Your Real Estate Marketing Plan

A real estate marketing plan needs to take all facets of the realty business into account. This means marketing to real estate sellers as well as buyers. The real estate strategy also needs to utilize both online and offline methods of advertising.

Realtor advertising needs to show a good return on your advertising investment. It should be tracked to see if you are gaining positive results for each dollar spent. By researching your advertising methods and tracking the results, you can find the best methods that work in your local real estate market.

The main thrust of your marketing endeavors should be to gain leads, follow them up quickly, and turn your prospects into clients by meeting with them face-to-face. All along this marketing process, you should be aiming to gain the trust and loyalty of the real estate lead. Thus turning them into your client and making them a loyal, lifetime customer.

Your realtor marketing plan should be an offensive game plan. Direct response marketing is best for this type of endeavor. Direct response marketing is meant to illicit a yes or no response from your potential lead. It then gives them a means to contact you if the answer is yes, giving you the opportunity to supply them with the information they desire and capture the lead’s contact information for further follow-up.

Both online and offline techniques can be used to accomplish this objective. An integration of online and offline rounds out your marketing offensive. In this modern day, both are equally important and give the lead their choice of means to contact you.

Key to the success of your marketing strategy is “baiting” the potential client with pertinent information that they are seeking. Online you can capture your leads by supplying them with information on buying or selling their house, finding the value of their property, or giving them a report on what to do to prepare their property for sale. This is supplied in downloadable form after they give you their contact information.

Offline, the same information can be supplied or information on a house they have seen in an ad or after driving by and obtaining a phone number from you house sign. Through a realtor hotline number they can access the desired information after calling and giving a special phone extension number that is specific to their request. You phone hotline should have the ability to capture the lead’s phone number and name so that you can do an immediate follow-up call to sell the lead on your abilities and tell them what you can do for their real estate quest.

Prompt follow-up is one of the most important keys to your real estate success. Most people don’t expect prompt, personal service and this sets the mood for developing a relationship with the lead. Developing a personal relationship with your prospects brings confidence in your abilities to help them and a lifetime commitment to you as their realtor.

You should develop scripts that bring confidence to you as a real estate agent. These should be aimed at the prospect’s desires and needs and how you can help them obtain their desires, whether selling or buying housing. Communication is key and should always answer that big Homer Simpson question that he asks in every episode that the lead is also asking: “What’s in it for Me?”

Your advertising should not be the traditional “here I am” and “I’m such a great real estate agent” ads that so many realtors use. If the ads are of this type, you prospects will be asking the two other Homer Simpson questions: “So What?” and “Who Cares?” before they turn to another realtor that can focus on their needs.

Everything in your real estate marketing plan should be centered around the prospect. You must build confidence that you can aid them with their wants and desires. You have to show them that you can do this quickly and with the least amount of hassle on their part. The process has to be simple and easy for them to accomplish.

Show the lead that you are the real estate agent to allow them their dream by being the go-between that can same them time and money while getting the job done. Keep communications open at all steps along the real estate process, from meeting the client to closing the deal, and inform them of the progress towards their goal continuously.

The biggest complaint clients have with realtors is that they get the client to sign an agreement and then are not heard of until a deal is in the making. You want to keep in touch no matter what the progress is and inform your client that progress IS being made and this is what YOU ARE DOING FOR THEM.

A well thought out real estate marketing plan should take into account this and much more. It takes effort on your part but this effort will pay dividends. The real estate agent should continually brainstorm new means of advancing their business and bring these into their strategy if they prove themselves to work.

Building Technology Strategy for Small Businesses

With the advent of internet revolution, technology is no more a supporting function, rather it has become a driver for business growth in any sector and of any size. Small businesses in non-technology sectors, find it a daunting task to articulate a Technology Strategy, rather, most of them don’t even have it. Not only are these companies cash strapped, they have minimal or no internal capabilities and limited access to expert guidance on technology. Not having an effective Technology Strategy can drain a company’s resources, push them behind the competition or they may even cease to exist. This article provides basic advice for small business owners on where to get started. Below are some factors to take into account while creating an effective Technology Strategy.

Legal and Government Compliance

Planning for technology that keeps the business in legal and government compliance comes before anything else. Last thing a business wants is getting distracting from core trade and going bankrupt contesting litigations. For example, a restaurant business should have technology planned for Sales Tax, PCI Compliance, and Employee Time sheets etc.

Core Business and Customer Experience

Technology that facilitates core business and customer experience comes next. These are what directly generate revenue and these are the services what customers pay for. This is the area, a business must appropriately plan for and allocate funds for. For example, for a restaurant business to be successful, it must have good technology in place to take customers’ orders, execution in the kitchen and service. If the customers do not get what they ordered or get too late, then it is going to affect the restaurant’s business. While providing free WiFi internet may help in improving customer experience.

Marketing and Digital Reputation

For a business to attract customers, not only it must announce its existence to the customers but continuously make buzz to stay ahead of the competition. Effective marketing is a very critical factor in any business’ success. In today’s internet savvy world, most of the customers research about any service or product on internet before they buy it. That makes having and maintaining good digital reputation on the internet very important for any business. This is what a business must plan for next and allocate appropriate funds. For example, a restaurant business might want to have a website informing customers about restaurant and the menu. For marketing and digital reputation it should create and actively maintain presence on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp etc. Using internet marketing over traditional marketing channels can be more effective as they enable reaching larger audiences at substantially lower cost.

Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

Next thing to consider is planning for technology related to improving operational efficiency and effectiveness. Technology investments in operational efficiency can help reduce costs, cut-down waste and substantially improve the bottom line. Wherever the savings realized through improved efficiency exceed cost of technology, it is worth an investment. For example, for a restaurant business having technology for inventory and material planning can substantially reduce inventory carrying cost and food spoilage, thereby directly adding to the profitability.

Insource, Outsource, or the Cloud

Once you have figured out what you want, it’s time to plan for how to acquire these capabilities. Most non-technology small business have minimal or no internal capability and hiring staff for non-core business may burn holes in the pockets. So, unless the business has existing employees that have technology skills, insourcing may not be a good strategy. Most of the best technology, both platforms and software are generally available on cloud today and must be considered as first preference. From small business’ perspective, Cloud is not only cost-effective but also allows business to stay focused on its core strengths. Only if something is not available on cloud, outsourcing may be considered.

Data Strategy and Security

After having planned for what is need and how to acquire, it is also important to research and plan for data storage, retention and security strategy. It is important to have data storage in compliance with government laws for physical location, retention period, encryption standards, usage and other factors. Agreements with cloud service providers must be reviewed before making decision to buy their services. Cloud platforms usually come with best of breed security infrastructure. Having in-house data can add to security and safety costs.

Finally, review regularly

Finally, always plan for regular review of the Technology Strategy to keep it aligned with business goals and other aspects discussed above. Remember that laws, technology, customer expectations, competitors and market are always changing and so must your strategy to stay in alignment.

Amit Ginotra is an experienced Information Technology professional with expertise in Technology Strategy and Transformation. He is also currently enrolled in the Master of Entrepreneurship Degree Program at Western Carolina University. Webmasters and other article publishers are hereby granted article reproduction permission as long as this article in its entirety, author’s information, and any links remain intact. Copyright 2014 by Amit Ginotra.

Auto Insurance: Accidents Happen

You need auto insurance. Most sates require insurance coverage just to register a motor vehicle. No proof of insurance, no registration. It’s the law. But the law or not, you need auto insurance to protect yourself, your loved ones and your assets. We live in a litigious society where lawsuits are common and facing a lawsuit is something you don’t want to face.

Having the right auto insurance protects you, your family and all that you’ve worked for. Choosing the right coverage in the right amounts is essential to protection of all the things important to you.

The Cost of Coverage

Auto insurance costs money. How much money depends on a number of factors including:

  • your driving history
  • your marital status
  • the kind of car you drive
  • your age
  • where your home is (and where you do most of your driving)
  • number of drivers
  • number of vehicles covered under the policy

If you have a few speeding tickets and you’ve had a few accidents (slow down) your monthly auto insurance premiums will be higher. If you drive an expensive sports car you pay more than if you drive a car built for safety.

Younger drivers have more accidents, therefore, their insurance premiums are higher. The factors that determine how much your automobile coverage costs are varied – some controllable, some not.

Automobile Policy Coverage

A quality auto insurance policy covers a variety of common contingencies encountered when driving down the highways and by-ways on the way to work.

Property damage coverage pays for damages done to the other vehicle and other property when you’re in an accident. Because property damage coverage protects the other driver it’s required in most states.

Bodily injury coverage protects you when the other party is injured or killed as the result of an automobile accident. The courts are clogged with cases involving bodily injury claims and you don’t want to add to the log jam.

Medical coverage pays for hospital stays, doctor’s visits and other medical expenses for you and all of those in the car at the time of the accident – again, essential to protecting your family assets – including your home. It doesn’t take much to roll up astronomical medical expenses even in a minor automobile accident.

Comprehensive coverage protects against things like theft, fire, a tree falling through the windshield and other non-accident related damages that can knock the family car out of service.

Uninsured motorist protection provides medical recovery expenses in cases of accidents with uninsured drivers or hit-and-run drivers who flee the scene of an accident and escape. You pay more for this protection but three out of 10 drivers are cruising the streets without insurance. Uninsured motorist protection covers you against these uninsured drivers who disregard the law and common sense.

Collision insurance pays to repair or replace a vehicle that’s been in an accident. Collision coverage comes with a deductible – an amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance company kicks in some cash to cover the crash. The smaller the deductible, the higher the monthly premium.

Collision coverage is one place you can save some money. Increase the deductible and lower your monthly payments. Or, if you drive an old clunker on its last legs, you can drop collision coverage altogether and simply get a new car in the event of an accident. That’s a decision only you can make.

Auto Insurance Coverage: How Much Is Enough?

Start by talking to an expert. Talk to an insurance broker. By bundling your home and auto insurance you often save money on both. And with insurance costs ever on the rise, saving on insurance coverage is always a good idea – as long as you’re protected by a reputable insurer who pays claims quickly and values the loyalty of its insured drivers and homeowners.

Another possibility? Your bank. Banks often sell automobile insurance as part of an auto loan agreement, something that can save you money and make it easier to get a car loan. If the bank knows its interests in your car are insured, that bank is more likely to help you get the car you need.

Using a bank to purchase car insurance can also simplify life by transferring monthly premiums directly from your checking account. No more writing checks, no more late fees, no more insurers threatening to drop your coverage.

How much coverage you need should be something you determine with the advice of an insurance expert. You need enough coverage to protect yourself, your family and your assets, including your home, but you also don’t want to pay for coverage you don’t need. Yes, it’s possible to pay for more coverage than you actually need and an insurance broker or your local bank’s insurance specialist will help you define your risk exposure to cover that risk with a solid auto insurance policy.

So, talk to a pro. You may be under-insured or over-insured right now. Neither case is good. You may be exposed to more risk than your current coverage provides, putting your future in jeopardy.

Accidents happen. Be prepared with the right auto insurance to protect you and your loved ones when they do.

Before you get behind the wheel, even for a quick drive to the store, pull out your car policy and check policy limits. Do you have enough coverage to protect your loved ones in case of a serious car accident? This is serious business. Check now. Call your agent.