Real Estate Market Directions and Investing Made Simple

Forecasting the short term direction of residential home values, whether nationally or in a specific geographic region, may be one of the most difficult tasks. The fact that home values will rise in the long run is a given, as inflation is a part of the make up of our economy. So, how can you tell when a real estate market has hit that peak or trough in a cycle? Well, first, although you may hear the phrase ‘history repeats itself’ keep in mind that very often in real estate the symptoms repeat but usually not the causes. This is the main reason why the assumption that a downward trend might last four years historically is irrelevant to current or future corrections.What drove the most recent boom in many of the ‘hot’ markets was emotion, pure and simple. Whether it was the fear of feeling the need to buy a home before one could no longer afford it or the greed that motivated people to invest at any cost, as real estate was perceived as an investment with which one just can’t lose, the result was the same, grossly overinflated home values. Exacerbating the problem were other factors including excessively loose and irresponsible lending practices along with historically low interest rates, real estate professionals more concerned with commissions than offering responsible advice, and a lack of judgment from governmental agencies that could certainly have curtailed the problem instead of ultimately needing to play ‘clean up’. The mainstream media had an enormous part to play in the boom. Sensationalism sells, and most of the focus was given to economic reports that were unidirectional. The general public bases many of their decisions to purchase, or not, on industry professionals and confirm this with what their favorite news anchor has to say. Unfortunately, most of the data reported in the media was biased and came directly from the real estate and mortgage industry.Now, we hear reports on how real estate prices have bottomed, yet many analysts are predicting more inventory and higher interest rates. How is it that something that seems so simple can find well-informed industry professionals sitting on both sides of the fence? Basically, for people employed in a real estate profession there is an inherent need for optimism when one’s profession revolves around the need for delivering sound advice to potential home owners. If a real estate salesperson or a loan officer was to greet a customer and then proceed to tell that customer that they will be able to buy a home for less money in six months, would that industry professional have a reasonable shot at earning the customer’s business?As you read this, consider your own local real estate market. Were new jobs added at a high rate through the boom (NOT considering the explosive growth in real estate related professions!)? Was there an inordinate amount of people buying on speculation (now you can include the real estate professionals)? Were the homes in your market incredibly undervalued throughout most of the boom? Did your area suddenly become recognized as a new center for industry, commerce, or resorts? If the answers to these questions are no then the foundation for the phenomenal increase in values was weak, at best.There were certainly areas where significant growth was warranted, like coastal properties along the Atlantic and Pacific seaboard, resort areas with international appeal such as Lake Tahoe, Aspen and Vail, Hawaii, areas that had seen a large increase in new jobs and growing commerce centers, and also areas that were economically stable and had great potential for investors to obtain a positive cash flow with limited risk. Many of these areas experienced higher paced growth and some still saw values increase above a healthy pace but for the most part were safer markets.In California, we currently are seeing a rise in home sales. Most of what is currently selling are foreclosures, short sales and homes at auction. It’s my belief that there’s a large seasonal influence and that the trend will be positive through August. When Fall arrives we will see a decrease in buyers, as always. Potential buyers will realize that the enormous supply of inventory will continue to grow, interest rates are likely to increase, and home values will decline. This will be the ultimate time to buy. Sellers, mostly banks that need inventory moved out of their REO, will become HIGHLY motivated to accept very low offers as they will all want to start 2009 with cleaner books. As these properties sell they will contribute to the lowering of values. We’ll still see media reporting information behind the curve and many buyers will be scared until reality hits around the normal start of the 2009 buying season, let’s say March. This will be enough time for the less-informed to see prices legitimately on the rise and will have given them enough time to watch investors bottom feed.After March 2009 I see values correcting to more appropriate values rather quickly as they will have certainly over-corrected to the negative by then. Foreclosures will be much less common starting in 2009 for several reasons, such as loan modifications will be in place, most people will be in healthier loans by refinancing, and simply the fact that foreclosures are less likely when money is to be made (appreciating home values). Also, lending guidelines will begin to loosen a little. Those, too, have slightly over-corrected in response to losses and it will dawn on investors that once again, mortgage backed securities may offer a reasonably safe and sound investment choice.Of course, as we live in this great, capitalistic, free society, we will be sure to experience similar market swings in the future. Where there is money to be made there are also people willing to take inordinate risk and throw caution to the wind. Greed will not go away. Being ahead of the curve, recognizing the tell-tale signs, and using sound judgment will always be the safest and most profitable approach. Real estate investing is, and will remain one of the most powerful wealth-building tools available to anyone willing to do their homework.

How Can I Get Rich With Affiliate Marketing?

Most of the time, people start an online business as an affiliate marketer because it is the easiest way to build a business: you only need to promote somebody else’s products without having to create them. But not all business people tend to rake profits with affiliate marketing. Most of them only join an affiliate program but never get anything except for a big zero goose egg.

So how can you be a super affiliate who gets a six-figure income per month, like Ewen Chia, as an example? These are three key points that you need to do:

1) Build a list.

Never ever send a visitor directly to the sales page. Most of the people tend to promote their “naked” links which usually end up directly to the sales page. If you do this, it does not benefit you at all.

You will only depending on the sales page conversion, and even that is not at your benefits!

Without a list, you cannot give extra value to the customer. You don’t get to offer them bonuses, extra valuable reports, and even future sales. On average, a sales letter gets around 2% conversion. That means 98 out of 100 people that you send directly to the site will not buy.

If you do not capture them in your list, you miss the chance of promoting future sales to those 98 person.

So, build your list, and promote your list instead of your affiliate link.

2) Presell the offer.

Ken Evoy says that “effective pre-selling is the presentation of top-notch, editorial content, blending in *naturally* the benefits of a product or service as they pertain directly to your audience’s unique needs.”

In other words, you got to provide valuable content that gets your readers to trust you. Only with that valuable information, you blend in product and/or service recommendation that directly relate to the information you have provided, particularly emphasizing the BENEFITS of those products and/or services.

As a conclusion, never say to your prospective customers “Hey, buy this product because it will make you rich overnight!”. Instead, say “Hey, I managed to make more money when I follow this guide. It gives you benefits of how to craft a good sales letter, and it will convert more prospective buyers!”.

3) Create an incentive.

What’s differentiating you with millions other affiliate marketers? Why does customer need to buy from you instead of buying from him or her? What do I get when buying from your affiliate link?

These are questions in the mind of customers each and every time they’re shoved with affiliate link. You got to create an advantage with your affiliate offers in order to outsell other affiliates. Create a suitable bonus that will make your customer’s life easier, so they will have enough reason to buy from you.

And when they buy from you, you rake in the commission!

There you have it – three quick and easy ways to start banking bigger affiliate paychecks.

Direct Marketing Systems For Business Success

If you are not getting the sales you want, effective direct marketing systems are probably not part of your marketing toolkit.

Marketing Effectiveness

Mass marketing methods used to work, but these days, traditional marketing to mass audiences is very wasteful. In his book, Permission Marketing, Seth Godin claims that, on average, we are subjected to around 3,000 marketing messages each day. The message we need to understand from this situation, as marketers, is that it is becoming far more difficult to get our message through to our market, because the clutter of marketing messages makes it almost impossible to attract attention.

With the effectiveness of mass marketing methods having deteriorated over the years to the point of relative ineffectiveness that they have now reached, the most important strategy for us in marketing has become identifying and targeting our most receptive audience. Marketing now needs to be up close and personal to be effective. It does not matter how good our message is and what media we use, if we are not directing our communication to someone who is desperately hungry for our product we stand little chance of success.

Target Market

Can you describe your ideal customer? To effectively target your customers you need to be able to describe the ideal customer in intimate detail. To more effectively communicate with your target market, you need to know the physical and geographic elements that describe your ideal customer, what makes them tick and why they like your product. Having identified our target market, we now need to find out how to communicate our message. This element has two aspects: what is our message and what media we use to deliver it.

Message

Our message to our market must achieve a five things:
1. Attract the attention of our target market by addressing a specific need
2. Present an attractive solution to satisfy the particular need
3. Present proof that our solution is the best
4. Create an urgency to seek the solution now, and
5. Motivate action to obtain the solution.

Our message need not necessarily be delivered in a single communication, although if it can be effectively done in one hit, only use one hit. However, for many products or services, a series of communications may be required to effectively deliver the message. Our direct marketing system is what we need to design to deliver our message appropriately. Our direct marketing system will comprise as many steps and methods as we need to work our way through these five stages of acceptance.

Our initial direct marketing messages must be directed towards generating leads by attracting the attention of the people in our market who have the need our product addresses. It will depend on the maturity of our market as to how much work we need to do at this point. For new products, lead generation may require considerable work to educate the market about the existence of the problem before you can present your solution. For more mature products, a need is often very apparent.

Once we have attracted attention, our aim is to get those people to identify themselves as having the particular need, so that we can turn our efforts towards lead conversion. This is achieved through the final four steps of our direct marketing system. The scepticism that exists in the world today means that you have to work hard to get your market to accept your product is the best solution to meet their need. You must be careful how you make this claim. It must be believable and acceptable.

We all tend to procrastinate and put off taking action to the last minute. You need to overcome this inertia by creatively communicating reasons to “do it now.” Using the concept of impending loss is the most effective method to achieve urgency. This can often be achieved through communicating scarcity and the risk of missing out if immediate action is not taken. This could also be achieved with the risk of a price rise leading to a perceived loss of the price difference if the purchase is left to after the price rise. However, there are many other ways to communicate urgency and it is best to be creative rather than use tired and unimaginative methods that customers may see through and regard as mere techniques to get them to buy now.

The most important element after getting this far is to motivate action to buy. Many marketing communications are weak at this point. Many ads we see promote a product and do everything else right, but leave out the call to action. Subtlety is an ineffective marketing tool. You need to tell your customers what you want them to do to buy your product.

Media

The final step in developing our direct marketing system is to determine the appropriate media to use. Many people make the mistake of thinking about media first and then developing the message. This often happens when you have an advertising sales person pressuring you to buy space in their media. This approach leads to poor or worse, zero results. When you have identified your target market and developed the appropriate messages, the decision about media is much easy to work out. Often, it will depend on how easy your target market is to reach. You need to use the most efficient means of attracting the attention of the people most ready to buy. In lead conversion processes, you may use a combination of direct mail, internet (email and web sites), or personal selling approaches, again depending upon the ease of reach.

Conclusion

One vital aspect of developing an effective direct marketing system and a huge advantage over traditional marketing approaches, is the ability to test your system before you commit enormous amounts of money to it. Mass media marketing is expensive and unaccountable. Direct marketing systems give you the ability to measure results and track your return on investment. You can trial your system in small quantities before you roll it out to a larger audience. Eventually, with the right fine tuning, your direct marketing system will deliver predictable results. You will be able to plan your expenditure and schedule your marketing program to deliver the sales volumes you need at any time. Ultimately, your direct marketing system should deliver you all the sales from the most preferable and profitable customers that you would ever want.