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Need some inspiration to help your business? Here are 10 gems shared at the Real Estate Connect San Francisco conference that can help you build your real estate business.

1. You’re running a business — treat it that way
Are you investing in training, new technology and innovation? If not, allocate between 9 percent and 15 percent of your gross commission income to these activities — it’s the best way to always be a step ahead of your competition. 

2. Preparation trumps being gifted
After you reach a certain level of talent, the difference between stellar performance and mediocre performance comes down to a single factor: preparation. Those who succeed across all professions are those who prepare, prepare, prepare.

3. The pain of discipline
Not having clear focus is like drag on an airplane. Clear focus and discipline help you reach your goals sooner and with less effort. "The pain of discipline weighs ounces. The pain of failure weighs tons."

4. Simplicity is the Holy Grail when marketing on the Web
How much do you have crammed on to your home page? Most agents try to get to many items on that page. To get better results from your home page ask, "What do my users really want from this page?" Give them what they want and make it easy to find. Remember — keep it simple, concise and clear.

5. Reduce your pay-per-click costs
While you may not always be able to use this strategy, Ben Kinney suggested that if you are posting a pay-per-click ad (those ads you see in Google at the top of the page and on the right-hand side of your searches) you can keep your costs down by including your phone number. If the person calls you rather than clicking through to your website, you have a real lead. Best of all, you didn’t pay the pay-per-click fee.

6. Use the "Like" button
In March of 2010, Facebook surpassed Google as the most visited website in the world. To take better advantage of Facebook, if you have a blog, post a "like" button at the bottom of your post. The challenge with using the "like" button is that many people are now just clicking on the "like" button rather than engaging in a conversation. In fact, the current ratio is approximately 10,000 "Likes" for every 1,142 "shares."

7. Facebook user beware
If you’re using Facebook, there are several pitfalls that could cause major problems for you. First, if you don’t log out of Facebook while you surf elsewhere, Facebook tracks the sites you visit. This allows Facebook to tailor their advertising to you. In essence, this is providing your information to third-party vendors.

Second, if you do something that violates the Facebook terms of use, they can take down all of your content.

Third, there continue to be issues as to who owns the content that you post on Facebook — is it yours or does it belong to Facebook? To keep protected, post your core content on your own website or blog and use a link in Facebook. This way, if the Facebook gremlins have a glitch or decide that they don’t like you, your data is secure on a site that you control.

8. 365 blog posts on fun things to do in your area
Dale Chumbley has been building his business by posting an activity a day to do in his area. While you may not want to take on such a daunting task, you can keep your site relevant by posting events and other high-interest items regularly on your blog.

If you need some inspiration, check out Eventful.com, which lists upcoming events in your area. Meetup.com lists groups that are meeting face to face about a shared interest. This could include cooking glasses, alumni groups, people who speak Welsh, or almost any other topic where a group shares an interest.

Another place to check is TripAdvisor.com, which is a great source for restaurant reviews as well as feedback about local hotels and other recreational activities.

9. Use a heat map
I really loved this idea from Chumbley as well. If you’re active on Foursquare, report in whenever you are in your farm area. Chumbley uses a "heat map" that illustrates he spends the bulk of his time actively doing real estate-related activities in his farm area.

10. Geo-target
Geo-targeting is nothing new in real estate. Our industry has had "farm" areas for years. Nevertheless, "geo-targeted advertising" (linking ads based upon your interests and your location) is one of the hottest trends today.

If you’re online regularly, you’ll notice that many sites display ads based upon the location of your ISP. For example, you may be traveling across the country, but when you are online, you’ll notice the ads still match your hometown. In other instances, the ads may display for the area where you are visiting.

To take advantage of this trend, several speakers highly recommended taking local ads in Google and Facebook. In fact, Facebook may be a better ad spend due to the fact that it has such a wealth of data about its users, where they live, as well as their Web surfing habits.

While this is a great list, it’s only useful in terms of what you choose to implement. There’s so much to choose from it can be overwhelming. The best way to approach this issue is to choose a single strategy, implement that, and when you’re comfortable, move on to implementing something else.

Remember the old proverb, "A journey of 10,000 miles begins with a single step."

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the NAR #1 Best Seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named "new and notable" by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com. You can contact her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com or @BRoss on Twitter.

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