April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
21 Jan 2021

Marketing Minute – Do You Blog? If Not, Should You?

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

One big question that most small business owners ask, is … how do you stay in touch and find new referral sources or potential clients? The answer is … start or beef up your blog! Following are helpful tips from Mary Gillen:

  • Always include an image with your blog post.
  • Include Call-to-Actions at the End of Blog Posts.
  • If you have a newsletter, add an email subscribe box at the end of every blog post. Be sure to offer some quality content such as a case study, white paper or a discount coupon as a thank you for the subscription.
  • Create an “About Me” video that welcomes visitors to your blog. Embed it on your About Page.
  • Do you have a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of information on your Web site? Repurpose these frequently-asked questions as blog posts so the info is indexed in the major search engines. This leads to more traffic from potential customers.
  • Use your blog to post the offer of a free consultation to anyone who leaves a thoughtful, business-like comment.
29 Dec 2020

What You Can Do To Get Through These Tough Times

Question MarkDuring the many shut-downs and other restrictions we are facing this year, some members have expressed concern about being able to continue their home inventory business. Most likely, one-on-one meetings are few or nonexistent. The same with in-person networking meetings. Many organizations have canceled their group meetings until further notice.

So, what can you do now to help keep your business viable? Stay in touch with current and reach out to new prospects and referral sources. Use the extra downtime you have now to:

  • Update your website to give it a fresh look. (You might even want to put a notice on the home page that you wear a mask for your clients’ safety.)
  • Call current referral sources and let them know you’re still doing inventories.
  • Contact small business owners. If they are shut down, this would be a good time to do an inventory and not interrupt the workflow or be in contact with their employees.
  • Deaths and disasters are still happening, so these inventory services are still needed. Contact these professionals to let them know you’re still providing your inventory service.
  • Pop in to meet insurance agents (be sure to wear a mask!).
  • Call your current clients and offer virtual updates. You can use virtual apps or have them send photos.
  • Start a blog and/or newsletter.
  • Increase your social media presence.
  • Review your processes and procedures to update or refine what you are currently doing.

Believe in yourself, your business, and the need for your inventory services! Be creative! Stay positive!

16 Dec 2020

Marketing Minute – Conversion Headlines

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

What is a conversion headline? It is one that encourages the reader to do what you want them to do. With all the digital marketing options today, this can be directed toward those who visit your website, blog, or even a social media post. This conversion you are seeking can be filling out a form, signing up for your newsletter, visiting your website, etc.

You have less than 40 seconds to attract the attention of a “cold” prospect on the Web. Attract them with a great headline that educates them in some new way and appeals to their self-interest. The headline copy should also convey credibility…that you understand their challenges.

Examples:

  • How to Save Money on Your Homeowners Insurance
  • How to Track Your Small Business Assets

Customers purchase products and services to relieve some kind of pain they have about themselves. Through your headline, is it possible to “shock” the customer with a reminder of this pain, and convey the message that living with this pain is worse than the pain of changing. Ask a question. It is the same method used in radio ads to attract attention to the message.

Examples:

  • Could you list all the contents of your house if you had a fire or theft?
  • Do you know if your business is sufficiently insured to replace all items destroyed after a disaster?

Call-to-action (CTA) copy can be included in your headlines.

Examples:

  • Contact Us Now for a Complimentary Report on Homeowners Insurance.
  • Learn How a Personal Property Inventory Can Save You Time After a Loss.
  • Call Us Today at [phone number] for Your 15% Discount.
  • Watch this Video on Key Reasons Why You Need a Home Inventory.

Once your headline has grabbed their attention, you’ll have a higher success at converting this “cold” prospect into a client.

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!

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.