Directionals Move Properties

One of the most effective and frequently overlooked methods of filling or selling a property is the use of directional arrow signs. I’m guilty of it myself, although usually I’m merely lazy instead of overlooking this great marketing technique. Being lazy usually costs me in terms of holding costs, especially if you happen to be in a buyer’s market as I currently am. Even if you’re in a hot market where everything is moving quickly, directionals will move your property that much quicker.

Yes, there are numerous other methods you can use such as: flyers in the neighborhood and large stores and shopping malls, ads in the large and small papers, listings on the internet, listing with a real estate agent, calling real estate agents to inform them, mailouts to apartment complexes, yard signs with flyer boxes, open houses, calling loan officers, emailing your buyer list, etc., etc. (I have one friend use advertises her properties on the cable preview channel and she says it works great. Unfortunately, that option isn’t available in my area.)

Why Do Directionals Work So Well?

Directional arrow signs work well for a number of reasons. First, they are targeted to the neighborhood where the property is located so the folks who will actually see them are the buyers or tenants who are already driving the neighborhood looking for properties. The second group of people who will see the signs are the residents who already live there. Many times the nearby residents will have family or friends who want to move into the neighborhood.

Flyers delivered to the neighborhood will also accomplish the notification aspect that there’s an available property, but what flyers don’t do is lead the prospect or prospect’s friend straight to the front door.

Why Not Just Use Typical Bandit Signs?

For those that don’t know, bandit signs are the road-side signs that many people utilize to advertise their business, favorite politician, and/or properties for sale or lease. The signs come in many colors and sizes, some professionally done and some hand-written. The nickname bandit signs stems from the fact that many municipalities have sign ordinances that prohibit their use or restrict use in the public domain or right of way.

The primary weakness of typical bandit signs for marketing a property for sale or lease is that the sign provides a little information (often impossible to read while driving by) and a phone number. If I’m out looking for properties today, I don’t want to leave a message or turn around to go see what the sign said. I want to drive by NOW, not tomorrow, not later today, right now.

How is a Directional Arrow Sign Different?

Who said anything about one directional sign? I’m talking an entire series of signs that leads the prospect from the main thoroughfare all the way through the neighborhood to the driveway of your property. There’s no thinking, major squinting, turning around, or phone calls involved here. “Oh, honey, turn there quick.” Then it’s “look, there’s another sign, turn there.” etc., all the way to the property. Then, of course, there’s more information including contact numbers available at the property.

Okay, So How Do I Implement This Technique?

Here’s the way I do it and you should tweak it and improve to suit you. When a property becomes available, I study the neighborhood and determine the “best” ways to lead prospects to my property. By “best”, I take into consideration ease of navigation, neighborhood amenities like parks and schools, and surrounding properties. If there’s a back way into the subdivision or location, I map out both paths.

My target locations are every single corner that my prospects will need to turn in order to get to the property. If there’s a really long stretch without a turn, then I might need a directional arrow in the middle of that stretch to keep them coming. My experience has been that I will have to replace signs within the neighborhood only a few times, but I have to monitor the signs on the major roads and replace them fairly frequently. However, these signs tend to stay put much longer than a traditional bandit sign.

Then I simply go door-knocking and ask people if I can place a small directional sign in their yard. I intentionally do this during the day to miss folks because I’d rather not get involved in lengthy discussions about the property and I’ve got many doors to get to. Once I’m sure no one’s home, I leave a letter in the screen door or someplace where it will be easily seen. I drop this letter at all four houses on each corner on the route.

What Does the Letter Say?

I’ve found it’s important to NOT come across as a real estate investor or a company. I use an informal style and simply ask for help in finding someone to buy or lease my property. Points that I include in the letter are:

  • It’s just a small directional arrow sign
  • I’ll put it right by the corner and not really in their yard
  • I’ll make sure I don’t damage any sprinkler systems
  • They get a $20 gift certificate once the process is done
  • They get to choose the store, restaurant, etc.
  • Please call me to replace the sign if it gets removed
  • The first person who calls me wins

This technique has never failed. Frequently, I’ll have two or more people from each corner call me, but I’ve always had at least one person call to agree to the arrangement. Some of them have even taken serious offense to do-gooder neighbors who remove the signs as the property owner is concerned they might not get their gift certificate. I’ll describe the signs in more detail below, but I started adding “Placed With Permission of Owner” on the top of the signs and this reduced my losses.

The end result of this effort is that perhaps I pay out $160 to $200 in referral fees, but I have to run my $50 to $150 worth of weekly newspaper ads many, many fewer weeks. It definitely pays off from a monetary standpoint. The other benefit is that I now have a list of folks near each property (whom I’ve never even met) who think I’m great. Every single person will call me back after receiving their gift to thank me and the large majority volunteer that I’m more than welcome to do this anytime I need.

What Do the Signs Look Like?

The signs I use are basically the standard bandit signs cut in half. A normal size bandit sign is 18″ x 24″ and I use 9″ x 12″ signs for my directional arrows. I have a red directional arrow that takes up about 5 inches of the sign, leaving the bottom 4 inches blank. Within the red arrow I ask the sign company to put my message which could be “Owner Finance” or “Lease Purchase” or whatever you prefer. The message is easy to read.

In the blank space I use a large marker to write the property address. It’s important to leave enough blank space below the arrow to write the address in large numbers and letters. Also, as I mentioned above, I include the “owner permission” tag line on top of the arrow. I buy 36″ wooden stakes from Home Depot and attach an arrow sign to each side of the stake so the information can be seen coming and going.

If you don’t have a source for these signs, please contact BanditSigns.com to get some. They’re inexpensive and well worth the cost.

I hope you’ll add this tool to your marketing techniques and discover the same success I’ve had in using it. You may find that you abandon many other advertising tools you’ve been using in the past.

Why You Should Use Landing Pages in Affiliate Marketing

If you are into affiliate marketing, you should really consider using landing pages for your affiliate marketing products – if you don’t already. A landing page is basically a web page that your targeted visitors will be directed to, whenever they click on a result that they received by doing a Google search or whenever they click on one of your Internet advertisements.

Sure, you can always use your direct affiliate marketing link, but you will do a lot better if you create a great landing page with a call to action that will gain the attention of your visitors. This being said, there are a few reasons that you really should use a landing page for your web advertisements:

1. When it comes to affiliate marketing, squeeze pages are the only real way that you can earn conversions with an affiliate program. There are plenty of affiliate marketing programs out there, but a lot of these programs let the merchant pay their affiliates on a pay-per-click basis. This being said, all you need to do is sign up for a particular affiliate program and submit your ads. Once that advertisement for your affiliate marketing program is submitted, it can be placed on the program owner’s website.

Anyway, you can probably guess that once someone (a potential customer) clicks on that ad, they will be directed to your landing page. The landing page will have a specific call to action and information on how that potential customer can buy the product, and you will be able to gain the contact information of your potential customers…turning them into leads. As you know, leads will eventually convert into sales.

2. An ordinary website will just not do. Some affiliate marketers think that they can use their website in the same manner that they would use a landing page, thinking that it will do the trick. Some people try to make their website’s home page as the landing page for their ads, but again… this will not do the trick. Why? Well, with an actual landing page you will have the ability to make it relevant to the keywords that your potential customers might use and have it focus on one product or service. This being said, a squeeze page will make it much easier to push your visitors to take action, because in many cases they would have been searching for a specific keyword or phrase (similar to yours), so they will already be somewhat interested in what you have to offer.

Some affiliate marketers actually join an affiliate program in hopes to make some extra dough, without having to shed out any (or very little) initial advertising costs. Well, the truth of the matter is that if you join an affiliate program and don’t use a landing page, you will most likely end up paying too much without actually getting anything in turn. And, you will be spending a lot of your time trying to bring in some customers as well. Anyway, once you set up your squeeze page or multiple landing pages, all you will need to do is keep the content fresh and new and ensure that it is optimized. After that, you will be able to gain a more leads – which will truly help your affiliate conversion rates.

Social Media Marketing For Artists – Part 2

I explained in an earlier article Social Media marketing For Artists – Part 1, that the opportunities for artists promoting their work have never been more plentiful, cheaper or more comprehensive. You can promote your work permanently online locally, nationally and internationally at practically no cost!

But what are the practicalities of building your audience and making money through social media marketing?

Here’s a summarised answer to that question.

Create your hub
Make announcements, publish your thoughts and start discussions
Join discussions
Be interesting and /or helpful
Keep publishing
Create my hub?

Yeah. Your website or blog. The centre of your whole operation. There has to be a hub around which all the social media stuff revolves.

If you are an artist your hub will be…

Your online exhibition space. All your painting, photographs of your sculpture, photographs will be displayed there.
There will be a biography / profile of you, the artist
There will be contact details
There will be news of upcoming exhibitions in real space
There will be a “buy now” button alongside every art piece not yet sold
In short, your hub will be you and your art online. If ever anyone asks what you do, or who you are, and you don’t have time to explain then you will be able to refer them to your website or blog for the full directors cut.

Make announcements, publish your thoughts and start discussions

Spreading your news and giving your thoughts on issues concerning art will develop your profile on the internet. In every blog entry you will send out signals on what kind of work you do and what interests you. In your tweets the terms you use will tell others how to categorise you relative to their own interests. The groups you belong to in Facebook will betray your aesthetic sensibilities. Your appearances on YouTube will appeal to certain types of audiences. Every thing you say on the net will further develop your profile and make you categorisable.

Do I want to be categorised?

We are all categorised in the real world. It’s how people find us – for example “the guy that lives on that street, the girl with the blond hair, the artist from Edinburgh”. On the net you are categorised by your words. Type in the search “Italian Restaurant, New York” and what do you get. Italian restaurants, and in New York no less.

Join discussions

Social media platforms are social because they provide a place for authors to interact with their readers. A blog entry can be commented on by readers. A tweet on twitter can be replied to by direct message to the author by reader or by a retweet or tweet visible to all other readers. YouTube films also provide for commentary by viewers.

As an artist you can write your blog and comment on the blogs of other. Your response to the material of others goes further to heightening your profile and building your reputation in relevant areas of discussion and interest.

Responding to other blogs doesn’t just increase name/brand awareness across the web. It allows you to plant direct links back to your hub. In every comment you make on another blog you can leave a link back to your website or blog – back to your hub. On every tweet you send or respond to you leave your profile with its link back to your hub.

Be interesting and/or helpful

Chattering away on social media (publishing your own stuff) and responding to other peoples participation in social media (commenting, retweeting) you can make a lot of noise, but you’ll only attract loyal and increasing attention if you can appeal to readers interests and keep them interested.

If you are interested in art then you will be familiar with many of the issues that concern the art community generally and the art community in your local area and country. There will be audiences for new art, art funding, exhibitions, sculpture, painting and drawing, crafts, performance, film etc to whom you might direct an advice, an opinion and insights.

Remember – Blogs and twitter accounts harnessed to the marketing of your hub should be used carefully. They are not for gossip or venting frustration – you can set up other blogs and twitter accounts for that stuff. They are there to help you build a reputation as a serious player in your chosen field.

Jon Hartley is an online marketing professional providing help and advice on search engine optimisation, social media marketing and SEO copywriting across Edinburgh, Glasgow and the rest of Scotland.