I’ve had a lot of real estate agent clients ask me if and how they should continue marketing their business during the global crisis.
The answer is yes. Continue to market your business, but your messaging and tone should change. We need to be sensitive to the times we’re in and meet our customers where they are.
But how do you know where they are? Pay attention to current events and what your customers are saying. Social media is buzzing with your customers sentiments. If you are in touch and tuned in, then you will have all of the information you need to succeed.
Refer to a traditional buyer’s journey for guidance. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this journey, it comprises a few stages. The first is awareness, the buyer becomes aware they have a problem. Second is a consideration, they look for a solution to their problem. And, the final stage is a decision, they are ready to purchase a solution.
Here’s what it looks like applying this journey to the global crisis:
Stage one – panic and uncertainty. Your messaging will be sympathetic. You will craft posts to help put people at ease. Whether it’s about food, working from home, hygiene, or how your industry is adapting to uncertain times.
Stage two – Finding balance working from home, homeschooling, productivity concerns, or curbside pickup for just about everything. Put adaptation in motion.
Stage three – Most people have adjusted to change and now want to know how they will ease back into civilian life. What will dining out look like? How will they buy and sell real estate or experience other in-person service-oriented industries? The future of schooling? Travel?
If you create content relevant to your customer and MEET them in the stage they’re in, you will lead with empathy and become a resource for inspirational and valuable information.
I feel the best thing any small business owner or real estate agent can do now is pick up the phone and just be a friend to their database. Ask them how they are doing. If they want to talk shop, share information that will benefit them.
For example, at the time of writing, mortgage rates are hovering around 3%, now is a good time to refinance their mortgage and reduce their monthly payment amount.
Please share this post with anyone you know in need of marketing guidance. Be well!
Who wants to stand apart from the competition and increase their chances of getting a new listing? You do.
More and more agents are going after expired listings every day. Some call. Other’s mail. And then you have the doorknockers. The competition is swift.
If you are fortunate enough to get a listing appointment, you’re halfway there. Now you have to win the homeowner over and land the listing. The average seller interviews three agents before choosing who they want to hire, so you’re probably not the only one going in for an appointment.
Remember, they have already experienced an agent, so how you prepare for your appointment will make all the difference. This is your chance to go above and beyond and impress the heck out of them.
I will show you how to package their home prior to the listing appointment so they can see how you will present their property to the market rather than just hearing about it.
But first, aside from what their home is worth, what’s the one thing the seller wants to know?
What you will do to sell it in the shortest amount of time.
If you are dealing with an emotionally attached seller, they want to feel confident that their baby is in good hands.
Prior to your appointment, go into the MLS and analyze the previous listing. Check out the quality of the photos, marketing remarks, and see if you can identify reasons the home didn’t sell. Often it’s improper pricing or poor presentation.
Re-write the remarks as you would if you already got the listing. How would you tell the home’s story? That’s the key here. Show the seller how you will showcase the benefits and functionality of their house. If the previous listing remarks are great, then put your spin on them.
The marketing remarks are your opportunity to sell the lifestyle and benefits to your prospective buyer, not a ramble of features and fragment sentences.
I know it’s tricky to write remarks without a visual inspection of the property so piece the story together the best you can. Reference the previous agents remarks, photos, and do a Google search of the neighborhood. Often you will find some interesting facts or history that will spice up your version.
In two recent cases, I discovered that the neighborhood surrounding a listing was developed by one builder of Macys Herald Square in NYC. He wanted to create an enclave for the rich City folk to vacation during the summer. Leading with this information hooks the reader into your story. It’s interesting and would make most people want to read more.
The second listing was in the 7th wealthiest zip code according to a recent Bloomberg study. That will definitely get some people’s attention.
Now for the visuals. If you break your listing appointment into two parts, snap some interior and exterior photos during your first meeting. Create a slide show with text overlay highlighting the functionality and benefits of the house.
Animoto is a great tool for creating eye-catching home tours and you can export them in high definition. For this to have maximum effect, the seller needs to see their house in the video.
The key is to show them what you will do rather than just hearing about it.
You may think this is a lot of work to do before you get a commitment. You’re right. And your efforts will impress the seller. If you put this much thought and work into securing the listing, they’ll be interested to find out what you’ll do to keep it.
Even if you don’t get the listing, you’re practicing for the next.
Every business owner needs practical tools to succeed. Here are my top picks for insanely useful gifts to help the business marketer in your life become more confident and productive.
Pro Writing Aid – This tool is an automatic editor for your writing. I was a Grammarly user for a long time and gave Pro Writing Aid a try after receiving many heartfelt email offers. Saving $70 bucks on a year’s subscription was also enticing.
Whether you are creating social media posts, web pages, real estate listing remarks, or blog posts, this tool will help you write better. The editor goes way beyond spelling and grammar to help you improve your writing style and structure. Current pricing – 1-year $70, a 2-year $100, a 3-year $140, or lifetime for $240.
Inkletech Ring Light – Good lighting is everything when you are making videos. This light ring is perfect for bringing your bright ideas forward. It comes with a mount for mobile devices or DSLR cameras, a travel bag, a six foot stand, and a remote control for the light and your phone. I got mine for $84 on Cyber Monday, reduced from $199.00. Whoa!
iPhone Video Bundle: I use these products to and love them. If you want to make professional looking videos from your smartphone, these tools are essential.
ProMovie App – For just $2.99, you can transform your smartphone into a professional video camera. It shoots in HD 1080 or 4k and comes with loads of settings for adjusting the exposure, frame rate, color temperature, and more. All the things you can’t do with a typical smartphone camera.
Pop Voice Lavalier Lapel Mic – This lapel mic plugs into the microphone jack on your phone and makes your videos sound professional. Your viewers will feel more connected to you. If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, you’ll need an adapter for the headphone jack (I’ve got you covered, that’s next on the list). $12.99
Victiv 72” Camera Tripod – It’s compact and easy to use with smartphones or DSLR cameras. Place it on your desktop. Go full length. Take it with you wherever you go for more stable videos.
Skillshare membership – Wouldn’t it be cool to have access to thousands of classes ranging from entrepreneurship to marketing and design for only $99.00/year? You can! Skillshare has you covered. An hour a day goes a long way.
The Unamerican Dream – By Carlos Hidalgo – Carlos shares his journey through entrepreneurship and how getting lost in the everyday grind almost cost him his family. His wife wrote a chapter and shared her perspective. Brilliant idea! Hearing both sides strengthens the impact. He talks about finding work life boundaries rather than balance. If you are lost in the daily hustle, this book is for you.
Find Your Writing Voice – By Chris Brogan – Every marketer needs to find their tone of voice. It’s a critical part of your foundation for a strong marketing strategy and what your audience will connect with. Chris teaches you to write like you are having coffee face-to-face with an old friend. This book is easy to read, full of a-ha moments, and writing exercises.
Aqua Notes Water Proof Note Pad – Once the water gets goin’ the ideas start flowin’. Some of the best ideas are born in the shower. Now you can write them down mid-lather.
Sticker Mule – Sticker Mule creates high-quality labels, stickers, coaster, packaging, wall graphics, magnets, buttons, and their customer service rocks! Orders typically ship within four days, for free. You can order samples to see what your finished product looks like before placing a large order.
One thing we must get right in real estate marketing is identifying our ideal client. But that’s not enough. We have to understand why these people are ideal and will they feel the same. Finding a niche is one of the best things you can do for your business.
Let me explain.
In the early days of the web, we were expected to be on the mountaintop talking to everyone. No longer. With an online world more cluttered than a grandma’s attic, we need to figure out who we’re talking to from the start or risk wasting a lot of precious time and money.
If you are trying to talk to everybody, you’re most likely talking to nobody.
A broad message is impersonal. Personalized messages bring a significant ROI and have a better chance of being noticed.
Take social media ads, for example.
They are everywhere and here to stay. We can’t control that. But we can control the type of ads we see. Would you rather see ads that speak to your specific interests and needs or random ads that don’t pertain to you?
I’ll bet you you chose specific targeting. That’s how you want your desired audience to feel when they come across your content.
I know that creating a niche sounds limiting. Don’t be afraid to specialize; you won’t lose business. Instead, you’ll attract people who want what you offer. You can specialize in one area or expand into other niches later on.
Meet Ben Caballero.
He is the founder and CEO of HomesUSA.comand holds the Guinness World Records title for the most annual home sales transactions through MLS by an individual sell side real estate agent. You may have seen him in a recent Realtor.org feature.
Ben attributes his success to one primary factor. Specialization.
In his own words:
“Specialists dominate all professions from ditch digging to rocket science. I can’t overstate its importance to success in any profession.Real estate has many areas in which agents can specialize. I choose to be a corporate specialist.”
Whether you realize it or not, you are already attracting people who connect with your bio and online presence. It’s the law of attraction.”
Let’s do an exercise. Grab some paper and we’ll get started.
All of your past and present skills.
Why you got into the real estate business.
What you enjoy most about selling real estate.
The buyer/seller you work with most often?
What is the average age? Where are they located?
The real estate you sell most.
Look over your list. You’ll notice a theme. See what fills a need or if much of your business is associated with one or more items.
Think about how your education, career history, and skills have helped in the past and how they’ll help your clients today. If you are unsure of your skills and talents, check out the Clifton Strength assessments by www.Gallup.com
Do you have a corporate background? Are you an investor? Own a vacation home or other specific property? Work with a lot of divorcing couples? Have bank relationships or a finance background?
If so, you are best suited to help these types of buyers and/or sellers. I feel first hand experience adds a lot of value to someone who knows nothing about the process. You can empathize with them and share your personal journey.
People want an expert not someone who holds many titles but masters none. Specializing allows you to be the go-to person in a particular area of your field. This is where the niche says loud and clear “You have found the right person”.
Divorce and estates.
First-time home buyers.
Short sales and foreclosures.
Foreign investors or home buyers.
I want you to do one more thing.
Beginning today, erase “I can help anybody looking for X” or “I help buyers and sellers” from your sales pitch or “about me” page. Can you do that? Good.
Now that you have formed a niche, let’s fill in your blanks with a new brand positioning statement. It will consist of WHO your ideal audience is and HOW they will benefit from working with you. Sounds easy, right? It is. But also requires considerable thought. Take your time!
Going forward, this statement will shape every single marketing decision you make.
It is also the foundation of your elevator pitch and will help others talk about your business when referring you. The clearer you are, the easier it is for them.
Below are some examples of a brand positioning statement.
I help first-time investors make calculated decisions and grow their money.
I help relocation clients find their place and adjust to life in Westchester County, NY.
I help improve communities by getting sellers the most amount of money for their home.
You’ve identified your niche. Crafted your benefit positioning statement. Now you’re ready to brand yourself and market to your niche. I’ll show you how in my next post. Stay tuned.
Until then, look at your competition.
Identify agents who focus on the same niche.
What do they do well and not so well?
What would you do differently to set yourself apart from the competition?
Know someone who needs clarity and guidance? Share this post with them!
The online world moves fast, like a freight train barreling down the tracks! And, it’s pretty congested too.
How can you cut through the noise?
I will show you three of the best ways to maximize your reach and exposure. Then, you can repurpose these ideas across your various social media channels and website.
#3 – Check out HARO – That stands for Help A Reporter Out. It’s an online resource for journalists to get feedback and input from business owners like you. A little-known fact is it started out as a Facebook group in 2008 and quickly grew to a 100,000 person email list. Now it’s a tremendous opportunity for you to position yourself as an authority in your industry.
You can sign up for free or get a paid subscription, and up to three times per day you’ll receive an email digest of inquiries from journalists looking for your input on your preferred topics.
#2 – Interviews – They offer you an opportunity to tell your story, add credibility to your business, and help you develop a relationship with the interviewer.
Collaborate with other industry service providers. You can interview each other and then repurpose the interview to reach a broader audience online.
Bonus Tip: When you receive the audio file from the interview, add it to your website. Transcribe it for SEO purposes. Google crawls through text more efficiently than video or audio.
#1 – Public speaking – In the form of hosting a class or a workshop. There’s no better way to let people experience the person they are considering hiring than getting in front of them and showing your value.
Unlike social media, you won’t have to worry about who hears you because you’ll have an audience who made a conscious decision to come and hear you speak.
What’s the most essential marketing tool?The words you choose and how you arrange them on the page.
Persuasive copywriting is an art, and good writers do two things every day.
1. Write a minimum of 500 words.It doesn’t matter what you write, just do it.Keeping a journal is a great way to practice your skills and self reflect.
2. Read quality writing. The more you read, the better quality it is, the better you will become.
Need some inspiration?
Save examples of writing which sucks you in, in a swipe file on your desktop.This is a folder that you will add inspiration or create a collection on your Facebook and Instagram profiles ((click the flag icon to save posts on Instagram and the three dots on Facebook).We all need inspiration from time to time.
I’m going to leave you with this, People often say tell me that nobody reads anything anymore.I say, If your writing is interesting, they will read it.
If you’re a business owner you probably already know by now that video is the essential tool for marketing your business but you might also be intimidated by the thought of putting yourself out for public display. You’re not alone.
When I began working with video a few years ago I had a fear of public speaking and I didn’t like the way I look at certain angles. The way I worked through my fear was pushing myself to record videos.
I forfeited a chance to go on a family vacation and locked myself in the house for three days. I recorded about 20 videos but it took about 350 takes to get to the finished product. I had poor lighting I didn’t have a microphone but I had a good message.
What I learned from this experience is the more I do this the more I push myself, the easier it becomes. I began to realize that it’s not about me it’s about you, the people who I’m trying to deliver a message to. What’s your take away? The more I was able to put you first the easier it got for me.
The top 3 reasons people tell me they don’t record videos are:
#1 They don’t know what to say.
#2 They hate their voice or the way that they look, and
#3 I’m not interesting.
We all just start somewhere but start we must!
The trick is to organize your thoughts before you hit record. Writing out a script will help you deliver a clear message but when you do hit record don’t sound scripted.
Remember, take a deep breath and make it about your viewer the more you take yourself out of the equation the quicker your critical self will disappear.
Here’s a 7-part framework that you can use to create better videos for your business.
Part 1 –The Opener, dive right into your topic from the beginning, in
the first five to ten seconds your viewer is going to decide whether they
want to keep watching your video or not. Plus it shows that you value and respect their time.
Part 2 –A branded bumper – this is a 5-15 second animation of your logo that you place after your opener. If you don’t have any creative skills or know any graphic designers you can go to fiverr.com and get one made for about 5 or 10 bucks.
Part 3 – Welcome your viewers. This helps build loyalty and everybody likes to feel special (Clapping)
Part 4 – Jump into your content. Let’s get into why we’re all here.
Part 5 – Add a micro call-to-action (optional). A call-to-action is what you want your viewers to do and how you want them to do it. The reason we add one here is that we want viewers to make it to the end of the video. If they don’t get there they won’t be able to hear your final call-to-action. An example might be, at the end of the video I’m going to offer you a promo code or something special.
Part 6 – The Closing. Wrap up and recap some of the important points from your video, and
Part 7 – Your final call-to-action. Remember, this is what you want your viewers to do and how you want them to take action. This could be subscribing to your channel, connecting with you on social media, or visiting your website.
If you’re struggling to find the time to record videos I get it. First, you have to record, then make edits and distribute your video across all your various social and other online channels. It’s a lot of work but the payoff is
well worth it if you’re consistent. I like to take a day of the week where I can commit 4-6 hours and batch record videos. If I can get 3 or 4 videos in that one session and I do that once a week, or even every other week, I will have anywhere from 8 to 16 videos in the bank for future use. You can also batch produce thumbnail images for your videos in that session as well.
Create a schedule and stick to it. Consistency is key. Your viewers are going to want to know when to expect your next video. By doing so you’re training them to come back to your content and that is what builds loyalty. If you have questions about video or you need some help with coaching you can send me an email at [email protected].I respond to everyone.
Just fourteen months ago, American Frozen Foods in Scarborough, Maine, was having a hard time putting together a successful digital marketing strategy. They wanted to reach new customers while adding value and deepening relationships with their existing customers.
My work with them initially consisted of individual coaching sessions and grew to more of an in-house role. I analyzed everything they were currently doing, researched their ideal customer, and asked lots of questions. We determined that they were casting too wide a net and haphazardly posting on their social channels.
Some of these posts were cooking videos, and kitchen hacks from other companies. I thought we should create our own videos and keep attention on American Frozen Foods instead of sharing posts that drive our customers away from our channels.
Since their Marketing Director, Theo Shaughnessy has 15 years of experience in the foodservice industry, I suggested we turn him into the American Frozen Foods resident Chef. Kitchen Inspirations with Chef Theo was born, and four months later, we wrapped up our eighth episode (watch it below). Theo was a little camera shy at first but with plenty of practice, he fully embraces his role and looks forward to it each month.
We support the recorded videos with Live appearances form Chef Theo for Q&A’s and various contests.
The response from their customers is overwhelmingly positive and providing the added value we all hoped for. They are engaging with us more and sharing the Chef Theo videos with their friends and family. As of this month, we have gained 200 Facebook fans and Our videos have over 20,000 organic views!
More importantly, their customers are receiving the added value we hoped for and a little inspiration for preparing the products they purchase from American Frozen Foods.
If you are a business owner, you probably already know that a video is an essential tool for marketing your business.You might also feel a bit intimated by the thought of putting yourself out for public display.
You’re not alone.
The top three reasons people tell me they don’t record videos are:
1. I don’t know what to say.
2. I hate my voice or how I look.
3. I’m not interesting.
Embedding videos into your email responses are a great, low-pressure way to experiment.Check outBombBomb or CoVideo, they make it easy.
We all have to start somewhere. However, start we must!
The trick is to organize your thoughts beforehand, smile, take a deep breath, and remember, people, don’t care about how we look or sound.All they want is useful information. Focus on them, and your critical self will eventually disappear.
When I began working with video a few years ago, I had a fear of public speaking and didn’t like how I look at certain angles.
I locked myself in the house for three days and recorded 25 videos.It probably took around 300 takes to get there.
I didn’t have a mic, poor lighting, and my delivery needed improvement.I leave these videos out for the public to view so they can see how I began and where I am now.Night and day difference.I got here with perseverance.
Because of that experience and repetition, I am much more comfortable today and share my journey freely with others.
I saw an ad recently from a popular real estate app stating the “traditional agent website is dead and a Google business listing is your new home page because people go to Google for answers. If you don’t have one, you could be missing out on valuable traffic.”
If you upgrade to the PRO version of their app, they will create and manage your Google Business listing content.
They employed the “fear of missing out” technique.
There’s no need to pay a premium for any company to do this for you. It takes minutes. Many companies prey on real estate agents because they think we are rich or can’t be bothered with handling our marketing.
For some, this may be true, but I’m going to show you how easy it is to set up and maintain your listing. Nobody can connect with your audience better than you.
If you don’t already have a Google Business listing, you can easily set yours up for free here. Then, check out my step-by-step guide to optimize it here.
The traditional real estate agent site isn’t dead nor is it for any other type of business. A Google Business listing is essential but doesn’t guarantee that you are going to show up on the first page or amongst top results in a local search. You will compete with companies who pay to appear there or are creating high-quality content regularly.
The content third parties create is usually generic and duplicated across the web. That doesn’t help you. Your audience wants to hear from you and to create unique, and high-quality content is your chance to demonstrate your value. Provide your customers with an experience they can’t get anywhere else, and they will love you.
Yes, 97% of people go online to research businesses on Google, but they also turn to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other search engines. This is the beginning of a conversation. Your website is the continuation and should convert that viewer into a customer.
Despite my love for the Google Business listing, your website is your bedrock. It should be professionally designed and used to generate leads and sales.
According to a Google My Business Help thread on Tuesday, June 13, 2017:
“One of the most common actions people take when exploring a Google listing is to go to the website.”
Blue Corona found that 30% of consumers won’t consider a business without a website and Research from Moz localexplains in full detail why a site is more important in 2019 than ever before
Much of the online world is leased land; one policy change can affect what you can do from day to day. Google and other platforms will do whatever it takes to keep your attention on their platform. This is one of the main reasons they offer various tools and web services, not for your benefit.
Even website platforms like Squarespace are leased. They are great for beginners and, but I recommend WordPress. You can create simple, free websites if your budget is small and when ready, upgrade to a more robust site and hosting without changing platforms. I use SiteGround for web hosting, and BlueHost is well respected too.
If you have a proper website, you own it and control the contents. Nobody can take it away from you.
Here’s what your website can do that a Google listing can’t:
MLS IDX so customers can search for listings. This keeps them on your site longer, and they will most likely check out your blog and other features.
Posts on Google expire after one week. Your blog posts stay on your site as long as you want them to. Your content can rank on in the search engines if you create in-depth, unique content for your audience. Write in a conversational tone, speak to them, and don’t fixate on keywords. Add images and videos. Tag them properly to help with SEO.
You have their undivided attention. There are no ads and distractions to pull them away from your content. If you have valuable resources on your site visitors will spend more time there. The longer they stay, the better your chances of them contacting you.
Before you shell out your hard earned commission check, research an offer and challenge yourself to see if it’s something you can do on your own. Don’t be fooled by anyone telling you they will get you on the first page of Google right away. Organic SEO is a long term play and takes work. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to take charge of your marketing.
A compelling “about me” video could be all a potential customer needs to determine whether your product or service is right for them.
In this 60-second video, I will demonstrate how to incorporate the key elements listed below.
* Who you are.
* What you do.
* Who you help.
* How you do it.
* What makes you different from others.
* Call to action – add one mid-roll and at the end.
The optimal length is 30-60 seconds.
I recommend writing a script to organize your key points. Your finished product will serve as your elevator pitch as well. If you are clear others will be clear when they talk about your business, especially at networking events.
The next time someone asks “what do you do?”, you will have a compelling response!
Selling a home is a big job, but sometimes the buyer is hiding in plain sight, the surrounding neighborhood. That’s right. I am willing to bet that most neighborhoods have a resident who knows someone looking to move there. But how do you find out if they know a buyer? Ask them.
Some of you may be thinking “I don’t need to do that my listing will sell in a week” or “the market is hot, it will sell quickly.” The market won’t always be hot, and there’s more to this plan then just selling a listing.
Let me explain.
We are going above and beyond to make a lasting impression and build relationships with potential sellers in a neighborhood.
The old way of thinking: you sell a listing without engaging with the neighborhood on a personal level. You send out the same generic just listed and sold cards like everybody else and never make a human connection. You’ll need to send out more cards to build a presence than you will if you follow-up a mailing with an in-person visit.
A new way of thinking: You personalize your postcards AND walk the neighborhood knocking on doors after sending them.
Which do you think will have a more significant impact?
Here’s how you can do it:
Walk the neighborhood and knock on doors.
When your new listing hits the market, cast a net around the ten homes on either side of the subject property and across the street (or more if you like).
Tell the residents that you have just listed a house on their street and you want to give them an opportunity to help find their new neighbor. You are planning an exclusive event and invite them to bring any potential buyers for a first look. This is your opening to a conversation. Build some report. Even if they don’t attend, you may make a lasting impression on them.
TIP: If you are squeamish about knocking on doors, bring a colleague. Having a familiar person to feed off of can add a layer of fun to the conversation and may put you at ease because the focus isn’t solely on you. I am not much of a door knocker but find this method makes me more comfortable.
Host a neighbors only open house event.
I say event because it should be unique and not just another open house. This idea excites me for a few reasons. You get to meet new people and develop a relationship. Relationships in the real estate business are everything.
Approach the guests with a genuine interest in getting to know them rather than “what can I get” mindset. Even if they don’t have a buyer in mind, it will make planning a housewarming or block gathering easier when the right buyer comes along (more on that later).
Take ten minutes and present the home.
Every home has a story; this is your chance to tell it. Share what the current owner loved most, how they cared for it, and any interesting facts or history. Create a unique take away gift that people will want to keep around or share with others.
One of my favorites is a branded key-shaped USB drive.
You can load the virtual tour video, property details, and business card onto it.
TIP: Purchase a drive that has at least 4GB of space (easy to find on Google), so the guest has the option for personal use. The idea is to give them the property info and something of value that they will keep around. Every time they use it, they will hopefully think of you.
Invite some neighbors to talk about why they love living there on camera.
You may get some resistance here but go for it anyway. Even if you get a couple, it’s worth it. Be careful they don’t unintentionally violate any fair housing or other laws.
Even though they said it, you are responsible because you used them in your marketing.
Tip: Look for the outspoken neighbor who is passionate and heavily involved in local happenings. Every neighborhood has a mayor.
Be transparent with your plan to use the video and always get their permission. You can repurpose these testimonials in a few ways.
Weave them into your property tour video. Embed into an email blast for other real estate agents and your sphere of influence.
Share them on social media.
Embed them into a blog post about the neighborhood.
The after party: Follow up with a handwritten thank you note. If you received any phone numbers or email address at the event, get there feedback on the home.
Once you find the right buyer for your listing, help coordinate a block party or house-warming event.
The experience you create is what people will remember the most.
I would love to hear about your experience with neighborhood open houses or events. Please share them with me in the comments.
The holiday season is upon us, and that means you are probably buying someone in your life a gift. If that particular person is a small business owner, I recommend getting them something practical.
Small business owners wear many hats. We plan. Create. Post. Order. Sell. Design. Call. Email. Network. Provide customer support. And occasionally sleep. We don’t need more stuff. We need tools to help make our life easier.
I compiled a list of some life-changing items that help me function more efficiently as a business owner.
Every business has a story. But do they know how to tell it so customers will listen? Most companies intuitively make their story about them, but Donald delivers an easy to digest approach to making it about your customers. Essential reading.
I received this book as a gift last Christmas. It took me six months to pick it up (I was already reading two books at the time). If I had known how engaging and insightful it is before reading, I would have put down the other two books.
Ann has a way of speaking to you through her writing that makes you feel like you’re buddies from college. She simplifies the process of writing, anything. The chapters are short and packed with actionable items to take your content marketing from stagnant to stellar.
Read it. Practice. Become ridiculously good at marketing.
If you write anything online, the Hemingway app will be your new best friend. If you struggle with grammar, sentence structure, formatting, active and passive voice, or boring writing, You will love this editor!
Adobe Spark Post– Monthly subscription $9.99/month – Spark Post is an easy to use social media graphic, video, and single web page creation tool. They offer a free two-week trial so that you can check it out yourself. There are no long-term contracts.
What I love most about this tool is the ability to batch produce images or videos for sharing on social media. A mobile app is available, but I prefer the desktop version. The choice is yours.
We live in a mobile-first world, and if you are recording videos for your business, you probably use your phone. This lapel mic plugs into the microphone jack on your phone and makes your videos sound professional. If you have an iPhone 7 or newer, you’ll need an adapter for the headphone jack.
I picked up this one up for $11.00 on Amazon. Your total investment for the mic and adapter is $23.00.
Sticker Mule creates high-quality products and their customer service rocks! Orders typically ship within four days, for free. You can order samples to see what your finished product looks like before placing a large order.
Creative branding is everything and makes a lasting first impression.
I recently discovered this backpack while searching for a for a better fitting bag for my laptop. If you are tired of having your work bag hanging to one side and pulling on your shoulders, here is your solution.
This stylish bag hugs your body and has numerous sections and compartments. Did I mention it’s only $17.99?
This book series will change your business approach. Every business owner should read it and heed the message. What’s the message? If we shift our focus from getting to giving, consistently add value, and focus on relationships, we will thrive as business owners.
The story is powerful. The message is simple. You already possess the necessary tools. Now, Go Give.
I recommend reading the Go-Giver first and then Go-Givers Sell More. Want more? Check out The Go-Giver Leader and Influencer (not pictured).
If you could change the life of another person and help them succeed in business for under $30.00 wouldn’t that be the best gift ever?
We all have our favorites when it comes to business tools. I sure do. Some tangible and others spiritual. The way I see it, health is wealth and having a proper balance will ensure my approach to daily life and my business will be more intentional and proactive. Give the gift of practicality and experience.
Below are my top 5 favorite items that I use every day. They are all under $20!
1) Arkon MG2TRIXL 11″ Smartphone Tripod – I love this tripod! Live and recorded video is the future of social media so get on board now. The base is flexible and can be wrapped around an object if a flat surface is not available.
It comes with adaptors for medium to large digital cameras and a carrying case — all for only $18.95 (current sale price on Amazon).
2)“Presence” by Amy Cuddy– This book has helped transform the way I think and present myself. The cover says it all “bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges.” We all experience self-doubt at one time or another.
Amy encourages us to “stop worrying about the impression we are making on others and adjust the impression we are making on ourselves.”
The quotes and nuggets of wisdom are endless in this book. You can help others help themselves for under $20.00.
3)“This Book Will Teach You How To Write Better” by Neville Medhora – The title says it all. Give the gift of simplicity. Neville’s approach (you WILL laugh) is one that everybody can comfortably relate to and incorporate into his or her marketing.
He offers basic exercises that break down the process of crafting a compelling message. Simple. Effective. Buy it. Oh, it is only five bucks!
4) Wise Stamp – Our email signature is a business card for those that haven’t met us in person, make it memorable. Wise Stamp offers an array of templates and tools to make your signature interactive. All for $6.00 a month!
5) Power Of Thought Cards – Louise L. Hay – I love starting my day with a little inspiration. Every morning I take one of these beautifully illustrated cards out of the deck and keep it visible all day. We can never get too inspired! $10.94
If you could change the life of another person and help them succeed in business for under $20.00 wouldn’t that be the best gift ever?
Facebook ads are some of the most targeted forms of advertising your money can buy online. But before you spend your hard- earned money, there are a few things you should know about social advertising and choosing the right objective.
Almost every day someone asks me what the difference is between boosting a post and creating an ad through the Ads Manager. Some people don’t even know the Ads Manager exists.
Below I will explain the difference. We will walk through the essential elements of an ad and the best practices to make yours remarkable.
Every Facebook page admin or business owner should take a class on digital advertising before embarking on their first campaign.
Let me explain.
The Ads Manager is a sophisticated tool, and if you are new to using it, you can get lost very quickly. Having someone with experience guide you through it and the essential elements of an ad are well worth your time and money.
Facebook makes it very easy for you to click buttons and spend money. I want you to have an informed approach, so you don’t waste yours!
We’ll get to those essential elements in a minute.
Creating an ad campaign in Facebook Ads Manager:
This tool requires more skill and patience but opens you up to a world of greater possibilities with targeting, ad creative, objectives, placement, and insights. If you are comfortable with technology and the creative side of advertising, this is your best option.
You can access it by clicking the drop-down arrow in the upper right corner of your homepage. You will have to set up your account and add a credit card for future payment. Facebook will walk you through the process.
You are creating a campaign and should be clear who your target audience is and where they are in the buying process to choose the right objective. This process requires research and will help you make better decisions down the road.
Your ad account is connected to your business page so you will have the option to promote page posts here as well.
Boosting A Business Page Post:
Boosts are best for getting more eyeballs on your posts from people who already like/follow your page or a lookalike audience (similar people to the ones who currently like your page).
Your current followers have a direct interest in what you do because they chose to support you.
Pay particular attention to them before promoting your posts to their friends, who may not care about your business.
If you don’t have the patience for creating ads and want the easiest solution, this is your best option. The boost tools have improved over the past year. Experiment with different audiences to drive familiar and new traffic to your page.
Best Practice: You should only boost your best performing, informative content. Offers and sales are ok from time to time. When you create a new post, let Facebook distribute it for 24-48 hours to see what kind of engagement it receives. If it performs well, you know you have something interesting.
Social advertising is a campaign for trust and adding credibility to your business. Most people use social media to be social not to make purchases. Don’t expect customer conversions instantly. Especially with people who don’t know you or your business. Create a campaign that educates and inspires your audience before hitting them with an offer.
There is more to successful advertising than choosing a post you think is fantastic, targeting people you feel will be interested in and throwing a bunch of money at it. Yes, you can boost a post for as little as $5.00 but how far do you think that will take you?
You don’t need to spend a fortune but come up with a realistic monthly budget. Facebook is providing with you a direct road to your ideal customer based on their specific interests, job titles, and behaviors. What’s that worth to you?
Here are the necessary steps to take before creating your first campaign:
Determine your goal. Do you want to drive traffic to your website or build brand awareness?
Identify your target audience. What is their age? Interest and behaviors? Location? Needs and wants? Create 5-10 audience segments. what you advertise to someone int he awareness stage is different then those who are ready to buy.
Set a budget. – The more you spend the further your ads will go.
Choose relevant, thumb stopping visuals or content. What will resonate with your audience the most?
Be patient, open-minded, consistent, and experiment. There is a lesson to be learned in successful and unsuccessful ads. If they don’t work, you did something wrong.
There are many touch points in an ad, and all of them are there to get the viewer to take action, the first action. You are responsible for the following elements:
A catchy headline – research from Campaign tells us that 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only two will read the copy. Sell, don’t tell what’s in the ad.
Choose eye-catching, relevant visuals that will stop them in their tracks (or their thumb).
Writing persuasive ad copy that addresses your audience’s needs and speaks directly to them. You must plant seeds of curiosity and create a slippery slope. There are many books you can read about persuasive writing. One of my favorites is the Adweek Copywriting Handbook by the legendary Joseph Sugarman, andEverybody Writesby Ann Handley.
Adding a clear call-to-action to your ad. What action do you want the viewer to take and how? If you are creating ads on social media platforms your call to action should direct customers to your website or landing page with an email sign-up page.
Choosing the right audience – this is the one thing people get wrong more often than not. Sometimes the most obvious option is too broad. Facebook lets you narrow down or excludes people to create a hyper-focused audience. Create a custom audience by uploading your email list or installing the Facebook Conversion Pixel on your website. Here’s how to create and install it.
All of these elements will affect the relevance score that Facebook assigns each ad. According to Facebook: “Your relevance score estimates how well your ad is resonating with the people you want to reach. The higher your ad’s relevance score, the better it’s considered to be performing.”.
A lower score, 1-3 means your ad is deemed irrelevant to your audience and will impact the cost and deliverability of your ads. To learn more, visit theFacebook help section.
People who have voluntarily given you their email address and visited your website are your most valuable audience.
Best Practice: A/B split test your ads. Split tests are the process of creating two different versions of the same ad. You will create two different headlines, visuals, and ad copy to see which performs better. Facebook will distribute your budget between the two ads and report back with the results.
As a small business owner, you have a lot of choices to make. You have to create, sell, market, provide customer service, and advertising. If you choose to take these roles on and not outsource them, you should understand what goes into each task. You have enough information here to get started.
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and experiment. Experimentation is the only constant in marketing and advertising. The education you will gain is invaluable.