Category Archives: Marketing

STOP Scratching the Surface

SoLoMo TBT

If you browse your social media accounts long enough, you’re guaranteed to encounter a slew of “Throwback Thursday” hashtags (commonly known as #TBT).

Well today is Thursday, and I want to share a marketing-related #TBT with you.

SoLoMo

Last month Xpressdocs launched Xpress Mobile, and its release stirred up the memory of SoLoMo.

SoLoMo was a popular term amongst marketers, and it focused on the importance of combining three critical marketing elements: social, local, and mobile.

When these three marketing vehicles are aligned, the reach of a campaign goes far beyond what any of them could achieve on a standalone basis. And while SoLoMo may not be the hot term it once was, the practice of incorporating these elements into your marketing strategy has not lost its wind. (Psst… if you’re looking to SoLoMo your marketing, be sure to explore Xpress Mobile, Social HQ, and our hyperlocal list building options!)

Today’s world is segmented, and multi-tiered campaigns are a must. Adding a mobile marketing element with geo-targeting capabilities provides the powerful opportunity to reach your desired audience at the right time and place – ultimately shortening the gap between your business and a potential customer.

Back to the Now

Time spent using the internet on mobile devices is now greater than time spent using desktops, with mobile accounting for 51% compared to desktops at 42%. Plus, more consumers are using mobile devices for discovery and search. (It’s a major reason we developed the Xpress Mobile product!) If you’re serious about reaching your targeted audience, focus on the medium they use most.

Now take your efforts a step further with in-app advertising. Consumer time spent on mobile apps is 89% compared to that of mobile web browsing at 11%.

In-app advertising is heightened by location data, a key element to increasing engagement with your mobile ad. Location data offers an opportunity to target the right audience among different customer groups – down to even the narrowest parameter – at the right time and encourage them to interact without interruption. So if you’re looking to boost a time-sensitive event, or give your brand more visibility overall, in-app mobile ads are the ideal marketing vehicle you need to consider.

Direct mail remains a fundamental marketing vehicle, along with email and social, but you need to promote your business by optimizing where customers find you – through their smartphone and other mobile devices.

Fan the Flames

Like any goal (…I’m looking at you weight loss…) you don’t reach it with a solitary attempt. You must regularly work mobile ads into your marketing behavior.

In-app mobile marketing allows for precision analysis by tracking ad views, clicks, calls, emails, maps, and more, making campaign optimization an ongoing process as well. These ongoing efforts will deliver results, encourage renewed interest, and set your marketing achievements on fire.

So… you know that non-existent mobile strategy you have? Let’s fix that.

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Season to Grow Your Business with Marketing

Spring Forward

 

The busy season, spring, is now upon us! Colder, darker days are a thing of the past, which means the real estate market is stirring.

Homebuyers and sellers are coming out of the shadows, and you need to warm up your marketing efforts so you don’t miss out on opportunities to bring in business.

 

If you’re in need of motivation, here’s a list of reasons you shouldn’t sit on the sidelines this spring:

  • First impressions are crucial, and nice weather adds warmth to available properties, inviting interested shoppers.
  • People are psychologically geared up to get out and do new things – like visiting an open house perhaps.
  • With weekends to complete renovations around the house, home values tend to grow.
  • Tax returns mean interested buyers could have extra cash on hand for down payments.
  • The number of spring shoppers hitting the market this season, combined with a very limited inventory, creates the perfect opportunity to convince potential sellers it’s an ideal time to list their home. 
  • An increased volume of interested buyers creates competition to outbid each other on homes hitting the market.

 

Speed-to-market and visibility are crucial in this competitive climate, so your marketing needs to be regular and effective. But time is one of your most limited resources – we know.

 Save yourself time and stress following these helpful tips:

  • Brainstorm marketing ideas in one, easy-to-access location (like a note in your smartphone or a travel-sized notebook) so you don’t scramble last minute.
  • Plan your marketing campaigns well in advance to avoid getting caught off guard and sacrificing revenue-driving opportunities (but if you do have a last minute marketing need… we’re called Xpressdocs for a reason!)
  • Block off time in your schedule to flesh out strategies and determine logistics without distractions!
  • Automate your marketing efforts as much as possible – this includes developing content and direct mail pieces ahead of time with a pre-scheduled publish or send date.

 

Remember, if you plant the seeds of success now, you can focus on your growing customer base all season long.

 

Have you downloaded the 2016 Xpressdocs Marketing Guide yet?

 

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.

The Listing Presentation: Eight Keys to Success

We all know how important the listing presentation is. Do it right, and you’ll be one step closer to claiming the top-salesperson honors. Fumble it, and you’ll be back out on the street knocking on doors and looking for potential clients wherever you go.

Whether you’ve performed dozens of listing presentations or very few, the following tips will help you be more successful.

  1. Talk on the phone firstlisting

The last thing you want to do is show up with a generic listing presentation. Instead, call the sellers before the presentation and get a feel for who they really are – then use that insider information to customize your final presentation materials.

This is not the time to be selling yourself or your services. Your goal for the pre-presentation phone call is to ask the questions that will allow you to learn all you can about the motivations, objectives, expectations and concerns of the sellers.

  1. Create a guide

Home sellers are desperate for information, but they’ll only remember some of what you say during the presentation. So create a supplement that answers the most common home-seller questions and leave it with the homeowners after your presentation. Long after you’ve left the premises, your supplement will continue to sell your services.

  1. Be charming

No matter how experienced and knowledgeable you are, if the homeowners don’t feel a personal connection, you probably aren’t going to win the listing. The best way to get a stranger to like you is to mimic the person’s actions and personality. You have to be like them to be liked by them. It’s human nature.

  1. Learn to use visuals effectively

The best visual presentations are graphic-heavy and text light. Don’t make the mistake of including so much text on each page of your presentation that you’re just reading it. If you want to create a personal connection with the buyers, you need to engage them (and be engaging), not read to them.

  1. Go electronic

If you’re still using a physical book to make your presentations, it’s time to seriously consider switching to a tablet. Young sellers will think you’re too old-school to represent them if you use paper. And even older sellers will be expecting a little technology razzle dazzle.

  1. Turn the pricing question around

The number one thing every seller wants to know is, what you think their house could sell for. Before you present your research and recommendation say, “Before I tell you my opinion, tell me what you think your house is worth.” (If they’re a couple, be sure to ask both people, because they may disagree.)

The seller’s answer to this question will help guide the pricing part of your presentation. If their answer is, “I’m not willing to sell for anything less than …” and that price is high, you know you’re going to have to do a lot of explaining and convincing. But if the seller’s pricing expectation is in-line with yours, you can use your presentation time to confirm that.

  1. Sell softly

Selling a home is so stressful for homeowners that the soft-sell (even a bit of reverse psychology) is almost always the best approach. Tell them to take their time making a decision. Encourage them to interview other agents. Put them at ease and they’ll love you for it.

  1. Follow up with a note

If you really want to make an impression – and set yourself apart from the competition – send the sellers a handwritten note the day after your listing presentation. Tell them what a pleasure it was to meet them, and how you’ve been thinking about their house ever since the listing presentation.

If you don’t succeed, ask why

If you don’t land the listing, follow up with the sellers by phone and ask what made them choose the agent they did – then use those learnings to improve your next listing presentation. Make it clear that you simply want to learn from the experience, and most people will give you their honest feedback.

 

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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