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When it comes to family pets, choices previously seemed to be Team Dog or Team Cat.  However, we have seen family dogs, cats, chinchillas and rabbits on Social Media. If you scroll through Bowe Digital’s Facebook page, you can find pictures of Pebbles, Samson and Ike..donkey, dog and horse, respectively.

When looking to buy a home, pets also play a huge factor. Families no longer just focus on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.  Many strongly consider how their dream home can also satisfy their pets’ needs, and for some, it can make or break the deal.

DID YOU KNOW?

In fact, according to an article from Business Insider, many millennials bought their first home based on the amenities available for their dog. Man’s best friend gets to vote on this big, life decision, and Bowe Digital can help you be a winner at the real estate polls. 

When marketing and selling homes to pet lovers, Bowe Digital can help you increase your furry friends' customer base through social media, blogging, and marketing emails. Bowe Digital would love to show you how. Please email Bradley Erb at bradley@bowedigital.com, and check out our menu of service here!

Long ago, Dr. Seuss wondered, “What pet should I get?”, and whatever the decision is for you, Bowe Digital can help you market to pet lovers regardless of your business.  Whether you are in real estate or another business sector, we will work with you to maximize your brand so you become the cat’s meow. 

The whole Bowe Digital team hopes you had a great Thanksgiving. We know for many of you -- and for us -- the holiday was a little bit different this year, but that's OK. We actually had a great holiday blog written by our intern Mackenzie that was full of tips to prevent hosting Thanksgiving from being stressful. However, we held off posting it as the advice rolled in to make gatherings smaller this year. With that in mind, we still wanted to share this cornucopia of knowledge with you for next year.

Here is the blog in its original form.

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As Thanksgiving inches closer, often the stress surrounding hosting Thanksgiving dinner does, too. The cleaning alone is enough to make you regret hosting...let alone all the preparation. Most of the time you’re so worried about having the perfect Thanksgiving that you aren’t able to enjoy it with the people you are thankful for...and that’s what the day is all about! We’re here to give you some tips to make this year’s Thanksgiving the best one yet.

Cleaning? Don’t wait, do it now!

Cleaning the entire house is probably one of the scariest things about Thanksgiving...especially that one room that hasn’t been cleaned in months. Yikes! There’s no need to cram all the cleaning in one day. Every day leading up to Thanksgiving, choose one room to clean. By breaking the cleaning up into chunks, what at first seemed like an unbearable task is now manageable. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, your house will be spotless, and you saved yourself trying to fit a week’s worth of cleaning into one day.

Bring your own dish 

When hosting Thanksgiving, many feel obligated to do all the cooking, as well. This creates a lot of pressure to make the perfect dishes and prepare them all in time for dinner. Let’s not forget about the most stressful dish… the turkey. There is no way you can enjoy friends and family if you’re stuck in the kitchen all day running around like a turkey with his head cut off (too soon?).  Having everyone who’s attending bring one dish is a great way to reduce stress. It’s also fun to see what everyone brought and try new dishes. Here are some tasty sides to help make it even easier!

Activities 

One way to have a memorable Thanksgiving is having some games to play while waiting for the big feast. It’s a great time to unwind and get to spend the day with the people you love. Board games are a classic and definitely spark a little friendly competition among the fam. To make it even more special, have everyone attending write down three things they're thankful for. At the dinner table, everyone shares. This heartwarming activity always puts a smile on everyone’s faces and reminds us we have so much to be thankful for.

While there is a lot of work that goes into Thanksgiving, at the end of the day, we’re surrounded by friends, neighbors, and family; that makes it all worth it. With such a crazy 2020, take this next Thanksgiving to relax and laugh with those you love. As always, Bowe Digital is extremely thankful for all of you, and we are wishing you an amazing (and stress-free) Thanksgiving. 

Mackenzie is a Fall 2020 Bowe Digital intern and attends Illinois State University studying communications. She’s majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Sociology. She loves writing, dancing and spending time with friends in her free time.

From Guest Blogger & Bowe Digital Intern, Mackenzie LeClere:

Today, more than 90% of businesses use social media to promote their brand. Hopefully, your business is one of them. Even if you’re on social media, are you using it correctly and efficiently? Social media can be a great thing when done correctly, and Bowe Digital is here to help.

Having social media is a must these days if you are trying to take your business to the next level. To begin with, it’s cost-efficient!  Social media is one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to market towards your customers and the public. Instagram, Facebook and other platforms can have a huge impact on your sales and reach potential clients or partners without hurting your marketing budget. 

By having an active presence, you can engage and reach people who have never heard of your business.  For example, you share a post to 100 of your followers advertising your business. Those followers share and repost your post bringing in 100 other new eyes. All this leads to new customers -- and more awareness -- for your brand with a click of a button.

Not only is it important to have social media to bring awareness, but it’s an awesome way to form relationships with customers. Within Instagram and Facebook, there are features designed to message people. This allows people who have questions about your business to ask and get a response right away. This is a plus for you because you’re showing them that customers are a priority, making you stand out from other businesses. 

TIPS

Hopefully, these tips come in handy. If you’re looking for more help in this area, Bowe Digital is here. Let’s talk today!

Mackenzie is a Fall 2020 Bowe Digital intern and attends Illinois State University studying communications. She’s majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Sociology. She loves writing, dancing and spending time with friends in her free time.

Buying a home, especially if it’s your first one, often feels like a rite of passage. Traditionally, you save for your down payment, find a Realtor and attend multiple open houses and showings, all on the search for THE ONE.

And while in-person interaction is being minimized right now, real estate professionals are finding new and exciting ways to keep all buyers (and sellers) safe and in the loop. Your Realtor, loan officer and title and closing company are all here to be a resource for you whether you’re looking for your first home or have been to the closing table many times. As you know, June is National Homeownership Month, and despite current events, the summer housing outlook is very positive.

Here are some interesting facts and figures about homeownership from the National Association of Realtors:

The NAR maintains an evolving guide for its members to use as they navigate COVID-19 and support their customers. Throughout previous months, many of us in real estate have become pros at using technology to communicate with each other and our customers. No matter what, our goal is to maintain the personal connection you seek when conducting business.

Virtual home showings can allow you to see your options before you SEE your options, and you may save time and money by paring down your choices before you visit these homes in person. A traditional home listing contains dimensions, descriptions and design, but listings online allow real estate agents to show every angle of that farmhouse sink you have been looking for.

What is most helpful during the home search process? Patience. Patience with every aspect of homebuying will relieve your stress during an already stressful time. You can buy a home safely, smoothly and successfully -- even during a pandemic -- and you’ll have a whole team of real estate professionals with you every step of the way!

Post written by Robin Asher.

Robin has been an elementary teacher for 16 years.  She is a mother of two who has been happily married to her husband, Jerry, for 25 years. When she’s not being an awesome content contributor for the Bowe Digital, she loves reading, singing and spending time outside in the yard.

Virtual learning is over, which means school is finally out! As a teacher, I look forward to typical tasks and feelings about the end of the school year. I can always expect the last days before summer to be filled with excitement and a lot of chaos. We know the last few months, especially for those families with kids, was anything but typical. While many places around the country are gradually returning to semi-normal, this summer is still going to be affected by the pandemic. That’s why Bowe Digital wanted to give you a couple of fun ideas your family can rely on this summer. 

Dance, Sing or Chill to the Music

Music is a very powerful tool. We all have our favorites, but now is the perfect time to branch out and find something new.  Take your kids back to your favorite music when you were growing up, or check out these songs to beat the isolation blues.

Get silly … inside or out. Grab your pots, pans and wooden spoons and play along. During this time, using your voices can add to the experience. Singing, talking or whispering in regular or silly voices can add to the fun. After the dance party, find some meditative music and a great spot under a tree in the grass or on a blanket.  Have everyone close their eyes, take some deep breaths and talk about what they hear in the surrounding environment.  

Star Light, Star Bright

“Go out and play” is mostly said during the daylight hours, but consider going outside at night for some stargazing and a before-bed snack. Choose a cloudless night with a crescent moon.Take your lawn chairs or even a blanket and some pillows. 

Give yourself some time for your eyes to adjust; then, spend time looking into the sky and talking about what you see.  Look for constellations, bright stars and meteors. (It might be helpful to print a sky map before heading out.) Have each family member choose a star, and give it a name...the funnier, the better. Maybe each family member could wish on their star. Before heading into bed, spend some quiet time gazing into space. It truly can be one of nature’s most beautiful sights. We all deserve some relaxation right now.  

You can still make your 2020 summer a good one for your family...one you will remember for years to come. It just takes some creativity and some grace! After all, like Troy Bolton and his friends would say, “We’re (still) all in this together.”

Post written by Robin Asher.

Robin has been an elementary teacher for 16 years.  She is a mother of two who has been happily married to her husband, Jerry, for 25 years. When she's not being an awesome content contributor for the Bowe Digital, she loves reading, singing and spending time outside in the yard.

For parents, social distancing has meant a lot of togetherness with immediate family. 

School has moved online for many students across the country. (Is it summer break yet?) Packed extracurricular schedules have been replaced with leisure family dinners. And kids are having a lot of time to just be kids. 

Sounds great. However, it can also be tricky, especially if you’re combining your newfound family fun with working from home for the first time. Your heart is telling you it’s a good thing. They’ll be off to college before we know it, right?! But your head is reminding you of to-do lists and various work deadlines you need to meet – all while you’re also assuming the roles of full-time educator and coach on top of the regular parent stuff.

So how do you successfully juggle working from home – and keeping the kids happy? Here are some tips on balancing being a parent and a professional through this pandemic: 

Give yourself some grace.

Most of us have never parented through a global pandemic to the scale of our current reality. It’s okay to feel in over your head and to go into survival mode. If at the end of the day, you managed to get something accomplished, and you didn’t lose a kid – you’re good.

Remember, there’s no award for best quarantine parent. No matter how much we strive to be the best and show our children the best, all of us are human. 

Rethink how you define a successful day.

Chances are the standard 9-5 work schedule won’t work at home. Carve out a few moments to assess the tasks you need to accomplish and block out your day. Think about what tasks absolutely need to happen during typical business hours. Prioritize them and save the rest for when the kids are keeping themselves entertained (if you’re lucky), napping (if you’re really lucky) or after they go to bed.

Your days might be longer working remotely. But incremental success is still success. 

Encourage your kids to play independently. 

Each morning give the kids two or three ideas for activities that can serve as boredom busters if needed. Short on ideas? A quick search on Pinterest will probably suffice. Have art materials at the ready and ask them to write letters or draw pictures for friends and family, health care professionals and first responders. Get them involved in cleaning their rooms or send them outside on a scavenger hunt.

Tell them it’s okay to be bored. (Like we were in the old days.)

Remember their attention spans aren’t your attention spans.

Change up the scenery every few hours. Go upstairs if you were downstairs. If the weather is nice, field calls and emails from your back porch while they play. If they’re getting antsy and grumpy, take a quick walk to get their energy out. 

Think about how the pandemic has affected your life. Remember your kids are also processing complicated emotions. They likely miss their grandparents, friends and routines.  They might need your attention or act out more than they normally do – and that’s okay. Everything is a phase, and phases don’t last forever. 

Before we know it, we’ll be back to normal. 

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Chelsea Schneider is a content writer for Bowe Digital based out of Bargersville, Indiana. When she’s not writing about the amazing things our partners are doing, she’s hanging out with her three kids, ages 8, 6 and 1. Currently, her days involve lots of e-learning (second grade math is hard,) lots of snacks and enough joy to forget the stress. She crafted this piece with help from Bradley Erb. Brad is Bowe Digital’s Business Development Manager and the father of two boys, ages 10 and 4. In between the repeated chorus of “I’m hungry, “I’m full,” and “Can I have a snack,” he is enjoying watching his sons use the skills he’s been teaching them their whole lives. Those include treating each other with respect, having compassion and helping others.

Our Bowe Digital team knows how much of an adjustment working from home can be under even the most normal circumstances. You and your staff are still producing great work and meeting customer needs, and that’s a great accomplishment by itself. As the leader of a 100% remote company for almost three years, I have been impressed with how quickly many in the title industry have made the shift amid the current situation. 

However, if you’re a manager of a new WFH squad (that’s ‘work from home’ if you’re one of the cool kids), it’s time to shift your mindset. Now is the time to make sure your employees aren’t just surviving at home – but can thrive. Continue to be a leader and check in on your team on a human level. Being remote can threaten the human element of an office – and that issue is only magnified when we’re limiting in-person contact in other parts of our lives too. 

My First Tip: I try to always greet the team in my first message of the day with a “Good morning” or “Hello” of some sort. Otherwise, all your communications can seem transactional, which may leave people drained and less connected. During this current pandemic, I’ve also added twice-daily video messages to my team as another touch point. (And as an email break for me.)  These video updates give them a high level overview of what’s to come today and what they should be prepared for tomorrow.            

It’s also important to remember the current global situation. While we’re all rightfully nervous about our economic future, make sure you and your employees are tending to personal needs too. Every part of our lives is being affected by this pandemic. Even if we’re focused on work, we’re also trying to help children, family members and ourselves comprehend this new, temporary “normal.” I’m constantly reminding my team “to do what they need to do to stay safe and support their families” and I know they’re reaching out to each other as well.

My Second Tip: Be the kind of leader who is committed to keeping a positive virtual atmosphere. Remind everyone to take “brain breaks” and plan a group event, such as a video happy hour where no shop talk is allowed. And do it during regular business hours near the end of the workday. Use this time to allow your team to introduce their kids or pets, show off their home office set up or just vent. If the budget allows, consider sending your team Grubhub or Instacart gift cards to help them juggle their new responsibilities during this time.

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Bowe Digital wants to help you get the right messages out to customers and staff during these uncertain times. If you think we can be of assistance to your business right now, contact Bradley Erb, our business development manager, today! His email address is bradley@bowedigital.com.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. For lots of you in the real estate world, that means continuing to protect – and educate – your customers about wire fraud. If you haven’t used it yet, the ALTA-backed Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud is a great resource on the subject.

Bowe Digital recently talked to one of the stakeholders involved in the coalition, Rich Hopen. Rich is both a real estate broker and  a wire fraud/mortgage payoff scam victim himself. (To learn more about Rich’s story, click here.) 

Even with the increased talk around the subject, Rich said “the awareness around wire fraud is happening very slowly. I can still go out and talk to almost anyone, and they just don’t understand it or know about it.” We hope by sharing our discussion with you that we can keep the discussion going. 

Q: What’s one of your biggest concerns when it comes to spreading awareness around wire fraud? 

There is still a lack of data. The FBI tracks incidents that are reported to its internet crime website, www.ic3.gov. Yet, it's unlikely the data portrays the (true) scope of the problem. When my mortgage payoff was stolen, I didn't complete the incident form because I wasn't comfortable sharing my financial data. I suspect other victims feel the same way. Also, the FBI’s real estate fraud category is too broad. 

The best source of data are title companies. They're at ground zero when the crime occurs. They are often the first parties to discover when money is stolen by cyber criminals. I'd love to see a process whereby title companies anonymously report wire fraud incidents to an association.

We have stories of real estate wire fraud victims, but without solid data, I don't think the problem will be widely reported.

Q: Why do you think awareness around this is just starting to grow?

I've been immersed in this issue since I was victimized early 2018. I'm still shocked how long it's taking for real estate wire fraud to receive the attention and resources it deserves. It's rare for me to find a non-real estate professional who has heard about the problem. More industry resources need to be focused on educating professionals and consumers.

Q: What can title companies do to help?

Title companies should ensure their clients understand the risk of wiring money and how to minimize or eliminate those risks. Warnings on email footers or signed disclosures aren't enough. Title company employees who interact directly with clients need to have a conversation about wire fraud.

Q: What are some main goals for the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud going forward?

Require real estate professionals to learn more about wire fraud so they can advise their clients how to safely wire money; encourage title companies and brokerages to purchase software that verifies identities of those who send and receive wired funds, and revise wire deposit banking regulations to require banks to match an account number with the account name before depositing funds. And, perhaps most importantly, directly communicate with potential home buyers about the growing threat throughout the home purchasing process.

Richard Hopen is a real estate broker and advisory board member of the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud. Learn more at www.stopwirefraud.org.

From Guest Blogger & Bowe Digital Intern, Marissa Weiner:

Like ghosts, ghouls and goblins, Instagram is feared because it’s unknown to many. Though the photo sharing app launched nearly a decade  ago, many businesses remain reluctant in entering the “new” platform. Additionally, with most Instagrammers using Facebook as well, some business owners see no pressing need to join the Instagram realm if they already have an online presence on Facebook. However, if you want to reach a younger demographic, particularly millennials, creating a free Instagram account is paramount, as 71% of the app’s users are under the age of 35. 

Instagram shouldn’t be spooky; it doesn’t have sharp fangs or long claws. It has red eyes, but those can be easily edited and removed. Though creating an Instagram feed followed by many may seem alien to the inexperienced user, the guide below will help your business stand out above the rest. 

DO: Utilize Instagram stories to tell your story 

No matter what your business is selling, your brand has a story-- consumers want to flip the pages. Did Veronica, your sales representative, just have twins? Thanks to Veronica, you’ve just gained 15 new followers. By sharing the little moments that make your company unique, people want to literally follow along. Along the way, your company builds trust and credibility, associating faces and memories to what was once just a company name and cheesy slogan.

DO: Filter your photos consistently

The word “aesthetic” seems to spew out of the mouth of every Instagram user nowadays. While building an aesthetically pleasing feed worth following may seem impossible if your company sells and manufactures toilet plungers (or title insurance), it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Consistency is the key to Instagram fame and fortune, so it’s essential that each photo is filtered using the same preset. But b filter photos judiciously , careful not to oversaturate an image. 

DO: Show company culture through Instagram’s Live Stories 

It’s no coincidence that The Office is Netflix’s most watched show—broadcasting the mundanities of everyday life is appealing. Did Phil just spill his coffee for the second time this week? Kevin spilled his chili in season five episode 26 of The Office, and I’m still laughing. No, I’m not saying you should use Live Stories to bully your colleagues. Instead, use Live Stories to give consumers a real-time behind-the-scenes glimpse at the characters of your company. If your office has its own Kevin-esque character, consider yourself (and your Instagram) lucky. 

DON’T: Use stock photos 

Stock photos have a place in your marketing plan, but it’s not on Instagram. The photos may be better utilized on a platform like Facebook, in which an older generation is targeted. Millennials, however, will take one look at the photo of your “receptionist” and know there’s no way “Miguel” is smiling that wide on a Monday morning. Rather than finding artificial photos on Shutterstock or Pixabay, take real, in-office photos. Maybe you spend one Friday evening having a photoshoot, allowing a database of photos to be locked and loaded for future use.

Marissa Weiner is a senior Butler University student pursuing degrees in Communications and Media and English Creative Writing. She interned with Bowe Digital during the summer of 2019. 

We all know at this point that social media is a vital part of any digital media strategy. After all, most Americans check in on social media daily – making it a great channel for meeting people where they already are. And while it’s true that something is almost always better than nothing when it comes to marketing, social media is no exception to the rule that you can only get to your destination if you know where to go.

In other words, it’s good to have a goal.

So here are some things to keep in mind as you’re setting these goals and using them as a foundation to build your marketing strategy in the coming months.

  1.  Know what you’re trying to accomplish. Social media can contribute in many different ways to your overall digital strategy – anything from increasing brand awareness, to community engagement, to content distribution. Each of these outcomes requires a different approach, so it is crucial to know ahead of time what target you’re aiming for.
  2. Have a plan. Posting whatever is on your mind, whenever it crosses your mind, might not be the best approach to your company’s social media strategy. Having a well-thought-out, cohesive content plan in place helps you better coordinate your social efforts with the rest of your marketing tactics, and ultimately ensuring that your work aligns.
  3. Set measurable goals – and then measure them. If you haven’t encountered SMART goalsetting before, do yourself a favor and start incorporating them into your business today. But just as important as setting measurable, attainable goals is tracking your progress towards that goal. Set a system in place to check in on your progress frequently and leave room in your strategy to shift gears if what you’re doing isn’t working for you.

No matter what exactly you’re hoping to achieve with social media, having a clear objective is critical for success. Still unsure of where to take your company’s social strategy? The team at Bowe Digital can help you turn your fuzzy ideas into a clear blueprint for success. Contact us today!