July 12, 2016

Selling Real Estate - Make More $$ by Reducing your Cost of Customer Aquisition.

"Cost of Customer Acquisition" (CoCA) is an important metric no matter what business you are in.  In real estate, where selling could be considered 100% of the time spent, CoCA, and reducing it, is the metric.

There are two very important things to know here:

  • 1st - Reducing the CoCA is NOT about reducing costs, its about increating the number of customers with the same dollar.
  • 2nd - There is no "right" method of calculating CoCA; choose one of my suggestions from previos blogs (or from this blog) and run with it.  The important thing to remember is not to change the way you calculate this metric - It's not the number itself that has meaning, it is the movement of that number over time.

There are many different methods and scenarios to consider and calculate CoCA.
In the case of real estate agents, take all of the out-of-pocket (OOP) costs you have in a year (or any other time frame) and add it to the amount you want to make - your desired income.  Then divide it by your new customers (or projected new customers); the result being your Cost of Customer Acquisition - Keep it that simple - KISS it.

Simple Example:  I want to make $95K/yr and I have $5K in miscellaneous OOP expenses totaling $100K in expenses (your salary is an expense to the business even if it is just you).  Take that total and divide it by your new customers - let's say 100 new customers - cost of customer acquisition - $1000.  Being a real estate agent, where I may make $5K-$6K per sale (or more) - that a pretty healthy return - I'll take 600% all day long.

Whether your an agent or a broker - know this metric, and measure it in any way you want - just do it the same way every time - be consistant.

One of the ways we are testing CoCA, in an attempt to reduce it, is to increase the number of leads, and thus customers, by doing some dense marketing around both "SOLD" properties and around "Open Houses".  We are using multiple methods, some traditional and some unique to Dense Market, We will not only test our dense marketing for CoCA but will also test Diminishing Returns, another important metric not covered in this blog..

If you would like a copy of our findings and results, email me at rleonard@LightsOnGraphics.com - They should be available by October 1, 2016.  Only the first 100 will be provided at no cost.  Follow me on Twitter for progress reports @T4Leonard.

Quote:  "Costs in Marketing should NEVER be about cost; it IS about diminishing returns on the next marketing dollar spent" ~rel

Bob Leonard
561-371-4113 (Call My Cell) 
512-593-8830 (in Austin) 

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June 18, 2016

Why People Smoke . . . Or Better Said, Why Do People Smoke?

First, let me apologize to my friends that smoke.
This is not meant to be offensive or insulting to anyone,
especially those close to me in any way.

I so rarely rant and this is so not my subject, but I got up this morning smelling cigarette smoke in my bedroom - the stink was terrible. At first, I wondered where it was coming from - then I realized - my clothes - OMG.  I was a half-hour in a Florida bar talking to someone the night before - I must have been a magnet for the smoke in the air.  Now let me clarify, I don't mind people smoking around me - I just don't remember the after aroma in my younger years.  This, all by itself, would have caused me to stop smoking if I did - instantly.

I am obviously missing the good that comes from smoking
as people still do it. People do it in spite of:
  • COST - Can people really enjoy something that much - approaching $10/pack - it adds up to a small car payment.
  • Skin Discoloration - Look at a 55 year old life-long smoker's skin - is that something to aspire to?
  • Shortness of Breath -  Watch people in the grocery store - the 50 year old who has to catch their breath at the end of every isle.
Smoking must have a "really good"
that people will continue to smoke in spite of the consequences.
  • Eye Discoloration -  Compare two 45 year old people - One a heavy smoker - one who does not.  Is off color yellow the new white?
  • Teeth Discoloration - OK, so I drink some coffee - imagine if I smoked to?  My coffee drinking does not make your teeth yellow or you stink.
Smoking must have a "really really good"
that I have just don't get.
  • It's will take away from your quality of life it later years - forget that it shortens it.
Smoking must have a "really really really good"
for people to smoke in spite of all this.
  • You Stink - in too many ways.  Do some people like that - Do some people like it so much that they feel compelled to share the fragrance.
Bad Breath from SmokingJust never got it . . .
  • Ever kissed a heavy smoker - To quote Forrest Gump, "She taste like cigarettes" - are there people who like that?  First three important things I notice about people - eyes, teeth and smell.
I am so out of touch - I missed something in life.
  • "Oh, I smoke only when I drink". - OK, there might be hidden meaning here - but I still don't get it.
  • "It's my stress relief" - Is it? or is it something to do when you escape.
Sorry for being judgmental this morning.

I feel like Louis C.K. (you have to be a SNL addict to understand).

Bob Leonard
561-371-4113 (Call My Cell) 
512-593-8830 (in Austin) 

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May 8, 2016

Find Where Data Is Hiding - Guest Blogger Kelly Mank

Think you don’t have enough data to drive personalized print marketing programs? To boost your targeting and personalization efforts, maybe you need to invest in data gathering or purchasing third-party list. Or maybe — just maybe — you have more data than you think.

Let’s look at some of the many types of data that can get overlooked. 
•    Transactional Data. This includes both brick-and-mortar and from the online store.
•    Submissions through Web Contact Forms.
•    Customer Care (found in your CRM system)
•    Business Reply Cards.  Too often, your BRCs are left at the fulfillment house and the valuable information that can be obtained from them is left unused. 
•    SMS/Cell Phone Marketing Contacts. If you have a standalone system, get that information out of your text marketing solution and back into your CRM. 
•    Responses to e-mail Campaigns. Like text messaging, these data need to get back into your marketing database so what you learn through email contacts can be integrated into your direct mail and other channels, too. 
•    Trade Shows / Events. Get those “card swipe” responses back into your system after post-show follow-up! 
•    Customer and Prospect Surveys.

Aggregating the data from these disparate sources will give you a more well-rounded picture of your customers and target audience. This data can be cleaned up, de-duped, and filled in if necessary so that you can use it to create more relevant communications and drive sales.

If you need help locating or integrating data from all of these disparate sources, give us a call. We can help!

Kelly Mank
President, Time4 Printing

Google+ - Time4Printing 
LindedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/KellyMank
Twitter -  www.twitter.com/Time4Printing

May 2, 2016

The Media(s) of 2016 Were Well Predicted Back in 2004's "Epic 2014".

Loved the EPIC videos from the early 2000s. It really was an amazing media predictions from 2004; The companies may not be named (because they did not exist yet), but the occurrences are uncanny. Careful with the timeline as it goes from history to future(fiction) in 2004.
Maybe this explains why our media leans so far, while our opinions tend to be more issue oriented and finally, our politicians (many) fall into the center actually afraid to make a mistake, thus avoiding making decisions that get things done.
Bottom line, I believe today's media, when taken in balance, makes (the) US more informed decision makers. The key is, like in life, balance...

Watch this video; "Epic 2014" ... It's eery.

Bob Leonard
561-371-4113 (Call My Cell) 
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April 28, 2016

Doing Social with Today's Tools the "Old Fashioned Way". What Did We Do Before _______?

The media world has changed drastically in the last 10 years with new players (and tools) changing the way it 'was always done'.  Old players have died with more death coming - just like dinosaurs -  not having the ability to adapt.

Don't let the word technology scare you - its not - it's just product, process.  Here are a few of the more popular social medias and some analogous comparisons.  Hopefully this will help you evolve if you have not already.

Facebook: A deeper and broader collection of news, friend's thoughts, activities, information and entertainment; but also containing trivia, much of it untrue, narrow, shallow and sensationalized. It's organized to your specific interest and in no other way.  The collection appears unorganized and impersonalized to any other reader except the owner and creator of the 'feed'.  It is your newspaper, television and gossip sheet rolled into one - organized just for you and by you.

Twitter: Thoughts, sayings and gestures with controls and limits in time and size - In business it may be the equivalent of an elevator pitch.  It's 140 characters - short, concise and exacting' "Look over there", "read this", and "have you seen this".  Twitter, in a social world, is nothing more than walking down the street talking to everyone.

Pinterest: The personal catalogs of everything.  Any grouping of anything in anyway can be grouped together in any way you desire, including your stuff as well as anyone's stuff.  Example: I take pictures of my flowers in my garden every year and then group them together by type.  Other pictures, belonging to anyone / everyone else, that I choose to catalog within my personal catalog I do so as well.  And, anyone else can "Pin" your pictures into their catalog. 

Instagram: The Polaroid of social media, designed and intended to be the 'instant share of now'.  Take a picture and share it - as the name implies "Insta...".  "Look who I am sitting next to".

And there are more.... Each of these products have fits for both personal and business - if you have never . . . LEARN - but when  you do learn, understand that they can be addictive.  Don't forget to go outside and be social too - Shake Hands, Hug and Kiss...

Bob Leonard
561-371-4113 (Call My Cell) 
512-593-8830 (in Austin) 

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March 23, 2016

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - Your Needs and the Flavor Choices

SEO is one of those abstract needs where the return is difficult to quantify, but we know we need to do it because that's what everybody says (?#?#).

Here is my bottom line on this - if you have a need, learn to do it as the return is high (assuming you have the need).  The cost of good SEO is also high and since it is very much abstract, you want to know you are getting what you pay for.  Watch out for the snake oil salespeople - they are on every corner in every town.

SEO comes in many flavors and levels.

The first, and least expensive, is that tuneup you may hear about frequently ($149 - $499). My opinion on this - if your website was built correctly in the first place it is already done. If you are being sold this, you probably don't need it.  But then again, its 500 bucks - it may be worth getting someone elses opinion.  You will hear people say things like relevant page name, page titles, page descriptions, meta tags, keywords, backlinks and search engine submissions at this level.

The next level comes from those service providers who do monthly SEO service - it's kind of like getting maid service for the first time - a start-up fee (like $499) and then a monthly fee of anywhere from $39 - $199 per month.  Here we begin to move in the right direction as SEO is not a snapshot, but a process.  Regretfully, customers rarely see a return fast enough and terminate the service as this becomes apparent.  When this group is selling you, you will hear all the same words from the previous paragraph plus "content" and "relevance"...

Finally, for those people who can actually benefit (financially speaking) - learn to do SEO as the process (yes, a process) needs to be continuously worked.  Think of it like marketing - it's not something you do once.  Add to that, people who know what they are doing with SEO are either doing something themselves or charge BIG $$.  Test your need with PPC (Pay-Per-Click (or CPC - Cost-Per-Click); it is not abstract.  If PPC provides a return, so will SEO and you will want to do BOTH - this, is not an either/or.

Finally, Finally :)  there is Pro-active SEO;  Read more about it in my article The Importance of Tweeting in Your SEO Plan.

Good SEO is like a good salesperson - they (you) live it.

Bob Leonard
561-371-4113 (Call My Cell) 
512-593-8830 (in Austin) 

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March 16, 2016

Get Your Timing Right!

How critical is the timing for direct mail campaigns? Hitting the right window can make the difference between recipients saying, “That’s me!” and the piece being rejected out of hand. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in this tale of two campaigns.

Here are the similarities between Company A and Company B: 

•    Both sell snow-clearing services to businesses, schools, and other professional organizations.
•    Both use free ice melt as an incentive to grab attention and encourage responses to their marketing messages.
•    Both mailed short-run targeted postcards to facilities directors and operations managers in their local areas.
•    Both used a clean list, with updated names and addresses.

Here is where the campaigns differed:
Company A sent its direct mailer in November. This mailer landed on recipients’ desks in the start of the snowy season. Company B sent its mailer in July. This mailer dropped in the heat of the summer months before most people even think about the first snowflake beginning to fly.

Which company got the timing right? Company B—the one that sent its mailer in the summer. Among facilities and operations managers, decisions regarding snow clearing are made in July and August, well in advance of the cold weather.

To the average person, a direct mailer sporting ice-covered trees and automobiles encapsulated in snow drifts might seem out of place and totally ill-timed in the heat of the summer. But to the target audience, the message was loud and clear: this company knows my business.

How well do you know your target audience?