April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
02 Dec 2020

Marketing to Seniors Course is Now Available

Online LearningWe previewed this course last month, and are happy to announce that it is now available on the NICA website. It has very helpful information on how to interact with seniors, what their preferences are, and specific proven strategies recommended for those who are seeking to grow their business in the Senior Market.

As a home inventory professional, you realize the various reasons one needs an inventory. The need is even greater for older adults, as they often transition into a smaller home, assisted living, or move in with family. Moving is one of the top life stressors to begin with. Now consider the fact that most Seniors have been in their home for many years and have accumulated a lifetime of memories and belongings. Most likely, they do not know what they own, as many now have full garages, sheds, basements, attics, and even spare bedrooms which have kept these items out of sight and out of mind.

A personal property inventory can make downsizing and moving much easier. It will also help with decision making and provide peace of mind, knowing exactly what they own before items are being shared with family members and friends, discarded, donated, or sold. Many seniors – if they haven’t already – complete their estate planning. Having an inventory is a key element of this planning process.

It is helpful for inventory professionals to understand the needs of the Senior market. Knowing their needs and wants is the first step in developing relationships with your prospects. There is often a two-tier prospect level, as often an adult child is assisting their parent in making their decisions. If not their adult child, Seniors often reach out to their trusted, professional advisors for advice and guidance.

The course includes:

Module 1 – Marketing to Older Demographics

  • Understanding the 50+ Demographic
  • Marketing to Seniors
  • Social Media
  • Time Well Spent

Module 2 – Marketing Methods for Senior Clients

  • Strategies for Marketing
  • Listen for Opportunities
  • The Importance of Educating Your Prospects
  • Sales and Marketing Tools

Module 3 – Referral Opportunities

  • Trusted Advisors
  • Associations
  • Additional Opportunities

As with all NICA courses, Marketing to Seniors is offered as an on-line, self-directed course. This allows you to learn the information and take the quizzes at your own pace and when you can fit it into your schedule.

18 Nov 2020

Marketing Minute – Free Holiday Writing Prompts

Mary GillenOne of the new courses that are currently being written and will be introduced before the end of the year covers the topic of Blogging. NICA member Tricia Hoekwater, CAE and CIS of Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions and Mary Gillen, NICA Associate Member who writes these Marketing Minute articles and is also a marketing professional and website developer, are co-writing the course.

As a “teaser” for this course, Mary provided this Marketing Minute of ideas for your holiday blog posts and beyond (if you already write a blog). If you currently do not blog, now is a great time to start! If you aren’t yet ready to launch a blog, but know it’s in your future, be sure to save this information. After taking the NICA Blogging course, you will most likely find that it’s a great way to promote your business and to share your knowledge for this industry.

The Marketing Minute today is to encourage you to visit Bryan Cohen’s Build Creative Writing Ideas Website for free creative writing prompts. He says, “These creative writing prompts act as your launching pad to help you use your brain to start a story right away.

“If you have a story idea in mind, but you aren’t sure how to start it, try one of these prompts to get you out of the starting blocks. It doesn’t have to be a perfect start, you just need to start! If you never put down word one of the greatest story ever told, it will never be told.”

Just click on this link: http://www.build-creative-writing-ideas.com/creative-writing-prompts.html and let your writing begin!

05 Nov 2020

New Course – Marketing to Seniors – Now Available!

CEU Approved

As a home inventory professional, you realize the various reasons one needs an inventory. The need is even greater for older adults, as they often transition into a smaller home, assisted living, or move in with family. Moving is one of the top life stressors to begin with. Now consider the fact that most Seniors have been in their home for many years and have accumulated a lifetime of memories and belongings. Most likely, they do not know what they own, as many now have full garages, sheds, basements, attics, and even spare bedrooms which have kept these items out of sight and out of mind.

A personal property inventory can make downsizing and moving much easier. It will also help with decision making and provide peace of mind, knowing exactly what they own before items are being shared with family members and friends, discarded, donated, or sold. Many seniors – if they haven’t already – complete their estate planning. Having an inventory is a key element of this planning process.

It is helpful for inventory professionals to understand the needs of the Senior market. Knowing their needs and wants is the first step in developing relationships with your prospects. There is often a two-tier prospect level, as often an adult child is assisting their parent in making their decisions. If not their adult child, Seniors often reach out to their trusted, professional advisors for advice and guidance.

Here is what you will learn in this course that will earn you 2 CEUs:

Module 1 – Marketing to Older Demographics

  • Understanding the 50+ Demographic
  • Marketing to Seniors
  • Social Media
  • Time Well Spent

Module 2 – Marketing Methods for Senior Clients

  • Strategies for Marketing
  • Listen for Opportunities
  • The Importance of Educating Your Prospects
  • Sales and Marketing Tools

Module 3 – Referral Opportunities

  • Trusted Advisors
  • Associations
  • Additional Opportunities

 

14 Oct 2020

Marketing Minute – Tips for Your Marketing Copy

Mary GillenThis Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary Gillen. Check out her website for more information about her services.

You spend a lot of time writing blogs and articles to help promote your home inventory business. Our tips today include helpful writing techniques as well as what to do when someone plagiarizes your material.

The “Inverted Pyramid Style”

Journalists are familiar with the “inverted pyramid” when composing news stories. You can use the same technique when writing your blogs, newsletter articles, or press releases. Start with the most important information first, smack dab in the first paragraph. The reader has access to the conclusion immediately, in case there isn’t enough time to finish the entire article. The supporting information is then added in the subsequent paragraphs.

The point: state the crucial info first so the reader can grab the facts quickly. Make sure the reader has immediate access to the who, what, when, where, and why info.

Words That Work in Marketing

New
Magic
Now
Money Off
100%
Sale
Latest
Introducing
Proof
Reduce
Easy
Amazing

Use the Active Voice

Use the active voice in your marketing copy. It makes the message shorter and more powerful.

NOT ACTIVE: “The new video developed by our company can show you why you need a home inventory.”
ACTIVE: “Our new video explains 10 reasons why a home inventory is essential.”

Has your work been plagiarized?

A free online plagiarism checker can help you detect if your content is (ahem) being used elsewhere on the web. Go to www.duplichecker.com, type a few phrases from your article or blog in the site’s text box, or upload your article as a .txt file to be checked.

If you find that your work is being used without your permission, contact the writer, and request that he or she take down that specific content. Also, state what you will do if they don’t do as requested, and give a date to have it completed. If you find they have not complied, you might want to send a cease and desist letter to them.

02 Oct 2020

Get to Know Your Customers Day

ConsultingNow that parts of the United States are opening up, and others are slowly taking steps to do so, people should be more apt to schedule an inventory now or in the near future. Promoting Get to Know Your Customers Day is an opportunity to re-connect with your current clientele. According to National Day Calendar, this day is observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter. October 15th is the upcoming day that can help draw attention to your business.

Use this opportunity to reach out to your current customers. Get to know a little more about them, make each of them feel like they are your most important customer of the day. Following are some tips to help you decide what would work best for you:

  • Ask your customers questions. Find out what services they need (updates, appraisals, even an entirely new inventory) and possibly offer a “special customer” discount if schedule by a set date.
  • Follow up after the inventory process. Ask your customers for feedback regarding your process, response time, and your deliverables.
  • Use social media.  Invite your clients, referral sources, and prospects to follow you on social media. It is a great tool to introduce your inventory company, to announce your “re-launch” after the shutdown, or just to share the different services you offer.
  • Network with other businesses. Learn and share best practices for getting to know customers from other successful businesses.

Take the time to get to know your customers. You’ll be planting a seed that will flourish, which can bring repeat business and/or encourage them to recommend you to their friends, referral sources, and other business owners.  

18 Sep 2020

Marketing Minute – Do You Have An Interest in Pinterest?

Mary GillenPinterest is a “visual” social media platform. It is unique, as photos and images (rather than text) are shared. This can be quite helpful for home inventory professionals, as you can show your final report format. We know that a picture is worth a thousand words, so by including images representing your services, such as photos of collectibles, antiques, full-room views, jewelry, power tools, etc., will draw interest. Also, photos of fire, tornado, and hurricane damage and theft help draw attention to your loss services. And don’t forget to find photos that represent estate inventories, collections inventories, and your appraisal examiner options. By also showing a variety of business contents items, you will display the diversity of your commercial clients and the types of assets that you inventory.

Following are three key tips to help you have success with Pinterest:

  1. When you create your Pinterest pins (your images), be sure to always link back to your original content, whether it’s on your web site or blog. This helps improve your standings in the major search engines.
  2. When you add a description for your Pinterest pin, this content becomes the image ALT tag for the image you pin. Be sure to use an important keyword phrase in the description for better SEO.
  3. To gain followers, spend about 30 minutes a day “liking” and commenting on other people’s pins. This process draws more traffic to your Pinterest content.

Mary Gillen has 24 years of Web development experience to build responsive, accessible websites for tech companies, associations, non-profits and small businesses, blending professional design with measurable business results. She is also an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor, providing website testing & remediation for compliance with Section 508 and WCAG 2.1 A, AA & AAA Guidelines. Her experience also includes testing and fully remediating Adobe PDFs, Microsoft Office documents and pre-recorded videos.

10 Sep 2020

LinkedIn Home Inventory Industry Group

NICA LogoDid you know that NICA has a LinkedIn Group? Titled Home Inventory Industry Group, you can readily recognize it, as the avatar is the NICA logo. This can be a great platform to ask questions, get advice about marketing, discuss pricing structures and strategies, etc.

The Group has been dormant for quite a while, but since we’ve had a few inquiries recently, we’ve decided to revive it. Over the next couple of months, we will monitor how many new people join and also if members contribute by engaging in conversations. If we see interest and activity, we will continue to maintain this LinkedIn group for your benefit.

NICA members, in addition to non-NICA-member home inventory professionals, are welcome to join the group. Also, feel free to invite ancillary industry professionals who you know, such as estate attorneys, insurance agents, appraisers, restoration companies, financial planners, etc. They can be great resources for your questions. Additionally, this is an easy way to network with these professionals in your market area.

Click on this link to join the group. We hope to see you there!

03 Sep 2020

Missouri Inventory Professional Achieves Appraisal Examiner Certification

The National Inventory Certification Association congratulates member Craig Plassmeyer for achieving the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner.

The National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) is pleased to announce that Craig Plassmeyer, owner of Capital View Inventory, has recently earned the designation of Certified Appraisal Examiner (CAE). 

Growth of the personal property inventory industry has created an opportunity for contents inventory professionals to serve as Appraisal Examiners. The purpose of a CAE designation is to establish recognition for this specialized service. This certification provides the education and the credentials needed to properly assist appraisers. 

This enables appraisal firms to locate and subcontract certified, qualified examiners to assist with the collection of descriptions and photos of items to be appraised. The appraisers are then able to create an accurate Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) compliant certified report from this information provided by the inventory professional. Additionally, the home inventory professional is able to grow their businesses through additional revenue opportunities.

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer an appraiser. The CAE designation signifies that these contents inventory professionals have the knowledge required to collect and then submit the necessary information for an appraiser to assign value. This allows for a two-way referral opportunity between these two industries.

To help ensure that the inventory service provider is prepared to serve the appraisal industry, the NICA Education Committee, consisting of NICA members, an established property appraiser, and the Association Directors, determined the requirements to achieve an Appraiser Examiner Certification. 

Only those who have earned their Certified Inventory Expert (CIE) or Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation are eligible to apply for this additional level. The inventory professional is also required to successfully complete the Customer Service and Appraisal Examiner courses, plus an elective chosen from the NICA curriculum. The Appraisal Examiner course was co-written by a property appraiser to ensure integrity and provide hands-on processes for accurate collection of information.

Based in Ashland, Missouri, Capital View Inventory offers residential and business asset inventory services as well as appraisal examiner services.

28 Aug 2020

September is National Preparedness Month

NPMSeptember is National Preparedness Month (NPM), an annual event from the Department of Homeland Security.

Ready.gov offers a variety of information for social media platforms that you can use to promote your home and small business inventory services. Family and community disaster planning is also offered through a plethora of resources.

Their website provides weekly themes, social media posts, graphics, and videos for you to share on social media and include in your newsletters. There is no charge to use this information.

The theme for 2020 is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” Click here to download and copy the information you choose to share with your clients, prospects, and referral sources.

21 Aug 2020

Marketing Minute – Prospecting for New Referral Sources and Clients

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Some people think prospecting for new clients is a lot of work or that it’s not worth the effort. Not so! Here are three great suggestions from Mary.

The “Sunday Drive” Can Pay Off

Go the distance with your prospecting by taking an hour each Sunday to drive around at least one office park in your local area. Note the names of businesses and their addresses. There are probably many that are not in your prospecting database. Locate their website and contact them the following week.

“Late” Mail Delivery Helps Your Marketing

Are you still sending direct mail? 33% of all business mail arrives on Monday. Don’t get lost in the post-weekend crush. Time the arrival of your mailing so it lands on the prospect’s desk later in the week in a smaller pile of mail. You stand a better chance of getting noticed.

Use Google to find LinkedIn Prospects

Use Google to search for prospects in LinkedIn, even if they are outside your LinkedIn network.

1) Go to Google >> http://google.com
2) Type in search term city-state site:linkedin.com
3) Click on one of the links in the organic (not paid ad) area on the search engine result pages to gain access to LinkedIn prospect info.

With little effort, these three tips will help you find quality prospects.