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Christine George wants you to remember that when it comes to marketing, authenticity never gets old.
If the marketing professional, who owns Post & Beam Creative, didn’t spend any time off stage frequenting the hallways and happy hours of Inman Connect New York, she may not know just how poignantly her worlds landed.
Artificial intelligence, and its reach for realism, dominated discussion this week. How to use it to better the consumer experience. How to make transactions go faster. How to use AI in your social media. (Maybe this is what the machines want?)
George, however, was in New York to remind agents that they don’t “own their social media,” echoing the mantra from frequent Inman Connect speaker and contributor, Katie Lance.
But you do own your email list.
“It’s the most important business asset you have and there are people who really want to hear from you,” she said.
Email marketing is without argument one of the most effective forms of reaching an audience at scale. And from that scale, a savvy marketer can narrow down lists to segment groups based on zip code, house size, budget and street.
“Email marketing generates $36 for every $1 spent,” George said.
Crucial for every campaign, regardless of size, is subject line content, and it’s not easy. Wordsmiths across the content generation spectrum battle with the blank page when trying to generate brief, witty prose that will break through the proverbial inbox slurry wall. George offered five ideas to help real estate agents land a lead.
“The first is a ‘how-to,’ for example, How to spot a home’s flaws on a tour,” George said. “The second is curiosity, which piques the reader’s interest, such as ‘The No. 1 mistake even savvy homebuyers make.’”
Creating a sense of urgency is an effective subject line tactic, as is asking a direct question and then, finally, using a person’s name.
George also recommends creating useful, evergreen lead magnets, like buying guides or market reports, and she stressed that it’s as critical as ever to pay attention to your email campaign response metrics.
Following George to the stage was Alex Hanson of loanDepot and host of the “Modern Lending” podcast, along with Inman’s own Laura Monroe, to chat about the benefits of LinkedIn, “the other” social network.
Hanson dug into the relationship tropes that underlie a lot of marketing efforts for agents, suggesting that the professional nature of LinkedIn is the best place to foster relationships with like-minded business people. Given that the platform’s content isn’t based on memes and political debates, high-minded business conversations can shine. Its model does encourage scrolling, like all the others, Hanson said.
“They’re scrolling, and they’re taking in information and content, and you need to ask yourself, ‘Does your knowledge and what you bring the table offer something of value?’” George said. “The answer is yes, because what do all the people with jobs and money want? They want real estate.”
While Linkedin content tends to be all about one’s job, it’s still a great place to create original, thought-provoking content, George said.
“You have to respect the platform. If you jump on Linkedin and put a TikTok dance on there, you’re probably not turning on the audience.”
Like George said about email marketing, Hanson advises agents to figure out their authentic voice on Linkedin, and use it.
When it comes to authenticity, the platonic couple behind the “Glitter and Gay” podcast take home the gold.
Glennda Baker and Tyler Whitman are agents in Atlanta and New York City, respectively, Baker with Glennda Baker & Associates Coldwell Banker and Whitman with The Agency.
The pair were there to share their knowledge of how a podcast can become a powerful way to attract new business, but what they ended up doing was demonstrating just how engaging a couple of loquacious extroverts can be when in front of a friendly audience.
Baker and Whitman banter like a married couple of 40 years — with unrequited love for their own presence but without ego or pretension. They’re as relatable as they are knowledgeable, able to take the absurdity of someone from the audience yelling “Tornados!” as a random blog topic down to the touching reaction to Baker’s recounting of her neighbors being impacted by a freak storm near her home in Atlanta, which she later sold for them.
While they admit to over-spending on their first podcast, “Like 20 grand,” Whitman said, they expressed the importance of needing not much more than a microphone and an idea.
In short, if anyone in the audience wasn’t a fan of these two, they are now.