• We often don't give our new marketing ventures enough time to sink or swim.
  • Getting one part in 10 wrong isn't a failure -- it's cause for adjustment.
  • Patience when used with accurate measurement is a powerful combination.

Raise your hand if you have heard someone in your office utter a version of any of these statements:

  • I wrote a blog; nothing happened.
  • I started a Facebook page and only got five likes (and one was my mom).
  • I called expired listings last January and didn’t get a listing.
  • I did a direct mail piece, but no one called.

Yep, as expected — that’s a lot of hands.

The short run is longer than you think

The pressure to produce immediate results is everywhere. Coaches lose their job after a critical loss; CEOs are fired after a quarter of less-than-stellar results, and we expect our political leaders to solve century-old problems with one speech.

It just doesn’t work that way.

Effective plans, in any arena, take time to implement and execute, and even worse, appear to be ill-conceived until given time to take root and bloom.

Often, all that is needed is a little patience (and maybe a few tweaks) to see the investment begin to pay off.

Binary results have nuanced inputs

Outcomes tend to be binary (make or miss, win or lose, live or die) despite the fact that the root causes are far more subtle. It is rarely the singular input that causes success or failure but rather a combination of many things that determines the outcome.

Getting one part of 10 wrong is not failure; it is simply incomplete. Don’t pull the plug too quickly.

If you feel that your latest marketing effort was unsuccessful, then ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long did you try?
  • Did you track your efforts?
  • Did you make any modification to the process that was data-driven?
  • Did you just scrap the entire thing and try something else?

I bet I know the answers.

So how can you tell?

Testing, tracking, measuring and analytics.

People tend to view marketing as an exclusively creative art form, when the reality is it’s a blend of creative and data. Good marketers tend to be adept in the visual arts — fonts, colors, logo creation, typography, photography, layouts — but the truly elite marketers are equally adept at data collection, benchmarking and testing.

There is a running joke in our office that “Rick hates print.” Now, I don’t hate print per-se — I rather enjoy seeing one of our fabulous listings elegantly displayed on the pages of a luxury magazine.

The problem is that I struggle spending money on print when I have an incredibly hard time assessing its effectiveness. When I can’t measure an expenditure’s impact, I don’t know if my money was well spent, poorly spent or somewhere in between — thus I shy away.

Knowing where to deploy energy and capital becomes far more obvious when you have data to help guide your actions.

Rome wasn’t built in a day

This might come as a shock to some of you, but not all of your clients are thinking about you or real estate all day long every day of every week. And guess what — you are not the only one trying to reach them either.

Know that it make more than a few rounds of e-blasts, social posts, direct mail or other advertising to reach your targets with anything that is impactful. Be patient and most importantly, be respectfully persistent.

If you are going to invest the considerable time and effort in the creation of any type of marketing program, make sure you also invest time in making it measurable.

Bounce rates, time on site, unsubscribes, A/B testing, shares and click-through rates (to name a few) are all terms you should become familiar with when you create a marketing plan.

Track your metrics and look for improvements that indicate you are doing a better job of reaching your audience.

If you believe in what you are doing, then give it time. Patience is a virtue, and when used with accurate measurement, it’s a powerful combination.

Rick Jarvis is a co-founder of the One South Realty Group in Richmond, Virginia.

Email Rick Jarvis.

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