analyze your data and your market research to determine exactly how well any given marketing strategy is performing for you. The key is understanding that for every single conversion, there were probably a dozen different factors that affected a customer’s decision to act. Let’s take a look at the car-buying process as an example. Say you see a car commercial on television and then go to the internet to learn more about the car. You decide to go to the dealership and take it for a test drive. Next, you go back online, Google car sales venues, and eventually purchase the car from a local dealer using their online process. Google, specifically, will get the credit for that successful sales cycle. In reality, however, there were a lot more moving parts. Without the television ad, you might not have researched that car at all. Without the initial internet search, you might not have ended up at the dealer. Without the dealer, you probably wouldn’t have decided to buy that car. Only then do we arrive at Google, the final search, and the purchase. LESSON LEARNED: In marketing, a balanced approach works best. Don’t rely on a single source of exposure to keep your business alive. Balance budget, past results, current goals, and target market demographics to optimize your chances of success. MISTAKE #7 OVERPROMISING There is nothing worse than making statements in ads that are not true. Always make true comparisons, which is to say, “compare apples to apples” rather than “apples to oranges.” Also, do not use tricky language in an attempt to draw clients and customers in. Especially in the real estate industry, straight shooters are deeply appreciated because real estate investors understand, possibly better than anyone, just how valuable the cold, hard facts (and a person who will tell them to you straight) really are.

For example, always be up front about risk in your advertising. I find that some investors never want to admit in their advertising that there might be some risk associated with their deals. They want to “guarantee” returns. In some cases, this will land you in jail. More importantly, even if your wording is such that you are within legal boundaries when predicting returns, if you appear to be promising clients returns and then don’t deliver, your reputation is going to suffer. Be honest. Explain where your numbers are coming from. We are fortunate to work in an industry that understands risk, reward, and investment returns better than just about any other. Your target market will reward you for telling them the truth and then overdelivering. LESSON LEARNED: If you have to spend 10 minutes explaining one sentence in your ad, you might have made it too complicated. Cut to the chase, especially in real estate! In the end, nothing is fool proof. You will, from time to time, make a mistake in your marketing. You can reduce the chances of this happening by working with marketing and advertising professionals who follow the same rules you do. Also, avoid these seven mistakes! Be alert to the way you and your marketing team are discussing advertisements. Are you talking about “home runs” and “overnight hits?” If so, you may be getting distracted from the long game, which relies on current data, market trends, industry shifts, and, at the end of the day, sterling customer service. That long game will keep you in business for a long time and you’ll get the most out of your ad budget every time as well. •

first impression most people will have of you after they encounter your marketing. Make sure it says something good. MISTAKE #5 CHASING COMPETITORS INSTEAD OF CLIENTS Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) rule your marketing strategy. Many successful advertisers find it pays off to watch what is working for their competitors and, to a degree, emulate it. However, blindly copying another company in your space without incorporating some solid strategy into that process can be deadly for you both. HERE’SWHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN FOMO RULES YOUR ADVERTISING STRATEGY: Several years ago, one of my clients made a big move and tried placing some ads in several major media outlets. Their sales went through the roof. Pretty soon, one of their competitors started advertising in all the same publications and on the same radio stations - not unusual or inappropriate. However, the way the two of them interacted left them both in a bad position. The competitor pretty much lifted my client’s ad copy word for word, so they were saying the exact same thing in the exact same way. My client did not want to change his wording because, as he said, “That was what worked and I never want to do anything else.” This meant that the only way they could distinguish themselves for clients was by cutting prices, and they both ended up in a price war that no one really won. LESSON LEARNED: It’s okay to imitate successful strategies, but be sure to be yourself or you’ll lose in the end. MISTAKE #6 PUTTING ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET I cannot say it enough: There is no “secret sauce” in advertising. There is nothing but numbers, and you must

Rodney Halford is the vice president of media sales at Think Realty. He has nearly two decades experience in mar- keting and advertising consulting. He

may be reached at

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