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Getting the right kind of attention with Tara Christianson

With Tara Christianson Century 21 Redwood Realty

Marketing is a contest for people’s attention and a digital strategy can increase your impact. Technology is Tara Christianson’s passion. Technology and training director for Century 21 Redwood Realty, with 12 offices around Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia and 500 agents, Tara’s world is mobile applications and creative technological tools. She is adamant however that digital communication, “…should never ever, ever replace face-to-face or the phone call where somebody can actually hear your voice or see you face-to-face and really communicate with you.” She truly believes, the point of any digital communication strategy is to engage in ongoing conversation with your clients. There are many tools that can be drawn on when working out a digital strategy to create attention in a crowded marketplace.

Tara Recommends:

Values Interaction

Of course, the most important task is to first know to whom you are talking and what they want to know from you. Once you work out who you are talking to she says, "You have to almost create one individual that you're writing to. A lot of times we get hung up on ‘I want to make sure I'm communicating with everybody everywhere’. Instead, if you have a very specific person in mind, it's actually going to help your writing because it's just you talking to another person. If I'm writing an email let's say to 50 people, but I'm just writing it to you, that's going to sound a lot better than me trying to make 50 people happy."

Email Can Work

Tara says, “I think one of the fallacies is that email marketing doesn't work anymore and that's not true. It's just that, the kind of email that we've been sending out, especially as real estate agents, isn't the right email. It's usually a mass email that's sent to a whole number of people in your database instead of being targeted and very specific or interesting. The other thing that is different with email is that, most people only deal with sending emails during the transaction instead of actually working with sending emails to their past clients, to people who might be a client somewhere in the future to their sphere."

She believes we can sometimes forget that email is in fact, a conversational tool. She says, “High net worth individuals can smell BS a mile away. They can smell it they're on a drip campaign right away - or their PA will. Somebody else is reading their emails for them, but they will know immediately." She advocates delivering, "…something that's very individualised and thoughtful about something your audience is going to care about."

Target your emails. Tara says. “If it's somebody who's interested in your listings, then send that email out. If it's somebody who's already bought a home, they don't want your listings anymore. They want more information about contractors and vendors or just what's going on in the community.

Or just something fun that says, ‘I remember you and I just like to be there for you.

By the way I'm still here’. It's not sales, sales, sales all the time; it's conversation. Do you write a short email? Do you write a long email? Is it something that they actually are going to be interested in and care about? Or is it just something that you're sending out because you think you need to send it out?” Think before you press send. Will it create the right kind of attention?

Online tools to help improve the quality of your communication Tara recommends three online tools to craft effective communications.

1. Effective Subject lines

She says, “Concentrate first on effective subject lines and there's actually a really wonderful website called That will actually rate your subject line for you, to tell you whether or not it's going to be effective or not. It teaches you how to write effective subject lines."


2. Rapportive

This shows you publicly available information about your contacts in your inbox.


3. Crystal Knows

Tara says, “What it does is it teaches you about the audience that you're reaching out to. It teaches you how to talk to them. It says, ‘You know what, Lee wants something that's very direct, he doesn't want a lot of flowery language. He won't read an email that's longer than two paragraphs’. As you're writing, it will say, ‘Nope, I'm sorry. That's not language Lee would use’."

Appeal to different audiences with Facebook and LinkedIn

Tara sees Facebook as an engaging tool to create lasting personal connections and LinkedIn as a business tool. With LinkedIn she characterises it as, “… walking into a business meeting or a business networking event. Sometimes you know the people there, sometimes you don't. Sometimes somebody else knows that person and can introduce you. You wouldn't have a chat about your dog or what you ate for breakfast in LinkedIn. You would talk about what you're doing in your business or how it relates to anything else that's going on."

Facebook on the other hand is more warm and fuzzy. She says. ‘It’s where you can actually have those, ‘Well, here's what's going on in the community today. Here's some of the breakfast spots that we would recommend if you're really looking for that great cup of coffee in the morning’. It's more personal.”

Create Content Babies

When you have created content think about how it could be used in other channels to build your individual profile and brand. Remember marketing is a contest for people’s attention. So an audio piece, could be turned into a podcast and put on a CD. A photo of the recording session could go up on Instagram or Facebook and part of the interview could become an article posted on LinkedIn. Tara says, “Reuse some information in different spaces. Seth Price from Placester calls them ‘content babies’.” Make sure that the main content piece and associated content are all in one place such as a blog or website.

And that’s how you create customer engagement and garner the right kind of attention.  


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