Build Your Brand on LinkedIn

With over 238 million users, LinkedIn has become a go-to social media platform since the day it launched on May 5th, 2003. Now with reaching 200 countries and territories; I would say LinkedIn is a GREAT place to build your brand. Out of all the popular social media venues, LinkedIn is perhaps the most business-oriented, which makes it a fantastic tool for lead generation and professional networking. To get noticed on LinkedIn, be sure to do the following…

Create a Professional Profile
Two of the most important information LinkedIn let’s you share are the description that appears next to your photograph and your summary. In your personal description, be short and descriptive, for example, “Real Estate Broker” or “Real Estate Professional”. Set your profile to public so it appears in search engine results and those not connected to you can see your profile. Use your summary to describe why people should choose to work with you, including any specific expertise or specializations you have.

Make Connections
 LinkedIn promotes connecting only with people you know, so start building your contact base by connecting with friends, colleagues, associates, classmates or family. You’ll be surprised by the amount of connections that have a LinkedIn profile and are actively using it daily. After making those connections, make sure to endorce them if you think they excel in a certain skill. They’re over 1 billion endorsements on LinkedIn.

Build a Company Page
LinkedIn also lets you build profiles for your business. There are over 3 million business pages on LinkedIn. Once you’ve built a strong personal profile create a Company Page. These business focused profiles can help draw attention to your real estate business. Utilize the “help” options LinkedIn provides you with. Your success with this platform generates success for them as well.

Become a Groupie
LinkedIn has 1.5 million groups, ranging from high school and college alumni to major league baseball group to non-profit organizations. Participating in groups can help you stay informed on topics of interest to you and make new contacts in your industry or area. They can also educate you on specific topics ideas you may not be aware of. If you find that some members of the groups are interesting, send them an invitation request and/or message them. Starting a group is also a great way to find incite on the topics relevant to your career. For example, launching a group about home buying tips in your area could position you as the local market expert. Networking is essential in today’s society and business.

LinkedIn has been around for over a decade now and more than 3% of the world’s populations is on it. It started out in the living room of its co founder Reid Hoffman. Since then it has gone global by expanding into Asia, Europe, Australia, UAE and many more countries and supports several languages. There is literally a world out their full of connections to network with, you just need to sign up! It’s FREE!

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Have you done your 2014 Marketing Plan?

You will want to identify your goals and determine who your target market is.  This will help you know exactly what your target market is looking for when choosing a real estate professional. The key to success is to utilize all marketing tools.  There are many different options for marketing, but here are five ways that will be most effective in 2014.

  1. Get social! Social media is essential to your business.   The key to using social media to market to your consumers is to catch their attention and engage them early on in their search.  Consumers want to know what is happening so make sure to not only post pictures of new listings, but post information that is relevant and engaging.  If your target market is impressed with your brand, they are more likely to tell their friends about it which generates referral business for you.

    Using social media can be time consuming, so be willing to invest in resources that can drive your brand.  Hootsuite is a site we mentioned in our last post that can help conserve time and you can schedule your posts ahead of time.   

  2. Direct Mail – As online marketing is becoming increasingly popular, do not forget about the effectiveness of direct mail.  Direct mail is delivered to the home of a potential client and will be physically handled.  The benefit of direct mail is that your name will be directly in the eyes of a potential client without having them go search for it themselves.  Direct mail can position you as a neighborhood expert and helps you stand out from the competition. 

    Direct mail should give clients and prospects options to connect with you.  Include your phone number for people who like to make a personal contact.  An email address allows people who prefer everything in writing to contact you.  Try a QR code for those clients that are always on their smart phones. Generate a QR code with Azon Media.
    http://azonmedia.com/qrcode-generator/

    Make sure to include your URL so clients can visit your website without having to use a search engine to find it.

  3. Article Marketing is a great way to promote your experience, website or blog. The name says it all: article marketing means marketing yourself with articles and it’s easy to do if you know how.  Effective article marketing is about writing quality articles that are useful or interesting to your market, using some on your own website and getting some published on other related websites.   Internet article marketing is helpful for those agents to promote their expertise in real estate.
  4. Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Basically, content marketing is communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. Give them a reason to listen to you without feeling pressured.
  5. Video marketing is one of the best ways to engage with your clients because it can encompass all of the above marketing tools. Thank you, YouTube!  You may assume that creating a video is expensive and time consuming, but as video marketing becomes more popular, there are many services to help you or with the purchase of some equipment, you can create one yourself. 

These marketing tools will be sure to help you be noticed in 2014.  Create a marketing plan now that includes social media, direct mail, articles, blogs, videos and more. Merrill 4 Marketing offers a template to help you establish a successful marketing plan for 2014. Visit our website at http://www.merrill4marketing.com. As you begin using these marketing tools, take notice to what is most effective and what your clients are really reacting to and keep those priority.

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Save Time During the Holidays

With the Holiday Season fast approaching, things can get crazy and chaotic which can lead to less time marketing. Here are a few FREE marketing sites to help you stay connected during the Holiday Season.

mList
With Merrill’s mList, you can target your direct mail campaign by zip code, street select and radius around the property which will pull a list of addresses and last names for your review. You will receive the option of property types and ownership statuses as well. It’s important to WOW those26 million renters in our database who are looking to become first time home buyers. Don’t forget about the other 200 million consumer address records we can supply you with as well. Visit your Merrill Corporation website or click here to watch our video to learn more.
http://www.merrillshop.com/global-01/cvd/resources/pdf/mLISTonline.pdf

MailChimp
MailChimp is a free site to help you keep connected with your clients during this Holiday Season through e-mail marketing. MailChimp makes it easy to add content and collaborate on emails that fit your brand. Gather information from readers on your signup form, and send them newsletters they care about with segmentation. Multi-user accounts allow you to grant different levels in access to your team members, and you can share feedback right inside our email designer. You are also able to access your MailChimp account from any mobile device.
http://mailchimp.com/

 

HootSuite
Social Media is HUGE these days and keeping up on your posts and tweets is essential to your business especially during the Holiday Season. HootSuite is the leading social media dashboard to manage and measure your social networks. You are even able to schedule messages, posts and tweets in advance so your post can be public without even logging onto your computer.
https://hootsuite.com/

 

These three programs are not only FREE, they also make it easy to incorporate multi-channel marketing into your marketing plan. Stay connected this holiday season without having to log into your computer, saving more time for family and friends.

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Stay In Touch

Now that you have the referrals, you need to STAY IN TOUCH! If you don’t plan on following up with your clients, they will most likely forget to mention you to friends and family. Keep your relationship alive with a few of these helpful tips.

Provide your clients with useful information such as the latest news in their community or some helpful home tips with a bi-monthly newsletter. Newsletters make it easy to stay in touch with your past clients and can often lead to repeat business and referrals. This is the perfect way to keep your name in their minds and provide valuable information at the same time.

If you are able to, sponsoring community events or organizations is a great way to let your clients know you are still in the community. With your name associated on promotional flyers and banners, you’re making a personal effort to help them remember you. Be sure to attend the event as well and touch-base with your clients to see how they are doing.

Social media is an easy way to keep in touch. Post a message on their wall to let them know you care or to ask them to attend an upcoming event. Ask them to share your information with friends in their social network by liking your company page.

Most importantly, be consistent in your contact. You don’t want to contact them too often where you become a nuisance, but also want to make sure they don’t forget who you are. Send postcards, post a message on Facebook or sponsor an event to let them know you are thinking of them. When you remember them, they will remember you!

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Providing Great Customer Service

Friendly makes sales – and friendly generates repeat business.
Jeffrey Gitomer

Having strong customer service skills to start and carry your relationship throughout the buying or selling process is important in building loyalty with your clients. When looking for a sale, make sure you’re friendly and making every one of your clients as comfortable as they can be.

There are three important customer service skills that are proven to keep loyal customers if you are willing to go the extra mile to follow them. Always be willing to LISTEN to your customer’s needs and concerns. Let them share what they like and don’t like and don’t interrupt them in conversation with your opinion. HELP them select a home based on their requirements. No one wants to look at a home they can’t afford or that has two bedrooms when they need four. Help your customers understand the buying/selling process by EDUCATING them on your process. Show them that they can trust you and you will keep your promise.

Gain strong customer service by being available. Give everyone your business card that has your cell phone number and email. Let them know where you are located and when they can contact you (anytime of the day!). Provide your contact information on all brochures, flyers and postcards that you give to them. Being available to LISTEN to their questions and concerns when they do contact you is very important in maintaining a good relationship.

Following up with your customers is a strong advantage in customer service. Providing great customer service in your follow-up will also get you referrals. When you HELP them understand the steps to take when buying or selling a home or what your typical process is, they will be more comfortable with you. Keep in contact with your customers by sending them a note or giving them a calling a few weeks after the sale. Make sure they know you are there for them and thinking about them.

There is a lot of talk about providing great customer service, but to really go the ‘extra mile’ provide them with the full Customer Experience. The customer experience is how you make them feel every step of the way when connecting to your brand. EDUCATE them on your brand and make them feel like they are your one and only customer. Their overall happiness with all that you provide with help you gain referrals.

By having an easy-to-use website, responding to their inquires and questions, and always answering your phone with an energetic, friendly attitude, your customers will feel comfortable working with you and referring you to their family and friends. Provide them with the Customer Experience that you would expect to get yourself!

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Expand Your Reach

Are you having trouble getting listings? Trust us; you’re not the only one with a shortage of them. This just means that you have to get more CREATIVE in your search for listings.

Referrals are going to be one of your best choices to get more listings. Check back in with people you have sold to in the past and hand them a stack of business cards. Ask them to pass your name along to their family and friends and share their great experience in finding their perfect home with you. Expanding your search through past clients is a great way to add credibility to your work – they know you best.

Are you expanding your market reach? Our go-to tool to expand your reach is mLIST. mLIST is a free mail list through Merrillshop that uses our database to search through 199 million consumer address records to produce a mailing list with the best deliverability rate. You have the option to expand your reach by zip code, proximity or by street address. Watch our video to see how it works!

Leave your face on their front door. Our doorhangers are an excellent tool to introduce yourself to the new neighborhood and show them who the local expert is. Doorhangers market your recent listings, sales or open houses to the surrounding area to get your name known. Plus you’re beating the cost of postage and standing out when other agents are only mailing a generic marketing piece.

Offer home owners a FREE home evaluation with our Home Market Analysis Certificate or leave a stack at local businesses. This is an effective tool to generate listings and to share with them how much their property is worth in today’s marketplace. You just never know what leads that could bring for you!

Be ready to think outside the box and attempt ways that you maybe wouldn’t have normally. If you are able to stand out among the other agents trying to find listings, you are sure to attract new prospects and gain listings. When people do come to you, ask them how they found you. Keep track of the leads and where they are coming from so you know the best way to search for future listings.

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Content Marketing

Is “Content Marketing” the latest buzzword capturing your attention? It is in the online marketing world. Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract and engage a defined target audience. The objective of content marketing is to drive profitable customer action – generating qualified buyer and seller leads. When creating content marketing, remember that its purpose is to communicate with your customers without selling. Delivering information that makes your prospects more intelligent, such as sharing local market trends or what upgrades in a home will improve its value, is a great way to stay in touch without pitching your service. In the end, if you can deliver valuable information they will reward you with their business and loyalty.

According to a January 2013 study by CopyPress, articles, video and white papers are the most cost-effective content types to work with. Turn your expertise into relevant content that can help prospects at various stages of their real estate needs. When you stay in their sights, and not as an annoying salesperson, they will reach out to you when they are ready to sell or buy a home.

Content does not and should not come from just you. Utilize your network to help contribute content by reaching out to mortgage lenders, home inspectors or appraisers. Make sure that you are putting time and thought into your content marketing so that your clients have a reason to come back and read future postings.

Need some ideas?
• Let your clients know about current market trends or ways to improve their homes value
• Blog about owning versus renting comparisons to help them make the right decision
• Did you receive an award? Share by sending out a news release to the relevant press
• Post your brochures as PDF’s on your site and send out monthly or quarterly newsletters

This concludes the five marketing tools that will help you achieve success in 2013. Remember that your marketing plan is a working document and it should change and grow with your successes. As you begin using these marketing tools, take notice to what is most effective and what your clients are really reacting to. Focus on those key tools and be willing to revise your plan to meet your marketing goals.

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