Quote of the week
"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."
Writer, Mark Twain
And on those same lines, a quote I've enjoyed for years, but don't know where it came from:
Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you..

For if you trouble trouble all your troubles will come true.
Set your worries aside - and just go sell some real estate!
Should you ask your sphere of influence for referrals?
This week on Active Rain there's been some discussion about what to say when you telephone your sphere of influence and your past clients.

The consensus of opinion was that you should NOT talk about business or ask for referrals.

Most felt that a phone call that pretends to be "friendly and interested" but ends with a business request would do more to alienate people than anything else.

I agree.

But since you do want those folks to remember  that you're in the business of helping people buy and sell real estate, what should you do?

Try this: Hopefully you do remember what they do for a living.

So ask about that. Say "Are you still...(whatever they were doing before)?

Most people will answer and then ask about your work life.

That's your opportunity to talk about real estate.

You don't have to ask for business. Just sound enthusiastic. If they ask if you're busy, say "Yes, but I'd love to be even busier." Then let it go unless they ask more questions.

Have You Visited my New Website?

If you haven't been there yet - or even if you have - you're invited.

You'll find some freebies, links to a few ebooks and my prospecting letters, and a little advice.

And.. if you're in the mood to laugh a little, you might enjoy the story of my humble start in real estate.
Real Estate Marketing Copy - Getting Back to the Basics
Why is it so easy to gradually slide away from following the basic rules of good marketing copy?

I don't know the answer, but know that it's true. So today's message is a return to a few of the fundamentals of good marketing copy – be it for real estate or anything else.

First and foremost: Remember that it's not about you. It's always about your prospect.

So never, ever begin a marketing message with the words "I" or "we." And then, as you get into the body of your copy, strive to use those words sparingly. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use some version of "You" at least 3 or 4 times as often as any version of "I."

Your software should have a "find" feature. Use it to find and count each version of both words.

If you find you've gotten focused on you rather than your reader, turn some sentences around.
Just to give you an example, here's a headline from a marketing piece that was sent to me for revision:

"What We Want Our Clients to Know About Selling Their Home"

There are two things wrong with this headline:
  • It's about the agency and what the agency wants
  • It de-personalizes the message to the reader
The message is about the agency and some unknown clients called "they" - rather than the reader.

Here's a better headline:

"What You Need to Know About Selling Your Home"

The best part – turning it around is easy.

Next – Forget about approval from your high school English teacher.

"Proper" grammar has no place in marketing copy.
Marketing copy has to sound like a conversation, and we simply don't speak according to the rules of grammar. Among other things we begin sentences with "and" or "but," and we speak in sentence fragments.

What is important is communication. Don't become so proper that communication gets lost.

Note: This doesn't mean it's OK to write "there" when you mean "their," to say "like" every few words, or to include curse words, texting abbreviations, or street slang. You DO need to follow some of the basics of grammar – just don't get hung up on it.

Third – Make your real estate marketing copy easy to read.
Break your copy into paragraphs of no more than 7 lines. Insert a blank line between paragraphs. Add interest by writing a one sentence paragraph now and then. Keep your sentences short and to the point, and use words that an average 7th grader can comprehend.

To emphasize your main points, do use:
  • sub-heads
  •  bold
  • underlines
  • color
  • bullet points
Finally, work to tighten up your copy and help it make sense.

Take a sentence like:  "The Internet marketing experience of Joe and Sue Smith has put..." and change it to "Joe and Sue Smith's Internet marketing experience has put…"

That's only slightly shorter, but it's smoother and easier to read.

Next, be on the lookout for misplaced modifiers. This sentence: "My house is located in a very "hot" area right now." made me wonder where the house was located when it wasn't in the hot area.

Instead, it should have said "My house is located in an area that's very "hot" right now."

Our local newspaper is notorious for misplacing modifiers – so much so that I often have to back up and re-read a paragraph to figure out what the heck they meant.
You don't ever want your prospects having to try to figure out what you meant!

Read and re-read everything you write and ask yourself if it flows smoothly and makes sense. And if possible, get someone else to read it as well.
And if it you just don't enjoy writing your own marketing copy, get in touch. I do enjoy writing and would be pleased to help you succeed. 

Here's to prosperity,
Copy by Marte, Priest River, Idaho