To advertise or not to advertise?

ap-supersonic-skydiver-4_3_r560Is that really the question?

This great pandodaily article by Kirk Cheyfitz about the best ads of 2012 that aren’t really ads, reminded me just how impressed I’ve always been with Red Bull’s marketing machine.

One of the defining “TV moments” for me this past year is when I watched the “Red Bull” guy (I should probably remember his name), crawl down the ladder of the space capsule and jump. That was a crazy moments when you have an incredible opportunity to prove yourself.

The takeaway?  Very few of us may have access to Red Bull’s marketing budget, but when we throw on our marketing hat, we should all be aspiring to think outside the box and make an incredible impact in 2013!

What’s Behind a Successful Interactive Video Event?

I’ve had a blast over the past year putting together the CredibilityLIVE events with our team at DandB team. We’ve been able to bring some great guests to our small business community including:

As I prepare for this Thursday’s event with Brian Tracy (How to Overcome Professional Obstacles and Grow your Business), I’ve been thinking (and documenting) the different pieces that go into creating a successful interactive video event…  and thought it might be interesting to share some marketing and production tips that go into making a successful event. .

 

Marketing/Promotion

Of course, getting people to show up for an event is not as easy as you might think, even for free events with great guests.  So what have we been doing that works? 

With each event, we always look for our strengths.  Does the guests bring a natural audience?   Is it something that would appeal to the DandB email database?  Is this something we can get people excited about through social outreach and/or social ads?   Is there anything unique we can bring to the marketing?

For example, for this upcoming event, Brain Tracy recorded an intro video.  Because he has a great studio at his offices, this was a no-brainer for his team to create and I think makes a great case for joining us:

This was a great “extra” piece of marketing we did for this last event and something I know we’ll do more of in the future!   Of course, developing the marketing/promotion plan is not all that hard… It’s all about executing to get people to show up and that’s something that should never be discounted!

Productions

The production behind these events isn’t trivial either… especially as our events have grown we’ve increased the quality of each event as we’ve progressed.   While early events were recorded over Skype, our last round have all been done in studios… most done with multiple cameras, teleprompters, green screens and often streamed on location!

The real trick with the production of a live-streaming event is to test, test and test some more. Test (and retest) the upload speed of the internet connection.  If you’re running multiple cameras, test that your “hub” can handle it during event settings.  If there’s natural lighting involved, make sure to test the lighting at the time when you’ll be streaming. If you’re in running a green screen, test what everyone is going to be wearing. During a live event, you can’t always know what’s going to go wrong, but at least you can minimize the chances of technical problems if you test, test and test some more!

While running a live video event isn’t trivial, it also isn’t nearly as complex as you might expect.  I’ve got some great software (Wirecast) that runs on my Macbook Pro and can create quality video shots (including shots from multiple cameras, screen grabs and more) and push them directly to our streaming service providers (some popular ones are LiveStream, uStream and Justin.tv).   Throw in a tool like Facebook’s Live Stream that lets people chat in real time while watching the video and you’ve got yourself a very compelling set up!

The best part of these events really is the interaction with prominent educators, thought leaders and business executives.   It’s always fun to see where the audience is going to take a conversation!

Hope that gives just a taste of some of the marketing and production work that goes into creating our events.   If you haven’t seen one of our live events, then definitely sign up to attend our next event with Brian Tracy.  He’s a great speaker and we’ll be running it out of his studios near San Diego, so there’s sure to be tons  of great value (and did I mention it’s free?)…

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Your Smart Phone

Just walked out of the first Fusion event put on by the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate crew… So much fun!

I had a great time on stage yesterday with Jeff Turner, Gahlord Dewald and Wendy Forsythe talking internet marketing, building online influence, tracking and measuring results and the real value of conversations.

Also got a chance to hear some very inspiring speakers… I had never heard Tom Ferry speak, so that was a real treat… And the final keynote speaker, Keith Ferrazzi, gave an incredible talk on steps to improving business relationships.   (Did I mentioned I also got to hang with so many cool people like Andy Kaufman and Herman of Hermanity! AND that my grandma came out to watch one of my presentations! Again, so much fun!)

My involvement was to give two presentations.  The first on Building Online Influence and the second on 10 Things You didn’t Know You Could do with Your Smartphone.  Both were a lot of fun to give and since I promised the audience I’d share linkes to each of the apps I mentioned in the latter presentation, I thought I’d share them in this post. Enjoy!

Evernote
1. Take voice notes while driving
2. Scan text out of photos
3. Find your parked car

Beluga
4. Use group chat to keep up with your team

CardMunch
5. Accurately scan business cards

Amazon Price Check
6. Comparison shop

Starbucks
7. Pay for coffee

Square
8. Get paid for coffee

BoxCar
9. Get push notification for important emails

MadMimi
10. Build your email list

And I’m always looking to deliver super-informative (and fun!) internet marketing presentations, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you hear of an interesting opportunity!

BuzzRE OC Wrap-up!

The BuzzRE  OC event was so awesome…   I met so many great people and the speakers came through with awesome presentations. Thanks again to everyone who took the time to join us!

Some of the highlights were:

  • Jon Lansner: Compared to any time in recent memore, there’s actually some good news to talk about in the real estate market
  • Stacey Harmon: Understanding which social networks to focus on based on your business practice
  • Dale Chumbley: Ways to bridge your real-life community activity with your Facebook community
  • Robert Luna: Importance of focusing on your home search consumers
  • Gahlord Dewald:  Always be testing!
  • Loren Nason: Get on dropbox.  It’s time!
  • Garron Selliken: from @YvonneArnoldCRS:   “@garrons “what is the moment that u set new appt?” Then look at it backwards, how did u get there. Work 2 get in position more often #BuzzRE

And it all couldn’t have happened without Linsey Planeta putting a ridiculous amount of time and passion into the day.  She rocks!

One of the things I most enjoyed about helping to organize BuzzRE was organizing the presentations…  I had every speaker email me their presentation in advance so I could fit them into one solid presentation that didn’t feel like it was jumping around too much.   I’m pretty darn proud of the final product and super-happy to share it with you via slideshare.

What a great day!  It really is awesome to see so many folks get excited about implementing advanced strategies and websites.   If you’re looking for inspiration, check out this page of advanced real estate websites.

And after such an awesome event, it’s now time to turn to organizing another awesome BuzzRE in Portland in early June. Want to get involved? Let us know!

If you have feedback about yesterday’s event, I know all of us would sure would love to hear it!

Is Facebook evil? I’ve been thinking ab…

Is Facebook evil?

I’ve been thinking about what Chris Messina is saying a bunch lately… and there’s more than a bit of truth to it… although it reminds of the bullet I bit when I started “going mac”. The debate about Facebook having too much control over the internet is nothing new… and only going to get stronger as more and more sites adopt their technology.

So, I guess the real question for someone doing interent marketing becomes are you going to try to go out on your own or use the tools facebook gives us even though there’s an “evil” element to it? Is it worth the extra effort?

Just Launched: Facebook Like Plugin for Every Post on Your WP Blog!

Super-sweet!

The HomeQuest Team just launched a WordPress plugin that adds Facebook’s new Like button to every one of your blog posts! SWEET!

You can download it (free!) here: http://u.pdat.es/ejprq

It’s really easy to use. I added it to both 4realz.net and Rain City Guide in under 5 minutes…

Here’s what it looks like on RCG after a few folks have hit the like button on an article:

Here’s what I did to add it to both sites:

  • Download the plugin to a memorable place on your hard drive (desktop?)
  • Navigate to the “plugins” section within your WordPress backend
  • Click on “Add New”
  • Click on “Upload”
  • Click “choose file”  and select the zip file of the plugin
  • Click “Install now”
  • Click “Activate”

That’s all!  Now Facebook’s Like button will be displayed at the bottom of every blog post.

Test it out here:

I read a quote yesterday from Facebook’…

I read a quote yesterday from Facebook’s COO that’s stuck with me because it’s so darn relevant to real estate marketing, but totally unintentionally.

According to the story, Sheryl Sandberg (FB’s COO) drew a funnel and described how Google does a great job delivering customers at the “point of sale” but that point-of-sale ad spend represents only 10% of total ad spend. The idea being Facebook sees the big win being helping business the ability to target people before they’ve actually made a decision to buy or sell. It’s much more of a relationship and branding play.

To make the connection to real estate, I gotta take us back to the same Agent Business Cycle diagram I’m been harping on lately… and comparing the business that is generated by agents from their sphere to the business generated by reaching consumers directly.

Google does a ridiculously great job generating business at the point of sale and that’s where money is being spent today just as most online real estate marketing money targets reaching ad spends that reach consumers directly. However, in real estate, the majority of business is *not* generated by reaching consumers directly. It never has been and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon. The majority of business is generated by agents who know how to work their sphere… and for that business case (i.e. the case for increasing one’s reach or sphere), I don’t think there’s ever been a better technology or tool than Facebook.

As Sheryl demonstrates, the folks at Facebook not only “get” this, but they’re building the tools that will help not only help you reach this sphere, but also the ad platform so they can make millions (billions!) in the process!

With Promoted Posts, Facebook is Targeting Google’s Adwords

After writing my last post on why I think the ability to promote posts on Facebook is going to be huge, I realized I didn’t capture the “why” very well…  We already know that Facebook recently passed google.com in terms of raw traffic, and yet the industry around turning that traffic into real business is still in the infant stages…   So, here’s my attempt to summarize where things currently stand between Facebook and Google:

Here’s how to think about this table:

  • Google is best used to target search traffic, while Facebook is best used to target friends of existing fans.
  • Google’s algorithms are optimized to figure out what you’re going to like (or click on) based on what other web searches are clicking on… and the industry around that is called SEO. Facebook’s algorithms are optimized to figure out what you’re going to like (or click on) based on what your friends are click on (I’m calling this NEO).
  • You can use Google’s Adwords to buy targeted search traffic, which is relevant because you can surmise someone’s interest (or intent) based on the keywords they entered into Google’s search box.   You can use Facebook’s Ads to buy targeted traffic, which you can make relevant by buying terms that are related to your business page.
  • With Google, the most effective strategy for increasing the relevance of your website is to generate backlinks from other relevant and quality sites. With Facebook, the most effective strategy for increasing the relevance of your business page is to generate quality engagement from your existing fan base
  • With Google, you can increase your relevance by sending paid traffic to more relevant pages on your site (i.e. not your homepage) that are likely to convert at higher rates.  With Facebook, you can now send relevant people (i.e. friends of fans) to posts that are likely to convert at higher rates and having higher levels of engagement.

In web traffic, it’s all about relevance and Promoted Posts are Facebook’s way of letting your pay to improve the relevance of any given status update by sending more (and hopefully relevant) traffic to the update!

BuzzRE: Internet Marketing Education for Realtors

About two months ago, the HomeQuest team put on a real estate educational event in Portland that I thought rock’d…  With four great speakers (Gahlord Dewald, Garron SellikenDavid Gibbons and myself) and some help from some local title reps, we brought together a few hundred agents to teach them about how they could improve their online marketing.

It was so much fun that I started pushing the team to create a similar event in Southern California…  and the team not only supported the idea, but everyone seems genuinely excited.  Assuming you’re a SoCal agent, then the only details you need to know are that we’re going to have the event on April 29th (9am to noon), it will cost only $20 and you can reserve your spot here: http://buzzreoc.eventbrite.com/

But for those that need more, here’s the catch… I want to improve upon the Portland event! And here’s my four ideas for how we can do that:

  1. Make sure we have even more great speakers!
    • We’re gonna have 8 formal presentations instead of 4… and a panel of 3 local agents who have successfully incorporated internet marketing in their business
  2. Make sure the presentation part of the day is extremely focused
    • We’re going to follow an overall structure that generally follows an Agent’s Work Cycle
    • We’re going to do it all in 2 hours, meaning each speaker will be giving approximately 15 minutes forcing them to focus on the stuff they find most important
    • We’re going to create one “overall” presentation so that we don’t spend time flipping between laptops/presentations and someone (in this case: me) is in charge of making sure the presentations will have a logical flow
  3. Make sure to include local agents who are actively generating substantial business from their internet marketing activities
    • So far, one local agent who has been rocking Facebook has agreed to be on the panel and I hope to announce the other two panelists in the next few days!
  4. Make sure the event is memorable!
    • For this, we’re giving it a fun name: BuzzRE OC  and…
    • We’re going to make sure it’s the most cost-effective educational event for every agent who attends.

So who’s involved?

Here’s the list of speakers as well as the tentative name of their presentations:

I’m convinced we can cover all of these super interesting topics in only 2 hours!   This means that we can plan for a solid 45 minute panel conversation with local agnets are doing interesting internet marketing and be able to wrap the whole event up in less than 3 hours!  As of right now, I have one panelist confirmed, one who has tentatively agreed and on the hunt for one more. The panelist situation:

  • Robin Milonakis:  who’s been rocking the Facebook world.
  • “Blogging” agent: I have a tentative agreement from an awesome blogger agent, but I don’t want to give her name until she’s confirmed
  • “AdSense” agent: I want one local agent who’s generates serious business from online ad buying to round the group out… If you have a recommendation for an appropriate agent, I’m all ears!

And please, please, please… If you have ideas for what we should cover in each section (or you have a better name for any of the presentations!), let us know!   In an ideal world, we’d be able to take the general presentation (from sphere marketing to lead generation to client management and back to sphere marketing) and bring it to many other parts of the country!   (Bringing in local experts where appropriate!)

I’m really hoping to create a can’t miss educational event for real estate agents and would love any and all help you can give in spreading the word. One more time, here’s the details:

Can’t wait to see you in the OC!