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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

May 31 2013

You Don’t Have To Create All Of Your Own Social Media Marketing Content

Marketing is all about consistency. If you’re going to use direct mail marketing, you must mail 2-4 times a month. If you’re going to use email marketing, you best be ready to send out a minimum of one email a week. And if you’re going to use social media, you should be able to post to your sites daily.

The thought of generating enough content to keep up with all of these marketing strategies is overwhelming, to say the least. Let me put your mind at ease with this one helpful hint: you don’t have to create all of your own content. Not every blog post has to be based on personal experience or knowledge, not every Twitter post has to link to your blog and not every Facebook post has to be a question or fact you pull out of your own brain. Yes, you need to create a lot of your own content but it’s perfectly okay to supplement it with content you curate from other sources. Didn’t have a chance to write a blog this week? Share some links to interesting articles from other blogs. Don’t know what to say on your Twitter? Retweet something one of your  followers posted.

Just like content creation, content curation should benefit your readers and followers. Pay attention to the needs and questions of your audience, as well as topics they are already discussing, and share information that they will find helpful and relevant.

To show you how content curation works, I’ve curated a list of various blogs and websites that provide viral information. All of these are geared towards real estate agents and real estate marketers, since that is our primary audience, but non real estate agents can use this list to get an idea of what types of sites they should be looking for. I recommend adding these sites to your RSS feed, subscribing to daily emails or following them on Twitter, whatever makes it easy for you to frequently visit these sites and share their content.

Real Estate News

  • The KCM Blog– This blog has lots of good information for agents, buyers and sellers. It’s presented in a way that’s easy to understand, which means it’s easy for you to share with your readers.
  • The Bigger Pockets Blog– This extensive online magazine covers a variety of topics including general real estate, real estate news, real estate investing, retirement, and business management. You’ll find a lot of information that will help you run a better business as well as great info to share with your clients.
  • Newspaper- Despite technological advances and an overwhelming amount of information sources, the local newspaper remains an excellent source of real estate information. And since they are all online, it’s easy to share articles with your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ followers. Check out the OC Register, LA Times, and UT San Diego.
  • HousingWire– A regularly updated online magazine covering a variety of real estate and financial topics. Includes housing information from around the nation.
  • Visually– This site is dedicated to providing you with infographs, which are visual representations of data. Go to the site and search “real estate” and you’ll find lots of interesting infographs to share.

Community Information-

  • City websites- Regularly visit the websites of cities where you do business for information on upcoming events, local politics, land developments, city services, etc. I also recommend following cities on Twitter for up to date information on things like road closures.
  • Community Organizations- Organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, Rotary Club and public library often host community events that you’re clients would probably love to know about. Visit their sites regularly and sign up for their newsletters to stay up to date.
  • Tourism sites- Sometimes residents are oblivious to the amenities in their own home town. Tourism websites give great ideas for exploring the local community, something you’re readers and followers are sure to appreciate.
  • Special interest sites- Is there a particular club or organization that is unique to your city? Perhaps a theme park, museum, or knitting club? Stay connected with those and share thier info. They’ll appreciate the free promotion your followers will appreciate the information.

Homeowner Information-

  • This Old House– Great tips for renovation and restoration of everything from furniture to entire houses.
  • Houselogic– In addition to home improvement articles, this blog gives great info about homeowners insurance, taxes, financing, emergency preparedness and green living. Plus it’s published by the National Association of Realtors, so you know the info is reliable.
  • Young House Love– This super fun, personable blog is a DIY diary written by a young couple renovating an older house in Virginia. Your followers will love all of the inexpensive, DIY projects you share from this blog.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Just because content is on the internet doesn’t mean you can use it any way you choose. Before reposting content, check the terms of use and copyright information on every site and make sure you comply with all their rules of sharing. We have seen many clients get in trouble for copyright violation simply because they didn’t understand the proper way to repurpose and share information. Protect yourself and respect the rights of content creators by being informed.

 

May 07 2013

App Review: Woobox Helps You Run Successful Facebook Contests

social media marketingA couple months ago, we decided to run some contests on the One Step Services Facebook page. Facebook has a lot of rules for running contests, one of them being that you have to run it through a third party app. You can have someone create this custom app for you or you can subscribe to a service. After weighing the pros and cons, we decided it was a better use of time and money to subscribe to a service.

The service we choose was Woobox. Woobox is fully compatible with Facebook as well as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. It allows you to run a variety of different contests including photo contests, video contests, sweepstakes, pin it to win it, coupons and deals. So far we’ve used Woobox to run a photo contest and sweepstakes and we’ve been very pleased with the results.

Easy to use

Woobox is very user friendly and requires no special technical skills. You really only need to know how to fill out online forms and check boxes then Woobox does the rest. And if you do get stuck, there are tutorials and pop up help boxes to guide you through. Once the contest is going, Woobox has an easy to understand analytics platform that shows you who has entered the contest.

Easy to customize

Woobox has three different design options. You can use their default settings, which only require you to input text. If you prefer a little more customization, you can create images with your branding and the necessary text. Thirdly, for those of you who are super tech savvy, you can create HTML pages that work within the framework of the app.

For the first One Step contests, I simply used the default settings. It was functional, but didn’t look very interesting. For the second contests I had the graphic designers create images with our brand and the wording I wanted. That worked out much better for us.

If you decide to use Woobox and you need some images created, just let us know

Easy to integrate

Although the contests are run primarily on Facebook, it’s super easy to advertise them and integrate them with other social media outlets. Woobox provides links so you can share the contest on Twitter and makes it easy for contestants to share the contest on their own Twitter profile. The app can also integrate with Pinterest. The next contest we plan on running is the Pin it to Win it contest, in which contestants pin our pins to their pinboards for a chance to win.

Easy to pay for

Woobox has a variety of affordable plans. If you’re just getting started, I recommend going with the Starter 1k plan. It allows you pay monthly and run 1 contest per month, as long as you have fewer than 1,000 Facebook fans. There are other plans available, including a yearly plan if you intend to run a lot of different contests.

Apr 30 2013

How Should Your Business Respond To Tragedy Via Social Media

photo taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net

photo taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Social media is highly effective in sharing information about tragic events. Whether it’s an earthquake in Japan or a school shooting in America, people around the globe instantaneously learn about these horrific events and use social media to share information and opinions.

The use of social media during catastrophic events is a double edged sword. On the one hand, it’s extremely beneficial in that it allows the quick and wide spread dissipation of information. It also helps to build community as people around the world show support for the victims. However, social media is also abused in these circumstances as individuals and businesses use it to spread hateful opinions, incorrect information and promote selfish goals.

It is of vital importance that business know how to respond to such highly publicized, highly tragic events in a respectful and helpful way. Here are some suggestions for things you should and shouldn’t do in light of tragic events.

Do share inspiration quotes or thoughts. Many business and individuals will want to show their support and encouragement, but won’t know what to say. In these cases, an inspirational quote, song lyric or simply saying “our thoughts are with you” can be an appropriate response.

Don’t feel like you HAVE to say something. Your business does not have to add to the influx of social media noise that follows a tragedy. If you don’t feel you have anything significant or helpful to the conversation, then staying silent can be just as respectful as posting. However, if you are going to stay silent about the tragedy, stay silent about your business as well. The big product announcement you had planned can wait until tomorrow.

Do share valuable information. Right after the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, I noticed a lot of business and individuals sharing news articles, information about how to contact loved ones, and updates on which airlines and hotels were waiving cancellation fees. These posts don’t simply add to the noise, but give valuable information to those who need it most.

Don’t forget to check your sources. Even credible news sources sometimes get the story wrong. Before posting information, make sure it has been verified by multiple credible sources. Make it your responsibility to weed through the rumor and speculation and only pass on the most legitimate information to your fans and followers.

Do add your personal story to the conversation. You may find that your or someone in your company has a personal connection to the tragedy. If you are comfortable doing so, it may be appropriate to share the story via social media and/or the blog. Share out of the desire to connect emotionally with people struggling through tragic events, not out of the desire to draw attention to yourself or your company.

Don’t use tragedy to promote your business, religion or personal agenda. In 2011, a well known clothing company used the riots in Cairo Egypt to promote their spring line over Twitter. Many people reprimanded the company for being so insensitive.

Widespread tragic events are, unfortunately, becoming a part of our lives more and more. Take a moment to sit down with coworkers and establish a plan for how your company is going to respond socially to the next tragedy.

Mar 05 2013

Guide to Facebook Content Marketing

Despite the controversy that seems to constantly surround Facebook, it is a entity that is here to stay and is becoming increasingly important to businesses and marketers. Here is an easy to understand guide on what to post and when.