Thursday, July 21, 2016

ISA Means Business! Part 3: Marketing Tips on the Cheap!

By Jan Robbins Durr, ISA CAPP, Membership Retention Committee

It can be daunting for a new appraiser to face the prospect of marketing themselves to the public. In fact, most appraisers come from an academic background and have had no prior experience marketing their personal brand. However, consider that your expertise from completing the ISA Core Courseand your designated ARC, FA, G&J fieldhas given you a teachable moment to educate a prospective customer on the many aspects of appraising and... you guessed it: You have now marketed yourself.

Obviously, it takes a bit more than knowing your subject well to get you into the door of the gatekeeper. As we have all learned, you usually can’t have a 'do-over' with a first impression. Our tips for marketing (which will be included in the ISA Means Business Toolbox) will pinpoint what leads to that great first impression. Your professionalism, appearance, presentation and marketing materials all factor into being hired. But how do you begin to garner gatekeepers' attention to the qualities of your business? And what marketing efforts are available to those starting a new business who are looking to face as few monetary costs as possible?

We’ve started with a list that can produce results to get your name out to the "right clientele." Here are some "On the Cheap" recommendations of where to begin:
  • Open a free Google business account, which will not only make you more visible on a search engine for appraisers but will also serve to place your business on Google Maps. It also should go without sayingmake sure to fill out your free ISA "Find an Appraiser" profile on the ISA website. As was stated in a June ISA Now blog post, we have 2,500 page views per month to the site, so don’t miss an easy opportunity to show up on the radars of prospective clients!
  • Create a free Facebook account, one that centers on a subject that you think would draw prospects to join. It’s a great opportunity to show your interest in a field and find like-minded individuals who may need your services. The other benefit? It'll put you in a position to expand your own knowledge as well
  • Sign up for HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, a free service where journalists, writers and bloggers post daily Public Relations opportunities for anyone to access and respond to. Three emails are sent out daily, five days a week, filled with queries from news outlets like Forbes, CNN, ABC, Entrepreneur, INC and many more. Answering inquiries quickly will help you rise to the top of their go-to list.
  • Creating your own website can cost you some money. However, it’s either an expense you should budget for or an idea you should research. Find relatively easy-to-use online programs that will allow you to design you own basic website with ease. In today’s world, more people find appraisers on the Internet than anywhere else. It sure beats the days of yellow page ads that cost a fortune. Platforms to consider when seeking to build your own easy, accessible website: web.com, Weebly, eHost, and WiX, to name a few.
  • After creating a website, use it to feature links to other people's content, including ISA's. What better marketing than for the public to see you are with the best society for personal property appraisers?
  • Comment on blog posts. Leaving thoughtful comments on blogs you follow can get you noticed by both the blog owners and their visitors.
  • Check on local business events on Meetup or see what activities local chambers or small business associations are hosting. Face-to-face meetings cannot be overrated, and they often mark the beginning of building those important relationships.
  • Volunteer to speak to groups that include a gatekeeper or grassroots audience, such as social clubs, insurance industry, attorneys, and so forth. If you have written any books or subject handouts that can be shared, by all means do so.
We hope these suggestions will help get you underway in creating additional exposure for your business. Many times it’s been said, it may take five No’s to get to a Yes. Using the arsenal of ideas we are creating with "ISA Means Business," building a strong network will certainly increase your opportunity to be seen and, in turn, find new business assignments.

This is the third part of an ongoing series known as ISA Means Business!, a program created by the ISA Membership Retention Committee that focuses on helping members create and maintain businesses that stay up-to-date and thriving. If you haven't yet, make sure to read the past entries. Part 1 introduces the program as a whole, while Part 2 highlights a host of free-to-cheap apps that may prove useful to those starting a new business.

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