Monday, July 30, 2007

Differentiate Your Closing Gift

Instead of giving your clients the same old “just moved” or “our new home” change of address cards, why not create a photo-collage (photomoasic) of their new home made up of pictures of the new residents, the various rooms of their home, as well as your picture, logo, and offices? The photomosaic can be embedded into your standard change of address post card, or if you are feeling unique, you can have a copy of it framed as a personalized closing gift for your clients. Personally, I would recommend you do both.

So how do you create a photomosaic closing gift? Actually, it is really easy. Purchase of download a dedicated photomosaic software. (Here is a list of them) and when you are ready, take a picture of the property in question (preferably with the new residents posing in front) and a number of other “family” pictures of the house and the new residents in it. Apply all of these photos to the software and send the output to a professional printer for conversion into postcards and farmable art.

As a follow-on, email your client a copy of the graphic with a thank you note. They will likely send it to their friends and family. Separately, ask if you can do it for them and get a list of email and mailing addresses. This is a great tool for referral marketing.

TAGS: photomosaic, photo collage, closing gift, referral tool, referral marketing, list of photomosaic software, just moved postcards, change of address cards, framed closing gift, unique closing gift

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A Little Fun with Photomosaics

Here's a fun little site where you can take your picture, apply a number of flickr photos to it and turn it into a photomosaic.

TAGS: Flickr, mozaiq

Viral Marketing and Making Use of Recent Media

I’m still gathering data for the Viral Book Project, but as I continue to surf, I come across more and more great sites that catalog different viral marketing techniques. One of the most recent is a site called the Adverblog which reviews a number of cool commercial viral campaigns.

So as I was perusing through the list of interesting viral marketing campaigns that the bigger corporations are launching; (check out the BMW promotion) it occurred to me that you can garner a lot of traffic by attaching your message to these other promotions. Now I’m not advocating literally attaching your URL to any of the forwards that you receive; although that in itself is an interesting idea. I am however advocating spoofing current media, and actively participating in online conversations about a campaign at the root of the campaign by leaving comments on the blogs that are sponsored by the company.

Here’s my idea for the day….
Aleve has just launched a viral marketing campaign using a number of Web 2.0 tools. Leave comments on each of the tools about the campaign. Do the same thing for the recent Viragra and Transformer campaigns.

Choose a hot local topic for the week, (for my area, the Orange County courts are having all of their traffic tickets processed in a small office in Mexico and there is no end to the discussion about identity theft and security risks to blog about.) Blog about the topic, post reader polls and create a widget or badge to express your opinion that like-mined visitors can also display. Also, express your opinion in the comments sections of the local online newspapers.

TAGS: viral, orange county mexico, widget, badge, viral idea, local newspapers, transformers, bmw campaign, Adverblog, viral opinion, online campaign

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Friday, July 27, 2007

A Little Friday Afternoon Fun

It’s Friday and I have reading about viral promotion all week. I’m a little burned out and it is time for a distraction. Therefore, it is time for a Friday afternoon meme with a twist; it’s all about your peers and online activity. Instead of tagging bloggers, the tags are part of the meme. The rules are simply that if you get tagged by the meme, complete the questions with one word answers on your own blog. For an added level of interest, hyperlink each of your answers.

The questions are:

What blog do you read most? Bloodhound

What’s your best source of online news?

Which blogger do you ping most often?

Which blogger would you like to be?

Which blog do you look to for inspiration?

What’s your favorite online network?

What’s your favorite widget?

What’s your middle name?

Who do you “see” online most often?
Brian Brady

Who do your friends talk about?

Where do you post your tags most often?

Your favorite blog software?

The blog software that you started with?

What is your first daily read?

What Web 2.0 tool are you least impressed with?

When do you blog?

What’s your industry?

Last book you read:

What do you do when you are not blogging?

Looking for a Few Good Viral Marketing Ideas

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Collection of Viral Articles

Still working on finding applicable ideas for great viral marketing campaigns. In this search, I did come across a great list of viral articles and ideas at Wilson Web. The article catalogs 105 viral marketing articles and data from some of the great online marketers. I’ll be doing some reading this evening to find some great suggestions.

On a completely unrelated note, you can now view the 150 top marketing blogs at Todd And’s blog. If you are looking to learn about online marketing, the top 150 is a good place to start. I’m going to overwhelm my feed reader.

Tags: Todd and, top 150, Advertising Age, viral campaign, Wilson web, vox

Five Components of Word of Mouth Marketing

The Five Steps in Word of Mouth Marketing

In my search to find some great new content for the Viral Book Project (keep submitting ideas to me, I need more contributing authors) I came across Andy Sernovitz book

Word of Mouth Marketing
which, just happens to be on the very topic that I am creating this e-book about. Anyway, there is a lot that you can learn about going viral from Andy’s book, but it amazed me that his Five Steps for a Word of Mouth program was reprinted in the blog space everywhere. I’m not usually a lemming, but some content deserves to be repeated. Here are the steps; taken from an article by Andy on Marketing Profs:

1. Talkers: People who are more likely to relay your word of mouth message

2. Topics: Portable concepts for people to talk about, simple ideas that are word-of-mouth friendly

3. Tools: Techniques and technology that make it easier for word of mouth conversations to take place

4. Taking part: Participating in the word of mouth conversation and engaging in a genuine two-way dialog

5. Tracking: Measuring the online conversation

TAGS: WOM, Andy Sernovitz, five steps word of mouth, mouth of word, topics, tools, taking part, tracking, talkers, evangelists, e-book, viral book, project

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Few Viral Marketing Ideas

This is just a short list of different ideas to create a viral buzz. Let me know if you have others that I could include in the Viral Book Project.

Ideas for YouTube Videos

  • Drunk Lindsey Lohan trying to find a REALTOR to purchase the rehab facility
  • Create a video that shows listing clients receiving their checks over and over. Nothing is more enviable than watching people receive checks for $400,000.
  • A video collection of exploding buildings is always fun.

Flickr Viral Photo Ideas

  • Pictures that have hidden messages for viewers to locate: Find the word (fill in the blank) in nature… Does that cloud say REALTOR?
  • Submit your picture with my name written on your body part. The submitter with the most pictures wins an I-Phone.
  • How about a collection of cars falling off of cliffs?
  • I was forwarded a collage of poorly placed billboards recently that I had to forward to friends; the leader was a Big Mack advertisement right under a stop childhood obesity sign.

If you have ideas on different viral tools or campaigns, please let me known.

TAGS: viral ideas, viral marketing, viral campaign, youtube viral, flickr viral, Lindsey Lohan, I-phone giveaway, viral book, viral blogging

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Viral Book Project

So here’s the deal. Every time I search for great ideas on different viral marketing campaigns, I come up with the same old, create a video, comment on blogs, and create your own posts. Well, there has to be more out there and I am going to find it. Therefore, I am pleased to announce the viral book project.

Essentially, my goal is to get input from the best bloggers on the net on the best and hopefully easiest viral campaigns for you to create yourself. I plan to work with these great Web 2.0 thinkers to create an e-book that anybody can download as a source guide to crease effective viral marketing campaigns that drive traffic and increase notoriety.

Here’s what I am asking of you. If you have an idea, write it in your own blog and let me know where to find it by commenting on this blog I will link to the article on this blog and capture the article in the e-book. I may summarize parts of it on this blog as well. After I get fifty or more of the best viral marketing ideas and articles, I will aggregate them into an e-book which will contain the original articles, links back to the original authors and credit to that author.

After the ebook is complete, I will distribute a copy to all of the contributing authors so that they may distribute the book however they see fit.

The way I see it, there are a lot of general viral marketing ideas out there, but not much that is specific enough to be effective. Let’s create a tool that teaches the most effective techniques that will in itself be viral.

Submit comments to this blog linking back to your viral suggestions and I’ll do the rest.

TAGS: viral, marketing, web 2.0, viral blog project, e-book, marketing ebook, bloglog, blogger, viral project, wom, word of mouth

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Ten Ways to Piss Off You Readers, Kill Your Blog, and Get Banned From the Internet!

Everywhere I look there is blogging advice on how to increase your traffic, pagerank, and readership on the net. There’s syndication, RSS feeds, and any type of social topic you would ever need. However, nobody tells you how to stop the traffic, alienate your fan base; so I thought I should try.

1. Active in blogging? Why not put as many popups on your page as humanly possible? Make it as difficult as possible for a reader to navigate away from your page and ensure that he will never come back! If you are not comfortable with popups, AdSense ads after every post and every type of widget that you can find will do the trick.

2. Too many comments? Turn them off, don’t respond when they are posted, and return fire with fire. People like to feel engaged when they read your content. Don’t let ‘em!

3. Got an RSS feed? Get rid of it, or better yet, find a blog that you absolutely hate and offer it as the feed through your site. It all looks like XML code until you plug it into a reader anyway. Your readers won’t know what hit them.

4. You have a bookmarking widget; Digg,, News Vine, Reddit? Aren’t there equivalent bookmarking tools for adult sites? Couldn’t you use the same graphic and just replace the hyperlink? Hmmm, if you want to get some hate mail, this may be the way to do it. When responding to the hate mail, please refer to item 2 above.

5. Member of MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, Xanga, LinkedIn, MyBloglog and other networks that syndicate your content? This one’s easy, don’t complete your profile, syndicate content that is not yours, be un-genuine, and do not respond to comments. We keep going back to step 2 for some reason.

6. Overload your readers with useless bookmarks. Stop writing content and go hog wild with your Sumble Upon and bookmarking Wordpress widgets. Nobody likes going to a blog that has nothing other than a collection of non-related bookmarks. No content, just bookmarks; nothing slows down traffic like a great link farm.

7. DUMP THE TAGS!!!! Nobody will read your blog if nobody can find it. If you have a search term that inadvertently shows up under a Google search, repeat it in the text as many times as possible. A black-hat trick or two will also work to get you banned from Google.

8. All text and no pictures makes for a very boring and unpleasant blog. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and people love to look at and share video. Why do you think YouTube sold for a billion dollars? If you don’t want traffic, do not use flickr, youtube, or other multi-media sharing service.

9. Whatever you do, do not reference blog posts that you had writer earlier. This would entice readers to go further into your blog and spend more time there. Why would you want that?

10. This one I had to think long and hard about. How do you get blacklisted from as many sites as possible, kicked off search engines and banned from the internet? One word….SPAM!!!

TAGS: spam, banned, rss, ugly, kicked off, no readers, bad blog, bookmark widgets, digg, anti-comments, popups, tricks, reference, readers, ugly blog, mybloglog, wordpress, blogger, stumble upon

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Marketing Idea: Viral Scavenger Hunt

A small and controversial buzz has been growing in the blogspace about Bayer’s new online promotion to expand the Aleve brand online. The new site, is an online scavenger hunt to track down the fictional Dr. Albert Brigg and Eve Bloom who are actively fighting PAIN and have disappeared in No Name USA. The marketing campaign utilizes a number of online social networking sites, blogspot, ning, WetPaint and videos (I haven’t found them on YouTube, but the night is still young.)

Now there is controversy because the campaign is very contrived, but it is entertaining. My take on it however, is why not utilize their idea and create your own viral campaign? Anybody up for a viral scavenger hunt? Get a group of bloggers together, have them create profiles and posts across as many online social tools as possible, and have a wikki scavenger hunt. The first person to locate each profile, post a specific message to it, and document that you did it on your blog (hyperlinks, videos, pictures, etc.) wins!!!!

TAGS: viral scavenger hunt, wikki, aleviator, albert brigg, eve bloom, ning, wetpaint, video viral, wins

Periodic table of viral elements.

This is a creative approach to identify the current leaders in Web 2.0 The actual page has hyperlinks to each page on the"periodic table.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Viral Marketing Ideas and the Bloggers that Shared Them

I have been searching the blog-sphere for great ideas to become more viral and I have to tell you that good ideas are actually pretty scarce. However, I found a great definition, the elements of, and seven ways to create a viral response.

By George Torok:

Viral marketing is apply named because, when done right, it spreads like a virus. The term viral marketing might be too graphic for some because it brings to mind the viral spread of disease such as the bubonic plague, typhoid, and AIDS.None of those viral diseases are nice things. But a virus in your marketing is powerful and can be hugely profitable.Viral marketing is about spreading your message through networks. Some networks are more efficient than others. Meetings, family gatherings, community groups, religion, phone calls, peer pressure, media, email and blogs. Viral marketing is by persistence, passion and purpose.The growth of almost every religion was the result of viral marketing. Every social change is the result of viral marketing.
By Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others, and few work as well as the simple strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy:
  • Gives away products of services

  • Provides for effortless transfer to others

  • Scales easily from small to very large

  • Exploits common motivations and behaviors

  • Utilizes existing communication networks

  • Takes advantage of others' resources

By Dean Hunt

Trick 1: A Global Appeal

Trick 2: The Negativity Slant

Trick 3: The Killer Headline

VIRAL GOLD HEADLINE: “10 Step Guide to Thinking Like a Loser”

Trick 4: 10 Steps to Viral Heaven
Anything in list format is a surefire winner with the Digg and blogger crowds.

Trick 5: Stand out from the crowd
If you are struggling to think of ways to be creative with your
content, then grab a pen and paper and just start writing as many wacky ideas as
possible. Be creative, controversial, edgy, wacky, unique… try it all.

Trick 6: Curiosity Killed The Cat
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but with buzz
marketing it is a killer technique.

Trick 7: Image Is Everything
This is one of the easiest tricks. All you have to do is simply add an interesting
photo/image to your story. It is that simple!

TAGS: Dean Hunt, Front Page of Digg, Viral Marketing, Viral Buzz, Viral Techniques, definition of viral marketing, Dr. Wilson, George Torok, viral ideas

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Blogs I Look to For Inspiration

In this industry, news, opinions and research changes frequently and it is tough to stay on top of the newest methods to attract clients and customers. Thankfully, there are a number of peer leaders in the real estate blog space that consolidate the wealth of data that streams through the real estate industry. Here are a few of those blogs that I look to for guidance and answers:

Jim Cronin as the Real Estate Tomato:
If you are looking for updates and some great ways to promote yourself online, Jim and the crew that he runs with (Sellsius, Bloodhound, and Zillow can’t be beat.)

Sellsuis and Bloodhound Blog
You can pretty much stay up to date on what’s happening in the real estate
world just by reading the Tomato, Sellsius and Bloodhound.

Zillow Blog:
Obviously the blog is slanted to provide updates on the Zillow platform, but it is also a great source of real estate news and opinion.

Ardell, Dustin and the Rainy City Guide
Let’s face it, the real estate technology revolution started in Seattle. I was told that this was due to the presence of Microsoft millionaires. Regardless, Dustin, Ardell and her associates are in the thick of the technology revolution and provide great insight into how to fully leverage web 2.0 technology for real estate.

Brian Brady
This guy is prolific. If you are looking for market insight and updates in Southern California (that’s right, I live in So. Cal.) then Brian is your man.

RSS Pieces
Despite some recent criticism from a controversial marketing program, Mary, Jessica and the Fairy Blog Mother provide continual wisdom on how to attract traffic and promote your blog.

New technology is realeased every day to help get us closer to our friends, colleagues, clients and sales leads. Mashable catalogs and details every last one of them and is a great resource for the newest online network, instant messaging tool, or gizmo to connect you with your clients.

TAGS: real estate blogs, real estate market data, real estate marketing, mashable, real estate tomato, sellsius, zillow, jim cronin, brian brady, rss pieces, bloodhound blog, activerain

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Surveys, the Underutilized Marketing Tool

In the world of leads for REALTORS, farming letters, and the ever-popular real estate flyer, many agents overlook the great benefit of a simple user-response survey as a great marketing tool. A simple survey has a number of benefits as is the only marketing tool that has the potential to provide you with direct feedback about you and the real estate products that you represent.

If you do not currently use surveys as part of your marketing system, consider that former and existing clients are going to be the best source of data on how to improve your service offering and the value of your brand. In addition, using a survey to prospect new clients is a great way to tailor your current offering to suite the needs of your market. Finally, regardless of who you touch with your survey, it is a non-intrusive way to remind your prospects about the services that you offer.

TAGS: survey, marketing tool, survey monkey, sales scout, drip marketing

Friday, July 06, 2007

Servicing Your Long Tail For Better Blog Searches

Our friend Jim Cronin over at the Real Estate Tomato has re-published a great list from Teresa Boardman that provides 101 ideas on what to blog about in the real estate blogsphere. I have included part of the list below, but I did want to add that whatever topic you choose, you should use targeted keywords as part of your text.

For most of us, blogging is a great past time, but also a way to appear in high ranks in search engines as part of an overall promotion strategy. In addition, by blogging about topics and including search phrases that are more targeted to your niche (your long tail) you can increase your search ranking in the odd phrases that would not otherwise be obvious.

A great tool to help in this strategy is which shows you the key phrases that are sending traffic to your site so that you can leverage these terms in future posts to get an even better ranking. My personal strategy in using this tool is to cast as wide a net as possible to service all aspects of the real estate industry. In that vein, I write about leads, expired listings, topics covering real estate heavy states such as Florida, California, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Utah (because I am from Salt Lake,) Washington, and any many other areas. In addition, my strategy is to cover topics that serve REALTORS, brokers and investors. Anyway, back to the point, service your long tail and make it wide.

Here is part of the list re-printed from Jim’s post.

Read the blogs and look for ideas to build on or spin a new idea from..
a picture write a post.
Home maintenance
Take a walk
Senior housing
Pet friendly housing
Staging ideas
local events
Your hobby
A closing
A lender who did a great job
Things that go wrong with
real estate sales
Home owners insurance
Gardening and landscaping
Your city council
A new development
Decorating ideas
Real estate industry news - with your own unique commentary
Interest Rates
Credit scores
Consumer hoaxes and scams
First time home buyer programs
Working with seniors

TAGS: Real Estate Tomato, Jim Cronin, Long Tail, Blog Topics, expired listings in Florida, Texas, blog brokers, blog strategy, blog marketing, keyword blogging, keyworks

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Expired Listings in California

I have been working with expired listings in California for some time as part of my own training and my relationship with RedX expired listing lead service, and it is becoming quite apparent that as the market has softened, clients are looking for and expecting much more from the REALTORS that they employ as agents. In my area of San Diego, California, listings are expiring at a rapid rate as houses spend much more time on the market. These expired listings in San Diego as well as the rest of California are presenting a great opportunity for enterprising REALTORS who have the skills necessary to close these listings and sell their properties.

Currently, I am seeing a lot of agents that are trying to use direct mail and introduction letters to prospect expired listings. My feeling toward this approach is that the prospects that are receiving the message are already disillusioned with real estate agents. Therefore, you need to be very careful about your value proposition and speak to the needs and expectations of your prospect in any form of communication. If you choose to use a letter of introduction to prospect expireds in any market, I would recommend that you use an approach that does not dismiss or diminish their current agent, but solicits them to think about, or learn new information that could help them overcome the difficulties that they may currently be experiencing. For this group, webcasts, podcasts, mailed reports, and learning programs work well to place you ahead of your competition. If you are up for the risk, a sell-by guarantee does wonders as well.

Personally, I would bypass the canned introduction letters for expired mls listings and make a personal introduction instead.

TAGS: expired listings, expireds, expired listings California, mls listings, letters of introduction expired listings, solicit, direct mail

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sales and Marketing Lessons from Jack Daly

I attended a seminar put on by sales coach Jack Daly today, and I must tell you that it was a great experience. Jack frames his techniques for his sales trainees as tools to help differentiate yourself from the competition. However, if you look at his system, it is direct marketing at its finest.

He described a number of techniques that I found very interesting and potentially very useful in helping REALTORS differentiate from the competition. The first technique was simply to change and update your voicemail with something interesting every day. I have a number of colleagues do this, and add news, market data, or simply the weather in their voicemail. The consistency with which they change their message has paid off for a couple of them with increased client referrals.

The other technique that I found specifically beneficial to real estate professionals was his technique of immediate follow up after a sales presentation. As soon as his meeting with a prospect is completed, he goes to his car and drafts an action item email on his blackberry. The email, which he sends to the prospect that he just met with, includes specific data on the agreed next steps that both he and his prospect are to take in preparation for the next meeting. In his email, he also includes dates by which each of the action items will be completed.

As an additional step, he immediately (while still in his care) drafts a hand-written thank you letter, puts it in an envelope with a stamp that has his picture on it (see and writes “Personal” next to the hand-written address. He drops the letter into the mail slot as he leaves the premises.

As I said before, spending the morning learning from Mr. Daly was a great experience. If you have the chance to get a copy of his books, or the privilege of seeing him in person, I highly recommend it.

TAGS: Jack Daly, Daily, Sales Speakers, Marketing Speakers, REALTOR Differentiate From Competition, immediate follow up, books on selling, closing tools