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Finding Value in Your Business March 22, 2013

This article by Keller Williams Metro NW Team Leader Melissa Krchnak originally appeared on YPN Lounge by REALTOR Magazine Blogs.

We often get asked, “What’s the return on investment on this or that?” And most times, we can quantify our answer. Although if it’s about Facebook, we might respond the way Gary Vaynerchuk would: “What’s the ROI of your mother?”

But do you know the difference between something being an expense versus asking about its ROI? As REALTORS®, we all probably have those inevitable monthly expenses: sign storage, database management software, and digital signature services. Have you ever taken the time to really think about these things and what they mean—and cost—for your business?

I was having this conversation with a colleague and here is how he described the difference: An expense is something in which we’ve yet to find the value. That was a big BOOM moment for me! I see the value in those “expenses” just listed and yet I’ve never questioned their ROI.

Go check your bank statement and see if there’s something on there you’re not finding valuable. That, my friend, is an expense. My advice is to pull out your income statement and clear your books of these “expenses” so you can better invest in items with an “ROI”. Don’t have an income statement handy? Here’s a sample chart to peruse.

Melissa Krchnak is the Team Leader for Keller Williams in Pikesville, MD. Connect with her on Twitter @mkrchnak.

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Please Don’t Leave Me! – Avoid the “Unsubscribe” September 12, 2012

Along with the author of this article, I’m a SATC (Sex and the City) fan so when she made reference to the infamous “post-it break-up”, I knew exactly what she was talking about. Berger got back with Carrie just to leave the below message for her when she woke up… harsh, huh?!

 

I’m Sorry. I Can’t. Don’t Hate Me.

Is this how your sphere feels? Are they ready for a break-up and don’t want to tell you to your face? Or are you delivering the value they want? Read Kim Stiglitz‘s article courtesy of Verticle Response:

As an avid Sex and the City watcher back in the day, I’ll never forget the episode where Carrie got broken up with via a Post-it note. In this day and age of mass marketing and virtual anonymity, our prospects and customers can be and are sometimes total strangers to us. Why then, do we take it so personally when they “break up” with us via an unsubscribe? And why are they often unsubbing en masse? As a smart business person and marketer, how can you keep your customers in love with your business and engaged in your communications? Marketing, like dating or marriage can be a slippery slope to navigate. Read on and I’ll share a few tips from my years in the trenches.

First, some scary stats to illustrate that this is serious stuff:

91% of consumers have unsubscribed from opt-in marketing emails. (This means they chose to subscribe to your communication, then later changed their mind – Hmm, why?)

77% of consumers have become more guarded about giving companies their email address in the past year.(Because they suspect we may do something unscrupulous with it perhaps?)

The stats speak to an epidemic that marketers and businesses face. In a split-second we go from inbox cock rooster to feather duster. Why?

Many marketers, and I am not going to name names here, are not delivering on the golden promise they made when someone opted into their list. Deliver What You Promise. It’s that simple. If, when someone signed up for your email list, you promised you would send them tips on home repair once a month, do that. If you start sending emails every week with offers for 50% off paint and wood flooring, you break your promise. When someone provides you their email address, they’re saying they trust you to do the right thing with it (i.e. not bombard them with excessive self-promotional stuff). Your customers want something of value from you. There has to be something in it for them. And, usually that’s what you promised them that caused them to sign up in the first place. That’s why your opt-in form and page are vitally important. It is there that you vow that you’re a good, upstanding person/company and that you will use the power of email marketing for good, not evil. Capisce?

You Get Old & Boring. Of all the consumers that unsubscribe, nearly half cite that they found content to be repetitive or boring over time; another 25% found content irrelevant – Egad. We’re being replaced by a younger, hotter and more interesting version of ourselves? Now you get the dating analogy, eh? So, short of a tech version of a nip and tuck, how do we stay hot in the inbox? Content Rules. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, you must deliver relevant, value add content to your subscribers to keep them engaged and coming back for more. We even did a webinar about it.

You can get a good feel for how engaged your readers are by keeping an eye on the open and click-through rates (CTRs) of your emails. You can even segment your list (we’ve got a webinar for that too) on this information and provide specific content based on what your readers are responding (or not responding) to. If you notice your open rates dropping, take a look at things that may have changed. Are you sending out the same amount of mail as you have in the past? Are you sending at or around the same time and day you have in the past? Does this need to be tested or changed? And, how are your subject lines? Are they attention-grabbing and action-oriented? Or, are they a snoozefest like the oh so popular, September Newsletter? Your click-through rates can actually be a stronger indicator of reader engagement because they illustrate that not only did the recipient open the message, but they found content that made them want to learn more, or do something. You can affect your click-throughs by including strong calls-to-action in your message and being very clear about what you want your reader to do. Use an active voice and language in your calls-to-action and watch the CTRs climb.

SPAM I am (Not). When your subscriber has had enough, how do they choose to end it? 67% click “unsubscribe,” 17% just delete the email. And 8% stick it to you – they click the spam or junk button, sending your lovely message to the black hole of email hell and your sender reputation along with it. So, how to avoid email purgatory and stay in the good books with your subscribers? Mail on a schedule and stick with it. If you decide to increase the frequency that you mail your subscribers, communicate it in advance and let them know the value of getting more mail from you. 47% of subscribers unsub because they get too many emails. We’re all suffering from message overload, so the messages we allow in our inbox and engage with better deliver.

Check out this unsubscribe infographic from our friends over at Litmus to learn more.

What value are your messages adding for your subscribers? Share how you use email marketing for good, not evil, in the comments.

Stats sourced via Litmus.

 

Have you [insert Social Media platform]’d about your listing today? July 9, 2012

Have you tweeted about your new listing? Did you take a picture and +1 it on Google Plus? Are your friends liking it on facebook? Is your tour going viral thanks to youtube?

Sounds silly and yet I’m serious. Have you googled your listing yet? I bet the person that wants to buy it has. They’ve map searched it, checked its walkability and researched the school district. Have you?

See, you can make a big impact by thinking local. Real local. Whatever that new homeowner would want to know about the home (from the cable provider to the nearest dog park), you should be giving them. They want to know what you know… and some of what you don’t. So, go through your current listings and start blogging (and all other forms of social media) about that which you’d want to know. Important stuff, like where’s the nearest Pinkberry?

 

I love Citrus Valley Association of @REALTORS! April 12, 2012

Boy, howdy!

If you went to CVAR‘s 4th Annual Symposium today, you were inundated with information! You walked out with notes galore of websites and apps you’ve never heard of, with Short Sale strategies you didn’t consider, economic trends you couldn’t see coming and knowing what animal you are.

I am always impressed by my association but they pulled out all the stops today. We started the morning with John Mulville, Senior VP of RealEstateEconomics.com, who laid out how much longer it’s really going to take, what job creation looks like and what to expect for our ever-changing market. Then we had Nobu Hata, the 2012 NAR YPN Chair, emphasise the importance of being “local, social, mobile” and how to make blogging simple enough for anyone to do. Our lunch speaker, Chris Smith the Chief Evangelist for Inman, give us the tools and the tool belt on how to be successful in that world that Nobu talked about. After lunch we had a great Distressed Property Panel moderated by the always-funny and freshly brushed Jacob Swodeck which touched on REOs, Short Sales, that climate and how to best negotiate through it. Last but certainly not least was Stefan Swanepoel, of NY Time’s Bestseller Surviving Your Serengeti fame, who showed everyone what animal they are.

If any of this is going over your head, let me know and I’d love to share my notes! I just had to sing my Association’s praises since they put together this dynamic day for us. If you missed it, you REALLY missed out! It was amazing!

 

My Top 10 Aha’s from KW’s Family Reunion March 8, 2012

It was such a great experience! I went last year for the 1st time and was completely overwhelmed but my 1st year as a KW family member was super awesome! I walked away with pages and pages of notes but here are some of my favorite take-aways or aha’s:

  1. Chris Gardner said, “I made 200 cold calls a day on a rotary phone. Everyday. See how this finger is cockeyed? Next time you sit down at your desk, look at your finger. If it’s too straight, you know you ain’t doing your thing.” To see his finger, go to 5:22:
  2. Mark Willis, our CEO, said that “we want you to be inspired to grow your careers and to grow this company with the fierce urgency of now,” something I abbreviated as FUN.
  3. Russell Rhodes of the Dallas Preston Rd. MC said to “hire people with a servant’s heart. Our service to our clients absolutely comes first. When you remember that the business will come.” I’m a firm believer, Russell.
  4. Matt Fetick, a Mega Agent and KWU International Master Faculty, has truly taken his business mobile using virtual assistants, VoIP, Dropbox, Shoebox and Dragon Dictation.
  5. In Gary Keller’s Vision Speech he said that “you need to be the professional delivering the perspective and the projections so that your clients make informed decisions.”
  6. 72% of Buyers said they’d used their Agent again but on 9% did… what’s that say to you? KIT – Keep in touch!
  7. “Every minute you live, you’re betting your life on  your decisions. Live is an inside (to outside) job. If you want the best life experience, put yourself together first.” – Gary Keller, KW’s Founder
  8. Gary Keller also said that he comes “from a long line of lethargic people. That’s why I have to make hard decisions on how I spend my time.”
  9. Tony DiCello, Director of MAPS Coaching, said to do the following: a) write down your income goal. Then DOUBLE it! b) Become self-aware. This gives you integrity. c) Write down the number of listings you want this year. Knowing that it takes 12 hours of prospecting to generate 1 listing, are you spending enough time prospecting? d) Go back to #1 and realize that Chris did that because his son’s life depended on it.
  10. I have more than ten so I’m going to string together some quotes from Gary Keller:
  • If you haven’t failed, you aren’t trying.
  • Fail your way to success.
  • I don’t think A to B. Blow up the alphabet and only think about Z.
  • I want to live the biggest life possible and fail as often as I can.
  • Somehow we think the little things will add up but they don’t, they stay little. (on thinking bigger)
  • No one succeeds along. (hire well and plug your holes/weaknesses)

Now, take this and do something with it. Motivate yourself toward the life you want. As The Rock says: “Boots to Asses”! Get going or Get out!

Make it a great Thursday!