Category Archives: Marketing

Turn Your Car or Truck into a Moving Billboard (Without Embarrassing the Family)

There’s a reason why semi-trucks, city buses, delivery vans, work trucks and even some passenger cars are covered with advertising: Moving vehicles make good billboards.

But what if your work vehicle is also your family car? How can you leverage your vehicle’s advertising capability without your children – and spouse – needing massive-embarrassment therapy?

smart-car-signageMagnetic door signs are passé

The magnetic door signs people slapped on their cars in the 1980s and 1990s are old-school. While the easy-on/easy-off nature of the signs was supposed to make it simple to switch between your work and personal lives, few people ever took them off. Then they became popular with construction contractors and lawn-mowing services. Once every beat-up work truck in the city was sporting a pair, magnetic door signs eventually came to symbolize the fly-by-night operator.

Use vinyl lettering instead

It used to be that custom, vinyl-lettered vehicle advertising was only an option for big companies. It was too expensive for independent real estate agents. But as the technology took off, the prices came down. Today, you can transform the rear window of your vehicle into a vinyl-lettered ad for about $50.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Open House Marketing

Public open houses are an ingrained part of the real estate business. Sellers love them. They’re ideal for getting feedback. And, of course, they’re one of the best means for meeting prospective clients.

10 Do's and Dont's of Open House MarketingThe trick is to maximize the business-boosting elements. Included below are some dos and don’ts.

DO:

Have three types of handouts on-hand

In addition to the listing sheet / flyer for the house, you should also be ready with targeted marketing materials you can hand out to prospective clients. Handing those folks a business card with an encouraging “call me” comment is weak. It doesn’t set you apart from every other agent at every other open house. What you really need are two separate marketing flyers/brochures: one highlighting the advantages of listing with you; another highlighting the advantages of buying with you.

Why not combine them into one brochure and save money? When these marketing materials are separated, it allows you to focus on the things these two very different kinds of clients really want to hear.

If you really want to save money, use marketing postcards as your brochures. Postcards are much cheaper to print, faster to produce, easier to handle, and still capable of making a big impact on your target audience.

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The One Question You Should Always Ask Yourself: ‘Who cares?”

Too often, real estate agents and other professional-services providers write things in their marketing materials that very few people beyond their office walls would honestly care about.

For example, it’s not uncommon to see marketing statements that read something like, “Over the last three years, business at our brokerage has been growing by leaps and bounds. In 2013 alone, we managed more than 1,100 real estate transactions for our clients.”

The One Question You Should Always Ask Yourself: "Who Cares?"

The One Question You Should Always Ask Yourself: "Who Cares?"

If that sounds like a statement you might like to include in your next marketing brochure, keep reading (because it’s a bad idea).

You could argue that boasting about the number of sales completed shows you’re running a successful brokerage. But to many potential clients, a statement like the one above will come across as unimportant. It doesn’t resonate for the reader. They won’t care enough to keep reading.

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Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: Learn from Your Competitors’ Mistakes

They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery. And when it comes to marketing, many small- and mid-sized businesses are all too happy to imitate what their competitors are doing … which means they often wind up copying the mistakes, too.

Learn from Your Competitor's MistakesCopying a marketing idea simply because you see someone else doing it is not a smart way to run a business. Borrowing ideas makes sense. But you need to know they’re winners before moving ahead with something similar. And that calls for some diligent monitoring.

Start systematically monitoring your competitors

Choose five key competitors (maybe even choose a different group each year), then “Like” their Facebook pages, follow their tweets, sign up for their mailings, subscribe to their customer newsletters, and regularly check their websites. In other words, act like an interested customer.

There are also online services that can help:

  • Sign up with Google.com/Alerts, and you’ll be notified via email whenever something new about a competitor appears on the Internet.
  • With WhosMailingWhat.com, you can see actual samples of your competitors marketing mailers, marketing email and more.
  • Use Moat.com to see the ads your competitors are placing on the Internet.

Separating the hits from the misses
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The Top 5 Marketing Strategies of Successful Small Businesses

With all the so-called marketing experts making spectacles of themselves online today, it’s harder than ever to separate the marketing strategies that really do work from those that are duds, lies, scams or repeats of ideas spread by people who have no business offering marketing advice.

Top 5 Marketing Strategies of Successful Small Businesses

So instead of letting the loudest voices lead the way, we decided to search out some of the most successful small businesses, and investigate the marketing strategies they use to pump up sales and attract more clients.

Some of the businesses using these ideas are real estate agents and longtime Xpressdocs’ clients, some are from outside the real estate industry. But they all have one thing in common: they’re proven winners.

If you’re on the hunt for marketing strategies with true breakthrough potential, follow the examples set by the leading small businesses:

They ‘integrate’ their marketing

Instead of relying too much on one method of marketing (direct mail, email, social media, public relations, etc.), the most successful small businesses combine a variety of those mediums into an integrated marketing campaign.

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6 Secrets to Closing More Business Deals

No one likes to be badgered and bullied into moving forward with a business deal. But if prospective customers are left to their own devices, most will take the path of least resistance, which is usually to take no action at all.

6 Secrets to Closing More Business DealsIf you want to be successful at sales, you need to be able to help people make up their minds and overcome their natural tendency to procrastinate.

Of course, every sales process should be focused on drawing out the unique needs of the prospective buyer, and establishing a personal relationship. But at some point, the paperwork needs to be signed and handshakes made. The deal needs to close in order to be considered a sale. That’s when you need to do something like …
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The Very Best Deals and Discounts to Offer at the Holidays

According to recent predictions from two different companies that study consumer trends, the 2013 holiday shopping season is either going to be one of the worst in recent history for retailers, or just mildly slow. But play your cards right, and your business will be one of the ones that comes out on top when all is said and done.

The best way to combat lethargic consumer spending is with creative discounts and exciting special offers. Big discounts can cost big money – and often only produce short-term wins. But if you’re creative and strategic with your specials, the benefits will not only be rewarding but long-lasting. Included below are some of our very best ideas.

Offer a discount in return for more marketing access/customer information – This kind of offer not only helps to move product now, it fills your marketing database with valuable customer contact information for later. Ideas include:

  • “Update your customer profile in the next five days, and we’ll give you an extra $5 in bonus rewards.”
  • “Get free return shipping when you register as a VIP customer.”
  • “Sign up for our email newsletter and save 10% on your next purchase.”
  • “Like us on Facebook and we’ll ship your next order for free.”

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Back to Basics: The 10 Commandments of Good Marketing

It’s easy to get lost in the details when you’re putting together a new marketing effort – which is why we recommend you stop what you’re doing and take a moment to review the ten commandments of good marketing included below:

  1. Thou shall always use the right marketing medium
    No single medium can be successful for all of your marketing. Direct mail is best for finding new customers and getting them to make a purchase. Email is ideal for getting them to make another purchase, provide a referral and otherwise interact with your business. Facebook, Twitter and other social media are great for encouraging feedback, having conversations and building long-term relationships.
  2. Thou shalt not be like thy competitors
    In order to stand out from your competitors, you need to make your marketing unique – but not so different that you confuse or scare away prospective customers.
  3. Thou shall put the needs of thy customer first
    The most successful marketers go to great lengths to try and predict the wants, questions and concerns prospects will most likely have – then make sure to address those issues clearly and concisely in marketing efforts.
  4. Thou shall be consistent
    Companies that roll out a marketing effort only when business is slow never gain as much respect and name recognition as businesses that market on a regular basis.
  5. Thou shalt not be hesitant to ask for action
    The easiest thing for a consumer to do is nothing at all. That’s why you need to use encouragement, warnings, deadlines and more in your marketing to overcome their do-nothing attitude (e.g. “Call before 3 pm today to schedule a free inspection before the weekend” … “Don’t make the same mistake: download this breakthrough white paper today” … “To receive more special offers and discounts, sign up on our website”).
  6. Thou shall keep it simple
    Including too many details about your product, service, guarantee, business (or whatever), will delay the consumer from taking action. Keep your sales pitches simple and to-the-point – and encourage interested prospects to follow up for details.
  7. Thou shall combine forces with thy allies
    One of the best ways to reduce costs (and get more exposure) is to roll out a cooperative marketing effort with a complementary company.
  8. Thou shall learn from others
    Get on the mailing lists of companies you respect (both inside and outside your industry) and pay close attention to the marketing you receive: the words and images used, the special offers, the timing between marketing efforts, the variety of marketing efforts and more. Then integrate the best ideas into your own marketing.
  9. Thou shalt not be everything to everyone
    Make your marketing highly appealing to your target audience and you will be richly rewarded. So long as it’s on target, it doesn’t matter what anyone outside that realm thinks about it.
  10. Thou shalt not give up
    Too many novice marketers give up after a few disappointing marketing efforts. The Direct Marketing Association says that a single consumer must see a display advertisement at least nine times before considering making a purchase.

For more information about Xpressdocs real estate marketing products, please visit www.xpressdocs.com.

Never Advertised Online Before? Here’s How to Place an Ad with Google

Buying an ad in the local newspaper has been standard practice for most small- and mid-sized businesses for decades. The problem with that marketing strategy today: Traditional newspaper readership has been in dramatic decline for years (in 2002, just 41 percent of Americans said they read the daily print newspaper; today, that number has dropped to 23 percent).

Meanwhile, the number of people getting their news (and just about everything else) from the Internet is on a rapid rise. Today, the average American spends 32 hours a month doing something online; and a whopping 76 percent of the public reads the news on the Web.

So if your customers and potential customers have all flocked to the Web, maybe it’s time you started advertising there, too. As they say, “it doesn’t take a genius” to figure these things out.

Most businesses that advertise online use Google AdWords. Those are the text-only ads that appear in the margins of your computer screen whenever you do a Google search for something. They also appear in the margins of millions of websites.

Unlike with newspaper advertising, there’s no cost to post a Google AdWords ad, however, each time someone clicks on it, the advertiser – that’s you – pays a pre-determined rate (usually between 35 and 45 cents per click).

Yes, it’s more convoluted and confusing than buying a newspaper ad. But the cost for giving it a try is very small (Google even offers free-trials from time to time). Here’s how to get started:
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4 Ways to Improve Your Online Marketing with Google Analytics

As a small business owner it can be difficult to understand the results from your online marketing initiatives without paying a lot of money for expensive software. How do you know if your website and online marketing campaigns are effective? Fortunately, Google Analytics is a powerful analytics tool that helps you to monitor traffic patterns and the effectiveness of your website and it is totally free. Here are some of the features that could benefit your small business.

How visitors are viewing your website

Understanding what technologies are being used to view your website can tell you a lot about your visitors and helps for optimizing your web design. For instance, if a good majority of your visitors use a Chrome browser over Internet Explorer, you could infer that they are tech-savvy and you would want to test your web design thoroughly in that browser. In addition, you can also see which devices are being used to view your website. With mobile devices continuously growing in popularity, you might want to consider building a mobile-friendly version of your website.
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