People Don’t Buy Products – They Buy Ideas

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People don’t buy products. Sure, they go into the store, talk to someone who works there, choose the colour/model, and they make a purchase; however, there is more to it than that. People buy ideas, and a community. There are a few excellent examples of this. The most obvious is Apple. The product itself – generally – tends to take a backseat to the overall vision of the company, and the feeling that owning a piece of that vision gives you. Fitbit is similar, in that owning one makes you part of a community focused on like-minded lifestyle and fitness aspirations.

It seems like a given that all products would be marketed this way – except that it isn’t. It’s not something that is practiced across the board. Understandably, it isn’t easy to create a brand that “transcends” the products they sell. Few consumers purchase a Dell computer because they want to be part of a larger movement they represent.

So how does this concept translate to the real estate world? Well, purchasing a home is more than just buying a physical structure. It’s about buying a place to raise your family. A place to make new friends, experience monumental life events and live your day-to-day life. Elements such as granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and hardwood floors are great things to offer, but they should always take a backseat to the macro concept of what homebuyers are really buying.

As marketers, we’re responsible for helping to sell dreams. We’re selling the promise of a better life – something that we all want for ourselves, and our families. When it comes to real estate, we’re directly responsible for helping to connect the people with builders, by focusing on the things that – at the end of the day – matter the most. That’s something to be proud of.

Metrics: Understanding The Habits Of Your Consumers

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There aren’t many things that you would generally do without any research or insight. Can you imagine buying a car, building an addition to your home or doing an archaeological dig without doing ample planning and/or necessary surveying? Well, when it comes to marketing online, the mindset should be absolutely no different. How can you accurately strategize or make decisions around your online marketing – whether it be your website or social campaign – without understanding your audience and how they interact with your brand/product? For this reason, metrics are essential to not only gather, but also analyze.

Sounds like common sense, right? Not quite. In fact, a report by Grovo suggests that 90% of all (annual) digital advertising dollars across the board are spent without knowing whether or not they were effective. That sounds like a red flag if I’ve ever heard one!

Metrics, if planned into your overall strategy, can do a few things: tell you where, when and how your audience is interacting with your site/brand, and highlight where you’re losing them. It’s important to understand the habits, hotspots, pitfalls and potential dead zones. It will help to further shape, modify and optimize your messaging and content to better satisfy your audience, their needs and their concerns. This is true of not only your website, but your social networks. Listening to feedback, measuring engagement with your content, and understanding demographics and consumption patterns will help you to properly use the networks for optimal results.

What is the result of data analysis? More engagement, more leads and fewer complaints/questions. To top it off, you’re guaranteed to save advertising dollars. Being able to understand your audience and their lifestyles will help you to deliver more relevant marketing, which will inevitably give better bottom line results – it’s a no brainer. This type of information is readily available, and gathering it in-house, or by 3rd party, should be a priority when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of your digital efforts.

Marketing Automation Comes To BAM

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Back in the beginning of August I told you all about the next big thing for our team – marketing automation. To BAM, marketing automation was all about providing registrants and website visitors personalized content based on online behaviours – what they click online, in eblasts, etc. At the time, if you recall, I mentioned how excited we were about the benefits that this type of relationship building creates for our clients.

Well, as of this week, I’m especially happy to report that we’ve deployed our first set of emails – and if you’re registered with Queensville, one might already be in your inbox. Six versions of our first personalized community eblast were created and deployed to registrants based on survey questions they answered during the registration process. We’ll now be able to gather extensive after-the-click tracking on each email so that we can further craft personalized messaging that will speak to the individual interests of the recipients. This is no different than the customized content that sites like Amazon or eBay generate for their customers.

Our newest team member, Zoë Ong, is quarterbacking this new initiative. Zoë, who previously worked at itracMEDIA, a marketing automation firm, is currently in her second week here at BAM. She has a strong background in the field and, when asked, had this to share on the topic:

“Marketing automation helps you target the right people more effectively. It only makes sense to use a user’s interests and browsing habits to deliver meaningful content they want to see.”

BAM is thrilled to have Zoë on the team, and I’m confident that she will help us take our digital thrust to the next level because the stats speak for themselves – 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation software. In the end, the real value added is the relationships this type of marketing creates between our clients and potential homebuyers – and we’re excited to be a part of it.

The Medium is the Message: Why Marketing Automation is Taking Over

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Gone are the days where marketing plans are made without the consideration of quantity in addition to quality. What am I talking about here? Marketing automation – its kind of a big deal. Lately, it’s getting harder and harder not to notice it. In fact, the marketing automation industry is expected to grow 50% by 2015.

What is Marketing Automation?

 Marketing automation is all about providing your customers with a personalized experience. When a customer returns to your website for the second, third or fourth time, they will be given an experience created specifically for them according to their needs and interests. Sounds great, right? But, what does this accomplish for the marketer? First and foremost, marketing automation reduces some of the repetitiveness we see with the marketing process. It does this through what is called customer segmentation. Automation software will use information such as age, gender or education to classify customers browsing your website. At this point, you’re able to create a target population and measure how effective your content is – this means you can your allocate resources to the right people!

 What Makes Marketing Automation Great?

Currently, this is our biggest initiative at BAM. We are constantly looking for ways to grow in the digital world – and this is the next big thing for our team. In our industry, we want to provide our customers with the right kind of information at the right time. Which means we have to make sure the content is highly personalized to each buyer. The goal is to learn about them – their age, demographic, number of kids and so on. Are they a family of five? Then we will show them exclusively homes that suit those needs. It’s all about nurturing our customers to improve their online experience, which in turn creates more leads.

Team BAM is also thrilled at the opportunity that marketing automation provides to set measurable objectives for each of our campaigns. We can also deliver segmented emails and track how customers react to them – which means we can further personalize future web content and emails for them. As we seek to deliver the right content at the right time, we will be able to determine what’s working and what isn’t. And really, what’s more valuable than that? Another bonus is the inclusion of social media – this means additional platforms for us to engage and interact with our customers and prospective customers.

As we shift from sending out mass, random content to understanding and personalizing each customer’s experience, we close in on a marketing strategy that makes sense. Marketing automation guides the conversation, timing and personalization that we need to make this important shift. What’s your opinion on it? Tweet me, I’d love to hear it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of A/B Testing

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Testing, testing, 1,2,3. The concept of A/B testing isn’t much more complicated than that! Using A/B testing is the practice of randomly splitting your registrants or users into groups, and offering each group a different version of content. For example, if you are trying to test the effectiveness of a subject line, newsletter, different version of a website or an ad, you would present each group with a different experience. After the test, you’ll be able to measure which option is driving the most desirable behaviour. Sounds great, doesn’t it? We agree – and that’s why we do it!

At BAM, we strive to give each of our clients the best the digital world has to offer – and this includes A/B testing. We feel the key to success here is having a rigorously controlled process that generates reliable and accurate results. For instance, we know the importance of controlling our variables. We know that offering a user one option this week and a different option next week is not going to provide accurate results. User behaviour changes week over week – and we pay attention to these kinds of details!

Our A/B testing practices ensure speed, accuracy and effectiveness. We use A/B testing in our email marketing to determine the preference of a small percentage of our list before blasting the winning content to the remainder of the list.

Currently, team BAM is experimenting with different colour schemes, different calls to action, different landing pages and different page structures. “The ultimate goal is to see which combinations of these elements on a page drives the most conversions”, says our Digital Advertising Manager. We are always looking for “the next big thing” for our clients. Stay tuned next week as we discuss how Marketing automation is the new digital frontier – and how we’re rocking it at BAM.

 

 

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