Archive for 'love'

Using Video in Your Real Estate Marketing

Having commercial quality video that represents your business is a valuable animated brochure.

Much like a traditional website the highly produced video is useful, but not nearly as much as the more scrappy on the fly production. Much like what a blog is about. Because of its conversational nature, Web 2.0 demands speed and consistency.

Some ideas for quick and powerful video marketing

  1. Testimonial gathering-Nothing is more powerful than a testimonial and nothing is more powerful than a testimonial on video on your blog, website, CD, etc.
  2. Digital Door Knocking. This beats the old style way of cold doors (which still works by the way). Simply go to all your happy clients and interview them about your neighborhood. What do they love about the neighborhood and local flavors? What do they like about their new lifestyle? Etc. Talk about local blogging!
  3. Digital Neighborhood Tours-be the ambassador to your farm areas. This can really go beyond just video. It can become a social event whereby your online followers meet you in person as Pat Kitano described in our most recent podcast.
  4. Meet the Affiliates-Buyers and Sellers are usually clueless about all these affiliate fees they have to pay. Like escrow, title, pest control, home warranty, etc. Interview  these people and let them describe the reasons for their services. There is a plethora of knowledge (translated as potentially very rich web content)  that these folks can provide for you. Besides it makes it much easier to get your rep written in on the contract when she just sold the client, not you!

So there are some ideas to get you brainstorming. Actually pretty much anything you would blog about can be vblogged.

We will discuss video marketing in much more detail in our launch of the Real Estate Guerilla Coaching Club.

Eunice Bauer, 1928-2008, RIP

On June 25, 2008, my mother, Eunice Bauer, passed away after 79 years and recent bouts with bladder cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Many of you who are familiar with the developments in recent months knew, as I did, that this day was quickly approaching, but that doesn’t prepare anyone for the actual event.  I thought all along that I was prepared for this moment, but I am clearly not.

Even though my mother is in a much better place and finally free of the pain and suffering, the sense of loss is tremendous. My mom was my best friend on top of being my mother, and I’m obviously very torn up about it. I’ll remember my mom as fondly as a son ever could, and I’ll obviously never forget her.

She was a fiery lady with a strong will and determination that I hope has filtered to some degree down to me.  She was also a huge believer in her boys and always encouraged us even when we messed up.  She enjoyed laughing, cutting up and sharing a beer with friends and family.  We’d frequently have “family nights” on Thursdays at a local restaurant, and that made mom really happy even if she didn’t order anything to eat (she was never a big eater). The time meant more to her than the actual meal.

Mom loved coming to my baseball games and taking me to the bowling alley while she bowled.  She was a great bowler just as she was a mother. Mom wasn’t so great at keeping her opinions to herself during my games at times though–I’ll never forget the time that the coach put on a hit and run while I was batting and the next pitch was so high I had to jump to swing at it.  I ended up getting a base hit so the play worked great, but I recall my mom yelling “Roger, don’t swing at those!”  Of course, her voice stood out because she was my mom, but I always knew she had my back even if she didn’t agree with what I was doing.  That was just one example that sticks out at this moment for whatever reason, but it’s extremely tough when you lose your biggest cheerleader in life, best friend, and mother all at once.

I feel as though a blog post trivializes my mom’s life in some regards, but I also feel as if it pays a tribute to her, too so I’m a little torn on this.  I’m hesitant to write a whole lot because I don’t want to forget anything so it’s easier to just share a few thoughts that come to mind right now with the caveat that I’m admittedly leaving a lot out.  To say I loved my mom would be an understatement–she meant the world to me and vice versa.  We had a great relationship, and I am grateful for the times we shared.  I only wish we could have had more time together with her being completely healthy, but that obviously wasn’t meant to be.  My job now is to make my mom even prouder than she already was before she passed away so I have a lot of work to do.  Hopefully some of you will join me in my journey to accomplish that goal.

There is little anyone can say or do to make the pain go away, but I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me to express sympathy and offer a helping hand.  I’ve never felt the way I do right now, and I’m not sure when this will subside to the point I return to being myself again, but I hope those of you who have healthy parents love and appreciate them as much as you can while you can because you never know when things may change.

I realize this post has nothing to do with sales, marketing or business, but it has everything to do with life, and that’s something we all have in common.  I thank you for reading and thinking of my mom in the process.

My recent hiatus–a serious explanation

For those of you that have been checking in on our blog on a regular basis wondering where all the content disappeared to, I apologize for not posting more of late. I have been facing some serious life crises of sorts, and I’m frankly drained and burned out from trying to make sense of it all. I think all of us go through periods like this, but I recently got a major scare that has me reevaluating a lot of things, and I have realized I MUST slow down a bit if I want to see the next phase of life. I hope none of you have to go through what I’ve gone through the past few years especially the past few weeks, but here’s the story . . .

My Mother’s Health

First off, my mother has been in a nursing home for the past four years plus with Alzheimer’s, and she was recently diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on her bladder. Her prognosis isn’t good–she has less than a year to live according to the doctors, but it’s realistically a lot less than that (we’re talking days and hours versus weeks and months). Today I received a call from Hospice informing me that her condition is worsening rather rapidly which I have suspected the past four or five visits (I still visit her at least 4 times per week).

I question whether each visit is my last one with her even though she’s oblivious to her own reality and may not even know who I am at times. She’s very feeble and struggles to talk, and her words are often inaudible. Even when they are audible, they don’t form much in terms of a coherent thought even though I believe she’s trying to remind me that she loves me. She’s scared, and I can see that in her eyes, but I’m helpless in this situation which is extremely foreign to me–I’m used to having answers and being able to take quick action. I love my mom dearly, and it pains me to see her go out like this. She was such a go getter in addition to being my biggest fan, supporter, and friend. I’m going to miss her something fierce–heck, I already do miss her even though she’s still living (for now). I regret the fact that I didn’t appreciate her and the times we shared more when I was younger, but our relationship has been a very good one overall.

This past week or so has been extremely trying

Two Sundays ago, June 1, I was awoken at 3:51 AM by someone trying to break into my home so that freaked me out and compounded the stress I was already experiencing. I believe the motion sensor lights I have installed near each door may have scared the would be intruder off before the police arrived. They didn’t find anyone anywhere around the house or in the neighborhood although the local news had a story on the next night about a series of break-ins for this area along with an outline of a suspect. I learned last night that my neighbor experienced something similar the Wednesday before so it wasn’t my imagination like I had hoped.

Chest Pain

All week long I noticed tightness in my chest which led me to avoid riding the bike (my major outlet for stress reduction and recharging my batteries). I contemplated going to the doctor or the ER, but I kept thinking “I don’t have 24 hours to give the hospital right now” so I did what most stubborn Type A men do–put it off until a “more convenient” time. That choice was quickly taken from me . . .

Am I REALLY Having a Heart Attack at 37?

This past Sunday (June 8), I ventured down to Captain’s Quarters (a local restaurant/bar on the river) with a buddy of mine around 8:15 or so. We hadn’t been there for more than 5 minutes and one small sip of beer when I noticed my chest really tightening and my fingers beginning to numb and tingle. I went over to the side to sit down for a moment to try to gather myself and began to sweat profusely as if I had just ridden the bike 50 miles in the heat. The surroundings seemingly began to close in on me, and things went rather white although I was still awake and coherent. My buddy tells me that I turned a very pasty white and looked rather fearful that something terrible was taking place.

I honestly felt as if I were having a heart attack so I somehow walked to the nearest police officer and asked him to call an ambulance. About 8 minutes later, EMS arrived and began hooking me up to all these electrodes, inserting an IV (I hate needles), handing me 4 aspirin and a nitro glycerin tablet.

Good Timing or False Alarm?

It took about three minutes after EMS’ arrival and ingesting the pills, but the dizziness and numbness began to subside, and we were on our way in the ambulance to the hospital. The EMT kept telling me that my vital signs were “as normal as normal could be.” That was encouraging, but I still felt extremely weird like this might be the end even though I definitely wasn’t ready to check out.

Test, Test, Test

Once at the hospital, they took some blood (more damn needles) and ran several tests. The doctor came in and informed me that he was “90% sure it’s not your heart.” My enzymes didn’t indicate any heart attack, and the rest of the blood work apparently came back “normal.” Again, that’s nice to hear, but why was I experiencing tingling in my arms and hands, dizziness, sweating, and white stuff? They kept me in the ER area until 2 AM or so then transferred me to the “chest pain observation” area for the remainder of the night. I got no sleep and had to endure a stress test first thing Monday morning to which I should get the results tomorrow (Thursday) at some point.

I feel increasingly confident that my heart is, and will be, fine, but I’m not so sure I wasn’t heading down that heart attack path and that EMS may have gotten there just in time. I could be wrong, but I’m generally very in tune with my body, but I have never experienced anything like that. I mean, I’ve seen black and blue polka dots after a super strenuous ride, but I know that’s just pushing my body to its limits to which it’ll recover rather quickly as long as the purple and blue polka dots aren’t prolonged. The tingling is what frightened the hell out of me because that’s how I have heard heart attacks generally start.

Wait, There’s More . . .

You’re caught up to date on the heavy stuff, but there’s more believe it or not. My family has owned a nice piece of property here in Louisville for over 130 years that has housed a blacksmith shop, general store, and a series of restaurants including one bearing my family’s name (“Bauer’s Since 1870”) for 120 years. It’s that history of exposure to the family business that led me to want to understand as much about it as possible and start my own business at some point. I guess it’s in my blood and heritage, and I’m proud of that.

We’ve been in negotiations to have a Rite Aid moved down the street onto our property for the past few months, but the local neighborhood has taken up the cause to get our property designated “historical” in order to prevent any development (that’s Louisville for you–anything to prevent forward progress especially if you have enough money to throw at creating obstacles). Long story short, they seem to have succeeded for now so our family stands to lose a lot of money because of this. That directly impacts my longer term future so that’s another stressful blow to absorb.

The final chapter hasn’t been written, and I still believe everything will workout, but it’s not helping my stress levels even though my step-brother is handling the negotiations. I’ve been involved very little with the goings on, but it’s of heightened concern to me. Not to the same levels of my mother, but it’s prominent on the radar if you catch my drift.

Why Share This Publicly?

I’m not sharing this to gain anyone’s sympathy or pity (not my style), but I share it to let you in on my life and hopefully demonstrate that life sometimes has a weird way of reminding you to keep things in perspective. I’m hopeful I can post in another 40 years on this blog (if blogs still exist), but I won’t get there at my current pace so I hope you all bare with me and understand that I might be sporadically contributing over these next few weeks.

I think my body has taken all it can take and needs to shut down for awhile. I have been told repeatedly I need a vacation, and that might be a wise move on my behalf, but vacations require money which I don’t have so we’re right back to square one again. I sense myself not caring about much lately, and that concerns me because I’m a very “take life by the horns” sort who makes things happen versus watching from the sidelines. I think I may need to experience the sidelines for a bit.

Thanks for reading my diatribe and your empathy.

I (Roger) have been involved with social media for awhile now in various forms (MySpace, Facebook, blogging, LinkedIn, etc.), but I didn’t get consistently involved with Twitter until a month ago or so. Now I’d consider myself a Twitter-holic.

Rough Beginnings

At first, I just didn’t get Twitter. 140 characters to tell people “what I’m doing right now?” My first reaction was “who cares?” which gave way to “stalkers ought to love this thing!” that finally gave way to “open your mind Roger, and give it a legitimate try; there has to be a way to leverage this thing as a business tool.” So that became my self imposed initiative.

Opening My Mind

I attended my first Louisville Social Media Club event and noticed how everybody referenced their Twitter ID on the sign-in sheet. So, armed with that information I set out on my second Twitter voyage (the first one failed because I had no followers, and I wasn’t following anyone) by adding a lot of the SMC Louisville attendees to my “following.” I also added some of the people they were following to my list (the social networking aspect in play here), and a lot of those folks reciprocated which began to open my eyes on how powerful the service could be. I have since grown my list to over 100 followers and am following 175 or so on there now. Anyway, the point of this post is to show how Twitter is generating quite a bit of traffic to our blog, and that would have been impossible without sharing my “following” so the background info is relevant.

Expanding Reach

Earlier this week, I attended the Cincinnati Social Media Breakfast and met more wonderful people to add to my Twitter list. I reviewed the event and have been amazed at how much traffic that one post has generated. Other sites have referenced the review, and that was all made possible through Twitter. Nobody would have even known who I was if it weren’t for the service, and nobody would have known I wrote a review of the social media events I have attended if it weren’t for Twitter. In the “old days,” I would have had to send each attendee an e-mail with a link to the blog post then hoped they visited the site and took it upon themselves to link to it somewhere.

Traffic Results

Roughly 30% of our blog traffic has been Twitter based. In looking at the web analytics just now, the other sites that have directed traffic to our blog are a direct result of “tweets” on Twitter letting others know about the various blog posts that they now reference on their blogs. They took the “tweet” to the next level, and it’s possible to trace 75% of our existing blog traffic back to Twitter. It’s the real-time information share that makes Twitter so powerful, and it makes it so much easier for those connected to cross promote one another in multiple media. The service provides tremendous benefit if viewed from that perspective.

Bottom Line

Twitter is something to seriously consider if your business is looking for additional web traffic sources. It can provide a tremendous benefit to your business if the people you put in place to utilize Twitter handle it properly. It’s like anything else in the social media or SEO universe–time and consistency are keys to success. It’s not a light switch technology that will pay immediate dividends so keep that in mind before embarking on a Twitter journey.

Share Your Story

Got a Twitter business success story of your own? Please share it with us.

Want More Information?

Here are some interesting posts to read that touch upon the concept of Twitter as a traffic generation tool:

Stupid Slogans – Where's the Creativity?

The past two days, I (Roger) have hoarded myself up in a hotel outside of Cincinnati (Florence, KY to be exact). The main reason for the trip was to attend the Social Media Breakfast, but the secondary reason was to get myself out of my own comfort zone to hopefully stimulate some creativity.

During my stay, I’ve watched limited television, but I happened to catch a couple of commercials that stood out for their complete lack of creativity. There are a couple of outfits in Louisville that use “slogans” (loosely stated) that I was shocked to hear duplicated in Cincinnati.

Yes, Cincinnati and Louisville are not far apart so it’s not crazy to see or hear such a thing, but I’m guessing the companies utilizing the slogans paid very little to a professional agency or developed them in house. When someone develops their slogan in house, they are hesitant to listen to anyone outside of the organization because they believe “it’s cute,” or (worse) the money they saved allows them to air the ad more frequently which means we, the public, have to endure the crap. No, scratch that–we have to change the channel when their garbage pollutes the airwaves.

We Sell ’em Cheap, Cheap, Cheap

For instance, Springhurst Chevrolet in Louisville uses the phrase “we can’t be beat because we sell them so cheap, cheap, cheap.” Isn’t that a stroke of creative genius? Another rhyming slogan. Wonder how much the decision makers paid their children to come up with that one? They probably treated the kids to a night at the local ice cream shop next door. If so, they paid too much although the kids probably appreciate the treats. I thought that was bad enough, but there is an outfit in Cincinnati using the same slogan to push their product. Unfortunately, I was only halfway paying attention so I can’t call out the business by name and link to them but when I heard the phrase, I couldn’t believe my ears. Who thinks this is effective? If you’re claiming to save me money, just say that. Nobody wants cheap, but we do like to save money. On second thought, Chevrolet does produce a lot of garbage, but I digress.

Experience the Dumb Company Difference

Two former employers of mine used the <sarcasm> highly creative phrase </sarcasm> “experience the [company name] difference” as their slogans. What difference? Spell it out for me! You telling me you’re different doesn’t make you different. Tell me something that would make me take notice of your company or your brand, or at least tell me what you’re trying to do for me from a benefit perspective. “We save you money on [whatever]” is better than “experience the dumb company difference.” Unfortunately, both companies are competitors in the same industry so that makes them stand out even less.

We’re the Best, Forget the Rest

Another pet peeve slogan is where a company suggests “we are the best so forget the rest.” Isn’t that cute that it rhymes? Unfortunately, I can’t call one specific company out for violating this failed slogan, but it would be nice to know what the thinking process is when a company signs off on utilizing a slogan like this as their advertising and marketing centerpiece.

What’s Your Least Favorite Slogan or Catch Phrase?

What’s a slogan you have heard lately that grates on your nerves or is flat out stupid? Let me hear from you. I’ll create another post that puts your name in lights on the site. Ok, maybe not lights, but I’ll gladly quote you and link back to you if you’re looking for some SEO love.

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