Category Archives: Marketing

10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know about Email Marketing

If your small- or mid-sized business is like most, email is a key component of your marketing program. Even still, chances are good that you may be under-utilizing some of its strengths and overlooking a few of its weaknesses. Included below are 10 insights that will make you a more effective email marketer.

1.     Email is highly measurable

When measuring success, most marketing mediums can leave you guessing. But when you launch an email marketing campaign with Xpressdocs, you can track who received your marketing message, when they opened it, what they clicked on, how many forwarded the email to others, plus more.

2.     The “from” is key to your success

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-key-to-success-image15109597Too many novice marketers overlook the importance of the “from.” Big mistake. In this age of email overload and online security fears, recipients won’t open your email if they don’t know and trust the sender. Use a name your target audience will recognize right away (usually a brand name or a company name). Only use the name of a specific contact person if the recipients will immediately recognize it; this is not the place to try and build name recognition. Then, to establish consistency, use the same “from” name for all your future marketing emails.

3.     Spammy words are cause for trouble

Every marketer wants to grab the recipients’ attention with subject lines that are exciting. But if you use the words that spammers use (e.g. “free,” “trial,” “money,” “limited-time”) and/or exclamation points and dollar signs, your message is going to be automatically relegated to the spam folder.

Instead, be direct. Mention the main benefit of reading the email. Include your company name. And limit the entire subject line to less than 50 characters (including spaces).

4.    Landing pages increase sales

If you include a hyperlink in your marketing email, it should send anyone who clicks on it to a special landing page, not your home page. Your home page is cluttered with all kinds of extraneous information. A landing page, on the other hand, is a page created just for promoting one particular marketing effort, which makes it so much more effective at closing the sale.

5.     Less text is more effective

Email is no place to be long-winded or all-encompassing. You have a limited amount of space and only a few seconds to prove yourself before the reader hits “delete.” That means, for each email, you need to communicate just one over-riding message, communicate it well, and make it fun to read.

6.     Xpessdocs offers a “new-movers” mailing list

“New-movers” are households that have been living at their current address for just 12 months or less. And according to studies by the U.S. Postal Service, 80 percent of those folks are actively searching for businesses to establish long-term relationships with. These are people who need to find a new bank, a new gym, a new gardening service, a new tanning salon, new service providers for their pets, new doctors and so much more. Talk about a target market with potential!

Best of all, with the new-mover email list from Xpressdocs, it’s easy to target the ones who have recently relocated to your marketing area.

 7.     You need to encourage forwarding

Any time someone forwards your email to someone else, they’re giving your company an implicit nod of approval. It’s referral marketing at its best. Of course, to accomplish that, your message needs to include information that people really will want to share. But you also need to encourage each recipient to take the next step. All that’s required is a straightforward sentence like, “If you have a friend or family member who might also find this interesting, take a moment right now to forward it along.”

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-clock-calendar-time-management-concept-image28676185

8.     Timing makes a difference

There are certain times of the week when most people

are more receptive to a marketing email. Tuesdays seem to be the best day. Mondays and Thursdays are also good. And mornings are the optimum time of day (usually 8:00 or 9:00 a.m.). If not then, shoot for early afternoon mailing (about 3:00 p.m.).

9.     It’s illegal to email without permission

Ever heard of the CAN-SPAM Act? It’s the 2003 federal law that makes it illegal to send marketing emails to people who haven’t requested them. To avoid the penalties, make sure you have permission from everyone on your mailing list. To get that permission:

  • Offer a free white paper, a limited-time trial or a special discount to anyone who adds their name to your email list.
  • Create a sweepstakes and make email registration a requirement to participate.
  • Add a button to your website (and a poster to your trade show booth) that says, “sign up for our free email newsletter.”
  • Send marketing postcards to all your customers and prospects encouraging them to sign up for your emails.

So long as your email sign-up list clearly states that the signee agrees to receive marketing emails, you’re good to go.

10.  Best of all: It’s easy

If you’ve ever used Xpressdocs for postcard marketing, you’ll be pleased to learn that sending a marketing email is just as easy:

  1. Choose one of the professionally designed templates.
  2. Customize your email.
  3. Upload your mailing list(s).
  4. Schedule your campaign for immediate or future delivery.

That’s all there is to it. In minutes, you can create and launch a powerful email marketing effort with no technical expertise whatsoever.

 

Need an email marketing solution? Click here to learn more about Xpressdocs robust email engine.

Get Creative: Design Tips for Custom Marketing Postcards

Most agents love how simple it is to launch a prospecting effort with Xpressdocs’ pre-designed marketing postcards. But did you realize there are blank templates you can design yourself?

For those who want to let their creative side shine, here are some tips from the Xpressdocs design team:

designInvest in a quality SLR camera – Photos taken with a phone or a point-and-shoot camera almost always lack the richness and detail necessary for a printed marketing document. A quality digital single-lens-reflex camera will allow you to adjust for low-light situations (especially when shooting indoors), take wider-angle shots, generate high-resolution results, manipulate your photos in post-production, plus much more.

Make sure your image is 300 dpi – Any image you include on a postcard (a photo, a logo, a graphic) should have a resolution of 300 dpi. Lower-resolution images (typically 72 to 96 dpi) are fine for viewing on a digital device. But for a printed postcard, the quality needs to be much higher.

Get inspired – The best (and easiest) way to develop ideas for a custom design layout is to study other great layouts. Click through the Xpressdocs postcard designs and make note of the elements you find particularly attractive (layout, design, colors, images, fonts, etc.), then combine, rearrange and replicate those ideas to develop something totally unique.

Leverage the power of color – According to Pantone, the world-renowned authority on all things color, every shade has a direct impact on a person’s emotions and psyche:

  • Red: Sexy, passionate, provocative, exciting and dynamic.
  • Hot pink: Shares the same high energy and spirit of red, but it’s more energetic and youthful.
  • Orange: Generally preferred by extroverted personalities, it’s perceived as playful, gregarious happy and childlike.
  • Yellow: Cheerful, mellow and soft to the touch.
  • Brown: Rooted, secure, down-to-earth and durable.
  • Blue: Reliable, trustworthy, dependable and committed.
  • Green: Refreshing and fresh.
  • Purple: Sensual and spiritual; artistic and unique; with a futuristic quality that speaks well for new concepts and technologies.
  • Neutral tones such as beige, gray and taupe: Solid, dependable and classic.
  • White: Perceived by the human eye as a brilliant color, and most often used as an eye-catching contrast color, white communicates clarity and cleanliness.
  • Black: Powerful, dramatic, elegant, expensive and strong.

Be consistent with your brand colors – Using color to establish a personal brand is relatively easy: Choose a combination of colors that defines your business’ attitude (and makes it stand out from competitors), then use that palette consistently on all your marketing pieces, everything from sidewalk signs to marketing postcards. The key is to be consistent. Trouble starts when you get tired of seeing those colors over and over, and you start mixing in new colors – which voids all the brand recognition work you’ve done to that point.

Consider using a professional – Designing marketing materials is a lot of fun, but creating something that looks truly professional is a lot harder than most people realize. So if your best try doesn’t produce the result you want, hire a freelance graphic artist to help.

No Fear: Seven Tips for Those Who Hate Public Speaking

Countless books have been written about how to make an audience sit up and take notice when you give a business presentation. But what about the people who become so nervous and anxious that they have trouble simply speaking and thinking clearly in front of a group? For those folks, we offer the following tips:

Consult with a professional

nofearpublicspeakingJust about everyone gets nervous before speaking in public. But if your nervousness is debilitating, the root cause is most likely something from your childhood: other kids laughed when you spoke in front of the class; an adult criticized your speaking; you watched a friend get humiliated in public. These are deep-rooted traumas that only a professional therapist (or hypnotist) can help you overcome. Make this the year that you finally put those childhood memories where they belong: in the forgotten past.

Start small to gain confidence

You can’t simply tell yourself to be confident. Rather, you need to gain confidence by actually experiencing some public-speaking successes.

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Clinton Counting on Marketing Postcards for Election Win

It’s true: Hillary Clinton’s presidential political campaign will almost certainly be relying heavily on marketing postcards and other direct mail to communicate her stands on important issues, drum up financial contributions, criticize opponents, encourage voting and more. Her last presidential run did. All political campaigns do – because direct mail is inexpensive, and it has a long history of being able to influence human behavior.

But that’s not really what this article is about.

The headline and first paragraph of this article are simply examples of a marketing technique called “Newsjacking.” In short, to illustrate how effective postcard marketing can be, we linked it to a trending topic in the news: Hillary Clinton’s latest presidential run. You can use the same technique to promote your business.

(And just to be clear: We’re completely impartial; we take no sides in this or any other political race.)

How to get started

newsjacking-how-to-do-itJust pick a topic (it doesn’t need to be political) that’s getting a lot of attention (news stories, social media comments, etc.) then think of a connection to your world of real estate sales.

Once you’ve discovered a connection, create a blog post discussing it, dash off a tweet mentioning it, launch a postcard campaign featuring it, send out a marketing email focused on it. Among marketing experts, Newsjacking is most often mentioned in relation to blogging, but the technique can easily be applied to most any form of advertising / marketing you use.

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Part 2: Eight Ways to Turn Sales Leads into Valued Clients

In a blog post last month, we shared four things you can do to make a prospective home buyer – or seller – want to hire you as their real estate agent. This month, we’re back with four more:

Use CRM software

“Customer relationship management” software helps you manage all your sales leads more effectively. Wildly popular with sales people from a wide variety of industries, there are a number of very good CRM programs designed exclusively for real estate professionals. With a good CRM solution, you can:

  • Determine which leads are the most valuable, the most pressing and the most likely to turn into clients.
  • Keep track of which leads you’ve contacted, and when.
  • Be reminded when it’s time to reach out to certain leads.
  • Easily manage all the contact information for your leads.
  • Communicate different marketing messages to different types of leads.
  • Track the social media postings of your leads.
  • Plus much more.

part2-turn-leads-into-clientsLeverage those kudos

Compliments from past clients are very effective at swaying prospective clients. Keep a record of all the kudos you get (the more specific they are, the better), and hire a graphic artist to help you format them into an attractive flyer. Even better, use the complimentary quotes in a simple postcard marketing campaign: Mail a new postcard to your sales leads every four to six weeks, each featuring a different complimentary quote from a past client.

Flaunt your expertise

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Part One: Eight Ways to Turn Sales Leads into Valued Clients

Xpessdocs’ list service is great for generating sales leads. But many real estate agents struggle with the next step: turning those prospects into paying clients.

The truth is, there is no “best” method for converting leads. There’s no telling when a potential client is going to make the decision to hire you as their agent. Every situation is different. Every prospect is unique. That’s what makes a sales career so exciting.turn-sales-leads-into-clients-part-1

But there are some lead-conversion approaches that have proven more successful. Included below are four of them. Next month, we’ll be back with four more.

Emphasize what makes you different

In the eyes of most prospective clients, it’s tough to tell a difference between real estate agents – which means, if you want to convert a sales lead, you need to emphasize the little things that make you unique (or at least seem unique).

Consider real estate agent Dan Kingsley. He sets his practice apart from the rest by playing up his paperless transactions:

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A New (and Free) Way to Market Your Real Estate Services: Instagram

Launched as an online service in late 2010 (and purchased by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion), Instagram is a free social media service that makes it easy to share photos – as well as videos – with your friends and followers.

Using Instagram’s filters, casual shots taken with your smartphone come out looking like something a professional would charge hundreds of dollars to stage and shoot. Plus, Instagram makes it a snap to post those photos to Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media sites.

Instagram is a new and free way to market your real estate businessPeople are naturally drawn to photos and videos – which is why Instagram can be such a powerful force for real estate professionals eager to engage their sphere of influence. Ideas include:

Showcase a home for sale

Selling a home? Instagram makes it easy to share pictures of the property. However, instead of posting five standard listing photos and calling it quits, share one each day. For example, a shot of the house at sunset, with the caption, “The sunsets from the deck of my new listing are something to behold”; or a photo of the master bedroom with the caption, “I wish my master bedroom had walk-in closets and big windows like this (stay tuned for more photos of my new listing).”

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Marketing Messages That Make Baby Boomers Want to Buy

Marketing postcards are an excellent marketing tool for reaching Baby Boomers – a generation that grew up with the U.S. Mail as its primary form of communication to the outside world. While also tremendously tech-savvy (Baby Boomers love Facebook, email and search engines), this group still anxiously awaits each day’s delivery to the mailbox.

But what should you write? When you’ve got a house for sale that seems perfectly suited for an active, fiscally fit senior couple, what are the postcard marketing messages that will make this group sit up and take notice? Included below, eight suggestions.Marketing for Baby Boomers

“A right-sized house with smart updates and thoughtful amenities”

Image, status and neighborhood standing are not as important to Baby Boomers today. They don’t aspire to having the biggest or most expensive home in the neighborhood. They’re focused on practicality and functionality.

 

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The Best Ways to Build Long-term Customer Relationships

It takes time to develop long-term relationships with your sphere of influence. So be patient. Soon enough, your extra efforts will reach a critical mass, and peoples’ loyalty to your business will swell. Some of the best ways to generate that goodwill include:

The Best Ways to Build Long Term Customer RelationshipsCheck-in with your network on a regular basis

When you check-in with your sphere of influence on a regular basis, it lets them know that you’re thinking about them (and who wouldn’t appreciate that?). Every six months or so, consider sending an email or making a phone call with the message, “I haven’t heard from you in a while.” Or, simply, “how’s it going?” Something like, “Can I be of any assistance?” works well, too. If you want a more business-like reason to make contact, just say you’re checking to see if the contact information you have on file for the person is up-to-date.

Send handwritten notes

In this day and age of all-electronic communications, sending handwritten notes (thanking clients for their business and referrals, congratulating them on any personal / professional successes, or just checking in to see how they’re doing) can make a real emotional impact. It shows you genuinely care, and that’s something that will foster long-term business relationships for a long time to come. The best part: It only takes a few minutes to jot a note and pop it in the mail.

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Five Things You Need to Do for Your Small Business in 2015 – (Marketing To-Dos for the New Year)

Consider this a list of business resolutions – five things you can easily do that are guaranteed to make a difference for your business in the coming year.

  1. Add 150 new people to your marketing mailing list

The Xpressdocs blog posts are packed with great ideas for expanding your marketing mailing list. But the ideas require extra effort and a long-term commitment. Make this the year that you commit to really bulking up your mailing list. Having a growing, up-to-date mailing list is the most important element of any successful marketing campaign.Five marketing to-dos fo the new year

  1. Determine what sets you apart from the competition

If there’s nothing that makes you different from every other real estate professional, prospective clients have no reason to choose you over them. Even worse: If consumers think you and your competitors are all the same, they’ll simply go with the cheapest option.

Forget about the basics: attributes like “friendly,” “experienced,” “ethical” or “knowledgeable.” Those are things all your competitors can easily claim as well (and usually do). They don’t set you apart from the pack, and they’re so basic that prospective clients expect them.

You need a trait that really makes you different. Once you discover what that special something is, start promoting it in all your marketing materials.

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