To market effectively, understand your customers
When preparing any marketing campaign, sometimes there is the desire to put the cart before the horse. Such impulses are understandable. Creating marketing collateral often provides the greatest opportunity for marketers to exercise their creativity. However, jumping directly to a campaign’s deliverables misses a critical step of the process. Before you can think about how you’re going to unroll your marketing efforts, first you must think about who you are trying to reach.
One effective strategy to accomplish this is the use of buyer personas, a fictional representation of your ideal audience. Generating these representations can be enormously helpful for the entirety of your campaign, guiding the channels you select and the marketing material you create. The following tips can help you start creating these personas and have a better chance of ensuring your campaign’s success.
Use Real-World Data
When creating buyer personas, it’s best to trust real-world data over gut instincts. Start by conducting a top-level audit of your current customers. You can gather this information from a wide variety of sources. From social media analytics to your customer database, we live in a data-rich world where important insights can be easily gleaned. Even a cursory look at this data can yield demographical information such as gender, age, geographical location, language, education level, career level, interests and more. Gathering this information can help build the foundation of your buyer personas, serving as a strong starting point for compiling additional insights.
Once you have sketched a rough demographical outline of your various customers, you will want to dig deeper into their psychology – identifying goals, needs and pain points in the process. To obtain this information, you can carry out customer interviews or surveys, gain insights from your sales team or look at analytic platforms like Google Analytics or Google Trends. Use these sources to build out a psychological profile for your various customer segments and go so far as to write down your customers’ potential motivations, goals and frustrations.
Channels and Technology
After you have obtained a clearer picture of who your customers are and what motivates them, you need to flesh out their behavior. Ask yourself how your customers go about finding the information they need for obtaining solutions to the problems that plague them. This question can help you better understand how your customers behave online, what publications or websites they read and even what devices they use to access the internet. This knowledge can assist you in tailoring your campaigns, allocating marketing dollars to the correct channels and ensuring whether you need to create collateral optimized for mobile technology or not.
It is hard to overstate the importance of buyer personas or how they can act as a lynchpin for the overall success of your marketing endeavors. Built correctly, buyer personas can guide other steps in the marketing process, governing how you segment your potential customers, how you select your marketing channels and even how you package your marketing copy. In short, by putting your marketing in front of the right people, with the right message, at the right time, you will have a greater likelihood of meeting your sales goals and taking your business to the next level.
Take charge of your devices and accounts to get your digital house in order.
We have all been there at some point: Your desktop has become a cluttered mess. Your computer is overrun with outdated or unnecessary software. Even your update notifications have become unmanageable.
If you can relate to this, it is probably time to better organize your digital presence. By taking advantage of the following steps, you will instill your digital life with a greater sense of control and order, lowering your anxiety and maximizing your productivity as a result.
The Power of Folders
The first thing to do is to tackle your cluttered desktop. Start by setting a hard limit on top-level folders and then stick to that limit for each tier of your digital folder tree. Pick a number large enough to accurately encompass the various ways in which you use your device but small enough to instill your machine with a sense of order. More than likely, this number will need to be larger than five, but you should strive to keep your final number under ten. Like any goal, the numerical limit you select should force discipline but ultimately remain feasible.
For this blog, we will use the number seven, splitting the difference. Begin by establishing your top-level system of seven folders on your desktop. Think about how you can segment the different materials on your computer in the most generalized way possible. Perhaps consider a file for photos, a file for client documents, a file for any personal items and so on. After that, navigate inside each folder and once again create no more than seven sub-folders to further organize all files that you have lumped together into your top-level folders. Repeat this step for as many levels as you need.
Throw Out and Back-Up
Perhaps the most satisfying step in any organizing project is throwing out items you no longer need. First off, empty your recycling bin. Then ask some hard questions about each file you have. Is this something you need on your hard drive? Are you holding onto it for any legitimate purpose – whether it is professional, personal or even sentimental? The trick is to balance scrutiny and regret. Throw out everything you can, but if you have doubts about an item, keep it. Just make sure it is properly filed away in your newly-established folder system.
You can also assess your software programs and internet browsers. Uninstall any programs you no longer use to free up space on your machine. Delete your browser’s cookies and temporary files. You can also deploy a disk cleaning software application, but be sure to select one with good reviews.
After you have arranged your files and deleted as much as you can, backup everything that remains on your machine. There are several approaches you can take here. You can store your data on the Cloud with end-to-end encryption. You could save it to an external hard drive. You could even burn your data to a CD. Fortunately, mobile devices already support automatic data backups, and there are numerous software options out there that are cost-effective and relatively easy to use.
Enable Alerts and Updates
To ensure that you are staying organized in your digital life, you should enable automatic software updates. The endless update notifications we receive these days can be annoying and cumbersome – but the updating process is an incredibly important step to ensuring your online security. By implementing automatic updates, you will kill two birds with one stone. You will reduce the amount of manual updating you have to do and likely cut down on the volume of notifications you receive.
Tracking activity in your important digital accounts is another key piece of digital organization. You should consider activating alerts on your banking accounts in particular. Many banks offer a wide range of alert services that can help you manage your money. From low balance and unusual purchase alerts to notifications about large ATM withdrawals, it makes a lot of sense to take advantage of these free services.
These days, we all spend a considerable portion of our time online conducting large amounts of personal and professional business. Understandably, our devices can get disorganized. But by following these steps, you can reduce clutter, streamline processes and finally reclaim a measure of control over your digital life.
Longmont, Colo. – (December 1, 2020) – Alliant National Title Insurance Company, a unique title insurance underwriter that partners with independent agents to improve their competitive position, announces the hiring of Christy Hennesey, West Florida Agency Manager.
Hennesey has had a long career in the title insurance industry, having worked with various underwriters for nearly 20 years. She got her start working on the production side of the business before transitioning to the role of agency manager. In this position, she gained extensive experience in adding new agents, as well as managing relationships with existing agents. “I’m excited to add my expertise in relationship building and growing an agent base to the Alliant National team,” says Hennesey. “I look forward to joining a company dedicated to the independent agent and helping ensure their ongoing success.”
Hennesey’s past professional experience will serve her well in her new role. She will be responsible for expanding Alliant National’s agent network in western Florida, in addition to supporting the development of current agents and increasing regional awareness of Alliant National’s brand.
“Christy brings a wealth of experience and a mindset that perfectly complements Alliant National’s mission to always put agents first,” says Debra J. Coffie, Senior Vice President, Florida Regional Manager. “Her ability to build strong, lasting relationships with independent agents, not to mention her deep industry knowledge, will add incredible value to our Florida operations.”
Outside of her work, Hennesey enjoys spending time with her family. She is married with two sons and often spends weekends attending her sons’ baseball tournaments or football games, depending on the season.
Alliant National distinguishes itself from competitors by combining strong underwriting capability with independent agents’ in-depth knowledge of local markets. The result is a nationwide network with deep roots in local communities, and a wealth of expertise that is flexible, nuanced, and continuously growing.
Visit alliantnational.com for additional information.
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ABOUT ALLIANT NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY
The Independent Underwriter for The Independent AgentSM – Alliant National believes in empowering people to thrive. The company protects the dreams of property owners with secure title insurance and partners with 500+ trusted independent title agents as a licensed underwriter in 27 states and the District of Columbia, with annual revenues exceeding $126 million.
In 1789, the first Federal Congress passed a resolution asking that the President of the United States recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. But it was President Roosevelt who ultimately signed a resolution on December 26, 1941, establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.
It’s amazing that it took over 150 years to settle on a consistent holiday, especially when you consider that giving thanks has been fundamental to our culture from the very inception of our nation.
Giving thanks is also a key part of our culture at Alliant National. Our people live the spirit of Thanksgiving each day. No one is more important to us than the independent title agents that make the American Dream possible. We celebrate your contributions to the lives of the families you touch and the communities you serve.
As an independent agent:
You protect the rights of homeowners and safeguard their economic liberty to own property and build wealth.
You champion the American virtues of independence, entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
You support important philanthropic causes in the communities you serve.
You take great care of your employees, who in turn, take great care of your customers.
You build a “legacy of opportunity” for all of those who walk into your office – staff and customers alike.
Alliant National recognizes your unique role in preserving our American way of life.
“Happy Thanksgiving” from The Independent Underwriter for The Independent Agent℠.
Are you unethical? Have you witnessed unethical behavior in a real estate transaction – either from the lender, realtor, seller or buyer? Almost nobody answers “yes” to the former, while nearly everyone agrees to the later. In reality, everyone in the title business can be more ethical. However, first you must define ethics in general, understand different types of ethics and learn what tools are available to help you work through ethical problems that arise.
Ethics describe the rules, laws and principles that govern human behavior. There are three different types of ethics: personal, business and legal. These are hierarchal. Legal ethics, for instance, are lowest. The law is universal and immutable; you have no choice but to obey it. Business ethics takes it higher. You have some agency over adhering to a business’s policies or codes of conduct. Personal ethics is the highest form, as they are based solely on the rules that individuals create for themselves.
Title agents must think through these ethical systems and navigate potential conflicts. Perhaps there is a discrepancy on the price of a property where it is listed for a higher price than it was in a recent appraisal. As an agent, would you inform the buyer of this additional information? Many professionals would say that, from a business ethics perspective, a title officer should say nothing. The title officer is a neutral third party, and a price discrepancy should be resolved between the buyer and seller. The listing price differing from the appraisal price is also something that occasionally happens. But what if the buyer is a good friend?
Or consider a theoretical agent who is two closings short of winning an award. Their manager says they will give them two phantom closings and then later delete them from the system. How would you respond? Would you report the maleficence? Take the closings and benefit professionally? Refuse the help on principle?
Both situations require an agent to navigate and balance the different ethical systems that define their life. There are strategies to help with this. In the former, you could receive counsel from an objective third party. An impartial person can help separate personal allegiance to a friend from a professional code of conduct. In the later, the agent can employ critical thinking to determine that, while it is likely unnecessary to report their manager, particularly if this is a rare ethical lapse on their part, they cannot, in good conscience, accept the phantom closings.
Agents can also filter ethical problems through different “tests” to help them decide on a correct course of action. In keeping with the hierarchy of ethics, the most critical test to apply is the “harm test.” Ask yourself if your actions will harm anyone else and violate your personal ethics. The harm test is always applicable and should follow other tests. For example, an agent should put relevant ethical dilemmas through the “law test” followed by a “business ethics test.”
The harm test is the final step. Just because something is technically legal, and just because it does not violate any business ethics, does not mean an agent should do it. If it fails the harm test and violates your personal ethics, you must change course. Agents can gain even greater ethical clarity by using the “newspaper test,” which asks whether you would want to read about yourself taking a specific action in a newspaper, and the “child test,” which ponders whether you would advise your child to take the action you’re considering.
Complex ethical problems occur in real estate transactions. In these moments, it’s important to remember that short-term benefits rarely outweigh long-term costs. It takes a substantial amount of time to establish a trustworthy or honorable reputation, but you can quickly lose it through one unethical decision. As somebody in the title business, you must always be seen as an ethical paragon, as your reputation is critical to being able to perform your job effectively. To meet this high bar, you can apply appropriate scrutiny to ethical questions, utilize critical thinking, and rely on impartial support systems for guidance. By doing so, you will experience long-term professional success and, perhaps most importantly, a blissfully clean conscience.