7 Lies of Real Estate Marketing

Real estate marketing can be either your secret weapon or a real estate system that you wish you had never attempted. There are lies about real estate marketing that have been spread around for years by those who don’t want agents to unlock the power of marketing. Many of those who have spread these lies have done this unintentionally and others intentionally.
By discovering these real estate marketing lies you will have the secrets to turn your real estate business into a machine.

Marketing Is Expensive. Many agents believe that marketing is expensive so they never bother to look into how they can make it work for their business. Bad marketing is very expensive and can ruin the experience for an agent. When marketing is done correctly it is about spending little to get a large return. For example if you knew that you could spend $280 on marketing and you would get back $4,000 in return would you consider it expensive? So the only marketing that is expensive is marketing that hasn’t been tested, hasn’t been proven, and won’t generate you leads.
Marketing is About You. Have you ever seen a postcard, flyer, or a website of a real estate agent where the only thing that you see is a giant picture of them riding a horse or with a dog? These agents have been told that as long as they “get their face out there” they will be successful. I would like to ask you the following question and answer it honestly: Do people care more about themselves or people they don’t know? If you answered that people care about themselves more than us that is correct. Marketing that is about you will only be one of the most expensive forms of marketing you ever do and not produce the results that you desire.
Marketing Only Works Once You Are Already Successful. Often in hallways across real estate offices all around the country agents say “That agent does marketing because they are successful”. Agents don’t do marketing once there are successful they market to get successful.
“Your” Market is Different So Marketing Won’t Work For You. Every market is different however people often respond to messages that are similar. My team routinely tests 300+ messages to find 6 that work all over the country. Finding which one of the 6 that works in a particular part of a country is the work that must be undertaken in a one on one setting.
Marketing Doesn’t Generate Good Leads. Regardless of how you get a lead whether it be an open house, a sign call, a magazine ad, a flyer, a referral, or a website 85% percent of leads will be a total waste of time. The key with marketing is to generate a leads with hoops designed to find the top 15% of leads. For example allowing leads to contact you directly can cause waste your time.
Marketing is Too Difficult To Figure Out. Marketing can require testing which is why many agents avoid it for their entire careers. Without a formula to test each marketing piece you take out against it can be nearly impossible to find a winning formula. Marketing that generates results need to demonstrate to the prospect how you can benefit them and it has to do this in 10 seconds or less. When each of your marketing pieces clearly shows the prospect how your service benefits them and has a clear call to action the marketing will become far easier to figure out.
Marketing Doesn’t Provide Any Way To Prove That It Works. When a marketing piece goes out with 5 different phone numbers, a website, and no clear message it had no chance to work. Providing tracking on marketing allows an easy way to find out what is working and what prospects are responding to. This can be done with free tracking tools like Google Analytics when marketing is done on the Internet or a low cost 800# such as proquest.

By unlocking the secrets behind these 7 lies you will be able to improve any marketing that you currently are using as well as and future marketing you put to use to generate new business.

Joseph Bridges is a Coach and one of the founders of the Real Estate Success Program that empowers agents to use marketing to generate leads of motivated buyers and sellers in their market place.

The systems that we coach,train, and use are to generate leads through effective real estate marketing [http://3deals45days.com]. All aspects of real estate marketing, scripts, and lead conversion are answered in all facets of real estate.

Traditional real estate marketing is blended with the new world of Internet marketing to create a can’t miss approach for real estate agents and the new challenges that they face in today’s market.

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7 Real Estate Marketing Tools You Should Be Using Right Now

Real Estate Marketing Tools- Traditional

Aside from the well-known bandit signs and billboard signs, there are many other traditional real estate marketing tools that are still working for many professionals in the industry. While online real estate marketing is still raking in most of the real estate sales and leads, it’s foolish to ignore other avenues that are still generating clients and revenue for some of the most prolific real estate agents and companies in the world.

Seven Offline Real Estate Marketing Tools You Should be Using

To help you get a better idea at what offline real estate marketing tools are working in this online marketing-driven climate, I’ve put together some of the most effective offline realtor tools for you:

1. Host a Broker Event. This will help you network with the people in your industry about the topics that matter most. This is an excellent way to keep an ear to the ground and possibly get ideas for your blog, fill holes in your marketing strategies and even come to an agreement with colleagues that might find clients you need, but they have no use for.

2. Print Media. A standard-bearing classic in offline real estate marketing tools, be sure to invest in professional designs and printing materials only. Stick with the basics here: research papers, white papers, product descriptions, brochures, marketing material, etc. Whatever will get your message out there and keep screaming it once your client gets it home and reads it.

3. Support Local Organizations and Charities. From sponsoring a local baseball team to adopting a highway, there are tons of ways that you can give back to the community. Not only will this establish you as a pillar of the community, but your name will become instantly recognizable.

This comes into play when a community member’s friends or family are looking for a real estate person in the area-guess whose name is on the tip of their tongues? Be sure to be selective and choose organizations that are inline with your message and values.

4. Press Releases. The goal here is two-fold. First, you want to get informative press releases out that establish your real estate agency as the “go to” firm in the area. These releases have to be timely, well-informed and address all of the latest topics and breaking news in the area.

This will garner the attention of news and program directors at your local media stations, leading them to contact you for matters in which your expertise is needed. These are the types of media appearances that will make your agency a household name, thus building up buyer confidence and increasing your sales and referrals.

5. Hold Free Real Estate Seminars. Give speeches meant to show potential real estate investors how to enter the market, or show people how to get the most added resale value on their home. Talk about topics that people are going to benefit from-give them “the get” as in “what are they going to get for attending?” Then, deliver on that get. Don’t sell your services, but rather establish authority and be helpful-it will come back to you tenfold.

6. Catchy Business Cards. Business cards can make you stand out or get thrown out-it’s up to you which name on paper you want to be. For instance, drop-cards are a nifty way to gain attention. These look like folded up bills of money, leading people to at least pick them up and look at them.

When they see your name, they associate putting money in their pocket and are left with a good impression. Drop these in places where people will pick them up. Or how about a business card that folds up into a house? Have a plain white business card? That’s perfect for them to write someone else’s phone number on and then throw away when they’re done with it. Just sayin’ (wink-wink)

7. Vehicle Wraps. You drive around your town or city everyday, passing hundreds and thousands of people. Why not use your car for free advertising? Get your vehicle wrapped with your real estate agency’s name or your name and face. Let people know who you are, wherever you go. It’s a one-time cost and super effective at getting you recognized as a person about the community, not just some name on a sign in front of a house.

Of course, integrating these offline marketing tools with online marketing techniques is the real key to real estate success.

So Tell Me, what kind of traditional or online real estate marketing tools are you using?

As an Online Marketer and MLM trainer and consultant, April Ray has helped hundreds of new business owners generate traffic, leads and sales for their home businesses as well as provide coaching to those who lack the skills and confidence to get started in building the business of their dreams.

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Crisis Or Opportunity – The Truth About The Arizona Real Estate Market

The present real estate market is acting just as it should on the heels of the greatest real estate boom in the last 40 years. There is a long way to fall to get back to “normal”. This falling back into a normal market, coupled with the contraction of the sub-prime mortgage market has the real estate consumer, and many homeowners in a state of fear. The various media continue to depict a very grim picture of the markets in general without distinguishing between the national market and local markets, such as the Arizona real estate market, with factors unique in the ways of population growth and investor activity. I have seen numerous articles referring to the sub-prime debacle as a global crisis. That may be taking it just a bit too far.

The truth is, there is no geopolitical significance to recent events in the U.S. real estate market and the sub-prime crisis. To rise to a level of significance, an event — economic, political, or military — must result in a decisive change in the international system, or at least, a fundamental change in the behavior of a nation. The Japanese banking crisis of the early 1990s was a geopolitically significant event. Japan, the second-largest economy in the world, changed its behavior in important ways, leaving room for China to move into the niche Japan had previously owned as the world’s export dynamo. On the other hand, the dot-com meltdown was not geopolitically significant. The U.S. economy had been expanding for about nine years, a remarkably long time, and was due for a recession. Inefficiencies had become rampant in the system, nowhere more so than in the dot-com bubble. That sector was demolished and life went on.

In contrast to real estate holdings, the dot-com companies often consisted of no real property, no real chattel, and in many cases very little intellectual property. It really was a bubble. There was virtually, (pun intended), no substance to many of the companies unsuspecting investors were dumping money into as those stocks rallied and later collapsed. There was nothing left of those companies in the aftermath because there was nothing to them when they were raising money through their publicly offered stocks. So, just like when you blew bubbles as a little kid, when the bubble popped, there was absolutely nothing left. Not so with real estate, which by definition, is real property. There is no real estate bubble! Real estate ownership in the United States continues to be coveted the world over and local markets will thrive with the Arizona Real Estate market leading the way, as the country’s leader in percent population growth, through the year 2030.

As for the sub-prime “crisis”, we have to take a look at the bigger picture of the national real estate market. To begin with, remember that mortgage delinquency problems affect only people with outstanding loans, and more than one out of three homeowners own their properties debt-free. Of those who have mortgages, approximately 20% are sub-prime. 14.5% of those are delinquent. Sub-prime loans in default make up only about 2.9% of the entire mortgage market. Now, consider that only 2/3 of homeowners have a mortgage, and the total percentage of homeowners in default on their sub-prime loans stands at around 1.9%. The remaining two-thirds of all homeowners with active mortgage prime loans that are 30 days past due or more constitute just 2.6% of all loans nationwide. In other words, among mortgages made to borrowers with good credit at application, 97.4% are continuing to be paid on time.

As for the record jumps in new foreclosure filings, again, you’ve got to look closely at the hard data. In 34 states, the rate of new foreclosures actually decreased. In most other states, the increases were minor — except in the California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona real estate markets. These increases were attributable in part to investors walking away from condos, second homes, and rental houses they bought during the boom years.

Doug Duncan, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association, says that without the foreclosure spikes in those states, “we would have seen a nationwide drop in the rate of foreclosure filings.” In Nevada, for instance, non-owner-occupied (investor) loans accounted for 32% of all serious delinquencies and new foreclosure actions. In Florida, the investor share of serious delinquencies was 25%; in Arizona, 26%; and in California, 21%. That compares with a rate of 13% for the rest of the country. This makes for some great buys for the savvy Arizona real estate investor in the area of short sales, foreclosures, and wholesale properties.

Bottom line: Those nasty foreclosure and delinquency rates you’re hearing about are for real. But they’re highly concentrated among loan types, local and regional economies, and investors who got their foot caught in the door at the end of the “boom” and are just walking away from those poorly performing properties. Most of those investors still have homes to live in, maybe more than one.

In the wake of the boom years, we now have a high inventory of homes on the market, Investors and speculators who quickly bought up homes dumped them just as quickly back on the market in hopes of a fast return. The frenzy of investors purchasing homes put pressure on inventories and drove prices up, further increasing investor activity. Then, as if all at once, many of those investors put their properties on the market, creating an imbalance in the reverse direction. With so many homes on the market, prices began to stall and then fell. Prices will continue to fall until demand chews up excess inventories.

With investors no longer a big part of housing demand, primary homeowners are slowly chipping away at the existing inventory. The Las Vegas housing market will rebound in March 2008, according to the largest and most respected appraisal firm locally. The main contributing factor to the sooner than later rebound of this southwestern city is a growing population and thriving local economy.

Arizona and Nevada are expected to lead the country in percentage population growth for the next 20-25 years. The population of Arizona is expected to approximately double during that time so we can expect a strong housing demand going forward. Normal inventory levels for Phoenix real estate are about 6-8 months. Current inventory is about 10-12 months. So, we are not far above “normal” inventories in Phoenix. There are, however, outlying cities in this large metropolis that have inventories in excess of 1 year. Queen Creek real estate inventory is the worst with approximately a 2-3 year surplus of homes on the market, mostly due to the large percentage of new homes purchased by investors and then quickly flipped back onto the resale market. Surprise and Peoria real estate markets have a 1-2 year inventory for largely the same reason. We are already seeing some Scottsdale real estate and Paradise Valley real estate prices increase in value. Billions of dollars are being poured into the local economy in the way of commercial development from the downtown area to Northeast Phoenix and Scottsdale.

The demand for Arizona homes will remain strong in years ahead as new populations create the need. The demand for housing across our great nation will remain strong as this next generation of young debutantes steps onto the home buying stage. Interest rates are still at historic lows and the lending institutions will continue to offer creative financing options. Sure, some hedge funds lost the air in their tires, but financing sub-prime loans is a high stakes game for the super rich and is not of geopolitical significance. They will find other ways to lend their billions for huge profits in the wake of this sub-prime debacle. Let’s not be gripped in the fear created by reports from all media types trying to “make news”. Let’s face it, the real numbers are not that bloody exciting. Ask yourself, is this an Arizona real estate crisis, or the perfect time to buy an affordable Arizona home? Proper timing and negotiating techniques make all the difference in the current Arizona real estate market. When choosing an Arizona realtor, trust the expertise and experience of Equity Alliance Properties.

For up to date Arizona real estate market research, contact Robert Hand at 480.206.8133 or go to [http://www.equityallianceproperties.com]

I attended Wichita State University from 1979 through 1983 majoring in Chemistry. Enlisted the U.S. Navy in June of 1983, specializing in intelligence gathering and dissemination and tactical operations. Served onboard the U.S.S. W.S. Sims FF-1059 through April of 1987 working in Electronics Warfare in the Combat Information Center. Attended the University of the State of New York, majoring in Electronics Technologies while on Active duty. After 4 years of active duty, continued service for 2 more years in the U.S. Naval Reserves through June of 1989.

With an interest in real estate since I was just a young lad, I decided to get my real estate license in 1995, prompted by the allure of investment opportunities in this fast growing city I had found myself surrounded in. For years I helped others invest in their dream homes or make smart gains in the properties they bought and sold. I also helped my colleagues who came to this country to work from overseas find a home for their families.

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Real Estate Marketing in a Luxury Market

As the real estate market in the U.S. slowly continues to regain its footing, many agents are looking at this time as a chance to redefine their market. With so many agents abandoning-or at least significantly cutting back-their marketing systems to save money, others are jumping in to take advantage of the marketing void. In other words, they are taking an offensive approach in order to put themselves in prime position when the market starts to upswing.

In most parts of Canada, on the other hand, the market continues to stay hot and agents are looking for the best way to grow their business. They are looking to expand the reach of their marketing and maximize income opportunities. Whether it be in the U.S. or Canada, a number of agents we are talking to believe that now is the time to make the transition into the ultra high-end market.

Traditionally, luxury real estate is one of the hardest market segments to try and break into. Why? There are a few common reasons. It might be the presence of a dominant agent already ensconced in the community or the fact that everyone already has a peer in the real estate business. It may be because the agents themselves don’t have the patience to work in a generally slower-paced market (less transactions to go around, tougher competition and slower sales process). It could be that they are simply not prepared for the unique challenges a high-end market poses.

In my experience, it’s usually a combination of these reasons that prevents most agents from becoming successful in luxury real estate. There are many things you need to know before you make the quantum leap into the next price range. We’ve put together a list of five factors that will help you decide if a move to luxury real estate is right for you.

#1. Know What You Are Getting Into

Agents often make a blind leap into luxury real estate because they think that’s “where the money is.” Of course, it’s simple math. If you get the same split, it pays to list homes with higher selling prices. In theory, you can make more money by doing fewer transactions. On one hand, that’s true, but if you go into luxury real estate with this mentality, you are probably destined to fail.

Yes, your income per transaction goes up significantly. That’s great, but there is often a new set of challenges introduced when working a high-end market: the competitive stakes are much higher, social circles are much more closed, politics are different, and there are many other factors which I will detail throughout this article. In addition, marketing and servicing costs are generally more when dealing with luxury homes and clients. Both buyers and sellers expect more and demand more and the properties themselves need even more attention (marketing, staging, photography, etc.) to appeal to a more sophisticated crowd.

Carol Barkin of Toronto, Ontario has been a successful Sales Representative for 20 years, but it took her some time to build her business in her high-end markets (both in the city and in a lakefront recreational market about an hour outside Toronto). “For me, the biggest challenge was making that first connection,” she says. “They already have tight social connections and know how to get what they want, so building relationships is a matter of trust. It’s important to relate to clients as a friend and a helpful peer, not just present yourself as a service provider.”

#2. Patience, Patience, Patience

It’s clear that high-end real estate is a different animal than traditional residential markets. It tends to move much slower. Generally, there are fewer homes on the market at any given time and there are fewer buyers out there with the means to purchase such expensive properties. The stakes are higher for everyone involved. So on average, it takes significantly longer to sell one of these homes. In addition, there is a lot of competition out there for a limited number of properties, so it often requires more patience to break into the market and build a strong client base.

This is truly a case where the end usually justifies the means if you have the right understanding and commitment going in. Though listings are harder to come by and it takes longer for them to sell, the large check at the end of the transaction is worthwhile. But not all agents have the stomach to wait longer in between commission checks. Oftentimes, this is the hurdle that stops them in their tracks.

“In my experience in high-end real estate, six months on the market is nothing. On average, it’s more like nine for a listing to sell,” says Robin. “Also, if they are not truly motivated to sell, you will waste a lot of time and money on marketing. In some cases, I will adjust my commission rate so that the marketing costs are covered by the seller. It helps to offset the time it takes to sell. You also shouldn’t go into luxury real estate without money in the bank. It’s a long-term process to build your business and if you are not prepared, it can break you quickly.”

#3. Know It. Live It. Keep It Exclusive.

Another reason that some agents struggle to find their footing in an ultra high-end market is that they cannot relate to the clients or communicate effectively. You’re dealing with a much savvier and usually more demanding crowd who know what they want and are used to getting what they desire. Now, you don’t necessarily have to live in the luxury community you are targeting, but you have to present yourself like you do. The way you dress, your ability to network within their circles, the way you communicate with these sophisticated individuals, the quality of your marketing materials-you have to be able to make a personal connection and develop a strong professional image. If they don’t buy into you as a luxury home expert who’s tapped into their community, they aren’t as likely to do business with you.

Jack Jeffcoat III is an agent who is in the process of transitioning his market focus from high-end golf communities in Central Florida to ultra high-end waterfront properties along Florida’s Space Coast. From his marketing presence to his personal presentation to his servicing strategies, everything he does is to support his image as a luxury real estate specialist. He’s often bold and unwavering in his approach because he never wants to lose credibility.

Think of it like any high-end product that is in demand because of its scarcity and exclusivity. So as a real estate agent specializing in high-end properties, you, your marketing image, and the service experience itself need to reflect the utmost quality. If you look and act like the best agent around, people will aspire to work with you.

“When I take a listing presentation, I conduct an interview with the seller to make sure they are willing to follow my recommendations,” Jack says. “At every opportunity, I want to remind them why they are hiring me. They know I am a luxury real estate expert that only works with an exclusive group of clients. From the beginning, they are instilled with the belief that if they want to have a successful sale, they need to follow my lead. It gives me the upper hand and keeps me positioned as the market specialist.”

Also, keep in mind that high-end real estate isn’t necessarily going to be the same from region to region. A waterfront community in Florida will have a different set of challenges than a mountain resort community in Colorado or a downtown high-rise in Toronto. In some places, “high-end” may be $400,000 and up. In others, prices could be in the multi-millions. So when it comes to your personal presentation and the way you market yourself, be sure to properly present your niche and look impressive.

“Always look bigger than you are,” says Robin Milonakis. “You have to have exceptional marketing materials. They have to make people feel good about hiring you. It feeds their ego knowing they are working with the best.”

#4. Image is Everything, Especially in Marketing

When it comes to your marketing materials, quality is key. You can’t position yourself as a high-end agent if your materials look unsophisticated. A first-rate personal brochure and dynamic website are absolutely essential. Your personal brochure should take the place of your business card whenever you meet a potential client. It needs to look sharp and feel impressive at the very first glance (exceptional photography, nice glossy paper, sophisticated writing, clean design). It needs to reflect your personality, but also relate to the luxury market you are targeting. In a way, you are a representative of this lifestyle and your marketing should convey that. It shows your unique expertise and highlights the service/knowledge benefits that make you a specialist in this distinctive market.

It’s very important that you don’t skimp here or it will show. You simply can’t fake high-end quality. You must be committed to investing the money to do the marketing right or people will see through it.

Put simply, the brochure and all other marketing materials need to be of the utmost quality. This includes your house advertising. You should at least have a tabloid-size glossy flyer/brochure that you use to promote each property. The staging must be great. The photography must be very professional. Of course, you should keep the property marketing pieces branded clearly with your personal image (logo, colors, fonts, etc.) so you don’t lose your own identity.

“My brochure is quality and people associate the piece with its sender,” Carol Barkin says. “I send it out prior to meeting someone to warm them up. It gives me more credibilty and shows my knowledge of the market they are concerned about.”

The same is especially true when it comes to your website. It needs to reflect the quality of your brochure and other print materials. It needs to look sharp and feel representative of your luxury market. Two of the agents I spoke with-Jack Jeffcoat and Robin Milonakis-are both actually in the process of revamping their compaigns to better target their high-end clientele. Even though both of them have been highly successful with their current campaigns, they know it’s worth the investment to take their marketing to the next level to promote an exclusive luxury niche.

One bold strategy Jack uses is to feature only properties above a certain price on his website. Does he take listings at lower prices? Yes, when the situation calls for it. But his image is that of a luxury real estate expert and his website is one more way to show that. “If one of my high-end prospects goes to my website and sees a bunch of low-priced listings, then it’s not really helping my cause,” Jack says. “Like a doctor, specialists make more money and earn more credibility, so I want to be known as a high-end listing specialist in every aspect of my marketing.”

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Fort Collins Real Estate: Market Situation and Trends

Analyzing the Market Statistics

Amidst the lush green surroundings, Fort Collins provides families and couples a wonderful locality to settle into. The real estate and value of property was in a decline but gradually the prices have picked up again; causing several sellers and buyers to enter the market. The Fort Collins real estate market situation has also considerably improved despite a continued presence of distressed properties. These distressed properties are foreclosures and short sales. The overall Fort Collins property market has increased slightly with a 1% increase since June 2013. The prospect buyers can either choose a condo/apartment or a single family home for themselves. The market price of houses in Fort Collins has a less dramatic real estate drop than other areas of the state and country. This implies that the price of Fort Collins property will also show lesser gradual recovery because of the lesser drop to recover from initially. The current market statistics for Fort Collins real estate are:

Average Listing Price: $273,251
Median Listing Price: $235,200, up 3% from 2010
Current Inventory (properties/homes available): 1039 Listings
Recently sold: 402
New Listings: 488
Distressed: 1

The right to invest is NOW

If we observe the first half of 2011, we will notice that there have been 5,617 sales in that period which in comparison to 2010 were 5991. This shows a 6% decrease in Fort Collins property sales. If we consider the inflated sales due to the tax credit in the spring of 2010 then this fall is instead a healthy improvement. Without such artificial enticements, the market has remained strong and grown to almost equal levels this year. The median listing price in Fort Collins went down from June to July. There were a total of 28 price increases and 147 price decreases. The final conclusion is that it is a great time to invest in Fort Collins property.

Fort Collins real estate listings are available online for buyers to browse through and hunt for houses as per their requirements. These listings are constantly updated so that any house up for the sale in the market is immediately added in the database. The real estate market is always considered a buyer’s market especially after the aftermath of the national mortgage crash and the economic turndown. If you are looking to buy property in Fort Collins then you need to adjust your practices accordingly.

Buyers vs. Sellers

Thanks to the improving situation in real estate, the buyer’s market is now a seller’s market. According to the real estate experts, the shift of market trends is a process that is caused by several buyers and sellers when they are practically indulging in the buying and selling of property. If you are hunting for a house then you should prequalify for financing. It is most likely that you will be competing for same property against people who have enough money in their hand. The Fort Collins real estate market is fast-moving with sellers inclined to accept an offer on the contingency that the buyer can round up the necessary funds.

If you have already made up your mind to purchase a home then you should be willing to immediately put up an offer and pay upfront because the house may not be available in the market for a long-time. Experts say that the days of making low-ball offers are over as low interest rates on home loans and pent-up demand are driving speedy sales. The buyers who have been sitting on the fence for past couple of years would be happy to know that Fort Collins real estate market situation is constantly improving.

This statement is further backed by the number of sales made during this year. Fort Collins has not experienced valleys and peaks as dramatic as other areas in the boom and bust times for the market. The last decade witnessed loose lending practices to steer the mortgage industry off a cliff. However, this time around, the real estate industry is all set on a sustained rebound. Lenders are scrutinizing the prospective buyers while the buyers are making more informed and practical choices. All these factors contribute to the fact that real estate situation has picked up and confirms to be a fast moving market for buyers and sellers. A laid back attitude in making a valid offer for a house can end you up on losing out on your dream house as there are plenty of buyers willing to make viable offers to the sellers.

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There Are Really Only Four Ways To Make Money

People are always looking for money. We need finance to exist in this life, no matter who we are. Millions of people everyday are trying all sorts of gimmicks and get-rich-quick schemes and millions more are being hoodwinked with scams. There are really only four ways to make money!

FOUR WAYS TO MAKE MONEY

WIN IT. Not a sure way to raise finance and many people end up losing more than they win as they try to gamble their way to riches.

INHERIT IT. Not a sure way either. You have to have some rich relatives who think you’re the best thing after sliced bread.

BEG, BORROW or STEAL IT. Absolutely not recommended. All are short-lived with long-term consequences. Fraud, scams, dishonest dealings and lies have a short life. Ask “Bernie” Madoff, an American swindler, former stockbroker, investment advisor and financier trusted by thousands. He got away with his nefarious schemes for a long time, but they finally caught up with him. The FIFA chaps also found that this is a slippery slope.

TRADE SOMETHING FOR IT. Now we are talking! You either have to trade your TIME, ASSETS or EXPERTISE for money. There is no other way to real financial independence.

Once you understand this, the rest is much easier to figure out.

Ask yourself:

Do I have time available? Get a full-time or part-time job and work for someone. Look for opportunities or create them. Join sites like elance.com or fiverr.com and offer your services. Remember, though, you only have so many hours in a day.

Do I have assets I can trade for money? Good question. You can get into Affiliate Marketing by recommending products from online marketplaces like Amazon, ClickBank, JVZOO and get paid good commissions for sales without having to handle the goods and finance yourself. Then you have eBay, Craigslist, OLX, Bid&Buy and a host of other sites that allow you to buy and sell. You can even sell at Fleamarket stalls, and bazaars. There are opportunities everywhere.

Do I have some expertise? This is a far better question and the results are more satisfying. Write some short reports and sell them to people who need to know what you know. Write Kindle books and publish them for free on Amazon’s global platform – and earn great royalties ranging from 30% to 70%. Teach courses on Udemy. Run seminars and webinars.

Why would people want to pay you for information when they can find it free on the internet?

Simply because they have to search for the information they want, sift out the good from the not-so-good and put it all together in a workable plan. It’s so much easier to pay someone who knows exactly what to do and worth the money as they exchange their cash for your expertise.

Think about it. Everybody knows something that others want to know. You can write one course, one eBook or one report and sell it over and over again.

All you need are some creative ideas.

You can get the “how to” by asking Google and watching some YouTube videos that walk you through the technical side of things.

I have an Author friend who ends every teaching session with the words: “Now Go Home… and Write Something.”

I end this article with the same thought: Now Go Home… and Trade Something!

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The Best Personal Development Tools Recommended

Anytime I remember the beginning of my journey into establishing my presence and business online, I smile and laugh because of how I run my business back then. The truth is that I didn’t have any direction. Remembering those days when I drag myself out of bed to do a bit of blogging here and there, and placing ads on those blogs still makes me laugh.

I didn’t set any goals for myself and was not cocksure of what I really wanted to achieve. The resultant effect of this was that I bounced from opportunity to opportunity because I was distracted by the different kinds of marketing strategies and ideas that captivated my unfocused and goalless mind. But the day came when I realised that results only comes from focused efforts in one or two areas.

The reason am telling you this is because I want you to learn from my past experience and to relate it to what I am going to talk about. Apart from not having any clear cut plan, I also didn’t have any personal development tools in my arsenal to ensure a continuous success. Believe me, for you to build your dream business (I assume this is the reason you are reading this post) or climb the highest mountain in the world, you need the “right” tools to accomplish this.

Just like a mountaineer needs the “right tools” to climb the mountain, a business owner also needs the “right tools” to use in order to achieve success in their business. You have to embrace personal development because ignoring it will definitely be to your detriment. Those who ignore personal development on a personal and corporate level will surely experience stunted business and personal growth. Hence, the right personal development tools must be utilized alongside a focused plan to achieve and ensure success.

Over the years, I have come across different type of tools and resources which have contributed to my success in the different industries I have been and am involved in. Though these tools are a big part of my ongoing learning process (yes, I am still learning because I want to sustain my success), the success I have attained in my physical rehabilitation business can be attributed to a strong personal development plan and the right tools I use in order to keep me on the right track.

You see, this applies to every aspect of your life too and I want to help you with that. In this post, I will share with you some of the key personal development tools I have come across on my business journey. Like I said at the beginning of this post, apart from not having a clear cut goal, I also struggled with a lot of personal issues, one of which was confidence and self-assurance.

As I am being honest with myself, I also want you to be honest with yourself because I know that once you use these tools am about to teach you, your life and business will be positively affected. So open your mind. Know what you want to get out of this post and what you want to change because this is the first step to positively change your life and business.

1. TED

Have you ever heard about the TED talks? And if you have, how many of these talks have you watched and listened to, and how many of the individuals giving speeches on this site are you following? If you haven’t heard about the TED talks, then you are about to find out what it’s all about.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) talk is a global set of conferences run by a private non-profit organization known as the Sapling Foundation, under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It is one of the best free resources on the internet for education, fresh ideas and enlightenment as far as business and mind-set issues are concerned.

It is a website where people watch videos on a variety of different topics. Though some of the videos there might not be related to what you are looking for, you will surely find some that you will be of use to you. One thing I also want you to know is that the individuals who give speeches on this site are some of the smartest and most successful people in business and in the fields they specialize in. I highly recommend that you check out this site, see what stirs your mind and apply the ideas being discussed.

2. Mindbloom

As the name suggest, the aim of this site is to enhance your life. This site enables you to work on whatever it is you want to work on by way of creating a “tree” for free. One of the core aspects of Mindbloom is the “bloom” programme. Apart from using it to wake up on the right side of your day, you can also use Bloom as your morning wake-up call, to remind yourself to eat a healthy snack between meals, to shift gears after work by scheduling a bloom with your favourite song and family photos, to remind yourself to pack lunch so as to save a few dollars each day.

You might think these “little things” have no effect on your life, but I can assure you that it had and is still having a great effect on mine. So these “little things” can improve the quality of your life and there are many more personal development tools on this website that can help you with the different aspects of your life. I definitely recommend that you check out this site.

3. Udemy

This is another site that I strongly recommend you check out immediately. If you are looking for a course in a particular area, look no further than Udemy. The site provides a wide range of courses on different subjects. Just name it and Udemy will probably provide a well-structured course on it. These courses are handled by experts who have excelled in their different fields. So you are definitely in good hands.

Let’s also look at this from a business perspective. We all know that knowledge is power (that is if the knowledge is put into action) and the more knowledge you have, the more valuable you become. By being more valuable in your chosen niche, you will be able to improve your business income by improving yourself and the business. Less I forget, it is worth knowing that some of the courses on this site are free. What can you get for free these days? What are you waiting for? Check out this site.

4. Lumosity

This is another mind blowing site designed and maintained by neuroscientists. Yes, these neuroscientists really know what they are talking about when it comes to the optimal performance of the brain, the subconscious and conscious mind. Believe me, just as you know your conscious mind is always at work, your subconscious mind too is “never” on holiday.

The development of the mind is so important because the state of your mind can either positively or negatively affect any endeavour you undertake. This is why am also recommending this site for you. The strength of the mind is equally as important as the strength of the will. With more than 50 million users, many paying $15/month or $80/year for full access, the services being offered on the site has caught on like wildfire. Like anything other personal or business endeavour, you only get out what you put in.

As a company, Lumosity work with over 100 researchers all over the globe. Test results after a 10-week period have shown that after working with 4000 participants completing crosswords, half online and half on Lumosity, the Lumosity group improved more than the crosswords group on an assessment of cognition. Like it or not, the statistics are strong. So it may be worth a go.

5. Vision Board Deluxe

This is a great app which does pretty much what it says on the tin. You are at liberty to create your own vision board which will propel your success even further than you think. And this can be done on the go by using your phone or tablet. You may be familiar with this concept of creating a vision board and why people do it if you are a big fan of personal development. And in case you are not or you want more information on this, let me explain.

As I have said before, your subconscious mind is always working. In fact, whether you realise it or not, it’s working really hard, even right now as you read this post, filtering all kinds of stimuli from the environment around you. If it doesn’t do that, you would go completely mad from everything you have to process. But the subconscious mind is far more important than just filtering all kinds of stimuli. It is also the most important factor in many successful people’s journeys.

Once you create a vision board, you activate your subconscious mind by constantly reminding it that what you are doing is so important. You are focusing your mind on what you truly want and because of the excellent bit of kit it is, it will work to ensure you receive everything you desire. You may not fully understand this idea (though I would be happy if you could catch this idea right away), but I promise you, your subconscious will open doors and your eyes to opportunities you didn’t even know were there.

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Digital Marketing on a Budget in 2017

The most important thing about cost-effective marketing is to focus on high-return activities. Different channels work for different companies, there’s no one-size-fits-all. If there’s one thing we know though it’s that you should absolutely spend money on marketing your business online. Even a budget of $1,500 can go a long way.

Research $0

The great thing about research is that the only resource you’ll need to spend is your time. If you don’t do thorough research before spending your first marketing dollar you probably won’t put the remaining $1,499 to particularly good use.

A good place to start is by doing a quick Google search of your industry, identifying patterns, understanding consumer behaviour, studying your competition, and even reaching out to your target audience for first-hand market research. The data you collect during this process will serve as the foundation of your campaign.

Certainly, there are ways you can spend money on research. There are organizations that sell reports with seemingly critical information, as well as tools that’ll pull data from around the web for your consideration. Services like Springwise and Trendwatching are great for this, but can be a bit pricey. There’s more than enough free information out there to help get you off the ground.

Email marketing $350

In spite of all the new tools and techniques, email marketing continues to prevail as one of the most effective marketing methods you could implement. The fact is, your email list is gold – these are people who have responded to your outreach, opted in and are primed to hear from you. If you do nothing else, take advantage of email marketing and center your campaign around it.

So what does $350 get you? Right now, it’s the equivalent of a one-year subscription to MailChimp, which needs no introduction. An email list of 2,001-2,500 contacts will cost you $30/mo, technically totalling $360/year. Depending on the size of your list and needs, you can pay more or less – it’s free for up to 500 contacts.

New apps such as Conversio, showcased on my startup’s website evercloud.co, allows you to easily grow revenues by supercharging existing customers through intelligent email receipts and thus increasing lifetime customer value.

Video marketing $300

According to Cisco, consumer internet video traffic will account for 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic globally in 2019. That is a whopping 64% increase from 2014. For marketers, if you’re not already taking advantage of the impact that videos have in your content marketing strategy, then you absolutely have to jump on the bandwagon.

Posting unique content to YouTube or Vimeo and sharing it on relevant social media channels can help establish an online presence. Of course you can also just share interesting third-party videos to your followers if they’re relevant, but it’s also important to create your own videos.

Alternatively, you can sell videos on Udemy, an online learning platform, which can be a powerful sales vehicle for individuals and businesses who want to share their knowledge and leverage their expertise and generate a scalable, recurring revenue stream.

Costs associated with video marketing can vary. Video editing software and hosting doesn’t come cheap, services such as JWPlayer cost $300/year, but can easily prove to be a very shrewd investment.

Paid social media marketing $450

With a bit of testing you will quickly know which social media platform to focus your content creation and promotion efforts on. This isn’t to say that you should forget about posting or interacting on other channels. But when it comes to spending money, nail it down to the one or two platforms you’re confident will get the best engagement.

Once you’ve identified your channels, start promoting your best content with paid ads. Get up and running with a business page on Facebook or promote content from any type of account on Twitter, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn. A Twitter card, for instance, can give you a brand boost and build your email list at the same time. LinkedIn not only offers boosted posts, but also detailed analytics that helps ensure your posts are reaching your desired market. That $450 budget will prove one of the most inexpensive ways available to get your message in front of (highly targeted) new eyes. When used effectively, any major social media site can help you gain traction and collect followers quickly, leading to more interaction and sales in the future.

Sometimes managing all your social media and online presence can be time-consuming. That’s where companies like Hootsuite and Mention become extremely useful. Hootsuite lets you manage all your social media pages from one dashboard and has other tools such as scheduling your posts, and Mention is your eyes and ears for what people are saying about your brand online. And then there are newer services, like Kickstagram, a platform to successfully manage and make the most out of your Instagram account. Additionally, Publicfast lets you connect with social media influencers, which can have a massive impact on your social media efforts. And of course you can always outsource your social media marketing to pros like GoodAudience, who have the knowledge and experience to really grow your social media presence.

Don’t be afraid to look beyond social media platforms – community sites like Quora, Reddit, and Medium can be a great way to advertise your product or service. Just make sure you aren’t blatantly promoting your business, it won’t be well-received!

Content Marketing $400

Never underestimate the power of good content. Blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, eBooks, newsletters, whitepapers, videos, webinars, the list goes on! If you’re not a confident writer or simply don’t have the time to dedicate to writing your own blog you can look into outsourcing this task. Blog Hands is a blog content writing service meaning your blog will be one less thing to worry about, and costs are completely dependent on the length and number of blog posts you’d like. Allocating roughly $400 would be a good place to start, which would get you ten 400-word blog posts. 400 words is a bit on the short side, but they also have plans for 800, 1,200, and 2,000-word blog posts. The key here is to post relevant content that shows visitors your company is a thought leader in your respective field, while also helping with search engine optimization.

Ultimately, the strategies you choose to invest in may be different, and they probably should be, as every business and every target audience is different. What works for one group of followers may fall flat with another, which is why research and ongoing testing is so important. But what I want you to walk away knowing is that marketing doesn’t have to break the bank to be effective. With just $1,500 and a little research, you can successfully implement a full-stack digital marketing campaign. The great thing is that you will quickly learn what works and what doesn’t, and you can re-allocate your budget accordingly.

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How to Learn SEO: What Training Methods Are Best?

At its heart, SEO (search engine optimisation) is simple. The basics of SEO haven’t really changed since Google first started dominating the way people search the internet: make each page relevant to the topic it’s about; keep to just one topic per page; get some proof that it’s a worthy page by getting links pointing back to it.

Of course, like everything that’s outwardly simple, there are a lot of small details that need to be right.

Which is where SEO training comes in.

There are a number of different ways you can get SEO training:

Learn online

This can be done via articles such as this one, videos on YouTube, forums that deal with internet marketing and quite a few other sources.

Whilst this can be cheap – depending on how much you value your time – you need a certain amount of knowledge in order to be able to filter out information that’s no longer relevant or is just plain wrong.

For instance, a lot of the finer details of techniques such as link building change over time as Google does its best to reduce or remove the influence of the spammier techniques.

Which means that, yes, links are still important but some links are better than others and how the link actually links is getting more important.

Buy a course or a book

Amazon is awash with books on SEO. It gave me 8,325 in the books section alone when I checked just now.

You can check through the reviews of these to get an idea about the usefulness of the book. If you do that, pay more attention to the reviews from people who are marked as verified purchasers.

The look inside feature will also help you decide whether or not you get on with the style of the book.

And remember to check the copyright date. Books take a while to get through the publishing process, so the more recent this is, the better.

Courses are more difficult to check unless they’re on a site like Udemy which allows feedback and tells you the number of subscribers to the course.

The best online courses are membership based as these have the revenue to keep abreast of current techniques.

Personal SEO training

This is probably the best way to learn SEO.

The biggest advantage is that you actually have to set the time aside to learn.

Unlike a book or an online course where you can put it aside and – at least in theory – come back to it later.

That discipline can make all the difference to your learning experience. As much as anything because you’ve actually been physically (and hopefully mentally) present during the training.

You can then use what you’ve learned in your training to implement SEO on your website.

The implementation isn’t difficult. If anything, most of it is repetitive and relatively mechanical.

Even if you decide to hire an SEO expert to carry out the work involved, it’s worth doing some training yourself so that you can check whether what’s being done on your behalf is using the right techniques.

That’s something I was taught at university and have never forgotten. It means that you know the right things to ask and can check that what’s being done to promote your site will be likely to work positively for you.

The best way to learn SEO is to have face to face training.

You get tailored help to make sure that your precise needs are met and you can ask questions to make sure that you fully understand the search engine optimisation process.

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How to Choose the Proper Limo Service for Your Upcoming Special Event

There are several different event types that could require limo service. From weddings and proms to airport transportation and group events, riding in a limo driven by an experienced driver takes some of the strain off of the host. With the proper limo company in charge of the travel details, there is no need to be concerned how your party is going to get where they need to go.

The first and perhaps most important factor to consider when choosing a transportation company is how many people you have to fit in the vehicle. Some companies have large stretch limousines and stretch SUVs while other companies may only have town cars and vans available. Be sure to get an accurate count before deciding what type of vehicle you are going to get.

Some of the common types of vehicles available at many limo service companies include stretch Hummers, Lincoln Town Cars, and stretch limousines. All of these cars can transport various amounts of guests. A town car or sedan is sufficient for one or two people while a stretch limo or SUV works better for larger groups.

The next factor to think about is where you are traveling to and from. Many companies will only work in their local area while others will drive you anywhere you want to go. There are even some limo service businesses that will take their passengers across the country if that is what they want to do. Just be aware that the farther you go, generally, the more expensive the trip is going to be.

When calling around to various limo service companies, be sure to get quotes before you choose one. Every business is different and to get the best deal you need to shop around. Ask them about any added services that you may benefit from as well. Some businesses will add on more time or a beverage package for an additional charge if you want it as part of your trip.

If you are ordering your limo service for your wedding, you want to make sure that the company you hire will be accommodating to your needs. You are most likely going to want to stop and take pictures at various locations while still keeping a certain schedule. Be sure the transportation service that you choose allows you to be in complete control of what you are going to do while you are in the car.

Before making your final decision, go and visit the limo service company that you have decided on. Ask to take a look at the vehicle that they are offering you so that you can be sure it is one that you are going to be happy with. If you do not completely agree with what they have picked out for you, you will have the opportunity to view the rest of the fleet on the spot.

Whenever you are planning a special event and you want to get transportation, make sure it is done by a professional company that Is well-known and trusted. The most important thing is that you get where you need not only on time, but also safely. Check reviews and ask friends and family for suggestions before you settle on any one driving company.

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