5 Direct Mail Marketing Mistakes You Hope You’re Not Making – But Probably Are

Person hand taking chalk drawn email sign-1

*from Mediaspace Solutions

According to findings from a Temple University study, direct mail campaigns have a greater effect on buying decisions than digital ads. The study found that participants had stronger emotional responses from physical ads, and that those physical ads left a longer lasting impression.

So, whether or not direct mail marketing works is not really up for discussion. What is up for discussion is how to do it the right way and the wrong way.

If you’ve been struggling to get your direct mail campaigns to work for you, chances are you’re making some common mistakes.

Mistake #1: You’re Not Leveraging Data

All of your customers are different, so lumping them into one “target” group won’t work. To launch an effective direct mail campaign, you’ve got to spend some time looking at your data so you can properly segment your audience into specific groups. This will allow for more relevant communication that they will actually respond to.

Don’t create messaging that speaks to a target group – use data to speak to individuals within that group.

Mistake #2: Using a Not-so-Clean List

If you like missed opportunities and wasting money, then by all means, use a messy list. But if you want a solid ROI on your campaign, clean your database from time-to-time to check for address or name changes, and scrap any duplicate records. No one will think fondly of your brand if they keep receiving two or more postcards from you.

Mistake #3: Your Mailings are Boring and Not Personal

You may think that, these days, a person’s mailbox isn’t as cluttered as their email inbox, so you don’t have to try as hard to get their attention. Wrong! Boring and nonpersonal mail will be tossed immediately into the trash (or recycling bin for those conscientious recipients).

Your communication is still vying for attention so make sure your creatives are creative and grab attention. Always be thoughtful and personal with your messaging. Remember, your goal is to connect, engage and inspire your audience to action.

Mistake #4: You Have No Point

Or if you do, it isn’t very clear.

Remember, you’ve got like 3 seconds to convince a recipient to spend some time with your mailer to digest your offer. If, right off the bat, your message has confused them, you’re going in the bin.

Make sure your copy is very clean and makes complete sense. If you don’t have someone in-house who is strong at direct mail copywriting, outsource to someone who can create a message that is clear, direct, and drives your desired reaction.

Mistake #5: You’re Not Testing

If you have no idea what is and isn’t working, you’re obviously not testing. And if you’re not testing, you’re not optimizing your campaigns to get the biggest return.

There are an awful lot of moving pieces to a direct mail campaign, and the chances of you getting everything 100% perfectly right your first time ‘out of the gate’ are fairly low. A/B test everything, your colors, images, headers, bullet points and calls-to-action. Only when you have reached peak optimization should you roll out big.

Need help with your next direct mail campaign? We help our members improve their creative execution, expand their market presence, drive action and maximize their budgets, and we can do the same for you. Get in touch with us here at the PAAR Marketing Center today.

How To Create An Easy Content Marketing Strategy

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*from ArticleCity

Did you know that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement?

That means your content marketing strategy should be the centerpiece of attracting your customers!

Today we’re going give you a simple content marketing plan template that you can use to kick off your efforts.

First, let’s start out with the basics:

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the a strategy of consistently creating and promoting targeted, useful content to attract your perfect customer.

Here’s how it works:

Instead of pushing products on people that may or may not want them, we will pull them in (“inbound marketing”) by creating content they are searching for or interested in.

When they land on our site, they will consume our information (answers to their questions, news updates, resources, etc).

Through the content, they will get to know, like, and trust our brand. Here we can capture their information, send them more cool stuff that develops a relationship with them.

Then when we are ready to sell something, they are much more likely to buy since they know us!

The whole purpose of creating this content is to create trust with your leads. This makes sales 1000X easier.

Here’s how to create a simple content marketing plan that will work for you:

Simple Content Marketing Strategy

1. Define Your Goals

A ship without a destination is just lost at sea.

First we need to define what your goal is:

  • Increase email subscribers?
  • Increase sales of a product?
  • Educate users?

You might even have multiple goals, but you must understand where you want to go before you create your strategy.

If you’re just starting, my favorite goal is to create educational content. That way, you can put it to an autoresponder that delivers the answers to the most common questions your user base asks.

Think about where you can make the most impact in your business – Is it by educating customers? Is it by driving more leads? Is it by explaining your product or service in a valuable way?

2. Define Your Perfect Customer

After you understand your goal, then think about WHO you want to attract.

We want to create a customer persona, or avatar before we create any content.

Here’s why:

You know how some customers can be AMAZING and you make lots of money with little effort?

Then other customers are really really difficult and it’s hard to make a profit?

The quality of the customer can vary greatly – So if you create your perfect customer persona first, all the content that we create will be geared toward attracting them, and leaving everyone else in the dust.

Here’s an example:

In the book “Dot Com Secrets,” Russel Brunson tells a story about how he use to sell marketing training to anyone and everyone.

It was very profitable, but he hated it because the customer base made it really difficult.

So he switched his lead magnet to a book called “108 Proven Split Testing Winners.”

Instead of attracting the “make money online” crowd that consists of lots of newbies, he started attracting more advanced businesses.

Why?

People that know what split testing is generally have more advanced online businesses.

Just by changing the type of content he put out, he attracted an entirely different (and better audience).

You can do this by creating your perfect customer avatar.

What is a customer avatar?

A customer avatar is a list of characteristics and the persona of your perfect customer.

This could include any amount of data that you deem relevant:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Job Title
  • Interests
  • Wants, Needs, Desires
  • Big problems they have
  • Questions they have

The best way to get this information is to know your customers! Actively talk to them or create a survey for them to understand who they are and what they want.

Another way to find more about your target customers is to run Facebook ads.

With the Facebook’s demographic reporting, You can find what age, sex, target interests are converting the best and actually bringing revenue.

3. Research & Validate Topics

One of the hardest parts about creating content is that you can invest a lot of time with little to no results if your content doesn’t “hit” with the audience.

That’s why you’ll want to find topics that your perfect customer is proven to respond to.

You can do this by reverse engineering content that’s already out there to find hot topics, trends, and news.

Once you find topics that are getting lots of traction, you’ll know that what you’re going to create is going to work before you even have the first word written.

Some of my favorite topics to create are based around current news – If you are one of the first to put out a piece on a trending news item, it can rank easily and attract natural links!

4. Create Awesome Content

Now that you have your goals set, your target audience defined, and validated topics, it’s time to create the content.

Depending on where you’re at with your business, you may want to write the content yourself or get a blog writing service to do it for you.

Writing for web is different that other types of writing though – You’ll want to make sure you format for the web by creating scannable content.

You’ll want to link to authoritative sources to back up your points, as well as your own content. (It’s called internal linking and will help your website rank better!)

More than anything, create value for your target customer. Make sure your content answers their questions and positions you as an authority.

As your readers become familiar with your posts, they will trust you as an authority and will begin to like you. So when you go to pitch a product or service to them, they will be much more likely to buy from you!

5. Optimize Your Blog Posts For SEO

One huge part of a content marketing strategy is getting search traffic from Google.

That’s why for every post, you’ll want to do keyword research to find what people are searching for.

Include these keywords in your title tag, your meta description, and throughout your content.

This will help you rank better and drive more traffic!

6. Promote Your Content

Creating the content is just one part of the equation. If you optimize well for SEO, then you have an increased chance of ranking over time.

You’ll want to develop a checklist for content promotion after every piece is published.

This will include things like:

  • Posting to social channels
  • Post to Facebook groups
  • Send to email list
  • Tweet out to the people you have cited in your article to let them know
  • Go back through old posts and add internal links to your new post in relevant places
  • Link to your content in guest posts

Conclusion

By putting all these pieces together, you can formulate an awesome content marketing strategy that will grow your traffic.

What is your content marketing strategy for this year?

How To Maintain Your Real Estate Brand Across Multiple Platforms

*From Delta Media Group

Building a memorable, trustworthy brand for your real estate business is as important as ever, and online marketing provides the opportunity to demonstrate the value of your brand to a large, diverse audience. One of online marketing challenges is that you need to maintain brand consistency across multiple platforms so that potential clients get the same experience no matter where they encounter your brand. Let’s take a closer look at these five tips to maintain brand consistency across all of your real estate marketing platforms.

  1. Develop a Brand Strategy
    You can call it a style guide, brand guidelines, or whatever you’d like, but it’s crucial to have an overall strategy for how you wish to develop your real estate brand. Your guidelines should serve as an easy-to-access primer for anyone who will be representing your brand and will help guide your marketing efforts. Your brand guidelines can lay out expectations in meticulous detail or include more of a general, big-picture overlook.
  2. Be Consistent with Your Style
    Maintaining your brand across multiple channels requires a consistent style, so that your audience will always know when they’re interacting with your brand. The good news is that there’s plenty of room to find a style that works for your business, by considering how you write, the fonts and colors you use, the type of content you produce, and the markings you use to represent your brand. On social media, the links you share and hashtags you promote also factor into your style.
  3. Engage and Post Consistently
    If you’re noticing a theme of consistency, then you’re already on the right track. In addition to being consistent with your style, it’s also a good idea to be consistent with your schedule on multiple platforms. Make time each day—or however often you’re able—to update your social pages and engage your audience. Since you’ll likely have multiple people involved with that engagement on your side, this is one area where your brand strategy can really be used to help maintain consistency.
  4. Watch and Learn
    Between analytics and good, old-fashioned direct feedback from your audience, you have the data you need to perfect your branding over time. Maintaining your brand across multiple platforms is so much easier when you’re willing to look at the data to see what works, what could be working better, and how to improve in the future. You can also learn a ton by watching how marketing-savvy agents navigate the process of building their brand online, so don’t be afraid to do some research to get ideas.
  5. Different Platforms for Different Purposes
    While maintaining your strategy, style, and engagement level are crucial steps, you also have the freedom to adapt to the strengths of each platform. Twitter is a great place to touch on local topics, while Facebook is excellent for building your referral network through personalized interactions. You still want to maintain consistency with how you present your brand in the big picture, but there’s room to tailor the tactics you use based on the specific audience and platform you’re targeting.

Top Real Estate Hashtags for Social Media

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Why are hashtags important? 

*From SEOPerson.net
The term hashtag has entered the general lexicon, and is a very popular way to promote a service or product. People search using hashtags on websites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and they can be an effective way for people to search for content which is specific to their original query.

Hashtags can also be a powerful research tool and enable website developers interested in search engine optimization to see what is trending and making waves on social networking websites.

The importance of hashtags in promoting an event

Hashtags can also be effectively used to promote an event for business purposes and allow website owners to garner a new customer base. Hashtags should be short and contain natural keywords and phrases in order to improve their visibility in search engine rankings. It’s also useful to create a short but pithy phrase which will catch on and hopefully trend, whilst promoting the services of a company at the same time.

The PAAR Marketing Center has compiled a list of some of the most popular and effective real estate hashtags to use in your social media endeavors!

  1. #realestate
  2. #realtor
  3. #justlisted
  4. #broker
  5. #forsale
  6. #homesale
  7. #newhome
  8. #househunting
  9. #dreamhome
  10. #properties
  11. #milliondollarlisting
  12. #oldhousecharm
  13. #home
  14. #listing
  15. #homesforsale
  16. #property
  17. #investment
  18. #housing
  19. #mortgage
  20. #homesforsale
  21. #openhouse
  22. #homeinspection
  23. #creditreport
  24. #cashcow
  25. #creditscore
  26. #homesweethome
  27. #thereisnoplacelikehome
  28. #shortsale
  29. #emptynest
  30. #renovated
  31. #justlisted
  32. #citylife
  33. #countrylife
  34. #fixandflip
  35. #brokeragename
  36. #officeorteamname
  37. #wanttomove
  38. #localschooldistrict
  39. #realestatelife
  40. #realtors
  41. #getlistings
  42. #homesales
  43. #housesales
  44. #mortgage
  45. #realestatetricks
  46. #sold
  47. #buying
  48. #selling
  49. #standout
  50. #luxuryliving
  51. #househunt
  52. #agents
  53. #homesearch
  54. #renovation
  55. #realestateexperts
  56. #beautifulhomes
  57. #condolife
  58. #modernhouses
  59. #townhomes
  60. #curbappeal
  61. #realestatetips
  62. #realestateteam
  63. #realestatetraining
  64. #realestategoals
  65. #justsoldit
  66. #pool
  67. #yard
  68. #instahome
  69. #modelhome
  70. #landscape
  71. #besthouse
  72. #megahome
  73. #development
  74. #houseportrait
  75. #communitydevelopment

A Common Mistake Most Agents Make on Facebook

*from Keeping Current Matters

Worrying Too Much About Likes

How many people “like” your page and also how many likes each of your posts get are both artificial engagement metrics. Having a lot of page likes actually means practically nothing if they’re aren’t high quality. If you have a ton of page likes because you asked family, friends, in-laws, and everyone else you know to like your page, but no one actually engages, is that really a success?

Not to mention, if you ever go to advertise on Facebook and you target your page likes, Facebook will knock you if you have a low engagement rate among your fans. And let’s face it,people who only liked your page because you begged them and will never actually buy or sell with you, they’re not likely to engage with your posts or ads.

On the page post side of things, if you post a link for example, and it gets 10 clicks but no likes, does that mean it was a failure? Not if one of those people who is now on your website turns into a lead and that lead turns into a client. Additionally, sometimes just the presence of certain posts on your page can help you even if no one directly engages
with them. When a prospective client looks you up on Facebook, and trust us, they’re going to check you out online, it’s important that they see helpful, relevant content on your page. These people are very unlikely to comment or like anything, but the type of content you’re sharing will matter to them nonetheless.

HOW TO AVOID THIS MISTAKE:
1.) Focus on building an audience of qualified page likes – don’t worry about your total number of likes and getting everyone and their brother to like your page. Run a page like ad campaign targeting homeowners who live in your town, possibly limiting to a certain age range or income level depending on your ideal target market. Page likes can
be acquired at a very reasonable rate (sometimes less than $0.40 per like), and Facebook advertising allows you to pinpoint exactly the right type of person to like your page. Forget asking friends, family, or coworkers – unless they are specific people you know are likely to use you as their agent in the future.

2) Do not, under any circumstance, ever buy page likes – unless it’s via Facebook advertising, that’s a different type of buying likes. If you see someone offering a ton of likes for a very low price (such as Fiverr or similar), do not do it. These likes will not do anything to benefit your page or business, and you do NOT need them.

3) Focus on sharing content that’s helpful and relevant for your audience. If you share links to articles, look at how many CLICKS you get. If you share a link to a free home evaluation that asks for contact information, look at how many LEADS you get. Don’t worry about whether or not the post gets any likes, and for that matter, don’t worry if it
doesn’t get any comments.

4) Prioritize quality over quantity – as long as your deeper engagement metrics are getting some traction and you’re building your page with quality likes, you’ll be in a good spot to generate real results.

9 Social Media Best Practices for Real Estate Agents

*from RISMedia.com

The age of social media is upon us. Its adoption is a cultural phenomenon. In 2019, it is estimated that there will be 2.77 billion social media users around the globe.

Real estate agents who want to be successful today will not only need to leverage social media to meet the needs of buyers and sellers going forward, but also need to be very wise about creating and delivering relevant content for effective marketing and engagement.

It’s easy and cost-effective enough to open a social media account and be up and running quickly, but you’ll want to take in these 9 Social Media Best Practices to effectively send the right message to the right people at the right time.

1. Quality Content
Studies show consumers receive up to 10,000 brand messages each day! Your audience has a lot of options to spend their time on. Make sure to stand out from the crowd by delivering high-quality content that is compelling, interesting, and relevant. Find out what your audience likes by offering several kinds of content for them to choose from. Offer a mix of industry news, trends, polls, videos, local interest, even editorial (your own opinions and viewpoints). You can curate news you find yourself, or you can partner with service providers, (like the PAAR Marketing Center!) that produce real estate-focused and lifestyle articles you can use. Often, these services can post professionally-written content to your social media accounts automatically, providing a “set it and forget it,” hassle-free experience.

2. Frequency
It’s a numbers game. Shorter, more frequent messages are needed in today’s always-on world. Aim to publish a steady stream of usable information for your followers and create a plan to provide consistent news and updates. Statistics show that posting
frequently drives engagement. How frequent? Most experts recommend posting a minimum of several times a week, with many suggesting engaging on a daily basis. If you’re new to social media, make a habit of browsing the feeds of those you are
following each day and repost, like, or comment on their posts. In no time at all, you’ll get a feel for the pace that meets the needs of your audience.

3. Branding
You’ve invested a lot in your personal reputation and business brand; now, you’ll want to leverage every opportunity to elevate yourself and your message. Make use of the customization tools available within your accounts to keep your brand top-of-mind with your prospects and clients. Twitter and Facebook provide you the ability to add images to personalize your social media presence and present your unique value proposition. You can add your own profile picture, full contact information, a logo or even a photo of your real estate office and deliver a consistent look and feel to each and every post. There’s really no better way to let your viewers know who you are and that you’re open for business!

4. Video
It’s been proven that people are more likely to respond to video content by a factor of three. It’s never been easier to take advantage of this format and post interactive content to fully engage your audience. Many social media platforms have made it very simple to add short video clips or animated images to your postings, including linking to existing content from other sites. For example, if your company or team produces videos on its website, consider linking those within your own posts. Additionally, your smartphone can be used as a mini video studio available anywhere you go. Use your phone to create your very own virtual tours or walk-throughs, and add descriptive information about each of the properties you list to entice buyers to contact you.

5. Trusted Resource
Just as in real life, building long-term relationships with your prospects and customers should be one of your goals with social media. The best way to do that is to follow key referrals and contacts and build your list of constituents for each stage of your buyer’s or seller’s cycle. Do you partner with a local mover, electrician, or plumber? What about bankers or lawyers? Perhaps you know about a newcomers club, daycare facility, or a reasonably-priced dry cleaner in your area that you can recommend to home-buyers moving into their new neighborhood. Make a list of people and service providers in your network, and follow them on their social media accounts so you can make easy referrals with the click of a button. You’ll quickly become an indispensable resource to your clients and their contacts for years to come.

6. Be Timely
Topical and timely posts are a must if you want to keep your audience engaged. One of the best ways to do that is to provide the latest news and trends that appeal directly to your home-buyers or sellers. This means going well beyond the recent property listing or sale and including content they can use throughout the year, such as the latest mortgage interest rates, trends in home prices, or home improvements that have the greatest ROI. Sprinkle in homeowner-related content, like spring cleaning tips or driveway maintenance 101. Sharing groundbreaking industry survey results and infographics can really get your message across quickly and in a memorable and engaging way that will keep your audience coming back for more.

7. Mobile
Social media provides new and innovative ways for you to deliver your unique brand of customer service in a world that demands an immediate response. Fortunately, top social media platforms all have mobile applications that allow you to stay connected with your audience while you’re on the move. By setting alerts and notifications, you’ll be available from anywhere at any time when home-buyers and sellers want to reach out and inquire about your services or local inventory. With the power of social media in the palm of your hand, you can get more done in your day while keeping your prospects and customers fully engaged and satisfied.

8. Be Social
Don’t forget: Social media works best when the engagement is bidirectional. If you want people to respond to you and your content, take proactive and deliberate steps to reach out and like, follow, up-vote, and share the posts of those that are in your sphere. Ask them questions about the vacation pictures or special events they post. Take a genuine interest in the stories they tell. Consider starting and leading an online group about a topic that’s important to the people who share like-minded interests and watch your community grow! Many social media platforms enable you to post your own polls, allowing you to quickly capture valuable insights about the sentiments and preferences of your potential business opportunities.

9. Automation
So much social media, so little time! Are you a power user that needs to manage several accounts? Or maybe you’re just getting started and feel a bit overwhelmed? In either case, you may want to consider automating your social media content delivery. There are a couple of third-party tools that can help you manage your social media account, like Buffer or Hootsuite, which provide scheduling and the ability to post across all of your accounts, but you still need to create the content and the post yourself. If you’re looking for true automation, consider the PAAR Marketing Center, which will connect engaging and innovative content to your social media accounts and publish it on your behalf.