Mathias Bergendahl's Marketing Blog


Are You Open for Business?
May 23, 2009, 11:02 pm
Filed under: General Marketing Topics

It’s a waste of time. In the event I even have any visitors to an open house it’s highly unlikely they’re prospective buyers. Too often I end up giving away food to the neighbors rather than collecting names of interested buyers. In the end I’ve wasted a day I could have spent with my children instead.”

“It’s an essential part of my marketing plan. With a thoughtfully developed promotional campaign, a well staged home, and an action plan for how to follow up after the event, open houses have been the number one reason I’ve been able to build my business.”

A recent poll conducted through LinkedIn gave a wide range of opinions as to the likelihood of success when conducting an open house. Most responses appeared to favor the use of open houses, but they stressed the importance of only making wellprepared homes available. Additionally, most of those responding suggested the use of an extensive marketing and promotion campaign.

Should an open house be part of your marketing plan? Consider the following suggestions by other professionals.

Click here to read Are You Open for Business?

I recently posted a casting call on LinkedIn in order to interview Realtor about the use of open houses as part of a marketing plan. I would like to thank those who responded and contributed to the article.

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Twitter for Realtors®: A Focused Approach for Effective Marketing
May 15, 2009, 5:18 pm
Filed under: General Marketing Topics, Social Media Marketing

By now you’ve probably heard of Twitter. Following months of the micro-blog’s ever-increasing exposure in the news, it seems every television anchor, celebrity, rock star and web savvy business person is sending Tweets, as messages through Twitter are called, and asking you to follow them.

Twitter has mostly been talked about as a way to quickly send messages to friends, giving them updates on what you’re doing and what’s on your mind. For critics, Twitter is simply a medium through which you can send out written messages into a dark hole without any clear recipients. In a sense, they say, Twitter is a forum for mindless chatter. If you view this humorous movie clip it’s easy to see how Twitter could be perceived that way. There are also risks involved with the use of Twitter as you may have read in Before Your Post at Twitter – Consider This, a blog post I recently wrote.

But, before dismissing Twitter as yet another Internet fad soon to meet its demise, let’s take a look at how Realtors® can apply Twitter as part of their marketing efforts.

Getting the Word Out

Do you have a blog? If you do you probably want to notify your readers each time you’ve added a new post. I use Twitter and these are a few examples of past messages that were automatically posted to my Twitter profile each time I added an article on my blog.

“Spending One Day Looking through the Eyes of Your Customers: The idea for this blog post was born the other day .. http://tinyurl.com/dlqeev

“Avoiding the Urge to Sell on Social Media Platforms: It’s common nature. No matter how much you know you’ll ne.. http://tinyurl.com/cf7qmr

Treating Every Social Network Profile as Your First Handshake: Years ago, your first contact with potential clie.. http://tinyurl.com/ctukqs

In addition to my Twitter account, I use two services to enable this. Twitterfeed automatically feeds my blog posts onto my Twitter profile. TinyURL enables me to shorten links so that my Tweets will be within the 140-character size limit.

Similarly, you can post short notes about an upcoming open house and include a link to your website where you provide the address, a map, photos and maybe a link to a virtual tour. You can easily send links to newspaper articles you believe would be beneficial to those who follow you, and you could for example bring to their attention important information about new federal housing programs for first-time home buyers.

Search Engine: An Increasing Use of Twitter

In recent weeks I’ve come across articles that describe Twitter as an emerging search engine. The main Twitter search page is at search.twitter.com and an advanced search can be made at search.twitter.com/advanced. An interesting feature is that through an advanced search you can limit your search to certain distance within a specific place such as Clearwater. Consider the possibility that a couple interested in finding a home in Clearwater uses Twitter. If you have a Twitter account through which you post information about properties in that particular area there’s a good possibility you’ll be found if they simply enter Clearwater Realtor® in the search box at search.twitter.com. Similarly, a home buyer in St. Petersburg interested in visiting open houses may use Twitter to search for them.

Follow Your Audience

Consumers haven’t been slow to discover available social media networks. Some prefer FaceBook, others may just be content with their LinkedIn account. If you ask your sphere of influence you may be surprised to find that many of them have Twitter accounts, and they probably expect you to have one as well. As a Realtor® you may have to be on all of them just to make sure you reach all those you want to stay in touch with.

With a focused approach Twitter offers Realtors® an excellent way to communicate with prospective and current buyers and sellers. If you’d like to know more about how to incorporate Twitter into your marketing efforts, participate in our social media marketing clinic on May 29, 2009, from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. For more information, please click here.



The Cornerstone of Social Media Marketing: Relationship Builder, Lead Generator, or Both?
May 13, 2009, 10:05 pm
Filed under: General Marketing Topics, Social Media Marketing

Sharon was close to giving up. Several months ago she spent weeks researching other blogs to help her decide on what she wanted hers to look like. She’d spent three months writing insightful articles about her community and her local real estate market. She had made it part of her daily schedule to stop along the road as she traveled between meetings to take pictures for use in her blog.

Result? No leads. As far as traffic goes, though, she’d been able to get quite a few hits, growing in numbers each week. Her email notifying past clients about her new blog seemed to have worked as several of those she previously had served had posted comments about her blog posts. Still, her blog had not generated any new leads. Eager to never waste any of her precious time, she was running out of patience. Disenfranchised, she wondered what she’d done wrong.

After teaching a class on how to get started with social media marketing earlier this week, I was asked by a few members what results they can expect once they establish their social media marketing platform. Specifically, we discussed the possibility of generating sales by using a blog and platforms such as FaceBook and LinkedIn.

Social media platforms can certainly generate leads, and most likely will over time. In my opinion, though, blogs and social networking websites such as FaceBook and LinkedIn should initially be viewed as tools through which you can build stronger relationships with your existing sphere of influence. By now you probably have several hundred contacts in your database to which you’ve previously may have sent postcards or placed phone calls. Once you’ve built your blog it’s time to invite your sphere of influence to visit and subscribe to your blog. Next, the use of blogs and other platforms can serve as an excellent introduction to new contacts. Add your blog address to any postcard you’re about to send and give recipients a reason to come visit you online. For those you’ve never reached out to before it will serve as a first “meeting,” and your blog enables you to make a great first impression. In fact, most bloggers I speak with say that many times they receive phone calls and emails from prospective clients who comment that they already feel as if they know them. Finally, once you’ve built a loyal following to your blog, and start seeing an increased number of visits through search engines, other blogs, and by online and offline word of mouth, you will likely receive leads. Once you’re consistently adding posts to your blog you may climb up the ladder among search engine results and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ll start receiving leads through your blog and other platforms.

From time to time you’ll find references to Teresa Boardman in this marketing blog, simply because I consider her blog to be, as I’ve said before, a beacon of what blogs can and should be. Most importantly, beyond the fact that her blog includes interesting and engaging stories, not to mention beautiful pictures, it’s also successful. Here are two articles which discusses Boardman’s success with blogging: Click here to read Interview With a Real Estate Blogging Goddess. Click here to read A Small Business Marketing Success Story: Teresa Boardman, Real Estate Agent.

Engaging in social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It should compliment your marketing efforts, and expand them, rather than completely replace what you’ve done previously. Expecting instant gratification most likely will lead to disappointment. Instead, view your social media platforms as a means to build stronger relationships with those you’ve served in the past. It’s an excellent way to introduce your business to new contacts, and turn previously cold prospects to warm leads.



Spending One Day Looking through the Eyes of Your Customers

eyesThe idea for this blog post was born the other day when following a social media class I taught I was asked for advice on how agents could, and should, market themselves through blogs, websites, social networks, ads and brochures. We discussed branding, images, tone, message, and what information to provide and how to present it.

Quite often I’m asked similar questions by business professionals in different industries and professions. Each time, I answer such questions with a question: what information would your prospective customers look for, how would they want it delivered and where do they typically go to find it? The answers should be the cornerstone of how you develop your online platforms and offline marketing collateral – well, your overall marketing strategy in general.

Spend one day as if you were looking through the eyes of a consumer. Visit your website, blog, and all your other virtual platforms as if you were a consumer who’s never purchased a home before, let alone worked with a Realtor®. Do you include information on how to find you online in all your printed materials including your business card? Furthermore, rather than only telling them to go to your website, do you entice them to do so by specifying exactly what they’ll get out of a visit to your website or blog? Is your website providing the necessary information and tools so that visitors won’t need to continue their search for information anywhere else? Is your blog welcoming, and does it speak to the needs of the consumer rather than being too focused on you and your credentials? Do you outline the steps of a buying or selling process, and do you offer a preview of what you do to serve your customers through a transaction? Are your platforms attractive, with easily followed navigation and images that help illustrate the information you give, or are they too busy and poorly organized? Could your messages be perceived as condescending or do they include too many phrases and real estate-related buzz words that consumers may find overwhelming? Do you provide a way to subscribe to updates through email or RSS feeds so that you don’t lose prospects once they turn their attention away from your blog? Most importantly, did your website and blog engage you, or are they mainly a promotional item that left little reason for the consumer to contact you?

Next, visit other websites, and see if they deliver something you currently don’t. Read their introductions of themselves as if you were a potential client and ask yourself: would I want to contact this person? Similar to the critiquing of your own website and blog, are other websites you review speaking more about the agents rather than what the agents can do for you?

Often our best ideas come from others. I’ve come across quite a few real estate blogs and one that in my opinion takes home the grand prize is Teresa Boardman’s blog, Realtor® and licensed Minnesota broker with Saint Paul Home Realty in St. Paul, MN. In fact, in my social media marketing classes I typically describe her blog as the beacon of what blogs can and should do. In her blog, Boardman has a way of weaving pertinent real estate-related information with general community tidbits and just about anything that would be of interest to those living in St. Paul, and those interested in moving to St. Paul. She writes extremely well, providing humor and insight, while incorporating beautiful pictures to illustrate the topics she describes. While you quickly see that she’s a Realtor® when you visit her blog you never get the feeling that she’s trying to sell anything. A couple of weeks ago I wrote the article Avoiding the Urge to Sell on Social Media Platforms and I think Boardman’s blog is a true testament of how a blog can provide excellent information without coming off as selling. She provides links to listings, open houses and information about sold homes, with prices and pictures, but those are merely there when you’re ready for that information. Spend a few minutes reading her blog and you’ll probably feel as if you knew her. Truthfully, isn’t that what you want prospective customers to feel when they find you online?

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