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January 26, 2009

Best Idea Contest Runner-Up

Like most businesses in the real estate industry, the member site BusyAgentPro.com had hit a sales plateau. The site, which teaches systems and strategies to real estate agents, investors and mortgage brokers, wasn't seeing as much new member growth as it had in the past, says CEO Brian Rodgers of BAP Real Estate Community.

Seeing the success other websites have had in improving their search engine rankings by targeting local geographic areas, Rodgers looked for a way to apply the same concept to his business.

For instance, in a local market in Hutchinson, Kansas the keywords 'Hutchinson Kansas Real Estate' is far more effective than simply using the terms 'real estate.' But search engine marketing takes time and he wanted to boost sales right away.

3 ways to increase sales

And as I've preached before, there are only way 3 ways to increase sales: (1) acquire new customers, (2) increase the prices on your existing sales, or (3) sell more items.

Rodgers adopted the third strategy: sell more to current customers using the geo-targeting method.

Here's how he did it. One of the services he offers is a blogging tool that members can use to develop a relationship with their hungry fish. But many members were complaining they were running out of ideas to blog about.

So Rodgers' team created a content service providing members with up to 30 articles they could use each month. 'Now, here is the powerful part of all of this and where the geo-targeting comes in,' Rodgers says. 'Instead of just selling the content for a one-time fee, we decided to sell local markets and give our members the exclusive on those markets,' he says. 'For example, only one agent would have the right to use our content for Hutchinson, Kansas. So we were able to actually charge another monthly fee equal to what we were already charging for monthly membership. So, each customer that decided to use the new content we were providing increased the amount they were paying by 100%.'

A proven method to create demand

They doubled their revenue even though they limited the number of sales. This is an important point: one of the best methods to create demand is to offer exclusivity. Many business owners make the mistake of trying to sell to as many people as possible. But often, the more exclusive you can make your offer (think Rolex, Porsche, the Hamptons, etc.), the more you can charge ' especially if what you're offering is valuable enough that someone will pay a premium so others can't compete with them. In this case, Rodgers created a competitive bubble that others were willing to pay to protect. Brilliant!

The results? More than 2,000 members (about 18% of the total membership) took advantage of the offer increasing the company's monthly revenue by $100,000. They expect to earn about $1.2 million more in sales in one year without adding one new member!

The best part: They collected the money before creating and delivering the content, which allowed them to self-fund the entire project at a cost of only $7,500. For more information, check out BusyAgentPro.com. How can you apply the principles of geo-targeting to your business? Better yet, how can you create exclusivity in your market?