Category: Celebrating Successes

Highlighting best practices.

Kurtz Digital Strategy Recognized as a Top Digital Marketing Agency

Kurtz Digital Strategy is named a Top Digital Strategy Agency by DesignRush.

DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects brands with professional full-service agencies, web design companies, digital marketing firms, and top technology companies.

Their platform lists over 9,300 agencies from over 50 different countries. It is used by thousands of decision-makers looking to start a project.

Kurtz Digital Strategy offers full-service digital marketing strategy and implementation services for small businesses. Our proven digital strategy process provides clients a complete understanding of their current impact in the marketplace. We offer customized strategies for increasing impact, reach and sales. Clients are provided with the tools and support they need to succeed.

A Story That Needs Telling

Guest Post by Marmie Edwards, APR

An idea can roll around in your head for days, weeks, years before you finally decide to let it loose. To invest the time and effort to put the story to paper can take a serious commitment. That’s how my memoir evolved.

Pieces of the story would arise—running the Dunes along Lake Michigan’s southern shore as a youngster, being forced to answer to “Marion” by nuns who quipped “oh, I expected a boy,” being sole female reporter for a Midwestern paper, moving to New York after the vision in  my right eye  clouded to 20/200,  and struggling to overcome a fear of heights atop New York City’s World Trade Center in the late 70s before it was no more (in 2001).

I wrote segments of the story, but kept pushing it back, ignoring the story’s need to be unraveled, bit by bit. Sometimes it is easier to spool out the individual stories that will eventually form the whole story, but don’t short-change by stopping and letting those segments sit on the shelf or mold on a thumb drive or a “memoir” file on your computer. They deserve your time because there is more to the story, and it won’t be completely told until you spend the time.

If you have children, it’s a good way to provide the breadcrumbs to the courtship that led to them.  My daughter had an interest I never expected in “what happened before.” Got her to read the manuscript.

I’d worked on another story about Mary Lincoln until I opened my laptop to attend a zoom class sponsored by the Writer’s League of Texas (WLT) focused on memoir in August 2020. Maybe I’d been bored too long during the Pandemic. I’d attended other classes with WLT, even week-long away classes, but for some reason this time I just kept writing after the kick-off by Donna Johnson, who wrote Holy Ghost Girl about her experience as a very young girl on the big tent revival circuit with her family in the 1950s. She has a way not to be ignored.

The Pandemic zoomed classes stretched us Austin types because we were joined by people from New Mexico and all over Texas and even a woman from Chile, who had heard about the summer program online. This opened our horizons.

By the end of August, I had 8,000 words, maybe 10,000, and I could see a path forward—it wasn’t a superhighway, or a neon lit map—but enough so I could find my way. Stories about getting hired as the first female lifeguard at the pool three houses away from home and moving to New York City without a job but a college roommate and the confidence of youth. Braver than I would be now. Sometimes age prevents us from taking the risks of youth.

It’s hard to remember the hashmarks between 10,000 and 30,000 words, but that’s not to say it was seamless, only that I just didn’t mark it down either mentally or physically. I didn’t think I had a lock on it until much later. Early on I started to make the rookie mistake of wanting the manuscript to be “right” the very first go-round. Perfect never comes with the first words off the brain. Once I realized that, it was easier to push on, wishing for the second trip around to be soon, but not rushing so much I would not have something of value to whip out like laundry to find what gem ideas and words would be left.

After about 70,000 words I realized again I had started to ruminate and was not pushing forward. I went back through the entire piece and inserted chapters to put stories together to help move the narrative and give readers their own compass, while building in word pebbles to lead readers between the chapters.

I wrote the ending earlier, so I would have something to lead me, so it started to make sense and I would not get lost in my own stories between 55,000 or 60,000 and the end. Adding to the challenge, after outlining my young life and early career, work on Capitol Hill, I had a nervous breakdown after we moved to St. Louis, when my daughter was five. Took two years and a move back to DC before I got a handle on it. Fortunately, George Washington Hospital solved the puzzle and put me back on the road to health and sanity—a road I’ve guarded to the point of not writing this story for 30 years. I’m very glad I trusted myself to finish to 100,000, maybe 98,000 by final edits. Donna, my WLT instructor, pointed out this story can benefit others on the road to mental health or those still fearing the darkness. That wisdom sent me forward from August 2020 more than any other advice.

Find out what your story is really about—the story within the story that will help explain part of the human experience to all of us. Then you will have true motivation to push forward on the days when it’s hardest to get your tush shimmied into the chair.

About the Author

Marmie Edwards, APR, met Jill through PRSA in DC. She moved to Austin, TX, in 2014 after working in DC for 30 years. Her memoir, Riding the Roller Coaster, is expected in Q1 2022. Check out her blog: www.Past Becomes Present. Blog.

Taking Marketing Offline for Impact

Guest Post by Karen Wenner Cooper, Founder of Empowering Women In Real Estate

When I think of all of the things I do in my life … running my businesses, managing my home, schooling with my children, education and training, self-care … nearly all of it has been impacted (and positively, I might add) by taking elements of it online.

During COVID my team has survived and thrived thanks to Zoom and other online meeting platforms. I order groceries for my family each week using an app. My children do school 100% online. When I look for courses or training for myself to improve my skills or complete my continue education, I do it online. Every morning I go to YouTube for yoga classes, and I read on my Kindle or on my iPad using an app.

I know I’m not alone in this, most of my family and friends do the same. So it only makes sense that when it comes to reaching our clients and new customers we should be doing all of our marketing online too, right?

Wrong! Offline marketing has value for today’s businesses.

Online or Offline Marketing?

As more and more aspects of our lives go online, I’ve seen a resurgence in the popularity (and effectiveness!) of offline marketing methods. In makes sense, really. Remember when email was new? It was SO EXCITING and fun to get an email. Now, it’s drudgery.

Our email boxes are overflowing and overloaded. We have become oversaturated and overstimulated with the online world, which makes offline all the more appealing … and noticeable.

In my experience (and my team served 525 families last year with their real estate needs!), the best marketing approach right now is a balance between online and offline methods. The two can and should support and complement each other

The Right Mix

Here’s what we’ve found to be most effective:

  • Social Media. Facebook and Instagram can be great places to connect with your ideal clients and to stay engaged with your current and past clients. People want to work with people they know, like and trust and these platforms can help to support those feelings.
  • Snail Mail. Yes, you read that right. Good old-fashioned mailers. We use a combination of general postcard mailers to share market and sales data and to promote our services, and personal handwritten notes to thank and connect with those we work with. Efficient, effective, economical. Who doesn’t love that?!
  • Email. Feels old school now, what with the fancy websites and apps at our fingertips, yet just about everyone spends at least part of their day going through their email inbox. A well-crafted, periodic (we do monthly), message can really do the trick.
  • Gifting. In the real estate industry, we call these “pop bys”. A little something with a catchy slogan on a tag dropped off on our client’s or customer’s doorstep. Who doesn’t want to be remembered and acknowledged with a little something?

Consistency Is Key

Here’s what we’ve found … when employing a strategy that combines online and offline methods CONSISTENTLY your audience has that feeling of “seeing you everywhere” which keeps you top of mind when they (or their friends or family) need your services.

The best marketing strategies are the ones that utilize a variety of forms of media to achieve their objective. Be sure that yours includes a mix of online and offline methods and you will be well on your way to increased success in your business.

About the Author

Karen Wenner Cooper is the founder of Empowering Women In Real Estate, and principle behind Empower Coaching by Karen Cooper, providing coaching and marketing systems for women in the real estate industry, and owner of the Platinum Group Real Estate team at Pearson Smith Realty. A 19+ year industry veteran, having served many hundreds of clients, her greatest accomplishments and biggest joy are the three boys who call her “mom”. You can connect with Karen online on Instagram @karen.w.cooper, or offline by calling or texting 703-999-3601 for top notch real estate services throughout the Northern Virginia and DC Metro Area.