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Congratulations to Tim Tillman

Meet Tim Tillman, Alliant National’s new Florida production manager

Answering Alliant National’s call to use title and management skills in the broader role of statewide Florida production manager.

Tim Tillman joined Alliant National six years ago as a vice president for Tallahassee and Northwest Florida agency manager where he was responsible for building Alliant National’s footprint.

As a testament to Tim’s hard work and dedication, he’s been promoted to Florida production manager.

Tim began his career as a courier and moved up the ladder to perform search, exam and mapping with an independent title agent in South Florida. Subsequently, he worked as senior examiner and assistant manager for American Pioneer. He was also a senior examiner for Attorneys Title Fund.

Just prior to joining Alliant National, Tim was the operations manager and business center manager of Fidelity National Title Group’s Tallahassee operation, where he managed the production and trained and managed other personnel.

Tim has done an excellent job of growing our footprint in his area, including managing examiners and our production system.

Now he’s agreed to answer our call to use his exemplary title and management skills in the broader role of statewide Florida production manager.

He will continue to reside in the Panhandle area while managing all our title production staff and processes.

“Joining the Alliant National Team presents me with some new challenges and opportunities, and I’m really looking forward to helping Alliant National’s independent agents serve their customers more fully and stand out from the competition,” Tim said, adding that throughout his career, he’s “grateful to have had the opportunity to foster excellent business relationships along some of the best beaches in the world and around the state capital.”

Tim’s mature, kind and experienced voice joins our statewide group of seasoned and compassionate searchers and examiners, all of whom pride themselves on delivering the best title products we can.

Congratulations Tim!

SEO

The best Google marketing tools for businesses

Whether you’re a new business or one that’s been a part of the landscape for years, you want to take advantage of every tool that has the potential to increase your online visibility.

To that end, Google offers a multitude of free (and paid) services that businesses can use to their benefit. From designing a more intuitive website that also tracks site traffic to improving your website’s SEO rank, these Google services should be part of your company’s marketing arsenal.

Google Trends
Google Trends isn’t your everyday SEO tool. The search feature is all about products and topics that are currently trending, and a large part of your marketing strategy should be focused on understanding how your target audience can find you.

With Google Trends, businesses can monitor industry trends and test specific words, terms and phrases in their marketing vernacular to see how well they hold up.

Updated in real time, this tool enables businesses to evaluate the popularity of their marketing language and compare them against other keyword variations, a feature that can be helpful in getting new keyword suggestions.

Think with Google
Full of industry insights, helpful articles, case studies, research documents, data reports, innovative ad campaigns, videos, digital trends, infographics and interviews with top industry leaders, Think with Google is a one-stop shop digital newsletter that takes a deep dive into consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research.

The site is frequently updated with useful and inspirational content to help drive business growth and reach.

Google My Business
More than 100 billion searches are performed on Google every month, which means that if your business isn’t discoverable in a search, you’re losing out.

Google My Business generates free business profiles that pop up when consumers search for related terms through Google Search and Maps.

By default, Google includes what it knows about a local business, including customer reviews from across the Web. But you can tweak your listing – and attract more customers – by submitting your own information, including photos, offers, promotions, news and text edits to Google Places.

As well, businesses can respond to reviews, message with their customers and see who follows you.

Google Alerts
To stay updated about industry news – and news about your own company – take advantage of this useful free service from Google that sends you email alerts whenever there’s news about a topic that you’re following.

Signing up is free, and after adding a topic or search phrase, you’ll be notified whenever there’s a mention of your company, products, people or your competition.

Google Keyword Planner
If you want to tun paid ads on Google, Keyword Planner is a must-have tool for your search network campaigns.

Aside from giving businesses estimates on search traffic, the free tool also shares the most relevant and successful keywords, URLs and phrases that people are searching for most often.

The tool even allows you to input your own list of keywords to see how they might perform.

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Improve your marketing email campaigns by integrating these successful tips

Marketing pros live and die by email, and with good reason: Email marketing provides the highest ROI of any marketing channel, especially when it’s done correctly.

But while your ROI has the potential to be monumental, the strategies behind successful email marketing campaigns aren’t always quick or easy.

To maximize your reach and covert your copy into a convincing narrative, you’ve got to be thoughtful, captivating and customer-centric.

Follow these effective tips for crafting compelling email marketing messages that will help grow your business.

Research Your Target Audience

Your audience is the most valuable asset to your business, and it’s your job to ensure that you develop customer profiles that align with your business and its values and mission.

That starts with compiling organic email lists based on everything from demographic data to hobbies and interests.

Verify that every name on the list wants to be included in your email marketing campaigns. The fastest way to get blacklisted by the major ISPs is to purchase or rent email lists.

Building the lists from scratch is time-consuming, but the reward is much higher engagement.

Test Your Email Content

Before you send out a campaign to hundreds, if not thousands of readers, be sure to test your content first for broken links, image resolution issues, spelling errors, grammatical mistakes and design layout.

It’s always best to send a few test mails to yourself to ensure that everything looks correct.

Beware of Spam-Like Content

Always, always keep your content relevant to your audience and consistent with your brand.

Everyone has spam filters and “junk” email inboxes, and if your subject headers, for example, are too gimmicky, have too many exclamation points or contain misspellings, it’s likely that your email campaigns will be promptly dumped into the trash bin.

Always Include a Call-to-Action

There’s nothing worse than leaving your audienceat a dead end.

One of the most crucial email marketing best practices is to be abundantly clear and direct with your audience – and that means telling them exactly what you’d like them to do next.

The point to any marketing message is to get a response.

Provide sign-up links, for example, if you’re promoting a class, workshop or webinar. If you’re hosting an event, be sure to include an RSVP link. And if you’re offering promotional offers, use action verbs – “reserve,” “act,” “subscribe,” “save,” “start” and “get,” for instance – to persuade your audience to respond.

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Are online reviews important, and should you respond to them?

It used to be that personal recommendations solidified decisions, but in today’s fast-moving digital orbit, news about your company travels differently, and online reviews—think Yelp, Google and Facebook—are a primary source of feedback.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center concluded that 78 percent of Internet users conduct research online and believe reviews are the most credible form of advertising.

A 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by Brightlocal.com reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it’s rated four stars or higher.

Suffice it to say that online reviews are remarkably influential.

Not everyone responds to reviews, but there are several reasons why you should (even if they’re negative), including the fact that replying to feedback shows that you’re paying attention to your clients and customers, you’re not afraid of transparency and your business is all about building relationships.

The goal is to convert fans of your business into super-fans and offer disappointed reviewers an acceptable resolution, which often leads to a revised review or inspiration to remove a negative one. While there are multiple ways to respond to reviews – the positive and the negative – follow these tips to put the face of your business in the best light.

Be pleasant and don’t hurl insults: When a client or consumer is frustrated, they’re ready to fight. The last thing your business wants to do is fuel the fire or burn bridges, so when you’re responding to negative reviews, take a deep breath, be courteous and polite and provide solutions when feasible.

A little sympathy goes a long way in defusing an unpleasant situation. If you sense that the dialogue is taking a turn for the worse, suggest settling the matter offline, far away from judgmental public eyes. 

Keep your responses short and to the point: Social media users are looking to digest information quickly. If they want to read a novel, they’ll grab their Kindle or head to the bookstore. Keep your responses brief and genuine and stay on topic.

Thank those who post positive reviews: While handwritten “thank you” notes are, sadly, a thing of the past, clicking the “Like” button on a positive Facebook comment takes a second. Literally. Typing “Thank you for the kind words!” takes four seconds – five if your typing skills need work.

You don’t have to thank every single person, but if someone takes the time to write a favorable review, it’s a good idea to show your appreciation.

Don’t be a salesperson: When a user writes a review, it’s usually proof that they’ve already interacted with your business, so there’s no need to tell them what they already know.

If you have something new to share about your business, it’s fine to share, but make sure the content isn’t spammy or irrelevant.

Let clients and customers know that you loved working with them: Want to turn a customer or client into repeat customers or clients? If they post a glowing review, let them know how much you enjoyed working with them – and you’d welcome the opportunity to do so again.

If you want people to continue to work with your business, you need to let them know that you’re the kind of business that welcomes them back.


Real Estate Corner:
Mortgage rates are the lowest in a year and a half, but homebuyers aren’t taking the bait

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Mortgage rates continue to fall, but homebuyers aren’t impressed, writes Diane Olick, real estate reporter for CNBC.com.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 2 percent in the last week in May and were barely 0.5 percent higher than a year ago, she notes.

And despite rates that are the lowest they’ve been in a year and a half, “High prices continue to sideline buyers, especially first-time buyers, who are a growing segment of the market.

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Studies show that businesses should incorporate purpose and meaningful messaging into their branding strategies

Gone are the days when branding was limited to simply promoting a product or a business.

Today, companies are increasingly being challenged to incorporate a meaningful purpose into their marketing and advertising campaigns.

According to research, 75 percent of consumershere and abroad – expect businesses to contribute to their personal wellbeing and quality of life, while 84 percent expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions and creates experiences and events.

Purpose is especially important when marketing to millennials, 71 percent of whom say they’re partial to brands that implement environmental and social change into their campaigns.

A new biometric research report from Porter Novelli/Cone, published earlier this week, goes even further in suggesting that purposeful content should lead the narrative of your business.

“Purpose ignites physical and emotional responses: Purpose-driven advertisements were more effective in two-out-of-three brand categories tested, with higher levels of attention, emotion and arousal from these advertisements overall,” the study found.

In other words, businesses that are searching for ways to build – and maintain – customer loyalty would be wise to focus on purposeful messaging that supports, for example, responsible business practices, a charity or a social cause. 

Purpose builds deeper bonds

Other key findings in the report suggested that purpose builds deeper bonds.

A whopping 79 percent of Americans, noted the study, said they feel a deeper and more personal connection to companies with values aligned with their own. Moreover, respondents said they’d be more likely to feel better about brands with meaningful messages.

And that’s not all: “Purpose inspires brand advocates and amplification,” research showed.

After viewing purpose-driven advertisements, those who were surveyed also said they’d be more likely to talk about the advertisement and the brand with friends and family and share and discuss the advertisement on social media.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway, though, is this: Nearly 73 percent of respondents said that given the current social and political climate, they feel an urgency to support social issues, while 76 percent noted that businesses dedicated to addressing social and environmental issues helps them feel like they’re doing their part.

About the study

The research combined an online study of more than 1,000 American adults with the results of biometrics testing among a select group of respondents.

It measured facial, heart rate and skin conductance impulses that captured levels of emotion, attention and arousal/stimulation upon viewing a randomized set of advertisements.

Respondents viewed two ads from the same brand: a Purpose-driven advertisement (e.g., support of a social issue, responsible business practice) and an advertisement focusing on the functional attributes of the product (e.g., performance, features or specifications).

The research found that purpose-driven messaging has a greater ability to capture the physical and emotional attention of respondents compared to functional narratives.


Real Estate Corner
The rental market is heating up—and move-in incentives are few and far between

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If you’re exploring the rental market, it may be time to lower your expectations when it comes to landlord discounts, gift cards or complimentary amenities, writes Diana Olick, real estate correspondent at CNBC.com

As the rental market heats up and home ownership cools, rent prices are rising and freebies are falling out of favor.

Listings on HotPads, Zillow’s rental website, that mention at least one concession are down nearly 30 percent from the same time last year, and just one in 100 rental listings currently show any kind of move-in special.

This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.

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