The holiday season came in hot and left just as quickly, and now it’s on to budgets, goals, and projects. I’m super serious about using the right tools to keep my clients happy and my small business running smoothly—and I know the rest of you are, too.
Here, I have compiled a list of my favorite user-friendly, BLUEPRINT-approved business + branding resources. Not all of these are specifically “for Realtors,” but all of them are quality companies I trust and frequently recommend to clients for use in their own real estate businesses. From organizational apps for your team to reliable print shops and my favorite brand product resources (customized stamps, anyone?), I guarantee you’ll find value in this handy-dandy list. Let’s maintain those business resolutions. Cheers to a more efficient, and beautifully branded, 2019!
Trello is a life-changing desktop site and mobile app that I use daily for project management. My former boss, Tiffany, stumbled across the app when I was working as Marketing Coordinator for her real estate team (#mypastlife), and it completely revolutionized our client management, team communication, and lead-follow up system. Trello is ideal for teams and for managing your personal deadlines, while being incredibly customizable and simple to use.
I manage all my project workflows + Instagram content using Trello. Best of all? It’s F-R-E-E. Here’s a fantastic 20-minute tutorial I found on Google re: how to use Trello in your real estate business, to get you inspired. You’re welcome.
PRINTING + PACKAGING
Most Realtors I know use VistaPrint for their print needs, and while I have nothing against VP, I’m simply found MOO’s quality to be far superior. I’ll go so far as to the say that MOO is hands-down the best business card printing site on the web.
While they’re best known for their mini cards (nifty) and “Printfinity” services, MOO also offers luxe cards (3x the weight of normal cards, with a colored edge), “Super” cards (a step down from luxe, but still unbendable and with a beautiful soft-touch, velvet-like finish—my favorite), and even letterpress printing services and gold foil options. As a full-service printing site, they also print flyers, postcards, letterheads and more. I print 95% of BLUEPRINT print products through MOO and can vouch for their customer service.
Oh, another fabulous perk: if you have a team of 10 or more employees, you can sign up for a business account for simple ordering + reordering, complete with a dedicated account manager. Less hassle for you, plus a sweet discount on their products.
Hello, beautiful portfolios, client guides, listing lookbooks, and more…I have printed almost 50 books in various sizes from MagCloud and have always been pleased with the results. While MagCloud does not offer paper choices, their “magazine quality” paper never disappoints and they do provide various sizes and binding options. And the platform is print-on-demand, so there’s no pesky minimums.
MagCloud is about quality over quantity, to me, and winning those “first impression” moments that truly matter with your clients. Most of my BLUEPRINT clients use MagCloud to print their branded client Buyer and Seller Guides. They’re simply gorgeous. You could also use MagCloud to print high-quality recruiting magazines, luxury listing lookbooks, and whatever else your happy Realtor heart desires. (You can study their product chart here.)
Disclaimer: I don’t have any personal experience with this company, but it comes highly recommended from a handful of designers I trust. The Newspaper Club helps you make and print your own newspaper, quickly and easily. Talk about a delightful and unique mailer concept. For you agents trying to dream up a fresh spin on your print campaigns…this might be worth the look. (If you give it a go, let me know!)
Lumi is an LA-based company that designs and manufactures custom packaging for businesses. The platform allows you to upload logos and designs, then create your own branded tape, boxers, mailers, and bags.
Here’s the thing. Once you have a robust + beautiful brand that you’re proud of? Finding new items to feature your logos, patterns, and overall brand goodness on becomes a bit of an addiction (I speak from personal experience ;)). But more than the fun of it, I’m a firm believer that pretty packaging is the e-commerce equivalent of an eye-catching storefront. For you agents who love the idea of sending client gifts in a branded box, sealed with branded tape—and to you, I raise my glass and say WELL DONE—then Lumi can help.
I’m a sucker for branded tissue (it’s another Brand Addiction of mine; I’ve passed the addiction on to several clients already). Noissue allows you to design your own branded tissue paper and have it shipped to you anywhere in the world within 3 weeks. #sold
Their website maybe be circa 1998 (eh, it adds to the charm), but the prices and quality are fantastic. My love for branded stamps is second only to my obsession with branded tissue paper. The possibilities to leave your real estate logo mark in ink are endless: think postcards, boxes, bags, and [insert your latest brilliant brand idea]. Branded stamps are a relatively inexpensive way to personalize anything quickly, and I love the instant character they add to collateral.
I’m always on the lookout for surprisingly beautiful agent presentation tools. LOKTAH folders won’t be for everyone, but their style is right up my alley and maybe yours, too. If you have sleek new buyer and seller magazines (remember MagCloud?) and are looking for a stand-out way to present them at consults, then give LOKTAH’s handmade portfolio folders a look. They have unique string and bead design, rounded edges, and textured covers. So far they’ve held my 8.5. x 11 client magazines (and other collateral pieces, like postcards) beautifully. Bonus: they come in a range of colors to fit your brand (including a ruby red for you KW folks!).
MARKETING + CLIENT GIFTING
I already was a fan of ATRE from my past life as an agent, but after partnering with them for a giveaway recently, I fell even more in love with this company. (Tracey, the owner, was kind enough to engage me when I reached out to her on Instagram one day, and the rest is history. She’s a genuinely kind human being and her company reflects that thoughtfulness at every level, which is a little hard to come by in the world of real estate marketing, in my humble opinion.) The ATRE mantra is that “Realtor marketing materials don’t have to be flat, boring, and and one-size-fits all”—umm, yes, please. This unique supply store is located in Portland, Oregon. Their vast catalogue of items are targeted toward Realtors who truly care about their marketing.
Never skimp on client gifts. I can’t rave enough about the attention to detail and pure aesthetic appeal that the luxury gift purveyor, Teak and Twine, offers in their gift boxes. Each box contains beautifully designed and curated products, from Himalayan sea salts to artisan honey and hand-poured soy candles. Their ordering process is easy and their “corporate gifting” service is perfect for Realtors looking to create their own branded client gifts, down to personalized color schemes, handwritten card inserts, and customized belly bands.
Since this little luxury company is based in Vancouver, I haven’t had the pleasure of ordering from them myself. But I connected with its sweet owner, Kassie, through a BLUEPRINT client also based in Vancouver (who loves her services!). Through chatting with Kassie, I can tell that her gift boxes are as thoughtful, unique, and memorable as they come, and her company also caters to corporate gifting and those extra special branded details. Since I am working with quite a few BC-based Realtors these days, I couldn’t help but give Aloha a shout-out.
SOCIAL MEDIA + DESIGN
LightRoom is my must-have for photo-editing. This software makes photo batching on your computer or phone incredibly easy. The mobile app is free, and if you take advantage of the editing presets, you can take the cohesion of your social media feed to the next level.
Using Instagram as a discovery tool is the key to steady, organic growth on Instagram. But creating variety in your hashtags and focusing on relevant, mid-sized hashtags will help attract new eyes on your posts. In the Hashtags app, simply type in one hashtag and watch it pump out 30 related ones to help you cast a wider net. Perfection. You can also save hashtag lists to use later in future/relevant Instagram posts.
This handy little editing + design tool has exploded on the creative scene and continues to gain momentum. Perks: loads of free fonts and images, beautiful templates, simple drag-and-drop interface that anyone can use. And it’s free. If your arsenal of brand tools does not already include Canva, then jump on the bandwagon: it takes the heartburn out of quick postcard, flyer, and social media tile creation for everyone.
BLUEPRINT Brand Studio is a boutique design studio for real estate professionals. Offering custom + refined branding services, I help real estate agents and teams elevate their presentation and tell visual stories that matter.