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Real Estate Karaoke at the Redhead Lounge

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In case you missed all the fun, last week I hosted a virtual real estate discussion in the Redhead Lounge. This second installment includes the same illustrious crew: Brandie Young, Ken Brand and Paula Henry, as well as two party crashers, Joe Loomer and Tanya Nouwens. These leaders in marketing and real estate were asked to answer questions in ten words or less, in between karaoke numbers and shooters. Grant Hammond, the bouncer on duty, had his work cut out for him. They have imparted some great words of wisdom, but watch what happens when I ply them with booze and become the master puppeteer!

 GBB: Hey guys, who’s buying? KB: Loomer is. Here’s his wallet – I moonlight as a pickpocket.  Paula provided a distraction by slapping Joe upside his head. GBB: Speaking of team work…do y’all think it’s advisable to have a business partner? KB: Everyone should have a trusted working partner.  Someone who can cover their business….  Most don’t need a partner/split … I’ve rarely seen a partnership work, except with spouses. PH: Yeah, long term business relationships rarely last. GBB: Two words: Bill and Hillary.  JL: That’s three words in Georgia. BY: I love having a partner…each of us morphs naturally into a role with the client, with one being the one that must, at times, bring some order to the relationship…GBB: Brandie,  I’m not sure anyone will bring you to order if you don’t slow down on those margaritas. BY:You’re right – the salt is giving me kankles. JL:What in the hell are kankles? Do we need to call an exterminator? BY: Bloated ankles, dufus. Get your hand off my Swedish meatballs… JL: I will if you will.

GBB: Come to order, delinquents. Hey, look who just walked in – Tanya Nouwens. You’re late, put a buck in my money jar. TN: But I drove in from Canada… GBB:Hey, there will be no cryin’ for you Argentina. Try driving across Los Angeles! So give us some advice, Tanya: Should agents who are resistant to texting start doing so? TN: Yes, because it makes us seem 10 years younger than we really are.  And it’s way less expensive than cosmetic surgery. GH:Did you say sexting? Hell yes! GBB: Grant, stop stalking us and go back to your post at the door. PH: Clients who text expect to be answered in the same manner; besides it’s quick and efficient. GBB: So you ladies think we need to be technologically current…  I carry a Smith and Wesson – does that count?

GBB: What is the most important quality about a house?  JL: If the bar is stocked.  Oh, you mean buying one? The honesty in the disclosure statement and the state of repair. PH: Location. Duh. Now stop bothering me. I’m warming up my pipes for my real estate karaoke song. I plan to rock the joint with “Our House.” GBB: Did you say “Outhouse?”  You’re slurring. You’ll be rockin’ with only two stumps if you touch my money jar again. KB: Whatever my clients think is most important about a house is most important to me. GBB: Good answer, Ken, but I didn’t ask you, so put a buck in the jar. And what’s your real estate karaoke song, tonight?” KB: Brandie and I are doing a duet of “Sugar Shack.” JL:Ken, you’re making a bold assumption that Brandie can walk on those meadow muffins that are squeezing out of her shoes. Gwen, shoot her in the kankles before she lifts off!

GBB:  Ken, while you buy another round with Joe’s money, maybe Tanya can tell us what issue worries her clients the most. Tanya? TN: That they won’t get the value out of their property that they have already attributed to it based on a scientific study consisting of talking with their neighbors and friends and consulting Uncle Edward who used to sell real estate in the area in 1958. PH: Boy, you’re a chatty l’il thing…but I agree. They are concerned about whether or not they’re paying or receiving the best price. GBB: So we all agree on something? JL: My clients also worry about inspections…and the smells emanating from garage freezers. GBB:Zip it, Loomer. 

GBB: What troubles you the most about the loan process? BY: There’s no rigor.  The underwriters have way too much power.  The lenders are still in panic mode. KB: You’d be in panic mode, too, if you could see your kankles from where I’m sitting! BY: Don’t make me hurt you, Ken. GBB: Joe, any loan process woes? JL: Buyers who arrive “pre-qualified” by internet or out of town lenders. Gwen, let’s team up for “House of the Rising Sun.”  GBB:  No, you’ll hog the microphone. KB: If you don’t pre-prepare your clients for the often bumpy and anger inspiring process in getting a loan, you’ll get blamed… GBB:  That’s why I pack a Smith and Wesson. 

GBB: Okay, here is my rapid fire finale: Ken, wake up – your ankle monitor is beeping! What musical instrument would most help you in real estate?  KB: If I had the Pied Piper’s magic flute, that’d be cool. GBB: Brandie, when is dress important? BY: Always.  Ladies!  The two most important things: manicured nails and shoes that are not destroyed.  It’s the little things. JL: Unlike your ankles… GBB: Brandie, I don’t think Joe can breathe with your IPhone in his esophagus. Paula, you’re on deck with “Homeward Bound,” but before your vocals shatter the neon Bud sign, when do you think agents should present an offer in person? JL (interrupts): When the client is super freakin hot. GBB: We’re cutting you off, Joe. Paula? PH: If there are multiple offers on a great non-bank owned property.  GBB: No wonder you have your own team. I only have two hamsters and a ferret named “W.” 

GBB: Tanya, What is the best housewarming gift for a client? TN: A house. GBB: That was a good answer for someone with a cocktail napkin on her head.  You’re new at The Redhead, so you get a bonus question: What is the biggest hindrance to closing a deal? TN: Egos. GBB: You clever l’il Canadian – I love brevity! KB: That’s what Loomer’s wife says. GBB: Joe, I noticed that Grant is cutting off your oxygen. Before you pass out, can you tell me the most difficult aspect of a real estate deal? JL: Negotiating repairs or dealing with uneducated agents. That, and they rescinded the “shooting idiots” law in Georgia. GBB: And what’s your must successful means of advertising? The Playgirl spread I did, yeah, that’s how I roll.  (Collective groans) 

GBB: Last call, folks. Where’s Brandie? KB: (Bleary eyed and unfazed by his karaoke partner’s disappearance.) Grant bounced her and called the cops five minutes ago for stapling her business cards all over the piano. TN: She sure is a marketing wizard. GBB (yells across the bar to Grant):  Hey Hammerin’ Hammond –  you like your job too much! GH:  Yeah, I believe Forest Gump best described my feelings here with the whole box of chocolates thing. GBB: So where’s Brandie? PH: Forget that miscreant!  More importantly…where’s Waldo? JL: Probably in the cell next to Brandie.  ( They all jump on stage and do a fabulous rendition of “Take me Home.”  They dedicate their song to Brandie as she sobers up in L.A.’s luxurious County Lockup.)

Thanks to my colleagues for their valuable input and their willingness to participate in virtual mayhem. Ken Brand, a veteran in real estate, is the Real Estate Sales Manager of Prudential Gary Green Realtors  in Woodlands, Texas. Paul Henry is the dynamo leader of the top notch Henry Group at Red Door Real Estate in Indianapolis. Brandie Young is a San Francisco marketing guru, trail blazer and founder of consulting firm MarketingTBD. Tanya Nouwens  has combined 29 years of Montreal real estate experience with the home staging experience of Ready, Set…Sold! Inc to form a Canadian power team.  Joe Loomer  is Assistant Team Leader at Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners and author of the wise and witty blog, Fruit of the Loomer.  Grant Hammond, our “bouncer,” just joined us. He is an award winning  Nashville real estate market expert. Los Angeles host and blogger Gwen Banta  can be found at www.L.A.Homesite.com, or checking coats at The Redhead Lounge – tips welcome.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Oh the Humanity.

    My head feels like Gwen’s ankles after that night out!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride!

  2. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Those huge “kankles” belonged to our dear friend Brandie Young. I’m the one who was stuck with the huge bar bill. Are Grant’s thumb prints still in your neck? (I think our rendition of “House of the Rising Sun” drove him over the edge.)

  3. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Hey friends (and sworn enemies) – I forgot to ask what your real Estate Karaoke song is – it must have something to do with real estate in the title…

  4. Tanya Nouwens

    March 19, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    “Tanya has combined 29 years of Montreal real estate experience…” Oy vey! How old do you think I am? Granted, I always age after a night of “spirited” karaoke, and cosmetic surgery may have been more prudent than that lesson in texting from the marketing whiz kid named “U”, but cherie….it’s my BROKER who has lasted 29 years in this nutty biz. Though she in fact looks younger than me. OK nevermind. Pass the wine please.

  5. Tanya Nouwens

    March 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    “Tiptoe…Through the Tulips.”

  6. Tanya Nouwens

    March 19, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    And on other days, “I Will Survive.”

  7. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Sorry, Tanya – I misquoted your website material. That happens when one’s arteries harden. I meant to say that you LOOK 29, and when I had to pick you up off the floor at the Redhead, you still looked 29 – dissipated, but 29. Here, let me top that off for you….

  8. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I love them both, Tanya, although tulips are hard to find in real estate. I’m thinking of more prickly flowers, such as “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” by Guns and Roses. Of course, I work in Los Angeles, so that may explain my cynicism. “I Will Survive” is a very positive attitude, although I may have considered “Love This Pain” by Lady Antebellum.

  9. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Hic – uh, ok, – hic – uh, ok – hic – uh, ok – Brandie? Where’s my wallet? Ken? This dude’s looking at me funny, Gwen, I’m going all Desert Storm on him if he don’t quit.

    Ok, Brandie!! Brandie!! where are you? Well s#%#cicles, there goes my ride – I can’t call the Wiff. Jen! Jen!! Ken! Whatever the $##% your name is! Gimme my wallet!! I swear I got a “Get Home Free” card in there somewhere from Gwen’s last party! C’mon! The “Places OJ slept” Open House doesn’t close for another thirty minutes! We can be there in ten! Who you gotta *#$% to get a cab in this place? #%% it, I’m going back to Georgia, at least there I can call my wife and sister (no, they’re not one and the same) to come get me on a night like this.

    Navy (hic), Navy (hic) Navy (hic), Maybe (hic), Baby (hic), oh %#$# it, see you next weee(hic) next week

  10. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    You are seriously in need of help, Mr. Loomer. There was no Jen there, but now that I recall, there was a Jim. I saw him winking at you when you were doing your karaoke number. Is there anything you want to share with your AG pals? C’mon – spill it!

  11. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Twenty one years of service to this country and THIS is what I get? MORE sexual predeliction comments? Good googley moogley. Hair of the Dog time! Honey? Where’s my drink? Jim? Jim!! I’m talking to you!

  12. Joe Loomer

    March 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Oh #%#. Wife just saw the last post. I got some ‘splainin to do!

  13. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Before Sherri confines you to the house for your own safety, tell me quickly: What is your Real Estate Karaoke song? I love the answers I’m getting!

  14. Ken Brand

    March 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Ummm, I don’t remember anything. I think I blacked out, my forehead’s bruised.

  15. Gwen Banta

    March 19, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    And yet you still managed to impart some sage advice, Ken – you must have brain cells to burn!

  16. Michael Bertoldi

    March 20, 2010 at 12:48 am

    LOL, You guys have owned the comments and this post. You all crack me up.

    (Smart real estate peeps are crazy!) Shhh

  17. Gwen Banta

    March 20, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Emphasis on the “smart.” Even geniuses know how to roll. Thanks, Michael.

  18. Joe Loomer

    March 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Our House – Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young)

  19. Brandie Young

    March 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    First, you are all terribly insensitive to chide me on my fat ankles.

    Update: I made some new friends in the lockup – probably because I look fabulous in an orange jumpsuit! p.s. Gwen, thanks for the bail money. I promise the IOU is as good as the cocktail napkin on which it’s written.

    Finally, for our next number, Ken Brand and I will sing our own rendition of “This Must Be the Place” by the Talking Heads.

    Cheers!

  20. Gwen Banta

    March 21, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    Brandie, I have no doubt you made new friends; and with your brilliant marketing skills, they probably all became clients. We all could learn a lot from you…if we could just stop staring at your ankles 🙂

  21. Gwen Banta

    March 21, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Incidentally, Brandie, I like the karaoke choice. I was thinking of performing “This House is On Fire” by Natalie Merchant. I couldn’t find a song title that said, “Buy this House Dammit – We’ve Seen A Hundred Already!”

  22. Nashville Grant

    March 28, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Never has selling real estate been this entertaining or fun. Not even in 2005.

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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.

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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.

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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 noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com 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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Business Marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t new, it’s actually centuries old

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencer marketing people taking video on a smart phone to record dances.

Influencer marketing is now one of those buzzword phrases that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary in 2019.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to the HypeAuditor report, the influencer industry will be worth $22 billion by 2025. Where can I sign up?

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