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Change is Good



Change is Good

Announcing Change

I would like to announce Miamism Team’s new home – Majestic Properties.

It was time for a change, a change that would compliment not only our business and marketing style, but a change that would benefit each one of our clients individually! Teresa wrote a post last week that reflects what each one of us is looking for in a brokerage company.

What compliments our goals?

Our needs and wants have to do with the fact that most of us that are here are autonomous, technically inclined and on the forefront of technology. Coldwell Banker was good to us and we are the first to admit that, it offered a strong corporate backing that Rick and I were used to with out prior corporate lives as an architect and accountant.

As real estate has changed in the past few years, so has our business plan and marketing strategy. We have learned that this business is not so much about us, but about what we can offer our clients. We still hit the streets the same way as before, but we also blog and are very active in the social networking aspect of the Internet. We customize marketing strategies for our clients and expose ourselves to every new marketing medium available to be able to offer better business.

We found a company that will compliment our style, a flexible brokerage without roadblocks and rigid corporate rules. Majestic Properties is a respected full-service real estate organization that focuses on providing the highest level of service by employing cutting edge resources.

About Majestic

They have an amazing reputation in South Florida, with beautiful high design offices in the Design District and Miami Beach; and in 2006, INC 500 Magazine ranked the company fastest growing, privately held, full-service real estate company in the United States.

Majestic Properties successfully identifies industry trends in residential and commercial markets, incorporates cutting-edge technological tools, hires passionate and dedicated agents and staff and plays a prominent philanthropic role in the community. It boasts an internal Advertising and PR agency, a one-stop marketing shop for Majestic agents and clients. Additionally, Majestic helps customers from all over the world with financing and mortgage, and then there’s an interior design team and furniture showroom. From real estate to marketing to financing to design, Majestic Properties offers it all.

We also have a new Miamism Team member! Karen Alvarez, who, as our buyer’s agent, will compliment our growing business and help us provide even better service.

The next level

Making a change is never easy. It was especially difficult for us because we did not want our customers to be affected in any way. I am looking forward to using all the positive energy we are getting from Agent Genius, Miamism and now Majestic Properties to help our business expand to the next level.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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  1. Jamie Geiger

    July 1, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Congrats on all you new changes and your team addition, sound like this is a very exciting time for you and your family.

  2. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you Jamie – it’s an amazing time! no complaints! 😉

  3. Jason Sandquist

    July 1, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Congrats on the new endeavor and keep me posted. Possible thinking of making a switch as well by years end.

  4. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    July 1, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    Ines, I know that changing is so much more than just ordering business cards, so I commend your going through this massive stress not just for yourselves but for your clients. You really are an inspiration- JUST DO IT, right? 🙂

  5. Barry Cunningham

    July 1, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Cool! Hope it works out for you neighbor!

  6. Rudy from

    July 1, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    That’s Awesome Ines!

    Change is good.

    Will you be working out of their Lincoln Road office? I hear they have a nice motion sensor video display in the window – hehehehe 🙂

    All the best to you and Rick!

    Social Media Guru at Trulia

  7. Mack in Atlanta

    July 1, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Congratulations Miamism Team. You deserve the best.

  8. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 1, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    While I’m not familiar with the Majestic brand (they aren’t anywhere around in our area), I’m glad to hear that you were keeping an eye out for making a change in improvements. While a lot of persons view the relatively soft national real estate market as a time to cut costs/services, I think that now is the time to lay the seeds for establishing dominant control of market share when the market turns positive again.

  9. Eric Blackwell

    July 1, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    Hey Ines;

    Very cool! Best of everything in your new digs…


  10. Jeff Turner Says Congratulations!

    July 1, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Ines… Congratulations on the move and your new team member!!

  11. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Jason – I will surely keep you posted, it was not easy to do (still not easy with the transitionless move), and congrats on the Inman TIX!!

    Lani – it’s been really stressful and our customers should not even feel it – you know I will write about the process when I clear my mind – thanks!

    Barry – I have absolutely no doubts! And the energy is amazing! thank you.

    Rudy – we are actually going to be working from the Design District Office (down the street from Michaels), but will visit the Lincoln Road office often.

    Hey Mack! thank you! It’s comments like yours that keep us going.

    Jennifer – you hit an important point. With Majestic, we will have the support we need to take over market share….which is one of our goals.

    Eric – and very cool digs at that! The owner of Majestic (Jeff Morr) is hands on, with a great design mind and a visionary – we are psyched!

  12. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Hey Jeff – you are always sneaking in there – thank you! and Congrats to you on that awesome video feature. Your product is superior and all of us that use it know it!

  13. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Damn Lani – you already changed my profile! Holy Cow! THAT’s what I call being efficient! 😉

  14. Mark Eibner

    July 1, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    we’re at it again Change is Good: Getting out of the feed reader and commenting on this..

  15. Holly White

    July 1, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Congrats on the move Ines! I agree that it takes alot of nerve to make a huge change like that. Kudos to you!! I hope it’s better than you ever imagined.

  16. The Harriman Team

    July 1, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Congrats Rick & Ines! Pat and I have been thru this change ourselves twice before so we can relate to what you’re going thru. We wish you all the best and best of luck to Karen, too!

    Pat & Wayne Harriman

  17. Matthew Rathbun

    July 1, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I love to see that good folks are growing. God speed!

  18. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Holly, that’s very sweet of you – no better wishes than that!

    Hey Pay and Wayne – I think the one that will need the most luck is Karen! 😉

  19. Bill Lublin

    July 1, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    No matter where you go, you guys carry your success with you. Best wishes for a smooth transition. May the move provide you with everything you hope for and more. Congratulations and Best Wishes fromyou rfriend in the frozen North (alraight its 90 degrees here today but still its Philly!)

  20. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Bill – the support has been unbelievable – just with the encouragement from the blogosphere I know we will surpass our own expectations (which are tough ones) – stay wam in the “frozen North” 😀

  21. Paula Henry

    July 1, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Ines – Congratulations! I, too have been considering a change, so know the thought and time which dominates such a decision. Best to you!

  22. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Paula – timing is crucial to making a change – procrastinating about the change is easy to do – I will confess that Rick and I butted heads a couple of times but finally came to a consensus and here we are – no regrets and not even going to look back.

    I am grateful that our Office Manager is a great person and was not at all antagonistic. We understand she needs to follow CB Protocol and expect her to do her job.

  23. Andy Kaufman

    July 1, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Hey Ines, congrats on the evolution of your business!!

    I’m looking forward to hearing all about it when you’re out here in a few short weeks 🙂

  24. Ines

    July 1, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    Andy – I like the way that sounds, “The evolution of our business” – I will certainly share….stay tunned.

  25. Jonathan Dalton

    July 2, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Good luck with the change, Ines … as long as it doesn’t change the mooooo-jiiiii-tooooooos!

  26. ines

    July 2, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Jonathan – you and gotbob are worried about the mojitos!! They now have a Majestic Kick! 😉

  27. Ken Smith

    July 2, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    That is exciting news. Make sure to report back after a few months about how things are going. Sure there are more then a few agents reading this that can’t imagine leaving their National Name brokerage. Hope stories like yours will help empower others to take control of their business.

  28. Matt Fagioli

    July 2, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Hi Ines,

    It’s great to see the trend in action. More and more savvy agents will be leaving the big box brokers and find great partnership in the innovative new 2.0 brokerages.

    I wish I had met you before your change. Maybe you’d be “MiamiDwellings” by now!

    See you at SF Connect.

    Matt Fagioli

  29. Jonathan Dalton

    July 2, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Great minds think alike, Ines!

  30. Jay Thompson

    July 3, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Very cool Ines. Rock on!

  31. ines

    July 3, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Ken – I will definitely do that! You are right, leaving a big National Name is never easy and most people don’t even know what their independent contractor agreement reads and what the repercussions can be.

    Matt – just checked out diamond dwellings and you definitely have a cool concept going on there. I’ve always had clear objectives in my mind and we are now working on making those a reality – nice to know that there are similar minds in the blogosphere.

    Jonathan – you betcha! 🙂 especially when it comes down to mojitos.

    Jay – 😀

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Business Marketing

What we can learn & apply about branding from trendy startups

(MARKETING) What are the branding secrets of these new trendy startups and how can they be applied to your large enterprises?



A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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Business Marketing

7 low-budget marketing ideas for small businesses to grow their reach

(MARKETING) Marketing ideas are often expensive or ultra time consuming, but let’s talk about some proven tactics that won’t break the bank.



Man leaning against wall on phone representing marketing.

The following marketing ideas are provided to you buy Threadsy:

No matter the size of your business, marketing matters! It’s important for small and big businesses alike to attract new customers, establish brand awareness, and to create buzz around products and services. But we know that not every business owner has tons of funds to devote to their marketing strategy. The good news? There are some highly effective marketing tactics that are also budget-friendly!

Here are seven low-budget marketing strategies for small business owners and side hustlers to grow their reach:

1. Sponsor Local Events

One of the best ways to get to know potential customers? Actually meet and talk to them! When you sponsor local events, you can be on-site to help people put a face with your business’s name. Sponsoring events is also a fantastic way to offer branded merchandise that can help you get your name and your logo out there.

Besides branded materials like signs, banners, or fliers, think about offering some fun items like wine bags to give away to attendees. Goody bags also make fantastic take-home options for local events. A branded canvas tote can be repurposed as an environmentally-friendly grocery bag, lunch bag for work, or a carry-all accessory for conventions and tradeshows. Print your logo on the outside and fill your goody bags with customized items like water bottles, notebooks, pens, and towels.

2. Let Your Colors Fly

Make some cool t-shirts featuring your logo! Wear them to the sponsored events mentioned above, out in the community, or anywhere you may encounter potential customers and can strike up a conversation. You can also offer t-shirts at a discount in-store or online, and turn your loyal customers into advertisers.

Quick tip: Purchase wholesale shirts to reduce manufacturing costs.

3. Social Media

If you’re not already leveraging social media to promote your business, it’s time to start! Think your customers aren’t using social networks? While certain demographics use various platforms more than others, according to fundera, 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions. Plus, 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy.

So use your social media channels to level the playing field. To maximize your time and effort, determine where your audience members spend their time. Which platforms are they using? If you have a dedicated social media strategist on staff, they can perform audience research to tailor your approach to your existing and potential customers. If you’re running your own social strategy, spend some time digging into the demographics to determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand. From there, you’ll need to decide on the types of content you want to post, how to interact with your customers online, and create a social media calendar to plan your strategy.

4. Host a Giveaway

Once you’ve got your social media strategy up and running, why not host an online giveaway/sweepstakes to build some buzz, boost engagement, and attract followers? Pick a social media platform where you already engage with your customers. You’ll want to offer an item as the prize. This can be anything from a free product, a discount on an expensive product or service, or inexpensive swag like hats to help you promote your brand.

Once you’ve chosen the prize(s), decide on the terms for your giveaway. For example, an Instagram sweepstakes might look like this:

  • Create posts about the giveaway and explain the rules (multiple stories and 1 or 2 posts depending on the length of the contest)
  • These posts should specify the terms, for example:
    – In order to enter, potential winners must follow you
    – Encourage your followers to tag other people who may be interested. Each “tag” gets them another entry into the contest
    – You can also specify that contest applicants must share your post on their own profile
  • Once the contest has ended, pick a winner. Tag them in a post and story announcing what they’ve won and ask them to also share these posts to their own profile

Quick tip: You can also offer smaller or less-expensive items as consolation prizes. People love free swag and it’s an easy way to get your name out there!

5. Referral Discounts

Offering friends and family discounts on your products or services can help you establish loyalty and promote exclusivity. Offer discount codes or create a refer-a-friend program. You can also offer small incentives for customers who share about your brand on social media. Referral discounts are a great marketing strategy whether you use them in-store, online, or both.

6. Create or Update Your Blog

If you already have a website, you can put it to use to help build brand awareness and attract high-funnel customers. Blogging is a low-cost way to generate organic traffic (website visitors via Google or other search engines). If you don’t already have a blog, there are a number of free and inexpensive blog platforms you can use including Wix and WordPress.

You’ll want to write about topics that are related to your product or service and are of interest to your customers. For example, if you offer graphic design, you might want to create content about how to find an effective graphic designer online, or which projects you can do with an online platform like Canva vs. more complex projects where you should hire a professional designer.

Your website and blog are also great places to post “about us” content to offer website visitors an opportunity to learn more about you, your business, and your mission and values.

7. Update Your Google My Business Profile

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to share important information about your business like your address, hours of operation, and contact information. When your listing is optimized with this information, it’s displayed in Google Search and will also appear in Google Maps, which can help you attract local customers.

To get started, you need to create a GMB profile and verify your business information. This is a relatively simple but important step to ensure customers are able to find your business or service online. Make sure to keep your listing updated if you change any information like your website URL, address, or hours.

The takeaway:

When creating your marketing strategy, remember to stay true to your brand. Not every tactic will be the most effective for every business. Choose the tactics that make sense for your brand or product offering. Another way to prioritize is to consider the perceived impact and effort of each marketing strategy. Use the strategies that require the lowest effort but will potentially drive the highest return.

Once you have those in place, decide which of the other strategies make sense for your customers and your business goals. Also, make sure to keep track of all of your marketing expenditures and the sales from these tactics so you can assess which ones were successful and which ones you may need to re-evaluate or alter.

Remember, when it comes to marketing, it’s an ever-evolving system. Trust the process and try to have some fun with your marketing strategy!

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Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.



no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using you can use and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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