Posts by David Friedman
Thanks to the folks who made the RE Bar Camp in Chicago possible. Tony, Todd, and others, thank you!
I have to say that the day was one of the most discussion oriented Bar Camps I have experienced. Most sessions weren’t lead by any one person. Often, there were people in the session who knew more about the topic and answered a lot of questions, but really, a conversation ensued.
There was no PowerPoint, no white boards, no presentations of almost any type. This certainly made for a different kind of Bar Camp.
Many Real Estate professionals, especially those over 40 (not to be ageist here…), look at Social Media and the web as a new thing they HAVE to do. Someone at the conference said that they need to start “checking” Facebook 2 or 3 times per day. I think this is a misconception.
Reality has changed. The way we compose a relationship has changed. How we communicate has changed and will continue to evolve. You don’t check Facebook a few times every day, you’re constantly on Facebook. Your phone gives you alerts, and you get emails. Twitter will text you if you want. That’s how it’s been since the beginning. Social Media is a big part of how we relate to one another now.
If the realtors who were at the conference make social media a part of their lives, then they won’t see it as a new marketing medium or a new way to find clients, they’ll see it as a new space for connecting and communicating…with family, friends, clients, corporations, candidates, you name it.
Social media is not a new marketing tool for realtors. Social media is a new part of life. Make it part of yours…
Looking for a good place to start? Check out the last presentation from our LogicClassroom series, Marketing Your Business on Facebook | Logic Classroom May 2011, hosted by our resident marketing expert Angela Davis. And be sure to sign up for the next one on Tuesday, June 14th!
I think there are a lot of people who think they know something about online marketing. The fact is, most of them really aren’t qualified to call themselves online marketing professionals.
As a side note, we’re trying to hire an online marketer right now. If you want to learn more about the position, please click here: Online Marketing Analyst. In fact, it’s the slew of resumes better used as kindling that we’ve received for this position that has inspired this post.
First, let’s start with the difference between marketing and advertising. I’ve written about this before on this blog. Advertising is salesmanship expressed through a different medium. Advertising is the practice of taking whatever you’re selling, and expressing its virtues through print, TV, radio, you name it. Advertising is the message.
Marketing, on the other had, is the practice of getting your advertising message in front of as large an audience of the right people as your budget will allow. So, once you have that message, you need to figure out how to put it in front of potential customers. You need to ask where your potential client spends their time? What media do they consume? Which websites do they visit? What keywords do they search on? How expensive is it to bid on those keywords or optimize my site to rank organically for those terms? What does an ad cost in a specific publication and how many people get that publication?
In short, marketing is a lot more than just advertising.
If you’ve never had a job that required you to be results accountable and measured the effectiveness of your marketing or advertising campaign (regardless of what you called it) then you haven’t been in marketing. You’ve been in advertising or copy writing or PR.
Often, Marketing and Product Management go hand-in-hand. Why? Well, a Product Manager is going to look at costs and what those costs get them. The cost of building a new feature and how many new customers that might satisfy or existing customer the new feature may help to retain. A marketer is going to look at an ad buy or the amount spent monthly on, say, SEO, and then look at what sales were produced by that component of their budget. Both are trying to maximize or optimize their budget to get the most positive effect on the business.
If you want experience with marketing, but no one is going to give you the job, you can do this yourself – that is, if you’re in one of those non-marketing “marketing” jobs;
- Start by figuring out what you think is success: maybe it’s traffic to a website or the number of users who fill out a form on your website. Maybe it’s the number of people who open your email newsletter or the number of folks who click on a link in that newsletter.
- Now, take a benchmark. Look at a few newsletters and look at your open rate, look at your click-through rate, and write these metrics down. Next, ask yourself, what can I do to improve these numbers?
- Make an “Educated Guess” Change. If there are 12 things you could do, pick the one which you think will have the biggest impact and make only that change. Now, compare your numbers. You may have to do this several times to see a change.
- Benchmark and Repeat. Now, with your new benchmark, make another change. Repeat.
Now, you’re optimizing. Now, you’re a marketer. If you’ve made a measurable difference in the success rate of the campaign, now you have some experience that you can talk about when you interview for a real online marketing job.
I love Jill Whalen’s newsletter; sometimes it gets me thinking. This article, in particular, got me thinking today. If you want to understand what I say below, please pause for a moment and read Jill’s article, then come back to this one.
I don’t have any reason or evidence with which to really disagree with Jill. I’m also not sure that I do, in fact, agree with what she said, and I want to propose another thought.
Jill’s premise is that Google may be keeping their page 1 search results informational so that the commercial search results have to be bought. I.E. Jill is arguing that Google keeps their search results inaccurate in order to sell more AdWords. Again, I’m not saying this is true or false. Here’s what I do know:
Google has little motivation to improve their results at this time. Why? Because they’re already the most popular search engine! They’ve already won your business. If Yahoo and Bing really make a comeback, then OK, there’s a reason to accelerate improvement. Some folks might even say Bing has done or is doing just that, taking Google’s market share. Perhaps this will motivate Google to start presenting ‘better’ results. For now, Google is getting billions of searches and even more page views, and lots of clicks which are paying them billions of dollars. Why change?
It’s a well documented sociological reality that if you want to know how someone is likely to act, you need to understand their motivations and incentives. Something would have to motivate Google to make big changes to their algorithm. Obviously, they haven’t had that motivation.
Now, Jill might be right in arguing that Google’s incentive (paid clicks) is driving them to produce a poorer algorithm. I would argue that I don’t think Google is actually trying to make a bad algorithm. I don’t think they’re trying to mislead us. I think they’ve got something that’s pretty good and it’s making them billionaires. So, why fix it?
Lastly, I’d love Jill to come up with a fix. I mean a real fix. She does present a 1 line suggestion. It’s not a bad suggestion, but I think the complexity of search engines is quite deep and to make changes to an application like Google ain’t no small task. it’s just not that easy. They have a lot of money and very good developers, but it’s very costly to build a better mousetrap. Google knows this and they’re probably trying to make their capital investment – or all past dev work into their search – stretch out into the future.
One more thing. Do you remember the web before Google? Trying to find stuff was next to impossible. Google came along and they made it possible to quickly search and find what you need. Then they made AdWords and PPC took off and a market for SEO was born, and now search is a huge paid medium for both ad buy and SEO services. All of this tells me that the world wants to be able to search the web – we want it to be fast, easy, accurate, and vastly comprehensive. We want portability and personalization, and we use these tools all the time. Google will continue to provide a quality system to do all of this – and most of us will keep using Google for a long time.
Well, to quote Jeff:
The quickest way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and to increase the sales of your products and
services fast is through the power of blogging!
If you are not using blogs as a key component in your marketing strategies, you are losing sales and working way
harder than you need to be.
And if you are using blogs in your marketing efforts, are you getting the
results you deserve?
I really couldn’t have said be better myself.
Even more interesting is this graph by the folks at Hubspot. It shows that through blogging, B2C businesses (yes, that means real estate) see an 88% increase in leads vs those do don’t blog. Do you need any more motivation than that?
I know the graph is a little fuzzy. Click to see it in full size!
Ok, we talk about blogging on this blog all the time. Most often, we’re talking about real estate blogging, but this graph isn’t just about real estate. It’s derived from data from many industries, including real estate. The data is just too strong to ignore. If you blog, you can position yourself as the expert. The blogging will in tern bring you more leads. It’s up to you to convert those leads into deals. We know you can do that!
We’ve all known about Google Trends for a while. I’ve had a thought about using Google Trends to normalize our search engine optimization campaign reports. Let me explain.
If your campaign is producing 1000 visitors per month in month 1, then 1100 in month 2, then 1200, that’s great. Let’s say that the trend in month 4, 5, 6 then goes 1200, 1150, 1100. Well, that’s not so good, it was going up ~10% per month, now it’s falling about 5% each month. Well, if the site is optimized around a set of target search terms, and then other traffic comes from halo terms, then to assume that the SEO is providing more or less traffic is also to assume that search volume for this family of terms is constant.
If we used Google Trends to normalize, we might find that the number of times a term was searched on fell 15% during those down months. So, the 10%/month upward trend was actually sustained.
Another way to look at this is to simply ask, what percentage of potential clicks did you get? If this percentage is trending up, then you’re in good shape. This means you’re taking more market share.
Another way to think of this is the following: Let’s say that you’re doing search engine optimization for a site that sells air conditioners. Let’s further assume that you start the SEO campaign on January 1st. Well, no one is really looking for AC units in January. Then, in April, you start to see an upward traffic trend, it goes higher and higher and peaks in August. Then, by mid September, you’re not seeing any traffic from the search engines. You start Googling around and see your site, but no visitors.
Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that people just aren’t buying air conditioners in October. So, you’d pretty much expect to see less traffic. In this case, the best way to judge if the SEO campaign is succeeding is to either look a target terms and catalog placement in search engine results pages, or to normalize your numbers. Take a benchmark at the beginning of the campaign, say a ratio of traffic to searches, then, each month you’d want that ratio to climb. This way, you’ll know if your SEO is working, regardless of market trends.