December Business Builders

As business slows down for the holidays, you may be looking forward to a little rest and relaxation. Taking the time to rejuvenate is crucial to staying energized throughout the year. However, if you’re up for it, the downtime may be the perfect time to work on your business.

Plan It Out

Take a look at the past year. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Have there been any missed opportunities? As you look ahead to the new year, think about what you can get down on paper now to ensure success. Make sure you have holiday mailings, promotions, and events scheduled out with notifications and reminders so that you don’t miss a single thing.

Resolve

Where would you like your business to be this time next year and what can you do to set things in motion? Make New Years Resolutions for your business. What would help you the most? Attending more networking events, hitting a milestone sales number, or growing your team are all good places to start.

Holiday Greetings

We all know the importance of sending holiday greetings through the mail, but a quick, in-person stop can make a big difference for a special client. Take the opportunity to let them know you see them as more than just a business connection.

Party Time

Host a neighborhood gathering to let your neighbors get to know you a little better. We all prefer doing business with people we know and like. If you’re always talking about your business, this could be a chance to meet others on a new and personal level.

Live Giveaway

Hold an online contest for your social media followers. Who wouldn’t want a little extra money at the holidays. Give away a prepaid gift card to one of your followers for a store or restaurant via live Facebook video. Even better, promise to make the contest a monthly feature of your business. Watch your audience grow with the chance to win!

6 Gifts Under $30 – Perfect for your Favorite Client!

Oh no! Christmas is just weeks away! Have you ordered your client gifts yet? There are plenty of standard gifts available, but what will you send to those extra special clients this year? We’ve compiled a list of options – all under $30 – for your closer relationships.

Gingerbread Man Seed Cylinder, Wild Birds Unlimited $26.99

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Cold winter days offer the perfect opportunity to invite the birds to the yard. Your clients can watch the birds from a cozy spot on the couch in their new home.

Herb Garden Seed Kid, Williams-Sonoma $29.95

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The gift that keeps on growing!

Microwave Popcorn Popper, UncommonGoods.com $14.99

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This adorable and health-conscious popcorn popper is inexpensive enough that you can couple it with a month’s subscription to Netflix!

Kirigami Christmas Cards, Signals $29.98Why send a regular card when you can send a piece of art?

The FORMCard, The Grommet, 9 for $21.95

This is truly unique! The card is made of bio-plastic and, after being placed in hot water, conforms to whatever shape the user desires. It’s reusable, too, and could be especially handy around the home.

State Bamboo Cutting Board, Kohl’s $17.99

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Especially thoughtful for your new-to-the-state clients.

Four Winter Blog Topics That Will Boost Your SEO

We know December is usually a busy time for people, whether or not they’re in the real estate industry. Still, it’s no time to be getting lazy about business. To keep you on track, here are 4 great blogs you can write during the winter months to keep in touch with your clientele.

Holiday Activities

Depending on where your own interests lie, a post telling people where to find the most holiday cheer is a great way to connect. You can post anything from the best places in town to visit Santa Claus, best lighting displays, church service times, or places for ringing in the new year. A blog post like this does a couple of things for your business. It keeps your current clientele in the know, but will also rank pretty well in search results.

Winterizing

Here in Texas, winterizing your home takes on a whole new meaning. While people might not need to snow-proof their homes, there are good home maintenance tips you can offer during our colder months. Aside from that, there are plenty of things your favorite homeowners can be doing around their gardens.

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.

Holiday Recipes or Decorations

Got a list of favorite recipes for celebrating? Or advice on throwing a great party?  Pass those tips on to family and friends via your website blogs. The more unique and “closer to home” the better. Let this be a great blog for telling a personal story about your grandmother’s famous cookie recipe, or your own family holiday traditions.

Marketing Your Business in November

Autumn is here! In Texas, that means football, unpredictable weather, and the chance sighting of a leaf changing color, but there’s still a distinct feeling in the air throughout the fall months, and with some of the ideas below, you can use it to your advantage when it comes to lead generation.

Get Involved

There’s always something to do in the fall months. From high school athletics to community festivals, there are wonderful opportunities for sponsorship and involvement. Go a step further than placing that ad in the football program and volunteer your time. It will give you a chance to talk to people instead of just hoping your ad catches someone’s eye.

Give Back

This is a great time to sponsor a food or clothing drive for the less fortunate. Partner with a local business and spend a day collecting items for those in need. Bring along some refreshments to hand out to your new friends.

Refer Your Fall and Winter Weather Vendors

Remind your mailing list about your favorite gutter cleaners or lawn clean up crew. As your clients prepare their homes for colder weather, you’ll be able to keep yourself in the top of their mind by helping them find good help quickly.

Help Your Clients Prepare

Create a Winter Weather Prep checklist or ebook that visitors to your site can download by signing up for your email list. The information will be useful, and you’ll be able to keep their attention with future emails.

Beat Them to the Punch

Every business sends Christmas greetings, and most homes are so inundated with cards that promotional mailing gets completely overlooked. Get a step ahead by sending a Thanksgiving card and recipe to your mailing list!

Sources and Further Reading:
Fall Real Estate Tips
20 Fresh Fall Ideas for Generating More Leads
3 Fall Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents

November Social Media Calendar

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

The Holiday Season

5 Decluttering Projects To Help You Get Ready for the Holidays (Houzz)
15 Simple Thanksgiving Centerpieces (Shelterness)
Bring Farmhouse Touches Into Your Home for Thanksgiving (The Spruce)
Thanksgiving Hosting Hacks (Better Homes and Gardens)

Texas Living

Meanwhile In Texas (Texas Monthly)
How the World Series Finally Vindicated Astros Fans (Texas Monthly)
15 Songs That Embody the Texas Spirit (Wide Open Country)
Texas Meals You Have To See (and Taste) to Believe (Texas Hill Country)

Just For Fun

DIY: Make a Fresh Magnolia Wreath (Houzz)
The Top Travel Destinations of 2018 (Elle Decor)
Peek Inside the Homes of 23 Classic Hollywood Stars (Veranda)
Home Decor Ideas for People Who Love Their Dogs A Little Too Much (Realtor.com)

Around The House

What To Store in the Laundry Room, And What You Shouldn’t (The Spruce)
Composting How-Tos (Better Homes and Gardens)
The Ultimate Stain Removing Guide (Better Homes and Gardens)
Garden Trends for 2018 (HGTV)
Garage Organization Ideas That Will Give You Your Parking Space Back (House Beautiful)
A Tightwad’s Guide to Getting Organized (Organized Home)

Decor Inspiration

15 Cool Shared Spaces Where Kids Can Study (Shelterness)
Stunning Ways to Redecorate the Dining Room (Good Housekeeping)
Natural Fall Decorating Ideas (Real Simple)
Unexpected Patterns that are Perfect for Fall (HGTV)
Luxurious Headboards for a Dreamy Slumber (Luxe Daily)

Buying And Selling

The Problem with Tiny Houses That No One Talks About (Elle Decor)
10 Home Maintenance Myths Costing You Time and Money (HouseLogic)
Should I Bail After A Bad Home Inspection? (The Mortgage Reports)

Frontier Family Spotlight: Happy Anniversary, Melanie Burton!

We are excited to celebrate Melanie Burton’s 6th anniversary working with Frontier Title. She’s a wonderful member of the Katy office team. To celebrate, we’re featuring her with a little Q&A:

How long have you been at Frontier Title Company?

6 years!

What did you do before working at Frontier Title company?

I came from another title company with lots of knowledge including 18 years in the title business. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?  

When I get the file cleared promptly and able to handle it to my closer at an early and convenient time ! 

What are some of your defining traits?

Experienced, patient and compassionate. 

What is your personal philosophy?

“Just push the buttons- if it doesn’t explode then it can be fixed !”

How do you define success?

Taking part in my family’s happiness and activities. 

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I love to color, skateboard, gardening and bass guitar!

How to Market your Business in October

Autumn is here! In Texas, that means more football than falling leaves, but there’s still a distinct feeling in the air throughout the fall months, and with some of the ideas below, you can use it to your advantage when it comes to lead generation.

Get Involved

There’s always something to do in during the fall. From high school athletics to community festivals, there are wonderful opportunities for sponsorship and involvement. Go a step further than placing that ad in the football program and volunteer your time. It will give you a chance to talk to people and make some good connections instead of just hoping your ad catches someone’s eye.

Give Back

This is a great time to sponsor a food or clothing drive for the less fortunate. Partner with a local business and spend a day collecting items for those in need. Bring along some refreshments to hand out to your new friends.

Refer Your Fall and Winter Weather Vendors

Remind your mailing list about your favorite gutter cleaners or lawn clean up crew. As your clients prepare their homes for colder weather, you’ll be able to keep yourself in the top of their mind by helping them find good help quickly.

Help Your Clients Prepare

Create a Winter Weather Prep checklist or ebook that visitors to your site can download by signing up for your email list. The information will be useful, and you’ll be able to keep their attention with future emails.

Beat Them to the Punch

Every business sends Christmas greetings, and most homes are so inundated with cards that promotional mailing gets completely overlooked. Get a step ahead by sending a Thanksgiving card and recipe to your mailing list!

Big Dates Ahead

There are great dates to take advantage of during the October and November that may help you reach a new audience. Remind your constituents of these dates or plan special promotions around them.

October 14 – National Dessert Day
October 28 – Make A Difference Day
November 3 – Daylight Savings Time Ends
November 15 – America Recycles Day
November 21 – World Hello Day
November 28 – Thanksgiving

Sources and Further Reading:
Fall Real Estate Tips
20 Fresh Fall Ideas for Generating More Leads
3 Fall Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents

October Social Media Calendar

We often hear our real estate friends say they’re short on time and can’t handle regular posting to social media. So, each month, we collect a full month’s worth of posts for you to pass along to clients, friends and family.

Halloween Tips

36 Stylish and Spooky Halloween Decorating Ideas
A Ghosthunter’s Guide To Buying A Real Haunted House
81 Cool Fall Table Decorating Ideas
Decorating For Fall…A Love Letter to October
Halloween Safety from The National Crime Prevention Council
“You’ve Been Boo-ed” Neighborhood Game
Easy Homemade Costumes for Kids 36

Food

Pumpkin Bread Truffles
11 Scary-Easy Halloween Cupcakes
Indulgent Caramel Apple Desserts
6 of the Best Types of Apples for Cooking

Texas Living

Meanwhile In Texas (Texas Monthly)
Voices From Hurricane Harvey (Texas Monthly)
You Can Now Buy Whataburger James Avery Charms (Wide Open Country)

Just For Fun

Laundry Secrets From 5 Star Hotels (Bright Side)
NASA Is Hiring Someone To Protect The Planet from Aliens (Good Housekeeping)
Where To Travel for the Best Fall Foliage (House Beautiful)
5 Tips For Making Guests Feel At Home (Luxe Daily)

Around The House

Oh So Organized Kitchens (HouseLogic)
Keep Your Home Clean When You’re Short On Time (HouseLogic)The Best Houseplants for the Bathroom (The Spruce)
Cleaner Linens for Better Dreams (Better Homes and Gardens)
6 Things Your Should Never Flush (Bright Side)
DIY Firepit Ideas (Better Homes and Gardens)

Decor Inspiration

How To Find A Headboard that Suits Your Style (Good Housekeeping)
Redecorate for Better Sleep (Real Simple)
Get A Farmhouse Style Kitchen (Houzz)
6 Reasons To Consider Wall Paper (Houzz)
Paint Colors You Need For A Happy Home (Elle Decor)
19 Designs That Blossom (Luxe Daily)

Buying And Selling

Avoid Overspending When You’re House Hunting (HouseLogic)
Would You Crowdfund Your Downpayment? (The Mortgage Reports)
Home Buying Costs That Veterans Should Keep In Mind (Realtor.com)
Credit Score Comebacks to Give Buyers Hope (Realtor.com)

SEO 101

It doesn’t matter if you’re the best real estate agent in the city, if you don’t have leads, you won’t make any money. Finding new clients can be frustrating, but we have a few ideas that may help when it comes to creating a website with a high SEO.

It requires a little patience, but in the long run, optimizing your site will generate more traffic and more leads. In brief, optimizing your site is a little like setting up guideposts for search engines like Google. When someone searches for something like “Real Estate Agent”, the search engine looks at a couple of different factors to determine what pages show up first in your results. These factors include age of site, number of pages, unique information, frequency of updates, and, of course, the words on the page, among others. This is why you’ll often see Zillow and Trulia at the top of results – they’ve easily got most agents beat on age of site and number of pages.

How can you optimize your site for a higher ranking?

Content

The actual words on your site are, of course, a big deal for search engines. Most important, you want to make sure that the words you’re using on your site are words that potential clients will be searching for. For example, your designations are important, but are buyers and sellers going to know and search for industry terms like ALHS, e-PRO, and GRI? Keep this information, but check your site for “search terms” like “homes for sale in Stone Oak” or “Cypress real estate agent.”

If you’re comfortable with the back-end of your site, you can also add helpful terms to your images, page title, and more. For example, when you post a picture of a home, the photo title may be a string of numbers or even “123-main-street.” By changing these titles to something like “home-for-sale-77494”, you’re giving search engines one more clue that your page is relevant to the search.

Frequent Updates

Next, you can make more frequent updates, through a blog, for example. By posting regularly (even once a month), you’re showing sites like Google that your webpage is active and current. If you set up your site a year ago and haven’t changed it since, search engines aren’t going to want to show your page to visitors. It’s also a good idea to check your site every couple of months and update outdated information.

Unique Information

Having unique information on your site is very important. For example, a certain real estate brokerage recently rolled out a brand new website service for all of their agents. Included on these sites are 5 sample pages and 4 sample blog posts. All of these pages have exactly the same content. When a search engine scours the web for relevant information, it will find thousands of pages that are identical (except for contact information and agent names). Search engines don’t know what to do with thousands of pages that look exactly the same and will feature them much lower in results than pages that have original content. If this sounds like your website, the best thing you can do is rewrite the pre-fabricated content you were given to reflect you personally and professionally. This will benefit your SEO, but you’ll also be creating information that your clients can use.

Be Patient

It takes about 60 to 90 days to see results from SEO improvements, and may take as much as 6 to 12 months for newer websites. Improving your SEO is a long-term project with big results, so keep making updates, posting original content and checking your site for search terms, even if you aren’t seeing immediate changes. In the long run, you’ll be building a site that search engines want to feature and, of course, that offers great information to prospective clients.

Are You Your Own Worst-Paid Employee?

If you work for yourself, like many do in the real estate industry, it’s important to know the true value of your time. Driving to and from appointments, working on contracts, attending CE classes, and networking, among other activities, can take a toll on your day. Before you spread yourself too thin, you’ll want to understand just what you’re giving up when you commit to one more thing.

Take a look at the Time Value Calculator or take this quiz at Clearer Thinking.

When you understand the value of each hour of your day, you’ll be in a better position to schedule your tasks and to decide what you want to outsource and what you can tackle on your own. For certain responsibilities, you may find it more financially viable to hire outside help for a lower rate than your own time is worth.

Say that your free time is worth around $20 per hour: If hiring an employee will cost you about $12 and save you an hour compared to doing the work yourself,  then it might be the right call. If it’s going to cost you closer to $20, you should probably reconsider. You can use your new knowledge to help you figure out:

  • Whether you should order in or cook
  • Whether you should hire someone to organize your office
  • Whether to hire someone to manage your social media accounts
  • Whether time spent on the phone with customer service to save $X is worth it
  • Whether or not it’s time to move on from a stalling client

The calculators linked above are meant to act as guides, not gospel truth. You will also want to factor in your personal budget, your own enjoyment of certain tasks, and more. Regardless, knowing your value is always a good thing.