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RISMEDIA, January 11, 2011—It’s a new year, and as such, I always advise my team to start the year by taking a look at their marketing material to determine what has worked and what hasn’t. The new year is an ideal time to freshen it up and try some new ideas.

As I was reviewing some of the typical marketing material, it became obvious to me that the same words were used by just about every agent to describe themselves like “committed to excellence,” “superior service,” and “top 10 agent (in some category or another).” It’s time to stop speaking like everyone else and avoid using fluff words. Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Here are four ways you can improve your marketing material so that you stand out from your competition in 2011.

1. Start telling potential clients what’s in it for them. It’s great that you received awards, but what does that mean for your clients? For instance, instead of “Super Service Award Winner 10 Years in a Row” say, “Service—You can expect that I’ll do things for you like I did for the Jones’. They wanted a three bed, two bath home in a certain neighborhood. Unfortunately, there weren’t any for sale. So, I sent letters to each homeowner that met their criteria asking if they’d be willing to sell. Six months later, the Jones family was in their new home, in that neighborhood, in a house that was never formally on the market. Service like that garnered me the Super Service Award for 10 years in a row.” Illustrate how you’ve gone above and beyond to help your clients by telling a story. Don’t let consumers wonder what getting the “Super Service Award” means.

2. Put your Facebook URL anywhere you have your website. If you have business cards, include your Facebook URL right under your website. It’s a simple tip, but one that will allow people to find you easily, connect with you, and allow you to essentially market to them over and over. This will also show prospects that you’ve incorporated social media into your business.

3. Call to action. I know you’ve all heard this before, but do you have a call to action in your marketing material? Have you asked your prospects to contact you and do they know why they should? It can be as easy as saying, “If you’re not sure whether now is the time to buy or sell, contact me today. I will help determine the best route for you. There are many options available that you may be unaware of. Contact me today and let’s talk.”

4. You are marketing yourself. Don’t forget your photo. I know that for a while it wasn’t in vogue to put your photo on marketing materials, but I still highly recommend it. You want people to know what you do because you want them to come to you when they’re ready to buy or sell. You might not know when they are in the market, so by making your photo and yourself available to them, and putting yourself out there, you have increased the chances that someone will contact you. Don’t forget this piece in your marketing.

I’m vowing to make sure we follow these tips in our marketing this year; what are your New Year’s marketing resolutions?

Kelly O’Ryan is the office manager at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Lexington and Bedford, M.A.