Barely out of college, Jonathan Hochman, one of your esteemed fellow readers (this site may be free, but we don’t let just anybody onto it) arranged to have a full-size wood-floor basketball court shipped from the U.S. to Red Square. It was what his Russian client wanted, so he somehow got it done. Clever fellow. He writes:

I recently started working for a technology company and was asked to overhaul their Internet marketing campaign. Because the company offers very specific products and services, we decided to use Pay-Per-Click advertising. We pay Google and Yahoo to display our links when people search for terms that correspond to the services and products we offer.

My wife is a Realtor, so I decided to apply my lessons learned at work for her benefit. Anybody who ever became a real estate agent knows that it can be a thankless job. Marketing has traditionally consisted of knocking on doors, sitting at open houses, doing floor time in the office, and sending out mass mailings.

First I built her web page. Then I used this link to instantly place advertisements. It cost $5 to begin. In addition, we pay Google up to $0.75 every time somebody clicks one of her ads. About one in fifty of the clickers calls to request further information. Thus, the cost of generating a lead is about $37.50. At least one lead in six turns into a sale, so the marketing cost of a sale is roughly $225. An entry level Realtor in our town takes home about $2,500 for selling the average home.

Since we started online marketing, my wife only spends time with prospects who have learned about her services and chosen to call. She can also afford not to work with unpleasant people because she has plenty of leads. This is the key to her success. She spends all her work time with live clients, not stuffing envelopes, knocking on doors or waiting around at an open house hoping a serious buyer walks through the door, who is not already represented by another Realtor.

I have heard people who make good money complain about work because their customers drive them crazy. Every business has some customers who are more desirable than others. Profit is important, but quality of life and reducing hassles can be even more important. Skillful marketing draws the better customers.

Here’s the actual ad we used:

Greater Hartford Realtor
Together we can sell your home or
find you a new one. Call Tami.

This month she sold five multifamily houses to an investor from California who found her on the web.

☞ You may not be a Realtor (though if you live in South Florida, chances are seven in ten that you are) – but the lessons here could apply more broadly.

(OK, maybe six in ten, but it feels like seven.)

Tomorrow: A Spot on Spot’s Lung


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