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I Heart Outlook

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The Magic Key

When I was new – and I hate to admit that occasionally I still do – look for the magic key to success in real estate.  I’ve purchased and bought into far too many products.  In fact, before you buy anything, call me.  I probably already have it.  I’m sure we can make a deal.

After going through several contact management products, I ended up where I started – back using Outlook. 

Pulling Out My Hair

I wish I knew how to email mail merge before, especially the other day when I was pulling out my hair.  I didn’t even think of it.  You too can send a “personalized” email to several people at once, which actually makes it completely unpersonal, but it looks personal.

All the instructions are there for you – probably in a better format than I could recreate here.  So go over there and look. 

The fact is that the price of a product sold to an agent is multiplied ten-fold compared to the same type of product sold to the average business person.  So before you buy into it, think about who their market share is.  If it’s just us, then look somewhere else.  Uh-oh, I’m getting on my soapbox again…

As a lifelong resident and local Realtor, Vicki has established herself as a respected member of the San Mateo County real estate community. She’s known for her wit, sarcasm, and her personality that shows through in her posts. You can find her spouting off at Twitter, here at ag, and her personal blog, San Mateo Real Estate Blog.com.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    October 6, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    I heart Outlook too, and that was a great tutorial. Thanks I subscribed and skimmed the topics of the blog so I am sure I will get many tips, if not I’ll call you. 🙂

  2. Will

    October 6, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    I also Heart Outlook… especially the customised version from Sonoma Enterprises called Active Agent. Very cool real estate modified outlook that gives you absolutely everything you could want from Outlook with a very simple layout, no monthly fees, and really terrific (from my experience) support.
    The website for this little known firm is https://www.sonomaenterprises.com/outlook.htm
    (They really should do a better job marketing as I just stumbled on them once several years ago and while I have looked at others could not find a better bang for the buck).

  3. Dan Connolly

    October 6, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    I have been very happy with Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager. The only thing missing for me is that the program doesn’t have a field for spouse. I guess in business applications the spouse doesn’t exist. So to send a note to John and Mary Smith, John’s middle name has to be “and Mary”.

    The greatest feature is the email automatic linking, so any email in or out is automatically saved to the client file, so I can read it and erase it from the inbox yet it is there in the client’s file when I need it later.

  4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    October 7, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Vicki – funny thing is that we use TP and about 2 months ago decided that they were not working and we should switch to outlook. I just have to get around to it – thanks for the push.

  5. Bob Schenkenberger

    October 7, 2008 at 11:08 am

    As much as I love Outlook, I continue to look for ways to increase the productivity and get away from the limitations. I use Outlook, and have an Exchange Server, so I can share contacts, and calendars with my team.

    I’m currently looking into migrating into gmail, google calendar, etc…

    Email is great, Calendar is OK, Contacts Suck, and no such thing as Task Management unless you go the add-on route with something like “Remember the Milk”.

    I’m love the sharing possibilities, not sure the funtionality will be sufficient.

    I’d love to hear from anyone else that has migrated from Outlook to Google, it sure would help me get rid of a $50/month hosted exchange bill!

  6. Vicki Moore

    October 7, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Missy – Please do. 🙂

    Will – Another option is
    https://patzaby.com/Products/product.asp?Id={9E8F1F94-A443-4C4F-94FE-56CE967B4969} One of the few things I haven’t purchased so I can’t attest to how well it works.

    Ines – I had TP too. I had the software then switch to 8 – I think it is. I got sick of paying monthly for a ton of features I never used.

    Bob – I haven’t used Outlook-Google. Can someone help with that??

  7. Vicki Moore

    October 7, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Thanks Dan. Here’s a link to what Dan’s referring to: https://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HP102186731033.aspx

  8. Patti Smith

    October 7, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    Thank you. This came at the right time as I have been reading reviews on the many products on the market. I am sure some of the products are more advanced than Outlook, but you can’t beat the cost.

  9. Vicki Moore

    October 8, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Patti – I agree. You can talk yourself into or out of buying something. I’ve gotten by just fine with Outlook. There are a lot of add-ons and ways to get around the shortfalls. I guess you just have to decide if the expenditure is worth it. Although it’s smart for the provider, I don’t like the monthly charge products – like Top Producer. It adds up to a ton of money.

  10. David Fanale

    October 20, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    I use Outlook for email and TP for contact management for recruiting agents for sending out letters and keeping notes. I am curious: If you are or would be recruited to another company, what method would work best?

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Business Marketing

10 inspirational print brochure examples

We believe that print is nowhere near dead, it is just changing as things go digital, and only the best stand out.

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Below are 10 inspirational print brochure examples that show print is not only alive and kicking, but when infused with a bit of creativity, can make an enormous impression. Gone are the days of horrid clip art and walls of text that overwhelm. Clean typography and design are the name of the game, and added flair can go a long way. Here are some ideas to get you started, click any of the images below to see more photos of each campaign and to dig deeper:

Craft Beer Field Guide

With this fold up brochure guiding Madison’s Craft Beer Week attendees, a vintage vibe is created through color and typography choices, with an emphasis on function and ease of reading. The guide is so enchanting, it is likely that most attendees kept the brochures, a dream for any designer or marketing team!

Italian Loft Brochure

In this Italian Loft Brochure, a classic Tiffany & Co styled blue and chocolate brown highlight the features of this luxury loft community, and is presented in a beautiful, heavyweight cardstock cover that keeps all additional papers that come along with tours. It’s more than just the brochure’s design, it’s the presentation, simplicity, and choice of materials that is eye catching about this print brochure.

Campaign for Freedom

Expressing the dire situation in North Korea, this campaign brochure uses simple to digest infographics and keeps to four colors – black, white, red, and yellow. It is effective for sticking to the point and using bold graphics.

Gourmet Natural Foods

Retailers often go overboard either by offering too many walls of words and facts, or by trying to be clever. Instead, this company’s design focuses on the simple ingredients that goes along with their streamlined, organic-looking containers. This brochure makes you want to go start eating hippie food, even if you’re a cow eater, just because it’s so aesthetically pleasing!

Graphic Designer Portfolio

When a seasoned graphic designer shows off, you can be sure that their presentation will never be an aged headshot of them with bullet points of their accomplishments. No, graphic designers show instead of tell, as below:

Typefamily Brochure

When introducing a typefamily to the world, a designer can choose to slap up a website, or go the traditional, and more elegant route of printing a type booklet explaining the type and giving buyers of the typefamily (font) a closer look at what they are buying. Brilliant.

Yahoo! Brochure

Yahoo’s brochure is a reminder that simple design elements can go a long way – a folding tab, white space, ditching clip art, and keeping consistency between pages all work in harmony to create a quality print brochure.

Antique News Format

In a very clever move, this commercial and residential space is being sold in the form of a large, folding antique- looking newspaper, complete with appropriate fonts and an antique layout, with surprisingly sharp and never cheesy images.

Architect’s Timeline and Story

Promoting an architect’s impressive timeline and story, this print campaign shows the power of red, black and white, making a dramatic impression at a quick glance. Using high quality photography and traditional movie poster tricks, the campaign is stunning.

Our Favorite: Lennar’s Old School Fun

Lennar’s new “Spencer’s Crossing” community brochures got a touch of old school, making the brochure a game that anyone can play. It’s more than a gimmick, it is consistent with their collateral that appeals to the youthful nature of the product and area.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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