During an interview with ATTOM™ Data Solutions for their June edition of the Housing News Report, Barry Friedman, CEO at HomeActions, explained the different forms of lead-generating content in real estate marketing. Some content is created to provide information for the reader. While this type of content may not explicitly promote a brand, its intention is to stimulate interest in the brand’s products or services. There is also actionable content designed to trigger a response from a consumer, indicating a warm lead. Paired with an interactive neighborhood data feature called Neighborhood360, actionable, lead-generating content is designed to both help the consumer learn more about a desired area and produce a high-quality lead for a real estate professional.
Barry J. Friedman, CEO of HomeActions, LLC
1. What is your elevator pitch for HomeActions?
HomeActions is a cloud-based platform designed to help agents communicate more effectively with their sphere of influence: their clients, prospects and referral sources. We try to get agents connected to a potential customer as early into the buying cycle as possible, before the customer has decided to buy or sell. And we do that primarily through content marketing.
We provide the content in the newsletters, and we’ve developed unique systems to tell when a client or prospect has put their toe in the water, meaning they are ready for a real estate transaction.
We’ve found that content comes in different forms. There is just information, just designed to provide information, not to elicit a response. Then there is trigger content. We start all trigger articles out with “is this your situation?”. If this is not their situation, they are probably not going to read it. No matter what we say afterward, if someone clicks on that article in my mind it is a warm lead — someone you would want to go in your pipeline.
Another key type of content we use in our newsletters is an interactive article. There is special technology associated with it. What this is about is how do you build your pipeline so that eventually people come out of your pipeline and become clients?
I started a previous company called BizActions which was sold to Thomson Reuters in 2012. From 2012 I really got into HomeActions wanting to build it up. We think we are the largest in the real estate space delivering about 3.5 million newsletters every two weeks on behalf of our 5,000 Realtor clients. We help those clients put together their database. We learned you can’t have content marketing without a database. We de-dupe it and cleanse it to make sure the email addresses are as clean as possible.
2. How is HomeActions utilizing ATTOM Data Solutions?
Our interactive articles are what uses ATTOM data. It’s basically a know-yourneighborhood type of article. Or if you are looking for real estate, check out the neighborhood first. When they click that article, we provide some content about why this information is important. Then we ask for their name and phone number.
We ask “why are you interested in this content?”. You wouldn’t think people would answer that but they do. These are purpose questions, and there are six purpose questions. They check off the ones that apply. When they hit submit, we then go to ATTOM’s servers and grab that property and we deliver a URL to them that gives them all the property and neighborhood information.
We’ve kept certain things in and kept certain things out. We don’t include crime statistics. We used to include AVM (Automated Valuation Model) in there but we took that out and we made AVM a separate article. Some Realtors like the AVM component because if someone is looking for the value of a property that is a heck of lead.
We then deliver that neighborhood data to the client. And they are always happy about. They often check it for several properties. Then we send it over to the Realtor with the reason why they are looking for the information. Mr. Smith is looking to buy a house. That’s a heck of a warm lead.
3. How is the marketplace responding to HomeActions products/services?
Realtors are happy with having that type of local information. I would say that it has gone over well with the Realtors.
We kept on getting more and more interest in this information, and how we managed the information. We figured out a way to take your data and make it work in a lead generation environment.
We just came out with a new feature where you can add advertisements to your newsletter and there is a shared revenue component so you can share the revenue from that. We do all the work. We are sending out about 7 million newsletters every month. Let’s build the template of our newsletter in such a way where we can embed unobtrusive advertising, share the money with the Realtor, and that way we can make money off all these contacts. We already have 100-plus Realtors signed up.
4. Why did HomeActions decide to use ATTOM Data Solutions?
There were a few companies that had the data so it wasn’t like ATTOM was the only one. But I like the way they presented the data, and there was some flexibility so I could add some things and subtract some things. And the people were nice. I didn’t know if I could afford this. I didn’t know if people would like it or not. So we were able to start out with flexible pricing. That worked out really well for me because I could gauge whether my clients were interested or not, and we kept on getting more and more penetration. Then we decided to integrate into our overall product. And that’s when I went back to negotiate a fixed-price contract. And that is working out well.
5. What has been your experience with the data delivery?
We have had no problem. Maybe one little problem where the data was not updated promptly, but we got that fixed quickly.
6. What has been your experience with the data quality?
I’ve had no problem with data delivery or data quality with the exception that ATTOM hasn’t built an API that allows me to send information on Realtors so that when you present the neighborhood data you present it as branded with that Realtor. We haven’t been able to do that in an eloquent way.
7. What has been your experience with customer service?
Customer service has been fine. People have been very nice.
ATTOM Data Solutions is a leading provider of publicly recorded tax, deed, mortgage and foreclosure data along with proprietary neighborhood and parcel-level risk data for more than 155 million U.S. properties.
As published in the June 2018 issue of the Housing News Report Newsletter.
Deliverability is generated by algorithms using a wide variety of signals to determine whether an email gets through to an inbox. In order to increase the chances that your emails are getting consistently delivered to your readers, it is important to maintain a good list.
When your subscribers open your emails, click through your email content or have some other positive responses to your messages, this helps your deliverability.
If readers simply delete your emails without opening them or mark them as spam, they are sending negative signals that can hurt your deliverability.
Here are three tips to help you keep a squeaky-clean list and improve your deliverability.
1. Remove or fix bad email addresses.
Some email marketing platforms will automatically suppress bad email addresses for you. If they do not, make sure you are taking steps to manage bad email addresses. A bad email address will be marked as such by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) because it has one of the following errors:
Bad format—A format error could indicate that an email address is missing a period, contains a misspelling, or has other incorrect or duplicated characters. This type of error could simply be a typo that needs to be fixed. When the format error is obvious, like a double period, this can be corrected by making a small adjustment to the email address in your subscriber record.
Bad domain—Sometimes domain names are changed, merged with those from other companies or are simply deleted. When this happens, it renders the domain portion of your email address (or everything after the @ sign) ineffective. Watch out for company name changes, mergers, email service provider domain name changes and other domain name issues in order to avoid bad domain issues in your database.
Bad account—When an employee leaves a company, his or her email address often becomes invalid after a certain period of time. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org may have retired. In the case of professional office environments, staff emails might be forwarded to a third party for a period of time before they are rendered invalid. When this occurs, there are often auto-response emails sent out asking you to delete or update a former employee’s contact information. Pay attention to these auto-response messages and take action to update information in order to avoid bad account issues.
On occasion, it will be impossible to tell why an email was marked as bad. If you have attempted to remedy format, domain and account issues, and the email address is still being marked as bad, it is time to either suppress the contact or remove the record from your database.
2. Remove generic email addresses.
When an email address is publicly available, it can often be harvested by unethical list sellers. Because of this, generic email addresses are often heavily policed by spam traps. Unless you absolutely know that the person or people behind a generic email address expressly consent to receiving your messages, you should remove any of the following generic email addresses from your account:
Additionally, generic email addresses often have low open rates and low engagement, which also negatively impacts your deliverability.
3. Remove inactive subscribers.
To keep up to date with email deliverability best practices, we consult with some of the top delivery and anti-spam engineers from major mailbox providers, as well as senders that are like our company, in order to coordinate better ways to get wanted emails to the readers.
One of the most important email marketing best practice trends we identified is to track user engagement and remove inactive subscribers. Engagement means that your readers have opened, read and/or clicked a link in your email. The major mailbox providers such as Gmail, AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo all track how long a message is open and whether the links within it were clicked. They take note if a message was deleted without opening it. They also detect when messages are sent to accounts that no longer check email at all.
Clean up dead weight
A common suggestion for cleaning an email list is to remove all disengaged or inactive subscribers. What this means is that you will be determining all the people who have not opened or clicked on one of your emails in a given period of time and simply removing them from your list.
Why does this help?
You may feel like it stings a bit to remove a bunch of people from a list that you’ve worked hard to grow, but if they are sitting in your database in an inactive or disengaged status, they are actually hurting your sending reputation. A bad sending reputation means you’ll be less likely to be successfully delivered to those who really want to hear from you.
Improve your reach
If there is no engagement for a large portion of your list, then it is more likely that your marketing emails will not reach a majority of your audience. To increase the chances of reaching inboxes and not getting filtered out, take steps to remove all list members who are not engaged.
Take a tiered approach
You can begin removing people in waves. First, remove those who have not clicked or opened in the past two years. Then change your email strategies to see whether you can boost engagement among your existing members. When you see open and click rates improving, take some time to do a second purge of all those who have still not engaged within the past year. You may also repeat this process as a last step, and look at all those who have not engaged within a six-month period as your final purge.
Purging long-term inactive subscribers also means you’re much less likely to end up in a spam trap. An extremely inactive list with long-term disengaged members can be “gravestoned” by ISPs. This means that ISPs will flag your messages as irrelevant or meaningless to your subscribers, thus negatively impacting your deliverability.
“Healing” your deliverability
Even though this process will cause the number of active list members in your database to go down, you will receive the benefit of better delivery rates among those recipients who enjoy your messages. When you view your metrics and reporting, you may notice that the number of opens and clicks will remain steady, but since fewer inactive email addresses are on your list, the open and click rate percentages will gradually increase as mailbox providers begin to recognize your improved sending reputation.
Over time, this process will result in more emails getting into the inboxes of your recipients, producing higher traction and engagement with fewer complaints and filtering issues. When the mailbox providers detect the higher percentage of recipients reading and clicking on links, they will tend to give those messages more favorable treatment by keeping them out of the spam folder. The absolute numbers of clicks and opens will likely go up as well, based on experience from testing this strategy with our existing customers.
Time to Grow
Now that you’ve cleaned the dead weight out of your database, you’ll have room to add more engaged, happy subscribers to your list.
When growing your database, avoid purchasing email lists. Typically, these lists are expensive, have inaccurate contact information and encourage opt-outs since the individuals don’t have a context of how they got on your list.
A good way to ensure that your list is always healthy and full of readers who really want to hear from you is to give individuals the opportunity to opt in.
Provide new prospects with opportunities to opt in to receive your email newsletter:
Add an email newsletter sign-up call to action to your website and social media pages.
Invite blog visitors to sign up to receive your newsletter.
Design CTAs so they stand out from the rest of the page.
Where to place newsletter sign-up CTAs:
On more than one page (test multiple pages to see which gets the most traction).
Above the fold (the part of the webpage or email you see without scrolling down).
On your high-traffic pages.
There are many other digital resources you can leverage to gather up new subscribers.
Here are some ideas to drive list growth:
Include a “Sign Up for My Newsletter” link in your company’s standard email signature.
Regularly post reminders for your social media followers to subscribe to your email newsletter.
Post email newsletter articles to spike the interest of your contacts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn with an invitation to receive similar information if they sign up for your newsletter.
Include your newsletter sign-up URL on your business cards as well as your direct mail and/or print marketing materials.
Create newsletter sign-up sheets and distribute them at seminars, conferences, trade shows and events.
Encourage current subscribers to share or forward your email newsletter content.
Promote an online contest that includes signing up for your newsletter as a contest entry requirement.
Place content on your website for visitors to download, making email opt-in an option for those who access the content.
Host online webinars, and let attendees know how they can sign up to receive your email newsletter during your closing remarks.
Use word of mouth — don’t forget to simply tell new contacts about your email newsletter. During in-person meetings, ask people whether they would be interested in receiving your newsletter and show them where they can opt in.
Look to collaborate with influencers or business partners in your community. By establishing reciprocity with one another, you can ask them to promote your newsletter on your behalf while you do the same for them.
There are many creative ways to grow your email marketing database. The key is to get creative and always be looking for opportunities to add more valuable, engaged subscribers to your list.
In order to get leads flowing in through your digital marketing, you must first make sure you have set automated lead alerts on key content. You should also check your click-through reporting to monitor prospect click activity.
“Great! I have a lead… Now what?”
Once you start generating leads through your email marketing, implement a strategy for converting click-through activity and lead alerts into new clients. Lead tracking is a key component to your success. Lay out a basic and intuitive process for monitoring and responding to leads.
STEP 1: Look at What Generated the Lead Alert or Click Activity
Check which article or banner piqued your readers’ interest, and make a note of the topic that generated the lead.
STEP 2: See Who Responded to Your Lead
Look at the individual’s contact record in your database. See if they have also been clicking on other content in the past. If you notice a trend, you definitely have a warm lead in-hand. If this is the first click, you may still have an opportunity to convert your lead into a client.
STEP 3: Follow Up on Your Leads
Send a personal email with a follow up message to your prospect. Say something like, “I noticed you recently read an article in our newsletter about [topic here]. Is this something you’re thinking of exploring? Feel free to email me at email@example.com if I can help.”
After one or two passive emails like that, take the next step and call your warm lead with a friendly approach to feel them out on their level of interest. Even if they don’t access your services at that time, you have successfully reminded them that you’re available if their needs change in the future.
STEP 4: Track Your Leads
Creating accurate and comprehensive records of your lead follow-up is a vital aspect of successful lead conversion. Make a record of your phone calls and follow-up emails either in your email marketing platform, CRM tool or tracking system of your choice.
STEP 5: Act or Release
If your prospect shows interest, schedule an appointment for a consultation or take appropriate next steps. Be sure your team is aware that you will be connecting them with new prospects generated by your email marketing.
If the lead does not show any interest after a couple emails and phone calls, step back and wait for future interactions. Review your follow-up records to make sure your team is not saturating the prospect with sales calls. As long as your prospect is subscribed to your email newsletter program, there will always be another opportunity to connect.
HomeActions LLC (HA) and IndustryNewsletters (IN), which send out newsletters on hundreds of topics, have compiled lists of the topics their 3.6 million readers found most compelling in 2017. The results provide startling insights into what consumers are interested in.
HA is an e-prospecting and client relationship platform for real estate agents, and its IN division serves the accounting, payroll, PEO and legal estate planning markets.
Top 10 Real Estate Articles
The 5 Home Improvements That Give the Best ROI
Must-know Tips for Arranging Your Linen Closet
How to Finish Your Basement Right!
The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist
4 Old-school Kitchen Design Trends That Need Updating
The 4 DIY Bathroom Upgrade Errors
How to Keep Your Home Cleaner
10 Fun Home Technology Gadgets
3 Trends in Kitchen Hardware to Keep an Eye On
4 Common Items That Start Home Fires
“What makes you more comfortable in your home?” asked Barry Friedman, CPA, founder and CEO of HA and IN. “What makes your home more efficient? And most important, what makes your home more valuable? Homeowners have their eye on the bottom line, which is why the ROI story was number one.”
Top 10 Accounting/Finance Articles
Big Changes in Social Security and Retirement Plans for 2018
Who Gets Copies of the Will?
How to Divide Things, Not Families
How Does the Gift Tax Work?
How to Avoid the Big Estate Planning Errors
When It’s Time to Take Money Out of Retirement Plans
New Pension Plan Limitations Announced
How to Leave a House to Heirs
How to Leave Your Indivisible Wealth to Your Heirs
Should You Put Your House in a Trust?
“This list shows people are focused on achieving a financially comfortable future for themselves and their families,” said Friedman. “There’s no surprise that the major changes in 2018 caught everyone’s attention!”
Top 10 Business Payroll Articles
Big Changes in Social Security and Retirement Plans for 2018
Bracket Changes and More From the IRS
Giving Your Employees All the Vacation They Want
Must-have Items for an Employee Handbook
Don’t Ask Job Candidates These Questions!
Being on Time: How to Handle the Unpunctual
Overtime Pay: Up to Speed on the Details
Benefits You May Not Have Thought About
How to Make Annual Reviews Work
Take a Look at the New HSA Plan Limits
“In this low-unemployment era, businesses are looking for ways to attract and retain employees,” said Friedman. “Articles on job interview techniques, effective management, legal responsibilities and employee benefits all did well.”
Top 10 Legal Estate Planning Articles
Nursing Homes: Not the Only Option
Big Changes in Social Security and Retirement Plans for 2018
Adult Communities: The Pros and Cons
Why Nursing Homes Are Not Always Necessary
How to Keep Assets Safe for the Long Term
Setting the Stage for Your Own Funeral
Who Gets Copies of the Will?
The Ins and Outs of a Living Trust
How to Divide Things, Not Families
How Does the Gift Tax Work?
“This list shows an increasing concern for the finances of estate planning, as well as the practical and emotional concerns,” said Friedman. “There are three stories on living arrangements for the elderly, an issue that will only become more important with the aging of Baby Boomers.”
About HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters
HomeActions LLC and its IndustryNewsletters division are digital marketing and lead generation solutions with compelling content and interactive widgets for real estate agents, accounting firms, law firms, payroll bureaus, professional employer organizations, human resources and employee benefits companies, and other service providers.
The HomeActions/IndustryNewsletters platform provides automated prospecting and marketing delivered biweekly via email to a professional’s sphere of influence. The professionally written articles portray a range of professional trusted advisors looking out for readers’ interests. With instant lead access, CRM capabilities and robust predictive metrics, the system has the capability to generate real-time leads and top-of-mind awareness while nurturing relationships that lead to long-term success and more referrals.
Do you have a great email article that is just begging to be shared on your social media business pages? You may be able to easily share your email articles directly from your marketing newsletter. Many email platforms allow you to post your email newsletter articles with just a few simple clicks.
Quick Tip: Create a Guest Record First
In order to produce links from your email articles to be used in social media marketing efforts, consider creating a “Guest” contact record. Use the first name “Guest” and the last name “Contact” (or something similar) and your info@ or contact@ email distribution to set this record up. Additionally, you may complete the record with your business address, phone number and any additional contact information you would like to share to route interested prospects to your company. This way, any links or articles you use from your email marketing on social media can be tied back to your guest database record and your business contact information. Another benefit of this practice is that any personalization you may have used in your email will simply display as “Hello, Guest!” or a similar generic greeting. This will add a universal appeal to your emails when you forward your newsletter to interested parties, post the latest edition to your website or share articles with your social fans and followers.
Next Step: Start Sharing
The social sharing function of an email article varies between platforms but is usually a straightforward process. To give you an idea how an article can be shared, here are the steps you would take if you posted an article from this newsletter to Facebook.
1. Click through to the full article. At the top of the article you will see a “Share” option. Click to share.
2. Choose which social network you prefer. At the bottom of the social sharing tool window, you will see an option to share the article to one of the four major social networks. Click the icon of your preferred social network.
3. Choose whether you’d like to share to your personal or business page. In the Facebook example we’re showing here, you’ll have the option to share to your own timeline or to a page you manage.
4. If you manage multiple business pages, choose a business page. Pick from a possible list of business pages you manage, and then click the “Post to Facebook” button.
Success! Your post will now be on your social media site for all your fans and followers to read.
Using a social media management tool? Platforms like Hootsuite and others allow you to post to multiple social networks simultaneously, and also schedule out future posts. If you’re using a social media manager to schedule your posts, simply grab the URL from your full article (once you have clicked through to the full article view) and schedule your article to multiple networks as a link post.
Posting a Newsletter Article to Your Blog
Posting an article from your email newsletter to your blog can be as simple as copying and pasting the text from your article into your blog. You will need to take some additional steps to format the article to look appealing on your blog. You will also need to make sure you have the right to distribute any purchased content you may have bought for your email marketing on your blog and social media sites. HomeActions does allow our users unrestricted use of content on social media and blog sites, but each marketing provider differs in that respect.
Additionally, you can make your newsletter articles more SEO-friendly by changing 100 words of the article to be unique to your company’s blog. Google and other search engines will look at your content as original if you change a portion of it and put your own stamp on the article.
You should also add keywords to your blog post. In the first article of this newsletter, Is This Your Situation? “I Need To Get The Word Out About My Ancillary Services…”, we list four ways you can add relevant keywords to your blog posts to help get found in organic search results:
Do some keyword research
Add keywords to your blog’s title, URL and subheadings
When using images, add keywords in the image file name and alt and title tags
Also use links to outside resources in your posts to increase your likelihood of receiving backlinks in return
Don’t forget to connect blog readers with your email newsletter. Once your newsletter article is posted to your blog, add a closing call to action that says something to this effect: “Do you like what you see here? SIGN UP to receive more tips from us every two weeks. SUBSCRIBE NOW!” This will give organic blog visitors a chance to opt in to your email marketing program.
This marketing best practices strategy is an excellent way to repurpose content across multiple channels to maximize the value and life of your marketing articles. Stay consistent in your efforts. Set up a social media and blog schedule that follows your email launch schedule. With these simple steps, you will be well on your way to increasing the exposure of your email marketing content by sharing it to your blog and social media sites on a regular basis.
You’re strapped for time, but you still have a social media presence to maintain. What is a savvy marketer to do? Here are five smart tips for getting the most bang out of the time and effort you invest in posting content to your social networks.
1. Repurpose Existing Content
Use content from your newsletter launches, blog posts, or other online resources to maximize its exposure and stretch your resources. Repurposing content is a logical way to make your social media marketing work smarter, not harder. Plus, when you drive social visitors back to your existing content, you’re creating more opportunities for prospects to find your company.
Beyond social media, there are a ton of ways you can maximize the life and exposure of your content. Consider a single newsletter article, and imagine that it could find new life as:
A blog post
Multiple social media posts
A call-out quote that becomes a social media graphic
A chapter in an e-book
A video discussion or podcast
The sky is the limit. Be creative, and consider all the ways you can stretch the life of your content to consolidate your resources, be more efficient with your time and maximize the exposure of your key articles.
2. Be Selective When Choosing Social Networks
More is not necessarily better when it comes to social media. It pays to be choosy about which social networks your company decides to use. Consider your target market. What networks are your clients and prospects most likely to visit? Before you build a profile on the latest and hottest social network, take a look at the demographics of their typical users, and make sure you will find your audience on that network. You should also be sure you have the time and man-power to post consistently and respond to activity on any network you choose.
3. Use a Social Media Management Tool
Social media managers, like Hootsuite, SocialOomph, TweetDeck, SocialPilot, and others, offer a simple way to post your content to multiple platforms or profiles at once. With these tools, you won’t need to log in and out of multiple social networks. Instead, you can post to multiple platforms simultaneously in one step. Plus, you’ll have the ability to schedule out future posts and monitor activity from one central hub.
4. Instill a Weekly Routine of Scheduling Posts for the Week Ahead
Block out roughly 30 to 45 minutes once per week as time devoted to setting up your social media posts for the week ahead. This simple, effective habit allows you to get ahead of the game so you;’re not worrying about updating your social networks on a daily basis.
5. Set Aside Specific Times Each Day for Quick Social Maintenance
You’ll want to respond to comments from followers and be aware of your social media interactions, but keep in mind that social media can be distracting. Instead of being bogged down in minute-to-minute monitoring, dedicate a specific time (or times) each day for monitoring and responding to social activity. Usually brief morning and lunch hour check-ins are sufficient. This process will help you minimize social interruptions and become more efficient with your social media time management.
Start with the five simple tips, then use your social metrics and reporting tools to gauge the impact of your efforts. You’ll find that following these simple tips helps you maximize your impact with more productive, efficient strategies.
We all know that having a personal LinkedIn profile and one for your business is essential to your social media goals. But merely setting up profiles and forgetting they exists won’t help your efforts. There are some relatively simple things you can do to make your pages more interesting to your LinkedIn community.
First and foremost, you should ensure that your personal LinkedIn profile lists your business as your current employer. When people view your profile, your current employer is among the first few pieces of information displayed, making this an important connection back to your business page. Another step toward boosting engagement is increasing your connections. Having a solid following on your LinkedIn page will help you reach more potential clients; however, procuring these connections isn’t always intuitive.
Here are six strategies that will help you increase your professional connections.
1. Compose Daily Status Updates
Being active on LinkedIn as a whole will help to increase your connections. The best way to stay present is to make sure you post at least one status update every day. This tip holds true for both personal and business pages. But don’t post just any old thing, share a link about something relevant to your business, industry or community. Having a consistent presence on LinkedIn will give users an opportunity to stay updated on your business, and relevant posts give your followers a reason to visit your page in general.
2. Send a Personalized Message to Connect Once a Day
There are two steps to this tip. First, make sure you’re reaching out to potential connections that are personally known to you or with whom you have a friend or colleague in common. A good place to start is by utilizing LinkedIn’s “Alumni” feature, where you can find fellow LinkedIn users that share your alma mater. Once you find a familiar individual you’d like to connect with, write them a personalized message to connect. Ditch the automated message that LinkedIn provides and write something that the other person knows you wrote specifically for them. Writing your own message increases the likelihood that they will accept your invitation.
3. Utilize LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform
LinkedIn’s publishing platform is a great way for you to position yourself in front of a wider audience. This tool allows you to post long-form posts, creating a string of three posts and accompanying images. These posts will be available to the entire LinkedIn audience and will appear on your profile under the “Posts” section. Not only will you have the ability to create professional looking long-form posts, but the reach of these posts is not limited to only your connections, giving every LinkedIn user the opportunity to discover your posts. You can also customize your own “about us” blurbs as the closing of your personal posts and link them back to your business profile.
4. Join Groups and Participate in Discussions
A great way to stay active in the LinkedIn community is to join groups that are relevant to your industry niche or philanthropic involvement. Pick a minimum of three groups, and stay active on a weekly basis. Membership in LinkedIn’s groups will help you to discover potential new prospects or referral sources. Furthermore, you should also make sure that you have a strong presence on these group pages. Try participating in group discussions or even initiating conversations on the page.
5. Comment on Your Connections’ Updates
A really simple way to garner more connections and nurture your existing professional relationships is to simply show interest in the people you are connected to on LinkedIn. If one of your connections posts a new job, comment to say congratulations. You can also respond to links they post or like their status updates. Displaying your interest in your connections’ professional achievements will brand you as a valuable member and make others want to connect with you.
6. Endorse Others
Endorse others for the skills that you admire. This is another way to increase your credibility, build relationships and demonstrate the value you add as a connection. In order to gain new followers, you should have a track record of being an asset to your current connections. When others endorse you, send them a personal message to thank them.
All of these tips will assist you in attracting more people to your personal and business LinkedIn pages and give you more opportunities to increase connections. Having an active presence is the key to success.
Look for our next post, which will go in depth on the type of posts you should be sharing, breaking down exactly which ingredients create the most effective posts.
You need captivating images on your business’ website, blog or email newsletter, but like most of us, you’re not a professional photographer. Without visuals, it’s hard for readers to quickly gather a visual understanding of your content. But don’t fret! There are countless places on the web to get cheap, or even free, stock images to accompany your marketing content.
Here is our roundup of the 4 best websites for freebie stock images.
Free Images is exactly as it sounds. The site houses thousands of free images for you to download and use in your email marketing, on your website or blog, or in social media. All that is required is that you create an account. From there, you have access to their diverse range of quality images. You can search for images by typing a basic keyword search, or you can make use of the “Tags” tab, which takes you to a page full of commonly used words like “Business” or “Finance” that will direct you to images associated with those keywords.
This site has some very impressive first-rate photos. Search for the type of image you need and click on the image you like. Then you can download images in a variety of sizes: original, large, medium, small, or you can choose the “custom” option and input your own dimensions. One feature unique to Pexels is their own Photoshop Plugin Subscription. It isn’t free, but it is super cheap at only $4 a month or $2 a month if you pay annually.
Pixabay is another site with totally free images for you to use. Sign up with your email to start downloading images in a variety of sizes. Pixabay offers many high-quality photos as well as a large database of illustrations and vectors. If you’re only interested in illustrated images or vectors, you can click to browse only these types of images. You can also choose to explore “Editor’s Choice,” which offers the most sophisticated and quality photos. Furthermore, if you find several images that you like by the same photographer, you can choose to browse images only by this artist.
The selection on this site isn’t as varied as the others, but this is a very aesthetically pleasing site full of dramatic images. The images are big and the overall layout of Unspslash is very simple and elegant, giving you the opportunity to browse their beautiful database of images with ease. Downloading is so simple that you barely notice it. If you like an image, just click the download button in the bottom right corner of the photo and the image instantly pops up on a separate page. The site has an incredibly user-friendly download process, but it requires that you resize the image on your own if you need different dimensions. If that’s the case, just save the image in Paint (or another image editor) and change the dimensions to your liking. Make sure you take a look at Unsplash’s “Collections” tab where you can peruse photos from categories.
Other Image & Design Resources
Once you have all these great photos in your inventory, take it one step further by checking out ways to edit those images and create new, original graphics. Sites like Canva.com and Befunky.com offer free design tools to edit images and create things like newsletter mastheads, invitations, collages, social media images and more. Stay tuned for my next post to get even more tips on how to utilize these free graphic design sites and create show-stopping images for your marketing projects.
HomeActions and its IndustryNewsletters division announce Version 3 of their exclusive e-newsletter product, putting it on the cutting edge of the e-newsletter industry. The companies provide professionally written articles and a system that lets a range of professionals send out e-newsletters to clients and prospects. They primarily serve real estate professionals, payroll companies, accounting firms and estate planning attorneys.
With Version 3, the newsletter system becomes even more customizable and user-friendly. Among the improvements:
A more contemporary look for the user interface, and a better design for tablets and smartphones.
A cleaner and more functional client dashboard that shows readership stats at a glance.
A completely revamped image system that lets users choose among three different sizes of images to put into their newsletters.
A smoother, more intuitive system to allow users to add their own content to company-provided content.
The ability to easily remove company-provided content and replace it with an article from extensive article libraries available to users.
The addition of a completely new Web banner library so users can easily find and post banners to make their newsletters even more useful.
And as always, help is just a click away. The system comes with an easy-to-use, automated help feature that lets users follow along step by step as the tool gives interactive answers to questions.
Barry J. Friedman, CEO of HomeActions, LLC
Barry Friedman, CPA, founder and CEO of HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters, said, “Our clients are busy and successful professionals, and they want a system that lets them communicate with their clients with perfect ease while providing sophisticated options — without any hassle. That has always been our goal, and with Version 3 our system is even better than ever.”
About HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters
IndustryNewsletters and HomeActions were founded by Barry Friedman, CPA, who managed many CPA firms for over 25 years and subsequently sold them to American Express. He then created BizActions LLC, which became the largest marketing e-newsletter company for CPA firms and payroll companies, and he sold that to Thomson Reuters in 2012. He has over 15 years’ experience in the email newsletter space.
HomeActions and IndustryNewsletters are virtual companies that employ more than 30 people. Both are headquartered in Green Cove Springs, Florida.
The Digital Marketing Zscore (DMZ) is included in the latest update of HomeActions e-prospecting system and soon, this data will be automatically delivered to you on a regular basis. Using HomeActions DMZ, agents and management can compare the engagement their HomeActions email newsletters are creating with prospects in their sphere of influence to the results seen by other agents using HomeActions.
“The insight delivered by DMZ is unprecedented in real estate content marketing,” says HomeActions CEO Barry Friedman. “It provides real-time data about the effectiveness of the agent’s e-marketing.”
The DMZ measures:
Transaction Readiness Triggers
“Agents can see how they stack up against other agents in their office and agents in other offices in their brand,” explains HomeActions Senior Vice President of Marketing Lee Sowers. “By knowing the areas where you excel and where you fall down, you can improve your digital marketing. You know where you need to focus to bring yourself up to where other agents are.”
HomeActions members who want to improve their DMZ have access to white papers, webinars and support professionals who can help them adjust their digital marketing plans.
The DMZ gives office managers, regional managers and brand managers a powerful snapshot showing how effectively agents are engaging their sphere of influence. Managers can then offer support to agents who need assistance upgrading their digital marketing strategies to better target their desired customer base.