April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
28 Sep 2021

Marketing Minute – Positive vs Negative

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Be Positive!

When writing a newsletter, a blog, or even just an email, it’s best to avoid using negative words in your headline copy. It can leave a negative impression on some prospects. Giving a positive reaction will encourage people to return to your social media posts and your blog, and to continue to read your newsletters.

Examples of how you can change a negative into a positive headline:

NEGATIVE: “Your business is falling behind.”
POSITIVE: “Get ahead of the competition.”

NEGATIVE: “Why are you so fat?”
POSITIVE: “Drop 10 lbs. by summer”

NEGATIVE: “You are losing your customers.”
POSITIVE: “17 ways to find new business.”

NEGATIVE: “A fire can destroy everything you own.”
POSITIVE: “How a home inventory can help you recover from a loss.”

19 Aug 2021

Check Out These Blogs!

This post is featuring Associate Members’ blogs so you can start to follow them, learn from them, and possibly share this great information now via social media and your blogs (if you already have one established). If you aren’t currently writing a blog, but plan on writing one in the future, bookmarking some of their posts now will make them available to share as guest posts when you’re ready – and you’ll have a library of articles already prepared!

Mary Gillen WebsiteMary Gillen writes (in her words) a “definitely geeky and technical” blog.

However, she has received great feedback from clients, which has enabled her to learn that customers have gained great, useful information.

One area, in particular, is how to fix accessibility errors. By sharing step-by-step instructions, they were able to gain this knowledge from her blog.

Visit her Accessible Website Services Blog. Though it might be “geeky,” it’s written in common, easy-to-understand language!

ValuePros BlogThe blog that provides super inventory information is from ValuePros. Whether you plan on participating in their Appraisal Examiner initiative or just want this information available for your own edification that will enable you to provide educated advice to your clients. this blog will provide valuable knowledge for you.

The various topics relate to appraisals and valuations, with first-hand information about their work. Want to learn about sports memorabilia, fine art, antiques, coins, and more? This is the blog for you!

Frequent customer questions are also a big part of the content of this blog. They share those answers right here on the Blog page of their website.

10 Jun 2021

Marketing Minute – Copywriting Tips

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

How to Handle Long Headlines

If you have a long headline, you can make it easier for the reader to understand your message by setting 50% of the words in a larger font.


  • The Secret of HOW TO BE THINNER
  • ORGANIC FOOD: Now Is The Time To Buy It
  • 17 Marketing Ideas To GROW YOUR BUSINESS

In the body of your copy, you will often have links to sources, other articles, your website, etc. You don’t want too many words in your links, so…

Keep your links short

The easiest way to keep your links short is to delete unnecessary words


Click on these links to find out about Acme Associates’ hours, to get directions to Acme Associates’ office, or to see the Acme Associates contact list.


Visit Acme Associates
Contact List

These two tips will draw more attention to your articles and also encourage people to click on your links.

21 Apr 2021

Marketing Minute – Copywriting

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

When writing copy for your newsletter, blog, advertising content, or any other information, there are key elements to consider. The following information will help you write content that your prospects, referral sources, and cllients will want to read.

Keep the Copy Short

People skim and scan Web pages for information. Don’t be afraid to cut the copy down so folks can easily find what they need.
TOO LONG:                  How do I check out when I am done shopping at Acme.com?
EASY TO SCAN:           How do I check out?

Four Questions That Need to Be Answered in Copy That Sells

  1. Who might purchase your product or service?
  2. Why do they want it?
  3. What are the reasons a prospect might not buy your product or service?
  4. What are the reasons you can use to persuade the prospect to buy and close the sale?
17 Mar 2021

Marketing Minute – How to Build Traffic to Your Website

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Are you wanting to build more traffic to your Web site? Yep – that’s a silly question; who wouldn’t want more traffic?

One easy way is to post comments on blogs where you will attract your prospects’ attention. How do you find these blogs? Follow these steps:

1) Go to Google > http://google.com
2) Search for “top [niche] blogs” – replacing the word [niche] with your niche marketing term.
Examples: “top home inventory blogs” or “top estate planning blogs” or “top homeowners insurance blogs”
3) Gather the URLs of 30 or so of these blogs that accept comments AND allow you to include a link to your Website. Leave an appropriate comment that aligns with the blog information and include the link to your website with your comment.

17 Feb 2021

Marketing Minute – How To Get New Content Ideas

This Marketing Minute is provided by Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Use Your Search Engine’s Autocomplete Feature

Want your blog posts to be easily found by Search Engines? When writing your blog post titles, be sure to make use of the Search Engine Autocomplete Feature. Google and other search engines will show you the keyword phrases that your prospects are actually using when searching for your services. Use these phrases as your blog titles for better indexing.

For example, here are results from a recent search for “Marketing ideas”:

  • Marketing ideas during covid
  • Marketing ideas for 2021
  • Marketing ideas for service business
  • Marketing ideas for restaurants
  • Marketing ideas for new businesses
  • Marketing ideas for insurance agents
  • Marketing ideas for dental office

Pick the ones that apply to your home inventory business and use them as your titles to match what people are using to search.

Discover New Content Ideas via Wordtracker’s Tool

Need new content ideas? Use Wordtracker to get new content ideas.
Click on https://wordtracker.com, type in the word or phrase (we used “estate inventory”) and see the results that people are searching for. The top 5 were:

  • Theft from estate before inventory
  • Estate inventory checklist
  • Real estate
  • House inventory
  • What is included in an estate inventory

Obviously, not every “find” is appropriate, but you’ll receive some very good ideas

Make Google Alerts & Twitter Tweets Do the Work

Monitor trends that will give you fodder for your next blog or newsletter article. Use Google Alerts – https://www.google.com/alerts – to create email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

You can also take advantage of TwitterSearch – https://search.twitter.com/  – to see Twitter’s real-time topics.

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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.

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!

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

Money Off

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.

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.