Posts Tagged ‘marketing strategy’

back of man looking at a dozen drawn "thumbs up"

Effective Uses of Testimonials

Testimonials are an often overlooked, yet effective marketing tool. They can be helpful to gain new customers and keep potential return customers.

Think of your own experience making purchasing decisions. Do you go to a restaurant based upon a recommendation from family or friends? Before making major purchases, do you research and read reviews from people who have experience with the product or service?

Testimonials work because they aren’t strong sales pitches and they come across in an unbiased voice and establish trust. You’re using real people to show success in your product or service. In the end, your testimonials will be there to convert more prospects into customers as long as you use them correctly.

If you’re selling a product or service on your website, customer testimonials can be a key content element because they are unbiased comments that prompt visitors to buy. By using testimonials in text, audio or video formats on your site, you introduce content that will promote your product in convincing fashion.

Here are some tips for effectively using testimonials to convert more leads on your website:

1. Be Selective

A key to using testimonials is to choose the ones that work best. Instead of direct recommendations of your product or service (“I think it is great!”) – find testimonials that provide details that explain how it satisfies a consumer need or tackles a pain point. Testimonials that provide specific product benefits will induce sales.

2. Show Face

Make your testimonials eye-catching by adding an image next to your customer’s statement. Research has shown that adding a picture increases your click-through-rate by a significant amount.

Prospects like to put a face to a name. It helps them feel more secure and confident in what you’re claiming. It shows that the testimonial is coming from a real person. Adding an image is a simple addition that will increase your trust factor.

3. Show Them Everywhere

Once you get great testimonials for your website, it’s important to show them off.

Make sure to add them across your website wherever appropriate. Add them to your homepage, contact page, case studies page or even create a dedicated testimonials page. Use in ads, on social media and other materials.

You might try a web application that allows you to set up a testimonial page or a plugin that will allow you to post different testimonials on each page of your site. There are a number of possibilities, so determine what works best and incorporate testimonials all over your site.

4. Remember Your Buyer Personas

When gathering your testimonials it’s important to make sure you’re hitting all the pain points of every one of your buyer personas. Many of your prospects are looking to see testimonials that they can relate to; stories that show others like them being successful.

Be sure to feature customers from all the demographics and buyer personas that you’re trying to attract. Focusing on just one in your testimonials will limit your reach and value.

5. Never Fake It

The most important rule in sharing testimonials is to use real testimonials from real customers. It’s not worth the risk to fake anything on your site, especially testimonials.

Testimonials are there to provide credibility and establish trust. If you’re faking them, how are your prospects supposed to build a healthy relationship with your company? Faking testimonials can put your reputation on the line and even if you do win some business, your customers are likely to go in with unrealistic expectations.

6. Get Video

Creating a video testimonial isn’t a must, but it’s something you definitely should consider. Seeing and hearing a customer talk about your product or service resonates more than just reading about it.

Get some of your more personable customers to create a short 30 second to 1 minute video testimonial sharing how your company has helped them. Your prospects will be able to really see the appreciation and emotion from your current customers. 

Reach out to your current customers who you know are happy with your company and ask them to share their success story. By showcasing these powerful feelings and stories about your product or services, you’re creating another tool to get prospects to trust your brand and commit to it.

graphic of business man connecting a heart and a brain with an electric outlets

Be Sensitive, Be Smart: Good marketing in difficult times

Put yourself ahead by remembering some easy tips.

Good marketing doesn’t just remain important as we navigate a global pandemic, it becomes imperative. Sorting out how to represent your brand while constantly adjusting to an ever-shifting landscape can be a tall order, but that doesn’t mean it’s unachievable. We’re all learning on an international scale, but you can put yourself ahead by remembering some easy tips.

Remember Your Voice

Voice matters in branding. No one’s looking for generic ad jargon from social media content when things are normal, and they’re certainly not going to respond to it while in isolation. While everyone’s seeking some sense of normalcy, it’s important to remember that a shift in social strategy doesn’t have to mean shifting your voice. Outside of eliminating some dangerous buzzwords and avoiding jokes that may make light of the current situation, the voice you’ve cultivated up to this point should be the one you maintain as you continue to market.

Check for Insensitive Words

A good rule of thumb here is to avoid the use of anything that might pertain to the pandemic as a whole. It’s not so much avoiding the topic as it is wanting to avoid reminding your audience of their current situation. Avoid phrases like “killer deal”, or any health-related terms while drafting copy. It’s also wise to hold off any phrases that include gathering or events until Stay at Home and Shelter in Place orders are lifted.

To that end, remember to maintain an added level of sensitivity in your content. Use words or phrases that encourage a kind of togetherness without overtly stating or implying physical connection or gathering. You want phrases and keywords that make people feel less alone. Talk about how engaging with your post or taking your offer can help them do things like contribute or connect while avoiding the normal ad phrases like “take advantage of” or the idea of profiting off of or from something.

Copy Editing Still Matters

This might feel like a no-brainer, but we’ve all got a lot on our minds right now. It’s easy for copy editing to fall by the wayside while you’re juggling so many things, but clean copy is always a critical aspect of any social strategy. It’s wise to avoid any embarrassing typos while most of your demographic finds themselves at home with a little bit more time on their hands.

Current Clients Over Lead Conversion

While it can be tricky, the most engaging and effective content is going to be the kind that makes your audience feel comfortable. We’re in constantly uncomfortable times, and folks are just looking for something familiar and easy. We always want new clients and a larger reach, but your primary focus should be on contributing to the conversation with your current reach. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool, and people will remember who kept things focused on business as usual rather than forming a sense of community and outreach amid uncertainty.

Sensitivity Is Key

Keeping things light in our interactions is a great way to make people feel at ease, but it’s a difficult line to tow right now. There’s still space to be witty but be sure that you’re maintaining a level of sensitivity while doing so. With emotions at an all-time high, a poorly placed joke can lead to lost engagement now more than ever before. This can easily circle back to remembering your social voice. You don’t have to change your entire strategy, just be extra mindful for the time being.

It’s really that simple! No one’s asking anyone to reinvent the marketing wheel. You can still have exceptional brand strategy amidst a pandemic, it’s just about adding a little extra dash of thoughtfulness into the equation.

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.

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