PICK UP THE PHONE!

By

pick up the phone

Animals may not be able to form words, but they can certainly communicate. Birds use songs and calls. Other animals use a combination of sounds and movements to communicate. Primates have an advanced system of communication. They use vocalization, gestures by hand and body language. But what separates man from less evolved living things is the ability to form a limitless number of thoughts into vocalized words. With the advent of e-mail and text messaging, I sometimes think that we have implemented the process of “reversed evolution.” It seems many agents and real estate related service-people no longer have the ability to vocalize, gesture, use body language or otherwise express themselves. There appears to be more audio interaction taking place in most zoos than in the real estate industry. Have we lost the ability to communicate with anything other than LOL, 4COL, AAF or A3?

We know that language among Homo sapiens began somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 years ago. It most likely was an evolutionary adaptation. It was needed for survival and for social interaction. As things became more complicated around them, humans needed a more complex system to convey information to one another.The spoken word offered a most valuable solution.

It took humans 30,000 or more years to master the spoken word.This mastery allowed mankind to communicate with emotion. With the spoken word, humans could express fear, joy, sadness, alarm, excitement and a multitude of other feelings. An individual’s intonation, volume, cadence, accent, etc. offered man the ability to express far more than can be expressed by words, written or otherwise, alone. The ability to speak to one another offered mankind the most efficient and effective method of communication. Simply stated, it works incredibly well!

Have we, in a very short 20 years, done away with one of man’s most effective and efficient tools? Without doubt, we have done so in the real estate business. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s someone, somewhere introduced text messaging and e-mailing. This was the beginning of the end of the spoken word. Today I find it almost impossible to speak with anyone involved in real estate. I call other agents. I get no response! I call an escrow officer. No connection! I call a loan rep. Nothing! If I don’t text or e-mail, communication is not an option. This is an all too common situation that really makes me grouchy.

There is a time and place for e-mails and text messages but there is no substitute for hearing a person’s voice. Three minutes of live conversation can tell more about a person and/or situation than I can be told in 100 text messages. I crave the human touch. An individual’s voice communicates how that person is feeling, what interest they have in the subject at hand, his/her level of concern and so much more. A text message or e-mail has minimal personality. A man or woman’s voice is packed with valuable information.

I recently received a call from a local agent. We’ll call him Doug. He asked me what my seller thought of an offer he had e-mailed five days prior. He had never called, immediately after sending the e-mail, to verify that it had been received. The offer had not come through. Meanwhile, the property sold to another purchaser. Doug’s client had lost the opportunity to purchase an excellent investment property and Doug lost the opportunity to earn a commission, all because he was too lazy to pick up the phone.

It always amazes me how potential clients react when I pick up the phone and call them. In many cases they express total surprise and appreciation. I’m often told that I am the only real estate agent who has taken the time to talk with them in person. The impression the call makes lasts and, more often than not, earns the desired results. The phone and/or face-to-face contact produces incredible outcomes.

I truly believe many agents fear the phone. A text message or e-mail is so much safer: impersonal and less effective but not as dangerous. What is there to be afraid of with a call that could be more fearful than losing an opportunity? Please, from time to time, just try conversing with your voice.

 

By the way, when I call please PICK UP THE PHONE! I would like to know who you really are!

 

Find us on Google+

Top 5 Tax Breaks for Real Estate Agents

By

It’s almost that time of year…tax season! Although it’s not the most fun—or even something we look forward to—it’s a necessary evil. On the up side, unlike other professionals, real estate agents are lucky in that they have a lot that they can write off. In order to be able to do so, however, it’s important you have the correct documentation, so start sifting away!

tax breaks for real estate agents

Below is our list of the top five tax breaks for real estate agents. Start getting your paperwork in order now to make tax season 2014 a breeze!

Deduct Car Expenses

Deduct car expenses

Being an agent means driving around to meet with a lot of clients, show a lot of listings, host a lot of open houses, etc. Therefore, why don’t you start by writing off your mileage? Start keeping track of your mileage by writing down your miles driven from your odometer every time you hit the gas station. You can keep this record in a hand-written file, on your phone or on your computer as an excel spreadsheet. In 2014, the standard mileage rate is 56 cents per mile. However, before you start calculating your write-off, make sure to deduct the miles driven commuting to and from your home to work.

Furthermore, according to the IRS’ website, “Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.” This would include spending for gas, repairs, oil, car washes, etc. Make sure to obtain third party documents for all services, even your mileage, which can be procured after getting an oil change.

Aside from mileage and maintenance, if you’ve recently purchased a new car, you may be able to write it off under Section 179. Keep in mind that there is a weight limit on the vehicle and a dollar limit on how much of the purchase price you can write off. The IRS states, “You cannot elect to expense more than $25,000 of the cost of any heavy sport utility vehicle (SUV) and certain other vehicles placed in service during the tax year. This rule applies to any 4-wheeled vehicle primarily designed or used to carry passengers over public streets…” However, this is for a vehicle weighing more than 6,000 pounds (the average car weighs 4,000 lbs). Land Rover dealership, here we come!

Deduct Office Expenses

deduct home office expenses

If you work out of a business office, for example, a broker’s office that you own, you can deduct the cost of rent and utilities. Some expenses are considered current, meaning they will be deducted in the year that they are paid, whereas others are labeled capitalized and are depreciated or spread out over time.

When it comes to a home office, things get a bit trickier. According to IRS Topic 509, requirements to be considered a home office include an area that is used:

1. Exclusively and regularly as your principal place of business for your trade or business

2. Exclusively and regularly as a place where you meet and deal with your patients, clients, or customers in the normal course of your trade or business; or

3. A separate structure used exclusively and regularly in connection with your trade or business that is not attached to your home

4. On a regular basis for certain storage use

5. For rental use

6. As a daycare facility

While the latter two options really don’t apply, it’s important to pay careful attention to the first four. Note the word “exclusively.” This means that you can’t use the room for any other purpose, even after hours. Another important thing to note: the home office doesn’t have to be a full room; it can be a part of a room, as long as it’s clear that it’s used as a business space.

How much you can write off depends on the ratio of home office size to home size. You can use IRS Form 8829 to calculate home office write offs by percentage of square feet or by number of rooms. Once you have this number, apply it to your home office expenses to see how much you can deduct. Another option, available as of 2013, is to take a standard deduction of $5 per square foot of office space, up to 300 square feet, the maximum deduction being $1,500.

For home owners, home office expenses include mortgage interest, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance, cleaning expenses, maintenance, an alarm system, casualty losses, property tax, utilities and repairs. Furthermore, homeowners can depreciate a portion of the cost of their house.

If you’re a renter, great news! A portion of your monthly rent can be written off.

Now, what happens if you work at both your home office and your broker’s office? As long as your home office still qualifies as your “principal place of business,” you still qualify for the write off. How do you determine if it’s “principal”? In Publication 587, the IRS states that you must consider “The relative importance of the activities performed at each place where you conduct business and the amount of time spent at each place where you conduct business.” Basically, where you conduct important activities and spend the most time is your principal place of business. What they mean by “important activities” is “administrative or management activities,” which include:

• Billing customers, clients, or patients

• Keeping books and records

• Ordering supplies

• Setting up appointments

• Forwarding orders or writing reports

Deduct Business Travel and Entertainment

deduct business travel

If you’ve travelled for real estate business this year, whether to attend a conference or meet with an out of town client, you can write off your transportation and lodging expenses. When it comes to food, however, you can only deduct 50 percent of the cost of meals.

Entertaining a client on the road or in your home town? If you’d like to deduct the cost of a meal or an entertainment event, the entertainment must take place “directly before or after a substantial business discussion.” The IRS Publication 463 elaborates by stating that as long as the entertainment takes place on the same day as said discussion, it’s considered to be held directly before or after (why didn’t they just say that in the first place?). Like business travel meals, only 50 percent of the cost of the meal or “entertainment” can be deducted.

Deduct Professional Services

Many agents outsource business, whether it’s to freelance writers, attorneys, marketing agencies, accountants, photographers, consultants, graphic artists, SEO specialists or web designers. Fees that you pay to these professionals for work related to your real estate business can be written off. Check out the IRS Publication 535 for more information.

Deduct Insurance

Business liability insurance, insurance for business property or any insurance bought exclusively for your real estate business is deductible. As mentioned before, you can deduct a portion of your homeowners insurance if you work out of a home office. Additionally, according to an IRS Tax Tip, if you are self-employed, you are allowed a 100 percent deduction of all “medical, dental or long-term care insurance premiums.”

 

Feeling a bit more prepared to take on the 2014 tax season? We hope this breakdown of the top five tax breaks for real estate agents was helpful, and wish you the biggest refund yet!

Find us on Google+

How to Deal with an Indecisive Home Buyer

By Working with an indecisive client can be incredibly frustrating. Sometimes it may feel as though s/he isn’t listening to your expert advice, or maybe s/he simply doesn’t know what s/he wants. Here are five roles to assume in order to place, inform, listen, mediate and encourage your client to make a decision! After all, knowing how to deal with an indecisive home buyer can be the difference between closing a deal and losing one.

 

judge

Be the Judge

When beginning to work with a new client, it’s important to find out exactly where in the home buying process they’re at. Do they have a few neighborhoods they’d like to purchase in? Have they made a list of the necessary features and desired amenities they’d like in their ideal home? It’s important to gauge the decisiveness of your client(s) at this stage in order to prepare yourself for other roles you may need to assume as the process moves forward.

 

teacher

Be the Teacher

Make sure that your clients are informed. A lot of indecision can stem from lack of information or even misinformation, so make sure to clear up any confusion. Knowledge is power, so it’s important to empower your buyer clients as much as possible. Ultimately, their empowerment will translate into decisiveness when it comes time to take the next step.

 

Be the Confidant

confidant

Listen, listen, listen! The best way to find out what your clients want in a home is to open your ears. If you’re working with more than one person, like a couple, find out more than what they want as a unit. Approach each client individually and find out what aspects of a home they find more important than others so that you can cater to their specific as well as their mutual needs.

 

Be the Mediator

mediator

The role of mediator comes into play if you’re working with more than one buyer client, especially a male-female couple. A recent Consumer Outlook Survey revealed the differences between male and female home buyers, highlighting their responsibilities, favorite activities and disagreements during the home buying process. The findings placed the realtor as “couples’ therapist,” someone to balance both clients’ objectives. In fact, 83 percent of consumer respondents said that their real estate agent was helpful in forming an agreement between themselves and their partner.

 

Be the Cheerleader

cheerleader

Once your clients are informed, in agreement and ready to make that crucial decision, it’s time to play cheerleader. Support and encourage them as they discuss contingencies and start to write an offer. Continue to assume other roles as necessary, but make sure you are positive and encouraging overall. Convey your approval of their informed decision and exude excitement! This is an incredibly important and exciting time of your clients’ lives!

 

Although it may be difficult to assume multiple roles and personalities (we can’t all be Sybil), in the end, real estate agents are the jack-of-all-trades in today’s society, especially when dealing with people. By judging, teaching, listening, mediating and encouraging your buyer clients, you’ll be able to curtail indecision at the source. If indecision does raise its ugly head, you’ll know how to deal with it gracefully and professionally.

 

Find us on Twitter

How to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent: Part 2

By

During Jim Droz’s second installment of the “Releasing the Winner Within” webinar series, the top producing real estate agent gave us some tips on how to become a successful real estate agent. He laid out who we should be targeting and gave us an effective five-step system to successfully market to these consumers. Below are some helpful hints from the webinar.

Who to Target

Mr. Droz gave us six areas to focus on when it came to consumer targeting. This is the pool he drew from to become the first agent in the U.S. to earn over $1 million annually.

call internet leads

1. Internet Leads: Jim suggests that you call these leads immediately. After speaking with the lead, send a thank you email. Once the prospective client is automatically placed into your database, send emails with value-added information and additional properties. Lastly, call these leads on a determined basis.

2. Sphere of Influence: Build a database of every person in your sphere of influence. This includes friends, family members, acquaintances and the like. New agents should send an introductory letter while experienced agents should send a sphere of influence/referral letter. Commence and continue a drip system with every person in this group.

3. People with whom you’ve worked in the past: Reach out to former coworkers and past clients. For experienced agents, this should be done by sending what Jim Droz deems a “Relationship Renewal Letter,” outlining why you’ve lost touch and why you hope to reconnect. If you’re a new agent, you can send a letter announcing your new career and that you hope to be considered if the recipient is ever in need of an agent. Follow up these letters with phone calls.

target a neighborhood

4. Target group(s): Choose a target group or groups. This can be a geographic location or specific niche. After one is chosen, build a database of every person in the targeted group. Next, place an “item of value” in front of the targeted consumers once every two weeks. This “item of value” can be a new listing you have in the area or a recently sold property (success marketing). Knock on seven to 10 doors daily in the targeted area until you’ve introduced yourself to every property owner. Lastly, follow up each meeting with a “thank you for being receptive” letter and continue to drip on these new contacts until you retire.

5. Local businesses: First, build a database of every business with whom you would like to develop a relationship. Next, print and send both first and follow-up letters for everyone in this database, then call all of the business owners to whom you sent letters. During the phone call, make sure you inform the owner of your desire to establish a mutually beneficial relationship in which you refer clients to him/her and vice versa. Schedule a meeting to discuss this proposition in person and then follow this interaction up with a thank you letter. Lastly, place the owner into your drip system and stop by once a month to deliver referral cards and other marketing materials.

For Sale by Owner

6. For Sale By Owner and Expired listings: In order to increase business, Mr. Droz suggests that you work for sale by owner (FSBO) and expired listings. Some FSBO property owners may become discouraged after having their home on the market for some time with little to no bites, becoming open to the idea of hiring an agent. By calling up expired listings from the past two years, you can find owners who still wish to sell, albeit with a new agent at the helm.

The Five Step System

We’ve covered most of these steps in the “Who to Target” section above, but here they are nicely laid out:

1. Build Databases
2. Send letters and emails
3. Call and meet face-to-face
4. Send follow up letters and emails
5. Employ repetitive exposure (success marketing)

 

By targeting the right consumers using the right method, you can increase the scope of your business in a relatively short time frame. By increasing the reach and depth of your people bank, you will begin to build a group of loyal clients that will continue to work with you and send you referrals throughout your career. With these loyal customers and countless referrals comes increased revenue and a more successful you!


Find us on Google+

Google Autofill and Real Estate

Google Autofill and Real Estate

Inspired by a recent UN Women campaign, we decided to use the Google Autofill feature to see what exactly people are looking for when it comes to real estate. First, we played with a few different entries to see what we could unearth. By simply using the term “real estate” along with a few different verbs and prepositions, autofill results told us a lot about what people want to know. Below you’ll find screenshots of our Google Autofill and real estate searches and what we learned from them.

 

Real Estate

Google Real Estate Autofill

From these autofill responses, we can glean that people searching for this term alone may be interested in becoming agents themselves. There are also people searching for news about the current market and possibly some potential buyers looking for current MLS listings.

Google Autofill Real estate is

Yes, it can be hard dear Google searcher. However, we tend to agree with the second autofill result, especially over the third. Searchers have heard that real estate is a good investment, but why? This is your cue, dear agents! It’s important to get why real estate is such a good investment out into the internet ether. This can make a great blog post—one those Google searchers may just stumble over when they start typing in “real estate is…”

 

Real Estate Agent(s)

Google Autofill Real estate agent no S

These results tell us that 1) there are some future agents in Googleland, 2) people are curious as to how much money you make, 3) potential home sellers may be curious as to how much money they’ll have to spend on you and 4) there’s some confusion as to the difference between an agent and a broker.

Google Autofill Real estate Agent

The difference an ‘s’ can make! These results tell us in what cities people are looking for agents. Los Angeles, Torrance and Las Vegas seem to be where the housing market is on the up and up!

 

Buying

Google autofill buy real estate

The top autofill result comes from agents looking to buy internet leads (shameless plug: why not check out HouseHunt’s system?). Our second result comes from those looking to use their individual retirement accounts to purchase real estate. Lastly, we have some Grand Theft Auto 5 fans and those looking to buy property in Belize.

Google autofill buy real estate for

Once again, we find searchers looking to invest in real estate. We also see that some are interested in tax deed sales, while others don’t want to put money down on their real estate purchase. Lastly, we find out there’s a good amount of all-cash buyers out there.

google autofill buy real estate in

Here we see where people want to purchase property. While Belize shows up again as a hot market, we also see that Detroit is on many a searcher’s radar. Ignoring another GTA result, we see buyers are also looking to purchase in Spain. ¡Olé!

google autofill buy real estate with

Again, we see that many people are looking to purchase real estate with an IRA. Secondly, we find that some searchers are simply out of luck. Thirdly, we see that bitcoin is becoming a more popular currency and that people are looking to purchase property with it. Lastly, we see that people are dipping into their 401k funds to make the ultimate investment.

 

Selling

google autofill sell real estate

From these results, we can glean that many sellers are looking to the internet to sell their home. Many people are also putting their homes up for sale on eBay, there’s even an observatory for sale on there!

google autofill sell real estate after

Some sellers need help selling under special circumstances. These include a property owner’s death (probate), a divorce, or if the contract with a real estate agent has expired. These would all make great posts for your real estate blog.

google autofill real estate seller

Tweak the entry a bit, and you see that not only are agents looking for seller leads, but sellers want to know what fees and closing costs they’ll incur, as well as what financing options are available to them.

google autofill real estate sellers

Here we see that sellers need guidance: they want to know if the market is in their favor and want access to a net proceeds sheet, a guide and an agent. In short, searchers want access to you, so make yourself easily found online.

 

As you can see, you can learn a lot about what buyers and sellers are searching for by simply starting to type in a phrase then letting Google do the rest of the work. Try it out yourself! Use basic terms and try out various wordings to gain insight into prospective client’s minds while getting great ideas for your real estate blog!


Find us on Google+

Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act 2014

By

short sale tax
Short sale and foreclosure tax slated to return in 2014

The time has come. The Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act has finally run its course, and many homeowners will now be on the hook for short sale tax or foreclosure tax in 2014.

Let’s start with the back story. Originally passed in 2007, the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act provided a tax exemption to homeowners when their mortgage company forgave debt though a short sale or foreclosure.

Let’s say you had purchased a home for $400,000 and took out a mortgage for $300,000. Later, you short sold the home for $200,000 and your lender agreed to forgive the balance of $100,000. Instead of the IRS considering that forgiven $100,000 as income, Congress allowed homeowners to short sell or foreclose without having to pay the IRS for their canceled debt.

In October 2008, due to the ongoing hardships suffered by the housing market, the act was extended through December 31, 2012. It was then extended once more by Congress through December 31, 2013. According to the LA Times, “as much as $2 million in forgiven debt for each household was exempted from federal taxes under the 2007 law.”

With 6.4 million homeowners still underwater on their mortgages, meaning they owe more on the loan than the property is worth, the government aid is still very much needed. However, despite bipartisan support, the law expired at midnight on Tuesday, December 31st and wasn’t extended because lawmakers were home for the holidays.

All hope is not lost however, as pending legislation in the House and Senate would extend the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act through 2015, the LA Times reports. Such an extension could be passed retroactively, going into effect January 1st, as it was last year.

The extension of the act would not only alleviate tax burdens for homeowners, it would help keep the housing recovery alive. The legislation for extension is backed by the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors, to name a few.

Seeing as the health of the housing market is indicative of that of the overall economy, lawmakers will hopefully do whatever they can to extend the act—ensuring the housing recovery is sustainable rather than a fleeting resurgence.

Find us on Google+

Best Real Estate Business Plan

By

2016 is upon us, and if you haven’t already, it’s time to come up with a real estate business plan for the new year. Whether your 2015 was successful or lackluster, there’s always room for improvement. Here at HouseHunt, we’ve devised a business plan that we hope will help you reach all of your real estate goals in 2016.

Build a Better Business Plan

Coca Cola marketing strategy

The Strategy

Who better to look to for an effective plan than those at the top? If you take a look at the basic marketing strategies of companies like Coca-Cola, Heinz and Campbell’s, you’ll see that they all employ the same technique: introduce their product to individual consumers, and through repetitive exposure, ensure the consumer doesn’t forget their product. When they experience success, they use that success to build more consumer recognition. So, why not use what has already proven to be an effective and successful model? If it can sell carbonated beverages, ketchup and soup respectively, why can’t it be employed to sell real estate?

customer loyalty

Client Loyalty

The most important aspect of a real estate agent’s business is client loyalty. If you’re still prospecting for clients after two years as an active real estate agent, you haven’t managed to build up a contact database big enough to sustain your business. Who makes up this database? Consumers that have been introduced to your product, (you!), and they never forget it because you’ve made  consistent, repetitive contact.

The more diligent you are at first constructing your contact database, then providing it with proper maintenance, the more loyal clients and less prospecting you’ll have to do.

By building up this people bank year after year, each year becomes more productive than the last. Eventually, not only will your prospecting days be over, your income will be secure and have gradually increased over time.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Efficiency

Our first step in the process is efficiency. The more efficient you are, the more time you’ll be spending making your business more successful. The more successful you are, the more money you earn. Your business should be working for you, not the other way around.

HouseHunt has created a Business Efficiency Analysis you can use to find out where you need to make adjustments in order to have a more profitable business. The 22 question analysis includes inquiries like “Do you know how many loyal customers you need to generate your desired income?” To answer this question, check out the infographic “The Formula for Success.” Using it, you can find out exactly how many loyal clients you need to achieve your financial goals based on factors like the amount of commission per transaction and your desired annual income.

Other questions in the analysis focus on the agent’s internet presence, asking “Are you efficiently converting internet leads into transactions?” If you answered no to this, check out our other featured articles under lead generation and lead conversion categories on our blog.

The Business Plan

After completing the questionnaire, you’ll find out where you need to make adjustments and improvements in order to make your business more efficient. Want to do more? HouseHunt’s Diamond Business Plan will provide a road map to your desired destination in 2016, using the strategy outlined above and helping you retain more clients and work more efficiently. The real estate business plan will allow you to constantly monitor your progress and get you back on track if you deviate from the path. It is a free service meant to help all real estate agents meet their real estate goals.

We wish you the best of luck on your real estate journey in 2016, and hope you meet all of your professional goals!


Find us on Google+

 

Infographics for Dummies

By

You can turn boring stats and information into something fun and accessible. Showcase a message, raise brand awareness, and establish authority in your area of expertise with infographics. With visual-based websites like Pinterest and Instagram, it’s important to still get across your information without just writing an essay for your audience time and time again.

Real Estate infographics could serve all kinds of purposes. You could share with your audience the importance of buying a home soon, ways to pay off their mortgage, or just something fun for the sake of engagement.

If your first thought is, “I’m not a designer,” then no need to worry – I’m not, either! We’ll take a look at making and sharing your infographics under ideal and not-so-ideal circumstances. With just a few key tips, you can create visuals that will attract a whole new audience to your business or cause!

So, without further ado, here’s how to make an infographic.

#infographic

Design Software

Ideally: In a perfect world, you would be equipped with an entire Adobe suite, with everything from Photoshop to Illustrator to InDesign. You would have access to more public domain photography and artwork than you knew what to do with via a service like Shutterstock.

Instead: Turns out you’re in perfectly fine shape with no more than the software that came pre-installed on your computer. Microsoft Powerpoint is a remarkable tool for designing infographics. Matter of fact, Hubspot was kind enough to pre-design some templates to get you started. When you’ve got a finished product in Powerpoint that you’re proud of, just save it as a JPG file, and you’re good to go. You may have to save text boxes as separate images to make sure the file transfer doesn’t distort them. Fun fact: All of the infographics by HouseHunt have been designed on Powerpoint.

You can import public domain pictures from free services like Wikimedia or Flickr Creative Commons. And if you want to tinker with those stock photos, Six Revisions has a list of great, free alternatives to Photoshop. One thing I do a lot when designing is extract a certain part of an image to use in my infographic. For example, if you can’t find a usable picture of a plate, you may be able to find a picture of a dining room table and slice the plate out of it, onto your creation.

Design Knowledge

Ideally: You probably went to school for four years for a BA in graphic design, right?

Instead: You’ll certainly be a better designer with some professional education. But for your purposes, you’ll amaze yourself with what you can accomplish based on just a few simple rules.

  1. Steal Like an Artist – Find an infographic that you like and model yours after it. I’m not talking about the content; just the formatting. Take inspiration from a couple great sources and see if you don’t turn out something entirely unique.
  2. Font Selection is Important… So Don’t Overthink It – A lot of beginner designers want to impress audiences with their vast font collection and wind up with a product that looks like Comic Sans barfed on a picture book. Limit yourself to one extravagant font per graphic. Other than that keep them basic and easy on the eyes. Mix it up between serif and sans serif fonts.
  3. Color Scheme – Just like with fonts, put a cap on the number of colors you can use before you even start. ColorCombos.com is a great way to find colors that complement each other.
  4. Gridlines – Activate the gridlines feature on PowerPoint to properly align different elements on your infographic. Don’t have everything centered either; that’s boring. Put the central elements on one of the lines dividing the graphic into thirds; that is more captivating for the viewer.
  5. Advertise – Let’s be real: the reason you created your infographic was to bring attention to your business. So at the bottom of each infographic you’ll want to set aside some space to promote your company, website, social media platforms, etc. This is also a great spot to credit the sources you used to make the graphic. At HouseHunt, we keep this part of each infographic pretty uniform so that no matter how diverse the presentations, the audience stays grounded in the resource they’re using.
  6. Keep It Simple – This is the most important design rule, especially in 2014. The reason you made an infographic in the first place was to simplify a wealth of knowledge into something your readers could easily digest. Don’t just try to plaster all your information onto one picture. That doesn’t help anyone. Have a clear thesis in mind, one point that you’re trying to make when you start, and stick solely to that.

That should be more than enough guidelines to get you started. But once you’ve mastered those, if you’re interested in perfecting your craft, Hubspot has created an incredible design resource covering all the elements of design for infographics. And if you want to get really meta, here’s an infographic about creating infographics.

The 12 Costs of Christmas Pic

Promotion

Good news here, folks! There’s no difference between how a professional would promote his infographic under ideal circumstances and how you will with what’s available!

Social media is the driving force behind the shift to visual advertising, so it makes sense that social media will provide some of the best platforms to advertise your new masterpiece. Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter are the best at formatting specifically to accommodate infographics.

Pinterest is great because you can link the picture to your blog or website. You’ll be amazed at the traffic it can drive! Your infographic shows knowledge and accessability, and your online presence will flourish because of it.

Share your creation on Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups. These are online gatherings of people with a similar interest or purpose. So if your infographic is about rising home prices in your town, you can find communities about your town, real estate, or good investing. Just make sure you follow the guidelines set by these various groups.

Depending on how often you develop infographics, you may want to use them as an excuse for an e-mail blast to touch base with existing clients.

No matter the content you’re trying to share, an infographic will serve as a great medium. And with these simple tips, there’s no excuse not to try your hand at this new marketing tactic.

Find us on Google+