Posts Tagged ‘real estate’

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Are online reviews important, and should you respond to them?

It used to be that personal recommendations solidified decisions, but in today’s fast-moving digital orbit, news about your company travels differently, and online reviews—think Yelp, Google and Facebook—are a primary source of feedback.

In fact, a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center concluded that 78 percent of Internet users conduct research online and believe reviews are the most credible form of advertising.

A 2018 Local Consumer Review Survey conducted by Brightlocal.com reported that 85 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and that 57 percent of consumers will only use a business if it’s rated four stars or higher.

Suffice it to say that online reviews are remarkably influential.

Not everyone responds to reviews, but there are several reasons why you should (even if they’re negative), including the fact that replying to feedback shows that you’re paying attention to your clients and customers, you’re not afraid of transparency and your business is all about building relationships.

The goal is to convert fans of your business into super-fans and offer disappointed reviewers an acceptable resolution, which often leads to a revised review or inspiration to remove a negative one. While there are multiple ways to respond to reviews – the positive and the negative – follow these tips to put the face of your business in the best light.

Be pleasant and don’t hurl insults: When a client or consumer is frustrated, they’re ready to fight. The last thing your business wants to do is fuel the fire or burn bridges, so when you’re responding to negative reviews, take a deep breath, be courteous and polite and provide solutions when feasible.

A little sympathy goes a long way in defusing an unpleasant situation. If you sense that the dialogue is taking a turn for the worse, suggest settling the matter offline, far away from judgmental public eyes. 

Keep your responses short and to the point: Social media users are looking to digest information quickly. If they want to read a novel, they’ll grab their Kindle or head to the bookstore. Keep your responses brief and genuine and stay on topic.

Thank those who post positive reviews: While handwritten “thank you” notes are, sadly, a thing of the past, clicking the “Like” button on a positive Facebook comment takes a second. Literally. Typing “Thank you for the kind words!” takes four seconds – five if your typing skills need work.

You don’t have to thank every single person, but if someone takes the time to write a favorable review, it’s a good idea to show your appreciation.

Don’t be a salesperson: When a user writes a review, it’s usually proof that they’ve already interacted with your business, so there’s no need to tell them what they already know.

If you have something new to share about your business, it’s fine to share, but make sure the content isn’t spammy or irrelevant.

Let clients and customers know that you loved working with them: Want to turn a customer or client into repeat customers or clients? If they post a glowing review, let them know how much you enjoyed working with them – and you’d welcome the opportunity to do so again.

If you want people to continue to work with your business, you need to let them know that you’re the kind of business that welcomes them back.


Real Estate Corner:
Mortgage rates are the lowest in a year and a half, but homebuyers aren’t taking the bait

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Mortgage rates continue to fall, but homebuyers aren’t impressed, writes Diane Olick, real estate reporter for CNBC.com.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 2 percent in the last week in May and were barely 0.5 percent higher than a year ago, she notes.

And despite rates that are the lowest they’ve been in a year and a half, “High prices continue to sideline buyers, especially first-time buyers, who are a growing segment of the market.

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Studies show that businesses should incorporate purpose and meaningful messaging into their branding strategies

Gone are the days when branding was limited to simply promoting a product or a business.

Today, companies are increasingly being challenged to incorporate a meaningful purpose into their marketing and advertising campaigns.

According to research, 75 percent of consumershere and abroad – expect businesses to contribute to their personal wellbeing and quality of life, while 84 percent expect brands to provide content that entertains, tells stories, provides solutions and creates experiences and events.

Purpose is especially important when marketing to millennials, 71 percent of whom say they’re partial to brands that implement environmental and social change into their campaigns.

A new biometric research report from Porter Novelli/Cone, published earlier this week, goes even further in suggesting that purposeful content should lead the narrative of your business.

“Purpose ignites physical and emotional responses: Purpose-driven advertisements were more effective in two-out-of-three brand categories tested, with higher levels of attention, emotion and arousal from these advertisements overall,” the study found.

In other words, businesses that are searching for ways to build – and maintain – customer loyalty would be wise to focus on purposeful messaging that supports, for example, responsible business practices, a charity or a social cause. 

Purpose builds deeper bonds

Other key findings in the report suggested that purpose builds deeper bonds.

A whopping 79 percent of Americans, noted the study, said they feel a deeper and more personal connection to companies with values aligned with their own. Moreover, respondents said they’d be more likely to feel better about brands with meaningful messages.

And that’s not all: “Purpose inspires brand advocates and amplification,” research showed.

After viewing purpose-driven advertisements, those who were surveyed also said they’d be more likely to talk about the advertisement and the brand with friends and family and share and discuss the advertisement on social media.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway, though, is this: Nearly 73 percent of respondents said that given the current social and political climate, they feel an urgency to support social issues, while 76 percent noted that businesses dedicated to addressing social and environmental issues helps them feel like they’re doing their part.

About the study

The research combined an online study of more than 1,000 American adults with the results of biometrics testing among a select group of respondents.

It measured facial, heart rate and skin conductance impulses that captured levels of emotion, attention and arousal/stimulation upon viewing a randomized set of advertisements.

Respondents viewed two ads from the same brand: a Purpose-driven advertisement (e.g., support of a social issue, responsible business practice) and an advertisement focusing on the functional attributes of the product (e.g., performance, features or specifications).

The research found that purpose-driven messaging has a greater ability to capture the physical and emotional attention of respondents compared to functional narratives.


Real Estate Corner
The rental market is heating up—and move-in incentives are few and far between

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If you’re exploring the rental market, it may be time to lower your expectations when it comes to landlord discounts, gift cards or complimentary amenities, writes Diana Olick, real estate correspondent at CNBC.com

As the rental market heats up and home ownership cools, rent prices are rising and freebies are falling out of favor.

Listings on HotPads, Zillow’s rental website, that mention at least one concession are down nearly 30 percent from the same time last year, and just one in 100 rental listings currently show any kind of move-in special.

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3 social media strategies to increase leads, likes and longevity

Remember the days prior to social media? Nor do we. Just about every business – big and small – has a designated social media manager or consultant that’s responsible for tweets, content posts, audience engagement, follows, shares, comments, insight and data reports and messaging.

It’s a big job that goes far beyond those “likes” and shares. To be a social media pro, you’ve got to master some skills.

Be creative: To stand out among your competitors, you need to create a dynamic and persuasive visual content across all your social media platforms.

Images, polls, invitations, posters, graphs, videos and illustrations don’t have to be in every post, but the eye loves visuals, and the more visuals you incorporate into your posts, the better chance you have of being noticed in what’s becoming an increasingly crowded field.

Canva, a user-friendly design tool, is terrific for creating Facebook photos and ads.

Inspire conversation: Interacting and engaging with your audience (think potential clients) is crucial to social media success – and that includes responding to comments in a timely manner.

Whether it’s a simple acknowledgement of thanks to someone who has responded positively to a post, a call to action for someone posing a question or a conversation starter that opens dialogue, you need to know how to foster communication.

That, in turn, encourages your audience to share your content, which increases your post’s longevity. And sharing content grows you audience and results in leads and “likes.”

To post engaging ads, take advantage of Facebook’s Ads Manager, a powerful tool that enables businesses to launch campaigns that reach a large audience.

Post real-time videos: Ask just about any social media pro to name the most influential social media trend of 2019, and the likely answer is live video.

Live video has the kind of human touch that doesn’t exist in text, and social media audiences can’t get enough of them.

Shooting spontaneous short videos on your smartphone and streaming them live on your social media platforms has become easier than ever with recent technological advances, and the content can range from entertaining to informative (or both). Live streams tend to be more personable and authentic than text posts, and studies have shown that social media audiences overwhelmingly prefer live video.


Real Estate Corner:
Homeowners Continue to See Housing as a Good Investment

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65% of
homeowners…

Sixty-five percent of homeowners nationwide view buying a house in their zip code as a “somewhat good” or “very good” financial investment, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Housing Expectations.

As well, existing homeowners are eager to invest more in their homes, says the report, noting that the percentage of homeowners expecting to invest at least $5,000 in their homes over the next one to three years continues to increase.

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Three smart tips that businesses should incorporate into their branding campaigns

No matter the size, mission, strength or success of your business, brand-building strategies are necessary components to building trust, establishing relationships and strengthening awareness.

But like everything else, branding practices are constantly evolving, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and understand what your future branding strategies should entail.

To help, here are three best-practice branding trends that need to be on your radar:

Be human: Technology is wonderful for increasing brand recognition, and you should embrace it. But don’t forego human interaction.

At a time when trust is precariously fragile, it’s vital for businesses to establish human bonds. Strive to engage with your clients beyond social media platforms and your website.

Be trustworthy problem-solvers, aim for empathy, be an expert in your field, share knowledge and insights and recognize that emotional, face-to-face communication tips the trust scale in your favor.

Be authentic and transparent: When your business opens its curtain and provides public visibility, it shows that you’re authentic and transparent.

And clients and customers rank transparency above just about everything else. In fact, a Sprout Social Report released in 2018 showed that 86 percentof Americans believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before.

Additionally, 73 percentof consumers are willing to pay more for products that guarantee total transparency. The numbers don’t lie.

Businesses need to account for the public’s increasing demands for transparency and develop practices and processes that convey honesty and truth.

Soul is the key to content: A compelling narrative that connects with your target audience is key to telling your story, and a story without soul falls down the rabbit hole.

When creating branding content, it’s all too easy to focus solely on promoting a product or service, but falling into that formula potentially robs businesses of cultivating relationships and providing meaningful value. When you tell the story of your brand, aim to be enthusiastic, inspiring and passionate—and don’t be afraid to show some emotion. It’s good for the soul, and it speaks to your human side.


Real Estate Corner
Mortgage rates remain on solid ground for the third week in a row

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While global trade disputes continue to shake up the financial markets, mortgage rates are holding steady.

According to the latest data released by Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate average dipped to 4.07 percent with an average 0.5 point.

The 15-year fixed-rate average slid to 3.53 percent with an average 0.4 point. Meanwhile, the five-year adjustable rate average inched to 3.66 percent with an average 0.4 point. 

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3 online tools to enhance and streamline your social marketing campaigns

We’ve found three tools that make it easier to manage your social media platforms.

A strong social media presence is one way to increase the visibility of your business, expand your reach and generate new leads:

Buffer: Buffer is a relatively simple web application that allows users to schedule social media posts across a variety of social network platforms. Dually mobile and desktop friendly, the app optimizes posts for peak engagement times (it also allows for customization) and best of all, its users receive salient feedback, via analytics, to view social media post performance, improve results and create data-driven reports for clients and managers.

Canva: That old cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words rings true with Canva, an intuitive, easy-to-master graphic-design creator that businesses can use to increase website traffic and social media engagement. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics and fonts. You don’t need a background in design to use the tool, and with more than 50,000 templates to choose from, it’s easy to design just about anything,including those all-important info graphics.

Woobox: Engagement and buzz are key when it comes to social media, and with Woobox, an increasingly popular marketing platform, businesses can create contests, giveaways, polls, quizzes, brackets, photo contests and more, all of which encourage your audience to engage. Bonus: It allows businesses to seamlessly integrate several social media platforms while running campaigns, plus it collects and exports useful data that stems from those campaigns, an advantageous perk that all but guarantees robust leads.


Real Estate Corner
Millennials are flocking to smaller cities to buy homes

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According to a recent study published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), expensive home prices, coupled with high demand, are driving today’s youngest homebuyers to smaller cities.

“As long as supply keeps up to meet demand, and prevents costs from rising too high and too rapidly, these identified metro areas are likely to see an uptick in purchases from millennial homebuyers,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the NAR. A robust job market and affordability are two of the main factors that impact home-buying decisions by millennials, notes the report.

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