Archive

Archive for April, 2013

Road Signs and Websites

April 27th, 2013 No comments

san-antonio-center-credit-wikicommons-posted-cuttingedge-marketing-sales-blog-mhrponews-comYou are driving along a highway or road. It is a drive you are used to making. You are 'running the path,' you see the signal lights and might pay some attention to the speed limit sign you've past hundreds of times before. The business signage has largely become background to you. What you notice this time is the 'new sign' that popped up! That catches your attention, because it is 'new and different.' But there is more to the story of signage…

As nice as this sign is, if you aren't specifically looking for these stores as you drive by, what they make on you is an 'impression.' That impression lodges in your subconscious mind, along with millions of other ones. If someone at the gas station asks you for directions to Trader Joe's or WalMart, you may automatically know right where to tell them to go.

The “impressions” made by your driving past that sign so many times sank in.

More powerful for quick attention getting that drives traffic is the far less costly sign being used below that is being held up by a man.ad-sign-man-credit-wikicommons-posted-cutting-edge-blog-mhpronews-com-

If you were in the market for jewelry (guys, a hint, Mom's day is coming up fast!) and drove past a man holding a sign like this, you might just peel off your drive route and pull in. This, by the way, would be interesting to test for your next public manufactured housing open house, if you are located on or near a favorable road way.

 

picadilly_circus_london_2006-credit-wiki-commons-posted-cuttingedgeblog-mhpronews-comMore expensive than a regular vinyl billboard – but far more effective – are the new electronic billboards.

As the message changes every 10-15 seconds (+/-) your eye is just naturally drawn to it, even if you drive by the sign many times a day. The “motion” (change) in the sign attracts the eye.

A Signs Web Corollary

If you are placing a 'banner ad' on a website, and have the choice, we recommend the animated banner ad vs. the static one. The reason for it is similar to the one for the static vinyl banner billboard vs. the electronic billboard.

manufactrured-housing-revolution-ani-mhpronews.com-200-200.gifThe “impression” on a visitor of a site for an ad hits the subconscious mind the same as driving past that road sign does. Some of our clients have had millions of impressions on MHProNews, because we have lots of traffic from professionals focused on manufactured housing related news, tips and views.

With a banner ad, the impressions are the same be the ad static or animated, but you will get more click throughs on an animation on our site or any other one too.mhmarketing-sales-management-website-ani-mhpronews.com

A similar principle holds true for your website. If your website doesn't appear to 'move' or change,' once a person has visited once or twice, what is there that will 'bring them back' to you online?

This is more important than you may think! Because studies show that the millions of big ticket buyers will shop 3-6-to-12 months in advance. You want to get them coming to you regularly. We could talk about strategies that will also cause them to sign up with you, just as we have thousands signed up to get business building and protecting information from us twice weekly via this link.

So, for example, on the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show's website that we built, the high impact image slider 'above the fold' on the site draws the eye and keeps the reader for the ever so critical first 5-10 seconds. That is how long a person statistically takes – 5 to 10 seconds – to decide if they are going to stay on your site, or surf eleswhere.

Then, as you scroll down the page, we have a blog that is updated in the run-up to show season and that features some post show info as well. Plus, at the bottom of every page, there are news feeds that are updated 24/7/365.

/old_sign_pil-credit-wikicommons-mhpronews-com-cuttingedge-blog-.jpgHaving the right first impression on your website is important and so too is keeping a steady diet of information that your target audience will want to come back and check out. If you haven't done an update on your website in the past 3-4-5 years, odds are you are way overdue.

An outdated website, like an old sign, might be better than nothing. On the other hand, the turn off from a bad business sign may keep people away. The same could be true for many of those 'better customers' you want to attract who have the cash or good credit. The newer, nicer website is far more likely to draw and keep them engaged.

Websites and road signs both need to be kept fresh and appealing. When you do so properly, it will be reflected on the bottom line of your factory built housing business. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Slavery!

April 20th, 2013 No comments

There is an old maxim that goes like this: “First you form your habits, then your habits form you.” Ladies and gents, this is true and over time leads to chains that are as challenging to break as they took time to forge. Habits lead to slavery. The question becomes if we are the masters of that habit – masters of that slavery – or if that slavery masters us.

To rephrase, are we making or breaking ourselves through our habits?

Let me give an example of slavery and an 'aha' moment.

At the recent Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Congress and Expo (C&E), I was listening to a group of community owners talking about 21st Mortgage's CASH program. One was commenting to the others words to this effect. “I had all these vacant lots, and knew about this program that Lance Hull at 21st Mortgage had talked to me about. But instead of thinking, 'hey, this is a solution for my vacancy problem,' I was looking at it backwards. I was thinking that if I did that then I was leaving money on the table. I had to change my thinking before I was able to see the program for what it is.”

That happens to be true of EVERYTHING we do in business, not just the example that the gent above was referencing. There happens to be a number of programs available today that could be useful to community owners – or street retailers, for that matter! – but because of slavery to 'past habits' and old ways of thinking, they are not being used to the benefit of a business or location. FYI, yes, you can email and ask me about them.

I was listening to Crystal Washington during the 2013 National Community Council's Forum at C&E. Frankly, most of what she was saying simply made me smile. Of course, we agree! We preach it daily through Featured Articles here on MHProNews, or here on the Cutting Edge of Marketing and Sales blog. Even the video that she played was a version of one that we have featured before on our website.

That video reminds us that like it or not, change is happening, and that the pace of change is rapid.

 

Slavery to old habits keeps you locked up in the past. The only way to end that slavery is ironically to forge new habits! You can't stop doing one thing without starting doing some new thing instead.

That's not to say that all that one did in the past is 'bad' or 'wrong.' But you have to dispassionately evaluate – or have a third party professional evaluate for you – what to keep and what to replace with something modern that will move your location, career or business ahead.

One of the presenters – who did a very fine job – nevertheless made a statement I took issue with. The statement was that 74% of housing shopping was starting online. Sorry, but the National Association of Realors puts that number at a whopping 94% of home shopping is online!

louisville-show-ipad-website-mhpronews_com-2.JPG

This is an example of one of many modern website styles that causes visitors to
dig deeper into your product or service.

That's doesn't mean you must dump all forms of print or other media. What it does mean is that if you have a web presence, you better make sure it is a good one. Because studies show that millions of online shoppers will decide in less than 5-10 seconds if they will stay on your website to learn more.

chains-of-gold.jpg

If your

then it is time to stop the slavery to the past and forge the powerful new chains of gold that will build your business' future. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

How often do you Shower?

April 11th, 2013 No comments

How often do you shower or take a bath?  Daily? Every other day? What ever it is, think of the number…

Now, how often do you purposefully read something motivational or inspiring? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

Some people told Zig Ziglar that motivation is time wasted, because it 'wears off.'  Zig's response was classic.  “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar.

The meaning is clear. You need a regular dose of motivation, the same as you need to wash regularly.  For those who don't, they may stink…

…and I've met people with 'stinking thinking' before, haven't you?  If we are candid, we have all at times been guilty of negative thoughts and thinking. So like bathing, we need a regular dose of motivation and inspiration.

If you don't have a good attitude, you can build one up! It may take longer than a shower does, but regular immersion in inspirational thinking pays off the same as regular doses of negative thinking tears someone down.

Motivation and Achievement

When I am recruiting for a client's company or myself, there are three things I look for, and they are summed up in this acronym: ASK.

> Attitude
> Skills
> Knowledge/Experience

If all three in A.S.K. are present in a candidate for a career role:

  • a good attitude,
  • the right skills and
  • experience,

there is a good chance we have the right person for the job.  When only the second and third traits are there, but a good 'can do!' attitude are missing, that person just might be drag, dangerous or a liability.

The Sage of Omaha said something similar:

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”

  • Warren Buffett

Think about Buffett's  'energy' quality as being positive or negative, and you see that part of what 'the Sage of Omaha' is talking about in having a good, positive 'energetic' attitude.  Integrity also reflects our attitude or mindset. The bad attitude is the one that is more lazy, lacks discipline and is more likely to be dishonest.

While positive motivation and integrity don't always go hand in hand, when they do, you routinely discover a better work ethic.

In our ground breaking marketing and sales training programs for clients who sell manufactured homes at retail centers or in land lease communities, I'm looking at the attitudes of those in front of me.  Are the pros being trained or coached sporting a good or bad attitude?  Are they embracing the training? Are they giving it their best effort? Or are they resisting it?

We know from experience that those who commit to our marketing and sales process get better results, often dramatically better. We've seen locations increase sales from the low single digits monthly into double digit closings monthly. But I also recall an operation where someone resisted the training, the supervisor didn't require that they buckle down and 'just do it,' so is it a surprise that they didn't change or improve much? Of course not. I've yet to meet someone working for a company that had so little skill, that they couldn't do what we ask. So what makes the difference between the successful team members and those who won't grow?

Clearly it is the motivation of the 'professionals' involved!

We created the free INspiration blog for the expressed purpose of providing a positive place in manufactured housing to come and get that routine boost of motivation!

Many of Tim Connor's or our Zig Ziglar columns are motivational or inspirational as well, as are other thougthful writers, such as periodic contributor and successful MH Retailer Greg McClanahan.

There are some who learn things fast and easy.

For others, change may start out hard, but with practice what is new in time becomes a habit.  Habits by definition become second nature, as normal as breathing.  Cultivate a good 'can do' attitude in yourself and share that with your team mates.  Feed your mind with good, inspirational and motivational thoughts.

It routinely pays off for those who do!

The logic of this is so obvious.  

Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you are right!'”
– Henry Ford.

Be a part of the IN crowd, and see the INspriation blog here. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Start YOUR Free Manufactured Housing Image Campaign, Today!

April 6th, 2013 No comments

We don't require a multi-million dollar national campaign to improve the image of manufactured housing, as nice as it may be to have one. We don't need high dollar Madison Avenue advertising 'gurus' – who don't know our industry – to tell us what we ought to do. We know deep down what needs to be done, even if some may resist it. Improving our image can start in your market with even modest, but valuable steps.

This is my view, but it also happens to reflect what the CEO of high flying UMH, Sam Landy, said:

"People need quality housing at a reasonable price. We provide that. We provide a better product than apartments, townhouses, condo’s and single family homes for our customers. Apartment rents have been increasing. Single family home buyers now need down payments once again.

Given these changes…our sales will be far higher than today’s paltry 50,000 units and may even exceed the old records of three or four hundred thousand shipments per year…I’ve come to the conclusion that we are all responsible for our own marketing. If you want to be a great retailer you have to pay the bill for the marketing. Why should anyone do it for you, and all markets are local anyhow." (Full Sam Landy interview is linked here.)

You may be part of the largest network of manufactured home retailers or communities in the U.S., or the sole proprietor of a modest 'mom and pop' location or anything in between.

You may have longed for a grand TV and multi-media image building campaign, but for whatever reasons, the powers that be did not make it happen. That's all in the past, we have to move on and can so long as you start your own image campaign, now. We can help make some of that happen for you, "free."

Yes, you can.

Yes, in the next few minutes, you will see that it is so easy, you may laugh and wonder why no one has done this before!

Most of the U.S. doesn't have a clue as to how nice a modern manufactured home is, especially how much appeal, quality and value factory builders pack into a residential style HUD Code home.

It is up to retailers, communities and others in Manufactured Housing to show the new reality to the public.

Here is how you do it in YOUR market, as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Step 1, learn to use Craigslist and other similar sites – which are free – the smart way.

Example. Take a multi-sectional or residential style manufactured home you have good quality photos of that has been properly decorated. Place 2-4 of those photos into a very short Craigslist post.

Starting with the summary and headline in Craigslist, you could use something like this:

$73,900 3 Bedroom Builder Must Sell ASAP! Your Town, USA

This is a modern, factory-built home that meets or exceeds all federal construction standards for our market.

"Your lot or ours, one only at this price. Ph XXX-XXX-XXXX."

If you have an MLO number, you could add the words: "Financing available." *

To learn more about modern factory-built homes, go to MHLivingNews.com.

Step 2, keep a post like this going at all times on Craigslist, more than one is better, just make sure they aren't duplicates so you don't get flagged.

The keys are: amazing price (compared to site built) BUT NOT TOO LOW, your phone number and a link to MHLivingNews.com. Don't say too much, less is often more when it comes to lead generation.

Step 3, Patience and persistence! Some home shoppers will have an aha moment early on, some will take repeated exposures and time. Typically, CRM studies suggest it takes some 3-6+ months for good credit customers to make the first contact, because they are shopping carefully. But as more and more housing shoppers stumble onto your offer (because your headline DOESN'T say, 'manufactured home' or 'mobile home,' etc.) some will get curious. Some will eventually reach out, if you treat them properly, some of those will come and buy.

That is how it starts.

The other key to this is that YOU and YOUR location delivery good, honest service and value. Do what you say you will do, so don't over promise, it isn't necessary. More on this and related in a future column.

If you need help with your marketing or training, click here.

Sam Landy's point above is dead on, we have what the public needs in housing! We as manufactured home professionals have to deliver on our potential value. When your location delivers qualify living and what is promised, you will enjoy ever more success.

Some readers will wonder. Why not just use my own company's website for this? Good question!

You can, but there is POWER in having a third party website – independent from your company – to demonstrate and 'prove' the reasons for manufactured and factory built homes. MHLivingNews.com is like a third party endorsement of the manufactured home lifestyle. That is something your website can't easily do solo.

Two of the most powerful and popular pages on the MHLivingNews.com website are our photo gallery and the tornado vs. Manufactured Home video page. Those pages – and so many others that we routinely add to – are not likely on you website. You may not have the time or resources to do all that MHLivingNews does, so just link MHLivingNews.com in your posts, and start the outreach in your market.

MHLivingNews is already getting thousands of page views every month. But Craiglist has millions of page views daily, and many of those are from people seeking a home!

So if even 2% to 5% of every MH Retailer or MH Community location in the country did this simple 1, 2, 3 plan, the traffic would soon be in the ten of thousands. In time that can grow to the hundreds of thousands and then into the millions on MHLivingNews.

A simple 'free' image campaign for YOU and YOUR market! It will spread to others, and everyone in the mix will benefit.

More on this topic later, but you can start this today by taking those 3 easy steps! ##

* While FTC regs seem to permit this, A commentator claiming expertise has suggested that the law on this subject is ambiguous, and it would be prudent to seek specific legal advice before using the words 'financing available,' even if you have an MLO number.

(First Photo Credit: FlickrCC/dislokated, other photos from MHLivingNews.com)

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

The Bad News

April 3rd, 2013 No comments

Bad news often travels faster than good news. For the media, “If it bleeds, it leads!” Your team mates may be the first ones to toss you under the bus, even if you've done good things (sometimes, especially because you've done good things).

People talk about CYA for a reason, because they know the 'bad news' drill.

Perhaps it is just part of our human nature, but the reality is that you can't please everyone and thus have to work harder to make a good reputation for your business. In the internet age, you can get torched by anonymous emails, or websites placed online for the very purpose of torching another. Online ratings (1 to 4 stars, etc.) also make it easy for people to dish out less than kind (or fair…) feedback.

So dealing with “Bad News” means you have to supply your residents, your customers and others with a steady supply of Good News!

In the age of micro-blogging – which includes, but is not limited to Twitter or Facebook – it is interesting to note that some say the trend in marketing may be back towards longer content, especially if it sports graphic images and the message is focused on your target market's interests. The Dan Kennedy marketing crowd would not be surprised by this trend.

If you have a website, but don't have a blog, the short answer is 'start one!' Blogging done correctly enhances your website's SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Blogs are a handy way of getting and sharing 'good news' with your target audience.

Sharing Good News

For those who already have a website, there are lots of blogging plug ins available (just Google blogs, blog software, blog plug ins), along with third party hosted blogs, etc. If you want to hire installing a blog onto your website or need a new or updated website, there are companies like our webtech division that do that for others.

Not a writer?

If you aren't a writer, consider hiring one part time or by the article.

Another approach is to invite guest articles by knowledgeable or respected people in the field. Our Industry Voices Guest blog has had some 200 articles submitted, which is more than one a week on average since we launched it.

A third approach can be to use more photos or videos – that you can post on YouTube – as a primary or major means of communication for your blog posts.

When you share news – good news – to your readers/visitors, you can do so in short messages, long or in between. Some of the keys for successful blogging include, but are not limited to:

  • Consistency. If you set out to blog once or twice a week, stick with it! Don't start out great guns, and then falter.
  • It takes time to build your audience. Again, persistence and consistency are keys for long term success.
  • Use the SEO and Tag functions build into your blog, see below.
  • Accuracy in SEO and Tags. Don't put keywords or tags into the SEO portions of your blog post that don't apply. Below you will see an example of the keywords/tags used in an article on Industry Voices. Everyone of those key words were used in the article it was associated with. That makes the article's keywords/tags relevant. Relevance over time will enhance your blog – and website's – SEO and 'authority' with the search engines.

tags_for_Marty_Lavin_interview-posted-mhpronews-com-cutting-edge-blog

If Bad News Hits You

What if truly bad news hits you and your business? If you've established a blog, you now have the ability to respond to it. You can say what the 'bad news' is and then give it your side of the story in a way that doesn't cross any boundaries.

Today, blogging has become part of the 'alternative media.' Some reporters and writers have 'made it big' by blogging. As a rule, those success stories focused on putting out quality work and doing so consistently.

For the success stories where blogging was used to help build a business, there are thousands of examples of businesses using blogging to grow. MHProNews.com is in these both of these groups, so we are living proof that blogging can and does pay off when you do it properly.

But don't take my word for it. When it comes to blogging, take Nike's advice: “Just do it.” ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford