Are Print Ads a Waste of your Marketing Dollars?

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At a recent Real Estate conference I attended, the speaker told the room full of agents that print advertising is basically useless. Many nodded in agreement. She’s not alone in her assessment – many think print media is in its final days. But something about it didn’t sit right with me. I’m not yet ready to abandon print media. And I’m not alone either.

19% of all US ad spending in 2013 was invested in print media.[1]

 Any magazine or newspaper you read will contain print ads by big companies who market with purpose and precision. They know what they’re doing. And they’re investing nearly a fifth of their entire marketing budget on print media.

The funny thing about print marketing is that it doesn’t often yield immediate sales. Why else in the name of all that is frozen would one advertise, you ask? Because not every business action is designed to garner a sale. I love the way James Archer puts it:

Marketing is food. It’s the regular, sustained nourishment that gets your business where you want it—and keeps it there. You need it throughout the day, every day.  Inexperienced companies regard marketing as medicine to be taken when something is wrong. (“Not enough customers? Take some marketing and call me in the morning.”)[2]

In the cooling local market, I can understand why Real Estate agents might consider advertising a waste. It’s expensive, and does not yield immediate monetary gains – gains sorely needed in slow times.

I agree with Archer, and Peter Drucker and other marketing moguls, that marketing is a long game. The benefits of continued marketing – like creating a customer base, or preventing reputation rot – are well worth the investment.

Even in slow times, (maybe especially then?) I plan to continue my marketing just as I have. I will focus on my local area where I want to do business. Even in print. To exclude print from my marketing plan would exclude an entire demographic. No, I plan to continue to invest in brand building. Slowly and steadily, I’ll continue to build familiarity with my business and what I’m about. People will know, like and trust me before we even meet. And that’s an investment worth making.

 

How about you? Do you invest in print ads? Why or why not?

 

[1] http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Total-US-Ad-Spending-See-Largest-Increase-Since-2004/1010982

[2] http://forty.co/why-successful-companies-keep-investing-in-ongoing-marketing

 

Don’t Be a Sucker About Getting “Top Dollar”

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Every seller wants top dollar, and every buyer wants to avoid paying top dollar.

Your agent – whether buyer’s agent or seller’s agent – wants the best dollar for you and them.

Is it win-win-win, or does someone have to end up being the sucker?

If you’re the sucker, would you know it? 

 

You Might be a Sucker if… (4 Ways To Tell)

If you think “Market value” is a fanciful figure plucked from thin air that is greatly affected by nostalgia, sentiment or greed-inflated estimates… you might be a sucker. 

Market value is a calculation based on factual research – this is about real numbers and trends in a specific locale. Think fact, not fiction.

 

If you think your house is worth more than everyone else’s just because you’re you, and if you don’t mind your family, friends and neighbors seeing your sky-high price… you might be a sucker.
You have been made a fool by pride, and everyone can see it on your price tag.

I have done this next one and not only did I not get a sale, neither did my sellers so it didn’t do anyone good.

If you are an agent who, desperate for a listing, agrees to list a house way above market value just to appease a client who will not heed the voice of reason … you might be a sucker.
People don’t just see your client’s sky-high price, they see your reputation on that sign too.  Keep it real, folks.
If you hire an agent because they promise you a higher sell price than any other agent… you might be a sucker. Market value is market value. Not even agents can change that. Price is only one small factor when hiring an agent.

 

Have you been a sucker lately?

 

 

Dear Marketing Campaign – A Love Letter

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As business owners, we expect a lot of our marketing, don’t we? We imagine this perfect, seamless, one-time event that requires no money, no time, and yields astounding results. Perhaps we have watched too many documentaries about how some people managed to somehow bumble into success. Maybe we’ve seen too many blogs and Pinterest posts that showcase all the best moments, and have begun to believe these to represent reality. Or maybe we’re just impatient or cheap.

Whatever it is, business owners seem to treat marketing like a fling instead of a long term relationship.  That’s an interesting thought actually. If it were a relationship, what kinds of love letters do you suppose business owners would write to their beloved marketing campaigns? I imagine Miss Marketing Campaign would have many suitors…

 

 Dear, Sweet Marketing Campaign, 

After we met at the conference last weekend, I can’t stop thinking about you. In our brief time together, you won my love.
Your mystery intrigues me, and my heart flutters at the thought of your broad reach. I melt in the warmth of your powerful
sales content. I hesitate to confess it, but I am a simple pauper. I offer only my love and the few farthings in my marketing
budget to gain your hand in marriage. Can you see, dear, sweet marketing campaign, how merry our match would be though?
With your infinite supply of free advertising, and my undying affection, I just know we would have all the sales, brand
awareness and consumer loyalty one could ever want! Say yes, my love – and I will forever adore you and your immeasurable,
boundless abilities to get massive results with a single effort, even from these few farthings. There is no other campaign for me.
I need you and you alone.

-Your devoted pauper

 

Marketing is not some fling, it’s a commitment – a long term, continual investment.

If marketing were a relationship, there would be a whole lot of business owners out on the curb…

 

When People Leave… (and How To Save Yourself a Lot of Pain)

People weave in and out of our lives. Whether because of job relocation, offense, or plain old growing apart, relationships change. Sometimes the change is a relief, and other times we don’t want to say goodbye. It can be hard, but often make it harder…

Before I tell you how, let me share a quick story.

One of my favorite relationships in life lasted only two years, after which we parted quickly and permanently. During this friendship, I learned much, growing spiritually and emotionally. It changed my life. I am a different person because of our time together. Every time we met, I left encouraged and motivated. After two years, job relocation ended it abruptly. It never resumed. I think we both would have enjoyed continuing, but also knew it was time for the mentorship to conclude.

I mourned that relationship for months. I thought every day about our conversations, and missed my mentor terribly. I ached to have the friendship again. I remember reaching a point of decision though – I had to choose between staying fixated on the past, and moving forward glad for the time that was.

I chose to move forward with gladness. That choice has saved me a great deal of pain.
I’ve seen people wrecked over the choice to stay fixated on the past. If only this, and I wish that. The biggest mistake we make in the midst of sadness, is staying in it too long.

Healthy sorrow, with enough time, rots to become discontentment.

Mourning is valid – essential actually. But even mourning runs its course. After that, it become toxic, blinding us to the present. Suddenly all the relationships, health and possessions we have are not enough. The future looks bleak and lonely, and our face can no longer support a smile. We become discontent, and can find no joy.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’ve held on to mourning to the point of toxicity, you need to know there is joy waiting for you. Kiss the past goodbye, appreciating it for what it was. Then (and only then) will you be available to enjoy what’s right in front of you. Let go to grab on to something new.

Do you find joy in the job, health, and relationships you have right now?
If not, rancid sorrow may be why.

 

How have you found this to be true in your own life? How did letting go of the past help you embrace – and enjoy – the present? I’d love to hear about it.

 

 

 

 

On Playing Fair Among Cheaters

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For some, as I’ve mentioned, Real Estate is a thrilling game – an exciting struggle for power, money and control. For others, the game is an infuriating blemish on an otherwise respectable industry. If you value people and justice, you are probably frustrated on a daily basis by the cheating you see. You probably also wonder if it is even possible to play fair among cheaters.

I want to encourage you – it is possible!  I have survived right from my harrowing first year through to now, and my integrity is still intact. I have also had the privilege to discover others in the industry who care about fairness, and value people above transactions. They are out there!

How does one play fair among cheaters?  There one simple (not to be confused with easy) strategy that will guard and strengthen you in this industry:  Know your values and stick to them.

I know it sounds overly simple, (timeless truths often do) but this is the crux of it all. One compromise leads to more. It’s a slow burn. It might feel warm and cozy at first, but in the end it will burn.

If you decide resolutely that taking advantage of others is not an option, believe me – your integrity will be tested. You will wonder if it’s worth it. You might even try to convince yourself to make a bad deal because, after all, others do it and get away with it, and no one seems to even notice! But you will notice. You will know. If you stand by your values though, you will be able to look yourself in the mirror and like what you see.

A peaceful, clear conscience is worth gold, and it is achievable – even among cheaters.

And, if you are that person of integrity, I want to know you! You are the kind of person I love doing business with!

 

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If Real Estate Agents Were Pizza Delivery Guys, This Would NEVER Happen

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Real Estate is a weird industry. Lots happens that would never fly in another industry.  If we were all pizza delivery guys for example, the frequent yet acceptable peeve-offs would just not happen.

3 Things That Would Never Happen If We Delivered Pizzas:

1. Last Minute Cancellations

We have been summoned, and in a hurry. We pack our box, load the car, and race off. We dart through traffic, shake a fist at every red light, and hurriedly make our way there. We arrive, tires screeching, only to see another pizza delivery car parked in the drive. Confused, we phone the one who summoned us, to hear, “Oh. Yeah. Umm… I decided to get a pizza from somewhere else. I hope you don’t mind.”   Yes. Yes, I mind.

2. Multiple Price Checks

While manning the phone between deliveries, a call comes in from someone with a low, drawling voice – not unlike Rocky – asking, “Yo. How much for uh – an extra large?” We quote, he hangs up.
Every two minutes thereafter, low and drawling calls back with a new question. “Yo – how about two larges?” “But what about three mediums?” “Is there a deal if we get garlic bread?” The poor man is clearly confused, so naturally – being great at customer service – we ask him how many people he is trying to feed. He assumes we’re prying, and refuses to answer. He continues to call though, for another twenty minutes. He never places an order. (We find out later though, that he is a regular customer of a competing pizza parlour.)

3. The Racey Strategy

A pizza order is placed, but with conditions. “I have ordered two pizzas – one from you, and one from your competition. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to race over here to earn my business. We will then hold a reverse auction on my doorstep. Fastest one with the lowest price wins. Ready? GO!”  You resent being treated like a circus animal, but this is how pizza delivery guys are treated, so you dance.

 

Why this ridiculous behavior is par for the course in the Real Estate industry I may never understand. But maybe, with your help spreading the word, we can put a stop to this craziness.

If you know someone who is a Real Estate agent, please share this with them. At the least, they’ll get a chuckle and not feel alone. But they might also share it with their readers and maybe – just maybe – we can put an end to the Mission Impossibles and the Rocky’s who would have us jump through hoops like dolphins.

Whatever your business is – even if you deliver pizza – do you have this craziness in your industry? Share a story! Come on – we know you have some…

 

Playing Your Power Card in a Changing Market

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The local market has slowed a bit, and it’s making people nervous.
Real estate agents are leaving the profession.
Sellers are nervous. And cautious, fearful remarks are being made about people not being able to do in this market what could be done last year. Some plan to spend less on marketing to weather the year.

May I suggest an alternative?  Whether you’re a developer, REALTOR® or an investor, this could actually be your best year yet. Know why? Because while others are busy being afraid, you can play your power card.

Consider what you were awesome at last year:

Did you invest in marketing your business?

Did you learn new ways to serve your clients well?

Did you market for your clients like crazy?

Did you deliver high quality service?
If you’ve got all those (or even some of them) you’re ahead in the game already.

 

Here’s the deal. You are the same business person you were last year. (maybe even better!) And no matter what the market, two things are sure: people are always buying and selling, and they want high quality, professional service.

 

Your power card is your unique offering. I’m not talking about ‘sell with me and I’ll give you a free widget’. I’m talking about what you do better than anyone else.

If you’re a trained ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), that’s something unique to offer in a buyer’s market.
If you’re specially trained to serve seniors, (you have a SRES® perhaps), that’s a niche market you can serve too.

In a seller’s market, being highly trained in Seller Representation (SRS® designation) can be an asset too.

Maybe your edge is that you are highly mobile or an authority in your industry.

If you are continuing to learn, and striving to serve your clients excellently, you have an edge.
There is something you have that others don’t. That’s your powercard. And when everyone else is cowering in their boots, holding back and hunkering down, that’s the time to play it.

Play that power card, baby.

What’s your power card?

 

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