Marketing today has many facets, constantly expanding in our fast-paced, noise laden, digitally driven society. Juggling existing transactions, marketing, prospecting, and customer service can sometimes pose a challenge. I believe there are a couple of simple tools to handle the workload: prioritization and balance.
And while that answer may seem very simple, the follow through isn’t always easy to do. Balance is essential in maintaining a competitive edge (and your sanity), but to maintain balance, you must first prioritize your time and effort. That means focusing on what works best, what will most efficiently help you attain, or maintain, the business or lifestyle that you want to achieve.
For the purpose of this article, I want to focus on marketing. Utilizing template driven campaign management programs for email and text campaigns is an easy way to stay in the digital foreground of a prospect’s mind. Billboards or advertising circulars, while somewhat more generic but wider reaching from a “brand exposure” standpoint, can potentially be beneficial in reaching a more diverse segment than you might with other forms of media. Direct mail from local businesses and business owners is still the preferred choice among consumers, according to a recent DMA survey, and also it receives the highest response rates. Brochures and flyers (take-ones) at local coffee shops, dry cleaners, or restaurants can help establish your brand in the community. And of course, a well-designed and appropriately brandished business card can be a hot commodity in any successful agent’s marketing repertoire.
Whatever route you take, the more targeted you can become, the more effective you will be. Mass marketing is typically cheaper from a “per household” approach, but often times it is wasted because it is a message to the wrong crowd. Targeting is the best approach, even if it costs more “per impression”. The desired outcome, having a person utilize your services, is what you are after.
At this point, stop and ask yourself: “Am I utilizing any of those things?” “Am I doing all of them?” “What reasons are keeping me from doing them?” You might be using one or two of those items and be thinking to yourself, “why do I need to do ALL of those things?” My answer to that is this: your audience forgets 90% of what they see within two weeks! According to Jay Walker-Smith, President of the marketing firm Yankelovich, we’ve gone from being exposed to roughly 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today. Granted, these are for a wide variety of products and services, but because the exposure is so large, there is almost certainly overlap. Meaning that in the course of a day, a consumer is most likely seeing some form of marketing presented by either an individual real estate agent or realty company.
Those figures might seem overwhelming, and rightly so, but there is a way to establish yourself uniquely and firmly in the mind of your target consumers. Several years ago I had the opportunity to hear Mark Magnacca, author, national speaker, and President of Insight Development Group, speak to a small group of investors. He pointed out a concept that I (and probably you as well) was familiar with, but had not really thought about on this level – something he calls psychic real estate. To avoid muddying up what he conveys, I’m going to include an excerpt from his book, “So What?” where he discusses this concept:
“I call the process of understanding the associations you want to create in the mind of your target clients creating psychic real estate. Psychic real estate is the words, pictures and feelings people associate with a product or service. If I say to you, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is,” most people will immediately think of the old Alka Seltzer commercial. They’ll not only remember the commercial, but most people can even see the picture of the two white tablets fizzing in a glass of water in their mind’s eye. That image is the psychic real estate that Alka Seltzer owns. They literally own a little piece of real estate in your mind.
If you said McDonalds, Xerox, Amazon, and Volvo, you can go to the head of the class. One of the interesting things about psychic real estate is that, generally, people only associate one or two primary things with a particular company. For example, McDonalds also sells Fillet of Fish and Chicken McNuggets, but most people associate McDonalds with its hamburgers. The same goes for you: People can generally remember only one or two key ideas about who you are and what you do. The biggest mistake people make when creating psychic real estate is trying to have their personal brand be associated with too many things. Amazon.com sells electronics, holds auctions, and sells music—but they are known first and foremost for books. After you create a book-buying relationship with Amazon, you are more likely to do business with it in one of its sub-categories.
When you consider your brand, remember that if you want to be unique, you can’t be all things to all people. There is great power in specializing in those aspects that truly make you unique. It is much easier to commoditize a general practitioner in medicine, law or financial advice than it is to commoditize a specialist. This is not to say that you must specialize to such an extreme that you can’t discuss a wide range of issues. Just recognize that it is easier to build your own personal brand around a core idea than it is to build it around many individual parts.”
Take a few moments and let that sink in. Now think how amazing it would be that when someone in your community decides to buy or sell a home, your name immediately comes to mind as THE provider for those services. To accomplish that, here are a few takeaways I want you to grasp:
So now that I’ve given you some very high level ideas to follow, what does all of that really mean? Well, it means that you need to sit down and develop a priority based, integrated marketing plan. At a minimum, I believe it’s essential to utilize direct mail marketing if you can afford it. While the cost is higher than other forms of digital outreach, the response rates are statistically better, and in my opinion, the branding points earned are greater as well. If at all possible, these should be personalized and highly targeted to be most effective. Create an email marketing strategy in tandem with your direct mail campaigns to potentially increase your chances of consistent exposure. Have a take-one designed and try to get placement in highly trafficked businesses in your community. Hopefully you’re getting the idea.
The most effective marketing plan is the one that gets implemented. Don’t get too hung up when deciding which approach to take – you’ll find what works for you as you implement. Prioritize your needs, create a balanced plan of attack, then go!