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New Business… New Business Card

gulf coast virtual tours business card

Although it’s been rolled out on Facebook for a couple of weeks now, I’m posting here today to announce that my wife and I have moved to the Alabama Coast! We’ve been dying to move for years, and finally made the jump less than a month ago.

As my new independent business, I’ve started Gulf Coast Virtual Tours. The goal is to help increase the quality and effectiveness of local real estate marketing using my 10 years of experience in Real Estate photography and Virtual Tour production. And make a little cash doing it! (You know, to support my gadget addiction, after we buy the home of our dreams.)

As you can see from the pictured business card, I’m keeping the MM e-mail address and phone for now:
JR (at) marketingmercenary.net, (765) 210-6893.

And my new business mailing address is:

Gulf Coast Virtual Tours
2159 South McKenzie Street, PMB #251
Foley, AL 36535

You may wonder if I’m planning to continue my small business marketing services. The answer is a definite YES, but I’m focusing 99.999% of my energy right now on building a customer base for Gulf Coast Virtual Tours. You can have complete confidence that I will attend to any MM projects still in progress. In fact, I’ll be finishing a website this month, and have a new video client just getting started.

I’m thankful to God for safety through a hectic and demanding move, and that the communities of Gulf Shores and Foley, Alabama have been very welcoming, as we knew they would be.

Any questions?

 

Preparing Your Home for a Successful Virtual Tour

Preparing Your Home for the Virtual Tour Producers

There are many information resources available regarding staging your home for sale. This article will reinforce the most important of those guidelines, and hopefully add a few new items to your “to-do” list that are specifically designed to help you have a beautiful and successful Virtual Tour!

Preparing for your Virtual Tour“According to a national 2011 survey done by Home Gain, a $290 cleaning investment gives a $1,990 price increase, or a 586 percent return!”

(From the Reinventing Space blog article by Julea Joseph: http://www.reinventingspace.blogspot.com/2011/03/10-home-staging-tips-to-make-your.html)

So if you’re wondering if anyone will notice that you cleaned (or had someone clean) the domes on your closet light fixtures, or dusted the window sills even if you never open the blinds, the answer is YES.

Will those minute details show up in a Virtual Tour? Perhaps not. The point is that your attention to detail will go a long way toward making a great first impression, whether it’s on-line or at an Open House or showing.

Everyone will tell you to eliminate “clutter”, like a heap of children’s toys in the corner of their room, or that stack of video games on your TV stand. Here’s a further tip: Wall shelves and tables that contain knick-knacks more than one row deep are no longer “decor” – they are now “storage units”. And that’s just what they look like. If you can’t pass your cell phone (the width, not the thickness) between the items, move some of them to storage. I don’t hate “Precious Moments” figurines or bowling trophies…but the Virtual Tour is not the place to show off your collection.

Continue Reading >>

Commercial Virtual Tours – Marketing Benefits

In the last several weeks, Best Property Marketing (our Virtual Tour and Real Estate marketing service) experienced a surge in Commercial Virtual Tour business. These have been strictly buildings in North Central Indiana that are for sale or for lease.

office building reflection

The main client for these VTs has been Tom Harrold at Harrold-Chandler Real Estate. Thank you, Tom, for your business and your trust in us!

Here’s an example: 1626 E. Jefferson Street, Kokomo (The “Guyer the Mover” facility)

We’ve also submitted quotes for other Commercial clients, and hope to continue to grow in this area. If you know a commercial property manager in Central Indiana, we would appreciate the chance to demonstrate the value of using Virtual Tours to increase their marketing impact.

Briefly, some of the benefits of including a Virtual Tour with your Commercial Real Estate listing:

  • This marketing tool can help show the layout and flow of a property, as well as the condition of a property, and approximates the experience of “being there.”
  • An excellent method of qualifying your prospects. If they’ve seen the Virtual Tour, then call for a visit, that means they are sincerely interested.
  • They show the potential buyer that you are serious about selling or leasing the property!
  • Their marketing impact and visual appeal is superior to a slide show of still images.
  • The web link for a Virtual Tour can easily be posted to Facebook or Twitter, or e-mailed to an interested shopper!

Commercial Virtual Tours start at $200*, which includes 4 Hi-Res panoramic “spins” (up to 360°) plus 10 still images. For additional cost, we can provide up to 30 combined images (spins and stills). Your tours can also include dimensions, feature descriptions, maps, and floor plans. For more information, contact JR via (765) 997-8687, or jr@bestpropertymarketing.com. Thanks for your interest! (UPDATE: We now include 5 Hi-Res “spins” per basic commercial tour at the $200 rate.)

*Typical. Multiples or special applications can drive the investment even lower!

Partnership – Just Do It.

Kit Wessendorf and Greg Bell

Kit Wessendorf and Greg Bell

Marketing Mercenary was recently called upon to shoot video for Indianapolis-based 12 Stars Media. They are developing training materials for the Indiana Association of REALTORS, in conjunction with Neupath. Neupath is one of many small businesses housed at the Kokomo business incubator site, Inventrek.

I say all that to say this: It’s the complimentary nature of these various businesses that have brought them together (MM included), and their willingness to seek help with certain tasks, instead of “doing it all in-house”. The direct benefit will be some great training tools at very reasonable cost. The side benefits will be the relationships formed and renewed, that can lead to further business or referrals for future opportunities in multiple directions.

To paraphrase “Hannibal” Smith from The A-Team, “I love it when a team comes together!”

Pictured are Kit Wessendorf, producer for 12 Stars Media, left, and Greg Bell, former Kokomo sportscaster from WIOU and Z92.5 fame, on the right. They are recording voice-overs for the “non-talking-head” segments of the training videos. Marketing Mercenary supplied the audio equipment, set-up help, and comic relief, of course.

Also present was Kathy Harbaugh, Indiana Association of REALTORS, (former VP of the REALTORS Association of Central Indiana in Kokomo), and Don McCreary, Neupath.

It was great seeing Greg and Kathy again after several years. I worked at Z92.5/WIOU while Greg was the sportscaster there. I met Kathy when I first started my own business, producing virtual tours for various realtors in Kokomo and surrounding areas. We have all progressed in various ways, but are all still doing things we love and value.

Who knows? There may be room for you in the next project!

11 Money-Making Ideas for a Rainy Day

Marketing Mercenary Money-Making Ideas

Money-Making Ideas

In the context of yesterday’s storms and today’s rain, Marketing Mercenary suggests that you create an attention-getting promotion for you business today!
For example:

Rainy Day Specials

  • Banks offer a bonus service or gift for opening a savings account – today only!
  • Insurance agents offer a gift card or other incentive for purchasing home-owners insurance, or adding a flood insurance rider – today only!
  • Department Stores offer a deep discount on boots (you know, not the high-heel kind – the utility kind)
  • Realtors offer to help prospective client find a new home in a higher, drier area – OK, this may take longer than a day…
  • Remodeling Companies offer a discount on shower enclosures and installation. Get it?
  • Massage Therapists offer a discount to help alleviate the jangled nerves brought on by lightning and thunder and jumbled schedules. Offer discounts to FARMERS that are stressed out from waiting for the weather to clear – today only! Offer discounts to power company personnel that have worked overtime to help the public, clearing downed trees and power lines – OK, offer similar discounts all the time.

Clean-Up Specials

  • Grocery Stores offer discounts on paper towels, floor cleaner, Lysol, etc. – anything needed to clean up muddy and water-damaged areas – today only!
  • Car Washes or Detail Centers offer a two-for-the-price-of-one deal – today only!
  • Disaster Recovery providers – OK, you’re pretty well set. Just sponsor the local radio weather forecasts for the rest of the Spring and Summer.
  • Carpet Cleaning Services offer multi-room specials – through the weekend only!
  • Landscaping companies offer clean-up specials, to remove debris from flower beds and other areas – through the weekend only! (You won’t be doing any mowing for a few days, anyway.)

I hope this got you thinking how you can help folks out, have a little fun, AND bring attention and revenue to your business in a good way. Be safe!

For help with any of these ideas, or with developing unique marketing tools and strategies for your business, contact the Marketing Mercenary!

Sunrise Steakhouse in Kokomo CLOSED for now.

CLOSED

Sunrise Family Steakhouse Closed Today

This afternoon, I spoke with managers at Sunrise Family Steakhouse in Kokomo. They site a number of issues that have contributed to the closing of the newly opened restaurant today. I was asked not to publicize those reasons at this time, since there was still hope of getting them resolved. Please come back to “Exactly, J.R.” at a later time for more information as it becomes reliably available.

UPDATE 2 p.m., 12-9-2010: According to local media, the employees reported that Board of Health violations, as well as lack of payment to employees and contractors were the reasons for closing. At this point, in local media, only the employees have provided statements, not the Board of Health, contractors, or the owner. I heard the same statements from the employees and two contractors yesterday before they decided to close, but since I did not speak to the Board of Health or the owner, I did not report the reasons. An eye-witness reported to me at 12:15 p.m. today that the police were questioning the owner at the restaurant location. As further details are available from reliable sources such as authorized spokespersons, I will pass that information on to you.

Buzzworthy – Sunrise Steakhouse Update

It’s the kind of thing that really gets people talking.

Sunrise Family Steakhouse is now open, as of 12/3/2010! Hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week!

You may have seen this billboard above the new Sunrise Family Steakhouse, in the former Damon’s restaurant building just south of Lincoln Road on US31 in Kokomo. In case you haven’t, here’s what’s new…

 

Sunrise Family Steakhouse billboard

Sunrise Family Steakhouse billboard

Sorry for the grainy phone cam photo. The noteworthy points are these:

  • Greek, Italian, American, and Tex-Mex cuisine
  • Open Daily at 6 a.m.
  • Breakfast served all day (as noted in the original Spotlight)
  • Free WiFi

Please come back next week for more on this new dining option for Kokomo. See the original Spotlight article for a little more background info. Thanks to Melanie for alerting me to this development.

Small Business Spotlight (PREVIEW): Sunrise Steakhouse in Kokomo

UPDATE: Sunrise Family Steakhouse is now open, as of 12/3/2010! Hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week! Serving breakfast all day.

UPDATE 2 p.m., 12-9-2010: Sunrise Family Steakhouse was closed Wednesday, 12-8-2101. According to local media, the employees reported that Board of Health violations, as well as lack of payment to employees and contractors were the reasons for closing. At this point, in local media, only the employees have provided statements, not the Board of Health, contractors, or the owner. I heard the same statements from the employees and two contractors yesterday before they decided to close, but since I did not speak to the Board of Health or the owner, I did not report the reasons. An eye-witness reported to me at 12:15 p.m. today that the police were questioning the owner at the restaurant location. As further details are available from reliable sources such as authorized spokespersons, I will pass that information on to you.

After being vacant for 3-1/2 years, the former DAMON’S location on US31 in Kokomo will be housing a new restaurant soon, with something for everyone: Sunrise Family Steakhouse.

 

Sunrise Steakhouse Opening Soon

Sunrise Family Steakhouse Opening Soon in Former Damon's Location

Owner Salvador Lopez successfully operates the Sunrise Family Restaurant in North Vernon, Indiana. He’ll be bringing a similarly wide menu (click this link) to Kokomo, and his target for opening is just after Thanksgiving 2010. To complement the amazing variety of dishes for lunch and dinner, they will also serve breakfast any time.

Watch later this month for a more detailed report on the style, special features, and hours, for your dining pleasure at the soon-to-be-opening Sunrise Family Steakhouse!

For upcoming business news, simply subscribe to this blog using your e-mail address. You’ll find the subscription panel in the upper right on the home page. Thanks!

The choice is being made.

(First, you may want to see my Sept. 30 post)

“But wait,” you may say. “Marketing Mercenary’s specialty is developing marketing tools for For Sale By Owners. I’m not in a competition, but I do want to sell my house.”The choice being made.

News flash: Every home on the market right now is your competition. Continuously, more homes are being placed on the market, and more are being sold.  Every day, someone makes the choice to buy your home OR NOT. If you’re not using the most effective, big-bang-for-the-buck marketing weapons to promote your home, you’re LOSING.

Invite Marketing Mercenary to put the tools in your hands that you need to achieve your goals for selling your home: 360-degree panoramic virtual tour, home staging, social media, print advertising, video, your-very-own-gosh-darn-website, and more. Take a look at www.YourTourNow.com, and call this number:

765-210-6893.

Let’s get started.

Your Competitors and Me

Shameless plug in 5…4…3…2…

Marketing Mercenary Self-ShotWhy are you waiting? Businesses and organizations are using Marketing Mercenary’s help to amplify their marketing messages and hone their brands. Together we’re improving their tactics and strategies. Sooner or later, one of those groups will be your competitor. Get there first, and strongest.

Upcoming projects:

  • TV commercial for local business, to air on “We Care” broadcast.
  • Website for local business with critical service for commercial and residential customers.
  • Internet video for a local business, reviewing the unique advantages of their featured product.
  • Marketing strategy and sales assistance for local community event.
  • 360-degree panoramic Virtual Tour to market a commercial leasing opportunity.

765-210-6893

Call today. The balance of power could shift in your favor right away!