With all the so-called marketing experts making spectacles of themselves online today, it’s harder than ever to separate the marketing strategies that really do work from those that are duds, lies, scams or repeats of ideas spread by people who have no business offering marketing advice.
So instead of letting the loudest voices lead the way, we decided to search out some of the most successful small businesses, and investigate the marketing strategies they use to pump up sales and attract more clients.
Some of the businesses using these ideas are real estate agents and longtime Xpressdocs’ clients, some are from outside the real estate industry. But they all have one thing in common: they’re proven winners.
If you’re on the hunt for marketing strategies with true breakthrough potential, follow the examples set by the leading small businesses:
They ‘integrate’ their marketing
Instead of relying too much on one method of marketing (direct mail, email, social media, public relations, etc.), the most successful small businesses combine a variety of those mediums into an integrated marketing campaign.
“Integrated” means the messages, photography and offers used for each marketing effort are much the same (similar but maybe not identical), and the timing of each effort is coordinated (e.g. a blog post, Facebook post and marketing postcard all discussing a new service offering, all going public in the same week).
“Campaign” means the marketing efforts are ongoing and consistent. (Not sporadic, one-off marketing efforts launched whenever business slows or you’re flush with money.)
When done right, the results can be very powerful. According to a recent U.S. Postal Service study, consumers exposed to an integrated marketing campaign spend 30 percent more than those who receive solo or uncoordinated marketing efforts. (A note for those of you who aren’t marketing experts: 30 percent is a HUGE spending increase.)
They grow and nurture their mailing list
If you’re like most small businesses, you made a big push at some point to establish a mailing list (email, U.S. Mail, or both). You rounded up the contact information for friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, past clients, current clients, the paperboy, that guy you used to date, and anyone else with whom you’re even vaguely associated. But, since then, you haven’t added new names in big numbers. In fact, you haven’t even checked to see how many of those old addresses have gone bad. And, as a result, the response to your marketing efforts continues to lag.
Meanwhile, the most successful businesses are always adding new names and addresses, updating outdated contact information and correcting anything returned as “undeliverable.” They know that if a mailing list isn’t growing, then it’s slowly dying. And you need to realize that, as well.
For tips, see the following Xpressdocs blog posts: “10 Ways to Grow Your Direct Marketing Mailing Lists” and “Tips for Growing Your Real Estate Email Marketing Opt-in List”
They’re always asking for referrals
For successful real estate professionals and other service providers, referrals are a huge part of their marketing. They’re always looking for new opportunities to ask associates for introductions and recommendations. They aren’t obnoxious about it, but they aren’t shy about asking, either.
For tips, see the following Xpressdocs blog posts: “Opening Doors with Word-of-mouth Marketing” and “Real Estate Referral: Getting Others to Spread the Word about Your Business”
They work with allied businesses
Collaborating with a like-minded business on marketing efforts is a fast, easy way for both organizations to slash costs, expand their marketing lists, get powerful referrals and start generating lots of new sales.
Select six businesses that might make good marketing partners, make lunch dates with each, and simply say, “I like what you’ve done with your business, and I’m wondering if there’s a way we could combine marketing forces to make our respective businesses even more successful.”
They know how to leverage their differentiators
Truth be told, the most successful small businesses are selling the same thing(s) as their competitors. But they’ve figured out how to make what they’re selling seem better. Some devise unique names for their products/services. Some emphasize a few subtleties that make their products/services just a bit different. Others find a way to combine two services into one convenient offering. There are lots of ways to implement this strategy.
For tips, see the following Xpressdocs blog post: “Give the People What Your Competitors Can’t”
They always include a strong call-to-action
No doubt about it, the most successful small businesses know how to encourage their target audience to take action. It may sound trite, but these businesses know their chances of making a sale are much improved if they make a strong, specific request in every marketing effort. For example:
- This one-of-a-kind house will almost certainly sell in the next 10 days. Call today to schedule a private showing.
- Have questions about where the market’s headed? I’ve got the answers and would be happy to schedule a phone conference for later this week.
- Can’t participate? Pass this special offer along to a good friend.
- This seminar is always a sell-out. Call today to reserve your spot.
- Call before July 10 to receive this special offer.
The bottom line: There is no magic bullet in marketing, no simple solution for doubling your income or tripling your customer count. But if you start implementing and combining the ideas included above, true, long-lasting marketing success will come, slowly but surely. Start now, and stick with it until you find your own success.
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