April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
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!

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.

25 Jul 2020

Marketing Minute – Seminars, Trade Shows, and Conferences

Mary GillenAttending business functions provides great opportunities to meet referral sources and inventory prospects. Whether you’ve paid for a trade show booth, or are attending trade shows, seminars, and conferences, be sure to take time to make connections.

You Hosted a Seminar – How About the Folks Who Didn’t Attend?

A prospect who has made a reservation to attend your seminar or webinar but, for some reason, doesn’t attend, may still count as a “qualified” lead. Follow up. Offer to reserve space for him/her at your next seminar. Better yet: use the phone call as an opportunity to question them about their needs.

How to Easily Gather Prospect Email Addresses When Hosting a Trade Show Booth

Getting folks to sign up for your email mailing list from your busy trade show booth can be a challenge. Here’s an option to make it easier for everyone.

  • Have folks send you a text message with their email address from their mobile phones as a request to subscribe. You can add this information to your list after the show.
  • Create a subscription form on your website, a page no wider than 600 pixels so it can easily be viewed on a mobile phone. Prospects who visit your booth can complete the sign-up process right away, filling out the subscription form from their mobile. This can save you a ton of work after the show.

Stand Up and Market

Can’t afford to exhibit a trade show or conference? Be an attendee. Make the most of the question and answer periods during workshops and presentations. Stand up and ask a question, throwing in a reference about your business. Example: “As a home inventory professional, I would like to know if you have any unique tips for those who market to homeowners.” Make sure your question is intelligent and pertains to the matter being presented. This process can help you make more connections, as everyone in attendance now knows what you do.

 

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.

12 Jun 2020

Marketing Minute – Using Twitter to Help Grow Your Business

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Find Prospects Near You.

Using the Twitter Search Function, you can find new prospects to follow by entering a keyword phrase, location, and even a radius of miles.

Example: If you are looking to follow Insurance Agents within 25 miles of Boston, enter the following information into the Twitter Search box: “Insurance agent” near:Boston within:25mi

Who to Follow for Increased Business

  • Prospects
  • Local business professionals, such as insurance agents, CPAs, and lawyers, who can provide referrals
  • Other business folks for possible joint ventures

Use Retweets To Gain New Followers

Be sure to spread the wealth about your followers’ knowledge by “re-tweeting” their Tweets to your followers. This is a terrific way to build relationships on Twitter and gain more followers.

06 May 2020

Marketing Minute – Phone Meetings

Mary GillenMany are experiencing “downtime” due to the virus, so we are sharing a marketing tip that can be time-consuming, but one that you might have time to do now.

Call potential referral sources, i.e., insurance agents, attorneys, and financial planners. Have your talking points ready to offer three terrific ways this person (or their clients) can benefit from your inventory service. These three succinct statements will most likely catch their interest.

If you need to leave a voice mail message, include the three ways they can benefit from meeting with you and leave a specific time and date that you’ll call them. Also, state that they should call you if this meeting time doesn’t fit their schedule. Chances are good that they’ll return the call.

If you prefer not to leave a voice message, you can do the same with an introduction email – include the three points and state a time you’ll call.

Then be sure to put this appointment on your calendar and be punctual when placing the call for the scheduled meeting.

You will have new referral sources to stay in touch with and nurture once your business is returning back to normal.

Guest Post by Mary Gillen: If your website isn’t getting the traffic you expect, Associate Member Mary Gillen can optimize it correctly so search engine robots can efficiently index your site content, which contributes to your search engine rankings.

22 Apr 2020

During and After the Virus Work Interruption

Unless you are needed for a Loss or Estate Inventory, our industry is not considered “essential” so many have seen a drop in business while we participate in social distancing and wait for the Covid-19 Virus to run its course.

If you do choose to provide your inventory service, be sure to do all you can to protect yourself. Wear a mask and gloves and limit touching items as much as possible. Follow the guidelines for social distancing with your clients during the inventory process.

Since you most likely have some spare time now, there are things you can do to work on your business – possibly checking off tasks you’ve had to put off. We are including some ideas offered by NICA members, which they are currently doing to be ready to hit the ground running when the “all clear” is issued. There are even a couple of options that could help you generate revenue now.

Work on your credentials and your marketing:

  • Take courses and the Certification Exam to achieve your certification.
  • Take a course or two to earn your 5 required CEUs to be recertified for 2020.
  • Refresh your website and social media pages.
  • Begin a newsletter if you don’t already send one.
  • Call or send emails to current customers and referral sources just to stay in touch.

Promote your service:

  • Share the National Home Inventory Month information provided on the NICA website.
  • Contact estate attorneys to let them know you’re still doing the time-sensitive estate inventories.
  • Call current clients to see if they need an on-site update of their inventory; schedule it for May or later.
  • Contact those you’ve given estimates to; ask if you can put them on a list to schedule them once business is back to normal.
  • Offer DIY help as an activity to stay busy while they’re stuck at home (some might find it a daunting task and as a result call for your service once the stay-at-home directive is over).

Current revenue-generating ideas:

  • Contact current clients to check if they need an update on their inventory, and do it electronically.
  • Add a “consulting” service for a fee. Provide them with instructions, documents, and guidance, and then offer to keep their inventory for safekeeping (if you offer a back-up service).

An example of being creative to serve your clients was offered from NICA member Tricia Hoekwater. She shared that she did a partial onsite and partial offsite inventory for a mold remediation client.  While onsite, her client brought items outside and Tricia photographed each item. When it came to the bigger items inside the house and getting photos of the room overviews, the client suited up in his hazmat attire and they did a facetime session over several days where he would identify an item and Tricia snapped the photos. Though they weren’t the best images, the client and she were on the same page about accepting lesser quality photos due to the need to get the job done.

If you’ve had a unique experience, please email them to our office and we will share them next month.

16 Apr 2020

Tips for Successful Email Marketing

Mary GillenEmails have become a huge part of business communication. Using email opportunities to stay in touch with clients and prospects will help you stay in front of them.

Transaction Emails

Transaction emails are those that you send after a transaction has happened with a client. They can include:

  • new account verifications
  • scheduling and confirming appointments
  • thanks for your business

If you have client testimonials on your Website or blog, add the links to these pages to your transaction emails. This will give customers and prospects the opportunity to read about how you have helped others.

Autoresponders

An autoresponder is a computer program that automatically sends an email response. Autoresponders are an integral part of email marketing campaigns, as the program immediately sends information to prospective customers and then follow-up correspondence at scheduled time intervals.

Here’s a sample of an autoresponder schedule that works when following up with online inquiries about your inventory services:

Send an email immediately after the prospect inquires, then

  • next day (24 hours)
  • seven (7) days later
  • twenty (20) days later
  • thirty (30) days later

These emails can include additional information about you, your services, your processes, reasons one needs a home or business inventory, links to your blog, links to your testimonials, request a response, etc.

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.

18 Mar 2020

Marketing Minute – Solving Your Prospects’ Pain Points

Mary Gillen

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.

 

Have you heard that people buy a product or service because it eases or solves a pain of some type?

Often in general conversation, when people learn what service you offer, they will share why they don’t have one. By talking to the prospect and listening for their pain points, you can be a “pain-solver” for them.

A few examples:

PAIN: They know they need to create an inventory, but would rather spend time with family or friends.
SOLUTION: You can do the inventory while they spend time with loved ones.

PAIN: Fear financial loss if they have a fire, theft, or natural disaster.
SOLUTION: An inventory helps the client receive an equitable settlement.

PAIN: Concerned that family arguments will happen when serving as the executor of an estate.
SOLUTION: Provide an inventory for the property now to help prevent issues later.

PAIN: Possibly uncomfortable transition prior to marriage when merging 2 families.
SOLUTION: An inventory is less costly than a prenup and provides details of each person’s assets.

PAIN: Having so many collectibles they can’t remember all of them.
SOLUTION: Provide them with a Collections Inventory.

PAIN: They know they need an inventory but don’t know how or even where to begin.
SOLUTION: They feel more confident when a professional completes the documentation.

By determining the prospect’s pain points, you can let them know you can help.

13 Feb 2020

Marketing Minute – How To Find Out Who Is Asking Questions On Twitter You Can Answer

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Continuing with the focus on New Year Resolutions and Networking, you can network via social media. Take the time to answer questions people post in online forums! This can help home inventory professionals establish credibility and attract prospect attention to both potential clients and professional referral sources. So how can you do this on Twitter?

Take advantage of this Twitter Search Operator:

natural disaster ? searches for Tweets that contain the words natural disaster when asking a question. Be sure to include the space before the question mark.

You can also find questions being asked using the terms insurance, fire, probate, estates, collectibles, appraisals … any key term that would represent the services you offer or knowledge you can share.

It’s often beneficial to add a location (since your service is normally local) by including your state or city.