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Real Estate, the French, and the Hollywood “Bowel”

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can canBelieve it or not, last week there actually was an ad in the MLS Caravan Express announcing a house where you could “Live Near the Hollywood Bowel.” It boggles the mind. I suppose the location was “easy in and out.” (Or maybe the agent hails from Flushing.) I am not sure how many of these MLS bloopers are foolishness or how many are Freudian, but they sure make for good reading. Here are this week’s hilarious contributions: 

Are you high???

Fireplace with stone hearse. (For those seeking a ride to their crematorium.)

Nude sculptor non negotiable (I dunno – he sounds pretty easy to me.)

Built-in BBQ and attractive duck (Get your affairs in order, Daffy.)

Gym and handleball courts (I knew that sooner or later men would make this a sport!)

New Irritation system (I suspect this is connected to the Hollywood Bowel)

New deposit roof (A house that’s located near a bird sanctuary.)

House has shudders (House needs Valium)

Beautiful bougainvillea and crapping fig (Agent with s__t for brains)

Built-in aquarium occluded (Dead fish included)

Korean countertops (If you cook on the North side of the kitchen, you’ll be shot.)

Soapstoned counters (Well stoned agent.)

Foe painting (If you can’t shoot your enemies, decorate ‘em.)

Windows with Loeueverres (Agent in stuuppoor?)

French drawers lead to entertainment area (Those naughty French!)

Enclosed gazebo for all seasoning (For those who want to add some spice to their lives.)

Frigidhare in kitchen (Frustrated hare in bedroom.)

Great area for dog runs (Again with the Hollywood Bowel!)

And my favorite:

View the mounting area from your porch. (No doubt those frolicking French are involved.)

For more MLS bloopers, please visit www.sherlockhomes.com

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, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Missy Caulk

    September 25, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I hope you are writing a book. It would be a best seller.

  2. Joe Loomer

    September 25, 2009 at 11:44 am

    OMG! I think I showed some of these homes!

    Racked my brain to say something witty about a home I showed last night – the only thing that came to mind was “Beetlejuice.”

    Navy Chief ROFLMAO!

  3. Ginny Cain McMurtrie

    September 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Why pick on the French? Very funny!

  4. Brandie Young

    September 25, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Perhaps the hare is frigid because it’s in the Korean kitchen and worried about being shot?

  5. Gwen Banta

    September 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks, Missy. I am looking for an agent for my crime novel, but perhaps I’ll have better success if I change the setting to the world of real estate. However, I’d have to move it from the category of fiction to fantasy, because no one outside our world would believe it!

  6. Gwen Banta

    September 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I think I have seen that home, Joe! I previewed a home recently that had more rats than the Williard movie. That’s the reason I look for the humor in real estate – it allows me to keep my last tenuous grasp on my sanity.

  7. Gwen Banta

    September 25, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Or maybe it’s afraid of being sucked down the Hollywood Bowel, Brandie.

  8. Joe Loomer

    September 26, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I think the hare would be fine in the Korean kitchen. Dogs, mind you, are another story….

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  9. Gwen Banta

    September 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    You are right, Joe – that explains the “dog runs.”

  10. Joe Loomer

    September 29, 2009 at 10:46 am

    OMG – just saw these picture captions and thought of you, Gwen:

    “In Law Suit”

    “Rebut Kitchen”

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Business Marketing

Marketing amidst uncertainty: 3 considerations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) As the end of the COVID tunnel begins to brighten, marketing strategies may shift yet again – here are three thoughts to ponder going into the future.

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Open business sign being held by business owner for marketing purposes.

The past year has been challenging for businesses, as operations of all sizes and types and around the country have had to modify their marketing practices in order to address the sales barriers created by the pandemic. That being said, things are beginning to look up again and cities are reopening to business as usual.

As a result, companies are looking ahead to Q3 with the awareness they need to pivot their marketing practices yet again. The only question is, how?

Pandemic Pivot 1.0: Q3 2020

When the pandemic disrupted global markets a year ago, companies looked for new ways to reach their clients where they were: At home, even in the case of B2B sales. This was the first major pivot, back when store shelves were empty care of panic shopping, and everyone still thought they would only be home for a few weeks.

How did this transition work? By building out more extensive websites, taking phone orders, and crafting targeted advertising, most companies actually survived the crisis. Some even came out ahead. With this second pivot, however, these companies will have to use what they knew before the pandemic, while making savvy predictions about how a year-long crisis may have changed customer behavior.

Think Brick And Mortar

As much as online businesses played a key role in the pandemic sales landscape, as the months wore on, people became increasingly loyal to local, brick and mortar businesses. As people return to their neighborhood for longer in-person adventures, brands should work on marketing strategies to further increase foot traffic. That may mean continuing to promote in-store safety measures, building a welcoming online presence, and developing community partnerships to benefit from other stores’ customer engagement efforts.

Reach Customers With PPC

Obviously brick and mortar marketing campaigns won’t go far for all-online businesses, but with people staying at home less, online shops may have a harder time driving sales. Luckily, they have other tools at their disposal. That includes PPC marketing, one of the most effective, trackable advertising strategies.

While almost every business already uses some degree of PPC marketing because of its overall value, but one reason it’s such a valuable tool for businesses trying to navigate the changing marketplace is how easy it is to modify. In fact, best practice is to adjust your PPC campaign weekly based on various indicators, which is what made it a powerful tool during the pandemic as well. Now, instead of using a COVID dashboard to track the impact of regulations on ad-driven sales, however, companies can use PPC marketing to see how their advertising efforts are holding up to customers’ rapidly changing shopping habits.

It’s All About The Platforms

When planning an ad campaign, what you say is often not as important as where you say it – a modern twist on “the medium is the message.” Right now, that means paying attention to the many newer platforms carrying innovative ad content, so experiment with placing ads on platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and NextDoor and see what happens.

One advantage of marketing via smaller platforms is that they tend to be less expensive than hubs like Facebook. That being said, they are all seeing substantial traffic, and most saw significant growth during the pandemic. If they don’t yield much in the way of results, losses will be minimal, but given the topical and local targeting various platforms allow for, above and beyond standard PPC targeting, they could be just what your brand needs as it navigates the next set of marketplace transitions.

The last year has been unpredictable for businesses, but Q3 2021 may be the most uncertain yet as everyone attempts to make sense of what normal means now. The phrase “new normal,” overused and awkward as it is, gets to the heart of it: we can pretend we’re returning to our pre-pandemic lives, but very little about the world before us is familiar, so marketing needs a “new normal,” too.

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Business Marketing

Advertising overload: Let’s break it down

(BUSINESS MARKETING) A new study finds that frequent ads are actually more detrimental to a brand’s image than that same brand advertising near offensive content.

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Advertising spread across many billboards in a city square.

If you haven’t noticed, ads are becoming extremely common in places that are extremely hard to ignore—your Instagram feed, for example. Advertising has certainly undergone some scrutiny for things like inappropriate placement and messaging over the years, but it turns out that sheer ad exhaustion is actually more likely to turn people off of associated brands than the aforementioned offensive content.

Marketing Dive published a report on the phenomenon last Tuesday. The report claims that, of all people surveyed, 32% of consumers said that they viewed current social media advertising to be “excessive”; only 10% said that they found advertisements to be “memorable”.

In that same group, 52% of consumers said that excessive ads were likely to affect negatively their perception of a brand, while only 32% said the same of ads appearing next to offensive or inappropriate content.

“Brand safety has become a hot item for many companies as they look to avoid associations with harmful content, but that’s not as significant a concern for consumers, who show an aversion to ad overload in larger numbers,” writes Peter Adams, author of the Marketing Dive report.

This reaction speaks to the sheer pervasiveness of ads in the current market. Certainly, many people are spending more time on their phones—specifically on social media—as a result of the pandemic. However, with 31% and 27% of surveyed people saying they found website ads either “distracting” or “intrusive”, respectively, the “why” doesn’t matter as much as the reaction itself.

It’s worth pointing out that solid ad blockers do exist for desktop website traffic, and most major browsers offer a “reader mode” feature (or add-on) that allows users to read through things like articles and the like without having to worry about dynamic ads distracting them or slowing down their page. This becomes a much more significant issue on mobile devices, especially when ads are so persistent that they impact one’s ability to read content.

Like most industries, advertisers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic. If there’s one major takeaway from the report, it’s this: Ads have to change—largely in terms of their frequency—if brands want to maintain customer retention and loyalty.

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Business Marketing

7 simple tips to boost your customer loyalty online

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Without a brick-and-mortar store, building rapport and customer loyalty can be a challenge, but you can still build customer loyalty online.

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Man and woman at kitchen table online shopping on laptop together, boosting customer loyalty.

With many businesses – both big and small – operating online, there are less opportunities for building those face-to-face relationships that exist in brick and mortar stores. According to smallbizgenius, 65% of the company’s revenue comes from existing customers.

It’s important to keep in mind the different tactics at your disposal for increasing customer loyalty. Noupe recently released a list of actionable tips for increasing this loyalty. Let’s examine these ideas and expand on the best.

  1. Keep your promises – Stay true to what you’ve agreed to, obviously contractually, but stay true to your company values as well. Even if you feel you’ve built a good loyalty where there is room to take a step back, don’t rest on your laurels and be sure to remain consistent. If you’ve provided a good experience, keep that going. The only change that should happen is in it getting better.
  2. Stay in communication – In addition to the ever-so-vital social media platforms, consider creating an email newsletter to stay in touch with your customers. Finding ways to have them keep you in mind should be at the front of your mind. By reaching out and being friendly, this will help retain their business.
  3. Be flexible with payments – No, don’t sell yourself short, but consider installment plans for pricier items or services. This will help customers feel more at ease when their wallet’s health is at stake.
  4. Reward programs – Consider allowing customers to accrue loyalty points in exchange for a freebie. The old punch card method is still an incredibly popular concept, and is a great way to keep people coming back. The cost associated with giving something away for free will be minimal in comparison to loyalty you receive in order for the customer to get to that point. Make sure that what a customer is putting in is about equal to what they’re getting out of it (i.e. don’t have a customer spend $100 in order to get $1 off their next purchase). If all of this proves successful, this can eventually be expanded by creating VIP levels.
  5. Prioritize customer service – A first impression is everything. By prioritizing customer service, you can help shape the narrative of the customer and how they view your business. This splinters off into them giving good word of mouth recommendations to friends and family. Be sure to keep positive customer service as the forefront of your mind, as giving a bad review is just as easy – or even easier – as giving a good review.
  6. Value feedback – Allow customers a space to provide their feedback, either on your website or on social media. Find out what brought them to you and gage how their experience was. Be sure to thank them for their feedback and take it into consideration. Feedback – both good and bad – can be vital in helping shape a business.
  7. Avoid laziness – Stay sharp at all times. Don’t treat all customers as nothing but currency. Include personalized touches wherever you can. This will make all of the difference.

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