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Mar 16 2017

Instagram, Baby Moccs and a Mom Marketer’s Weakness

I’ve never been particularly fond of moccasins, and I’ve always thought baby shoes were a waste of money. But I’m currently obsessed with Freshly Picked baby moccasins. This, dear reader, is a story about storytelling and how one shoe company has used it to to build an incredibly successful business.

I was introduced to Freshly Picked at a friend’s baby shower, when my son was two and my daughter was simply a twinkle in my eye. While I wasn’t super impressed with the look of moccasins, the idea of soft soled shoes appealed to me. I quickly followed them on Instagram while I munched on cake. When I got home, I looked at the website and saw that the cost averaged $60. Sixty bucks for baby shoes? No thanks.

But I never unfollowed them. I watched as they released new designs and I started to actually like the look of the shoes. I saw pictures of chunky legged babies and energetic toddlers living fantastic lives, so it seemed, because of the moccs. I read testimonials from other moms claiming these were the best shoes ever. And now, as we approach my daughter’s first birthday, I am saving up to give her a pair of Freshly Picked moccs. I’ve caught the bug, and I’m not even sorry about it.

Surely, a company hasn’t turned me into a believer simply through their Instagram feed? They have. Honestly, it’s the only interaction I have had with them. Here’s how they did it:

Powerful visual storytelling

They’ve dubbed their shoes “memory keepers.” After a while, the baby’s footprint will appear at the bottom of the shoe. Their instagram feed is full of mom’s sharing old pairs of moccs that they hang onto because they love the footprint. It reminds them of park days, birthdays, first steps, first vacations, games of tag with siblings. Other FP posts show pictures of these events, smiling babies on a swing, sleeping newborns, big kids walking off to kindergarten. Scrolling through their feed is like looking at photo albums of a million happy, healthy, mocc wearing babies. Who doesn’t want that story for their kids? And while I know my kids can be perfectly happy without these shoes, cute shoes certainly don’t hurt.

Focused messaging

About 90% of Freshly Picked posts are about their moccasins. Whether it’s introducing a new design or showcasing a babe wearing their shoes, it’s mocc talk most of the time. When they do sway from the messaging, they still remain in the same sphere of family and baby products. This is important because it builds brand consistency, reinforces the message, and reduces risk of conflict or offense. As the old adage goes, do one thing and do it well. They do moccs and they don’t pretend to do anything else.   

Lots of engagement

I think they average one contest a week. And generally they are the same…in order to enter, you have to like their post and tag a friend. My friend and I tagged each other in every contest for a  year before one of us won (she did, not me. Sad day) And we could tag multiple friends for multiple entries, so I introduced a few friends to the brand through tagging. Those are simple actions for followers with a big impact for the brand. They have 724,000 followers. If even just 10% of those followers tagged one friend every contest, that’s exposure to 72,400 new followers every contest.

Freshly Picked not only encourages engagement from their followers, they do their part to engage as well. They respond to comments and questions on their posts, they like comments, and they repost photos of their customers sporting the moccs.

Through this engagement, they have created a community. While their Instagram feed is definitely a place where they introduce new product, advertise sales and encourage people to buy, it doesn’t FEEL like one big advertisement. It feels like a community, like a series of small stories. That’s why I keep following.

As someone who works in marketing, I like to consider myself immune to the “tricks of the trade.” But the truth is, the tricks work. Which is why baby girl will be getting a pair of ridiculously priced moccs on her first birthday. Sometimes, you just  gotta give into the emotional marketing, even if you know better.

Freshly Picked Baby Moccasins freshlypicked • Instagram photos and videos

Oct 04 2016

Tip Tuesdays: Simple Ways to Engage Your Audience

marketing tipsEngagement refers to interactions between your clients (or potential clients) and your business. When a client talks to an employee, likes a social media post, signs up for an email newsletter, participates in a contest, buys a product, or leaves a review, she is engaging with your brand.

Engagement is vital for brand survival. People who are just learning about your brand will simply be observers for a while, which is good, but eventually you need them to engage. That’s when sales happen and when referrals are made. Below are some simple ways to engage your audience through different marketing channels:

  1. Engage in person. Ask questions to get to know your audience. If you’re a real estate agent, skip a mailing and instead walk your postcards, knock on doors, and talk to your neighbors. If you own a store, talk to customers as they come in and browse.
  2. Engage through mail. Host a contest that requires action, like mailing in an entry form or submitting a coloring page. Many people jump at the chance to win something. Not only do you get engagement, you get additional information about people that you can use to improve marketing.
  3. Engage online. Ask people to comment on or share the content you post. You’d be surprised how many people will engage simply because they are asked. You can also ask questions on social media to get to know your audience better.
  4. Engage through email. Send an email to your social list with a survey about their experience working with you. This will give you valuable feedback as to what you are doing right and what you can improve on. Make sure you thank your audience for taking the survey (not for giving you good marks) with a discount or something similar and keep them updated on changes that you make based on their recommendations.
Mar 29 2016

Download Your Free Direct Mail Marketing Calendar

Our Second Quarter Marketing Calendar is now available for real estate professionals. These calendars take the guess work out of direct mail marketing and give you a strategic, week by week plan that includes content ideas and guidelines of when to order and when to mail. We understand the importance of integrating direct mail with digital marketing as well, and have including blog topics and social media post ideas, many of which are correlated with your direct mail content.

These calendars are 100% free. Download today and get started.

Download our 2nd Quarter Monthly Marketing Calendar

What will you find in our marketing calendars?

  • All of the content ready postcards we are offering for the quarter
  • Direct mail marketing ideas for every week
  • Blog ideas for every week, many of which integrate with your direct mail marketing campaign
  • Social media post ideas for every week

How should you use the calendar?

  • Find the upcoming Monday on the calendar
  • Look at what piece is recommended for that week
  • Call or email One Step Services and place your order. Schedule the mailing for the following Friday.
  • We’ll send you proofs of your piece and, once it’s approved, print it out for you. We can then mail it, or return it to you so you can walk and drop.
  • Look at the blog and social media ideas for that week. Write them out, and schedule them to publish on the recommended date.

Need more help?

Let us create a mailing schedule for you. We’ll send you a reminder email when its time to place a mailing order, and that email can offer suggestions based on your predetermined preferences. Simply respond to that email saying “yes, place my order!” and we’ll take are of the rest. We also have social media services available where we can create and post to your social channels for you. Email us for more information and a price quote.

Jan 22 2016

Free First Quarter Marketing Calendars Are Now Available

Our First Quarter Marketing Calendar is now available for real estate professionals and small business owners. These calendars take the guess work out of direct mail marketing and give you a strategic, week by week plan that includes content ideas and guidelines of when to order and when to mail. We understand the importance of integrating direct mail with digital marketing as well, and have including blog topics and social media post ideas, many of which are correlated with your direct mail content.

These calendars are 100% free. Download today and get started.

Download our First Quarter Real Estate Marketing Calendar

Download our First Quarter Small Business Marketing Calendar

What will you find in our marketing calendars?

  • All of the content ready postcards we are offering for the quarter
  • Direct mail marketing ideas for every week
  • Blog ideas for every week, many of which integrate with your direct mail marketing campaign
  • Social media post ideas for every week

How should you use the calendar?

  • Find the upcoming Monday on the calendar
  • Look at what piece is recommended for that week
  • Call or email One Step Services and place your order. Schedule the mailing for the following Friday.
  • We’ll send you proofs of your piece and, once it’s approved, print it out for you. We can then mail it, or return it to you so you can walk and drop.
  • Look at the blog and social media ideas for that week. Write them out, and schedule them to publish on the recommended date.

Need more help?

Let us create a mailing schedule for you. We’ll send you a reminder email when its time to place a mailing order, and that email can offer suggestions based on your predetermined preferences. Simply respond to that email saying “yes, place my order!” and we’ll take are of the rest. We also have social media services available where we can create and post to your social channels for you. Email us for more information and a price quote.

Mar 26 2015

Easy Ways To Convert Digital Marketing Into Direct Mail Marketing

digital and direct mail marketingAre you looking to add direct mail marketing to your current marketing strategy? You should!

According to the Direct Marketing Association, 79% of direct mail recipients act on a mail piece immediately. According to a USPS survey, 64% of people value the marketing mail they receive. At One Step Services, we have several clients who consider direct mail an important lead generation tool.

Adding direct mail to your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be difficult or increase your workload. One Step Services can easily convert the content you are using for digital marketing into direct mail marketing pieces.

Tweets about community news
A great compliment to tweets about community news and events would be a community events calendar which could be placed on a postcard, a flyer, or even a large door hanger. Another great piece would be a community newsletter that bears your brand and has helpful information about real estate and the community.

Articles shared on Facebook
While it’s not effective to simply paste an article on a postcard and send it out, you can use an article for postcard content. Summarize the article in 3-5 bullet points or create an Infograph. Include a strong call to action and encourage recipients to contact you with further questions.

YouTube Videos
If you have created a video for a listing, include the URL on the Just Listed postcard and the property flyer. If you’ve created an instrauctional video, create a door hanger with a strong call to action and a URL to the video.

Yelp Reviews
turn those reviews into a postcard. People appreciate recommendations from trusted community members for restaurants, shops, servicemen and other local businesses.

Follow Me
You can use direct mail to get more followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or any other site. Compile a list of your most popular tweets, put them on a postcard and say something like “Want to stay up to date on the latest real estate news? Follow me on Twitter!” To encourage people to follow you on Instagram, you can create a collage of your most popular Instagram photos and pair it with a strong call to action.

Direct mail marketing and digital marketing are powerful tools in their won right. When used together, real estate agents and small business owners see unparalleled success in lead generation, increased sales and more loyal customers.

Don’t have time to do it all? No problem. Call One Step Services and we’ll do it for you! 9494-587-5301.

Feb 17 2015

Where Can Real Estate Agents Find Content for Social Media?

phoneaddictionIt’s Monday morning, you’re staring blankly at your computer screen as you try to write you social media posts for the week. What should you post? A cat meme? Another inspirational quote? A link to your MLS listing?

Marketing messages should be consistent across all marketing channels. So instead of stressing out about creating brand new content for social media, simply look at the marketing you are already doing and find easy ways to optimize it for social media. Did you recenlty send a direct mail campaign? Do you send a weekly enewsletter? Are you running an ad in the local paper? All of these marketing pieces can provide great material for a social media post. By keeping your messages consistent across all channels, you create brand consistency which helps build brand recognition and trust.

Below are some common printed and mailed pieces that real estate agents use on a regular basis and suggestions on how to put these pieces on digital channels.

Open House Invitation

Create an event through your Facebook page to invite your followers to an open house. Then post a link to that event on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. During the Open House, be sure to encourage people to follow you on social media.

Just Listed or Just Sold Postcard

Use the exact same pictures and messaging from the postcard to create a blog post. Then share a link to that blog post your social networks. Engage with your followers by asking them which room is their favorite or have them guess how much they think the house was sold for.

Property Flyer

Select one or two of the best photo from the flyer and put them on Instagram. Include a brief description (2-3 sentences) and some hashtags to make your photo more easily found by people who aren’t following you yet.

Testimonials

In the experience section of LinkedIn you can upload a digital version of testimonials from clients in document and video form. You can also connect with past clients and ask them to leave you reviews directly on LinkedIn.

Trifold Agent Brochure

Nearly every social media site has space for a bio, or an “about me” section. Instead of writing a brand new bio for each one, take the text from your brochure or listing presentation and modify it for each social network.

Don’t kill yourself trying to create completely original content for every marketing channel. Instead, take one basic message and optimize it for each channel. Not only will this save you time, and your sanity, it will create brand consistency and the repetition will motivate your target audience to act.

*Image courtesy of jesadaphorn from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Jun 27 2014

How to Instagram Your Next Open House

Instagram’s simple platform and focus on photos makes it the perfect platform for real estate agents to share their listings. However, agents who aren’t familiar with the platform may not know what kinds of pictures to post. Simply posting a photo of your listing with the address and a description isn’t going to get much attention. You need to create a story around the listing and share multiple photos to tell that story.

The easiest way to start “Instagramming” your listings is to use Instagram during an open house. Below are 7 different pictures you can take to create and share your open house story.

Start with a selfie
A “selfie” is a photo that you take of yoruself Take a selfie in your car, in front of the sign or by the front door. Caption it with something like “Excited to host an open house at 12345 Main Street.”

Your favorite room
Take a photo of your favorite room in the house. In the caption, get your followers to imagine life in that room. For example, if your favorite room is the bathroom with the huge soaking tub, say something like “Can you imagine coming home from a hard days work and getting to soak in this tub? Glorious!”

Your favorite outdoor feature
Photograph your favorite outside space. Again, get your followers to imagine themselves living there. “Check out this built in BBQ. Would you love to host summer BBQs at this home?”

Give a shoutout to other agents
A shoutout is a social media referral. If a real estate agent you know comes by the house with clients, snap a picture with them and give them a shoutout in the caption (be sure to use their Instagram handle if they have one.) Your caption could read something like this “Look who stopped by my open house today! Thanks for bringing your buyers @realestateagent.”

Share your “to-do list.”
Write or type a list of things you need to do to prepare for the open house then post a picture. This gives people an idea of the services you provide when hosting an open house. You can also share the owners to do list to educate people on how they should prepare for an open house.

Tools of the Trade
Do you always bring a specific water bottle to open houses? Do you often bake cookies or bring a vase of flowers? Lay out your items and snap a photo. The caption can read something like “Here’s my open house survival kit!”

Get the owners in on the fun
If the homeowners are around, take a photo with them. Tag them and ask them to share the photo on their Instagram and to tag you!

 

 

Mar 27 2014

6 Things Real Estate Agents Can Tweet to Their Clients

We’ve got some pretty brilliant clients here at One Step. As I was browsing Twitter the other day there were several tweets that caught my eye. I’m sharing them with you to give you some inspiration for your 140 character marketing messages. Not on Twitter? Keep reading anyways. These tips can be used across a variety of communication channels and under every tweet, I give you an adaption and show you how you can communicate the same information through different venues.

Remind people who you are

who we are tweet

Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to remind your sphere of influence who you are and what you do! This simple reminder will often generate a referral or repeat business. Edie Israel and her team do this by tweeting a simple video that explains the basics of their business. Its about 30 seconds long and just discusses the highlights. It’s not meant to be a listing presentation, its simply meant to remind their followers what they do, where they do it and how they can help. Videos like this can be shared across all social media networks, in blogs, on websites and through email.

Adaptation: Call some of your past clients and remind them that your still in the business and would love to help them or one of their friends or family members. You can also send a personalized letter on branded stationery. 

Share Local News

newstweet

If you have a local business, such as a real estate business, it’s a good idea to keep your audience informed about local happenings. Twitter’s fast paced communication style makes it perfect for sharing the most up to date news. Renee West does an excellent job of making her clients aware of breaking local news, and she does this by sharing articles form local news sources.

Adaptation: You could send text alerts to people when breaking news is happening in the community. Just make sure you have permission from them to text them, and make sure you are texting people who actually live in the community where news is happening. 

 Give a shoutout

shoutout tweetSocial media is meant to connect people, and what better way to connect with someone than by complimenting them in front of your social media audience? You can congratulate a client, give a review of product or service received from a vendor, or show your support for a coworker. Ashlie DuCros kills two birds with one stone by giving a shout out on Facebook and then sharing it through Twitter. Use hashtags and twitter handles to grab the attention of whoever you are giving a shout out to, and maybe they’ll return the favor.

Adaptation: People love to see their name in print! If you have a printed newsletter that you send out, make a regular habit of saying positive things to people in your sphere, especially if they receive your newsletter. You can also use variable data to create an entire direct mail campaign based on shoutouts. 

Share pertinent information about your industry

informative tweet

 

One of the best ways to build trust with potential clients is to establish yourself as an expert in the industry. Make a regular habit of sharing accurate industry information that you know your clients will find useful and interesting. Sharing from reliable sources is great, but you also need to be sharing information that comes directly from you! Share your thoughts on articles, original articles written by you, podcasts and videos.

Adaptation: Find speaking engagements and events where you can share your expertise. If you can’t find one, create one. Rent a banquet room, offer some free snacks and invite people to come hear you speak on a relevant topic. 

Promote a product or event

listingstweet

 

Sometimes in our attempts to be super creative and different, we forget the basics of marketing. We market to sell things! Don’t be afraid to do what the Geronsins did in this tweet and share your product!

Adaptation: New products, services and events usually need to be marketed across multiple channels. In addition to posting to social media, send an eblast to your clients and a direct mail piece to your target audience. 

Share a personal story

 

personal tweet 2When it comes to mixing business and personal communication, I like to follow the 80/20 rule. On your business communication channels, your messaging should be 80% business and 20% personal. This tweet by Aaron Zapata is a great example of effectively sharing a personal story over a business communication channel. He kept it simple, people like to know what’s going on in your life but don’t need your whole life story. He kept it modest and appropriate, no topless drinking photos. And he included a photo, which is always popular with audiences.

Adaptation: Instagram, Facebook and Google+ are great channels to share personal stories and photos. But, if you feel posts like this are still too personal, you can simply communicate personal things as they relate directly to your business. Photos of you and your coworkers at a conference, sharing an anecdote about something that happened at the office, and your personal feelings and opinions about current events are all great ways to connect with your audience on a more personal level. 

 

Jul 16 2013

Looking For A Way to Simplify Your Social Media Marketing?

I regularly talk with real estate agents about the importance of social media. Many are eager to get started but have three major road blocks standing in their way.

  1. They do not know where to obtain articles and other content to post.
  2. They do not have time to be active on social media everyday.
  3. They do not know how to determine whether or not their marketing efforts are effective.

I’ve been searching for tools that would help real estate agents better manage their time and effort spent on social media, as well as increase their effectiveness and ROI. After testing a few different tools, the one I’m most impressed with is Social Made Simple. Social Made Simple is an online tool that helps real estate agents, as well as other small business owners, overcome the most common road blocks and create engaging, effective campaigns with minimal time investment.

Easily find content to share with your followers.

In my opinion, the content generator is the coolest feature of Social Made Simple. When you set up your account, you’ll be asked to identify which industry you are working in (they have one specifically for real estate.) From then on you are provided with a long list of online articles relevant to your industry. With a few simple button clicks you can find an article, add your own commentary and post it to all your social networks. Of course, if you find an article somewhere else that you want to share you can easily paste the link into the dashboard and publish that as well.

Schedule posts to save time.

Most real estate agents don’t have time to log into their social sites every day and make a post. Social Made Simple allows agents to schedule a weeks worth (or more) of posts at one time. You can schedule different posts to your different social media sites, or you can save even more time and schedule the same posts to all your sites. Instead of logging in every day, you can log in 1-2 times a week and get everything done at once.

Determine effectiveness with a weekly report card.

Many real estate agents are afraid that they will spend time on social media marketing and see no results in terms of engagement, brand awareness or lead generation. Social Made Simple has a variety of easy to understand analytics that tell you the effectiveness of your social media presence.

The weekly report card gives you a letter grade based on how many posts you did, how much engagement each post got, and how your posts measure up to others in the industry. This gives you a quick, overall view of how your doing and then you can drill down and see more specific analytics.

The Pitfalls

Of course, every product has it’s faults. I found Social Made Simple’s Twitter interface to be slightly frustrating. You can view your Twitterfeed within the Social Made Simple platform and see who has started following you. You can’t, however, view anyone’s profiles. You can retweet in real time, but you cannot easily schedule retweets which is a feature other tools offer. I often schedule my tweets with this tool, but then sign into my actual Twitter account to engage with followers.

Lastly, Social Made Simple is limited in the industries it provides articles for. This is not a problem for real estate agents, but if you work in another industry not found on the dashboard, you may not find this tool to be worth the money.

Here are some additional facts you should know before getting started with Social Made Simple:

  • Social Made Simple allows you to post to your Facebook profile, Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ pages and your blog.
  • This service costs $19/month or $178/year. However they offer a free 30 day trial for new customers which I highly recommend using before committing to pay.
  • If you have no time or interest in managing your own social media, I suggest looking into Social’s Concierge Service. With this service, social media experts will optomize your accounts, give one-on-one coaching and post content for you.
Jun 10 2013

Real Estate Retweetables Make Twitter Marketing Easy

As a real estate marketing agency, we are dedicated to providing real estate agents with a variety of tools to make marketing easier. In addition to graphic design, print and mailing services, we also provide content for marketing materials. Every month we write a generic real estate information pieces that agents can send on their direct mailing postcards.

We’ve decided to take our content services a step further and provide agents with informative real estate articles that they can easily retweet to their audience. Unlike most articles we share over social media, which are written to give advice to real estate agents, these articles are written for homeowners, investors and renters. We tweet them every morning at 6:00am so they are ready for when you start your work day. After quickly reading the article, simply hit the retweet button, or put the article link in a new tweet with your own commentary. If you miss any of our real estate retweetables, simply check the blog every Monday and we’ll have the previous week’s retweetables ready and waiting for you.

Tips for using One Step’s Real Estate Retweetables

  • Read before you publish. We read all the articles before we publish them to make sure there isn’t anything glaringly wrong with the article, i.e. inappropriate content, cursing, incoherent writing, or obvious lies. However, we are marketing experts, not real estate experts. So we highly recommend that you read the articles before publishing to ensure your publishing content that is true to your knowledge.
  • Keep your audience in mind. We tweet a variety of different articles and not every article is going to be of interest to everyone. You know your followers and what they’re interests are, so only retweet the articles you think they’ll find useful.
  • Add your own commentary. When you’re in a rush, it’s tempting to simply hit the retweet button. This is perfectly acceptable for some tweets, but whenever possible, you should try and add your own commentary to the tweet. You can ask a question, share additional information or share an example from your own business that illustrates what the article is talking about. Adding your own commentary will increase the value of your tweets as your no longer simply sharing a link but also sharing your own expertise.
  • Spread the word. We’d love to provide valuable content for hundreds, even thousands, of real estate agents. So the next time you’re on Twitter, maybe you could encourage your colleagues to follow us and/or read our blog? We’d be eternally grateful 🙂

And now, without further ado, this week’s Real Estate Retweetables

1. How to Short Sale: Chase’s New Process and Timeline via @KCMcrew

2. 10 Ways to Beat the Heat Without Running Up Your Electric Bill via @ThisOldHouse

3. Homeowners Face Soaring Homeowners Insurance Costs via Realtor Mag

4. Huntington Beach June Calendar of Events via HuntingtonBeachEvents.com

5. Impact of Rising Mortgage Rates on Home Sales via @NAR_Research

Good Cause Marketing