Posts Tagged ‘marketing strategy’

A man standing with a email symbol.

Have You Asked: Is Email Marketing Dead?

Would you be surprised to know that 99 percent of people check their email every day?

With a statistic like that, it’s not hard to see why email marketing is a go-to for marketing campaigns. What’s confusing, though, is that sometimes, email marketing ROI can look a little bleak.

An unsuccessful email campaign in a world where opening emails is such a big part of people’s lives can be confusing, and brings up an important question:

Where is the gap between consumers checking their email constantly, but not clicking on your brand’s message?

As you consider the value of email marketing, consider this — 73 percent of millennials prefer email communication when receiving marketing material. Ultimately, the problem may not be the marketing channel, but the message delivery. So, is email marketing dead? Or, is there something that can be done to enhance the email marketing experience — for consumers and marketers?

A marketing strategy makeover might be necessary for a struggling brand. Email marketing as a marketing tool isn’t dead. But some email marketing practices are, such as impersonal email address lines, violating General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), ignoring user experience, and not tracking metrics.

If your brand’s email marketing strategy is currently struggling with bringing in high ROI, it could be that your strategy hasn’t been improved to reflect how email currently works.

Ultimately, if you’re not catering to your audiences, or if you’re not using metrics to appropriately measure and improve your email campaigns, you’re likely missing out on ROI — not because email marketing is dead, but because your strategy is outdated.

To improve your email marketing ROI in 2020, here’s what to retire:

1. Impersonal subject lines

Email marketing starts before readers even open the email. Subject lines can make or break open-rate, a metric that tracks how many subscribers open your emails.

Personalizing marketing messages makes readers feel connected to what’s being sold. Generally, making a subject line personal can be as easy as noting the holiday season or asking a question to get readers thinking.

Think about what in your email is the “must-know” takeaway, and create a short subject line that taps into emotions to get subscribers clicking.

2. Ignoring GDPR standards

GDPR means making sure the reader gives clear, unambiguous permission to receive marketing emails. Full compliance with GDPR ensures that sending marketing emails is legal.

GDPR was created so consumers know their data is protected and being used by brands they have trusted with personal information. They opt-in to emails they’d like to receive from brands they’re interested in.

This is good news for marketers because it means your email campaigns will only be sent to users who are genuinely interested in your marketing messages. It also ensures your email marketing messages are compliant with the law.

3. Using templates that aren’t mobile-friendly

The world is mobile now. Many people check emails from their phone.

Emails that aren’t mobile-friendly are probably raising your bounce rate exponentially due to poor user experience. Because it’s so easy to click away from something that’s unappealing, emails optimized for mobile should be an important step in the design process.

The Apple iPhone is the most popular method for opening emails. For some audiences, marketing emails that are stellar for mobile should take priority over emails for desktop, so the majority of readers don’t get turned away from desktop-friendly templates.

4. Poor email design

It’s imperative to take time designing emails that delight readers.

Emails lately have gotten snazzy. From animations to GIFs, and even embedded full-length videos, businesses are dipping their toes into exciting email marketing efforts to pull readers in.

Emails that have quick loading time, bold CTAs (Call to Action), and colorful visuals typically perform best.

An email newsletter with long paragraphs, the same-old template and a CTA that hasn’t changed in years are less than exciting, and probably leave readers clicking out of that email.

5. Not strategically using metrics

Tracking metrics helps fill in the gaps when looking where to improve marketing efforts. They break down the behavior of email subscribers. 

Metrics collect data on how many people are interacting with emails, when they are, who they are, and for how long. All of this information is important to know when planning because they lead to important marketing decisions.

Metrics save time by reporting on what’s working and what isn’t. To begin tracking metrics, consider what email software you use. Many have reporting and tracking built into their tools, as well as information about how that data is collected and interpreted.

Ultimately, the reasons you may not be seeing results, is not because email marketing is dead — it’s because of how you’re email marketing. So, before you turn away from email marketing as a whole, think about ways you can improve your strategy to compete.

press release

Why the Press Release Matters (and How to Write One)

Releases serve more purposes today than they ever have before.

A lot of independent agents know what a press release is – many even write them and distribute their press releases to regional or even national press.

What a lot of title insurance professionals don’t necessarily understand, however, is (a) what the press release is; (b) why it pays to write one; and (c) where to send it and why.

The mighty press release is a 1- to 2-page document that trumpets news. It tells an audience that something important has happened, usually to a company and why it is important. There are tactical elements to a press release: who is sending it; the date it is sent, the geographical place of origin (city and state); the headline and the body.

The best press releases keep it simple: they have three to four paragraphs that tell what the news is, why that news is important, what that news means to the company and customers, and a small amount of background on the company sending the press release. Persons from whom the press release is sent are often quoted.

Editors, reporters, TV anchors and radio broadcast people have traditionally relied upon the press release to alert them to news. Today, social media experts also use press release material to populate social media platforms and to include in inner-company and outside-company newsletters and other communication vehicles.

The press release is actually a celebration of a company. Done right – meaning well-written, regularly sent press releases – showcase a company’s strengths and help to tell a company’s story. A new hire, a new product, a company move, surpassing growth goals – the news is virtually limitless. It need only be true and told well.

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) says about press releases:

Purpose

Releases serve more purposes today than they ever have before. They provide valuable SEO for your website, serve as a primary source of information for your investors, and help align your internal teams on critical messages — all while advising the media of important changes and events at your company.

Content

No more boring, text-only content on the latest corporate announcements. The press release today can be an engaging, multimedia experience. This is where you can make a journalist’s job easy and increase your changes of getting coverage by including great B-roll footage, embeddable video and compelling, high-resolution images with your release.

Yes! B-roll can be dropped into a press release, as can YouTube links, photos, even animation.

But there’s really no need to reinvent the wheel. Go online to a company’s website that you admire. Look at their press releases usually housed under a “News” tab. Read it and mimic it (but don’t copy and paste – that plagiarism, is unethical and opens up potential worlds of trouble).

Take a look at some of Alliant National’s press releases:  https://alliantnational.com/category/press/. Read one or two. They are carefully written, thoughtfully edited and purposefully distributed to appropriate media.

Feel free to follow the “formula” of a press release and then distribute to media you want to reach via email. You’ll be surprised when, done regularly and well, the attention (the good kind) your company ultimately receives.

target your closing table

The Best Call of the Day: Optimizing Opportunity at the Closing Table

Showcase your firm’s strengths at the closing table.

Many title agents spend money and time on marketing and sales efforts to increase directable business. While most campaigns are effective, and certainly essential, one of the best opportunities to showcase your firm’s strengths is at the closing table.

A well thought-out and unique closing table strategy will result in increased referral business, and will cost half of traditional marketing plans. A well thought-out closing table strategy looks like this:

  1. Target referral sources who attend closings at your office.
  2. Showcase your firm’s customer service and competency.
  3. Follow up with collateral materials and a call to action.

As real estate professionals, we value a well-planned and executed marketing campaign, directed at realtors, loan officers and future clients.  Typically, this includes direct mail, targeted email, web presence, social media and office visits.

All of these methods have varying degrees of cost, both in dollars and time. Everyone would agree that they are essential to building and maintaining a business.

The closing table, however, is a hotbed of opportunity that is, unfortunately, often ignored. A number of factors that make this situation unique include:

  1. All parties can be scheduled and will attend;
  2. Traditional referral sources are there;
  3. As a closing agent, you control the pace, flow, and agenda of the time you spend together.

As the closing approaches, since your office will schedule, you will be aware of who will be attending. With that information, you can tailor your approach to fit the needs of each. Your approach should be a systematic and repeatable part of your processes.

The buyer’s agent is most likely your referral source. You should acknowledge their competence and professionalism, in the presence of their clients, the buyers, and be sure to thank them with a small, parting gift, in full view of the seller’s agent.

The seller’s agent is your primary target. An informational packet should be prepared with contact information, pricing and an order form. Also, testimonials are always helpful if they can be obtained. It can be useful to acknowledge them in the presence of the parties, and thank them for their help in facilitating the closing. Be sure to obtain a business card and information on their office which could be helpful in future marketing opportunities. Finally, it is always appropriate to ask for their future business in person.

The mortgage broker, if present, and not familiar to you, should have their own take-away packet, containing similar information to the seller’s agent, as well as a document outlining their firm’s experience in handling various types of loans other than residential. An acknowledgement of their professionalism and assistance in putting together the transaction is essential. 

Sellers should be given a branded packet with all their documents, containing all you contact information and some swag such as pens, highlighters or pads. Do not overlook this important contact. They are a potential future client. At some point later in the year, they will be looking for copies of various documents which they have lost. Their ability to contact you and obtain these documents will cement your relationship, and make it more likely they will call on you for their real estate needs in the future.

Finally, remember that you, as the closing agent, are on stage. Whatever you project at this closing, will make or break your ability to obtain future business from the parties. You should be affable, available, and project quiet confidence. This is important at what can be the most stressful experience in a consumer’s lifetime.

At the closing table, by targeting referral sources, showcasing your abilities, and having collateral materials prepared ahead of time, you will be able to take advantage of a unique and valuable marketing opportunity.

Linkedin provides sales networking and leads

Using LinkedIn to Increase Sales

The real powerhouse for business networking and prospecting is the business focused social media site, LinkedIn.

Social media platforms enable you to stay in contact with friends and family and stay current on their life activities. They can also benefit you on the business side, especially for sales. For many people, the top social media networks that come to mind are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

While these sites have some benefits for sales prospecting, with general consumers, the real powerhouse for business networking and prospecting is the business focused social media site, LinkedIn.

In fact, when it comes to business, LinkedIn with over 360 million members world-wide, is the top social media choice for business networking and sales prospecting.

If you are using the popular social media business platform, LinkedIn, you might find that there are additional ways to reach potential clients or connect through others to increase sales.

For many, LinkedIn has been somewhat thought of as the go to social site when you’re looking for your next job. It certainly has value for this purpose, and it is extensively used by recruitment specialists world-wide to find and contact prospects, but its benefits far exceed that. In the know business people use LinkedIn more and more as a revenue generating, sales prospecting tool.

LinkedIn is a perfect tool to make lead and sales prospecting smoother, quicker, and ultimately, profitable. It is an extremely cost-effective tool for business development.

Modern sales techniques have changed, and LinkedIn allows you to connect directly with and gather information on companies and prospects, as well as develop relationships and contact decision makers directly.

Here are some proactive, easy to implement strategies for using LinkedIn as a tool to effectively increase your sales prospecting and grow revenues.

Optimize your LI Profile

With a couple tweaks, you can turn your LinkedIn profile into a powerful sales asset. The most important thing is that your profile is 100% complete. There is a high chance that your prospects will look you up if they are interested in what you are selling. When they do, your profile should give off a professional impression of you and your company.

Connect and Engage

An important thing to do when beginning to get serious about using LinkedIn for prospecting is to take a long hard look at your contacts. Contacts are the bread and butter on the site. If yours are predominantly family, your college classmates, and friends, you need to do a little work.

Connections spawn more connections. Your primary contacts open a route to a wide range of second and third level connections. This is how to scale up your efforts.

Target and Map Your Leads

LinkedIn users generally put a tremendous amount of information on their profiles. Everything from which teams they work with, what projects they are focusing on, which office they work out of and more.

You can use this information to develop a map of who the decision makers are and how they can be reached and influenced to make the sale. (Start by checking out the “viewers of this profile also viewed…” box on their profile.)

Use Groups to Keep Up To Date and Engage With Prospects

Groups on LinkedIn are collections of people with similar likes, needs, skills and more. They are a great way to learn about the industries you target for sales and can be a great source for new prospects. Engaging with member questions is a great way to build trust and authority while raising your thought leader profile which can lead to sales inquiries. They are also a great “soft” way to make contact with a prospect.

Turn Your Profile Into A Lead Generator

Much of what we’ve touched on so far has been outbound information, where to go to find prospects, how to engage, etc. This is purely inbound. The prospects you’ve engaged with through connections and Groups will most likely seek out your profile to learn more about you. (Information flows both ways on LinkedIn!). So it only makes sense to optimize your profile to drive sales. Make sure you have current links to your company site, your Twitter account and your Facebook page. Include some high-quality recommendations from existing happy customers – think quality, not quantity. This can give visitors a better idea of who you are and what you’re all about. Remember, effective sales is all about building trust and relationships.

content marketing orange

Three core components of content marketing

Content is at the epicenter of digital and social platforms:

It’s the single most important component that ensures that businesses are communicating—and connecting—with their clients.

But content can make or break a brand: Clients will either pay attention, or they won’t. But when businesses authentically connect with their audience, they have the opportunity to leverage their content, which generates more search traffic, trust and, ultimately, leads.

In a nutshell, content marketing is one of the most effective communication strategies available to businesses, but while slapping blog posts on your website and posting on social media channels seems easy enough, businesses too often misjudge their audience—and, more important, the content that most appeals to them.

It’s not about direct sales; it’s about engagement and inspiring reactions.

Still, even when it’s done right, content marketing can be tricky. It’s a crowded field with major competition at every click, and it’s becoming ominously more difficult to reach potential clients and retain existing ones. To best your competition, follow these content marketing tips:

Have a strategic plan in place: Before creating content, build a smart and solid strategic roadmap that considers your company’s growth and revenue goals, your target audience, the ways in which you’ll deliver content (videos, tweets, blog, Facebook and Instagram posts, infographics), a list of salient topics that clearly positions and defines your company’s brand and image, an assessment of your company’s distinguishing perspectives and, finally, metrics to measure the achievement of your content.

Don’t tell your story all at once: Storytelling is key to content marketing, but you want your audience to keep coming back for more. Teasing a story on social media platforms is a great way to keep your audience engaged and intrigued. If your business is considering hosting a special event, for example, build momentum by running promotional, brand-aligned giveaways or contests that last a few days, or even weeks.

Use your website to promote it and take advantage of social networks to extend its reach. The longer your footprint lasts, the better.

Be conversational: No one appreciates an overbearing sales pitch. And now, more than ever, audiences want (and demand) value, authenticity and the opportunity to respond. When you write content, think of it as a feedback-oriented conversation between you and your audience. A conversational style builds relationship over time, whereas a hard sell often drives audiences away.

Real Estate Corner:
What’s up with Denver’s baffling real estate market?

graphic - real estate, blue

Unprecedented low interest rates, a record-high stock market and a Denver real estate market that’s suddenly underperforming:

What on earth is going on? June is historically one of the highest performing months for Denver home sales, but not this year: Inventory was up 28 percent, sold homes were down 14 percent and the time a home spent on the market soared to 23 percent. Not since 2013 has Denver seen such a high inventory of houses for sale.

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