Friday, May 26, 2006

@IDontCare.com

If you are using one of the free email services like Hotmail or Yahoo, stop now. If your email address is realtor@freemail.com, people are reading that as IDontCareAboutMyBusiness@freemail.com. If you don't know how to fix this, here is the best set-up I have found:

1)Sign up for a domain name with a trusted registrar. Even GoDaddy.com works fine. I like 1and1.com.

2)Go here and follow the instructions for signing up. This is a brand new service that lets you use Google's mail servers with your domain name. Google's mail features are by far the best around, and best of all, they're free!

3)Enjoy your new-found professionalism.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sale or hello?

Hypothetical:
You have decided to hire an assistant to help increase your business. They are going to go door-to-door in your behalf. You have found a great employee. His name is Dave. He is friendly. He has a great smile. All you have to do now is tell him what to do when someone answers the door.

Do you tell him to make a connection, explain why you are different than every other real estate agent, ask for information about the person and their needs, collect phone numbers and home status creating leads for you, and then stress the importance of calling an agent as qualified as you are when it comes time for a sale or purchase?

Or does he just smile, shake their hand and walk away.

I am hoping for your sake that you chose option number one.

You may not realize it, but every marketing piece you have distributed is that assistant I was just describing (ok, maybe not the part about him being name Dave). Every business card, flier, website, and postcard does a job. Marketing pieces, like employees, don't come cheap. Are your pieces doing all they can to bring real improvements to your business? Do they walk your prospects through the steps that will bring them one step closer to being a commission for you?

Or are they just smiling, shaking someone's hand and walking away?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Is video marketing for you?

Google has announced that it will now support video on its Adwords network. For those of you who aren't familiar with Adwords, it is the advertising system that allows you to purchase ads on Google searches and a vast network of relevance-targeted websites. So what does video Adwords mean for you? Video can be the most affective weapon in branding. Branding is all about controlling how potential customers feel about you. You want people to feel like they know you, that they are your friend, even if they have never met you. Video is about the closest thing you can do to actually sitting down and talking to someone in person. So why Google? Google specializes in putting your advertisements in front of people that are actually interested in your service. They also provide you with the tools to track what is working and what's not, and producing video for web can be much cheaper than for other sources.

Imagine this:
Someone is looking to sell a home. They have decided to sell the house themselves. They think realtors are all scam artists. They go to a website about how to sell a house. Suddenly, they are looking at a very interesting video about you. You talk about how you walk them through the process of dealing with home inspectors, title brokers, real estate lawyers and get them more money out of their property. They say to themselves "What's a title broker? Hey, this agent doesn't seem like a crook. I could do business with them." They are sold. When they call you, don't have to spend days or weeks courting the prospect. They already know you, like you, trust you.

Sure, this is the best case scenario. Sure, this will not always be the case, but it may work sometimes. Is video advertising worth a shot? My vote is yes.

The beginning.

My name is Dan Smith. I run Lucid Realm Design, a design and marketing firm that specializes in small businesses. I work a lot with real estate agents and brokers on marketing plans and brand identity.

You are seeing this post thanks to a revalation I had today. I was sitting with one of my clients (a real estate agent with 10 years in the field) talking about her past and her future. She mentioned some of her hard times and wasted dollars and how they almost caused her to quit the job. She loves her job. She loves the ability to help others. She was almost forced to quit something she truly loved because of one marketing mistake. The only thing that saved her was a last minute idea she had on how to better market herself as an agent. Marketing is my passion. If I can help others do what they love to do, I am happy. If I can provide someone like the agent I was just describing the ability to market themselves in a way that they can live a successful life and be happy, I want to do so.

So, I decided to start this blog. My goal is to gather all of the best advice that I can find in one place. I want to help people find that one idea (or several) that will bring them success.