Greg Herder shares “How to Make the Year Ahead Your Best Year Ever”

Personal Develeopment expert Greg Herder will walk you through a powerful exercise to help you close out the year behind you, learn from both your failures and successes in the past year and then use those insights to create meaningful change in the year ahead. Then you will learn how to create a vission for your life that will motivate you to make the changes you have wanted to make for years. If you have set goals in the past that you did not achieve this is a program that will transform your life.


Is Your Marketing Plan Helping or Hurting You: Hosted By Greg Herder

Real estate marketing expert Greg Herder teaches you how to evaluate your marketing plan for the year ahead so that you can know if your marketing plan is building your business or costing you money. Learn the three key questions you must be ask about your marketing plan. Learn how to determine the number of people you need to be reaching each and every month to achive your personal objectives. You will also the key pieces of marketing that every serous real estate agent must have in place to build a marketing driven real estate business intodays market place.


“Audio Only” Greg Herder Interviews Top Producing Agent Tony Slowik

This month Greg Herder does an in-depth interview with top producing Realtor Tony Slowik from Sky Realty in Austin Texas. Learn how Tony successfully got his business up and running and how he has been using YouTube video’s and Facebook Ads to lock in his brand and take over a very competitive high-end farm. Learn why he attend s Hobbs/Herder’s 3 Day Marketing Mastery Seminar each and every year and how hi uses what he has learned to keep his business growing. Learn how Tony pays his assistant and the systems he has in place to keep his business running even when he is not there. Grab a pen and get ready to take some notes so that you can use what you learn in this educational yet entertaining interview.

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Greg Herder Interviews Top Producing Agent Tony Slowik

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This month Greg Herder does an in-depth interview with top producing Realtor Tony Slowik from Sky Realty in Austin Texas. Learn how Tony successfully got his business up and running and how he has been using YouTube video’s and Facebook Ads to lock in his brand and take over a very competitive high-end farm. Learn why he attend s Hobbs/Herder’s 3 Day Marketing Mastery Seminar each and every year and how hi uses what he has learned to keep his business growing. Learn how Tony pays his assistant and the systems he has in place to keep his business running even when he is not there. Grab a pen and get ready to take some notes so that you can use what you learn in this educational yet entertaining interview.

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Narrow Your Focus to Expand Your Real Estate Business and Generate Leads

Use the Power of Niche Marketing to Your Advantage.

Over the years, one of the biggest principles Hobbs/Herder has taught real estate agents is the concept of Niche Marketing. It has proven to be one of the toughest concepts to convey and get buy in from agents. Time and time again, the agents who embrace this and implement it “all in” have become some of our biggest success stories. However, so many agents “sort of” understand niche marketing, but they cannot get themselves to fully commit and they still try to be everything to everybody.

It may sound like a contradictory concept, but narrowing your marketing focus in order to expand your business is a strategy that has proven successful throughout the business world. In the early days of cable television, ESPN was an incredibly bold niche branding concept. An entire channel devoted solely to sports coverage? Detractors said it would never succeed. Well, it did. The idea worked extremely well. Now, ESPN has its own channels targeting even more specific niche markets and there’s a specialized channel for just about any sport or recreational activity you can think of (golf, tennis, football, fishing, etc.).

Beyond just sports, most successful cable/satellite television networks are geared toward specific audiences and aren’t concerned with alienating people who aren’t interested in their particular shows. The result? More loyal viewers who value the specialized content of the programming and more support from advertisers who are targeting the exact same types of people.

So why aren’t you employing the same niche marketing strategies in your real estate career?

Most real estate agents are scared to “limit” their market reach. This results in a shotgun approach. You try to be everything to everybody, and unfortunately, the end result is that you can be seen as nothing to nobody. If your marketing isn’t memorable or emotionally engaging to the reader, it will go unnoticed. However, if it speaks to their specific needs and tastes, it can be incredibly powerful.

 

Choosing Your Target

SutherlandCoverSome of today’s most successful agents are utilizing a targeted niche market approach to great success. Stephen Sutherland in Newport Beach, CA was already targeting luxury real estate in the coastal Orange County market and doing well, but he wanted to take it to the next level. We worked with Stephen to repackage his entire campaign (Waterfront Collection) geared only toward homes directly on the waterfront. If it’s across the street from the waterfront, he won’t represent the listing. It takes a great deal of discipline and commitment to nurture a niche market as specialized as this, but the results are already speaking for themselves.

We’ve worked with agents throughout North America with all sorts of different niche focuses. We’ve had Condo Kings and Condo Queens. There are those that focus only on downtown/urban communities. Equestrian properties, golf course homes, homes with swimming pools, farmland—the possibilities are endless with the types of homes you can target.

SutherlandInside-2Don’t stop there, though, because your niche can also be based on people and demographics. Whether it’s a career that relates to your personal or professional background (attorneys, doctors/nurses, engineers, etc.) or someone who shares the same interests as you, there are so many ways to identify a unique niche market. A senior focus is one we see often, and we’ve also worked with agents who specialize in divorcees or only first-time home buyers. Sometimes it’s as simple as making your marketing message very family oriented when working your local neighborhood where most homeowners are families like yours.

The point is, there a lot of different ways you can choose your niche. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the best target markets are the ones that you can relate to most. If you have no connection to the legal field, you probably won’t want to target lawyers. Find something that makes the most sense for you. Dan O’Brien, a Virginia agent and client of Hobbs/Herder, successfully ran a niche market targeting all the people with the surname “O’Brien.” He also had great success targeting all parents who home-school their children, just as he and his wife did.

 

Refining Your Aim

Bickerstaff-Ad-2-ORIGINALOf course, you should also study the market(s) carefully. Look at turnover rates within the niche you are considering. Make sure you’ll be able to get a mailing list together to target this group and obviously, make sure there’s enough people/homes in the market to generate the amount of business you need to be successful. In some cases, you might have multiple “sub-niches” to enhance your primary campaign. Set up mailing plans and advertisements specifically geared toward these groups in addition to your general farming plan.

Reynolds Bickerstaff is in Columbus, GA and drives the majority of his marketing toward historic homes in his area. He’s passionate about these older properties and personally has very deep roots in his community, so it’s a natural target market for him to go after. Jim Noso in Vancouver, BC comes from a Finnish heritage and his father was one of the country’s most respected and well-known guitar makers. Jim uses this to his advantage by including the flag of Finland on all his marketing and even running focused ads in a Finnish newspaper that’s distributed throughout the Greater Vancouver area.

 

Hit the Mark!

NosoFinnishAdWhatever niche you choose, we strongly feel that narrowing your focus can greatly impact your business. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, be the best agent appealing to a specific group of people or a particular style of homes with a targeted message and tailored service approach.

The challenge is that niche marketing feels counter-intuitive to most agents. The idea of downsizing your pool of prospects to build your business feels completely foreign. However, it is a concept that has proven effective time and time again.


The Secret to 10 to 1 Return on Your Marketing Investment: Think it Through!

Greg provides a closer examination of the costs and steps associated with executing a high-quality marketing campaign, and the amazing results that can be expected when you do. (Does 10 times return on investment sound good to anyone?)

By Greg Herder

Over the last 20 years, I have taken countless phone calls from brokers and agents who call me up and say something like, “Greg, I have been running some ads over the last three to six months and they are just not producing the results I believe I should be getting. Can you create advertising campaign that will get me better results?”

Like any good marketing person, I start by asking questions about the campaign, the target market and the objectives the agent is trying to accomplish. During this process, I am looking to see if they have applied fundamentally good marketing concepts in creating their campaign. To figure out why an agent is not getting good results, I have to find out if the agent has a meaningful UMD (Unique Marketing Differentiator). Is the UMD appropriate for the target market they are trying to reach, the publication in which the ad is in, and is the UMD consistent with the agent’s style and personality at a core level? Do the ads clearly communicate the message, reinforce each other to build name recognition over time, and do they tie into the rest of the agent’s marketing materials and image in the marketplace?

Next, I delve into the follow-up process to determine how many calls have come in, how the calls were handled and by whom, what was sent to them immediately after the call, and what follow-up materials were sent and at what frequency.

Is Success Too Much Trouble?
Unfortunately, what I uncover is the agent does not know the answers to my questions and they are really just not interested in finding them out. After spending a lifetime helping agents create advertising, I have come to believe that the success of an advertising campaign has very little to do with the brilliance of a particular ad, but has everything to do with the thinking, planning, execution and follow up that come before and after an ad actually hits a publication.

The problem is that most agents simply do not want to put the time and effort into doing it themselves and are unwilling to spend the money to hire a professional to do it for them. They end up going the FSBO route of planning, writing, designing and executing their ad campaign. Agents will look at how much an ad agency wants to write an ad, and they believe they have some very clever ideas themselves, so how hard could it be? Unfortunately, when the ads don’t get the results they want or expect, they blame the publication, the timing or the economy. In short, they blame everyone and everything other than themselves. I believe that is why we see so much bad copycat real estate advertising year after year.

No Short Cuts
Fortunately, some agents finally get tired of spending money on ineffective advertising and marketing and come to the realization that unless they want to spend the rest of their real estate careers cold calling, holding open houses every weekend, and chasing FSBO’s and expireds, that they simply have to become good at marketing and advertising so that they can attract a steady flow of clients who want to do business with them. If you find yourself at this point in your real estate career, let me teach you how to create an advertising campaign that will get great results every time. First, understand that it’s not difficult but it does take work. Digging a ditch is not intellectually difficult but it is hard work and there are no short cuts. You have to put the shovel in the ground and move the dirt one shovel at a time. The same is true with creating an effective advertising campaign. So let’s get started.

Step #1: Define Your Intent
The first thing you have to do is decide what you are trying to accomplish and in very specific terms. Over the years, agents keep telling me that they simply want to make the phone ring. My reply is always the same, “You don’t need me.” I tell them that they should run an ad that says, “Free Money call 800-555-1212” and their phone will ring a lot. Then they say they are looking to get calls from people looking to buy a home and I’ll tell them they still don’t need me and to simply run an ad that says “Homes for sale 20% below market, no money down, no credit check and $1000 cash towards your moving expenses when it closes.” They say, “I don’t have any homes that meet those terms.” I say, “that’s not my problem, you simply asked me to create an ad that makes the phone ring with people who are interested in buying a home, and that ad will make the phone ring with people who want to buy a home.”

I hope I have made my point that the first step in creating a great ad campaign is to clearly define what you are trying to accomplish.

Think it through until you can define something like, I want my ad campaign to generate calls from people who are qualified to buy a $400,000 to $700,000 home in the Oakbrook area. My ideal client is a couple in their 40s, whom both work, have 1 to 3 kids, they typically would move up to Oakbrook from Cromwell and Covington Crest, most are college graduates working in professional jobs and have a combined family income of between $80,000 and $150,000. Quality of life, family and their kids’ education are key motivators for this group and fit well with my lifestyle niche as “Oakbrook’s Values Driven Realtor®.” Now you have something that you can work with and that you can shape your campaign around.

Step #2: Determine Your Media Options
Next you need to ask what media options do you have available to deliver your message. Every market has different media options; as an agent you have to look at each option and ask, “Does this publication reach my target audience?” “What is the cost per person of reaching my audience?” and “Can I stand out in this publication versus my competitors?”I recently had an agent call and ask me whether I thought she should place a direct response ad that would offer a free special report titled, “The Truth About Real Estate House Advertising,” in an effort to get more listings in her farm area. She was thinking about running the ad in the Daily Post, a paper that served her area and had a total distribution of over 100,000 people. The cost of the running an ad in the full publication just to reach the 5000 homes in her target market could not be justified, but upon doing a little investigation I found she could run an ad in the north section that reached 19,000 people and included about 90% of her farm.

She had attended one of our training events and remembered that I had stressed the importance of running an ad consistently over time. She said that she could get about a 30 percent discount per placement if she would sign a yearlong contract to advertise a quarter-page ad once a week for a year. The overall cost turned out to be $390 per quarter-page ad, or $20,280 annually, paid monthly about $1,690 per month. I reminded her the importance of running image or branding building ads consistently because they worked purely by repetition over time, but that direct response ads were designed to appeal to only the small segment of the market that has a short term need to buy or sell. I suggested that she run a combination ad, that had the top half of the ad designed to build her personal brand, establish her name recognition and UMD to all 5000 people in her farm. The bottom half would be a direct response offer for the sellers special report designed to stimulate calls from sellers who were thinking about selling three to six months from now.

Think It Through
The key is to think the process through, plan exactly what needs to happen, the costs and what you expect in return. First, she needed to print 100 special reports with a full-color cover and with digital printing – she found this would cost her $390.00 or $3.90 per special report. In addition, I suggested she send a simple cover letter and her oversized relationship building personal brochure in a nice 9 x 12 envelope, adding another $1.70 of printing costs and $1.60 to send via first class mail. I also strongly recommended that she use a fulfillment house to send out the packages at a cost of $5.00 per package mailed. This would bring the total cost of the first mailing to $12.20 each. After that she would put each person who responded into a special follow-up farming campaign consisting of two over-sized, full-color, brand building post cards mailed out each month, as well as one personal letter per quarter to each person. She hired Hobbs/Herder to create the 24 follow-up post cards for the year at a creative cost of $3,000.00 and it cost $1.12 for printing, postage and handling of each card to have them mailed out.

As we were going through this process, my client told me she was exhausted just thinking about it and that we should stop working on it because she knew that there was no way it would make enough money to cover all the costs. So I encouraged her to look at what we might expect from a campaign like this. The ad is going to run in a paper going to 19,000 readers, and my experience tells me that 50 percent of the readers are never going to see our ad. That leaves 8,000 people exposed to the message 52 times over a year.

Eight Leads a Week – to Start
Let’s assume that when you start, you are totally unknown, and therefore, your response rates will be low. Let’s say you get one tenth of one percent response rate from people asking for your special report. That would be eight requests per week to start. After three months, your name would start to have some small amount of recognition and you might increase your response rates up to say, 13 per week. After six months, it would be 20 per week and after nine months it climbs to one fourth of one percent response per ad, or 32 per week. So in the first quarter you would generate 104 leads (8 x 13 weeks). In the second quarter you would get (13x 13) 169 leads, in the third quarter you would get 260 and in the fourth quarter you would get 384 for a total of 917 total requests for your special report. The next question is what is your conversion rate out of those 917 requests.

Traditionally, if you only sent out your special report I would expect an agent to close two or three percent of them or 18 to 27 closed transactions, but since you have been mailing them 2 pieces per month and most people call three to six months before they buy or sell, your follow-up system will push your conversion ratio up to 10 to 15 percent or more. That would be between 90 and 135 closed transactions from your campaign. If your average sales price is $400,000, at a 2.5 percent average commission, that would be $900,000 in gross commissions. Assuming you have a 70% split with your broker, that is $630,000 in income.

10:1 Return on Investment
So now lets go back and see what it cost. $4,500 in creative fees to have a series of three ads created $20,280 to run the ad, 917 responses x $12.20 for the first mailing for a cost of $11,187.40, $3,000 in creative fees to create the 24 piece follow-up cards, 917 x 24 follow-up mailings at $1.12 including postage and handling, for a total cost of $24,648.96. The grand total would be $63,616.36 in costs. By thinking it through step by step, you have created a ROI of 10 to 1.
Best of all, once you start the campaign, it all happens automatically. No matter how busy you get, your cards are sent for you, the ads keep running and you are getting people who are excited about doing business with you. Best of all, your money is leveraged in a positive way and you are not throwing it down the drain. It all comes from taking the time to think and plan before you invest your marketing dollars.

I’d love to know what you think of this article. Send any questions or comments to me at Greg.Herder@HobbsHerder.com.


The Power of PowerKards.com (The Branded Lead Generating Machine)

The true “horsepower” piece of any personal marketing campaign, the PowerKard is the most essential element in your marketing mix. This month’s tip examines the many uses of this dynamic marketing tool.

randypkWhat’s a PowerKard, you ask? Quite simply, it’s an oversized (so it sticks out above No. 10 envelopes in the daily mail), high-quality, full-color postcard that not only acts as the “horsepower” piece of any effective direct mail campaign, but also cannot “not work,” because there’s nothing to open. Regardless of a recipient’s interest level, your name and image screams off both sides instantaneously.

A Powerful, Branded Marketing Tool That is Your Workhorse
The key difference between a Powerkard.comPowerKard.com branded  direct mail piece and all other agent direct mail is your unique branding. It’s the single most effective way to build your brand and stand out in your farm area with a consistent mailing plan. Sending your PowerKard consistently into your farm cements your brand in the minds of prospective home owners who will one day become prospective home sellers. The actual postcard stays the same (this is what hammers home your branding) and you send out a variety of messages on that card.

Understanding the Concept
Now, at this point, the question we always hear is, “You mean I’m going to send the same postcard over and over again?”

Exactly. That’s the point. The objective is to put your name and image in front of the homeowner on a consistent basis. In fact, the PowerKard message is secondary — it’s simply an excuse to deliver your image and market yourself with another PowerKard mailing. (That’s not to say the message does not matter. Of course, the more valuable information you can provide in your PowerKard messages, the more receptive homeowners will be and the more they will anticipate future mailings.)

To fully grasp the concept, it’s important to remember that these are not “keepers.” No matter how nice or useful your PowerKard is, no one is going to keep it. They all have the same ultimate destination. What’s important is the image they deliver in those few seconds before they hit the bottom of the trash can. If each of your postcards is different, how are you ever going to build your image? If there’s no continuity from piece to piece, do the recipients even realize it’s you again or “just another Realtor”?
At this point, many agents tend to argue that a “keeper” piece such as magnets, fly swatters, chip clips, calendars and the like would be a better investment. Not by a longshot. Pieces that are designed to be “keepers” simply become part of the landscape. They become wallpaper in people’s houses, but they fail to repeatedly deliver your name and image as a consistent PowerKard mailing campaign does.

A Crucial Element in Your Marketing Mix
Now, this is not to say a PowerKard is the only marketing piece you’ll ever need. When integrated into a comprehensive campaign consisting of a personal brochure (truly the cornerstone of your campaign), Web site and houseflier masters, the PowerKard becomes even more powerful, and will always be the most-used weapon in your marketing arsenal.

The PowerKard is used most frequently, however, because it’s so universal. Let’s examine some of the applications it can be used for:
1. Just Listed and Just Sold
A staple of real estate mailings for years, these messages deliver the message that you are active and successful in the marketplace.

2. Market Updates
You don’t have any “Just Listed” or “Just Sold” properties to announce, you say? Well, whether you sold them or not, once a property is sold and becomes public record, send a list of recently sold properties in your farm area. Everyone loves to know what houses are selling for in their area. Print a listing of recently sold homes in your farm area and mail it at least once per quarter to your farm.

3. Open House Invitations
Invite the neighbors and your direct mail farm when you’re holding an open house with an attractive, economical invitation overprinted on your PowerKard master.

4. Community Events
Show your involvement in and knowledge of the community by letting people know about an upcoming community event.

5. Promotions or Special Events
If you throw an annual Easter Egg Hunt, Holiday party, summer picnic or similar promotion, use your PowerKard both as an initial invitation and as a reminder as the event approaches.

6. Real Estate Trends
Similar to the market updates except in written form, this is your chance to let your farm area know your thoughts and insights into the current and near-future market conditions.

7. Advertising Messages
These are limited only by your creativity. Write messages that reinforce your marketing message.

8. Build Your E-mail Database
Use our proven “Trade Ya” headline to offer your direct mail farm the opportunity to be added to your E-mail database, from which they will receive valuable market updates and the latest market information via E-mail.

9. Testimonials
All it takes is a headline, “People Are Talking About (Your Name Here)” followed by 3-5 testimonials for this to become an effective marketing tool.
10. Handwritten Messages
Need to send a quick note to a client? Use your PowerKard as an easy and economical way to deliver your message, while reinforcing your image in the process.

A Tool of Many Uses
As you can see, the PowerKard’s usage is limited only by your own imagination. As much as 75 percent of your mailings can be handled with your PowerKard, which makes it the true workhorse of an effective marketing campaign. In this day and age of social media and online advertising, some marketing gurus are downplaying the role of direct mail and other print advertising. Truth be told, agents who are sticking with this “old school” marketing piece are reaping dividends as other agents abandon it. There is simply no more direct and powerful way to reach the home owners in your farm than using Direct Mail and your Branded Hobbs/Herder PowerKard!

Easy and Affordable
With the ongoing improvements in technology, PowerKards are affordable (your PowerKards can be printed AND mailed for as low as 74 Cents per PowerKard). And with the convenient Powerkards.com  print store, it’s easy to mount a full scale mailing campaign from your computer. PowerKards.com to find out more.

Simple, Yet Highly Effective
In reality, that’s the beauty of the PowerKard. It’s easy to print, easy to mail, easy to read, and best of all, it cannot “not work.” At the very least, I hope this article helps you see the value and understand why Direct Mail is still a powerful marketing weapon.
Make no mistake, your MegaAgent.com personal brochure is the essential element in any personal marketing campaign. But for delivering your name and image on a continual, consistent basis, nothing does it like the PowerKard. Put the power of the PowerKard in your marketing, and see just how powerful a tool it can be.


Ready or Not, GO! Make This Year YOUR Year with the Right Mindset.

track runnersIn business, there’s always an excuse why not to improve yourself. Greg explains how this mentality will cripple your career and he’ll show you how to grow your business the right way.

Agents, have you made any resolutions for the new year? We are into the new year, it’s still fresh, but as you know, if you blink, the Spring Market is already passed and you’re into the dog days of summer and those resolutions have fallen by the wayside. But since it’s the new year, I am writing this article to help you get into an aggressive mindset as we plough forward into what many think is going to be a year of opportunity.

Here’s the backstory. Over the years, I have been traveling around North America, discussing marketing and other success-related topics with real estate agents. In that time, my goal has always been to educate agents about the power of personal marketing. But for as much teaching as I’ve done, I’ve certainly learned a lot myself, mostly about what creatures of habit real estate agents tend to be.

It’s always been baffling to me to witness how agents operate. While a few would take the information and put it to use, the vast majority of people would simply admit how much they believed in the concepts, but then still never acted on them.

It’s actually rather frustrating: Why do some people just not do what they know they should do?

“Well, I know it’s a good idea,” they’d often reply, “but I just don’t have the time right now.” Then they’d tell me that next month, next season, or next year they’d definitely make some changes and get out of the rut of continually chasing business the hard way. Of course the excuses would vary from person to person – they didn’t have the money, they didn’t have the time, the kids were out of school, the kids are going back to school, the holidays are coming up, etc.

Almost 30 years later, I’ve accepted that many agents are always “getting ready to get ready,” but it can become rather frustrating, especially when you see the success stories. “Why can’t they all be like that?” I ask myself. The simple answer is that they could, if only they would abandon their constant excuses and just do it already.

Always Defining, Never Doing
Work can generally be divided into three categories:

1. Defining the work that we need to doMaking “To Do” lists, etc.
Doing whatever comes up – Tending to the “urgent” rather than the “important”.
Actually doing the activities defined in #1 above – Accomplishing the “important,” dollar-productive work that will build a healthy business for the long term.
Unfortunately, far too many agents are stuck in numbers one and two, constantly defining what they’re going to do and spending the rest of their time reacting to “emergencies.” Without ever getting to number three, you never really accomplish anything – you just sort of survive. This may get you through each day, but it’s far from a formula for long-term success and for growing your business. This approach only breeds inefficiency. And eventually, working in this fashion will cause burnout and fatigue.

Success is Usually Inconvenient
My dear reader, pay attention: There will always be an excuse why NOT to make changes now. Without even giving it much thought, I’m sure a few have popped into your head already. Well, success isn’t always convenient. It doesn’t present itself at an opportune time. It requires a little sacrifice, but the rewards for that small sacrifice can be tremendous.

At some point, you just have to get it done. Just do it. The key is to break it all down into individual steps and then focus on accomplishing the very next step. Then repeat that process over and over until you’ve accomplished a task in whole. Don’t look at the big picture — that will only paralyze you. Instead, look at what you can do to move one baby step closer to your goal.

If you lose focus, you’ll lose momentum. When you are bogged down and overwhelmed, it drains your energy. Conversely, when you truly devote yourself and focus on the important, you’ll build momentum as you begin to see results. Making changes is a very exciting process, and once you begin to taste the results of your efforts, energy will no longer be a problem. At that point, adrenaline takes over and guides you the rest of the way.

Small Sacrifice, Big Reward
Fast-forward three years from now: Imagine where you’ll be if you continue the status quo. Now imagine where you’ll be if you make the sacrifices now to improve yourself and grow your business by making changes. The difference between our superstar clients and all others is their mindset. They rolled up their sleeves, didn’t over think things, just followed our plans without questioning it to death, persevered, made the commitment and forged ahead. This isn’t language and ideas you haven’t heard every New Years and in the beginning of EVERY year for the past how many years? You KNOW how this will most likely end up if you don’t make the sacrifice and commit, you’ll just be a pinball and not in control of your destiny. Make the change this year and don’t find yourself next January in the same place.

I know school is just starting and the holidays are just around the corner, but these are not valid excuses for letting your career drift unguided from season to season and year to year. If you do, when it’s all over, you’ll live with regret. You’ll wish you had made the changes when you still had time and had the opportunity to really make something of yourself.

Discipline Weighs Ounces; Regret Weighs Tons
Don’t let it come to that. The time is now. Stop making excuses. Instead, make a decision and take some action. Good luck, make 2015 your year!


What is a Landing Page and why are they so important to your success as a Realtor®?

Landing pages are specific online pages designed with the single objective of turning online interest into a direct sale or a lead that you can follow up on. Online advertising that uses landing pages designed to work in conjunction with Priscilalandingpagethat specific ad typically sees a conversion rate improvement of at least 25%.

After spending time, money, and effort on online advertising campaigns, the next crucial step is optimizing the page that people land on when they click your link. Despite mounting data that practically screams you are wasting money unless you create targeted landing pages, I still see so many real estate agents and other service professionals using either their homepage or some other general page in their website instead of a landing page designed to maximize lead generation. In fact, 44% of clicks for real estate agents are directed to a homepage, not a landing page (Insightera).

Landing pages are crucial in today’s online driven business. A landing page is your opportunity to convert a visitor’s interest in your offer and compelling them to find out more information into an actual lead you can follow up on.When a visitor lands on your Landing Page, it is because something in an ad, on a video, or in some content that you created, stimulated that person to want more information. The question is when they click are you ready to deliver the goods that will take them one more step forward and give you their contact information?

When building a landing page, there are a few things you must keep in mind. A successful landing page must communicate the following three things in a glance:

1. Who are you?
This is where your personal logo comes in. I recommend that you place your personal logo in the top left corner of the landing page. A great logo tells your visitor that you are a professional and communicates what you stand for. The colors and graphical elements on the page also help define who you are and your personal brand, so be sure all Landing Page elements are branded.

2. How does this help me?
The best offers are always big, bold, brief, and relevant to a prospect. Make sure the offer on your landing page matches up with the headline in the ad and links content that people clicked on to get to your landing page. “Message match,” or maintaining the story line is critical to build trust and consistency. One of the biggest mistakes I see agents make is that they do not do this. Agents run an ad for information on a specific problem or opportunity, the prospects get dumped off on a general home page, and then they have to figure out how to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Landing pages NEED an image — a beautiful, persuasive, relevant image. It can be a nice illustration, a photo, or an image of the offer you are presenting — as long as it is relevant and builds your professionalism and brand as they look at it. Ideally the graphic look of the page should help the prospect recall everything they have ever seen across all of your marketing activities.

3. What exactly do I need to do to get the promised outcome?
This is called a Call-to-Action (CTA): CTAs should be persuasive and clear. If your CTA is to download a special report, watch videos about an area or home, or set up an area tour, make sure the necessary steps are very obvious and easy. I know you will think your offer is obvious and easy, but most agents’ offers are not obvious or easy to understand.

NAVIGATION vs. NO NAVIGATION: Navigation versus no navigation on landing pages is a common debate among marketers. Website Optimizer tested it and found that removing navigation increases conversion by 100%—and since conversion is the goal, many marketers believe that removing Landing Page navigation is the smarter choice. A navigation panel might distract your visitors from the primary CTA. Yet other marketers concede that giving visitors more options to explore increases usability and allows them to learn more about you. I believe that no navigation or very limited navigation is best. You may have a navigation button of testimonials, as long as the testimonials are directly related to taking the next step forward.

Ask for only the information you need to have. There is a balance between gathering enough visitor data and earning the highest number of conversions. But the research is very clear, the less information you ask your visitors to give you, the greater the number of leads you will get, so keep the amount of information you ask for to a minimum. I recommend Name, Email and Mailing address (if you are going to send them something) as well as a catchall field and titles such as “Questions, Comments, How can I help you”. If you ask for a phone number make sure that it is not a mandatory field.

Targeted Messaging
As an agent, you’re probably targeting multiple segments of the market. Each and every one of these different targeted segments requires a different message. A number of studies have found a direct correlation between the number of landing pages agents have and the number of leads that they generate. The more you tailor your landing pages to the specific segment of the market you are trying to reach the more effective you will be.

Conclusion
Having ads, videos, and social media content that is relevant and interesting to your prospects is the first step to executing successful campaigns. Ensuring you have optimized landing pages is the crucial next step towards marketing effectiveness. A focus on landing page optimization will expedite the customer journey and lower your cost per lead. Consider every element of your landing page, from layout to graphics, from the offer to your CTA button. Keep your forms short and stick to targeted messaging, consistently offering your visitors the most relevant offer.

If you have no idea how to actually create a landing page, remember we would love to help you. My goal is to build a long-term relationship with the agents we work with so that whenever you have a marketing need you will give us a call.