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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.

 

CRMLS is Making Some Changes… Are You Aware of Them? August 27, 2012

On Tuesday, August 28, the following changes will be made in the CRMLS Matrix platform:

Changes to Printed Reports and Search Displays

  • The ML# field on the Quick CMA report will be removed to make room for the addition of theDOM/CDOM and COE Date/End Date fields.
  • The Baths Total field (Ba) on the Agent 1 Linedisplay will be removed and replaced with Baths Full/ThreeQtr/Half/OneQtr (Bth(F,T,H,Q)).
  • The Open House Agent Full report and display will be renamed to Open House Full.
  • All search displays containing an agent’s DRE#will link directly to the DRE site with the agent’s license information.

Field Changes

  • When adding a Residential Income listing, the totals entered into Unit Information must match the total number of units that you input in the # of Units field. For example, if you entered 3 in the # of Units field, you will be required to enter Unit Information for three units. For each type of unit you specify in the #Units field, you will be required to enter information in the corresponding#Bedrms#BathsFurnished?Garage SpacesActual RentTotal Rent, and Pro Forma fields. If the number of garage spaces you entered is equal to one or more, you will also be required to enter a value in the Garage Attached/Detached field.
  • If Notice of Default is not selected in the Sale Type field when entering a Short Sale listing, you will receive an input warning asking you to verify that a Notice of Default does not exist. If a Notice of Default does occur, you will need to update your listing. This is for all property types.
  • If the value entered in the Date of Listing field is more than 10 days from the day you enter the listing in Matrix, you will receive an input warning during listing input. Input will still be allowed.
  • When entering Mobile Home listings, the Park NameManager’s Name, and Contact Information fields will be required.
  • When entering a Mobile Home listing, if you selectNone in the Park Type field, the Space Number,Park Name, and Manager’s Name fields will no longer be required.
  • When entering a Mobile Home listing, if you selectLease in the Land Fee/Lease field, the Land Lease/Space Rent Amount field will be required.
 

From 17B to 8,000B in 12 Years July 24, 2012

Do you think text messages have really jumped in usage? I’m going to go with, ugh, YEA!

I remember watching the first commercial for texting and thinking it was ridiculous… I’m obviously no Steve Jobs. Now ask me how many texts I sent the last month. I actually don’t know. After going over two months in a row years ago, I knew I had to go unlimited. It’s been worth every penny. How could I dream of restricting my texts?!

If you’re not using texts to keep in contact with your clients – before, during and after the transaction – you’re missing a free and fast form of a ‘touch’.

What’s my favorite ‘touch’ via text? Texting my clients on Friday afternoons and wishing them a wonderful weekend. Sometimes I include a bit.ly of the weather to show off how awesome it’ll be or a link to a cool event. What do ya’ll think? What’s your favorite way to communicate with clients?

 

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?