Last night Trulia launched Trulia Pro. Rudy, Trulia’s Social Media Guru, sent me an email an hour or so before it went live, and I was there right away to sign up as a paying customer. Like most of agents, I like to keep my advertising budget under control, and testing new and unproven products is not something I do often. But Trulia really seemed to be offering a GREAT value for a reasonable cost. Plus they are currently giving out 3 months FREE if you mention my name. OK, you don’t even have to mention my name, and you will get the 3 months free, as long as you PROMISE not to tell anyone in my market about Trulia PRO 😉
What Did I Have to Show For It?
A few years ago I stupidly coughed up about $2,500 to buy a “showcased home” slot on Realtor.com for my home town, Birmingham, MI. Allan Dalton is a very inspirational speaker and he convinced me to whip out my credit card at a seminar so I could secure that valuable piece of Realtor.com virtual real estate. Homes are pricey here, so this was in their upper tier for zip codes at that time. I got one of 8 rotating featured spots for my zip code, so half the time my ad was not even on the front page. When I did not have any listings in 48009 I could insert anywhere else, but how useful is that really? After one year, and NOTHING to show for it, I dropped the service.
I have held on to the “enhanced listing” package from Realtor.com for 5 or so years. Frankly, now I don’t have a choice because our brokerage has all of it’s listings enhanced. I do get somewhat regular inquiries from my enhanced listings, and our cost on this is not far off from what I just agreed to pay Trulia monthly, only because the broker negotiated for us. If I were paying myself, I think my cost would be a couple thousand dollars, because I think I have something like 50-70 listings in a 12 month period. Did not do the research on the cost lately.
Is Trulia Better?
At first blush, Trulia is providing a better value and a better branding opportunity. I also think their price might go up, since they are just launching now. That remains to be seen.
Here is what I like about Trulia Pro:
- I get unlimited spotlight ads. That means my little picture and URL show up on all of the locations I want to target. Suggestions/questions to Trulia: let me have different ads for different areas; and how many ads will you allow for an area? I don’t want to be one of eight again…
- I can “feature” all of my listings. That means they come up at the beginning of the search results.
- It’s reasonably priced.
- I use Trulia Voices, so I think this gives prospects a very well rounded picture of who I am. They can click through to my profile, see most of my listings (I claim most of them) and see how I answer questions. There are links back to my sites from my profile.
- Trulia provides some of the most robust information out there for consumers in a very appealing format. If I were a consumer, I would rather search on Trulia than on Realtor.com.
- I have a second listing presentation tomorrow for a prospect who found me on Trulia. His father wasn’t sure what site he had found me on, but he knew I was helping someone with a problem they had with a real estate situation (that was not caused by me). I knew right away it was Trulia Voices.
What Trulia Needs To Do
My biggest “issue” with Trulia is that I wish I could control the feed that they take for my listings. Right now my broker is submitting, I submit, our franchiser submits, vflyer.com submits and the local real estate book submits. I would like to control that they take MY feed first, from miBirmingham.com. That is where I have the most robust information about my listings. I never know which feed Trulia will pick up, and I don’t know how I can influence that.
Oh yeah, and if Trulia would accept American Express for payment, that would make me happy too.
Last night I saw a fair amount of traffic coming into my blog from my spotlight ad. It might have been Rudy checking to see if I was live yet. I’ll be tracking the stats and the results, and I will let you know how it goes.
Pay employees for their time, not only their work
(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.
Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.
One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.
From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.
In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.
Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.
Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.
Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.
The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.
For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.
There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.
Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive
(MARKETING) With winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.
Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.
Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.
The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.
The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.
San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.
Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor
(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos
Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.
The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.
The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.
What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:
Collaborate in real-time
Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.
Video timeline editing and in-app recording
Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.
Library of assets
The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.
Animate with ease
Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.
Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.
“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.
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