Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

5 killer local websites worth taking a look

Battle MediaLab Website: Great Demo Reel! www.battlemedialab.com

Battle MediaLab Website - Great Demo Reel: http://www.battlemedialab.com

Websites are like feelings. Everyone has them, but some are better than others.

Determining what makes a great website isn’t a matter of taste, it’s a matter of purpose and matching the brand personality. Graphics and navigation are not the driving force for a good site now. Viewer engagement is now fundamental.

Dynamic content, ease of use, an information architecture that is intuitive and doesn’t have to be figured out or learned, speed to content, and integration of social and rich media for interaction are the new demands for good sites.

Most of all, sites have to be real and true to the brand. No more staged stock photos of happy people. So here are some local sites that I thought matched their brand, invited engagement, and were easy to view and use.

Click Here to see the rest of the article and the 5 sites:

5 killer local websites worth taking a look.

Filed under: Content Development, Content Marketing, Lead Generation, Traffic, Websites, Writing, , , ,

Brown Ltd. Launches New Freelance Writing & Producing Portfolio Site

R. Michael Brown, an internationally published writer, producer, speaker, and digital marketing and PR consultant at Brown Ltd. has launched a new freelance writing portfolio website. 

www.RMichaelBrown.wordpress.com

Mike has worked on projects for many industries but his primary focus is on health care, technology, science, non-profits, real estate, and public policy.   The site shows examples of his work in all media (web, email, print, radio, and video) and has downloadable pdf files and jpeg images of his work.

Brown Ltd. is a West Palm Beach, Florida writing, producing, and digital marketing, advertising, and public relations firm.  To contact Mike for a project, call today at 561-756-1674 or MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

3 Sources to Help You Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing & Advertising

I’ll bet you want to find out how to get more qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales?

I’ve received a lot of questions in the last couple of weeks about what are the best sources for practical information on marketing – especially online.

One of my specialties is to look across industries, find best practices, and test to see if what I learned applies to a particular industry.  This method has helped me introduce new marketing methods and systems for many products and brands.

There is NO magic bullet for marketing, especially in this economy, even though there are a lot of marketing pros searching for it, and a lot of hucksters promoting it.

Like many industries, marketing is an evolving science.  I say science because if you are doing it right, you don’t spend a dime on marketing without a strict measurement system in place – that means a well-thought-out-system [including Math] to check the results!

This next statement is going to surprise you. Please let me explain.

Two of the best sources of advertising knowledge today come from an early advertising copywriter, John Caples, that wrote “Tested Advertising Methods” in 1932, and Claude Hopkins, an engineer and inventor that wrote “Scientific Advertising,” also in 1932.

Most of their principles for testing marketing and advertising work today – you just apply their methods to traditional advertising AND online.  I read these books early in my career and have worked to apply what they taught me to direct mail, traditional advertising (print, TV, radio), and online.

I use systems to measure and quantify results to find out if a marketing component or campaign is working.  It’s extra work but it takes most of the guesswork out of advertising and saves huge $$ in the marketing budget.

The more recent book that will help you learn the new marketing and PR paradigm is written by a friend, David Meerman Scott.

There have been thousands of books written about marketing, advertising, and PR from 1932 to today.   I’ve studied a lot of them.

If you will combine the fundamentals from the earlier books and add New Rules, you’ll go a long way to gaining an in-depth knowledge of practical advertising and marketing that works to increase your qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales – for the lowest cost / customer.

Let me know what you think!

Filed under: Advertising, Marketing Measurement, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Will Technology Change Real Estate Sales & Marketing in the Future?

My last job in the tech world of IBM (wired) and Motorola (wireless) was future vision marketing manager before I “got off the plane” and applied what I learned about digital marketing and PR in real estate.

We looked out 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years to try and imagine what is possible with wired and wireless technology. Then we would go tell customers about it.

My method involved interviewing patent holding engineers, scientists, marketing gurus, and futurists.

But one of the most valuable sources I had was from the sales force. They told me what was working and would not work, what customers asked for and expected in the future, and they actually gave me requirements for developing future products and programs.

One of the things I realized early on was that I came up with maybe 20% of the good ideas. The rest came from others. That’s where you come in.  I’ve created a starter list below.  Brainstorm!  Let’s create the idea of real estate marketing in the future together!

I would like to do that here, and share it online with Real Estate pros.

BASELINE

Here’s what we know as a baseline for the real estate market today:

- Digital imagery (photos, renderings, visual tours) made a big difference and are here to stay. 
– Social Networking and blogging leaped forward and will continue to grow.
– Email marketing is now full of pictures and is working great.
– Websites are including:
  = Listings
  = IDX integration
  = Property locators
  = Mapping
  = Galleries and Slide Shows
  = Some Facebook and blog integration
  = Some Video (in the early adopter phase and will expand in this next year)
  = Links to sites like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, local community information like schools and shopping, etc., plus many others.
  = Multiple languages in addition to English (Spanish, French)
– Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems (Early Adopters using & winning!)
– Electronic “Video” Billboards (just started)
– Newspapers/Media Company Advertising Media Buys Happening on Google (Early Adopters only)
– Direct Mail
– Radio
– TV
– Signs
– Events
– Telemarketing
– Marketing Measurement Systems to track media buys and campaigns (Early Adopters only)

So here’s the question:  What will the future of real estate marketing look like?

CURRENT TO 1 YEAR OUT
- Broker and Builder websites will integrate Social Networking technologies for easy sharing and interaction (Facebook, Google Buzz, Twitter, ShareThis, Digg, Delicious, Live, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc.)
– Content Marketing will expand
– Direct Mail will include more Newsletter Postcards (smart marketers)
– Email Marketing will include more news – less hype

1-5 YEARS OUT
The biggest change during this period for real estate pros isn’t in the technology.  The biggest change will come from you learning how to learn and adapt quicker.  You’re selling brick and mortar; but, you’re going to be using tools to do it that evolve quickly.  That means software.  Your customers and companies will demand that you know this new way to interact – forcing you to change.
– Mobile enabled websites for advertising, listings, and sales interaction
  = Images
  = Mapping
  = Video
  = Social Networking between selling organization and customers
  = GPS Enabled Listings
– Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems – more pervasive use and will center the effort of database marketing
– Newspaper/Websites and Media Buys Dominated by Google
– Content Marketing will become more layered so a buyer can get just the right amount of information they individually want rather than the seller, broker, or builder dictating the amount.
– Email marketing will add video
– Events will become more creative and integrated with other organizations
– Online & Mobile Chat & Texting
– Online Interactive Contracts & Documentation
– Smart Irrigation. Technology is cheap and easy today. Will become pervasive.
– Marketing Measurement Systems will link directly with CRM
  = Google May Be the Integrator

5-10 YEARS OUT
- Will websites become media rich enough to satisfy a customer enough to buy online?
– Interactive Video Television and/or Web [not sure what the devices will be called at this point - interactive displays?] about Properties. You’ll be able to select and “see” the systems work in a house.
– Smart Houses (I don’t think the house will sell itself but you’ll have to know about  these systems to show them)
– Smart Irrigation Standard
– Exterior and Interior Wired and Wireless integration (Security, Power, Appliances,  Entertainment, Info Systems)
– More Audio (Voice) enabled

Ideas?  What do you think?  Add your comments!

Filed under: Future Vision, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real Estate Marketing That Is Working Right Now

Before I explain the marketing mix that has worked for me in the last few years of a disaster market, you must understand that the fundamentals of real estate sales are still the best marketing: price and location

If the property is in a place people really want to live, work, and play – and it’s priced right, then this marketing mix will work right now.

First you have to find the customer types (profile them) that fit that location, price, and situation. Who has bought recently? What are their demographics and psychographics?  What type of person was the best customer? 

This info will help target your mix.

Events drive this success.  That’s the key to getting traffic and sales.  Instead of having a “Grand Opening of Sales,” “Grand Opening of Models,” or an “Open House” — have a “Family Fun Day,” “Meet the Local Community,” or “Join us for a Taste of the Town.”

I don’t mean spending lavishly.  For Family Fun Day we’re talking about a bounce house, face painter, a few games, and an iPod with speakers.  For the other events, cooperate with charities, local schools, and local restaurants to get them to participate and share the cost and effort.

Then promote the event with this mix:
- News Releases
(not necessarily to the press – go to your email list and websites)
- Web Promotion (news, community, and real estate sites)
- Radio Advertising (stations that match your demographics – Don’t bother with a remote. I’ve never had them work for real estate.)
- E-blast Newsletters
- Direct Mail Newsletter Postcards
– a special kind of direct mail that works better than all others (target demographics)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Networking (Social Media Marketing, SMM)

All must be highly targeted at your top purchasing demographics and done as a campaign – not a series of unconnected media activity. It works right now!

There is no magic bullet. You have to promote for weeks ahead of your event and for weeks or months following it. When traffic starts to drop, have another event.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

For new home sales, in the last couple of years, I’ve had over 1,700, 1,800, and 1,900 attend for 3 different communities and events.  That’s a lot of people during a recession.  Sales were strong considering the market with over $91 million in revenue.

For re-sales, get a group of sellers and agents to cooperate in a master planned community or neighborhood to promote the inventory together with these low-cost events and the marketing mix outlined.  You will all benefit together.

What has worked for you?  Your thoughts?

Filed under: Advertising, Traffic, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid.

The best Super Bowl Ads were done in-house.

That seems to be the discovery “in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.”  NY Times

I’ll never forget having lunch with George Lucas in the 1980’s and listening to him tell us that “everyone was going to become a producer” because of desktop multimedia.  He was right.

I had to put up with “In-house isn’t good enough” from a lot of naysayers at IBM, Motorola, DiVosta Homes, Pulte Homes, and Minto – where I ran in-house agencies. 

The silly charge never made any sense:

We launched multimedia and the Internet at IBM from our Boca studios, Nextel from Motorola in Ft. Lauderdale, a new DiVosta brand that has 86% brand awareness (a household name in its market), a $9.8 million savings in the first year of going in-house at Pulte Homes in Florida with an increase of 2,400% in qualified leads, and a jump in sales revenue from $8 million to over $71 million at Minto Communities – all done in-house during a real estate market disaster.

Our in-house Motorola agency even produced the campaign that helped win “Product of the Decade” from Business Week Magazine.
See the i1000 smartphone to the right and Click Here for “Since the Beginning of Time” media.

To see more YouTube examples of our work: Click Here

To see some examples of E-Marketing and print, see the portfolio on the right side of this blog.

In addition, the cost of running an in-house agency & studio, including people, equipment, and media buying vs. using agencies is about one-third.  The other two-thirds is either profit to the company or additional media buying flexibility to really penetrate a market or extend the brand.

In-house is thought of as a dirty little secret among marketing, PR, and advertising executives. Many times “in-house isn’t good enough” relates more to the failure of the executive not knowing how to run an agency or they really like all the free perks and lunches they get from agencies.

The work and results speaks for itself.  See the rest of the NY Times article here:  Do It Yourself Super Ads

Filed under: Advertising, Content Development, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

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Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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My Portfolio Below

In the My Shared File Box below you will see files to download from my portfolio. Download and let me know what you think!

Flickr Photos

Jaguar XJ8

Carlyle DiVosta Homes

Marketing 2.1

New Civic Website

VeronaWalk Naples

VeronaWalk Logo

Villas By-the-Sea EBlast

Brand Journalism

DiVosta Print Advertising

i1000: Business Week Magazine Product of the Decade

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