What makes a ‘not to be missed’ experience?

We returned from the Prudential Convention 2011 in San Diego the week before last.  God, never take a 6:35 a.m.. flight back from a trip. Especially if it’s the morning after Fat Tuesday.  After three days of non-stop classes, presentations, sight-seeing and team-building activities (read that as bar hopping ) I was ready to collapse. George, of course, managed to spend the afternoon in the office.

Have you been to a Prudential Convention?  This was my second.  Last year, my first, was in Austin.  (Music, Mexican food, craft beer, and hole-in-the-wall bars; I was in heaven). But if you haven’t been, the Convention is simply something you need to experience.

As you would expect it offers you classes, introduces you to new tools, updates you on trends and presents networking opportunities.  The presentations are usually over the top.  Fireworks, smoke machines, light shows and big name speakers.  This year found us partying at PetCo Park one evening (by the way stilettos and in-fields do not work) and entertained by Jay Leno another.  Although my favorite presentation had to be Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, subjects of the motion picture The Blind Side.  They combined the perfect mix of comedy and purpose. 

However, it’s the intangibles that really make the experience.

For example, I think the convention is one of the best ways to renew your energy for the business. You get to look at what you are doing (and what you are not) with fresh eyes; it’s motivating.   I don’t think you can walk away without at least one new idea. Here’s a handful: 

·   Use your email signature to connect, especially in regards to social media. Seek out companies like WiseStamp, or connect to online profiles such as About.me, Dooid, Google Profiles or Follr

·   Dive into social networking.  Prudential is even on board with a new online social networking site (https://www.nextwork.prudential.com). It rolled out on the 18th of March.  I’ll let you know more as I experiment with it. 

·   The person you just walked past is the one who can change your life.  So every once in a while stop and turn around.  

·   Ever just wished you could avoid talking to someone by leaving a message?  Try Slydial, a free online service  for going straight to voicemail.  Or if you’re like me and hate listening to voice mails, use a free voicemail to email converter from Google Voice, Phone Tag, YouMail or Jott.

·   Review your website and make a game plan.  Try Amy Chorow’s “5 Critical Elements of Your Website” for the best practices for 2011 below.


Download this file



I have to admit though, my favorite part of the convention is the opportunity to connect with your collegues. Oh the stories I could tell!  But don’t worry my convention buddies, my lips are sealed on most accounts and I’m only sharing these few pictures.  And Seeger, I’ve even resisted the urge to include the one of you on stage at the dueling piano bar. 


I want to thank George Bruns, Maryann Vitale, Deb Colburn, Angie Ignatowski, Jana Rice, Jim Von der Haar, Sarah Seeger, Ann Cordeal, Jim Dillas, Betty Urban, Pat Sobelman, and Laura Wilburn for such a wonderful time.  Hope to see you next year in Orlando. 


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate

DiscoverStL.com | Facebook.com/DiscoverStL






Updates from the Marketing Department (3/16/11)

Last week I promised you an eCard campaign.  Today we’re taking our first steps at rolling that out.  The first four cards in the series include a St. Louis Cardinals baseball schedule,  a River City Rascals baseball schedule, a St. Patrick’s Day eCard and a Photos with the Easter Bunny eCard (for offices with client events)  These are now both now in your website system for you to use. 

How are these different from what we’ve been doing in the past?  For the last few years we’ve been making eCards as they are needed.  Every eCard has looked different than the one before; never providing that all important brand-identity we need in order to make an impact on consumers.

The new cards will be part of a branded series, focusing on our ‘St. Louis’ campaign and offering calls-to-action on the right hand side.  

Please note that the ‘login’ button and “apply for a loan’ button can be customized for your website.  It’s a quick edit and directions are below.  

Download this file

Business Cards

A few of you had requested business cards that reflect our ‘you know you’re from St. Louis when’ campaign. These two business cards are now available through Xpressdocs and you can choose one of two backs that have different ‘you know you’re from’ phrases.

However, if you want to order one of the standard business cards we’ve also created optional backs for you to use. Three of these backs include room for a ‘contact’ QR code. This is one of my favorite uses of QR codes. When scanned it adds your contact information into the user’s phone contact list.  Very practical. 


I’ve also spoken to Xpressdocs on having a QR code options on the Property Business Cards. Coming Soon. 


Listing Presentation: Your Voice Needed

Monday I sent out a poll asking you which CMA / Listing Presentation tool you use. . . Toolkit, eNeighborhoods, MARIS, Resource Center materials, etc.  I simply need to find out what is being used so I have the right materials in the right place.  A HUGE thanks to Art Vibulakaopun for being the ONLY agent to respond to the poll. If we end up with a listing presentation with every page customized to him, you’ll now know why! 🙂

A special thanks to Doug Hippler, Greg Bowen and Glenn Miller for the email follow-up on listing presentation ideas. 

If you want to take the poll on your preferred CMA options and voice your wish-list for the company listing presentation please do so here: http://www.facebook.com/discoverstlcareers


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate
DiscoverStL.com | Facebook.com/DiscoverStL

Tuesday Tech Tip: Facebook Page Changes – A Quick Guide

Facebook Pages Updates – A Quick Guide

Facebook has major

changes to the design and functionality of its Pages, bringing them closer to individual user profiles in look and functionality. The changes impact the user experience visually, giving a more compelling look and feel to Pages; functionally, allowing brands and companies to operate more the way individual users do; but also by greatly increasing your ability to build richer application experiences using iFrames. In addition to having applications that perform better, brands will also have greater flexibility in the way they name them.

The changes go into effect for all Facebook Pages on March 10. Below is a map of the new features, followed by an additional summary of the changes:

1-Photo strip above the Wall (with most recent photos you posted or tagged)
2-Tabs move over to the left panel, in the form of a list (maximum of 6 above the fold)
3-Profile picture reduced from 200 x 600 pixels to 180 x 540
4-Blurb box that was below the Page picture moved to info tab
5-Pages can Like other Pages, not just favorite them
6-Featured Pages and Admins
7-Page category
8-Choice for Wall posts between “Everyone” and Page posts only
9-Mutual Friends and Interests section
10-Ability to interact on Facebook as your Page
11-Ability for admins to post and comment around the site under their Page’s alias
12-News feed of updates from Liked Pages
13-Pages can now feature iFrame tab applications
14-Email notifications when users post or comment

Note, very important: You can preview the new layout but once you upgrade, there is no way to revert back to the old design.

Photo Strip Instead of Tabs Above the Wall
The replacement of tabs with the photo strip at the top adds a dynamic, colorful element that will significantly improve the look of the average Facebook Page. The photos are drawn from the most recent ones you posted to your Wall and those you tagged, but does not include photos posted by fans. Users can hide undesirable photos. The new left nav placement of tabs also allows for longer tab names.

Expanded Functionality For Fan Page Admins
By enabling Fan Page admins to comment in the name of the page itself and to interact with other Fan pages, Facebook has finally made it possible for brands to truly engage in tremendous interactive engine which powered its growth among individuals. Your power as a page administrator is increased in a number of other ways, including the ability to set filters on your Wall so that visitors see relevant posts first, and to view all the content and get notices whenever someone posts to your wall.


Finally, you should review the new policies. While many applications like Flash will now function better on your Page, Facebook’s restrictions require you to limit their functionality until a user interacts with it.

That small black and white box

When we recently offered a ‘Select Circle’ class on QR Codes, the level of interest forced us to create two sessions.  I think the newest marketing craze has fully hit St. Louis real estate.

QR codes – that small black and white box –  allows a user with a smart phone equipped with a QR application to view a webpage when the user holds the phone over the QR code.

I know a few of you have been experimenting with code providers, namely Scanlife.  The PSP Help Desk (webfix@psphomes.com) been attempting to help you navigate through the difficulties you’ve encountered, but it’s been hard to trouble-shoot on platforms that we don’t control.  

However, this week our website system will launch an application that automatically generates a QR code for every listing. The application allows you to print the listing’s QR code (small, medium, or large versions) for wherever you want to use it.


Additionally the Print or Email Flyers section of the listing manager provides a flyer with the QR code built onto it.




Below provides an example of how the listing appears after scanning the QR code with a smart phone.



I’m hoping this enhancement not only helps you in your marketing efforts but allows us to support you better since it it though our website provider, Reliance Network.  This is one of several enhancements that make their debut this week.  If you’re into that type of thing there is a full technical brief here:

Download this file


But if you want the 5 second version:

  • QR Code Generator (discussed above)
  • Mailing Labels, now generate mailing labels from your website contact list
  • eCard Stationary


  • Listing Management Enhancements.  For example you can now use a niffty report to find out which of your listings do not have a seller’s report set-up. 
  • Frame for Custom Websites. If you don’t have a custom website, hosted outside of us, then this doesn’t apply to you.  If you do, now you can frame the full Reliance search to integrate their mapping capabilities and contact management tools. 


This release should be out today.  If you experience bugs or issues please email the Help Desk (webfix@psphomes.com).   



Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate
DiscoverStL.com | Facebook.com/DiscoverStL




It’s only been a year. . . .

I’m pretty much expecting a call from Rick Colburn the second I publish this blog. He’s been teasing me that he’s tried pushing ‘refresh’ on my blog page in anticipation of my second entry. . . for a year now.


Last year, about this time, I spoke to you about a new marketing plan based off the familiar “You know you’re from St. Louis when. . . “ phrase.  In 2010, we rebranded our website DiscoverStL.com and placed ads in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Your Next Home Magazine, and Feast Magazine discussing what makes St. Louis unique.  If you missed this one in Feast, it was one of my favorites. 



(For a full view, click here


Our campaign focus has been how well we know and love our city.  To truly capture this we created a ‘You Know You’re From” Facebook Fan Page and gave away Cardinals tickets and Ted Drewes concretes to consumers who shared their favorite ‘you know you’re from StL ‘moments with us.   And today, we have over 2,280 Facebook fans.  Visit us here and if you haven’t already, please share it with your friends.


In 2011, we’d like to continue branding ourselves as the local choice for St. Louis real estate. In the next few months we’re going to be delivering to you an eCard campaign, updated PowerPoint Listing Presentation, a PSP Marketing Plan brochure and new website enhancements, including QR Code marketing integration.  So stay tuned.


Just for fun here’s a brief look at the fans of other real estate companies and St. Louis institutions.


134 RE/MAX Properties West

287 Prudential Alliance

516 Crown Candy Kitchen

637 Coldwell Banker Gundaker

1,152 Boat House Forest Park

1,608 St. Louis Homes & Lifestyle Magazine

2,280 Prudential Select Properties ‘You Know You’re From St. Louis When. . . “

3,240 Blueberry Hill

4,554 St. Louis Magazine

5,074 Soulard Farmers Market

8,464 Riverfront Times

9, 083 St. Louis Post / StLtoday.com


Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties, Your local choice for real estate
DiscoverStL.com | Facebook.com/DiscoverStL