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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

No-reply emails: the modern-day horror story (don’t use them!)

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may be easy to set up and distribute for customer service, but it may actually be creating a problem with a simple fix.

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emails ugh

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Real Estate Marketing

Instagram advertisers no longer required to have a Facebook Page

(MARKETING) Instagram no longer needs a linked Facebook page in order to use Instagram ads, is this a split in properties or is something else going on?

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Instagram ads

Instagram will allow new advertisers to create ads without linking to a Facebook page. It feels like this is a move Instagram should  have made a while ago, but better late than never right?

Instagram announced that the social media giant will now allow new advertisers to promote their business, product, or content without having to connect to Facebook.

Previously, Instagram had been adamant about linking business profiles to Facebook, so the change is sudden, and the motive is contentious, buttttttt we’re not gonna question it.

This move supports small businesses, so we’re all for it. Although this change may seem irrelevant, here are five reasons it is:

  1. Previously requiring users to link a Facebook account to their Instagram in order to run an ad is time consuming.
  2. Not everyone has or likes Facebook.
  3. Associating yourself with a Facebook Page creates an additional way for people to get in contact with you, which can make things messy… sometimes less is more.
  4. Creating a business profile without connecting to Facebook will allow more people access to the same great benefits of having a business profile (benefits include insights on impressions, reach, audience, and activity).
  5. Maybe this is the beginning of a separation between the two social media platforms resulting in other new, beneficial policies.

Some have speculated that the reasons Facebook may want to push this slight crack between its products is because of some of their failures recently and the very real possibility of their being broken up by regulators in the future.

Take advantage and quickly set up a business profile, this is a potential opportunity for businesses that are hurting to learn about their customers and promote themselves!

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Real Estate Marketing

Now you can send marketing emails directly from your Facebook page

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Facebook is testing a new set of email marketing tools for business pages. Now you can send marketing emails directly from your page.

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facebook marketing emails

Facebook is testing new CRM email marketing tools with businesses. These features reportedly will allow businesses to send out messages directly from the Facebook platform, and track their performance. A user-friendly interface will allow small to medium businesses to upload contact lists and compose messages.

Word of testing of these tools spread after it was spotted by social media marketer Meg Coffey. She posted the screen shots to Twitter.

“Send marketing emails from your page? What new sorcery is this Facebook?! Have you seen this new feature where we can now send emails directly from Facebook? This is definitely new to me and only available on one account so far.”

From what we can see in the screen shots, it looks as if a blue pop up will appear on the left sidebar letting you know that the Marketing Emails feature is available to you. Once you click on that tab you get this notice:

“Reconnect with your email subscribers using marketing emails. Select your audience, customize your design, and track performance all in one place. Confirm your Page’s email address to get started.”

An email confirmation is required, and then you are prompted to add your contacts. A spreadsheet can be uploaded or addresses can be added one-by-one.

A Page Contact Terms of Service agreement prompt then comes up requiring approval before the feature is enabled, and asks for confirmation that the sender has permission to send promotional messages to those contacts.

In a message to Adweek, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the test of the new tools:

“We’re testing new email marketing tools with a small number of businesses to help them more efficiently notify their customers of changes to their services and operations. We’re evaluating whether these tools are beneficial for people and businesses before deciding whether to expand it further.”

The test is said to be limited to small and medium-sized businesses at this point, and the simplicity of it seems to be geared towards businesses who do not currently have a robust email marketing solution. As the tests continue and more users interface with these tools the more we can expect to know about these features.

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