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Real Estate Marketing

Recycling dead malls into affordable housing

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) How do you recycle a building? There are more and more examples each year of the death of the indoor mall, but all that space can’t go to waste.

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empty mall

Like, OhMyGAWD! I totally LIVE at the mall!

I can 86 the localized 90’s-isms for readability’s sake, but the fever dream of having a penny fountain in immediate view when I leave for work could soon be realized at a fraction of the price of purchasing (pfft!) a home, and that’s honestly thrilling.

As we’ve been reading for the past 10-ish years, while the physical retail experience hasn’t flatlined, the concept of the indoor mall has been crumbling just as badly as pre-Amazon edifices themselves.

Usually the answer to ‘What do we do with this huge building we can’t wring any more cash out of’ is keep it around, Ozymandias statue style, to shelter from the eventual zombie outbreak, but there are other options! One small company is working on a big project.

No, it’s not another coffee table book of abandoned mallscapes, even though those ARE incredibly cool. They’re repurposing giant retail spaces into low-income housing!

The project lead, quite rightly assesses that “The [housing] market is screaming out for a solution”, and the entrepreneur hit on it by scoping out malls in already dense, already prime, already…BUILT locations and buying owners out or partnering with them to create the living spaces the elderly, hardship scholarship students, and no-collar/apron class workers need so badly.

“Adaptive reuse” is the name of the game, and I’m ALL about it.

Yours truly is the kind of person who’ll dare you to point out which of my home furnishings I bought new and which were restored from a dumpster dive session, so recycling whole BUILDINGS to serve the most in need makes me all kinds of tingly.

And as amazing as it is, turning former arcades of excess into spaces to celebrate on the wider portions of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is neither a new concept, nor an isolated one.

A few years back, McAllen, TX converted a dead Walmart Supercenter into an amazing library. Here in Austin, the famously be-curfewed Highland Mall was made over into a huge community college! I love stopping by for voting and watching community theater just as much as I Ioved the rock-bottom sales that hit as everything cleared out…even if I never DID figure out what they did with the much-coveted gates in front of that empty Hot Topic.

It’s awesome. Cities are also looking at buying out hotels to turn the already-livable structures into stable, COMFORTABLE housing for anyone living on the streets. Empty swimming pools become the centerpieces in community-run skateparks! Cracked, empty parking lots can be unpaved, converted to neighborhood gardens, and made into paradise again!

When you have the will, the cash, and the necessary bulldozer operating licenses, nothing’s impossible, especially when it comes to securing community health/wealth! And considering the rising cost of living in urban areas is driving the much-needed service sector out FAST, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in realty, needs to be a reality ASAP.

This article was first published in February 2020.

You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

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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Woman seated on ground writing cold email to clients.

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

6 logo design trends for 2021 to boost your branding

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Outdated branding can be a big red flag to anyone viewing your website or social media – check these logo trends to improve yours for 2021!

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Logo design sketches being drawn on paper and hands pointing to various designs.

When you click a website or open a marketing email, nothing (and I mean NOTHING) is more discouraging than a sloppy or outdated logo. It’s the first thing a consumer equates to the quality of the goods or services being offered. In short, if your logo looks like it was designed using Windows 95, it doesn’t matter how good your product is – no one’s going to believe you.

Here are 6 current logo aesthetic trends that will give your branding new life in 2021:

1) Minimalist design
A timeless aesthetic. Classy. Clean. Minimalism gives the viewer less to scrutinize and is an easy way to achieve professionalism. The best part is you won’t have to update every couple of years when trends change.

Pro Tip: Try using sans-serif fonts, as well as thin lines and clean geometry

2) Custom Fonts
I LOVE seeing custom fonts. We’re all used to Helvetica, Poppins and – God forbid – Papyrus. When a logo is made with a familiar font, it’s too recognizable – and feels like an 8th grade made it.

Pro Tip: You can go nuts with custom fonts, but make sure to keep it legible. What’s the point of a cool logo if people can’t read it?

3) Gradients
Everyone’s doing color gradients this year (think: the Facebook Messenger app icon). Gradients are eye-catching and make the image appear to be 3-D. They will also certainly not be going out of style in 2021.

Pro Tip: Make sure your selected colors print well before committing to them.

4) Text destruction
Use psychology on your potential consumers! A logo that’s unfinished or has a letter is missing will likely have viewers fixated and try to mentally complete it. This means instant attention on your brand!

Pro Tip: Don’t go over the top – you still want it to be recognizable.

5) Planned chaos
Twisted letters, random geometric shapes, and more! 2021 is a year that is inspiring some out of the ordinary designs that look interesting and sophisticated.

Pro Tip: I keep stressing this but it’s true – have fun with it, make sure it’s understandable, especially for this trend.

6) Balance
On the other side of the spectrum, balanced, orderly logos are trending right now. If you want a symmetrical and clean logo to give your brand a grounded feel, try a balanced approach.

Pro Tip: While they are inherently professional, these kinds of logos can become boring pretty easily. I recommend adding a little zest of some kind to work in tandem with the balanced-ness.

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Real Estate Marketing

Incentivizing recycled materials puts this shoe startup a step ahead

(MARKETING) Thousand Fell integrates sustainability into their brand structure by paying customers back for their recycled shoewear, which they then use to make more shoes.

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Thousand Fell Shoes, a startup incentivizing using recycled materials.

The startup shoe retailer, Thousand Fell, has a line of classic white lace-up and slip-on shoes. Based in New York City, the company was launched by Founders Chloe Songer and Stuart Ahlum last year. But, the brand isn’t just a regular sneaker company. It’s a full-circle economy shoe company that’s creating zero-waste footwear.

According to the company’s website, about 2.4 billion pairs of shoes are sold in the U.S. every year. As many as 97 percent of all shoes will end up in a landfill each year. It takes leather soles about 40 years to decompose in the landfill, and rubber soles take twice as long to decompose. Thousand Fell recognizes that waste is a huge environmental issue and wants to be a part of the solution with its biodegradable footwear line.

The company’s shoes are all made with materials that can either be “biodegraded, recycled to make new shoes, or upcycled into materials for new projects.” The company uses items like recycled rubbers and bottles to make soles, leather-like uppers, and next generation laces. Other ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut husks, and sugar cane are also used to offer a soft-touch feel, stability, support, and comfort.

Thousand Fell’s mission is to be sustainable and to never send another sneaker to the landfill. And to get there, it’s incentivizing its customers to recycle their purchased products. When you’ve worn out your shoes, or simply don’t want them anymore, you can return your shoes to Thousand Fell at no cost.

“Thousand Fell owns the material feeds and covers the cost of recycling, as well as the resale or reintegration of recycled material back into new shoes and the issuance of the $20 recycling cash that is sent back to the consumer once they recycle,” wrote Ahlum in an email to TechCrunch.

In partnership with TerraCycle, customers can easily recycle their purchased products through the company’s “Thousand Fell Recycling Program”. All you have to do is place your shoes in any box you have. You create an account, request a prepaid UPS shipping label, print it, and affix it to the box. Then, you can mail them via UPS. Once your shoes are scanned for return, you’ll receive $20 that can be applied to your next Thousand Fell order.

When the company receives the shoes, they are catalogued, sorted, and broken down to be used to make raw recycled materials

“We create sneakers with a life cycle you can follow—and feel good about,” the company’s website states. By taking a step forward to create a zero-waste product that can be used and reused to create a new one, Thousand Fell is going full-circle and doing just that.

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