Part 2: Framework Responsive to Millennials

Mobile-friendly or responsive websites and online content are vital if you aim to attract and serve millennials.

Research proved to Boston-based social enterprise Framework Homeownership, LLC that mobile-savvy millennials make up more than 35% of the target for their national online home buyer course, so creating a mobile-friendly or responsive version of their highly-regarded home education resource was a “no brainer.”

For-profit Framework arose out of the combined efforts of two leading national nonprofits that share empowerment mandates to build strong communities: the Housing Partnership Network and the Minnesota Homeownership Center. The social enterprise has two main directives:

  1. Access: Any time, anywhere, anyone…responsive home education which sets a high standard for home buying and home ownership
  2. Revenue Sharing: Framework’s future lies in partnerships—profits shared with non-profits and for-profits intent on serving their real-estate-intent clients with unbiased online education.

Framework’s Holly Mott, Vice President of Brand Marketing, reports that almost 80,000 Americans from all 50 states have completed the online course since its creation in 2013—including more than 49,000 this year!

Even if real-estate-intent millennials are not your prime target, you can learn a lot from how strategically this innovative home education organization serves users and partners.

Framework has done many things right in communicating its “responsive” intent in all senses of the word:

  • The online course, with optional downloadable content, is available in English for platforms from mobile to desktop. (The Spanish version is not yet mobile friendly.)
  • The course has proven to be such a strong buyer-be-aware starting point that Fannie Mae made it an eligibility requirement for a major program. Wells Fargo and others see the value of home education for their clients.
  • The $75 fee is counterbalanced by readily-available discounts and coupons (scholarships) from advisory partners and growing numbers of lending and real estate professionals.
  • Framework acknowledges that expanding product offerings and applications is essential for continued connections. For instance, free monthly email content concentrates on what new homeowners need to know. The expanding national network of free, unbiased expert advisors (not salespeople) keeps millennials and other buyers, sellers, and borrowers coming back to Framework.
  • Mott says they broke start-up rules by launching in 2012 with just one product—the online course. However, Framework has built significant credibility by developing the best-possible, high-standard responsive course and online platform. This effort is very deliberately balanced by establishment of an industry-wide advisory and partnership network. Now, next steps can be giant steps. Three new products are in the R&D phase. Future plans will transform the responsive site into a revolutionary online platform to create new national standards for home-buying and ownership education and to let consumers, including millennials, reap the real estate rewards.

How responsive is your online presence?
Do you understand your target markets well enough to be responsive—online and off—to what they want and to what they may not realize they need from you?

Resource:
To learn more about Framework:

Part 1: Are You Responsive?

More and more people are using their phone to search the net. This means your net presence must quickly make a vital user-friendly statement. What message do you deliver when your website or online courses are not responsive?

Google™-recommended Responsive Web Design is the most common method of achieving mobile-friendly web pages configured to look great on the small screens of smartphones and other mobile devices. Search engines favor this user-friendly design. Responsive uses computer code that responds differently to different screen sizes, but ensures page displays remain similar and readable on any mobile device.

Are you asking users and target clients to deal with non-responsive websites and online content that are stuck in the “desktop dark ages?” They’ll probably vote “no way” by clicking on the mobile-friendly competition.

If your target market is mobile savvy, engage them on their terms. Transforming your website, blog, and online content into mobile-friendly territory is essential. Take time to decide which change strategy is most compatible with your short- and long-tem goals and those of target clients:

  1. Nowhere Fast: Those who find little or no business comes to them over the internet may decide there is no need for responsive design. (There is a very good business case for going responsive and optimizing the site to gain traffic, leads, and referrals, but that’s another article, for another time.)
  2. Halfway There: Blogs are not automatically responsive. For instance, WordPress  (WP), which accounts for almost 25% of internet activity, offers many mobile-friendly templates or themes, however, earlier WP blog templates were not responsive. Even now, new bloggers do not have to choose responsive themes. Check it out: Transforming your non-responsive WordPress blog and website may merely involve switching to a responsive theme.
  3. All the Way: The process of transforming a website to responsive is not as simple as switching templates. Coding changes are just the beginning. Design—including layout, fonts, images, and site navigation—will need modification to optimize smaller reading “windows.” Then, there’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to consider. Although this may be an opportune time for a full-site overhaul of content, navigation, and all related marketing elements, a phased-in re-do or scaled-down site are other alternatives. A big job with a big budget? If the website drives your business, delay will be even more expensive. Action: In some cases, recreating the site as a responsive WP site may be faster and less expensive. Google suggests  other ways to optimize for mobile search.

Are YOU responsive? This post explores communicating your value and intentions using technology. “Responsive” means much more. In both the technical and relationship sense of this word, how do you manage client and partner interfaces including websites and online interactive content? Closing the gap between what target prospects and clients value and need and what you offer enhances your relevance and responsiveness. That’s what credibility means to targets.

Resource: What’s Your Point?

Trust Earning: Do You Deserve Client Trust?

Risk aversion stops many good things from happening when it is supposed to stop bad things. Trust is the antidote to risk aversion.

Professionals must communicate their trustworthiness to earn trust and build lasting relationships with prospects and clients.

Natural fear of taking action or making a decision is meant to preserve our health, property, way of life, and sanity, but it can do the opposite. As far as prospects and clients are concerned, their trust will be earned by professionals who show consistent, genuine interest in the wellbeing of the prospect or client. Unless this client concern is visible in every facet of the work carried out by the professional for and with clients, trust may not be achieved and the relationship will remain superficial.

Clients’ interests should be transparently and prominently placed above the professionals’ interests. This commitment materializes as services that are relevant to target client needs and as delivery methods that match the professional’s process and organizational support.

For instance, whether a client filters the world through their smartphone or prefers emails interspersed with phone or face-to-face meetings, they’ll be receptive to placing trust in professionals who respect client communication preferences. Professionals who commit to client needs and goals discover many ways to demonstrate their trustworthiness.

Trust is also earned by professionals who deliver on promises and responsibilities without prompting or excuses. If it’s not clear to clients that they are in sync with the professional, has the professional genuinely earned their trust?

Perception is the reality in earning client loyalty. The client’s definition of trust sets the standard for professionals to meet and exceed in everything from communication to service delivery:

  • Should trusting include the client questioning the professional, or is unquestioning acceptance demanded by the professional?
  • Is the professional’s reaction defensive or offensive if their knowledge or skill is challenged?
  • Does the client understand exactly what you, the professional, expect from them and from yourself as the relationship progresses?
  • From the start, clients deserve to understand what “trust” will mean to both of you, and to outcomes. Clients should trust themselves to be sure about this.

Will you share this post with your prospects and clients because you want to open up the lines of communication and earn trust?

© Source: What’s Your Point? PJ Wade The Catalyst

Sao Miguel coast

Itinerary: 12 Days in the Azores

Itinerary: 12 days in the Azores

Azores vista

Green-blue vistas, red-roofed homes and rolling farmland…great places to ramble and explore

Lagoa harbor

Lagoa’s colorful harbor with kids swimming off the dock and fisherman preparing to launch

Arquipelago dos Acores

Portugal’s Azores Archipelago (Click to enlarge)

My first visit to the Azores, Portugal’s mid-Atlantic archipelago, landed me on São Miguel for a month and hooked me on this green-blue island, the largest of the nine islands. My recent 12-day trip combined a return to São Miguel and brief visits to three new islands: Faial, Pico, and Terceria. Now, I’m hooked on the Azores and I still have 5 more islands to go.

This adventure introduced a significant element of context. The Azores trip followed a month traveling throughout mainland Portugal, so how did my view of the mainland—its people, culture, and countryside—color my latest island explorations?

For now, I’m resisting the urge to rave about the natural beauty of the Azores—the stunning landscapes, striking coastlines, rolling green farm fields lined by blue Hydrangeas, inspiring sunrises and sunsets, colorful red-roofed homes, artistically cobblestoned plazas and streets…and much more. The accompanying photos were hard to select because the Azores is paradise for a photographer (or artist or traveler of any kind).

In subsequent posts, I’ll share ideas, observations, and inspiration from the Azores relevant to this whatsyourpoint blog’s themes: perspectives on context, extreme service excellence, entrepreneurship, meeting dynamics, and related communication topics, as well as suggestions for your trip to the Azores.

If you want travel details now, visit the Azores Promotion Board’s www.visitazores.com The regional airline, Azores Airlines, offers direct flights from North America: www.azoresairlines.pt

Faial surf

Surf’s up on Faial’s north coast

My itinerary: Courtesy of SATA Azores Airlines
Day 1: Leave Lisbon Portugal 12:30; arrive Ponta Delgado, São Miguel 13:45

Day 6: Leave Ponta Delgado 8:20; did not arrive at Horta, Faial at 9:20 but diverted to Pico Island airport because of fog on Faial. Short tour of Pico and then ferry ride to Horta, Faial.

Day 10: Leave Faial airport 11:20; arrive Terceira Island

Day 12: Leave Terceira 16:45

Why do I say the right hotel makes your visit?

How Wanting Social Media ‘Likes’ Can Undermine Personal Service

Behaviorists and best-selling authors Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield of VitalSmarts surveyed 1623 people and discovered that obsession with posting photos and checking phones corresponds with lower enjoyment.

For professionals, “lower enjoyment” extrapolates to lowered personal service. Your clients may be shutting you out or down when they keep an eye on the screen, but are you doing the same thing to them by keeping an eye on your screen for social media updates and texts instead of giving clients your full attention?

The VitalSmarts survey “Society’s New Addiction: Getting a ‘Like’ over Having a Life” confirmed that social media isn’t only distracting, it’s dictating how we interact in person. Mashable.com and Entrepreneur.com featured the survey in articles that reviewed results like the 91% surveyed have seen tourists miss out on an important moment by trying to capture it on social media. (Maxfield’s own social media trophy-hunting behavior at his 60th birthday triggered the study.) You’ve been aware of this distraction trend and the fact it continues on the rise. What are you doing to take advantage of your knowledge and experience for your clients and your business?

My point is that distraction over superficial online responses should not take priority over giving your full, face-to-face attention to the client you’re with. Aren’t you curious why they believed a visit to you, not a text or phone call, was worth their time and effort?

1. If you can’t successfully juggle client relationships and social media, shouldn’t you reevaluate priorities, improve time management strategies, or hire an assistant? What are you intent on achieving with social media and your clients?
2. Curiosity about your clients feeds success with client service and satisfaction. If social media is burning up curiosity that should go to clients, what replacement value is social media contributing to you and your practice?

If you can’t give the client your full attention, why have a face-to-face meeting?

CUBITAT: Think Around The Box

CUBITAT

CUBITAT: your unique “home in a box.”

CUBITAT, a 10’x10’x10′ (3-meter cube) with “plug and play elements” that seamlessly reveal and hide the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, laundry, entertainment area, and storage.

Exploring CUBITAT revealed the potential for future flexibility and mobility in the way we live, treat our “stuff,” and invest in ownership. The CUBITAT Project examines how our “stuff” and life functions could fit into a self-contained cube.

Take this concept a few steps further and consider that we could move the cube, or have it moved for us, when it was time for a change. This could foster Continue reading

CSI & Fresh Financial Thinking

The line between NON-PROFIT and FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS has blurred. The non-profit sector is primed for positive disruption, just like everything else that’s come under social media’s spell.

Non-profit/for-profit hybrid organizations and arrangements like social enterprises and venture philanthropy are on the rise, but is 20th-Century thinking holding some organizations back from stepping outside tradition and embracing financial resilience? Continue reading

Stalled Thinking Stifles Innovation

WYP ButtonsmWhat’s Your Point?—as blog and book—is a whisper in the ear, a tap on the shoulder, a pat on the back, and a mental kick in the pants for those with years of hands-on experience thinking, analyzing, creating, improvising…and deciding for others—their clients. No dummies here, but there is Room for Improvement and there is need for INNOVATION.

Experience can be valuable to the success of everything and anything, including communication, but not always. The professional wisdom, knowledge, creativity, and decisiveness that experience generates are frequently the driving force behind improvement and innovation. Ironically, these two essentials can be forestalled, particularly in times of dramatic shifts, by resistance to change and other distractions originating from past experience.

Merely saying, “I’m thinking outside the box,” or even making an effort to do so—alone or in a group—does not guarantee Continue reading

Determined Futurist or Wish-Distracted Fatalist?

We are often more aware we have a future when a new year begins or we make a fresh start, like going back to school or launching a new venture. The rest of the time, the future is all but ignored. 

Even when we think about the future, “wait and see” is a common response to “How’s this all going to turn out?” However, you aren’t a leaf passively blowing in the wind of change, but a proactive agent for your own future—when you chose to be! “Wait and see” is the passive approach few can afford. It’s already cost too many too much.

Are you a determined futurist (“If it is to be, it’s up to me”), or a wish-distracted fatalist (“I guess it wasn’t meant to be”). I can’t help you achieve the latter, but the shift to determined futurist is right up my alley and a key “What’s Your Point?” themeContinue reading

10 TIPS for Complex Decisions Made Simple

triminii  Professionals, including advisors, executives, and entrepreneurs, are decisive by nature and training, so it’s not surprising that many often think they are great decision-makers.

Some professionals even believe that making decisions quickly is a sign of decisiveness, which it isn’t necessarily. Commonly, after a few years on the job, most professionals feel they have learned all there is about the decision-making process. They believe it’s just content in the form of product specifications, office procedures, and client “hot topics” that change, not decision making.

The more you understand about the PROCESS OF DECIDING relative to your target market and business, Continue reading