogging for 20 months…do you find yourself:

    -connected with new people in your area
    -meeting colleagues you might not have otherwise
    -learning more about your niche market
    -learning more about the industry itself
    -AND better able to TALK about and SHARE your expertise

    I know you’ve gotten a good taste of the icing…but if you hang in there just awhile longer….you’ll be digging in to that entire cake, icing in all!

  15. Linsey Planeta

    August 5, 2008 at 9:22 am

    I’m in the very early stages of my blogging – 3 months. I knew going into this that it would take a long term commitment. But I looked at it as inexpensive ‘farming’. Several years ago, I began to geographically farm. After $1,000’s of dollars and 1 years time – I got my first listing. It was successful but it took time, consistency, and a good deal of money.

    While I still farm some, I find that blogging is more ‘me’. I’m committed to the social networking side of it, the consistent posting, and the long term view. I’m already excited about the connections I’ve made and the incredible amount that I’ve learned in 90 short days.

    I’ve already written an offer for my first referral that came from blogging. I consider that a big success for the short time I’ve been doing it. Jay, don’t count on me falling into the ‘gone dark’ statistic. 🙂

  16. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    August 5, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Research from CREST shows there is a profound strategic inflection point at or around the fourth year of blogging. Between years three and four, subscribers, unique visitors and comments all take off. So it might take that long for agents to start FEELING successful.

    Now we’re trying to set some benchmarks for the number of clients agents are getting from their blogs. If you take our new survey, you can help us determine the average number of clients earned from blogging. Everyone who completes it gets a free copy of the executive summary.

  17. Andy Kaufman

    August 5, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Just finished meeting with a new investor client who found us through our site and thought of this post. https://agentgenius.com/?p=3177

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This non-judgmental app can help you switch to a plant-based diet

(SOCIAL MEDIA) There are many reasons people choose plant-based diets. If you’re looking to try it out, this app helps you stay on track.

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No Meat Today, a judgement-free plant-based diet tracking app.

The interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow. Healthline suggests that Americans are shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes because of shortages in the grocery store due to the pandemic, but there are many reasons to make the switch.

Plant-based proteins are considered more sustainable than traditional meat. Nutritionally, plant-based meat alternatives are often healthier. Regardless of the reason, if you’re one of the many Americans who are changing your diet, there’s a new app that can help you stay on track without making you feel judged if or when you do eat meat.

Your companion to eating less meat

No Meat Today is an app available in the App Store. You can get on a waitlist in Google Play. It’s a fun app that asks you, “Did you eat meat today?” You can even define what meat means to you, red meat, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and/or dairy. As you eat less meat, your “planet” attracts cows. The design is simple, “don’t eat meat, get a cow.” If you eat too much meat, your cows go away. There’s no judgement if you lose a cow.

The creator, Arnaud Joubay says, “I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do, only to offer a friendly app to those who want to do the same.” It’s recommended to look back at your history to decide whether you want to eat meat or not.

Reviews

The app was just released earlier this year. Most of its features are free, but you can pay $4.99 for all the features for one year. There have been some very cute cows released for special days. In the App Store, reviews are positive, but the caveat is that the creator asks you to contact him first if you if your review isn’t 5-stars. It’s a cute app that can motivate you to eat less meat.

Here’s the link to the product page.

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Twitter insights to engage more customers this holiday season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter wants to help you prep your marketing for the first COVID holiday season by sharing findings on what customers care about.

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Man on laptop open to Twitter, considering his holiday shopping with Christmas tree behind him.

The year 2020 has been a year like no other. None of us expected to be confined to the inside of our homes, but here we are. And now, more than ever, the holiday season is something most of us are looking forward to, even if we have to spend it apart. And social media like Twitter will be a key part of that.

So, to get a sense of what consumers expect this holiday season, Twitter UK has shared some insights to help brands better strategize on their holiday campaigns. Twitter’s official partner, Brandwatch, analyzed tweets from March to September to find out “people’s opinions and biggest concerns.” Here are Twitter’s findings.

Compared to previous years, people have already started asking for and have begun giving gift ideas and recommendations to each other. According to the data, mentions of Christmas started to increase in March. Between March 1 and September 30, there was a 10% increase in mentions compared to last year. So, brands should definitely start kicking off their marketing campaigns sooner than later.

The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced how we spend our money and has altered how we are able to have family time. According to the Brandwatch Twitter data, 59k people are discussing how family gatherings will be impacted by it. So, brands should be mindful of this, and incorporate messaging that reaches out to everyone. Messaging that makes family and friends feel connected, even if they are spending the holidays alone.

Another thing to consider is combining your efforts with local businesses. Making purchases from small and independent businesses is something that has been heavily highlighted since the beginning of the pandemic. With Christmas drawing near, this couldn’t be more important in people’s minds. Twitter has seen a substantial jump in people saying they will be holiday shopping locally. By partnering with a local business, both small and large companies can benefit from sales.

Also, health and safety were and still are at the top of everyone’s minds. A lot of people on Twitter are saying they will do all their shopping early. This will help them avoid the large crowds of last-minute shoppers.

As a result, companies should start preparing themselves to receive early shoppers. Part of preparing is making sure all health and safety measures are in place. Brands should follow all CDC guidelines and make sure they continue to be transparent with customers. Sending out a simple safety message through social media or email will go a long way.

These insights from Twitter are specific to the UK, but should still be considered. No one knew we’d still be where we are now. However, the holiday season is still something people are excited about. And, brands can take these insights to help maximize sales.

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10 Snapchat Ad tips to increase engagement for holiday shopping season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As holiday shopping draws near, Snapchat offers helpful tips to help business owners make use of their advertising and branding tools.

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Woman holding phone open to Snapchat chat window, casually dressed with journal and coffee nearby.

The holidays are basically here, and Snapchat wants to make sure you get the most out of your Snap promotions. The company recently released its “Snapchat Ads Best Practices: 10 Tips to Help Increase Ad Engagement” post. With these pointers and advertising best practices, Snap hopes to help companies “build visually appealing ads that drive quality engagement and high return on investment for your business.”

So, let’s get into the tips!

1. Choose the right ad format for your goals
With a lot of advertising options, Snap says you need to select the right ad type that will better align with and help you meet your business goals.

2. Showcase your product front and center in your ad creative
Displaying a fullscreen video or image of your product will encourage a viewer to want to engage more. As a result, it is good to include a ‘hero’ message at the beginning that has all relevant information, such as offers and specials.

For eCommerce purposes, products should be featured “front and center to drive purchase intent.” For apps and games, include the app’s UI, features, and benefits in the ad. Meanwhile, local businesses should highlight the services or products their business specializes in.

And, always remember to make sure your creative meets Snapchat’s ad specs so your ad can be displayed flawlessly.

3. Make your ads feel native to Snapchat
No one likes intrusive ads that scream at your face telling you to buy a certain product or service. To prevent this from happening, Snap says your ads should “mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snaps” already on the platform. These non-intrusive ads should be kept short at around 5-6 seconds. And, Snap says these more “conversational ads” get viewed more fully than polished ads do.

4. Drive urgency with relevant messaging
Don’t overcomplicate the message. This will just get people to swipe away. Instead, make sure relevant information is at the beginning and is easy to understand. Placing your messaging within the first 2 seconds is preferable.

5. Design for sound on
Despite what you might think, silence isn’t better. Snap says that about 64% of Snapchat ads have the sound turned on. And, an effective way of including sound in your creative is by using a customer testimonial. Spoken testimonials help viewers understand and better relate to the brand or product.

6. Link your ads properly
Make sure users are being directed to where you want them to go. You don’t want them clicking on a broken link. Or worse, someone else’s content. The right link is crucial for impressions and conversions. Here are Snap’s recommended “attachment types depending on advertiser goal.”

  • Drive online sales by using Web View Attachments. These pages instantly load for the user and are available in Snap Ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.
  • Drive app installs by using App Install Attachments. Snapchatters will be able to swipe and download your app. Using ‘Install Now’ or ‘Download’ as a CTA, Snap says you will have strong conversion rates.
  • Drive app engagement/app visits by using Deep Links. These links will bring existing users back to your app. At the same time, any new users will be directed to the app store to install the app. Deep Links can be added to Single Image or Video ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.

7. Test ad creative and try new ad formats
Testing something is a pretty good idea when it comes to anything. Snap emphasizes this, and says testing can give you “insight into what content resonates most with your target audience.” They recommended testing your ad creative for about 2-4 weeks using different formats. After you’ve gathered enough information, you can determine the winning format that is best for you.

8. Use goal-based bidding to bid towards your desired action

  • Goal-based bidding “allows you to optimize towards a specific action that a Snapchatter is most likely to take, such as installing your app, watching a video, or completing a purchase.”
  • Snap has several bidding strategies, and it recommends using Target Cost Bidding.

9. Broaden your targeting
After you’ve been running your ads for at least a couple of weeks, Snap says to consider broadening your target audience. Snapchat has several different targeting options. Some of the categories you can expand on are geo, gender, age ranges, and languages. Expanding your audience will allow you to get more impressions.

10. Understand your audience reach to optimize
Finally, make use of Snap’s Audience Insights. These insights provide Snapchat with data like demographics, interests, locations, and devices overview. By knowing this information, you can better understand your audience and create content that is tailored to them. Content that will ultimately maximize your advertising efforts.

Overall, Snapchat understands that “mobile advertising is a key component to any digital marketing strategy.” By offering us these tips, they are reminding us of some things we already know, and telling us how they can help us achieve our advertising goals.

With the holidays around the corner, Snapchat says they can help you reach a large and engaged audience for just $5 a day with their offerings. So, what do you think of Snapchat’s tips?

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