Marketing Your Business In May

How is your marketing plan shaping up this year? Here are some ideas to focus on for the month of May.

Prepare for Summer Holidays

There are lots of ways to celebrate in the coming months. Prepare your marketing materials, promotional items, and mail outs for holidays like Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day. Don’t miss out on the general relaxation of summer months. Sending a pack of movie tickets to your favorite clients can continue your relationship and give them a way to get out of the heat.

Community Partnerships

There are many small businesses that cater to summer entertainment for children, from dance camps to swim lessons to summer classes. Partner with these businesses to reach a new audience. Consider hosting a giveaway for a free week of camp with a particular business, or sponsoring a lunch for kids taking part in summer sports. You’ll be marketing yourself as having strong connections with the community and care for the next generation.

Social Media Focus: School’s Out

As children are finishing the school year, take an opportunity to send parents information on fun summer activities. This is another opportunity for you to build positive associations and relationships with local businesses as you can share their content to help your audience narrow down their summer plans.

Social Media Challenge: Schedule Your Big Days

This month, take an hour or two to prepare your posts for the summer months. Create images, write a blog or two, and schedule articles that will inform and entertain your audience. Too often, we feel that the big (and most marketable) events have snuck up on us. Use your time wisely and you’ll be grateful you prepared ahead of time.

It’s Earth Day! How Can You Make a Difference?

Happy Earth Day! It’s a great time to think about how small changes can make a big impact. If you’re a home owner, take a look at these energy-friendly tips. You’ll be lowering your bills and helping the environment all at once!

Lighting & Electronics

1)  Switch to Energy Star CFL bulbs, which use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than standard lightbulbs. This small change will make a big impact on your utility bill.

2) Replace light switches with dimmers to save big throughout the year.

3) Turn off electronics completely before going to bed. Many electronic devices, like computers, have a standby mode, but by powering down completely, you’ll help prevent the draw of extra electricity.

Water

1) Run a full dishwasher when you can. You’ll use less water than if you wash by hand, and you won’t be wasting water on an half-empty load.

2) You can purchase a faucet water filter for around $30. Give up bottled water and use refillable bottles instead.

3) Replace your showerhead to a unit with a lower flow – it could save up to $45 each month!

4) A leaky faucet could be wasting over 50,000 gallons per year! Fix it and save!

5) Washing machines use a large amount of energy on heating water – set the machine to cold to save energy!

Reuse and Recycle

1) Roll up old magazines to stick inside boots to help your footwear keep its shape.

2) Old jam and baby food jars are perfect for storage for small items like nails and screws, bobby pins, thumb tacks, and other small items – plus they look a lot nicer!

3) Coffee Grounds can promote healthy plants! Spread your old grounds over your flower beds and watch your landscaping flourish!

Spring Blogs You Need To Write

As you gear up for your busiest season, embrace the little time you have left by boosting your blog. Remember, a good blog with regular updates is the one of the best and easiest ways to improve your SEO and drive traffic to your site. And you’re in luck, because we have 4 great ideas to add some great content to your blog today.

Summer Fun

What are your favorite summer activities? No matter where your interests lie, you can create a fun and interesting blog for your clientele. Are you a foodie? Make a list of the top spots for ice cream and frozen treats in town! Do you know all the best free places for family fun? Write it down and pass it on! Are you an expert on local tourism? Try a blog letting your audience know where they can go to really embrace the culture of the city. Blog posts like these does a couple of things for your business. It keeps your current clientele in the know, but will also rank pretty well in search results. Most importantly, it helps your readers get to know the real you.

Summer Tips at Home

In Texas, it’s important to take care of your home in the hottest part of the year. Not only that, but summer is a great time for a lot of families to take care of home maintenance tasks they may have been putting off. Make a branded, shareable checklist of good home maintenance tips you can offer during our hottest months from gardening to regular care.

Safety and Security Advice for Vacationers

We all worry about safety when we leave for vacation, so this is a perfect time to share some tips on how to keep things secure at home. You can do a little online research to find some great advice to pass on. This kind of post shows that you are truly invested in the well-being of your followers, friends, and clients.

Summer Recipes and Decorations

There are some big events coming up for your clientele: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Graduation, Memorial Day, End of the School Year Pool Parties…and they’re all great opportunities for inspiration. Got a list of favorite recipes for celebrating? Or advice on throwing a great party?  Pass those tips on to family and friends via your website blogs. The more unique and “closer to home” the better. Let this be a great blog for telling a personal story about your grandmother’s famous cookie recipe, or your own family traditions.

Etiquette: What’s The Best Way To Reach Out To A Client?

Let’s face it – we live in a world where texting is the primary form of communication for most people. In many cases, your clients may have even said they prefer a text to an email or phone conversation. Technology has given us many wonderful things – and being able to send a quick message that says, “I’m running 5 minutes behind,” or “Picking up coffee before our meeting – what can I get you?” is a perk of living in the 21st century.

But there are certainly times when a phone call is not just preferable, but more appropriate for the situation. And there are times when choosing between a phone call or electronic communication can make or break your relationship with a client. Don’t panic – we’re breaking it down below.

Send A Text If…

  • You have already been working with your client for some time.
  • The information you’re delivering is brief (ex. changing a meeting time, thanking the client for meeting with you)
  • The information you’re delivering is not complicated.
  • Your question or information does not require a complicated response.
  • The client has given your their direct cell phone number and given you permission to text.

Send An Email If…

  • You have had a conversation with a client that requires additional information. For example, you’ve told them about a listing you think they’d like, and you want to follow up with website information.
  • You want to ensure that there is a record of communication.
  • Provide brief status updates.

Make a Phone Call If…

  • You have not already met with your client in person or had a phone conversation. Your first impression should never be via text message.
  • You’re delivering bad news. It’s important for your client to hear your tone of voice and for you to gauge his or her response so you can choose the best path to take next.
  • When it’s important to you that information (whether it’s practical information or tone of voice) is delivered accurately and in the proper context.
  • The nature of your conversation will likely take more than an exchange for 1 or 2 sentences.

Ready to Reach Millennials?

It’s no secret that Millennials are a powerhouse in our country’s economy. As up-and-comers, this generation seems like the group you most need to reach to keep a thriving business.

Who Are Millennials?

Millennials were born between the early 190s and early 2000s. Members of this demographic range from 20 to about 37 years old. Millennials aren’t always painted in the best light, but these members of society are students, working professionals, and young parents. They’ve grown up in a world with lots of options and technology that puts your needs at your fingertips. Altogether they number over 80 million and they are considered the fastest-growing demographic in the United States.

What’s Important to Millennials?

Relevancy and Interaction

Most Millennials have lived with internet access for the majority of their lives. Social media has given this demographic easy and quick access to information and current events. In order to appeal to this group, you need to meet them where they are: on social media, via text, and via email. Be current and be accessible. Pay attention to the kind of content you post on social media. Do you get a lot of interaction? If not, it may be time to run a social media audit to improve what you’re posting. Be mindful of posts that are working on social media (yours and competitors) and model your interaction after successful models.

Giving Back

Millennials tend to be conscious of the impact we all have on the world around us, from environmental awareness to charitable giving. Big brands that already appeal to this demographic are Tom’s, Sevenly, Causebox, Warby Parker, and H&M, who all make a point to give back. Find a cause you’re passionate about and make it a point to consistently and visibly support it. Millennials like to feel good about the companies they patronize, and real estate is no different.

Promote Sharing and Loyalty

Millennials really haven’t known a time where loyalty programs and discount websites didn’t exist. Groupons and similar companies make it easy to find a deal or cash in on great offers. A loyalty program or a reward for sharing your information on social media can be a great draw for this group. To get some ideas, you may want to start here.

Grow Your Business In April

How is your marketing plan shaping up this year? Here are some ideas to focus on for the month of April.

Get Ready for Upcoming Holidays and Events

As we head closer to summer, there are some obvious holidays to pay attention to like Mother’s Day (May 12) and Father’s Day (June 16). We also can anticipate the end of the school year, Flag Day (June 14), Cinco de Mayo (May 5), Memorial Day (May 27), and even a slew of summer weddings (growing families may mean a change in housing). If you want to have a little more fun, find a way to focus on Star Wars Day (May 4), Teacher’s Day (May 7) or National Gardening Week (June 2-8). How much fun would it be to put together a gardening pop by or a Star Wars goodie basket?

Social Media Focus: Family and Children

With the school year coming to a close, families planning vacations, looking for summer camps, and more, family activities are on the brain for many people. Highlights family-friendly events in and around town, day trip ideas, etc. Your audience will begin to see you as a resource for their family needs.

Social Media Challenge: Social Media Takeover

Try offering a social media takeover for your Facebook or Instagram feed to increase visibility and relationships. A takeover usually involves giving another individual or group a day of access to your platform, with the ability to create posts and upload photos. Allow a representative of the group you’re trying to connect with to post to your social media for a day. The swim team can post pics from a race, a PTA Association can highlight what they’re doing for the community. They get to promote their group. You build relationships and show your followers that you’re involved in the community. Everyone wins!

Baffled By SEO? Here’s How To Get Yours In Better Shape Today.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the best real estate agent in the city, if you don’t have leads, you won’t make any money. Finding new clients can be frustrating, but we have a few ideas that may help when it comes to creating a website with a high SEO.

It requires a little patience, but in the long run, optimizing your site will generate more traffic and more leads. In brief, optimizing your site is a little like setting up guideposts for search engines like Google. When someone searches for something like “Real Estate Agent”, the search engine looks at a couple of different factors to determine what pages show up first in your results. These factors include age of site, number of pages, unique information, frequency of updates, and, of course, the words on the page, among others. This is why you’ll often see Zillow and Trulia at the top of results – they’ve easily got most agents beat on age of site and number of pages.

How can you optimize your site for a higher ranking?

Content

The actual words on your site are, of course, a big deal for search engines. Most important, you want to make sure that the words you’re using on your site are words that potential clients will be searching for. For example, your designations are important, but are buyers and sellers going to know and search for industry terms like ALHS, e-PRO, and GRI? Keep this information, but check your site for “search terms” like “homes for sale in Stone Oak” or “Cypress real estate agent.”

If you’re comfortable with the back-end of your site, you can also add helpful terms to your images, page title, and more. For example, when you post a picture of a home, the photo title may be a string of numbers or even “123-main-street.” By changing these titles to something like “home-for-sale-77494”, you’re giving search engines one more clue that your page is relevant to the search.

Frequent Updates

Next, you can make more frequent updates, through a blog, for example. By posting regularly (even once a month), you’re showing sites like Google that your webpage is active and current. If you set up your site a year ago and haven’t changed it since, search engines aren’t going to want to show your page to visitors. It’s also a good idea to check your site every couple of months and update outdated information.

Unique Information

Having unique information on your site is very important. For example, a certain real estate brokerage recently rolled out a brand new website service for all of their agents. Included on these sites are 5 sample pages and 4 sample blog posts. All of these pages have exactly the same content. When a search engine scours the web for relevant information, it will find thousands of pages that are identical (except for contact information and agent names). Search engines don’t know what to do with thousands of pages that look exactly the same and will feature them much lower in results than pages that have original content. If this sounds like your website, the best thing you can do is rewrite the pre-fabricated content you were given to reflect you personally and professionally. This will benefit your SEO, but you’ll also be creating information that your clients can use.

Be Patient

It takes about 60 to 90 days to see results from SEO improvements, and may take as much as 6 to 12 months for newer websites. Improving your SEO is a long-term project with big results, so keep making updates, posting original content and checking your site for search terms, even if you aren’t seeing immediate changes. In the long run, you’ll be building a site that search engines want to feature and, of course, that offers great information to prospective clients.

Marketing Your Business In March

Spring is here! While some are getting the itch to declutter and clean, it’s a great time to declutter what isn’t working in your business and make some new marketing plans!

Start (or beef up) your Instagram account

Here’s some big news – Instagram is now featured and shared on more websites than Twitter. While Twitter still has more account holders, this news means that Instagram is still growing steadily and more and more businesses and blogs are turning toward this trend. If you haven’t already set up an Instagram account, now is the time to do it! With a visual business like real estate, you’ll be missing out if you don’t.

What’s Coming Up?

April has some fun you can feature on social media and other marketing. April Fools Day, is of course, a lot of fun. Passover begins on March 30 and Easter falls April 1 this year. But don’t miss out on sending your clients and followers tips on green home living and recycling as Earth Day approaches on April 20.

Social Media Focus: Green Living

As we mentioned above, Earth Day on April 20 will have a lot of minds turning toward recycling and green living options. Highlight your local recycling center, tips on conserving water and energy at home, and growing your own vegetables. The spring season will have your followers craving this info.

Social Media Challenge: Make a Plan

Some entrepreneurs may like to “wing it” in their social media marketing. But in this day and age, social media provides the most affordable way to reach your followers. You can get in on their everyday conversations and promote your business, free of cost (unless you choose to run an ad). Your social media marketing should receive just as much attention, if not more, than your other forms of marketing. Sit down and ask yourself what you want to accomplish on social media? More followers? More leads? More visibility? How will you get there…by posting more regularly, by running occasional ads, and by developing a strong and consistent presence online.

Are you getting the most out of your social media? Here’s how you can tell.

Whether you’re just using Facebook regularly or handling your business across many social media profiles, a regular audit of your social media presence is important. An audit for your social media pages is like getting a tune-up at the garage – you can learn a lot from regular review, and know when it’s time to make a change.

Audit Checklist

Here are the steps you need to take as you audit your pages.

Make a list of all of your social media profiles.

Include the following items on your list:

  • The social media network (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.)
  • The URL
  • Your profile name and/or description
  • Number of followers, connections, fans, etc.
  • The date of your most recent post or upload activity

Once you’ve got your list together, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I using this platform regularly? If not, do I have time to start using it regularly?
  • Who am I trying to reach on this account?
  • What are my goals for this account? More followers? More interaction? Lead generation?
  • Are my competitors on this platform?

If you aren’t using or able to use the platform regularly, or if you’re using it regularly without reaching your target market, it might be time to cancel the account. Your list will give you a good idea of what is working and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to cancel or deactivate an account that isn’t getting you anywhere.

Do A Consistency Check

Are the logos and descriptions the same for each page, so that your followers can easily identify you? Though each social media platform has its own tone – LinkedIn, for example, is much more formal than Instagram or Twitter – you want your branding to be consistent across all pages. This gives your audience a clear idea of who you are and what they can expect when they do business with you.

Do a URL/Username check. If you’ve got a strong presence on one platform, you want it to be easy to find you on another. Change your profile names and URLs if you’re able, so that all area consistent.

Follow Up Regularly

Now that you have an idea of what your pages look like and the attention you’re giving to them and getting back from them, check in periodically. Once a month or so, update your list and compare it to the previous one. Are you posting more? Are you engaging more? Is your following growing? Make adjustments as needed and keep checking back until you see some positive movement – then you’ll know you’re on the right track.

Remember, social media is a great tool if you use it well. You get what you give – so give it lots of attention, keep an eye on your progress, and you’ll see results in no time!

Marketing Your Business in February

February is here already? The year isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, so let’s look at a few ideas to keep your marketing plans on schedule!

Start Looking at Spring Marketing Plans

We’ve got a couple of big things coming up in the spring – decide what works best for your business. You can remind your contacts about Daylight Savings Time on March 12, look ahead to Easter in mid-April or Earth Day on April 22. Use these key dates as a way to connect with customers new and old.

Revisit Your Annual Marketing Plan

You got this one taken care of in January, right? If you didn’t, it’s not too late to plan ahead for the rest of the year. If you did set up a marketing plan, now that you’re a month into the year, you should have a little bit better understanding of how it may work. Were you too ambitious? Too lax? Just right?

Social Media Focus: Spring Cleaning

With the holidays behind us and warm temperatures ahead (especially for our San Antonio and Houston audience!), many people are feeling the itch of clutter. Highlight tips for organization, cleaning, decluttering and more on your social media accounts. Help your contacts get that nice and fresh feeling!

Social Media Challenge: Who Are You?

In January, we challenged you to set aside some time to focus on social media. This month, we’re taking it a step further and we’re challenging you to post about YOU at least once a week. Tell your followers who you really are, whether it’s a selfie at a new listing, info on a new restaurant you tried, or info on your involvement in your community, church, school, etc. More people choose to do business with people they know – so let them see the real you!