Spring is Here: Get Ready for Home-Selling Season

Spring is when the weather warms up, the flowers start to bloom, and also when houses start going up for sale left and right. While it’s true Spring is the hottest season to sell a home – it also means it’s the most competitive season – so being fully prepared to have your house listed is extremely important. 

The first steps to take after finding a good real estate agent is to do basic maintenance. Make sure to complete any repairs to plumbing or appliances that you’ve been putting off. It’s one less thing buyers will have to deal with (and they don’t want to deal with).

Next, try to landscape to create an eye-catching curb appeal. Spring is such a great time for beautiful exterior home photos because all the blooms and greenery. Cut back any overgrown bushes and pull any weeds.

To make the master closet look even bigger, take all your winter clothes and put them in storage. By thinning out your clothes and organizing everything, buyer’s won’t be distracted.

Pay special attention to your kitchen since it is one of the most important rooms in the house to a potential buyer. Updating the countertops or giving the cabinets a fresh coat of paint could really set it apart from the rest.

If you have the time, you should begin to depersonalize your home. Painting any colorful walls neutral and removing family photos make a huge difference. You want buyers to be able to imagine their family in the home – and you don’t want them dreading all the painting they think needs to be done. 

According to Zillow, data shows homes sold from mid-March to mid-April sell around 15 percent faster and for 2 percent more than the average listing. So, if you’re wanting to list your home in primetime you better start preparing now!

Business Marketing Plan for 2017

Developing an effective marketing plan for your business is one of the best ways to attract clients and grow your brand. While creating a business marketing plan may sound elaborate and time-consuming, it is very much worth the time and effort because of the benefits you will reap. 

With 2017 right around the corner it couldn’t be a better time to start planning for the year. Anything you have in mind, whether it be designing a new logo, investing in new office space, or releasing new products/services, all of these ideas can be included in your overall marketing plan. Every goal is important in shaping the flow of you marketing plan and defining every business goal you have will help fill in the blanks in your marketing strategy.

business-marketing-2017

One of the best approaches in creating an effective marketing plan is taking a glance at the 2015/2016 years and seeing which strategies did and did not work. Take everything that was positive and worked for your company and work it into the 2017 plan. Every strategy that failed, try to figure out why and brainstorm a new approach to take this year. 

In 2017, take a look at your business brand. Is your logo, design, cards, website, etc. consistent and fluid? Try to update and integrate all of these things to represent your brand and message as effectively as possible. We aren’t saying it is necessary to completely rebrand, but updated a logo or font text to something more eye-catching will make all the difference.

Further define and reach out to your target audience. The more you understand and know who invests and supports businesses like yours the more business you will gain. Ultimately it is up to you to decide what audience you are trying to target and shape your brand around that decision. 

If you like things tangible you may want to build your marketing plan in a binder with separated sections with different goals, ideas, products, services, etc. If you would rather have it all organized on a computer there are several programs that would work for creating a detailed plan. Try to keep a calendar of some sort with important dates or milestones you have planned for 2017 – that way you get a visual of what’s ahead. 

Last, but not least, take every plan and goal you have for 2017 and develop a budget to compensate for these goals. Again, taking into account how much you spent last year on marketing, make a chart to allocate money to each goal you have. If you plan on using outside marketing sources (such as Blackhound) then also allocate that money to its own section. 

Now it’s time to get down to business and start growing your business. If you have any questions about developing an effective marketing strategy or want to know about the services we offer here at Blackhound Creative Werks please contact us at info@blackhoundcreative.com

Favorite Holiday Commercials

With the Holidays quickly approaching (Thanksgiving is next week!) we have been seeing more and more of the holiday-geared commercials on TV. The commercials are always fuel by a powerful sense of emotion – whether it’s happiness, sadness, or love – they pull on our heartstrings in hopes of catching our attention during the holiday season. We scavenged the internet to find some of our 2016 holiday commercial favorites.

 

This Lexus commercial is sweet, more on the light-hearted side. This ad captures the spirit of the holidays by showing how parents want to enjoy “asking Santa” for gifts just like their kids. 

 

I love how this commercial has us laughing at the beginning and practically crying by the time it’s over. The commercial is extremely relatable for most and Comcast had me wondering how they were going to execute the whole thing. I’m glad to see the family spending time together for the holidays versus sitting around on their phones – one potential downside to having all those gadgets and WiFi. A commerical well done!

 

This is technically from 2015 but AT&T really got me with this one. We all have family members that just can’t seem to get off their phones and be a part of the family and it’s so nice to see AT&T acknowledge this common problem – they even decided to pull all ads except this one on Dec. 24th and 25th. This (almost) altruistic commercial will really score the mobile company major points for showing us what’s truly important during the holidays.

 

John Lewis is a British retailer that did a bloody marvelous job with this commercial. The visuals were not only stunning, but it gave me so many questions and confusion it kept my fullest attention. We’re big dog lovers here at Blackhound and this ad gave us the happiest of feels. 

 

Finally, an ad from Starbucks, the company that sparked major controversy last year for their holiday campaign pulling all holiday-related visual from their cups. While angering many people, others say it as a simplistic approach to seasonal items. This year they’ve brought back holiday decorated cups uniquely decorated by individual customers. It’s definitely a cool concept with a fun little advertisement to show them off. 

 

For more holiday ads click here.

Presidential Candidates & Marketing

DISCLAIMER: We are not proclaiming support for either Presidential candidate and will not be approaching this blog in a biased manner.

 

With the election of a new President just a few days away we’ve decided to take a deeper look into the marketing strategies different candidates past and present have used to sway voters. Companies use marketing to attract and engage their target audience in hopes of securing a new customer – in this same way a Presidential candidate has to accurately target voters with the best tactics to secure their votes.

 

In 2008, Barack Obama shook the political realm when he utilized social media to the fullest extent. The Obama campaign grasped the attentions of millions, got people engaged, and ultimately won the majority of votes to win the election. It was a technique not yet adopted in the political spectrum, but was seen to have a drastic effect on the outcome of the election. This campaign marketing was not only widespread but meaningful and forever changed the way future candidates would market themselves.

 

In this year’s current election, both Donald and Hillary have had a massive presence on social media. Trump is the more vocal on platforms like Twitter, which is why it’s no surprise he has far more followers than Clinton, but he’s has to stick his foot in his mouth more than once over controversial tweets. Here’s a good infographic to breakdown each candidate’s social profiles:

presidential-clinton-trump-infographic

 

Overall, the Trump campaign has done a fantastic job of branding. Trump is a brand. “Make America Great Again” is driving and inspiring voters to do their American duty. He’s done a good job of targeting his ideal voter. Clinton’s campaign, while less of a stand alone brand, has relied on the support of Obama – which is why “Better Together” is such an appropriate slogan. The #imwithher hashtag took off and also gained her another edge in social media and marketing herself.

 

The ads in this election have been all over the place. At first it was positive messaging about the best aspects and traits the candidates offer America as President. A few weeks out from the election we started seeing a trend of more and more negative ads attacking the other party and “a vote for me is a vote against them”. Despite the negativity, these strategies are working well for each candidate. They’ve studied their audience’s feelings and reacted with the most logical marketing to gain the support from the last minute undecideds.

 

While most people stand with one candidate or the other. The important thing to note is how well each party has harnessed the right tools and learned all they can about their target audience in order to provide the most engaging and enticing Presidential nominee to support. Businesses can learn from watching each candidate sway voters, because these skills can be scaled down to fit a business model to capture the right audience and “win over” customers.

 

 

facebook live logo

Facebook Live: Build an Audience

Facebook Live is the newest feature recently added to the popular social media site. If you haven’t got a clue what Live is or how to use it we’re here to help. If you’ve already mastered the feature, but need some new ideas on what to post we’ve got you covered.

facebook live video

For a while now, Facebook Live has only been available on mobile, but just this week the company started rolling out the feature for computers/laptops. This way users can sit behind their computers and do live feeds instead of having to hold their phones the entire time.

 

Using FB Live is as easy as pressing a button and being completely Live with your audience. On mobile when opening the app the feature is immediately viewable in the top left corner. Click “Live” and you have the option of adding a description for your broadcast, which can be general or very specific. Then all you click is “Go Live” in the bottom corner and you can start talking to your viewers.

 

A few tips for those venturing into FB Live:

• Let your audience know ahead of time when you’ll be broadcasting live. This way you’ll end up with more viewers ready to see what you have to say.

• Also, before connecting live, make sure you have a great signal or even better make sure you’re on WiFi.

• The longer your video lasts the more likely you’ll see an increase in viewers. Since most people aren’t online simultaneously by extending the length of your video as different people log in you will notice more tuning in.

 

Facebook Live is the perfect way to increase exposure for yourself or your business since you are able to interact with your audience and engage with viewers in real time. One cool way to build a relationship with an audience is hosting a Q&A where viewers ask questions and you respond while filming. This real-time interaction is perfect for generating trust and gaining exposure.

 

photography real estate

August Real Estate Photography

Professional photography is one of the many services we offer at Blackhound. These are just a few of our favorite photographs from the past year.

Download Real Estate Photos from Dropbox

We get questions from our real estate agents all the time regarding the process to download the professional photos we provide for them through Dropbox. To make things easier we decided to create a quick video for you to watch! From beginning to end the video shows every step involved in downloading your photos to uploading them to MLS.

We will begin to attach this video to all emails sent out with the link to photos. If you have any further questions – feel free to email us at info@blackhoundcreative.com

Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last week then you know the controversy that is the new feature Instagram added called Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories is basically identical to Snapchat in every way possible. Snap a picture, add some words, draw on it, post it, it deletes itself in 24 hours. In fact, it is EXACTLY LIKE SNAPCHAT.

 

instagram stories snapchat

 

There is one small caveat though and that is Instagram has over 500 million users while Snapchat has only 150 million or so daily users. This gap puts Instagram Stories far above and beyond in terms of reach, which gives businesses a huge incentive to use the new feature. Marketing with Snapchat is a unique way for businesses to showcase their services while targeting a set of demographics not as engaged on other forms of social media. This is great and all, but now may become irrelevant as Instagram Stories offers more incentives for users to switch.

 

Another reason Instagram Stories has the potential to dominate is the fact that it brings the best of Snapchat and integrates it into the hugely popular Instagram platform. Stories is simple to use (whereas Snapchat continues to struggle with older users) and it pops up at the top of a users feed – making it easily accessible. Stories also provides users with a more user-friendly interface… there’s no swiping up, down, left, and right to access features.

 

As far as the future of Snapchat is concerned, I’m unsure whether it will continue to grow and maintain its popularity. Our generation is all about convenience and seamless integration – and tying everything together as Instagram has done makes an easy case for those who feel the need to choose between Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Having a Snapchat account is cool until it’s cloned and combined into a social media platform you also have an account for – aka who wants numerous social media accounts when one does it all? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

new_home_pros

Client Highlight: New Home Pros

Carlos Ennis is one of our clients we’ve worked with to create a logo and build the brand of his company, New Home Pros. This week we had a chance to sit down with Carlos to talk about his business and what it’s like starting a company from nothing.

 

new home pros

What exactly is New Home Pros?

Carlos: New Home Pros is a buyer’s resource that provides services that showcases new homebuilders in the Columbia market. What we aspire to do as a company is to make our homebuyers more conscious of builders in the area and give them choices between buying resell or new product. Newer product is typically going to come with a home warranty, it’s going to come built up to building standards, will probably have better air conditioning units, more energy efficient products in the house – and will be built by more social conscious builders who are looking to build and be competitive in the market. I’ve been in the new home industry for 16 years so I’m knowledgeable of what the builders are producing, so I’m here to be a buyer’s advocate.

 

Where are you from and why did you decide to get into this business?

Carlos: I’m from Florida and I got into the new home sales business because I was doing mortgages beforehand and a friend of mine invited me out to dinner and I met the VP of Sales of Pulte Homes which is one of the largest builders in the country and after a good conversation and knowing I was in the mortgage business and also a Carolina Gamecock alumni he wanted me to investigate selling new homes. I really wasn’t interested, you know, but I gave it an opportunity and took a look at some neighborhoods, spoke to onsite sales people and I got a job that eventually turned into a long career that I’m in now.

 

What do you love most about new home sales?

Carlos: I really like new construction – I like seeing homes go up from start to finish. I’ve seen subdivisions where there was nothing in there except for trees and the end product was a subdivision of 500-600 sprawling homes, club house, fitness center, wilderness lodge, those types of things. I like selling new homes versus resell because I can see the process and I can help [buyers] understand at a framing stage what it would be like to have to home in sheetrock and finished. I’ll see a dirt lot and take a floor plan and use the measurements to plan and walk the lot in order to get my clients emotionally involved in the process. I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work.

 

What do you see for the future of New Home Pros?

Carlos: Ultimately I see it becoming broader in the aspect of covering more territory, bringing on more agents, and eventually represent builders on a day-to-day basis by managing subdivisions for them and helping them with their inventory, or what I call assets. I see [New Home Pros] becoming a bigger brand that has a large impact on the market, creates diversity in the market, and eventually, who knows, build my own homes.

 

Do you have any tips for anyone just getting started in real estate or new home sales?

Carlos: Stay hungry… ha ha just kidding. But they should know what’s in the market. They need to take the time to scan the market to understand what is trending, understand builder lingo in regards to construction so that they can educate clients on what it is that they are purchasing. Also [agents] should investigate builder’s records and see if they have had any complaints in regards to building practices and standards.

 

Is there anything you can tell me about yourself that no one really knows?

Carlos: I love to cook. If there was ever a job I could do other than real estate… I don’t even eat out anymore.

 

While Carlos and I were at Starbucks interviewing, there were several people walking by that stopped to chat with him and see how business was going. It’s clear that Carlos has many connections with others and a passion for what he does. If you are in the market to buy or would like to learn more about New Home Pros you can call Carlos at 803-678-7050.