Get Ready! Here are 4 great blog topics for Summer 2019!

We know, we know. It’s the busiest time of year for most agents. Still, there’s no excuse to let your website and social media slide. We’ve got 4 great ideas to get your creative juices flowing on your next few blog posts.

Fun And Free Ways To Explore Your City

Summer has many people thinking of ways to spend their leisure time, especially if the kids are home from school for a couple of months. Think about your favorite things to do during the summer months and share those ideas with your audience. Whether it’s a great way to keep the kids busy, fun weekend activities, nearby road trips, or the best foodie spots in town, share your perspective on the best ways to enjoy the area. Focus on the things that you like best and it will come across as transparent and authentic – something all consumers crave right now.

Home and Garden Maintenance

People are more likely to have time and energy to pay attention to needs around the home during summer. Help your audience take care of their home by posting a checklist of important things to get done around the house. They’ll appreciate your know-how when it comes to protecting their largest investment.

Home Safety for Vacationers

We all worry about safety when we leave for vacation, so this is a perfect time to share some tips on how to keep things secure at home. You can do a little online research to find some great advice to pass on. This kind of post shows that you are truly invested in the well-being of your followers, friends, and clients.

Back To School

From posting about the best private schools in the area to preparing the home for the back-to-school rush, there are a wealth of topics to share on your blog. Consider tips on how to handle the stress of getting ready in the morning, getting the family back in a routine, how to make a room study-friendly for kids with homework, or ways that your followers can help kids prepare for school with a school supply drive.

Trust Us…You Need A Vacay!

When you are in charge of your own business, there’s an assumption that you can do whatever you want with your time. However, that “freedom” often makes it harder to get away. And even when you do take a rare vacation, it’s hard to make it a true vacation – work always beckons.

With Labor Day weekend coming up, here are some whys and hows of how to take the time that you need without sacrificing your business.

WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE A VACATION

First of all, multiple studies have shown that your brain still works while it’s relaxing. In fact, during mental “down time” your brain is focusing itself on boring, but essential, tasks like memorizing skills you learned last week.

Secondly, your brain has two levels of operation. One level is focused on tasks while the other is focused on letting your mind wander. If you are always in task mode, your brain isn’t able to daydream, wander, and come up with creative solutions.

Thirdly, it is scientifically proven that people who take several short vacations are happier and remain happier for up to two weeks after their vacation is done. So, it’s not only beneficial to take some time off but to take smaller, more frequent vacations.

HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN

Plan. Plan for how taking the time off will impact your business. What might happen while you’re away and how can you plan for it now?

Arrange for Help. Even though you’re operating independently there are probably other agents in your office who can cover for you while you’re gone, especially if you offer to return the favor. Set up what you need before you leave and work out how compensation will work in case you need to call on them.

Be Clear with your Clients. You don’t want to surprise your clients with having your fellow agent step in to cover their questions, showings, etc. Make sure all of your clients know you’ll be out of town and introduce them to your colleague (at least via email) before your departure so they feel comfortable with the situation.

If You Must Work. If you plan on being reachable during your vacation, make sure you set aside specific times to handle work calls and emails so that they don’t interfere with your time or your family’s time to relax. Schedule a little time in the morning and/or a little time in the evening to catch up on what you’ve missed!

Never say, “But, I’m not creative!” again!

It doesn’t matter how left- or right-brained you might think you are. Every single one of us has the capability of creative thought, especially when it comes to business. Adding that little bit of creative spark could, in fact, be the stepping stone to big business success.

If you’re feeling stuck or lost when it comes to new, inventive ideas, let us suggest the following steps to tapping into that imaginative side.

  1. Take A Walk Get out of the office! If you have a bit of free time, even just a five minute walk will give your mind a chance to wander. Here’s the thing, though. Leave the phone, music, or any other kind of technology at home. Give your brain a chance to relax and you’ll be surprised at how the ideas start to flow. Plus, won’t a little exercise be a nice change?
  2. Collaborate Collaboration is an excellent way to change things up in your business. Maybe you have a colleague who would love to run a promotion with you, or maybe there’s a business you admire who could benefit from some cross-promotion as well. What you’ll get out of finding a short-term business partner is a quick change of perspective. Who knows what business ideas you can take away and implement for your own success.
  3. Unplug We are so connected to the world at all times, aren’t we? Whether it’s checking your phone a dozen times a day, being interrupted by email notifications, or even unable to handle silence at home or in a car, we’re surrounded by electronics. With all that noise, it’s difficult to let any new ideas get in. Take a mini-retreat from tech, whether it’s an hour, an afternoon, or even a weekend. Turn the phone and television off, drive to work without turning the radio on, and take an email vacation, and see what develops.
  4. Change Your Routine It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the same old routine. Get up, go to work, come home, work out, go to bed. We even take the same route to work, listen to the same music, eat lunch at the same places…all of these things make sense, but can also contribute to a bit of lazy thought. Keep yourself on your toes by switching things up every now and then. Take an alternate route, try a restaurant you’ve never been to, wake up early to work out, or forego your evening tv to read a new book.

Remove Yourself From the RUT!

It happens to all of us. Suddenly, nothing seems to be working with your business. You’ve lost passion and motivation is nowhere to be seen. You’re not alone. And the good news is, if you find yourself in a business rut, we’ve got a few ideas to get you through it and on the road to success again.

#1 – CALL IT WHAT IT IS

The first step to solving your problem is admitting you’ve got one. Say it out loud, acknowledge that this is happening. You may even consider telling a trusted friend or colleague who can encourage you through a lull. And ignoring the problem could just get you deeper into a rut.

#2 – IDENTIFY THE ISSUE

In your downturn, it’s not going to be easy to pinpoint exactlyone problem. But, if you’re feeling a lack of energy in your work, it’s important to know if you’ve lost passion in your career, or if there are smaller issues causing you to want to give up, whether it’s for a day or for longer. Figure out where your dark cloud is coming from and you’ll be a step closer to solving the problem and getting yourself “back in business.”

#3 – BRAIN DUMP

Business owners and entrepreneurs tend to focus on the “public” side of the business and let the “behind the scenes” work suffer. Chances are, there are things you want to accomplish in your business, but you lack the time to do them because the daily business itself gets in your way. Take some time to write down or type out every single idea that comes to mind – don’t focus on whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, just write it down. As you write, you’ll feel inspiration starting to bubble up and you’ll realize what your next step will be.

#4 – FIND A MENTOR

If you don’t already have someone in your life who inspires and convicts you, it’s time to find one. This doesn’t necessarily need to be someone in your same industry, but someone that you admire professionally and personally. If it’s hard to think of a mentor in your network, find one online – even long distance! Search for others whose businesses or professional style you admire. If you haven’t met personally, send a short email telling them about yourself and asking about mentorship. The worst that can happen is you get a “no” and you move on to the next.

#5 – LEARN SOMETHING NEW

When you feel knowledgable, you’ll feel better about yourself and your work. There are a myriad of options available for affordable online courses and free webinars in every topic under the sun – marketing, social media, sales. If business is really bumming you out these days, use your time to learn something completely new. Take an art class or learn a new language. The confidence you’ll gain from a new skill could be just what you need to change your attitude.

#6 – ENJOY YOUR “DOWN” TIME

If you know you’re going to be slacking off a little during your slump, why not use your downtime better? Instead of sitting in front of your computer for 30 minutes and trying to convince yourself to work, take a 30 minute walk around your neighborhood. Or, take your “work” to the beach or the mountains, and give yourself a mini-vacation to inspire your mind.

#8 – SET REASONABLE GOALS

A mile-long to-do list can be just enough to keep you in your slump. Don’t try or expect to conquer it all at once. Set goals you know you can accomplish. For example: Between 9am and 10am, I’ll make three phone calls. Or: By lunchtime, I will have accomplished x, y, and z. Break your work into small pieces and handle only the next thing.

Remember, setbacks are normal. It’s a part of the game. Acknowledge that there are things you can learn from this. Recognize that you will eventually emerge, ready to take on your work with a new and inspired vision for your business.

Marketing Your Business In May

How is your marketing plan shaping up this year? Here are some ideas to focus on for the month of May.

Prepare for Summer Holidays

There are lots of ways to celebrate in the coming months. Prepare your marketing materials, promotional items, and mail outs for holidays like Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day. Don’t miss out on the general relaxation of summer months. Sending a pack of movie tickets to your favorite clients can continue your relationship and give them a way to get out of the heat.

Community Partnerships

There are many small businesses that cater to summer entertainment for children, from dance camps to swim lessons to summer classes. Partner with these businesses to reach a new audience. Consider hosting a giveaway for a free week of camp with a particular business, or sponsoring a lunch for kids taking part in summer sports. You’ll be marketing yourself as having strong connections with the community and care for the next generation.

Social Media Focus: School’s Out

As children are finishing the school year, take an opportunity to send parents information on fun summer activities. This is another opportunity for you to build positive associations and relationships with local businesses as you can share their content to help your audience narrow down their summer plans.

Social Media Challenge: Schedule Your Big Days

This month, take an hour or two to prepare your posts for the summer months. Create images, write a blog or two, and schedule articles that will inform and entertain your audience. Too often, we feel that the big (and most marketable) events have snuck up on us. Use your time wisely and you’ll be grateful you prepared ahead of time.

Customer Loyalty Starts Today!

Loyalty is a hard thing to manufacture. And sometimes it isn’t enough to create and promote outstanding service. Clients are finicky and one false step can cost you a customer or a harsh review. There are no guarantees, but you can certainly increase your chances for loyal customers by building strong relationships.

Ask Questions First

Before you rattle of your resume and spill all about your business acumen, truly focus on getting to know your customer. Psychologically, we like people who like us and your interest in who the client is and what they are looking for will help build this bond. Business is becoming more personal every day. Clients want to work with people they like and can relate to. As you learn about your client, you’ll discover that your commonalities create an organic and natural relationship.

Reveal Something About Yourself

After you learn about your prospect and it’s your chance to have the floor, talk about yourself in a comfortable and relaxed way, as you would speak to a friend. Without revealing something too personal or embarrassing, share an anecdote that shows your human side. According to a study the Journal of Consumer Research, if a salesperson shares something persona, even something as simple as a birthday or a birthplace with a client, the client is more likely to not only do business, but to feel good about their decision to do business.

Be Clear, Be Predictable

Take a good look at your branding, your print materials, your website, and the statements you make about yourself online. Do they match your “real life” service? If they don’t, it’s time to adjust either your brand persona or your service! Customers like predictability and when you match their expectations, their loyalty will be secure.

Speak Their Language

The average customer doesn’t understand industry jargon. Make the process simple for them by using language they’ll understand and explaining what they don’t. Be careful not to patronize, but to focus instead on helping them have the best experience.

Take A Break From Texting

Unless your customer has specifically stated they’d like to be reached by text or email, make the effort to call them on the phone and speak to them directly. Things get lost in translation with the written word, and a phone call ensures that your meaning is clear, your explanations are sure, and you and your client are on the same page.

Be A Client

Notice what you love and what you don’t. Make mental notes about what bothers you and what experiences leave you smiling and change your own habits.