Realtor for a brokerage that went out of business last year, I was forced to create a new brand and re-start my business from square one in an environment that could not be described as a "cyber-culture." Just to avoid any misconceptions, I am not saying that the Ozarks are full of illiterate, banjo playing, hillbillies, but our lifestyle is not a starbucks fueled, hyper-blackberry, speed racer paced one either. Branson and the Table Rock Lake area are more of the retro-baby-boomer oriented style of culture that know how to use the internet but are not dependent upon it daily.
My challenge has also been maximized by the reality that in our rural area, which is true in much of Missouri, there are no daily newspapers or even rarer, local radio stations. Communicating my brand to this rural region is therefore not able to be done by e-newsletters, newspaper advertising, nor occasional radio blips. Matter of a fact, there is no certain way to reach a majority of those who live in and/or frequent this neck of the woods. This brings me to reason for my story.
I have been doing the hated face to face, one on one, day in and day out word of mouth branding that requires a lot of gas, walking, and talking to strangers as well as friends and neighbors. One day I went up a driveway that was marked "private drive" and made face to face contact with the angriest man I have ever met in my life. I mean this man had demons, he would have killed me on the spot if his eyes had been loaded for bear. After unloading his verbal venom on me and making sure I knew he did not want to ever see me within a mile of his holler ever again, I made a courteous exit as I thanked God he did not have a gun with him that day. No wonder people hate to go out and meet strangers without being invited, it is dangerous, if not stupid. Guess I will have to find a better way to "get-r-done."
True, word of mouth and face to face is the best method of advertising I know of, however, between the price of gas, time it takes to develop trust in new relationships, and the inherit danger involved, the challenge has become, become branded before breaking the bank. I feel like I am in a real race against the market recovery schedule and only time will tell if I will win or not! Any suggestions as to additional methods of accelerating my process are welcomed as long as they do not involve direct-mail farming as funds are nil.