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.

5 Ways To Win At Your Next Networking Event

Networking is one of the most powerful tools you have in building your business. Meeting and talking to the right people – potential clients, colleagues, friends, and more – earns you benefits like free advice, inspiration for your own business decisions, and referrals. When done correctly, it can also add to your credibility and expertise. Avoid simple networking mistakes below, and you’re well on your way to business growth.

Don’t Be Shy

There’s a temptation to stick with people you already know, especially for more introverted professionals. Speaking to friends and colleagues you’re familiar with won’t grow your network or help your business.

If you’re timid about meeting new people, introduce two of your connections to each other. You’ll be building value in their minds and chances are your introduction will encourage them to do the same. You can also look around for someone who may be feeling as intimidated as you are – they’ll be happy to have company and conversation and a new connection.

Don’t Speak To Only One Person

By limiting your interaction to just one person, you’re limited the experience for both of you. Keep conversations under 10 minutes before politely bowing out with something like, “I know there are other people here who would love to talk to you, but let’s reconnect later.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

No one wants to appear ignorant, but it’s scientifically proven that people who ask questions look more intelligent to their peers. By asking questions, you look like you are gathering information and growing your own expertise. You’ll also flatter the person on the answering end of your question.

Don’t Self-Promote Too Much

People are more likely to do business with friends and people they like. Blatant self-promotion is annoying to your colleagues. Use the opportunity to focus on creating social connections that can grow into a business benefit later. Even better, connect with people you may be able to hire as a vendor or refer to someone. You’ll be guaranteed a follow up with little work on your own.

Don’t Forget To Follow Up

Few of us have extra time on our hands. When work is busy, following up with someone you met at last week’s luncheon becomes a low priority. Take responsibility and do the following up on your own or it may never happen.

Can These 4 Ideas Help You Sell a Home?

Postcards, websites, knocking on doors…while these ideas are tried and true, marketing ideas are changing quickly. Below are some unique selling ideas that we’ve been seeing and hearing about – let us know what you think!

Text Message Marketing

By using a service like TextRock.com you can get a unique text code that sends home information to users’ phones – they opt in by texting your special number, found on the for sale sign in the yard. You can help prospective buyers learn about open houses, price changes, and more, while building your list of leads. A service like TextRock costs around $99/month.

Airbnb

Let people try before they buy by using Airbnb. This is truly unique and requires an open-minded seller, but it’s a plan that would definitely make a splash. The current homeowner would need to make their home available through Airbnb, but this isn’t difficult. Airbnb is such a trendy service – this kind of offer makes you appear to be a cutting edge agent and gives buyers confidence in their purchase.

Blog Partnerships

With blogging being big business these days, it’s a great idea to seek out partnerships with local home decor and design bloggers. If you’ve got a beautiful or unique home, ask one a blogger to view the property and post a review of the home. You’re instantly getting new, interested eyes on the property.

Neighborhood Tour

Part of selling a home is selling the neighborhood, right? Take your social media followers on a virtual tour of the neighborhood. Move beyond the features of the home and take some live videos of restaurants, stores, playgrounds, and other nearby features of the neighborhood. Live videos are all the rage on social media – viewers spend 3x the amount of time watching live videos than they do watching uploaded videos.

Ready to Run Better Ads?

Running ads on social media can be hit or miss, especially when formats and algorithms are constantly changing. If you’ve run an ad on Facebook before, you know that they are relatively easy to set up. But, easy to set up doesn’t mean they’re easy to optimize. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Facebook ads.

  1. Combine Multiple Objectives

    Smaller businesses, or businesses with a smaller customer base, should consider using their ads for multiple benefits. For example, use your ad space to advertise your service while linking it back to your website or blog. Make sure your website or blog is up-to-date with good information so that you can maintain the interest of your visitors after they click through. If they like what they see on your site, they are much more likely to “like” your Facebook page.

  2. Take Advantage of Targeting Features

    Facebook will send your ad across the United States by default if you don’t add targeting features. To create an ad that performs well, you need to narrow down your audience. You’ll avoid spending money sending ads to people who won’t be interested in your business or who are outside of your area. Through targeting features, you can set parameters for age, location, and even the interests and income of your audience.

  3. Do A Split Test

    If you are unsure about exactly who to target, or what approach to take with your ad, run a few similar ads for a limited time to get an idea of what is working and what isn’t. Facebook’s ad prices are flexible enough to run a test without breaking the bank. Try different zip codes, age ranges, and check back when the campaigns have run their course to see what you want to spend a larger amount of money on.

  4. Add Special Offers

    Obviously, our ears perk up when we hear about special offers. It’s a classic marketing technique and it works. Special offers boost your sales while giving your audience an incentive. Consider something you may be able to offer to your prospective clients. Maybe it’s a free sellers’ consultation, providing a complimentary service, or running a contest for your followers. Your ad should entice your audience!

Ready for more advice? Check out this great article on the latest, greatest Facebook Ad tricks!

Marketing 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 13) and Father’s Day (June 17). We also can anticipate the end of the school year, Flag Day (June 14), Cinco de Mayo (May 5), Memorial Day (May 28), 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 8) or National Gardening Week (April 30-May 6).

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 a day of access to your platform. 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!

Want More Referrals? Here’s Why Top Agents Are So Successful!

In the world of real estate, referrals are crucial. Most people tend to turn first to their network of family and friends when they’re choosing a professional to work with. The opinion of someone a potential client can trust carries a lot of weight. The best way to earn referrals is to develop strong working relationships – and sometimes even friendships – with your clientele. So how do the most-referred agents do it?

Anna Johansson of Inman.com writes that the top skills are:

Genuine Care

Johansson writes “There’s no artificial substitute when it comes to caring about your customers.” People can sense insincerity a mile away. When you have a true commitment to your clients’ happiness, it shows in the work you do and the service you provide.

An In-Person Connection

There’s a lot that you can automate and handle virtually, but having a face to face connection with a client is important as you build a relationship. Part of this is because emails and text messages cannot convey tone of voice and the natural warmth of your personality. Skip the text every once in a while and take the time to have a real conversation.

Accommodation

Each client has different needs. Some will require your full attention and some will want a hands-off approach. Some will need to see every listing in the MLS, and some will make up their minds right away. Your attitude toward their preferences will make a huge difference. As Johannson writes, “Your job is to empower your clients. If you do so, they’ll want to spread the word about it.”

Follow Up

You hear this advice often enough, but here it is again – don’t let them forget about you! There are many ways to stay connected in your clients’ lives, from remembering birthdays and anniversaries, to throwing a housewarming party, or sending a personal note to remind them to file for their homestead exemption.

Openness

Now more than ever, consumers want and expect transparency. Let them see the real you and help them understand the ins and outs of the home buying or selling process. They’ll appreciate honesty so much more than a sugarcoated picture. Openness translates easily into trustworthiness.

 

Is Your Team Losing Interest? Keep Them Invested With These 3 Tips.

In our last blog, we wrote about how to handle an employee who becomes a competitor. While there are steps you should take if this ever happens to you, there are also ways to prevent it from happening. Employees and team members who feel valued and respected don’t feel a need to leave.

Keep The Focus On The Team

As the head of a successful team, there may be a temptation to view your own position as the most important. The truth is, your position relies on your team members and employees for growth and continued success. Almost everyone has been at the mercy of a boss who didn’t value employees and it typically ends in separation. Know what is going on with your team. Respect their time, skills and obligations and recognize their achievements so they can see how important they are to the success of the whole.

Make Room For New Leaders

Just because you can do a job doesn’t mean you’re the best person for it. If one of your team members excels in a certain area, look to them to lead the other members of the group. By placing them in positions of leadership, even just by the way you treat them, you are transferring a bit of ownership. That sense of ownership turns into investment and, in the long run, your employees will understand their value.

Speak Clearly

If you’ve ever worked with a boss who didn’t make their expectations clear, you’ll recognize the importance of this point. Without strong communication, employees are left feeling confused and disconnected, unsure of how to please you or make improvements. Be direct and clear about what you need to see so they can see how they’re contributing to the big picture.

 

3 Ways You Can Set Yourself Apart From The Rest

In the oh-so-small world of real estate, it’s easy to feel like you’re swimming upstream. Whether you’re new to the market or you’re a seasoned pro, competition for real estate is fierce. How can you set yourself and your services apart from the rest?

Find Your Niche

If you’re new to the world of real estate, this one might not come as easily as it would to a more experienced agent. However, focusing on mastering a sub-section of the market is important. Just as in any other business, potential clients are looking for someone who can understand their unique needs, whether it’s a veteran, a luxury buyer, a senior citizen, or a first-time buyer. General knowledge is fine, but finding your niche allows you to shine.

Newer agents may want to focus on a particular neighborhood or zip code, a specific type of property, or a specific kind of client. Seasoned agents can look at their past clientele and transactions to find both their strength and source of joy to find a niche.

Embrace Your Differences

In both personal and professional circles, your personal characteristics, hobbies, and relationships are the most interesting thing about you. Take advantage of any memberships you hold in social organizations, churches, or academic environments and look to serve your fellow members. On social media and on your website, highlight your passions. You may love rescue dogs, local theater and art, or running marathons. These differentiators certainly won’t hurt you, but they will absolutely make you easier to find for a potential client who shares your interests.

Share Your Knowledge

One great way to separate yourself from the crowd is to offer training events or workshops that connect with the public in a meaningful way. Local libraries often offer space for free and these spots make great locations for community classes. You don’t have to stick to the classic first-time home buyer class either. If you’re an expert stager, offer a course on staging a home to sell. If you’ve found a niche working with seniors, offer a class in helping elderly parents move. There are a wealth of topics to teach that could both help the public and help your business.

Reaching Your Target Audience: Senior Citizens

In recent years, more real estate professionals are considering expansion into the real estate market. And with over 20% of the population in the 50+ age range, marketing to seniors could mean a big boost to your business. As with any prospective client, your strategy and consistency need to be on point. If you’re looking to market yourself to an older clientele, consider the following advice.

Don’t Give Up On The Internet
The idea that Facebook is out of the question for grandparents will lead you in the wrong direction! In fact, 26% of Facebook users are 50 or older, with half of those being older than 60. Even more importantly, when you are marketing to senior citizens, you may want to be reaching their children, and another 16% of Facebook users are ages 40-49. Consider sponsored posts and ads to build your following and emphasize your interest in helping the older generation buy and sell.

But Mail Is Still Your Friend
Research shows that about half of senior citizens prefer television and print media to receive their news and information. Direct mail listings will allow you to reach your target demographic and give your prospective clients information on the retirement neighborhoods and communities in their specific area. Aside from bulk mail, consider purchasing an ad in the newspaper or a magazine that targets seniors.

Not Everyone Is Downsizing
While some older clients may be looking to downsize their home or to move into a retirement community, some are looking to maintain the home and lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to. Others may want to keep enough space in their home for children and grandchildren who come to visit.

Anticipate The Emotions
There are lots of reasons senior citizens may want to move out of their home, and not all of them are happy. Some may be dealing with loss of pride and independence as they move into assisted living, some may be moving after the death of a spouse, and some may be moving at the insistence of adult children. If an adult child is involved, the parent may feel like they are left out of the decision, so make sure to include them in conversation. The process may not be an easy one, so offer kindness, sensitivity, and patience.

SOURCES:
http://www.seniorlivingmag.com/articles/2013/07/why-todays-seniors-are-buying-real-estate
http://themembersedge.blogs.realtor.org/2012/07/11/tips-for-realtors-specializing-in-real-estate-for-senior-citizens/
http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_guide/64529/real_estate/marketing_to_seniors_in_the_real_estate_market.html

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.