3 Key Marketing Tips for the Modern Real Estate Agent

In today’s fierce Real Estate market you have to stay on your toes. Marketing your open houses, agency, available properties and yourself as a Real Estate agent is a key component to drive business, sales and changing that For Sale sign into a Sold! sign.

As a printing company we get to see what is new and what is working across different markets using different strategies. Here are some key marketing tips inspired by what we have seen work best for real estate agencies and agents in their marketing efforts:

Content is King

1. Apply the Content is King Concept to your Real Estate Marketing Efforts

To begin with, most home buyers want to know what they are getting and how much it costs; They peruse through the property listings on your website and find a few pictures, a list of features and a few bullet points with a sales price which gives them the skinny on the property. But where is the value?

Content is King is a phrase well known to today’s internet marketers, SEO gurus and social media experts. It’s a very successful concept on the web and has been for years, these days even more so. Content adds value to a product beyond its functions or assets. Is there a positive story behind the property, the street or the town? Did someone famous or worth mentioning live there at one point? Content can give a property personality; transforming a house for sale into a home for sale. Words can influence, that’s why Content is King.

 

For Sale Sign with QR Code 2. Modernize your Real Estate Marketing Materials

With the sharp increase in consumer purchases of smart phones, it is a big mistake not to consider incorporating mobile into your Real Estate marketing.

As a home buyer, I can remember the frustration caused by seeing a beautiful house with a for sale sign outside as I drove by and saying to myself: “I can’t wait to get home and look up the listing on that house!”
By the time I got home I had forgotten the address, the Real Estate Agency that was selling it and of course, I didn’t stop to write down the phone number on the sign.  For the Real Estate agent this meant a lost sale or a lost lead at the least.

Behold, the QR Code. It began as a special barcode to track car parts and has evolved into the connection between offline and online marketing. The QR Code can be scanned with a smartphone to display information or initiate an action on the mobile phone.

A For Sale sign with a QR Code on it can lead a person who is interested in the home to a mobile friendly website where they can view pictures and contact the seller or Real Estate agent. QR Codes can also store contact information directly into the mobile phone’s contact list simply by scanning the code. QR codes are open for personal and commercial use. Here is a list of free QR Code readers and generators.

 

Personalize Communications Variable Data Printing VDP3. Personalize Communications

Real Estate agents and agencies have access to a vast amount of data about potential customers and their interests. Too often, this data goes unused to its full potential when in reality, it is bursting with value.

There is a little hidden gem that doesn’t seem to get the exposure it deserves…yet! Only the big ad agencies and corporations seem to be using this technology to their advantage. The printing industry is currently experiencing a digital evolution and from it we have the birth of Variable Data Printing, also known as VDP.

Variable Data Printing is the personalization of each individual piece in a print run. Let’s say you have a database of 5000 potential home buyers and in that database you have details about the type of homes these potential home buyers are interested in purchasing: Cape, Colonial, Ranch, two family, etc.
In your magnificent database of real estate information you also have access to all of the listings of homes for sale that have these features.

Now tie it all together. A printing company with Variable Data Printing capabilities can take your database information (usually in MS Excel format) and customize each printed piece with information pertaining to the recipient such as their name and information related to their home buying interests such as images and open house dates.

Here is a sample Postcard with Variable Data Printing

 

Real Estate Variable Data Printing VDP Postcard

 

Here are the Variable Data Fields:

 

Variable Data Fields in Real Estate PostcardVariable Data Printing is a remarkable technology will absolutely increase your read rate. Most generic postcards are glanced at and discarded. If the recipient sees their name on it, they have a higher probability of reading all of your content and contacting you.

 

 

Have you used QR Codes or Variable Data Printing in your Marketing? What other technologies are you using in your Real Estate Marketing Campaigns?

Please comment below

Easy Photoshop Color Splash Tutorial for Photos and Images


Color Splash Black and White Photo - Plant through Brick

Color Splash Photos with Photoshop

Photoshop Color splash is a method for emphasizing areas or objects inside of black and white photographs, with color. Very popular with wedding pictures and vintage photography, color splashing gives images an extra dimension of beauty: Color can be used creatively to change the perception of the image.

 

Step 1: Duplicate the Layer

Duplicate Layer in PhotoshopPhotoshop has several different ways to duplicate layers. The one in the image is probably the easiest:

Right-click on the layer and click “Duplicate Layer…”. This will make a duplicate layer above the original.

As you become more familiar with Photoshop you will find that keyboard shortcuts make certain actions faster to do than going through the menus and right clicking. With some practice it becomes a reflex such as typing; you know what keys to press without even thinking about it.

Duplicate Layer Keyboard Shortcut: CTRL + J (PC) or Command +J (Mac)

Step 2: Desaturate the New Layer

Desaturate Layer in Photoshop

Desaturation is a different process in comparison to converting an image to grayscale or a black and white yet renders the same visual effect. Desaturation occurs by pushing the CMYK values of the image towards their respective grey tone.

Photoshop automates this function for us using the Desaturate Adjustment

The two easiest ways to Desaturate a layer are as follows:

*Make sure you have the new layer selected in the Layers palette.

Click: Image>Adjustments>Desaturate.

Desaturate Layer Keyboard Shortcut:

Press Shift + CTRL + U (PC)
OR Shift + Command + U (Mac)

 

At this point you should see a black and white photo like this:

Desaturated Flower Girl in Photoshop

Step 3: Adding Color with the History Brush

Photoshop History Brush Tool

The History Brush Tool can be used to restore color and other attributes to an image from an earlier state in its history.

Once we desaturate the image, the original color becomes part of that image’s history. By using the History Brush Tool we can then selectively restore parts of the desaturated image to its original color version. In short, we are erasing the desaturation back to color except only where we want the color to appear.

Select the History Brush Tool by clicking on it in the tools palette.

*Make sure your new desaturated layer is selected in the layers palette.

History Brush Tool Keyboard Shortcut: Press the letter Y (Mac or PC)

Begin by setting the brush size to 200px and 0% Hardness.
This gives us a large brush size to work with and the 0% hardness creates a faded finish around the edges of the brush so that we do not end up with a hard edge:

 

Photoshop Brush Hardness Comparison

Now you can begin coloring in the parts that you would like to have color. Adjust your brush size accordingly to get into those tight spaces and remember that you can zoom in to make sure you add nice clean details to your image.

Brush Size Keyboard Shortcut:

  • Increase Size = [ (Mac or PC)
  • Decrease Size = ] (Mac or PC)

Take a look at the Color Splash I did in Photoshop for this tutorial, it took me less than 10 minutes:

 

Color Splash Using Photoshop History Brush

Experimenting with the history brush and different brush shapes for that matter can result in some unique and/or abstract photo manipulations.

 

Show us your skills! Tell us about your color splash project below..

Valentine’s Day Design Inspiration and Free Downloads

Valentine’s Day is here and you know some graphic designers out there are scrambling to complete – or start! –  their Valentine’s Day design projects. Whether it’s for a company promotional project or simply to impress your Valentine with your awesome romantic design skills, everyone needs a breath of inspiration sometimes.

I present to you an inspirational collection of Valentine’s Day art to give your designs a little Heart & Passion:

 

Be Mine by : Q. Cassetti

Valentine by Alexandra Zaharova & Ilya Plotnikov

Valentines by kwedo

Valentines by Peeewax

Vector Valentine by HyperCannon

Valentine’s Heart Brushes

Hearts Brushes by Hawksmont [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Love Icon Brushes [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Heart Brush Set by Robert Redwood [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Balloon Heart Brushes by Daniel Jordanov – [Photoshop] – Commercial use: yes

Valentine’s Vector Downloads

HQ Heart Illustration [.eps] – Commercial use: yes

Floral Heart by VectorCity [.eps] – Commercial use: yes

Glossy Hearts by OpenGraphicDesign [.eps] – Commercial use: yes

Will you or did you create your own Valentine’s Day Greeting cards this year?

Please leave your comments below…

Refreshing and Tasty Design Inspiration

Art is a fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant, or a child in its mother’s womb.
Jean Arp

When in need of inspiration I always turn to nature. Curves, colors, shades, reflections, beauty; You name it, she’s got it.

Here’s a healthy dose of inspiration:

INDIVIDUALISM POSTER by fatihtokoz

Rebuild the Aesthetic Poster by gomedia

poster by solo designer-d32lw4j

Killer Grapes Poster by GraphZ

Tropical by Creatunco

Print Infographics by Rhysbol

Fruit by sweetchantal1989

FRUIT RAIN by illugraphy

cherry stick heart-shape by dkraner

updated fruit poster by sweetmisery11

Becoming Reality vII

 

Quick Fun Fruit Facts:

  • Avocados are commonly used as vegetables. Botanically they are fruits.
  • Very few fruits contain fat: avocados, olives and nuts are the only ones with significant amounts.
  • Cranberries, Concord Grapes and Blueberries are the only major fruits native to North America.
  • Strawberries, bananas, grapes, apples and oranges are Americans favorite fruits in that order (2008).
  • The Red Delicious is the most widely grown variety of apple in the world.
  • There are 3,236  people in the U.S. listed on whitepages.com with the last name ‘Orange’
    (Mark Morton, ‘Gastronomica’, Fall 2010)
  • Grapes are about 80 percent water.

 

Is there something in nature that you find inspirational to your design?

Amazing CMYK Inspired Designs

 

Printers and print designers eat, breathe and sweat CMYK.
One of the most common mistakes made when beginning a print design is to make sure the Mode is set to CMYK.

What better way to embed CMYK mode into your brain to make sure your design is correctly formatted for printing?

A showcase of Incredible Full Color CMYK Posters for reference and inspiration!

CMYK by BlackTSpawN

CMYK by DecadentBlend.com

CMYK by Shanthora

CMYK by Nellmckellar

CMYK by Seba300

CMYK Splatter

Have you had any beginner mistakes or simple “I can’t believe I did that!” mishaps in a design that you would like to share?

Share your must-see CMYK inspired designs too…