Online Marketing. General Manager at The Mather Group. Formerly at Zippy Shell, 1-800-PACK-RAT, Shop.org, and Discovery Channel Stores.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Naked Conversations: Kryptonite Argues Its Case There's an interesting interview with Donna Tocci, the PR manager for Kyrptonite, which is often cited as an example of how stories spread across blogs. In her case, it was the fact that some of their bike locks could be picked with a Bic pen. It's certainly interesting to hear the rest of the story, and find out what was going on inside the company at that time.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
I had just posted yesterday on tips for real estate agents. Coincidentally, I met a speaker today at a workshop, and she has a great article up, on 10 Unobvious Ideas To Pull Visitors to Your Real Estate Agent Web Site I'd highly recommend it.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
How a realtor can stand out of the crowd:
I'm meeting for lunch with a friend of mine, who's a newly minted realtor. Without hearing his strategic plans, or a SWOT analysis, I've got some unsolicited advice. Right now, we live in a really hot real estate market, and off the top of my head, I could name at least FIVE realtors who I have some sort of connection with, ranging from friends to social acquaintances.
How does a new realtor break through the clutter? Some of the things I've seen are invitations to social events quarterly, online newsletters that are produced by the mothership (eg, Caldwell Banker Homeowner club, with customization by a local agent), postcards when a house in a community sells with comparable sales, letters with detailed analysis of a particular market, the smaller the better.
Taking a look at some of the sites in the area, found by a search of Google. The first ad was for Zip Realty. They're competing on price, which is going to be difficult for a new agent.
Here's result #2. I'm not as keen on the graphic, but there's a point of trying to collect data.
This was the 4th ad on the right side of the search. Helpful features. I can sign up for a list of new homes on the market. That's good, and it potentially brings in people who need a buyer's agent, which still brings in a commission. There's a feature for sellers that will value a home in 24 hours. That's great, you probably just need an intern to do it, but high perceived value.
Here's #5 from that same search. This realtor wants to be a buyers agent. Design's good, she wants to get that email, so she can start establishing a relationship.
#6, Weichert Realty. Lots of agents.
What would I recommend? Networking, networking, networking. I'd try the typical e-marketing campaign on AdWords. I'd build up contacts on LinkedIn.
My key initiative would be to start a couple blogs or webpages on very specific areas that I wanted to target. I'd then have several options for communications, where subscribers could see content daily, weekly, or monthly.
The best chance for success would be a numbers game. The more people who know you're out there, the better the odds you'll get a call when they need someone. Fairly obvious, but in a market like the one that's going on currently, the more you can get people to feel as though they have a connection to you, and that you can meet their specific needs, the better you'll do.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
In my last post, I had mentioned Keith Ferrazzi. He has a link to an hour presentation that has been archived via LiveMeeting. It's a fantastic way to get a feel for the book; and it's definitely worth the hour investment. I'm thirty five minutes in, and already have several ideas written down that I can implement.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Post that make you think have been showing up lately for me on networking.
There's a great introduction to LinkedIn, and how it works on KeelHauling.
Ripples has an article on networking and the past-50 worker.
10 secrets of a master networker. By Keith Ferrazzi who wrote Never Eat Alone. Also a good interview with him for consultants.
WSJ had one
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I spoke with a friend of a friend last night, who runs a small computer business in CT, fixing computers, installing networks, removing spyware, etc. He's trying to garner new business; specifically in the business field, as that tends to be a bit more recurring and pay better, I'm assuming. He'd done some AdWords advertising, and has a webpage that he did several years ago, but hadn't been happy with the results. For those not familar, AdWords runs ads on Google, and the network of sites that Google where syndicates its results.
There are two main issues that he'll need to work through.
First, his website is out of date. He mentiond it was set up when he was focused on Linux work, several years ago. It has more of a techy feel to it. He probably needs two landing pages. One for consumer work, with a warm, friendly feel, as people will need that reassurance for problems they're likely frustrated with, to the point of having someone come into their home. The second, for the commercial work. It's the type of work that a good graphical artist / web designer can help pull together, and help welcome people in to the site. There's also an opportunity to do the usual building relationships with people who may not be ready to buy now.
The second main issue is the Adwords campaign. A couple key mistakes...selecting two geographical areas, CT and NY, NY. Even if you reach over the CT border, I'm sure that the vast majority of clicks he got came from parts of New York City that would have been very difficult to reach. Same thing with another campaign that set a radius of 75 miles from Norwich, CT. I'd have a very narrow focus and gradually expand. Another issue was a max cost per click of $5.00... About 100 clicks burned through $300. Seeing this, my hypothesis was that many of the high cost clicks were burned through very rapidly, and burnt out the campaign.
On the bright side, a narrowly targeted campaign, with reasonable cost per click targets, and friendly landing pages should have much better results.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Great post from Ripples called " I get by with a little help from my friends.." on "how I make money from blogging". As I posted a while back, it's all about networking, especially if you're selling a service, like financial planning. The key point:
All of the cards and letters and phone calls and introductions in everyday business are just a means to begin a conversation between buyer and seller. Nobody ever asks, "How do you make money cold calling?" or, "How do you make money advertising?" Blogging is the means to an end, not the end.
Blogging is just one very good way to reach interested people with your message. The critical difference is that they discover you. You are not interrupting them or jamming their inbox with unwanted communications.
Monday, July 11, 2005
Some quick thoughts for a friends aunt, who had some questions about how to publicize her small handbag business:
- Make sure your website address is on all of your marketing materials, and tucked inside your purses.
- Have an email collection form on your webpage, and make sure you ask for addresses on the phone when taking orders.
- Google AdWords campaigns: These can be started for $25, and will make sure that people searching on the name of your company will easily find you.
- Post on fashion related blogs. Make sure your URL is in the signature at the end of your postings.
- If you live for fashion, or handbags, why not start your own blog on the topic? It's free, and a great way to get people to link to you.
- Look at some of the other options for pay per click once you get running with Google, like Overture, Kanoodle, and others.
- Consider sending samples to influential people / bloggers. It could pay for the cost many times over, if you get new traffic to your site.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
The new cold calling tips for e-marketing agencies:
Several years ago I wrote some tips for ad agencies trying to win our business, which I remembered when I saw an old link from Hugh. I thought it might be time for an update on the e-marketing side of things, especially if you are a sales /business development person, stuck cold calling on companies that might need your services:
You’re cold calling us. Someone probably told you who the guy who handles e-marketing is. Odds are, someone with a title like Director, E-marketing for Road Runner is probably easily found on Google. Maybe even on some other network sites.
It’s not very likely that our Fortune 500 company has made it to 2005 without doing any e-marketing. Therefore, pitching the fact that you’re a “comprehensive” online agency isn’t going to make us very excited. Unless, of course, you’ve found the one day that we’re drawing up an RFP for a new agency. The odds are against that.
Also, the fact that you offer search engine marketing, email marketing, CAN-SPAM compliant marketing really isn’t that fascinating. My current problems fascinate me…and I’ll go into that more in a minute..
Working with our competitors…Pointing out that hey, we just did a big campaign for competitor X and it got great results is a double edged sword. It’s great that you work with them, but the fact you seem willing to sell them out is a red flag. Especially since we’re in an industry where you generally can work for one set of competitors or the other. It’s like working with Google or Yahoo. Probably, not many vendors work with both. Walking the middle doesn’t work so well, unless you’re a huge search engine, have truly mammoth scale, or you’re Staples.
For that matter, pitching anything is not your best first move. I’m probably distracted by reading email, talking to someone, or was doing something else at precisely the moment you called. It’s entirely likely your area code was the same as someone I really wanted to talk to. You’ve got about 20 seconds before I come up with a reason to stop talking to you. Your best case scenario is to find out if I’ve got a problem you can help with.
The exception to the 20 second rule. If you can say that someone referred you, you’ll probably get 2-3 minutes, as I try to figure out if this is a legitimate referral, and something I need to pay attention to, or, if you just figured out the name of the company president .
Sounding relaxed, and if you’re having fun helps…Something like, hey, bet you’re excited to get cold called by an e-marketing, will at least get you an acknowledgment of where I’m at in the day.
One of the most fascinating things I’ve learned about the sales process, from enterprise salespeople, is that their biggest sales have always occurred from being able to solve a particular point of pain for their customers. Not necessarily the thing that would have driven the biggest value, but the product that solved the biggest problem they had. I’d be curious if this has been common for other salesfolks who might read this.
Like most marketers, we’re fascinated by our own issues. If you can ask us “what’s your big problem of the day” or something about challenges we face, you’ve got your greatest chance of getting somewhere. On a given day, I may need a list of X million addresses with particular demographic requirements. On another day, if I get a random call, and the person on the other end has the ability to run multiple text ads to a viral blog we’re trying to launch, that might be exactly what I need.
If you can ask a question or two, and then mention that you might have a solution…you’ll get enough interest to set up a meeting, or a follow up conversation. What you do then is a topic for another day.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
I've been reading Steve Pavlina's blog a lot lately. He's had some posts that have resonated quite a bit. How to get from a 7 to a 10. He's also posted how he's done with goal settting for the first six months of the year.
I had a discussion with a financial planner this morning. He's seeing that having a blog provides a reference point for clients to see his expertise on a regular basis, for new clients to research information, and a low key way for him to stay in touch with potential clients. There's the same benefit for Steve.
I recently met someone on a plane who runs a major speaking business, working with speakers with global appeal. Steve's current goal is to become a paid public speaker, and he's found someone locally to support him in that. I'd be willing to write an intro note for him, if he wanted to meet the person I had met. That's a contact that might be able to offer some useful tips, and/or be extremely valuable down the road. It's easy to envision a scenario where they have a motivation speaker unable to make it to Vegas, and need someone last minute who lives there...you never know, but if the contact isn't made, it'll never happen...it's how Les Brown got started...It's another nice example of how networking on the Internet can take you new places :)
From the financial planning person's perspective, one of the key elements that would make a blog so much more successful than a website, is that you can publish information that people will be actively searching out. I realize you could have an "articles" series on the website, but for someone just starting out in understanding the online world, they're really likely to get sold a website that's just a version of their brochure or folder of information that they distribute. Most people who then go to the site, whether from advertising, business card, or friends mention will give it very little time.
However, if they see articles/posts on topics like "What do with windfall real estate profits", "Keys to executing a 1031 exchange and not getting audited", they're a lot more likely to stay if the topics resonate. Not only that, but with targeted advertising and word of mouth, you're a lot more likely to get people that have a problem, and are researching it. Those people are far more likely to be clients, than someone who just happens to be browsing through the site.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Micro Persuasion: Corporate Blogs Aint Just Hype - Summary of some coporate marketing initiatives into the blog space.
Friday, July 01, 2005
How to send out blog postings via email I've been looking for something like this for a while, I'll try implementing over the weekend.
Update: Seems to be up and running, try subscribing via the signup box on the bottom left of the page.