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Business Marketing

Cultivating real estate leads with free Google Forms



Simple to get set up

Google forms is a great little program that is easy to figure out, and provides a great way to generate some new leads for your real estate business. You have probably come across a few of these forms in the past without knowing it while searching the internet, as a subtle information capturing tool. The following is a simple walk-through of getting a few forms set up to start gathering targeted client information for your business.

The first step is to figure out a very specific group you will be targeting. For example, you can set up a form to target buyers below the median home price who would be interested in the access loan which is only a 0.5% down-payment in your area. This will be very specific, and has a huge potential audience. The more specific and simple, the higher your sign up rate will be. A higher potential audience also helps, like targeting short sales if you would like to go for listings.

How to create and implement your forms

The next step will be to create a Google form. Once you are in the Google system, just go to “Documents” and select “create new form.” This pulls up the simple form editor. Here, put in a snazzy catchy title like “Get a free list of move-in ready homes for only a 0.5% down payment.” Once you have a title, fill in a brief description that is only a couple sentences long so people don’t get bored reading a novel about everything you will do. Just state the area, and product you are offering and make it sound really good.

Now you will have the form fields that the visitor will fill out below the paragraph. Do not ask for too much information. The more questions you ask, the less likely a visitor is to fill it out. Just ask for name, phone number and email. On the top of the page, you will see an “add item” button where you can choose the format of each question. Just leave an optional paragraph box at the bottom for details of the house they want. It doesn’t matter if they fill it out or not, because you will be calling them for that info anyway. When this is done, you can pick out a cool page theme at the top to make it look nice with colors and pictures.

Marketing your new forms

Now that you have a specific target and form, you need to get it in front of people who will fill it out. Craigslist is a great place to post these inside of a house posting. The URL will be very long and craigslist does not allow short URLs, so to get around this, you can make a little CLICK HERE button by putting your URL into this piece of code: <a href=”Your web address goes here” target=”_blank”>CLICK HERE</a>. This code will also embed into Postlets flyers which can be sent to all of the sites like Trulia and Zillow. This will provide you with some targeted traffic that will fill out your form. You can also use Google Ad Words, Facebook ads, and your blog to advertise, and Google will even get you set up for free.

With these steps, you will be able to come up with other great ideas to make a variety of forms for all different kinds of audiences. You can even tie one to a QR code on your real estate sign to provide additional information, or school information about a house to potential buyers, especially because Google forms work well on mobile devices. You could embed a form into digital marketing to FSBOs or expired listing, and people looking for short-sale information. The key is simplicity to get a nibble that you can cultivate into a sale.

Ryan Schattner is a real estate broker associate with RE/MAX Gold in California, specializing in investment properties. He is also the creator of the Escrow Coordinator PLUS real estate business platform. His writing focuses on increasing productivity and efficiency through the use of technology, and planning.

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  1. Cliff Stevenson

    September 15, 2011 at 11:34 am

    We played around quite a bit with Google Forms. While it's a fantastic tool, we found JotForms to be a better solution overall.

  2. RJ Ponzio

    September 27, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I agree, Google Forms is a great little tool, and free is always a good price! I have found it to be helpful in very specific situations where you would benefit from the form data auto-populating a spreadsheet, that's when it's power really shines!

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(MARKETING) With winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.



Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos



African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

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Business Marketing

Amazon attracts advertisers from Facebook after Apple privacy alterations

(MARKETING) After Apple’s privacy features unveil, Amazon adapts by taking a unique approach to targeting, disrupting revenue for the ad giant Facebook.



Two African American women work at their desks, one viewing Amazon's advertising landing page.

As a de facto search engine of its own persuasion, Amazon has been poaching ad revenue from Google for some time. However, disrupting the revenue stream from their most recent victim – Facebook – is going to turn some heads.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s recent privacy additions to products such as iPhones are largely responsible for the shift in ad spending. While platforms like Facebook and Instagram were originally goldmines for advertisers, these privacy features prevent tracking for targeting – a crucial aspect in any marketing campaign.

Internet privacy has been featured heavily in tech conversations for the last several years, and with Chrome phasing out third-party cookies, along with Safari and Firefox introducing roughly analogous policies, social media advertising is bound to become less useful as tracking strategies struggle to keep up with the aforementioned changes.

However, Amazon’s wide user base and separate categorization from social media companies makes it a clear alternative to the Facebook family, which is perhaps why Facebook advertisers are starting to jump ship in an effort to preserve their profits.

This is the premise behind the decision to reduce the Facebook ad spending of Vanity Planet by 22%, a home spa vendor, while facilitating a transition to Amazon. “We have inventory…and the biggest place we are growing is Amazon,” says Alex Dastmalchi, the entrepreneur who runs Vanity Planet.

That gap will only widen with Apple’s new privacy features. Bloomberg reports that when asked in June if they would consent to having their internet activity tracked, only one in four iPhone users did so; this makes it substantially harder for the ad campaigns unique to Facebook to target prospective buyers.

It also means that Amazon, having demonstrated a profound effectiveness in targeting individuals both pre- and post-purchase, stands to gain more than its fair share of sellers flocking to promote their products.

Jens Nicolaysen, co-founder of Shinesty (an eccentric underwear company), affirms the value that Amazon holds for sellers while acknowledging that it isn’t a perfect substitute for social media. While Nicolaysen laments the loss of the somewhat random introduction charm inherent on Instagram, he also believes in the power of brand loyalty, especially on a platform as high-profile as Amazon. “The bigger you are, the more you lose by not having any presence on Amazon,” he explains.

As privacy restrictions continue to ramp up in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how social media advertising evolves to keep up with this trend; it seems naive to assume that Amazon will replace Facebook’s ads entirely, tracking or no tracking.

Apple's privacy landing page showing iPhone users ability to shut off location services and a desktop image of a user's ability to control how their data is managed.

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