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.
An estimated 30,000 residents have fled their homes, and the western area wildfires have consumed over 1,000 residences. Many of these homeowners are now trying to piece together their possessions, bit by bit. It is estimated that nine out of 10 consumers who lost their homes did not have a current home inventory of all their possessions and home improvements. HomeActions President Albert Clark commented, “The loss of one’s home is traumatic enough, but now they have to go through the process of filling out insurance papers on what was destroyed, what it cost and where it was all purchased. The stage is set for lots of under-reporting and smaller insurance claims.”
Homeowners outside the disaster areas can learn from this tragedy and construct an entire home inventory of all contents and the physical structure. Homeowners and renters should be prepared for any type of home disaster, flood, fire or burglary.
HomeActions and Agents: Delivering the Message. HomeActions has uncovered the best-in-class (and free) home inventory system provided by the nonprofit Insurance Information Institute (III.org). Agents are promoting the home inventory resource in their biweekly HomeActions e-Newsletter that goes out to all the agents’ past clients, prospects and friends.
HomeActions provides real estate agents with an end-to-end e-prospecting system. It involves building the agent’s database into a pipeline that is nurtured and protected (exclusive). HomeActions does it all for the agent who lacks the time, the systems and the engaging content. HomeActions currently delivers 4.2 million highly branded newsletters every month.
A Business Solutions Provider with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
A Business Benefits Program Member with Century 21 Real Estate.
A Business Advantage Program Member with Coldwell Banker Real Estate.
A Select Services Member with ERA Real Estate. An Approved Supplier with Better Home and Gardens Real Estate.
HomeActions is headquartered in Green Cove Springs, Florida. For more information, please visit our website, www.HomeActions.net, or contact Richard J. Koreto, Chief Content Officer, at 845-642-4314 or through email. You can also contact Albert Clark, HomeActions President, at 570-510-3507 or through email.
Copyright (C) 2015 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
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.
Were you able to get a new listing or sale as a result of using your HomeActions newsletter? Has HomeActions helped to move your business forward?
Share your success with us and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win a $ 50 VISA gift card.
Send your stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how you have benefited from using the power of HomeActions. We’ll announce the winner on Nov. 30 on our client dashboard page as well as notify the winner directly by email.
As a Realtor, your job is to interpret the real estate market for clients. Should your interpretation include commenting on politicians’ attempts to influence and regulate homeownership? Or should you just keep your mouth shut and hope your clients’ political yard signs aren’t blocking your for sale sign?
I believe that when you do it right, talking about politics can position you as an informative commentator. Done wrong, it can alienate your client base.
Here’s a simple two-question test that tells you which political issues will help improve your reputation and which will cost you customers:
1. Does the issue influence my clients’ home value or their ability to buy or sell property?
2. Is NAR’s position on the issue one that benefits my clients, too?
If you answer “no” to ether question, it’s not a good issue for your communications with homeowners. An issue is only appropriate to discuss with clients if it’s directly related to real estate. When an issue benefits Realtors but not homeowners, you’re wise to avoid the topic, too.
If you can answer “yes” to both those questions, the political issue is one you should be talking about to your client base. It benefits them to know about it and it benefits your industry as well.
Political Topics Garner Clicks
That was the case with one of the most-read articles among the nearly 3 million newsletters HomeActions sent out last month. House Democrat Wants Big Changes In Credit Reporting explored changes in credit reporting proposed by California’s Rep. Maxine Waters. If it passes, the bill would likely make it easier to get a home loan, creating more potential homebuyers. That’s a win for homebuyers, home sellers and Realtors.
The key to covering politics without offending anyone is to write about the bill rather than partisan politics. You’ll know you’ve done a good job at that when you get comments back from people who agree and from people who disagree with the proposal, but no comments from people criticizing you for supporting or opposing the bill.
You’ll Get Comments
Here are some examples – real comments from viewers who had something to say about Maxine Waters’ attempts to change the way credit reporting works:
There were homeowners who applauded the bill: Current system is unfair to all citizens! What she is proposing is very fair, because items in the Credit Bureaus are one person’s opinion, not the truth!!
There were homeowners who think it’s a bad bill: She basically wants to hide bad credit. Did we not learn from the 2008 meltdown? We should not lend to those who can’t or won’t make the payments!!!
And there were people who think there are more adept politicians than Rep. Waters: Maxine Waters is an idiot… and would put us back in recession to get reelected.
But the most telling comment (and the one you want to see come back to you when you write about political issues) is this one: Thank you for gathering this information for us.
While thousands of homeowners read that feature, not a single comment came back criticizing our Realtor clients for supporting or opposing the Waters bill. Because the coverage did neither. It simply outlined what Rep. Waters wants to do to change credit reporting.
When you write about politics, you’ll almost always get people fired up. The key is getting them fired up about the issue (or the politician) rather than fired up about your personal political views. Stick to the facts and let your clients form their own opinions and you’ll always be seen as an expert in all things home-ownership.
If Zillow does manage to close its acquisition of Trulia, the combined entity will be spending millions to compete with you for consumer mind-share.
The two real estate websites share a common goal – using your listing and real estate articles to gather consumer leads and then selling those leads back to you.
If you don’t want to buy back your own leads, you have to beat Zillia at its own game.
Agents and brokers already have the tools to win the game. You likely have a sizable sphere of influence because you worked hard to build a customer network. You have clients’ contact information. And you know more about the local real estate market than Zillia’s entire editorial staff.
I know this is true because HomeActions thousands of clients have enrolled 1.4 million of their homeowners and prospects into our database. Every two weeks, we’re sending a relationship-building newsletter that builds a defensible pipeline full of past clients and prospects.
By sending out regular, relevant content, HomeActions clients are nurturing, growing and insulating their most valuable asset: Their database!
The acquisition should be a wake-up call for agents and brokers who aren’t leveraging the contact information they collect — other than storing it on their smart phones and in their email, social media and MLS accounts.
You have to defend your customers by moving that contact information into one spot and then nurturing those relationships. We know a lot of folks have trouble with this task. Many of our clients have us do this for them instead of doing it themselves (although a cynic would argue that they let us do it because we don’t charge for that service).
While we help with this process, you never relinquish control over your contacts and we promise never to contact them or sell to them. If you have a company help you manage your contacts and marketing communications, be sure you’re not turning over control of your contacts in the process.
Real estate is a relationship business. It always has been and we don’t think that axiom is going anywhere. The brokers and agents we work with agree that 95 percent of everyone they know will not be on their websites this year. Why? So few are engaged in a real estate transaction.
Homeownership, yes. Buying or selling a home, not so much or so often.
Zillia’s potential as an aggregator of consumer allegiance can chip away at your “relationship” capital only if you fail to stay in touch.
Delivering a steady stream of homeownership-related information portrays you as a trusted adviser, (and a live one at that) and regardless of where they see listings, your clients will think of you first when they’re ready to buy or sell a home.
A year-round steady flow of customers is the Holy Grail of real estate. Without it, you end up staggering from deal to deal praying you’re going to meet your monthly goals.
Is your business where you want it to be?
These are nine reasons why prospecting may not be working for you:
1. You think prospecting is something you’re supposed to do when you don’t have listings to sell or buyers to show homes to.
Prospecting isn’t something that takes time away from listing and selling, it’s what you have to do to get listings and showings. Skimp on marketing and you won’t have a pipeline of deals to work on next month.
Marketing should go out consistently and automatically.
2. Failure to properly identify prospects.
10 percent of your contacts are actively selling or buying. 90 percent are still prospects because they may know someone who’s looking to buy or sell.
Stay in front of your former clients. Make it easy for them to find you when they’re ready to do another real estate transaction.
3. Boring them with advice about buying and selling homes.
Unless your marketing is going directly to potential first-time home-buyers, stay away from sharing home buying advice. The 90 percent of your client base that isn’t actively involved in a transaction doesn’t need home selling and home buying tips.
Compelling content speaks to homeowners.
4. Not prospecting enough.
How much contact is too much? We know from our customer-focus research on email marketing that once a month is not enough and once a week is too much.
Once every two weeks is enough to keep you top-of-mind without being annoying.
5. Marketing via snail mail.
The Internet, not the mailbox, is the starting point for today’s home shoppers. Using snail-mail makes you look old-school.
Reach prospects where they are with online communication via newsletters, emails, web links and webinars.
6. Networking only in the virtual world and not in the real world.
It’s important to take every opportunity to network in person.
Go to Chamber of Commerce breakfasts, do a booth at local fairs and festivals and teach an adult education class for first-time home-buyers or investors.
7. Keeping your business cards in your pocket or your desk drawer.
If you’re not giving away 100 business cards a week, you’re not working hard enough on prospecting. When you give people your card, they often give you theirs and it’s going to have an email address on it. When you exchange cards, mention that you have a newsletter about home ownership that you’ll send them.
8. Thinking a lead service or a free email marketing newsletter will do it all for you.
A lead service or a free email marketing newsletter won’t do all your prospecting for you. Any number of services sell lead information about expired listings, people who’ve inquired about foreclosures or online home shoppers.
Those lists can be out of date, of questionable quality, and in the case of email newsletters from places like Lowe’s, available to every agent in America.
To differentiate yourself, you need exclusive marketing lists and quality newsletter content.
9. Taking shortcuts to build your contact database.
The best email contacts are the ones you gather yourself one potential client at a time.
Building year-round deal flow doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take consistent effort. To fill your deal pipeline:
Build a database filled with people who know you.
Form partnerships with companies who can help you share exclusive content that highlights your real estate expertise.
Get out in the community to raise your visibility.
Lee Sowers, Sales and Marketing SVP of HomeActions, helps Realtors® enhance their prospecting and build relationships to increase sales. Sowers knows what it takes to successfully market to commercial and residential real estate customers.
In real estate, you can’t avoid unhappy or dissatisfied customers. Buyers with wish lists twice the size of their budget and sellers who demand you find a buyer willing to pay more than fair market value create stress for even the best agents.
Here are nine ways to stay upbeat in the face of negativity:
1. Always visualize a large $ stamped on your unhappy customer’s forehead.
Your customers pay your bills and feed your family. An unhappy customer may cost you this job and lose you a future referral. A happy customer creates a happy pay day for you.
2. Skip the news before work and listen to music or motivational talks on your way to work.
How you spend the first part of your day influences how the rest of your day unfolds. Don’t watch negative newscasts before work. Listening to music that pumps you up or motivational talks prepares you to tackle problem people or situations.
3. Find something to like about every customer.
Maybe your client has great eyebrows or good taste in ties. During unpleasant encounters, keep your focus on the 5% you like about them and your focus off the 95% you dislike.
4. Use Daily Affirmations to support yourself such as:
“I’m doing the best I can!” “I am a winner!” “I trust myself!” “I can handle any problem!” “I deserve this job!”
Affirmations keep your mind focused on a future positive outcome rather than the negative situation at hand.
5. Always reward yourself for a job well done.
When you successfully make it through a difficult day, show yourself some appreciation: Spend more time with family, get a massage or go out for a nice dinner.
6. Keep a Glory File of thank you letters and compliments. Review it often to remind yourself how fabulous you are.
When you have to deal with a tough customer, balance your self-esteem with a trip through your Glory File. Reminding yourself of your past successes and how much customers love you can motivate you to keep going.
7. Avoid gossiping about negative customers.
Retelling the tale of your terrible encounter intensifies your anger and negativity. Instead, do your best let go of the negativity as soon as the customer leaves your space. Until you can let go, the customer owns and controls your thoughts.
8. Avoid complainers, criticizers and whiners in your office.
I hope there’s still someone left in your office to talk to when you avoid all the complainers, criticizers and whiners. Their negativity can cause your productivity to falter.
9. Make a list of reasons you must appreciate your customers and thank them.
“I appreciate you giving me the privilege of serving you.” “I feel lucky, honored and blessed to have a job I love.” “Thank you for choosing me to do your business with.”
Most of all, never for one minute believe that your broker pays you. Your broker only supplies the check. Your customers fill in the blanks. Be grateful to them.