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Real Estate Rabble – Translators Needed!



I’m calling ITT Tech. It’s time they establish a course for translators for the MLS. Often the listings I see are so wacky I have to read them several times…yet sometimes they take on a life of their own.  It’s like listening to Dame Edna Everage – I scratch my head and wonder why the absurdity is actually starting to make sense to me! Am I crazy?  Don’t answer that, please – just enjoy the fun:

What Language Are You Speaking?

“Seller died. Truss sale.” (Just what we all need – used jock straps…)

“House has been Retro Flit” (House in West Hollywood, I presume.)

“Just pantsed lower area” (Did you fill in the “cracks”?)

“Nice lunch – arrive rearly!” (Uh, are we coming or going…and are we still in West Hollywood?)

“Close in 30 days – big bogus!” (Overexposure on the Disclosure. )

“House w/ beautiful dessert views” (House overlooking the pie display at Marie Callender’s.)

Are You High?

“Twilit Open – wine plunch reception. (Apparently the plunch is already flowing…)

“Good solid re-built rancher with bonus” (Well hot damn – give him my number!)

“Come see this very apeeling home” (Are you selling a house or a banana?)

“Please use probing form” (What do I look like – a gynecologist?)

“Guests have privates exit” (Hmmm – I think that’s called a zipper.)

Perhaps You Should Quit While You’re Ahead

“Hot new liesting” (Thank you, Speedy Gonzales.)

“Nice duplex with new sliding” – (Litigation location proclamation?)

“Buy before reduction and save money” (With that logic, you could work for the government.)

“Needs paint but is nice infernally” ( I’ll alert Dante.)

“Nice bungalow – must double upp.” (Deal ‘em pal – it’s Bungalow Blackjack!)

Put Down Your Martini and Go Home

“Nice greenhouse w/ horniculture specimans” (Uh, I think that covers most the men in Los Angeles.)

(Thanks for all reader contributions to this week’s laugh fest!)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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  1. Melissa Zavala

    September 10, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Gwen: Your examples always make me laugh. But, seriously, agents really need to focus on the details (or hire a great assistant to do so) if they hope to have a large following and much future business. These types of errors do not demonstrate professionalism.

  2. Nadina Cole-Potter

    September 10, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Our MLS forms that are used to compile property details and write comments must be signed off by the clients. And I think our ZipForms have a spell check feature. (The reason I am tentative is that I am a commercial agent and we generally don’t use the AZ state forms). Evidently, the clients in Los Angeles don’t see similar forms or are as editing and proofreading challenged as the agents. That being said, the last time I input into the MLS, Zip Forms did not autopopulate into the MLS so the slip between a corrected form and keyboarding into the MLS might be ham-handedness. Don’t know if our MLS has a spell-check feature but Los Angeles certainly needs one. Although that would take away my weekly belly-laugh from Gwen’s postings.

  3. gwen banta

    September 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    It’s interesting, Nadina, that some agents do not know how to use spell check. That being said, please note that many of the errors are also from printed real estate ads, and from MLS programs in other states. My blog subscribers are from all over the U.S. and Canada, so I get many contributions from elsewhere. I am convinced that English as a second language is responsible for many of the bloopers, so I try not to be too critical. I am sure that during my career I have made a number of serious poopers. Uh, bloopers.

  4. Ken Brand

    September 10, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Usually, all I have to worry about when I’m reading your posts, is not to be drinking a glass a moo-juice. Then I don’t have to worry about milk shooting out of my nose when I laugh. But, today, you’ve gone too far, your photo choice is completely freaking me out.

    Cheers and thanks for the shudder.

  5. gwen banta

    September 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    That’s my Senior Photo, Ken!

    • Ken Brand

      September 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      Obviously, every high school boy is kicking themselves in the groin, now they know, they should have been patient. Some people are late bloomers, comparing your high school photo to now, you should submit your “then and now” photo to Websters. When people look up late bloomer, BAM! There you are. I suggest you never look back, bygones;-)

  6. gwen banta

    September 10, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Thank you , Ken, but I must disclose that my purple hair was a real turn-on to the boys. I am considering going back to that look from my Glory Daze. I should have been Prom Queen, don’t you think? I was dissed. Petty jealousies you know…

    • Ken Brand

      September 10, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      You can safely rock the purple hair look today, no worries. There’s no way you can recapture the 3Chins though. At your next reunion you’ll when the most “changed”, not as good as prom queen, but sweet victory never the less.

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Business Marketing

The secret to crafting consistently high-converting emails?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.



Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject LinesThink about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?

    If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.

    The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.

  2. Nail the IntroNever take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.

    It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!

  3. Use VideoEmail might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.

    According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”

    This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.

  4. Keep Eyes MovingThe goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.

    One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.

    One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.

  5. Don’t Ask Too MuchIt can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.

    Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to 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

The rise of influencer marketing and its effect on digital marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) More businesses are planning to invest a larger part of their marketing budgets on more relatable, branded content and influencer marketing.



Influencer speaking to camera for marketing segment.

The digital age has created more savvy consumers, and the barrage of advertising on top of the plenitude of content online can be a lot. Many consumers have learned to hide ads or they simply scroll past them to their content of choice. Most business owners know that digital marketing is a crucial part of any ad strategy, and branded content and influencer marketing continues to grow in the market, because consumers see that it’s different from traditional advertising.

Hardly anything stayed the same in 2020, and traditional advertising also has shifted. Advertiser Perceptions reported on the trend for 2021, based on a survey from late 2020.

“More than half of advertisers using paid branded content and influencers say doing so is more critical than it was a year ago. Throughout the second half of 2020, 32% increased spending on branded content and 25% spent more to back influencers. They’re now putting 20% of their digital budgets into the complementary practices, which is more than they put into any other digital channel (paid search is 14%, display 13%, paid social 12%, digital video 12%).”

The benefits of branded and influencer content are that you are speaking to the consumer where they already are, when you choose an influencer. The people who follow their accounts are more likely to trust that the influencer would only share something they like or use themselves. The best matches are when the influencer marketing fits nicely into the kind of content, the voice, and any specialties they already deal with.

The word “influencer” as well as the concept rubs some people the wrong way. Marketers see the value, though, as influencer marketing can be effective if done well, and the cost to hire them is often less than a traditional ad campaign. If I want to know about food in a city, I’ll follow the hashtags until I find a local food blogger or micro-influencer whose style I like. Then I’ll seek out those restaurants when I visit. Sure, some of the meals are comped, but the truth is that food bloggers and influencers like to share their food recommendations. I have been influenced this way more than once, and not only for food. I am not alone in this, either, which is why it’s an important part of a marketing strategy.

In influencer marketing, the content creator is then given free rein to create within their own style, voice, and persona. They need to connect with their audience in an authentic, familiar way without creating a dissonance for their followers between their public page(s) and the brand. The level of trust is fairly high with influencer marketing, and many influencers realize that promoting something crappy or something outside of their area of expertise or recognition hurts everyone involved.

The power of storytelling comes into play here, as with all good advertising. Branded content is specifically all about the story, often the story of the business’s philosophy or some lifestyle aspect that goes with the brand’s vibe–or is so off that it goes viral. Some branded campaigns join into or build off of conversations already happening in the wider world. The purpose is to have people engage with the brand, with the content, build awareness, encourage conversations, sharing, comments, all with the long term goal of fostering a positive image of the brand so that down the line, they will become consumers.

Think of 2004 Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, based on a study showing that around 2% of women saw themselves as beautiful. The widely studied, award-winning campaign featured women of all backgrounds and body types, without airbrushing and Photoshopping them into a narrow vision of “beauty.” While some people hated it, many loved it and applauded the brand for treading into traditionally uncharted waters. Among haters, fans, and people who weren’t sure what to think, the Dove Real Beauty branded content campaign generated conversations. The campaign also encouraged women to feel good about themselves and lift up other women. One could argue that the campaign you could argue that the Real Beauty campaign was a forerunner to the currently popular body positivity movement, which started gaining traction around 2012. Dove increased sales by at least $1.5 billion in the first ten years the branded content campaign ran.

The goal of branded content is to raise awareness of the brand, but the path from point A (creating the content) to point B (brand awareness, ultimately leading to better sales) is not a straight line. Brands are paying attention to grabbing attention, aka building brand awareness via more upper funnel marketing than lower funnel.

One thing that marketers are looking for now, however, is almost eliminating the funnel. With the mind-boggling increase in e-commerce since the beginning of the pandemic, clickable sales capability becomes important in any kind of marketing, including influencer and branded content. It pays to listen to customers, to find an influencer who meshes with your brand’s purpose, and to create thoughtful branded content that isn’t out of line with your core product or service.

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