Posts Tagged ‘reputation’

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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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Intellectual Property: Value & Pitfalls

It can be helpful to have a baseline understanding of what intellectual property is; and how it can benefit you and your agency.

Intellectual property comes in many forms. Your company logo is intellectual property. So is the name of your agency, any tag lines you’ve developed and consistently use to identify your company, your color schemes, if you have any – and content you’ve originated, like your website’s copy.

The good news about intellectual property is that it clearly identifies and separates you from your competitors. What can be a challenge, however, is challenges to your right to use your agency’s name or logo – if another entity takes issue with the use and raises the question of your right to its use.

IP lawyers know the ins-and-outs of intellectual property, but it can be helpful to have a baseline understanding of (a) what intellectual property is; and (b) how it can benefit you and your agency. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is a helpful website dedicated to intellectual property issues.


Real Estate Corner
Zillow or Redfin?

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Who hasn’t stopped, looked up addresses (including one’s own) – to determine what a property is worth, how it compares to similar properties and whether or not professionals involved in appraisals really know what they’re doing?

As Zillow and similar sights today embrace the added option of selling a property and eliminating real estate brokers’ commissions, the conversation about accuracy is a fast and furious trending topic.

marketing tips orange

Writing tips for inspiration

Do you consider yourself a good writer?

Do your coworkers frequently need to help you with polishing emails, letters and other critical business communications? Do you cringe when you think about writing any business communications pieces?

Writing is a crucial communications skill and so important to any businessperson. Here we offer three articles with tips for writing inspiration. Ready, set, write!

Real Estate Corner:

Increasing the supply of housing stock is the key to making housing affordable to a larger population of homebuyers, according to the lenders who responded to Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey for the fourth quarter of 2018.

tallgrass title

Tallgrass Title’s Evolution

What began as a law office that also did a bit of title work in rural Kansas has transformed into Tallgrass Title, a thriving title insurance agency serving three counties in Northeast Kansas.

Jake Pugh, owner of Tallgrass Title, is happy to share the long history of this successful family business. Jake’s grandfather started the law office in the 1940’s, Jake’s father joined the business in the 1980’s and Jake joined “a few years later,” in 2006.

“Title insurance wasn’t even a thing back in the 1940’s,” recalls Jake. “But the law office did dabble in probate, title work and routine real estate items.”

Jake’s father saw an emerging market in title insurance in the 1980’s and opened a title business, Wamego Title, in the back office of the law firm.

It became a successful business among the locals, but outside of the town of Wamego, no one knew about it. Fast forward to 2017 and Wamego Title wanted to grow and serve clients in the Northeast Kansas region.

Through a successful relationship as an independent agent with Alliant National Title Insurance Company, Wamego Title rebranded as Tallgrass Title.

Jake began the process by collaborating with Alliant National’s Director of Marketing Nikki Smith in conjunction with Alliant National’s partner David Hafleigh from Future Works.

Nikki and David worked closely with Jake, sharing knowledge based on market research and experience with helping other independent agents grow their title insurance businesses.

Together, they chose a regional-based name for the business: Tallgrass Title, a name that’s inspired by the area’s rolling prairie hills, valleys and rivers.

Nikki and David were extremely insightful, helping Jake with a new website, advertising and other branding material, as well as event planning for a grand re-opening under the Tallgrass Title name.

While Jake loved the rebranding efforts, one marketing practice he felt adamantly against was blogging.

He didn’t need to do such a thing, and nobody in the area would know about or seek out his blogs, and if by chance they did read his blogs, they’d be bored with the content.

Or, so he thought. Nikki was insistent that Jake needed to blog.

Jake wrote a few blogs and posted to Tallgrass Title’s website. And then, he cross-posted those blogs to the company’s social media sites and shared them via email newsletters.

They also used details from the blog to put into educational presentations. Then, he went about his business, attending networking events and being active in his community. But, something was different.

Realtors would approach him and talk about his blog. They’d ask follow-up questions, and also request topics for him to write about in future blogs. They appreciated his knowledge and wanted more blogs!

Business opportunities are growing for Tallgrass Title in the Northeast Kansas region and every day, Jake is grateful that he found Alliant National Title Insurance Company.

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What You Should Know to Avoid PR Fiascos

PR fiascos can decimate a brand and/or business.

Business leaders, and anyone representing the face of that business, must be aware of how their words and actions can impact that business.

The bottom line is: don’t be stupid. While it seems trite, those three words really get to the crux of avoiding PR nightmares.

  • When one thinks of social media influencers, who comes to mind? Is it a group of the most highly-followed social media stars with millions of followers or is it someone more approachable and relatable, with a smaller, yet immensely dedicated following? If it’s the latter, they are likely micro-influencers. Read More
  • An emerging trend has entered the ecommerce marketing arena since such social media channels as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube became increasingly popular. Micro-influencers, have successfully settled in the world traditionally ruled by the Kardashians and eventually gained more value for marketers. Read More

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