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Realtors can build better client relationships on Houzz

Houzz.com has rolled out new Realtor member benefits, and I’m in love because it’s consumer-oriented and aims to improve the client relationship.

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Houzz: flirting with the pretty faces on the web

At first, it was that flirting glance. It was the longing stares and fluttering of the eyelashes that you give to things that you are lusting after… Maybe you thought it was just a fling, when it was really much much more than that. This is actually a relationship. They pulled you in with fancy photos and the savior fare … things some people just wouldn’t understand, and you thought that you were done at that… but you weren’t. Now they want more. They are ready to offer you more. They want a commitment. They want more more. More. Are you ready for what they are rolling out? This is Houzz.com’s realtor portfolio program. And get excited, because it’s free!

According to Houzz.com Director of Business Development, Katherine Nannizzi, based on a survey of over one hundred thousand Houzz.com users, “[they] learned that about 10% of Houzz home owners, and 50% of Houzz renters are planning to buy in the next two years, and another 10% are planning to build a custom home. Therefore, agents expose themselves to a new potential client base in addition to engaging with their current client base.”

This new program that Houzz.com has just released caught my attention because it is not only free to Realtors but it is also a wonderful way to collaborate with these clients who are looking to become home buyers or build that custom home in the next couple of years. You may recall when it was just becoming an idea to utilize Houzz.com as a tool along with programs and apps such as Pinterest, and that it was just being realized that there was an easier way to collaborate with clients and Realtors.

This way was to create a full system for realtors to be able to maximize collaboration with their clients through their own portfolio program which was not the same thing as the Pro+ monetized program that was released just over a month ago through Houzz. What’s even more exciting about this is if someone has been utilizing Houzz as a private individual and not as a realtor or other type of contractor, they can actually very simply switch their profile over to being a Realtor professional just by editing their profile to become a professional setting. Easy.

Make Your Online Profile Smokin’ Hot

Only a month after rolling out their program for Pro+, Houzz.com realized that Realtors could utilize the system and a whole other way. Only 816 Realtors have signed up for the program in the last three weeks since this program was initialized. Being a tech savvy agent is fantastic and having apps such as Houzz that will allow for collaboration between the Realtor, the client, and the contractors is fabulous beyond words.

Creating the profile has never been more simple. All you have to do is change the status to update the professional page, and invite your clients to look at your portfolio page. The next step to utilizing this amazing tool is to utilize the review system. Similar to the Zillow.com review system, the Trulia.com review system or even House.com’s review system, Houzz will allow for professionals to request a review from current and past clients, but also colleagues, and even other contractors. Building up reviews from will solidify rankings within the Houzz.com Realtor Professional’s search in each hyper-local market.

They know how to talk a good game

With over 20 articles professionally written daily to give service to the clients as a wonderful cool Houzz is able to create a virtual concierge service to luxury client very easily for the Realtor who is utilizing this free tool. Clearly, there was a need for architects and builders to have an avenue to outreach to the consumer and Houzz has very easily transitioned into their approach to work directly with the Realtor through their beautiful aesthetic and ease of use; it was only a natural transition that ultimately they would have this Realtor program available.

The beauty of their program isn’t just maintained through the nearly two million luxury builder and architect photos uploaded, but because the brand has chosen to have the Houzz experience remain beautiful with endemic advertising with is handpicked by their team. Not just anyone can advertise on Houzz.com and not every agent in the free world is using the system either. Just the savvy ones so far who know their market.

Oh, please, take me with you…

The concept is incredibly tote-able. Think about it this way: your client can actually use their mobile device to examine properties in their portfolio through Houzz.com’s virtual library and immediately connect with you, their realtor. This is so powerful. When you used to have to possibly funnel information out of someone, now it is wireless. It is everywhere and it is an amazing way to help the creativity keep on flowing, especially if you are dealing with a client who maybe is lacking in the creativity department.

The whole idea of Houzz was actually started by husband and wife team who was in the process of remodeling their home. They found the process of keeping all of their information consolidated that they wanted to create a more efficient and effective way to convey their details to all of their contractors. They have obviously been able to do that… and then some. Through their second annual survey of over 100,000 people, Houzz was able to find out what homeowners actually want and renovation and design; this means that now you as the realtor can take those things and run with it for your client, the consumer. This ability to create community online and off-line is much more then the aesthetic collection of luxury images, it’s the actual luxury of the concierge service in digital form for the realtor and so many different facets of collaboration.

Imagine what we can do together

This new free tool through Houzz allows you to do many things: create idea books just for you; create idea books that are private to share with your client; be a part of the community and answer questions; be a part of your listing and be a luxury concierge to everyone in the community; understand what the client wants and where the drive is within your market.

Nannizzi shared her thoughts on how this program is going to help Realtors in the branding of their business. “Here are some ways that agents can now use Houzz to build their brands and relationships with clients and prospective clients:

  • to understand a client’s desired home style for a search — photos are more effective than words
  • to communicate a home’s potential — using Houzz to provide examples of what similar home look like post-renovation
  • to showcase their expertise – using personal ideabooks as mini-blogs where they share ideas for smart investments when buying or selling, and really localizing the content
  • to continue the relationship post-purchase – i.e. sending over ideabooks they create for specific clients with nursery ideas, or home office ideas
  • to engage with their Facebook and Twitter followers by sharing relevant Houzz editorial ideabooks on topics from staging to increasing curb appeal
  • to share their network of renovation and design professionals with clients
  • to link their Houzz profiles to their websites, blogs, facebook and twitter accounts, and vice versa (you can find buttons/badges to put on your website here)”

The relationship has evolved. Are you going to engage yourself with Houzz’s real estate professional’s free program to win hour clients more opportunities for creativity and connection? I sure have… We are in fact, getting intimate.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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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

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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.

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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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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

This story was first published in January 2020.

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