From the Marketing Dept: Upcoming Brand Change

Recently I attended an office event and an agent approached me asking several questions about the upcoming company name and brand change. The agent was running out of her personalized Prudential Select Properties envelopes and was unsure about ordering 2000 more since they will be obsolete in the future. The creative solution she came up with was to make her envelopes in Publisher and print them on her office’s black and white copier.

I love Realtors because they are entrepreneurs, and good entrepreneurs always come up with creative solutions. As to the question of the timing of WHEN the big brand switch will be? The answer is 2013 (autumn of 2013 at the earliest). Prudential Select Properties and other Prudential affiliates are all still waiting on the details of the branding, the colors, the look, the logo, etc. But PSP is ready so as soon as this information becomes available we will be able to jump in with both feet to unleash this great new brand on the world and promote our agents with it.

Some more details will probably be available at this year’s Prudential Sales Convention called Hit Play in exciting Las Vegas. This convention never fails to motivate and empower agents who attend with new ideas and excitement about the industry. Click here to find out more about the 2013 convention.

In the mean time it is business as usual and you can rest assured that PSP has something up our sleeve to promote both the new brand and you when it drops in 2013. If you want to learn more about our future brand, currently you can find information about it at BerkshireHathawayHS.com. And don’t forget to read our previous blog An Exciting New Brand in Real Estate for information about the brand change.

Jana Rice – Prudential Select Properties – Marketing/eBusiness

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It’s that gift-giving time of year

The least you need to know:  We have some new tools premiering in 2012.  The first one unveils at Tuesday’s sales meetings. 

The unabbreviated version: So I’ve decided to move.   I own a house in South County and am hoping to find a renter so I can try out city living.   I love the idea of stepping out my front door and being able to walk to a coffee shop.  Or of having a restaurant a few blocks down.  And let’s be honest, of not having a lawn to cut.   In an attempt to never get out the lawn mower again I recently began my search.

Confession time: I did not use our website system to search.

Let’s take just a moment to reflect on this.  This is HORRIBLE.  I’m the one primarily responsible for guiding decisions about our web presence and I’m not using our system when I need it.

During my search I forgot everything I knew about real estate technology and became just another home buyer. 

I remember standing outside of one particular home in Benton Park, frustrated.  There wasn’t a price on the flyer and I wanted to know the information ‘right now.’   (There has be an app for this! was my line of thinking).  I typed the address into the search on my mobile phone and pulled up links to Zillow and Trulia.  An ad on Trulia reminded me that had a great mobile application that could tell me the homes for sale around me. It simplified my search once I found it.  That’s what I want for us. 

My experience with our online search was worse.   Although I had a plethora of options on DiscoverStL.com it was difficult to navigate through them.  And I know our website! What happens to the regular consumer that uses our search?  They must be overwhelmed.  

As we start planning for 2012 we’re going to make some changes that ease your client’s ability to search, save, and share.  Since it’s the holiday season we’re feeling in a warm and fuzzy, gift-giving type of mood. The first of these surprises is debuting at your next sales meeting.  Tune in.

 

P.S. if anyone knows someone looking to rent in the Lindbergh School District tell them to check out my home here!  

 

Sarah McCall
Director of Marketing & eBusiness
Prudential Select Properties 
Your local choice for St. Louis real estate 

 

 

Beyond Facebook pokes and Mafia Wars spam

A friend said to me the other day, “Do you realize the internet is older than incoming freshman.”  This started me thinking about technology over the last decade.  In 2002, when I was graduating with a masters in Digital Media Communications from Lindenwood, we never once talked about social media.  MySpace didn’t exist until 2003 and Facebook until 2004.  

Last week, Jana and I met with a group of agents from the Des Peres office last week to discuss Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and how to use social media for real estate.  Social media lets us reach the people we know and remind them about what we do.   Currently one of the main players in the action is Facebook.   Today there are 750 million Facebook users and 50% of these users log in once a day.  This is an evolving media.   What was the ‘best practices’ on Facebook ‘ two years ago is not necessarily the case today.  And it might not be the same in six months.  But I’ll pass along to you a few of my thoughts about Facebook and the way it can currently work with your business. 

Should you have a Facebook Business Page? 
I’m sure you all have Facebook personal pages (if not get one!), but should you have a Facebook Business Page?  There’s a great article about Facebook Business pages here called ‘Your Facebook Page is Worthless.’ Done right, a Facebook business page could allow you to reach out to your network.  Done wrong, it could be a huge waste of your time.  I think the biggest thing to consider before jumping into a business page is: – Who is your audience?  Who are you trying to reach?  

  • Is it a farming area?  i.e., Oakmont Subdivision, Kirkwood, MO.  
    Then maybe you should considering sponsoring a neighborhood page.  Give them information on local events, information, services, etc. Weave information about neighborhood market trends, recently sold homes, demographics, etc. 
  • Is it a group?  i.e., your bookclub, your bowling team, etc.
    Then maybe you should consider organizing a page for this group to connect. Post information about meetings and share articles, links and other things related to that group.  
  • Is it your sphere of influence (friends, family, past customers)? 
    If you’re marketing to your SOI,  I think that your personal page on Facebook should be your primary focus instead of a Business page.  Use the relationships you have already formed there to your advantage; don’t try to re-invent the wheel and start a new page to collect the same group of people! Just remember if you’re combining your business updates with your personal updates, keep it about 80% personal and 20% business.  Don’t overwhelm your friends with too much business talk. 

How do you get ‘fans’? 

  • Send out email invitations or postcards invitations to your group (neighborhood, club, etc). to join you on Facebook.  

  •  

    Add a Facebook ‘like’ button to your website and blog

  •  Add links to your Facebook page on other profiles you have (Linked In, YouTube, etc). 
  •  Add a link on your email signature
  •  If you have a Twitter account, promote it there
  •  If you have a Linked In account, promote it there
  •  Routinely promote it in your advertising efforts, newsletters, postcards, etc. 
  •  If you’re targeting a specific group you could consider Facebook Ads to advertise to potential fans.  For example if your page discusses Kirkwood real estate you can actually target people that live in Kirkwood using this tool. 

 

What do you talk about? 
There’s another great article on Inman I highly suggest you read called Facebook Posting Cheat Sheet. It’s a great read for brainstorming on creative status updates that will engage your fans.  You can also check our company Facebook page here and simply share the information on your page by clicking the ‘share’ button. 

Can you add customization and content? 
Facebook has recently made a change that allows you to add more customized content to your Facebook pages through application tabs. These tabs could include a custom welcome page, a page of information about you, the community, etc. 


Example 1:
Here’s an example of tabs on one of my personal Facebook Business Pages.  This is the first page the potential fan sees inviting them to ‘like’ the page before they can see the content.

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Example 2
Here’s an example of adding a tab of content on Kristen Turner’s business page for Maryland Heights.  She installed the ‘St. Louis Patio and Rooftop Bars’ application Prudential Select Properties created by clicking on ‘Add to My Page’ on the left hand side.  Now viewers can view this information without leaving Facebook. ——–> Get Yours Free

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Example 3: 
Finally here’s a third example of content from Zillow, who is now offering four free Facebook applications – a listings tab, a local information tab, a contact form tab and a ratings and reviews tab. ———-> Get Yours Free

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Special thanks to Maryann Vitale for hosting last week’s training session and Kathy Schmideskamp, Kristen Turner, Sally Harris, Kim Anderson, Gretchen Adams and Beth Maisak for joining us!

 

Questions? Comments? Post below or email me at Sarah@DiscoverStL.com.

 

Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing & eBusiness
Prudential Select Properties  

Marketing Update (8/22/11)

Marketing Results

I just wanted to touch base with you before tomorrow’s office meeting and catch you up on the results of our new marketing program. We’ve positioned our listings in almost 4.5 million search results on Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo and Realtor.com and driven 168,833 views to our listings. Over 360 buyer email requests were sent out in July and 191 phone calls were placed to our offices.  We were only involved half of the month with our new Zillow and Yahoo exposure so I’m anticipating an increase in our August results. 

This is all great news! I’ve spoken with two managers this morning that both had call-in leads to their offices on property over $900,000 so make sure you’re taking opportunity time! 


A few updated flyers. . . 

TodaysBuyers.pdf
Download this file

JulyYTD.pdf
Download this file

TodaysBuyers2.pdf
Download this file

 

Scams using our listings

Lately some of our listings have been used in rental scams and I want to give you a heads up.  Scammers copy photos off the internet of a house that is actually for sale.  They take the photos and post them on Postlets, Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo, etc., claiming the house is for rent for a low price.  Usually the renter is asked to wire a security deposit to rent the home.

If you are aware of a scam contact the website where the ad was posted so they can remove the ad. You can file an Internet crime complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at www.ic3.gov.

 

Changing Zestimates

As you all know Zillow gives an automatic value to every home called a Zestimate.   I know many of you have expressed that you’re not fans of these!

You can’t changethe Zestimate, but you can edit the facts that go into the Zestimate (under “edit” on the property details page if you’ve claimed the home).   Should the facts you change be significant, it will take some time for the Zestimate to respond (several weeks to several months),

 

Upgrades to Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com

A number of you have asked what about the upgrade on each of these sites so I’ll break down the options for you.  If I was an agent in today’s market I would be investing my marketing dollars in one of these online initiatives. Things to keep in mind, if you’re budget conscious you may want to look at Trulia. My experience with them has been they provide the most leads at the lowest cost.  However Zillow/Yahoo is the largest real estate portal now so realize that the Zillow/Yahoo relationship may be getting you more traffic.  

Realtor.com.  This upgrade allows you to feature your listings, add more photos and info, and display your direct line.  Your cost is determined by your listing inventory. 

12 Month 
Listing Count
Monthly Cost Paid in Full Cost
251-500 $292.00 $3,127.00
76-100 $239.00 $2,564.00
51-75 $187.00 $2,001.00
26-50 $124.00 $1,326.00
11-25 $71.00 $766.00
4-10 $34.00 $362.00
0-3 $19.00 $199.00

Trulia Pro.  This upgrade costs betwen $39 – $149 a month and you essentially are paying for the same options you get with our current plan. My take: we’re already providing the features of this enhancement so I would use your marketing dollars towards Trulia local ads or Zillow Premier. 

Trulia Local Ads. This upgrade allows you to buy a percentage of advertising space on Trulia by zip code or city.  For example you could buy 100% of 63121 and be on every detail page for that zip code, even your competitions. 

Trulia

 You can generate the cost per zip online for Trulia Local Ads.  See below for an example: 

Trulia2

Zillow/Yahoo Premier. This upgrade allows you to display your direct line and capture leads on unclaimed listings on Zillow.com in the zip code of your choice. As with Trulia you can buy a percentage of the share or lock out other agents if you take 100%.  For example the zip code 63121 is $56.25 a month for 25%.  It would be $225 a month for 100%.  

 

As always let me know if you have questions! You can reach me at sarah@discoverstl.com

Sarah Grobe, Director of Marketing
Prudential Select Properties 

 


 

Getting the Most Online

Over the last week I’ve had questions about how to maximize yourself online with our new marketing initiatives.  I’ve put together an ‘action list’ for both the buyer and seller realms. 

Getting the Most Online from Buyers
  1. Set yourself up to receive leads-to-text from your website. | Learn How ▼
    Most of you are already set-up to receive leads from the Select Response System.  This is where you receive leads directly to your mobile phones.  If you’re not set-up this is the first thing you need to do to start receiving leads. 
  2. Know how to identify where the lead is coming from Learn How ▼
    I went over this briefly last week but check the email or your website to view the client’s source so you know where the lead is coming from.  You now receive leads from:
    • Your website
    • DiscoverStL.com 
    • Zillow/Yahoo 
    • Trulia 
    • Realtor.com 
  3. Know how to check the client’s request and respond Learn How ▼
    If you’ve received a lead from Zillow/Yahoo, Trulia or Realtor.com the client has asked you something and you need to respond to them. 
  4. Set up the client for a Buyers Search  Learn How ▼
    This delivers the client every current home on the market that meets their search criteria. 
  5. Set up the client for Property Watch Learn How ▼
    This is the #1 way to create return customers to your website! This feature emails the client every new home that meets their search criteria. 

Getting the Most Online for Sellers

  1. Create an SEO Listing Description Learn How ▼
    Optimize your listing descriptions in MARIS for search engines.  
  2. Turn ‘on’ Seller’s Reports for your website Learn How ▼
    This automated report shows the # of hits the seller’s home is receiving on the DiscoverStL system which includes DiscoverStL.com, your website and the 600+ agent websites at Prudential Select Properties.  
  3. Turn ‘on’ Seller’s Reports for Prudential.com Learn How ▼
    Also referred to as OSA, these automated reports show the traffic the seller’s home is receiving on Prudential.com.
  4. Create a Zillow/Yahoo Profile Learn How ▼
    • Puts your photo on your listings
    • Allows you to manage your listings
    • Allows you to receive reports about listing activity
  5. Create a Trulia Profile Learn How ▼
    • Allows you to manage your listings
    • Allows you to send seller’s listing activity reports
  6. Turn ‘on’ Sellers Reports for Trulia.com Learn How ▼
    These automated reports show the the traffic the seller’s home is receiving on Trulia.   
  7. Add Open Houses to Prudential.com Learn How ▼
    Although most of our website portals display information for open houses automatically, any open houses on Prudential.com need to be entered manually. 
  8. Posting Listings to Facebook Learn How ▼
    Posting your listing to Facebook is not only easy, it reminds your SOI that you are in the real estate industry.  Just remember to make sure it’s not ALL you do on Facebook.  A good rule of thumb is 80% social, 20% business. 
  9. Posting Listings to YouTube Learn How ▼
    YouTube is the second most powerful search engine.  Posting your listings on YouTube not only gives you SEO power it can set you apart from your competition. 
  10. Posting to Craigslist and Postlets
    I’m doing a bit of field surveying right now on both of these to provide you with the best solutions.  Look for an update from me soon.  


Additional Resources 

  • August’s Select Circle: August roundtable will cover our new marketing options.  Join us to review the above action steps and more!  Mark your calendars for Thursday, August 18th 10:00 a.m. – Noon at the Home Office Training Center, 1650 Des Peres Rd., Suite 205. Please register on the Resource Center if you plan to attend.  
  • Online Prospecting Ideas: I’ll be creating a new post soon about online prospecting ideas which we’ll also touch on at the Select Circle. 
  • Resource Center: we’ll be adding these action lists to the Resource Center for easy access! 

 

How we plan to deliver you more buyers

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I’m a strong believer in transparency about what we are doing and why. Today I’m covering the changes we are making to our marketing plan as of July 2011. 

 

The Short and Sweet Version

  • Our Classified ad budget in the St. Louis Post Dispatch will be re-allocated to Zillow and Yahoo Real Estate for the next six months.  This coming weekend will be our last week of corporately sponsored ads in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. 
  • Our Search Engine Marketing budget will be re-allocated to Search Engine Optimization for the next six months.
  • Our support of Your Next Home magazine is increasing.  The company will now support one month of advertising in Your Next Home for all new listings taken over $100,000.  Your personal web address and phone number will be included.
  • Leads from the four major portals will be driven straight to you on all your listings.  You’ll receive them by text/email.
  • You’ll see monthly reports on the campaign including the number of leads generated both online and via phone calls.

 

The Lengthy Version with Lots of Words and Graphics

Where is our advertising budget going? 
Last month we spent almost half of our advertising budget on classified advertising in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. This is a huge chunk of our advertising dollars to invest in a 5 line, text only ad.

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Is this really the most effective use of our budget?  
I certainly don’t have to tell you there’s been a shift from print to online advertising or that we’re the last broker with a corporate presence in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.  But we need to question if these ads:

  • Can be proven effective
  • Drive buyer leads to you
  • Increase consumer interest

 

Re-investing our print budget online
By reallocating our St. Louis Post Dispatch expenditures we can increase our online exposure on the top four real estate portals. Together these portals drove over 45,000,000 visitors last month.  

 

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How is this change good for you? 

When a consumer goes to Google or another search engine and enters ‘st. louis real estate’ you can guarantee that Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com and Yahoo Real Estate are going to be within the top search results.  These national portals have an enormous amount of marketing dollars invested in SEO/SEM (search engine optimization and marketing).  Now if the consumer gets to any of these portals, they can also get to you.  Your listings will not only be there, they will be at the top of search results with leads directing to you.

1. Featured Listings 
When a visitor views a search result list on one of these portals, the listings at the top of the list are considered ‘featured’ properties.  If the search returns several hundred properties that match, an un-featured home may very well be the 175th on the list. Which means your listing never gets seen. With these changes your listings will now be featured (moved to the top) on Yahoo, Zillow, Trulia and of course, DiscoverStL.com. 

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2. Buyer Leads
Any request from your listing on Yahoo, Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia or DiscoverStL.com goes directly to you.  You’ll get the request as a text to your mobile phone, sent to your email and recorded for future reference on your website’s client management side.  As always, there is no referral fee on these ——-> it’s your listing. 

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3. Opportunity Time Leads
Each portal will have a unique phone number that forwards to our offices on a rotating basis, increasing the number of opportunities available on phone duty. The unique number also allows us to track the number of responses we’re receiving from each portal. 

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4. Results Reporting
Which brings me to my personal favorite thing about this change.  I am routinely going to send you updates on the number of calls, leads and visits we get from each online initiative.  You’ll be able to view the direct results of this campaign and we’ll be able to evaluate it’s effectiveness.  If it doesn’t work the way we’re anticipating then we’ll go back to the drawing board.  The important thing is to get these buyers into your hands. 

How to Identify Leads
Make sure you know how to identify these buyer leads so you don’t miss an opportunity. Step-by-step guide below with examples.  

IdentifyingLeads.docx
Download this file

Your Next Home Magazine
Prudential Select Properties will support new listings in Your Next Home for the first month of the listing.  The full color ad will direct to your website and have your mobile phone number.  

There is also now an option to add the Sunshine Kids logo to your listings in the magazine. 

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SEM to SEO
For the next six months we’ll be taking the part of the budget we were using for search engine marketing (buying ads on the first page results) and using it towards optimizing our site so we organically pull in the search results for keywords like ‘st. louis real estate.’  I’ll also be sending out reports on this each month.  We expect to be able to drive more leads to you with this change.

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If you have questions remember you can email me at Sarah@DiscoverStL.com.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Updates from the Marketing Department (6/13/11)

How to Update Your Clients About the Real Estate Market Using Facebook

In a Nutshell: Now send market related Facebook updates by just pushing ‘share’ from the Prudential Select Properties Facebook page. 

A number of you have approached me with the question, ‘I want to use Facebook to share updates on the current real estate market. What do you suggest?”  I’ve also noticed how some of you struggle converting our materials into a format compatible with Facebook.  To help you out, anytime I release new marketing pieces I’m also going to release a Facebook compatible piece.

For example this flyer was released last week: 

May_2011.pdf
Download this file

On the Prudential Select Properties Facebook page I added a corresponding image (see below).  On Facebook, all you have to do is push the ‘Share’ link to display it on your page for all your Facebook friends. 

Facebook_-_stats

I will try to add valuable real estate content for the consumer a minimum of once a week.  This will be added to the “Prudential Select Properties‘ Facebook page because it is consumer content instead of the ‘You Know You’re In Real Estate‘ Facebook page where I update you on marketing, tools, and in-company bulletins. These posts may include:

  • Articles from local and national news sources
  • Videos and materials from Prudential Real Estate (a.k.a. Mother Prudential)
  • In-house materials that we (the marketing department in cooperation with George Bruns) create for your about local and national market conditions

If YOU see something that should be shared PLEASE let me know!!!! Remember you can email me anytime at Sarah@DiscoverStL.com.

Marketing Tip: When using Facebook for business remember 80% of your content should be SOCIAL and 20% should be BUSINESS.  You do not want your Facebook newsfeed to look like spam or an endless infomercial. 

 

This Week’s Consumer Information: 2011 Real Estate Statistics

In a Nutshell: Visit the Prudential Select Properties Facebook page and ‘share’ these statistics.

I’ve taken statistics provided by Prudential Real Estate from their Online National Survey completed in January 2011 and created an online shareable picture gallery.  See it below or visit the “Prudential Select Properties‘ Facebook page to share them.

 

 

Trulia and Zillow Updates

In a Nutshell: Now your listings have unlimited photos on Trulia and Zillow.

We’ve always provided syndication to Trulia.com and Zillow.com for your listings.  However, in the past we’ve been capped at only showing five photos on these sites.  Starting last week, both Trulia and Zillow now display our entire photo feed from the local MLS.  Just one more way we’re making sure you’re providing the maximum amount of exposure on listings to your customers. 

 

Brand Campaign

In a Nutshell: Prudential has released a new brand campaign supported by print advertising, commercials and digital ads. 

Prudential Real Estate has just released a new brand campaign called ‘Build Your Challenges.’  The full press release is available here. But in short, Prudential now has print advertisements (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, etc.), commercials on a number of major television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, etc) and digital ads on major websites (Trulia, Realtor.com, Zillow, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) 

The campaign highlights the tough challenges facing the economy and Prudential’s goal to help solve these.  As a part of the campaign Prudential has created a website (www.Prudential.com/BringYourChallenges) with short videos discussing these challenges. 

View a sample of the commercial, print ads and digital ads below: 

Commercial:  

Digital Ads:  

Preadigital

Print Ads:  

Preaprint

Brand Campaign Support Materials

In a Nutshell: New brand campaign flyers are now available on the Resource Center

Of course we’ve made new flyers for you to use with information about Prudential’s brand campaign.  These are now available on the Resource Center for you to include in your listing presentations. Check them out below: 

PREA_Campaign_1.pdf
Download this file

PREA_Campaign_2.pdf
Download this file

Prudential Select Properties brings national ‘Bring Your Challenges’ Advertising Campaign to St. Louis

St. Louis, MO — Prudential Financial, Inc. [NYSE:PRU] is inviting individuals, financial professionals and institutions to “Bring Your Challenges” in its new advertising campaign, a multi-year initiative launched the week of May 23. The campaign builds on Prudential’s 135-year history of meeting clients’ financial challenges. 

“This is a significant new campaign designed to demonstrate the important leadership role Prudential plays in helping people and organizations tackle their biggest financial challenges,” said Colin McConnell, head of Prudential Advertising, the company’s in-house advertising agency. “’Bring Your Challenges’ will build on the strength of Prudential’s brand and our leadership position in our core businesses through a 360-degree advertising and marketing campaign across traditional and digital media platforms.”

George Bruns, President of Prudential Select Properties said the campaign’s message speaks directly to real estate consumers, who seek guidance as the market and economy stabilize and move forward. “Homeownership remains one of life’s most important decisions and it carries significant weight in people’s sense of security, permanence and financial well-being,” said Bruns.   “At Prudential Select Properties we invite consumers to ‘Bring Your Challenges’ and, together, we’ll roll up our sleeves to meet them and create homeownership dreams.”

The campaign debuted with advertisements in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., Barron’s and the Financial Times. It will include television, outdoor, digital, business, general interest and trade advertising. Initial advertising highlights some of the tough challenges the company is already working to address. It also outlines Prudential’s goal to help solve the financial challenges we all face – not in the short term, but for the long-term benefit of clients and communities.

“The campaign represents a significant, long-term investment in our brand and showcases the dynamic company Prudential is today, with considerable talent, thought leadership, innovation and deep capabilities across an array of businesses,” added McConnell.

As part of the campaign, Prudential has created a website (www.prudential.com/bringyourchallenges) featuring short videos of Prudential business leaders and industry thought leaders discussing the pressing financial issues our society faces today. New York-based creative agency Droga5 worked with Prudential’s in-house advertising agency on the development of the campaign.

Prudential Select Properties, formed in 2002, now has 10 offices in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, representing over 600 agents. They are ranked #31 in the Prudential Real Estate Services national network, ranked #3 in the St. Louis Business Journal Book of Lists of Top Real Estate firms, #2 in real estate transactions recorded by the St. Louis Association of Realtors and in the top 20% of real estate firms nationwide. Maryann Vitale, Deb Colburn and Angie Ignatowski share ownership of the company. George Bruns acts as President and Chief Executive Officer.  Read more about them at www.DiscoverStL.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few of my favorite things

I was in Chicago a few weeks ago standing in line for Garrett’s popcorn when I noticed a tin reading ‘Oprah’s Favorite Things.”  I’m sure most of you are familiar with the segments on the Oprah Winfrey Show where she shared products she felt were noteworthy. Well in honor of her final show last week I’ve decided to compile a ‘favorite things’ list of my own. 

St. Louis Patios
It won’t come as a shock to some of you that the patio and rooftop restaurants are one of my favorite things about this city. I asked for your help  in compiling a list that combines all of our favorites.  You can view the list here (as well as on your personal website) and the corresponding eCard is below:

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Roadtrips
With the price of gas these days cross-country road trips aren’t a possibility, but there are a number of attractions within 3.5 hours or less. You can now find that list here (as well as on your personal website) and the corresponding eCard below.  

Marketing Newsflash: I added even more new eCards to the system, including one for our upcoming Golf Tournament in September, a Pumpkin Patch office event eCard and several holiday Coloring Contests.  See the full eCard inventory here

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Voice Messages Sent to Text
I avoid phone conversations as much as possible. But I’m even worse about checking phone messages so I love Google Voice a free service that transcribes your voice messages to emails and texts.  

When I receive a voice mail I also receive a text with the transcribed message:

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As well as an email and an entry in my google account (which I can refer to at any time): 

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However I do want to note that if the person leaving you the voice mail is in a noisy room or doesn’t speak clearly you may end up with something like this: 

Hey it’s me Looks like I’m not sure why she doesn’t. But 82. Love you see, it’s hectic you got saying you’re gonna pick up the Baptist. 

That You donating note. I’mgonna walk into appointments. I don’t know if that right. And if so I’ll just plan on coming up to you or

something Friday but to get it let me know. Okay bye.

Google Voice does other fancy things too.  It allows you link up six phone lines to one number, block calls, route calls, record calls, and even allows free long distance calls.  But since that all has to do with the dreaded ‘phone conversations’ I’m not as interested. 

 

Facebook Share Button
I know a lot of you are Facebook users and if you haven’t already downloaded the Facebook ‘Share’ Button than you must do it now, today, this instant.  It’s a button that magically appears on your browser, letting you share any webpage, photo or video with just the click of a mouse.  Get it here.

Share

Marketing Newsflash: Our ‘You Know You’re From St. Louis‘ Facebook page now has 2,589 fans! Thanks for your help! 

Updates from the Marketing Department (5/10/11)

eCards, eCards and more eCards
I’m determined to get this update out before I go home tonight!  It’s National eCard week! Well ok, I made that up, but this IS the week we are loading the Prudential Select Properties series of eCards into the system. Below is a complete list and a sneak peak of what will be available by Friday.  If you have additional suggestions email me at sarah@discoverstl.com.

 

eCard Line-Up

  • Holiday: New Years
  • Holiday: Valentine’s Day 
  • Holiday: St. Patrick’s Day
  • Local: Storm and Tornado Tips
  • Spring Forward  
  • Local: Cardinals Schedule
  • Local: River City Rascals Schedule
  • Holiday: Easter
  • Client Event: Photos with the Bunny
  • Contest: Easter Coloring Contest 
  • Garage Sale Tips 
  • Local: Six Flags Discount
  • Local: Summer in St. Louis 
  • Local: StL Patios
  • Local: One Tank Trips from StL
  • Holiday: 4th of July
  • Company Event: SSK Golf Tournament 
  • Local: Mizzou Football Schedule 
  • Local: Rams Football Schedule Waiting for schedule release
  • Local: Wineries
  • Fall Back
  • Holiday: Veteran’s Day
  • Client Event: Pumpkin Patch
  • Contest: Halloween Coloring Contest 
  • Thanksgiving Letter
  • Thanksgiving Wish
  • Contest: Thanksgiving Coloring Contest 
  • Why List over the Holidays
  • Holiday Online Shopping Tips Coming Soon
  • Request a Letter from Santa
  • Client Event: Photos with Santa 
  • Winter Car Care Tips Coming Soon
  • Client Event: Blood Drive 
  • Client Event: Magic House 
  • Client Event: Community Shred Day 
  • Buyers – New Customer Registration Letter  Coming Soon
  • Buyers – Open Houses eCard
  • Buyers – PHL Preapproval
  • Buyers – Accepted Contract Checklist 
  • Buyers – HSA 
  • Buyers/Sellers – Moving Checklist & Discounts
  • Buyers/Sellers – Connect Your Utilities 
  • Buyers/Sellers – Lowes Discount 
  • Sellers – HSA
  • Sellers – Open House Tips Coming Soon
  • Sellers – After Contract Checklist Coming Soon

Buyers Campaign 
I’ve asked Jana to put together a Buyer’s – Accepted Contract campaign.  This campaign will include the following eCards: Accepted Contract Checklist, HSA/Home Warranty, Moving Checklist & Discounts, Connect Your Utilities and Lowes Discount.  This way you can just turn it ‘on’ for your buyers and cease to worry about getting this information out to them.  I’ll let you know when it’s available. 

Website Buttons
We’ll also be creating buttons for your website to point to specific pages and resources. For example a button for the local winery information or holiday shopping tips.  You get the idea. 

Summer Seminar 
We’ve scheduled Rick DeLuca to join us on June 15, 2011 for a presentation on “Avoiding the 20 Biggest Agent Mistakes.” The presentation will take place at the St. Louis Association of Realtors from 9:00 – Noon.  RSVP to your office admin as soon as possible because space is limited.

Mistakes

Orlando Contest
George and Jana have been hard at work to bring you our Hello Orlando Prudential Convention Contest.  Your activity (closed sales, open houses, new listings, TeamBuilder hires and closed sales volume) between May 1 – September 30th will earn you points to possibly win round trip airfare, three nights hotel stay and convention registration for the 2012 Convention in Orlando. Here’s a flyer with complete information:

Hello_orlando_flyer

If you read that closely you’ll note the contest has already begun! Yes, we’re tricky that way. Congratulations to the agents who are already qualified for our drawings:

  • Lisa Burkemper, Troy (6 points)
  • Eleanor Lyons, Des Peres  (7 points)
  • The Kerlick Team, South County (7 points)
  • Chrissy Krewson, Town & Country (13 points!) 

I’ll be talking to you again soon.  Have a great Tuesday!

Sarah