Willy Wonka was a marketing genius. He offers a "free" factory tour, garners a ton of "free" publicity, and in the process creates a crazed demand for his Wonka chocolate bars as children across the world buy his Wonka chocolate bars in search of the five golden tickets for the tour.
Mr. Turkentine: You, Winkelmann, come here. Do you know what's happening?
Winkelmann: Mr. Wonka's opening his factory. He's going to let people in.
Mr. Turkentine: Are you sure?
Winkelmann: It's on the radio. He's giving truckloads of chocolate away.
Mr. Turkentine: Class dismissed. (Mr. Turkentine starts to put on his coat).
For real estate professionals, the Wonka marketing strategy serves as a roadmap for our blogging strategy. That is, we disseminate free articles and other insightful commentary on our blogs with the intent of creating a "buzz" regarding our services. Our blog is the "free" factory tour offered by Wonka. Our "free" publicity is our readership which fosters name recognition and which assists in the development of relationships in and outside of ActiveRain.
Here are some thoughts as to the keys to the Willy Wonka blogging strategy:
Eliminate Advertorials - Demonstrate Your Expertise
Wonka didn't offer the "free" factory tour to generate sales. He offered the "free" factory tour to locate a successor - a small fact that he didn't disclose until the end of the movie. When developing content for your blog, you should promote your expertise and/or services in an understated manner. The goal should be to develop content that shows or demonstrates your expertise as opposed to simply telling the public that you are an expert. In Wonka's case, the "free" factory tour was a test of sorts to identify the best person to take over the reigns at his chocolate factory. It would have rendered the test ineffective if he had announced it as a test. Similarly, advertorials are ineffective if they focus solely on your business, your services, your expertise, etc. It is more effective to communicate in an altruistic manner - that is, in a manner that presents the content as a public service announcement as opposed to a "pure" advertisement for your services.
Willy Wonka: So shines a good deed in a weary world.
Wonka had it right. Genuine efforts to inform the public of important issues affecting their real estate purchase or sale pays off tenfold.
Create Original Content - Stand Out from the Crowd
The internet offers a vast array of content - both good and bad. Well-written, original content stands out from the crowd. If you have developed interesting and/or unique content for your blog, your blog will gain readership and will become a resource for others. In Wonka's case, he developed unique gum flavors, everlasting goobstoppers, etc.
Willy Wonka: Don't you know what this is?
Violet Beauregarde: By gum, it's gum.
Willy Wonka: Wrong. It's the most amazing fabulous sensational gum in the whole world.
Violet Beauregarde: What's so fab about it?
Willy Wonka: This little piece of gum is a three course dinner.
Mr. Salt: Bull.
Willy Wonka: No, roast beef. But I haven't got it quite right yet.
Wonka had it right. Take an old concept or product and adjust or improve it to make it distinctly different or unique.
Good Content Takes Effort
As the old adage goes: "You reap what you sow." Good content generates good leads and business opportunities. Bad content like bad coffee is a waste of your time. If you take the effort to generate original, thought provoking posts, then you will generally receive greater returns on your time and effort.
Wonka had it right. Good content takes a sustained effort.
Free Information - Test Drives Create Demand
Consumers like to sample or test drive the product or service before they purchase it. Studies have shown that consumers are more than twice as likely to buy after sampling the item for free. In Wonka's case, he couldn't keep the public from tasting his new products. Unlike auto dealerships that permit test drives, grocery stores that provide samples, or software companies that allow a trial period for use, real estate professionals have more limited opportunities to permit the public to take a test drive of their services before they purchase. Possible avenues for real estate professionals include the dissemination of informational articles, market reports, competitive market analysis reports, relocation packets, first-time homebuyer packets, and free forms, holding home purchase seminars, and offering free consultations. These methods are effective because they permit the customer to get a feel for your business philosophy, experience, and style and method of practice before purchasing your services.
Willy Wonka: It happens every time, they all become blueberries.
Wonka had it right. When you give prospects a little taste, they all become customers.
Paid Reports - Don't Create Artificial Barriers
Now, there are multiple schools of thought on lead capture type techniques. However, registration requirements from your blog for additional reports like market reports or MLS searches create artificial barriers between you and the consumer whereby you drive customers from your blog. Occasionally, I see real estate reports that require the payment of a fee. Although it is easy to make a paid product free, it is more difficult to require payment for a product such as market reports where such reports are readily available from competitors for free.
Mr. Salt and Veruca Salt are typical consumers. Some will register without any thought, others will walk away.
Throw Out the Scorecard
As my sales associates will likely tell you, I am a big fan of measuring, quantifying and tracking the effectiveness of advertising, marketing, and sales associate performance. However, when it comes to blogging, I recommend that you throw out the scorecard. There are intangible benefits associated with developing good content for your blog that may or may not generate immediate business, leads and sales. Some of these benefits include: name or brand recognition, development of referral, mentor and other relationships with other real estate professionals, and enhancing one's status as an expert in a particular geographic or practice area. For me, it is more about organizing my thoughts for our sales meetings.
Veruca Salt: I want it now, daddy.
Veruca Salt has the exactly wrong attitude for blogging. Sometimes things take time to develop. If you want leads now, blogging may not be the best use of your time.
Note: The opinions and statements contained herein represent my personal opinions and observations. These blog entries are not reviewed, endorsed or approved for publication by Gilded Age, L.L.C., Gilded Age Sales, L.L.C. or Preservation Real Estate Advisors, L.L.C