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Localized Marketing with Elijah Whites
We’ve got Elijah Whites, a rock star from Serving Social joining us here. This episode is all about let’s get local. What do you mean by that, Elijah?
We’re going to get local with our marketing because everything is going local, mobile first. People are looking for stuff near me. As a large set of your users are going to be using their mobile devices, we need to understand how that affects us within search because a mobile device is going to bring different searches than a desktop. It’s important.
Let’s talk about getting local. It’s important. I will say that I’ve been very guilty of not being local, not having a local presence because the fact is, I’m constantly traveling.
Even when you’re constantly traveling, you have a real opportunity to get local in the areas that you’re traveling to. This is specific content, looking at saying, “I’m going to this town, so I want to talk about this town. I’m going to blog about my entire time there. I’m going to make sure that people know why I was there, what the goal was, what the challenge was while I was there, who I met, the connections I’ve made, the companies I went to. I’m going to make a very localized content that I push out there for these areas.” This is how local works. When people search online, I’m looking for this near me. What they’re looking for is, if I’m in Austin, Texas and I say, “I need a good tailor in Austin,” I’m going to find stuff online talking about the top tailors in Austin. If I’m going to be traveling to Austin for whatever it is, then I want to talk about that while I’m there. I also want to talk about where I’m from and why I traveled there. It’s the experience. You’re building the narrative for people.
One of the great things is when we went to Hawaii, I was flipping through Instagram as we were waiting for stuff to get ready one night and popped up Mill House Restaurant in Maui. It was scenic views overlooking this pineapple plantation. We went there. They showed the place. I went there, tagged myself in it and I love that. This is a great marketing. I gave a huge kudos to the management there because they were like, “You must have figured out I was here or something with people there,” because it showed up. I was like, “I needed more of that.” Local is relative. I have been guilty of not doing a lot here locally because I don’t have a lot of clients. I don’t buy a lot of debt here, but we’ve changed some things up for 2019.
We’re going to start a local monthly Note Closers meeting, a networking event with the help of Quest IRA. They’ve offered up for us to be at their offices. I like what you said, if you’re traveling somewhere, if you planned it out a little bit of ahead of time, you can share. Share, “I’m headed here this year.” For real estate investors, maybe you see if there’s a real estate investment club meeting going on. Plan that out. I’m planning on having a live Note Closers Show episode at different events I’m going to.
The internet is so crammed with so much right now. There are ads, there’s all this stuff coming at you. There’s one thing about posting content in general, but when you start getting very specific and you get that better stuff, going through your channel. For instance, you’re traveling. We’re getting authentic video. You’re talking about your experience, “We stopped at this gas station. We’re in the airport,” or whatever it is. You’re showing an authentic situation where, for instance, an ad doesn’t feel that way. A carefully-crafted post doesn’t feel that way. I don’t necessarily feel I’m getting a personal connection with you, but now that I’m along for the journey, you’re keeping us up to date. You’re talking about all these towns you’re going into. You’re tagging the places that you’re going into. You’re talking about your experience there. You’re leaving a couple of reviews. You’re building this big trail, but again, you’re building an authentic moment.
If you’re using the hashtags and you’re tagging these areas that you’re going into, a beautiful restaurant tagging the food and all that stuff. They found them, but it was through Instagram. Old school SEO and still, it was that same way. You go to the blogs, you go to the forum, someone asks you a question, you answer the question, put a link to a relevant article, which happens to be your article because you’re trying to market your content, building these citations. Social media is in that same realm. When you start tagging those things, you’re building these authentic micro-moments that are heavily-watched than something that was carefully crafted.
That’s smart there because we have tagged ourselves on an event and other people, our friends are here or other friends are in a restaurant nearby or other friends have stayed at that hotel or been to that event before. Let’s talk about maybe a couple of things and then step-by-step things that they can do as they’re out traveling this holiday season or things that or for the first part of next year. If you’re going on an event or you’ve got an event you’re creating in your neck of the woods, let’s say you’re going to networking event, maybe create an event, go to Facebook. It’s easy to create an event. You can post to it. If you’re traveling, “I’m flying in for the event.” Post a photo there from the airport or on your way out. As you’re stopping for coffee, “This is a great coffee spot outside the airport. I’m booked into the Hampton Inn or going for dinner,” sharing all that. That stuff adds value not only for what you’re doing, but it also adds experiences for other people going there.
You’re giving the experience. Maybe I didn’t get to go on that trip, but I got to still see all the things that you went on and so in a way I’m involved in this a little bit. I’m seeing your life behind the scenes, especially if you’re going to an event or you’re going to be on stage or something like that. People are getting to see this raw side of you on the other end. It’s authenticity. People love this. I love it. I see something when I see that it’s real. Some of the channels I follow so quick on YouTube is when it’s like, “This is legit.” Their cuts are bad, their editing is terrible because they want to show you this wasn’t carefully done. This is what’s happening. It’s great and I love that. If you’re traveling and you can build that narrative, know where going to be checking in. If you check in at the Hilton, what hashtags are they using? What do they use to tag their business? They might be able to give thanks to you and re-share your posts or something especially if it’s a good image or, “Thank you for your stay,” or whatever the case may be.
Knowing where you’re going, what you should be using on the way and then give yourself time. Don’t feel you’re going to rush through. Stop for a second and say, “I can take 30 seconds until everybody where I’m at, what I’m about to do,” and then here’s a pan on the front of the building or whatever the case may be. It’s easy. Plan to be able to have that happening. Give yourself time, breathe and never get flustered. By the way, if you do get flustered, show it. It’s fun. It’s an authentic situation. We’re all business owners. It’s good to show, “We’re all human. We can do this together.”
I have pros and cons of that. There are all pros on our side here. Every time I go to San Diego, I end up staying at The Dana for the most part. I tag one of my favorite spots, hashtag them. They saw it. They responded, “We’re looking forward to having you.” When I checked in to my room, there was a tray of fruit waiting for me saying, “Thank you for coming by.” They also included a little social media card say, “If you’d like to share this, here is where we’d like you to share it and the hashtag we use.” I shared it. I love that. Another thing happened, I was down in Orlando for the wedding for our friends. The night before, I was at the Orlando Note Closers group that Todd LaPierre had 50 people show up to it. The next night, I went to the local REIA club. It’d be 400 people at it. I’m going to network. I’m going because I buy a lot of stuff in Florida. I went in and paid my $20. As I turned around, the president of the club met me. The president of the club met me and asked me to step outside and un-invited me from the event because they were like, “We don’t want any gurus at our event because there was a guru here before who made a big fuss.” I was like, “I don’t do that.” That’s okay. I was like, “Fine, give me my $20.” I went out in the parking lot and did a Facebook Live about it.
A thousand views on the Facebook Live within the first day and I was like, “I guess you’ve officially made it when you get uninvited from an event.” What’s funny is it led to three other speaking events that people saw. They picked up on it. They were like, “We would love to have you come.” Charles Wilson invited me to the Temple one. Laura Bullock invited me to the Kansas City one. I got another one as well. That was funny and I wasn’t bitchy. I was like, “I would have been glad to do a Facebook Live that would have been a positive video forum with my audience, but they instead chose not to have me because they were afraid I was going to a scene.” I was not causing a scene. I don’t do that.
It’s awesome that you did that because a lot of people, as individuals, we’re naturally prideful. It’s embarrassing to get kicked out of a club or get kicked out in an event. That’s the last thing you want, is being asked to leave in front of a bunch of people. At the same time, you know what you’re about. It’s an opportunity to connect. There were a lot of great advantages out of that and that’s the deal. Business is challenging. That’s authentic. We’re up. We’re down. Don’t show all the nasty stuff. Don’t show where it gets negative. Every challenge has a solution, and as a business owner, it’s our job to take that deep breath and figure out what that solution is.
When you’re out there out and about getting that content, you don’t have to show every aspect of it and doesn’t even have to be detailed. It could be like, “We’re leaving. We’re here. Here are the events.” Work your way into something. You’re getting more in-depth in there, but it’s all great opportunity to get hyper-local. Talk about where you went, put out that post, maybe if you don’t do video, just blog about it. Take some good photos and then talk about what your favorite parts were, the food that you ate, tag those businesses in there. All of that stuff is easy things to do. I honestly find it fun. Google Maps is starting to tell you every place you did go. You can even go back and after a whole long weekend, sit there for a minute and leave a review for every location that you went to. That’s pretty good.
It’s great and it’s instantaneous feedback. I wanted to share this, Tom Hazzard says, “This all feeds into being valuable as Google shifts to personas. Going forward, websites without a persona active on the site will rank lower. Social exposure is great, but you need to use social to get people to your site and drive engagement on your site.” I couldn’t say it any better than that.
I want to reinforce that because brands or websites are branded. This site is in tune with itself. Colors are there. The branding is there. All of the buttons are the same size. You have a good user interface. Those websites are building more trust with users compared to the sites that did not take the time to do that. It’s building that persona. How do you want to speak to people? Are you fun? Are you quirky? Are you a little serious? Being able to take your website, have your branding, have your colors, and then make sure that your site reads that fun and quirky way. However you want to come across is so important. If you took the time to make sure that I had a good experience, that’s important to me. We all like good service and your website doesn’t change that. Make sure that that same tone of voice goes to your social media to pull them in. At that point in time, you have the foundation for a solid sales funnel where you can then focus in on the tactics of marketing that you use compared to, “Should I change these colors?” No, get it down well. Go ahead and get it uniform and then you’ll be able to start putting some quality stuff through there.
If you’re buying, especially for note investors out there, you’re buying an asset in a city, what are the things that get involved with that city? You’re going to have a realtor book up. One of the big things is you want to maybe get a photo with your realtor, have a headshot of the realtor. They’re out pulling back the pictures for you. You obviously have an attorney when you foreclose, maybe a picture or two of an attorney. Maybe you go to the local real estate club there and talk to people there. Maybe talk to the president or you fly in, get a picture with some other people there. Find other local investors out there. One of the things that we like to do is we do a mastermind and we have a vendor come in. We’ll have Aaron Young come in and then we ask everybody to say, “Who works with Aaron?” Anybody gets up there and take a photo becomes a good thing when we tag words that stuff that. Little things add value and it expands your digital footprint, but it also gives you the digital currency that maybe most people aren’t doing, but it shows up in the search engines and searches and other things.
The tone of voice, let’s talk about that in marketing. For instance, you’re an investor. You’re going to these towns or these cities. You’re pulling deals. You’re working with all these different realtors point pulling comps and things that. How do you want to speak to that community? For instance, is this going to be more of if I go in there and I’m pulling all of these, am I going to talk more like I’m almost a journalist? We’re here in town and we pulled these comps. You talk about the comps. You talked about the realtor pool and how great it was working with them, but then you start showing your expertise. You start talking about the community and the numbers and what this looks to you. You started talking about the area from there.
When you start getting into the legal side, now we’re reporting on the legal process that it takes to do this. What do you like about it? What do you don’t? Was it easy? Was it hard? However you want to talk about that. When you go into these areas and you’re working with these folks, tell people about what you do. “We help people. We help people by keeping them in their homes and this is why. We go through all of this hard work to do this. We try to find all these people to come together to make this deal happen.” Start showcasing the individuals in those towns. Take in mind, if you’re buying a house in a city and you’re going to go there and visit some of the influencers in that area. Some of the top realtors that are maybe working in those communities seem they have a lot of houses going into foreclosure, basically reach out to them and see if you can do something with them.
Can you all stand in front of the house, on the side of the street and put a phone on a tripod and record you all talking about the community and maybe the challenges they’re going through and how you all are working together? Those types of situations are easy to do, but that’s where you start getting ingrained into the community. This is where you start getting into, influencer marketing, because you’re finding micro influencers in the area who are already involved in a community that you’re trying to break into or you’re trying to get more exposure in. This is where maybe finding that realtor where you start promoting them in some of these communities as you’re doing your deals and talking about how it correlates. People might not understand what a note investor is but they know what a realtor is.
Being able to look for local realtors in the area and then find note investors that are hitting the same keywords to deal with the problem that they’re having that they think a realtor can solve, but you’re the right guy. Because you’ve reached out to those realtors and you made that connection with yourself in the community, the chances of somebody finding the story about you helping somebody stay in their home or keep them from going through a challenging point in their life. That right there is where you can make some big impact on a local level because it’s a journalistic story. It’s more on the news side and you do see a lot of the search engines going more towards a reportive style of content compared to you putting it a promotion out there.
It’s like our friend Koko, who does A Taste Of Koko. She does a great job with documenting what she’s eating, where she’s going, using good photos, sharing stuff. She was mentioned by Oprah or something a couple of times. She does that. If you’re going on vacation right this time of the year or you’re giving a cool gift or you’re sharing recipes, that’s the thing. The funny thing is if you tell what you’re doing and share what you’re doing, people who want are attracted to that. People do a lot of crazy stuff for a pair of cheap sunglasses. For the most part, I was getting down low.
There are times where you’re like, “I’ve got to get away from it.” Here I haven’t put too much of it because I’ve been swamped. We’ve got a lot of platforms going on, a lot of cool stuff hitting the market. I’ve been everyday recording me, “This is what I’m doing.” I give a recap of my day. The cool part about this is I give a game plan of where I’m going. Throughout the day if I take a little video here and a little video there and I’m walking across a bridge, I see them like, “That’s cool.” When I said, “I’m going into Austin. I’ll be downtown,” I’ve got clips of me walking. I’m not trying to get in front of the camera every time.
As an inspiring filmmaker, we’re not garbage collectors. We don’t have footage of the habit. We want to be able to use it. Being able to give that recap and then hit those main points, get a couple of clips here and there. It’s a great way to show people you’re out and about and you’re in the environments. At the same time, if you’re interacting with the community and then they start interacting with you, that’s even more power to you. Here’s the thing, you’re already walking around anyway. You probably already got your phone with you. A lot of times you pretty much have your phone with you at all times. Take a couple of little videos or even see some of these cool things that you look at when you’re in public and say, “That’s interesting.” Tell people about it.
It’s quality stuff that you can do while you’re out and about. This is stuff that you can do on a regular basis. If you do a lot of events and you’re pretty busy on a regular basis, you might say, “I only do this for events. I talk about more of the traveling because I want to build a persona of someone who’s international. There’s nothing that can hold me back. I’m all over the place all the time. I’m getting good exposure in every city I go to. I only talk about all the places I traveled into.” Maybe when you come, you do the recap videos. This is my set thing. Right before I leave for my trip, I do a video about what’s about to happen. I catch X amount of clips between that and I arrive wherever I’m at. Now I’ve arrived, I do a quick little a couple of minutes video of that I’m here and see what you can catch there in the process. You’ve got to start. You start getting those towns tagging where you’re at, taking good video. You’re starting to see that the restaurants, the hotels, they’ll share your content unless you are a total a-hole.
A great example is Steph took some photos when we were traveling on a cruise. We were at the Four Seasons Venus. They’ve got a beautiful walkway that walks through these palm trees and walks over out to the pier that goes out in the ocean. We were on there walking around. We took this great photo but didn’t share it. I was like, “Send me the photos.” I shared it and tagged Venus. They reached out to us and say, “Can we use your photo in our marketing? Can we share your photo across our platforms?” I said, “Yes, sure.” There’s no reason for them to give me a free stay. You may get people that share photos all the time. It’s better for me to share versus them. It’s not a big deal. They’re going to have millions I think. That’s the thing is if we had never shared it, about two or three times we’d been there. They’ve shared our photos that we’ve tagged them and stuff that. Take a few seconds, look at the social media because more and more companies, more and more entrepreneurs and businesses are becoming very active with that aspect of it because they realize digital currency across the digital footprint to help you out there to get the word out where you’re going.
It’s better content. I want to be clear on that. Posting stuff to post it doesn’t work. You have to have a reason to go out there. You don’t get a bunch of flyers and not have a plan on where you’re going to post those flyers. It’s a waste. That’s what’s going to make people happy. I’m getting local in the community. Don’t do that. You don’t want to do that at all, but it’s better. Let’s look at this. Brands are focusing towards a better user experience. There’s so much out there. There are ad words you’re getting hit, local everywhere. You go to a website, there are ad banners. There’s all this stuff. It’s almost becoming to the point to where unless we’re looking for something specific, you better be good enough to catch our eye because there’s so much we can’t pay attention to it all. We’re not taking it all in. A better experience, a better authentic piece of content is where you’re going to connect with brands and individuals through social media and through the content that you post on your website and all these other channels.
What I would suggest to all of you is when it comes down to getting local, see how you can reach out to other organizations, other companies. If you work with realtors throughout the town you’re already living in, do a guest blog with them. See if you can’t get on there and talk about your industry and how it pertains to them and how maybe they have helped you through these challenges. Whatever the case may be, reach out to some of these different professionals. See how either one, you can guest blog with them. They can come and have an interview with you and then you blog about your experience with it, whatever the case may be. Get into your community, get involved in some of these nonprofits that do different stuff. Start getting a good authentic local content out.
This can be in your community or maybe it’s not your thing to get in front of the camera, but every time you go to a new community, support a nonprofit while you’re there. It doesn’t always have to be about maybe it’s the note investing. It can be you as a human being living life, being an entrepreneur, being on the road and doing what you’re passionate about because people will connect with that. They’ll build trust with you as an individual and then they’ll buy your product. They’ll want to spend that money with you or trust that you can take care of a sensitive situation for them.
You did a good job of that when you’re out traveling or doing the travel.
We were all over the communities. We still have tons of stuff that I’m super excited for the New Year.
Let’s talk about some of those things. You’ve got some platforms and things that you’re rolling out.
The biggest thing on my docket is the Serving Social Marketplace. It’s been a long time coming. It’s where users can manage their marketing the easiest. Entrepreneurs, business owners, CMOs, they work with marketing agencies and they pull everything all underneath that one roof. You know what’s going on. You don’t know what’s going on. You have ours. You have this. You have that. This is going to allow you to say, “Do I need all of this? Maybe I want to spend $1,000 this month, but maybe I only want to spend $500 next month because I know there are going to be some ways I’ve got to move money around.” As business owners, you know that’s what it takes. You’re managing the business. You’re managing your marketing, your home life, and everything else, making sure everybody gets paid and you still have money in the company. Because of that, we wanted to make that platform a little simpler in that process. It’s going to be the all in one marketing management tool for entrepreneurs, business owners that type of thing. We already have some agencies doing some beta testing for it right now. That’s been pretty awesome, but this was supposed to take six months and we’re two years into it.
You had a few left turns along the way and adjusted some things too.
We hit some bumps.
That’s what happens there, but we’re excited about that too. Can they check it out? Is it live on ServingSocial.com?
It’s not live yet. This is going to be one of those things where if you want to stay tuned, definitely reach out to us, Elijah@ServingSocial.com. You can always email me. I know that we have a sign-up form for anybody who wants to go to our website now and sign up for the newsletter. You can stay up-to-date with everything that’s coming out so that way if you want to information as soon as it launches, we can get you there. We do have beta programs that we’re always working on. Anybody who wants to get involved with us on that aspect, we’re more than happy to bring people in and have to be a part of some of these areas where we need some help. You all need some help, we can make it a win-win together. ServingSocial.com or you can always reach out to me at Elijah@ServingSocial.com.
I’m excited about it too because you got me into wanting to do it. Let’s do a quick recap. If you’re traveling this holiday season, plan out your schedule. If you’re traveling, look at where you’re going to stay. Look at some of the things you’re going to do, probably some restaurants or events you’re going to. We get so much social media exposure with these two weekends a year with Note CAMP, people sharing images or sharing videos. We had some amazingly good ones this year, but the thing we try to do that with our guests or our students or campers is to get them primed so they’re doing that in the regular business. The regular 24/7 a day investment clubs. We love the exposure, the #NoteCAMP, but they need to go back and start doing that on a daily basis for themselves. Sharing what they’re doing, sharing the deals that they’re working through. Take pictures of the properties that you’re making bids on. You don’t show the addresses until you have a contract yet but sharing a realtor that drove by the property for pull comps. There are little things that you can do to help it invigorate and grow your local audience even if it’s remote from where you’re at or not where you’re local.
One last thing is be creative. You can even go as far as being creative every morning, give that little chant in the mirror. Don’t conform to what everybody else is doing online when it comes down to the content and stuff that you see out there, be yourself and be creative. If you want to put a sock puppet on your hands and now, you’re the puppet note buyer, be that. You’d be surprised at how many people would watch you. On top of that, you might even find you’re not even doing deals anymore because you got a puppet on your hand, but you’re now YouTube famous. There’s crazy stuff that happens especially when you start engaging and letting yourself be yourself online. There’s a lot of freedom that comes with that as well but be creative. Don’t conform because you saw somebody else do something. Because they’re already doing that, you’ve got to set yourself apart a little bit. Figure out what that is. I know that’s vague but be creative.
Thanks as always, Elijah. Once again, check it out and go to their website, ServingSocial.com.
People always say, “Is it Social Serving?” I’m like, “No.”
It’s ServingSocial.com. Check out what Elijah and Kristie have going on. Follow them online. You do a great job of sharing your local footprint on what you’re doing on a regular basis. You don’t just talk it, you walk it. We’ll see you on the next episode. We’ll see you all at the top.
- Serving Social
- A Taste Of Koko
- Serving Social Marketplace
About Elijah Whites
Elijah Whites is the CTO and executive of Google partners programs at Serving Social LLC. Elijah has had the opportunity to work with highly influential companies across numerous industries. His work discovers new and creative ways to incorporate marketing strategies through technology to gain brand awareness and increase market share.
Having worked with small businesses and national brands to reach a broader audience. Elijah’s work engages users across multiple platforms and increase online as well as in-store traffic by using Google‘s Street Views 360-degree immersive Technology.
The Elijah serves as an Advisor to VettedHeroes – A platform for training and career placement for our country’s former military members. As the Advisor for VettedHeroes, Elijah oversees all research and development initiatives. His work is helping this worthy organization connect skilled veterans with employers that want to hire them.
Elijah and his Wife (CEO and Founder) are Launching a new Brand that will build, connect, and grow small businesses across the country. The Traveling Marketer is a new endeavor that takes online marketing directly to businesses and supports the Serving Social mission of creating positive change. Working with Sponsors who promote a Smart City initiatives across the globe.