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Potato Chip Marketing!

February 24 2010

What’s the #1 secret successful agents and brokers are using to THRIVE in this complex market? The answer may surprise you…It’s Potato Chip Marketing (a.k.a. The 7 Steps to Highly Effective, Low-Cost Marketing—No Matter the Market Conditions!)

What is Potato Chip Marketing? And why does it matter to YOU?potato chips

Today, more than ever before, it is absolutely necessary that you understand the difference between advertising and marketing. You may THINK you know and understand that difference. But after working with hundreds of agents and brokers from around the world, I’ve realized that most people don’t understand the REAL difference—the millionaire-making difference.

Here’s what I’m talking about…

Most real estate agents and brokers have advertising campaigns, but very few have effective marketing campaigns. Advertising and marketing are VERY different.

Advertising creates attention and promotes an image or brand. marketing, however, compels someone (i.e. your prospective client) to buy or sell with you!

TRUE marketing is the #1 way to build your business—especially in this market.

However, there is a crucial part to marketing effectively that almost ALL agents and brokers have been leaving out of their marketing campaigns. An effective and successful marketing campaign—meaning one that will truly appeal to your prospects—is all about THEM—not YOU. It’s all about GIVING—not TAKING. It’s all about practicing what I call…

Potato Chip Marketing!

And this isn’t just some random concept I created out of thin air. This Potato Chip Marketing has been VERY successfully used by REALTORS® from around the world—and it’s tried and true…guaranteed. Especially in these market conditions…

So, let’s break it down a little. An effective and proven Potato Chip Marketing campaign has seven crucial steps:

1. Understand, practice, instill and reinstill the Potato Chip Marketing mindset in YOURSELF!

Potato Chip Marketing is what I call “give-to-get” marketing. What exactly does this mean? How does this work?

Imagine this…

You are on a reality show. To win $100,000, you must persuade 20 squirrels to eat out of your hand. Your only tool is a bag of potato chips. You are taken to a park where there are plenty of squirrels. Your instructions are that you cannot go more than 100 feet from a park bench.

How would you get the squirrels to come to you? You certainly wouldn’t run out and say, “Hey, squirrels, come get these potato chips!” Obviously, that would scare them off.

What WOULD work would be to lay out a trail of potato chips to attract them to where you are sitting. They would come to you only when they felt it was safe and when they felt they could trust you.

And this very same concept applies to your potential clients…They will come to you when they feel it is safe and when they feel they can trust you.

Some people say that real estate is a numbers game. But if you are “in it to win it,” that’s just not true. No client wants to be treated as if they’re a number. They want relationships…they want trust…they want to “try before they buy.”

Potato Chip Marketing is simply about uncovering THEIR needs, building trusting relationships with THEM…and giving-to-get.

2. Target Your Market

When you ask most agents or brokers who their clients are, their response is, “Anyone who wants to buy or sell a home.”

The problem with that answer is that an effective marketing campaign is always carefully targeted to a specific group. Your message must match the audience. You must have that “message-to-market-match.” You absolutely CANNOT be EVERYTHING to EVERYONE! If you try that, you’ll be NOTHING to NO ONE.

For example, your marketing message to a luxury vacation penthouse target market would be drastically different than the marketing message you’d send out to first-time homebuyers.

The next step is to decide how you’re going to send this message out to your target market(s). Will it be a postcard, print ad, or a Web marketing piece?

You must also decide the purpose of your piece, as well as the message you want to send. Will you offer a special report or a checklist of pitfalls to avoid in today’s market? Will they call and leave a message on your 800 number or can they receive the item by going to your website and downloading it there?

How do you figure all that out? Read on…

3. Research Your Target Market’s Wants and Needs

To generate REAL leads, you must know and UNDERSTAND what makes your target market tick.

How do you do that?

  • Look for commonalities
  • Make it about THEM
  • You MUST do your research BEFORE you begin your marketing campaign

For example, are members of your target market concerned about schools, down payments, or neighborhood safety?

As you go through this process, a key point to keep in mind is that you’re NOT in the real estate business.

You are in the problem-solving business. The better you are at solving problems and providing value, the better your business will be.

4. “Hook” Them!

A “hook” is simply a headline or a hot button that your target market members have…and it’s NOT a headline or a hot button ABOUT YOU.

Because we are SO bombarded with advertising today, it’s an absolute necessity that you cut through your prospects’ clutter.

Did you know that you only have one or two seconds to grab your prospects’ attention? The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is the brain’s screening mechanism for what receives our attention. While our subconscious can process up to a million bits of information per minute, we can only consciously pay attention to about 15 bits.

Bottom line…a great hook cuts through your target market’s clutter AND captures their attention.

5. Keep ‘Em Reading!

Here’s the brutal truth:

If the piece is all about you – they will toss it. But…if the piece is all about THEM, you have a chance!

You need to use what I call “coffee talk.” This simply means that you write the way you speak, as if you’re chatting over coffee with a friend.

Here are a few tips to remember about “coffee talk” copy:

  • “Coffee talk” copy is salesmanship in print…it’s about THEM and speaks to THEM in an easy, conversational tone.
  • Think about the conversation your target market members are having in their heads. What are they thinking as they’re reading this? What objections or doubts are they having? What worries keep them up at night?
  • Aim for the seventh grade reading level.

6. Make It…Layout to Stand Out!

This one is simple. Legibility refers to the “quality of print that can be easily read.”
Readability refers to the “quality of language that makes it easy to understand.”

With your marketing pieces…use short paragraphs, bullet points, headlines, and sub-headlines to keep the eye engaged.

7. You MUST, MUST, MUST Have a Call-to-Action

What truly differentiates advertising from marketing is a call-to-action.

Here’s the thing…prospects are begging to be lead, and they want free information (yes, even in the internet-age prospects still want free information from YOU)! And, remember, they want to try before they buy. On the other hand, they don’t want to talk to you right away.

Make it safe for them to contact you by creating a free hotline where they can order a special report or a checklist that will HELP THEM with their sale or purchase. You can also make the same offer online.

Ultimately, service and giving are at the heart of attraction—no matter what business you’re inno matter the market conditions. We are paid according to the value we give. Get excited about creating value for your clients and being the resource to solve their problems.

When you approach your business with the Potato Chip Marketing, give-to-get mindset…
you’ll never want for business.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a LIFE by what we GIVE."
~Sir Winston Churchill