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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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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

How to make sure a client actually reviews you online

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Actionable customer feedback is one of the most valuable assets at your disposal. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly difficult to obtain ratings and reviews.

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Actionable customer feedback is one of the most valuable assets at your disposal. Unfortunately, it’s also incredibly difficult to obtain, as angry customers rarely leave coherent reviews and satisfied customers often avoid them entirely. Here are a few ways to achieve positive feedback without breaking the bank.

Before embarking on a crusade to pester your customers for their time, take a second to identify pain points in your services.

Are your negotiating tactics superb, or do they end up a bit lackluster from time to time? Does your customer interfacing garner largely positive results, or do you get the feeling that you’re putting people off? Knowing what to look for when asking for feedback and reviews will help you narrow the number of choices your customers have, making an answer significantly more likely.

Once you have a general idea of what you want to address, it is ideal to implement a universal online reviews strategy that all clients are asked for, and you never cherry-pick for marketing purposes, rather publish all of the ratings for an accurate picture, given that consumers want real transparency. For example, RatedAgent.

But maybe you’re a solo agent with a broker that doesn’t invest in anything (especially not a ratings and reviews strategy) and you’re on your own.

In that case, start putting together a form with specific questions targeting your established weak spots – naturally, the fewer the better, but don’t lead people – transparency is good. In most cases, you’ll want to stick to three main topics and a general suggestion area; anything more than that, and you risk intimidating your prospective critics.

Following up directly via email is a good way to catch a customer’s attention, but it’s also a good way to end up in your customers’ spam folders, and it can get expensive quite quickly. If you decide to run an email campaign, make sure your intent is in the subject line.

You might even want to pair your email with a promotion, such as a free annual fire inspection or something similar, but be careful not to skew your potential feedback.

An alternative to mass-emailing your client list is installing a pop-up box on your website. After seeing the same box multiple times, some of your clients are bound to cave eventually. As long as you keep the box clean, concise, and easy to exit, you shouldn’t receive negative feedback inspired by annoyed web-goers. You can also add your message to a modal box or a similarly less-intrusive graphic in order to account for the ad-blocker crowd if you don’t see enough feedback within a month or so.

Acting on customer reviews is perhaps the clearest way to improve your customer-facing image, as long as the feedback itself is clear. Knowing what to look for and implementing a pleasant campaign to obtain will get you one step closer to raking in the critiques.

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Real Estate Marketing

Craft the perfect cold email with these simple, awesome templates

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Struggling with inspiration to write those intro emails? These free cold email templates can make growing your business a whole lot cooler.

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Entrepreneurs and digital marketers, you’ve all been there – staring blankly at your computer screen, waiting for the Muse of Marketing to smack you on the head with the perfect words for a perfectly crafted email introduction.

The struggle to write high-quality, effective cold emails for customer prospecting is a near universal pain point in marketing. Need something to help with the pain?

Behold Hunter’s free collection of best-performing cold-email templates. Their sample emails are a treasure trove of inspiration, nudges and signposts to help when you need to reach someone who may not know you or your business.

To make it easy to find the right templates, you can filter by categories such as sales, SEO, follow-up or networking, then refine it toward your offer or call to action. Want to pitch a guest blog post? Offer a free trial? Ask for help connecting with the right person? Just peruse the site to see what goodies you can use.

If you’re not even sure where to start, take a look at Wordstream’s handy tips for creating a cold-email strategy. If you’re a data person, take in the stats on sales emails that work from Hubspot. But if you need to start out with an even bigger picture, take advantage of Hubspot’s sales prospecting guide.

We’ve got some tips for you, too. Here are some thoughts on how to get the most out of Hunter’s template directory.

Resist the urge to just copy, paste and add your details. You’re not a spammer, right? Don’t waste your time or your prospect’s with bot-speak or boilerplate. Templates are your jumping-off point. Do your research, know who you’re talking to and look for ways to personalize.

Know thy business well before you dive in and start emailing. Even with the perfect template, you can’t write an effective marketing email without defining your most important digital marketing building blocks: customer personas and your value proposition. Know your ideal customers, where to find them and how you can solve a problem for them. Need help? Check out Buffer for how to define a customer persona and Sumo for how to define your value proposition.

Browse the templates for ideas on how to find and engage with prospects. Some examples: Maybe tell them about a broken link on their site and offer better content. Point out a competitors’ negative reviews and say how you can help their company avoid those issues. Notice a question on social media and offer an answer.

Help a fellow cold-emailer out and share what’s worked for you. Hunter invites users to contribute templates from their successful emails. Sharing is digital caring!

Now that you’ve saved time crafting those perfectly worded emails, don’t waste time figuring out where to send them. You can make hunting for prospect emails more efficient with another free tool from Hunter: Business email search and verification. They offer 50 free searches as well as a tiered subscription plan ranging from $49 to $399 per month.

May the Muse of Marketing ever slap you when you need her! But if she’s not cooperating, try out some templates to give her a little nudge.

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Real Estate Marketing

7 ways to maximize your email productivity and reduce clutter

(MARKETING) Emails tend to stack up and make it hard to organize and to find anything useful, here are several apps and ways to make your life easier.

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Despite the availability of numerous platforms and ways to reach your customers, statistics show, and business experts know, that email still remains the primary tool that businesses use for communication and collaboration. Email is the backbone of productivity, so if you’re looking for ways to increase efficiency and make your job a little easier, optimizing your emails is a great place to start.

Just in time for the holidays, here are seven ways to maximize your productivity when it comes to email.

1) Please, please stop with the no-reply emails. If you haven’t figured it out by now, it’s time you knew – if your customers can’t reply to your messages, it sends the message that you don’t care about them and stymies communication. Instead, create a persona or department that can handle replies to your messages. If you must use a no-reply email, be sure to include contact information for customer service so that a customer can get ahold of you if they need to.

2) Don’t waste time reminding a customer that they have an appointment. Get an intelligent machine to do it for you. Remindr is an app that sends text and email reminders to clients, patients, and customers, reducing the number of no-shows.

3) Turn your email inbox into a to-do list. If you use Gmail, consider trying the app Drag, which helps turn your inbox into a super-organized to-do list by sorting your emails into To Do, Doing, and Complete categories. It makes your email box look a bit like Trello and is more efficient for tasking than using Gmail’s colorful stars system or disappearing messages into folders, only to have them forgotten.

4) Reduce inbox clutter by using a disposable email address when signing up for subscriptions and accounts. AnyAlias lets you create an infinite number of disposable email addresses, all linked to one account so that you can check them all simultaneously, while still keeping your personal email address private.

5) Track the effectiveness of email marketing with Polymail, the inbox that shows you statistics about open and reply rates and creates detailed profiles of all of your customers, among other super helpful marketing tools.

6) Find files in attachments more quickly. How many times have you scanned through pages of your Gmail, clicking on anything with a paperclip next to it, trying to find some long-missing file? Dittach is a Chrome extension that creates a sidebar specifically for displaying information about attachments, as well as a thumbnail preview. Attachments can be sorted by file type or date, making it easier to find files, forward them, download them, or print them. Brilliant.

7) Clean up your digital hoard. With the new year coming up as well, why not go Marie Kondo on your email. Make it easier to find the things you need by getting rid of all those outdated emails you no longer need. After all, digital clutter is still clutter.

Don’t overlook this important aspect of running your business. Chances are you send and receive dozens, if not hundreds, of emails per day, and may also be using your inbox to store and find files, market to customers and manage aspects of your personal life as well. Streamlining your email experience can save you a ton of time, energy, and money, and make your day-to-day tasks more efficient and pleasant.

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