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How post-pandemic work-life will be different

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) There are a lot of changes going around, but one has to wonder, once COVID-19 is taken care of, what will work-life look like going forward?

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Man working from home displays work-life balance at his desk, leaning into a phone call.

Remember that time you asked your boss to work from home and they said, no. Maybe they provided some random excuse, ahem I mean reason, such as it wasn’t part of the culture or your role didn’t allow for remote access, or that was only allowed for senior staff.

Well now, if you are still employed and have an office job, you are most likely working from home. Booya!

Aside from the First World complaints I’ve read on my Facebook feed regarding work-life from home – the birds are singing too loud, the construction workers are too loud, the landscapers are too loud – most people are handling working from home (sans pants) pretty well all things considered.

In no way am I saying it’s been easy. If social distancing weren’t a thing, people would probably be enjoying working from home even more than they are right now. (Us pet owners know the doggos and cats are pretty excited.)

If you have taken the time to reflect during this time as I have, and which I highly recommend, you have probably considered this question: What do I want my future work-life to look like after the pandemic?

Just as some people are realizing they are ready for a divorce after spending time cooped up with their partner, who they now realize is not who they thought they were. I’m guessing many employees are considering if they want to continue their relationship with their employers and what is next. Now is the time to ask: If I could do anything and nothing was stopping me, what would I do? YOLO, right?

These types of questions can be challenging to consider when it feels like the world is imploding. Without checking yourself and your head, it’s super easy to feel fearful and worried. That’s completely normal. But, remember this: Everyone, almost everyone, is facing this new and unknown normal. Some folks have more resources at their disposal, sure. But, let’s consider all things being equal, we are all living in uncertainty. We were living in uncertainty before the pandemic and we will be after. So, now is as good a time as any to say, “If not now, when? If not me, who?”

While we consider what the world may look like and whether we decide to skip town, move to an island and start learning to surf, there are some predictions about what work might look like.

Over at Forbes, contributor Tracy Brower made some predictions about what the future of work could look like.

Companies will provide more support to employees.
Companies have had to take a holistic look at providing support for employees’ body, mind, and spirit. Also, they realize an engaged worker is a happier more productive employee. There will be more support for mental health. Isolation breeds mental health issues and it’s fair to say that employers who may have ignored mental health in the past will be more receptive to employees’ needs.

Leadership will improve. The poor, crappy leaders will be weeded out and those who are able to step up – and who maybe weren’t in top positions – will rise to the occasion.
Company Culture will become a real thing. No more filing TPS reports on the weekend Peter. Brower says it’s likely company culture will become important, as leaders realize its critical to engagement and employee performance and engagement.

Working well with others is likely to improve. Going through a crisis as a team is sure to build stronger bonds. There will be more understanding and acceptance of the challenges employees’ have managing work-life balance, especially now that everyone has had to work from home under strange conditions. And, inclusivity and diversity will be more welcome in the workplace.

Technology and the workplace will be better. Employees will have a better understanding of technology (we will never forget poor Jennifer) and it will make work-life easier now. Bosses should also treat their staff better. Things like office cleaning and comfort will be more important. I mean, after working from your couch that broken-down office chair that’s been around since 2004 isn’t going to cut it.

Corporate approaches will improve. Bureaucracy will go by the wayside, innovation will expand, and businesses will become more flexible.

Employees get a do-over. Unemployment is high. “During these times, companies have had to reassess critical jobs, expand definitions of responsibilities and explore new boundaries for key tasks. With such fundamental shifting of jobs and the way they’re designed, career opportunities will abound,” Brower says. And, every business will be a “start-up” because they will all be starting over in a new environment and wanting to re-establish themselves. It will also be a time of opportunity for new businesses and there will likely be an influx of new business and new ideas.

Interested in how life might change post-pandemic? Politico compiled 34 big thinkers’ predictions on the future of our world.

Regardless of what the thinkers think and the predictors predict, we can safely say life and work-life will be different. How that looks is TBD. As we move through this time, maybe a dose of Ferris Bueller could help us all.

Mary Ann Lopez earned her MA in print journalism from the University of Colorado and has worked in print and digital media. After taking a break to give back as a Teach for America corps member and teaching science for a few years, she is back with her first love: writing. When she's not writing stories, reading five books at once, or watching The Great British Bakeoff, she is walking her dog Sadie and hanging with her cats, Bella, Bubba, and Kiki. She is one cat short of full cat lady status and plans to keep it that way.

Real Estate Marketing

Do you need a squeeze page instead of a landing page?

(MARKETING) You already know you should have a landing page, but squeeze pages have merit in the industry, too – let’s discuss what they are and how they can boost your lead gen efforts.

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squeeze page example

If you’re looking for a fairly quick and easy way to generate leads, consider testing out a “squeeze page” on your website.

A “squeeze page” is a specialized type of landing page that appears when a user first visits a website. This type of page is designed to “squeeze” an email address out of the user.

This is usually achieved by offering a perk in exchange for the email address. This could be anything from a coupon or free service, to access to exclusive content such as videos, newsletters, a podcast, or some other downloadable tool.

Squeeze pages are highly effective for generating leads, producing some of the highest conversion rates compared to other kinds of landing pages. They don’t come off as annoying like a SPAM email, because the user is being offered something in exchange for their information, and because the user is already interested enough in your product or service to be visiting your site in the first place.

Getting as many of those visitors as possible to stay connected to you through email just makes sense. While a squeeze page can be a detailed, full-length webpage, it’s usually better to keep it short and simple.

The page should have a headline that announces the special gift the user will receive, a sentence or two explaining why this is valuable, and an embedded form for the user to fill in their name and email without leaving the main page. If you plan to follow up with further emails (and that’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it?) you’re legally required to disclose this fact before someone provides their address.

Once your squeeze page starts generating email addresses, be sure to follow up. Automate your systems to confirm the person’s email immediately and be sure to deliver the prize or coupon you promised, without delay.

Sync your squeeze page with Salesforce or any other marketing software you are using so that new email addresses are added to your database. And make sure that when a user provides an email address, they are taken to another page just to say thank you, and to offer any additional information about what happens next.

Other than that, your squeeze page could have endless variations. You can also make providing an email address optional after offering a coupon or some other benefit/service. This is a less aggressive tactic that still generates a lot of leads because the user sees that you are already offering something valuable and becomes curious about what other deals they might get if they sign up for your email list.

Because squeeze pages are easy to make (here’s a guide and template), you can quickly test many variations to optimize results for your user base.

squeeze page template

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Real Estate Marketing

All brokers should require agents to shadow their clients for a day

(MARKETING) Knowing what your client wants is essential to make the sale and improving relations, and the best way to do that may be shadowing them.

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shadowing your clients

When it comes to moving, the phrase “the devil’s in the details” can take on a whole new meaning. Most people have adjusted to their current living situations in ways they might not even notice – and some of those aspects of their living space might be more crucial than they realize.

This could be anything from power outlet locations to kitchen cabinet sizes to a doorway free of steps. These small details can easily be lost during a hectic house hunt.

So, how can you, as a Realtor, keep track of details that the clients don’t even think to bring up? One potential solution is to shadow them for a day before offering housing options.

Okay, yes, at first glance “shadowing a client” sounds an awful lot like the awkward career shadowing we were put through in high school and college, but hear me out.

Spending an average day with your clients can give you better insight into how they operate and what they prioritize. Maybe they take more advantage of the kitchen bar than they’ve let on. Maybe they’re utilizing doorways to set up child barriers – something that might not work as well in a more open floor plan. Maybe their kids like to read in window nooks. Sure, a client might be able to live without things they’ve gotten used to, but think of how great it could be if they didn’t have to compromise.

Point is, with a cheerful attitude and a perceptive eye, you might be able to gain more insights into your clients.

Not only could shadowing help you understand how a client operates, though, it can help deepen your bonds with them. Getting to know each other can help establish a level of trust that could make the upcoming house-hunt easier on both of you. After all, it helps make it clear that you are looking out for your client.

Plus, creating good relationships with clients will make them more likely to use your services again – and recommend you to others!

Did you know that the National Association of Realtors (NAR) requires everyone on their staff (and we mean everyone) to shadow a Realtor for a day so they understand their members’ needs? If they take this meaningful step, why don’t you?!

Shadowing clients might seem unorthodox, but it could also be a great way to get to know individuals and their unique needs.

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Real Estate Marketing

Begin your branding process with free, (mostly) non-cheesy name generator

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Naming your company, brand, product, or service can be incredibly difficult and intimidating. Luckily, there’s a new tool that can help.

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Bright colored alphabet on dark background, a starting place for branding and naming a company.

There’s an entire episode in HBO’s wonderful Silicon Valley that focuses solely on naming their fledgling company. The founder is adamant about keeping his original choice in spite of literally everyone around him hating it, and there’s a scene involving a white board and dozens of terrible new monikers. It’s a masterful send up of startup culture.

Branding, marketing, and publicity all follow from a name, and it is essential that these all work in tandem harmoniously (I’m not advocating either way here – it’s simply that this is a modern and fascinating issue). It helps if the name fulfills all its intended requirements as well – memorable, unique, implies what the product is or the service provided, and noticeable. It is a critical piece of any company and must be approached with care.

The gravity of this step cannot be understated, and as such, it can be paralyzing to know where to begin. There are a number of strategies out there, and there is a lot of sound advice to help guide your approach in a sensible way. But even with all of this at your disposal, the act of picking a name is still vital and daunting.

This is where NameSnack comes in – a free business name generator that can help jump start the branding process. Simply put, it takes words or phrases and then generates several potential business names in seconds. Writing in “teapot” (I do not have aspirations to take on the teapot industry) will return results such as “Hello There Tea,” “Empire Teapot,” and “O’Cool Uncle Polly” (which isn’t even the most nonsensical option I found). It can even tell you if a URL is available (another area of controversy), and take you straight to BigCommerce to set this up (though this would just be one choice of many).

Further, NameSnack links up to Zarla, which is a service that can generate a logo for you. You’re even given the ability to customize the text, add a slogan, change the colors, or add your own icons.

In a matter of moments, you could have a brand new company name, register a website for it, and have a logo created that helps drive your business.

Having spent some time in this space, I was curious to see the true flexibility of NameSnack’s service. As I put in different words and phrases, I found that there were a number of repeat patterns emerging. For example, you might always see “(Random Name)’s (Your Input)” appear, or “Big Ten (Your Input).” There were also results that were only remotely related, or completely and surprisingly unique.

While I cannot say for sure, this would suggest that the algorithm behind the service does a few different things. There’s almost assuredly some level of procedural generation going on (i.e., the system makes something up unprompted via the use of some level of artificial intelligence), but there’s also clearly a number of premade templates that have the user’s input dropped in without further assessment. There doesn’t seem to be many ways to guide the process, and certainly no way to alter after-the-fact results.

To be clear, this is not a bad thing, and I don’t want to diminish the utility of the service. At the very least, it’s a wonderful brainstorming tool for branding. I would consider it incredibly valuable with giving a person, committee, or other group a lot of viable starting points that would ultimately help arrive at a fantastic name. And in that sense, it works remarkably well, and cannot be discounted as at least another avenue to a solution.

Likewise, Zarla is similar, and would unlikely provide a final product, but something to draw from. I have to assume that there’s no legal issues in either service if you take their results as-is with no alteration, but will note that NameSnack specifically mentions it doesn’t check against registered trademark databases.

Naming is essential and difficult work – the story behind the Ford Edsel is a good example of poor name becoming a gargantuan problem. While this was not the sole contributor to its failure, it’s worth noting that substantial correspondence with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Marianne Moore resulted in a back-and-forth for years, and was ultimately rejected for (in some ways) nepotism.

At the very least, exploring every available option is worthwhile, and NameSnack will absolutely give someone several considerations for branding, and even more potential possibilities.

Lastly: If you have any interest in the tech world or laughter then I cannot recommend Silicon Valley enough.

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