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Archive for June, 2015

Improve Your Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing Repsonse Rates

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Adding to the challenge, there are countless sources for advice on marketing content and combining or sampling the recommendations yields a marketing piece that’s unnecessarily long, complex or ineffective.

Marketing materials are usually near the top in terms of the most costly business expenses. Given this fact, its clear that a bad run with poorly constructed marketing campaigns can be enough to sink a new business. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to isolate the root cause of lackluster direct mail marketing results. The investor may unknowingly blame the target market segment for the results and redeploy the same bad marketing to a new segment. Avoid the guesswork and these costly mistakes by implementing the 5 key principles explored in this article.

Personalize Your Letters

It is important to personalize each of your marketing mail pieces. Think about it, when you pick up your mail, you tend to sort through and discard any items that are clearly junk mail or mass mailers. The same fate awaits your marketing pieces if they fail to pass the junk mail smell test. To avoid the discard pile, and increase the odds that your marketing is viewed, use mail merge techniques to personalize each letter. It doesn’t need to be complicated or extensive to be effective. Many times, simply addressing the owners by name on the envelope and in the letter are enough for the recipient to realize the letter and enclosed offer are meant for them. It is also good to specifically mention the property that you are interested in within the letter.

Keep it Simple

Once opened, your marketing should be so clear and simple that your prospects are able to glean the benefits of your offer at a glance. If your lead is reading your marketing piece then congratulations you’ve made it past the first obstacle which is getting them to open the letter. It would be a real shame to lose that momentum with a complicated, hard to digest letter. If the benefits aren’t clear and it’s difficult to digest the letter will get tabled or worse, discarded.

Add a Call To Action

Effective marketing includes a call to action that compels the consumer, with easy to follow instructions, to do take action. Remember, that most recipients will dis-guard your letter as it doesn’t appeal to them in some way. A smaller portion will file your letter for reference when the time is right for them to take action. Others may set it down with good intentions to return to it but they never will. For that very reason effective calls to action often include a fear of loss that suggests the reader take action now or risk losing the promised benefit. Fear of loss is a powerful emotion that serve as the nudge to get them over the hump.

Multiple Contact Options

To improve the odds that your prospects will take that all important step to contact you it is helpful to provide several means to contact you. This will to cater to the many ways people prefer to interact including phone, email, social media, entering data online, and mail. The many contact mechanisms also allows them to choose the method that is most convenient to them which improves the odds that they’ll make the effort to contact you. As an example, an individual who works nights may need to sleep during the day and won’t be able to have a phone conversation when you would typically speak to your other clients. They may choose to contact you via email, which you can use to communicate asynchronously.

Split Test Your Marketing

The last and perhaps the most important principle is testing. I would encourage you to adjust your marketing pieces incrementally and test the resulting response rates. As an example, you could send two different marketing pieces to the same subdivision. This is called split testing and will allow you to measure the differences in your lead conversion while excluding broad differences such as demographics.

Keep these five principles in mind when you prepare your next marketing campaign and you will be well positioned for continued growth.

What Makes A Wedding Photographer?

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Being a wedding photographer is different then taking pictures while people are getting married. Out of the many photographers out there, you can only get the job based on certain qualities that allow you to make a couple’s special day last forever.

The couple will not take chances with who they trust to take pictures. This is not an ordinary occasion. Beyond wanting to know if you’re capable, they’ll look for someone with a personality and sense of visual style complimentary to their own. If you are interested in becoming a wedding photographer, you should evaluate yourself first and determine whether you have the following essential qualities:

Creativity and Skill

Photographers need to be able to take great pictures. The first quality or skill any photographer should posses is the ability choose right lenses for a situation. You also need to be able to use the lenses. Knowledge of your equipment and the ability to use it to its greatest effect is what separates professional photographers from amateurs.. Talent plays a larger part in the success of weeding photography. The quality of camera alone cannot guarantee good photos if the person behind it does not know how to handle it properly. A wedding photographer should know about timing, camera angles, and speed to capture magical pictures. You should develop an eye for moments or happenings that other people will not see or think to photograph in order to convey the overall emotions of the day. You should be well prepared to take shots that will tell a pictorial story of the wedding day.

Dedication to duty

It starts with being prepared. If you are not well organized, you will not be able to handle your customers in the way they expect. You should always expect the unexpected. Be ready to change your plan to accommodate inquiries, fussy guests, scheduling mix ups, and stressed family members changing their minds. Making the customers to feel comfortable and trusting you with photography on their big day is what will lead to your next wedding job. You should therefore portray yourself as a person who will not let others down, who loves taking pictures, and is capable of navigating the many potential wedding disasters with a smile.

Punctuality

Professionals are always on time, it’s what makes them professionals. If someone shows an interest in hiring you, act like a professional and be at your appointment on time, earlier is better. Beyond meeting potential clients, punctuality also applies to the day of the wedding. People look to their photographer to coordinate the entire photo session and the bigger the wedding, the more chaotic this can be. If you say you need someone back in 5 minutes and that it will only take 10 to get a shot ready, those numbers become promises you need to keep. This goes along way to appearing organized, which will help you get better shots and gives your clients and their guests a more enjoyable experience.

Friendly attitude

In addition to talent and skills, clients look for your personal traits as well. It will be hard for someone to work with if you do not seem friendly even when you are the most skilled person in town. Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of the couple’s lives, they shouldn’t have to spend it with someone they don’t like. Since you are the one interested in the job, you have obligation to try and understand your client’s personality or cater to their wants, regardless of how insane they may appear to you. Even though this is a creative field, the pictures must ultimately satisfy the client first and your own portfolio or artistic needs second. Like any client facing or service business, wedding photographers need exceptional people skills in order to have long careers.

The above qualities won’t guarantee success in the wedding industry, however they are a kind of foundation. These qualities lead to the skills or traits that most successful wedding photographers build their careers on.