Real Estate Agent & Trainer using the power of technology to achieve maximum productivity
Category Archives: Marketing
12 June 2013Posted by on
Editor’s Note: This original posting was way too long & not just a review but a how-to. I’m going to change it to a how-to and make today’s (Thursday’s) into a review.
Today I stumbled on a really neat program called “Batch Picture Protector” from the folks over at SoftOrbits and wanted to introduce you to some of its features & ‘quirks.’ I already had a watermark image in mind, so I quickly threw it together in my photo editing software.
The software interface is incredibly simple. In all honesty, it’s a little too simplistic for me, because I’m a geek. My OCD & geek crashed into each other when I saw that the tools you use are in the “Toolbos,” (sic), in addition to Zoom In & Out, there’s apparently now a “Zoom Normal,” which is an oxymoron IMNSHO. The OCD/geek also growled when I saw that the vast choices I expected to find when I clicked “Options”
were was just one: language selection.
Important note before we go further: Adding a watermark with this program does NOT impact your source photo in any way. You select a destination folder for your watermarked images, and the program creates a copy of the photo.
The GUI is not 100% intuitive, either. Some things I learned after a bit of struggle (and by ‘struggle’ I mean ‘reading the manual’):
- You have to add your photograph(s) before you can do anything with watermarks. Everything related to watermarks is greyed out until you load your photos.
- To upload / add your watermark image, you click the “+ Logo Image” button and “Browse” on the next screen.
- I was very excited to see that you could one-touch publish your photos to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube with the buttons at the bottom — until I realized they’re actually just links to the publisher’s page on those sites.
- “Batch Mode” is just your destination folder selection and a “Start” button. It’s not a “mode” and you will also use it when you’re only doing a single photo, so it’s not limited to “batches.”
- Despite having an underlined letter, the toolbar cannot be accessed with an “ALT +” shortcut.
- When you disturb the “Toolbos” – by clicking the X or by going to “Batch Mode” – you have to click “Watermarks” to get it back.
- Because it has the feature to add multiple text or image marks, which is a nice plus, you don’t edit a watermark by clicking on “+ Text Watermark” or “+ Logo Image.” Granted, I should have realized that “+,” means to “add,” not to edit. To edit the options on what is already loaded, double click the name of it in the “Watermarks” box.
So, to start from the beginning, add the file(s) you want to watermark by the buttons on the toolbar. You can also choose to add a single photo, multiple photos, or even an entire folder – hence the name “Batch Picture Protector.”
To add a text watermark, click “+ Text Watermark” and you’ll get this dialog box:
The box above results in this:
To add an image, click “+ Logo Image,” to get this:
Click “Browse” and select the image you want to use as a watermark.
As you can see in the two boxes, there are quite a few options.
- The Magenta star shows you can name this watermark & save it if you plan to use it again.
- The Green star shows where you can set the text to be on an angle, if you desire.
- The Yellow star shows where you can add a background color (think highlighting), choose the color, set the transparency, and add a “shadow” or “glow.” This is especially helpful if your source photo has a large array of colors and some of your letters get lost in a similar color.
Two of the most important items, however, are:
- The square, which indicates watermark placement. You can choose between 9 places, depending on the type & shape of your watermark. Because I have the middle box selected in the TEXT example above, you’ll notice that the text appears in the center of the screen. When I choose the middle-bottom box in the LOGO example above, my watermark became centered on the bottom.
- The oval, which shows how to set the transparency of your image. You may want to play with this a bit to see what works best for you. Here is a transparency of 100% versus a transparency of 50% (and yes, the setting is in increments of 1, not 50):
A third “most important item” is:
Just as you can set the size of the font, you can determine what size you want the logo to be. You have two options:
1. Set it to appear based on a percentage of the watermark’s original size. This can be problematic unless all of your photos (in this batch) are the exact same size. Here is an illustration of what may happen if you have it based on the watermark and your photos vary in size:
2. Set it to a percentage of the source image. This is my recommendation. Setting it to 20% and putting it in one of the corners may be best for a simple copyright or security watermark. Due to how I designed my watermark, setting it to 100% of the source image was best. See the transparency example above or the collection at the end for examples.
With Batch Picture Protector, you can even do a Text Watermark AND a Logo Image. This comes in handy if you’re doing multiple batches, each requiring different settings, as adding (or loading) all of the watermarks you plan to use may save time if done all at once. Just because a watermark is listed in the box doesn’t mean it will appear on the photos. Check or uncheck the box on the right to enable/disable a watermark for the batch you’re currently running.
Take it to the next level and add multiple text or logo watermarks. Because the watermarks are independent of each other, you can put the full logo at the bottom, a copyright symbol in the top left, “FOR LEASE” written diagonally across the photo in white and another text box in the center of the top showing the file name. I’m not going to take it THAT far, however adding both text & logo to a photo would result in something like this:
As you’ll notice in each of the screenshots above, all of your selected photos are shown down the left side of your screen. (TIP: If this box disappears, simply click “View” > “Source Images.”) The beauty of Batch Picture Protector is that you can get a preview of what each individual photo will look like with your watermark settings by simply clicking on the source photo. When you tell the program to start adding the watermark, EVERY photo in this line will be done in a matter of seconds. If you determine in previewing that you don’t like how the watermark appears on an individual picture, or you’ve added a folder with some photos which should not be watermarked, remove them from the list. Removing individual photos means selecting them and going to “File” > “Remove Selected.” When you’re finished with a batch, you can select “File” > “Remove All.”
Once you have your image in place, click “Batch Watermark” (under the buttons to add a text or logo), and you’re presented with the dialog box to the right. Set the desired destination folder by browsing, click “Start,” and it will be finished in seconds. I did an entire folder of various-sized photos in roughly the same time it would take to do a single one.
I’ve selected 7 of the results to show what a watermark will look like at 100% of ‘Source Image’ and 75% transparency. Notice how the watermark appears when over a darker area compared to a lighter area.
Here are the results:
01 March 2012Posted by on
I get asked about profile completeness at least twice a week, so I decided to post the score factors here. TIP: The easiest way to get to these is to click “Profile,” then the Edit located under “Other / My Referrals.” Your “Referral” profile actually brings up both your referral information AND your White Pages entry on the same screen, saving you from going through the “My KW Info / White Pages” and the “Other / My Referrals” sections separately.
Here are the items in your profile and the percentage points each carries:
|5%||Specialties||Include all possible ways of searching (i.e. ‘e-Pro’ & ‘ePro,’ or ‘LGBT’ & ‘GLBT’ – and even ‘gay and lesbian’ for good measure.)|
|1%||Designations||Remember: REALTOR *is* a Designation.|
|5%||Service Areas||Name as many areas as you possibly can.|
|1%||Languages||Yes, Virginia, English and Spanish do count.|
|3%||Referral Notes||Are you willing to take referrals? Pay competitive referral fees?|
|0%||Loss Mitigation Resume|
White Pages section
|10%||Image||And PLEASE don’t be pretending to talk on the phone…|
|5%||First Name||First letter capitalized, the remainder in lower case…|
|5%||Last Name||First letter capitalized, the remainder in lower case…|
|5%||Street 1||Abbreviations accepted, periods not required (i.e. – 100 W Main St)|
|2%||Country||We ARE an INTERNATIONAL company now!!!|
|3%||Facebook URL||Preferably for your BUSINESS Page, and ONLY the last segment – and no ‘facebook.com/…’|
|1%||Twitter URL||ONLY your username – no ‘@’ or ‘twitter.com…’|
|3%||Blog URL||Unlike the previous two, the full URL.|
|5%||Display for customers||Should your profile be available for customers to find you, or would you prefer to be a “Secret Agent?”|
06 December 2011Posted by on
Great news! You are no longer restricted to Georgia MLS (GaMLS) being your only IDX for eEdge. Now you can add the feed from FMLS!
Now for the not-so-great news. When you added GaMLS, all you had to do was select it from the MLS list and add your username. Adding FMLS is a bit more involved, so the instructions below may seem klunky and disorganized. What you see in GREEN will be actions you take on the FMLS site. You’ll be doing everything you read in RED on the myKW / eEdge site.
Step #1. Log into MyKW and go to the eEdge Dashboard (by clicking New Lead or by clicking Show Options under myMarketing, then clicking Manage eEdge Website – which is supposed to be the ‘easy’ way). Navigate to the Profile Info tab under Website Admin. Write down the URL which appears beside “Website.” (Figure 1)
Step #2. Log into FMLS. In the left navigation, hover My FMLS and click Edit My Roster. Be sure the website shown under Website URL is the same noted in Step #1. If it isn’t and you need to change it, the servers may take several hours for the corrected info to change across the board. (Figure 2)
Step #3. If your roster entry had the same Website URL as your eEdge profile, go to Step #4. If not, check back every few hours until you see that the info in your FMLS Roster matches the info in your eEdge profile.
Step #4. When (and only when) your FMLS Roster Entry, go back to the FMLS homepage, hover Tools for Success, and choose FMLSweb at the top of the far right column. Click “FMLSWeb Agent Elections,” and be sure the radio button beside I elect to use an ‘FMLSweb Approved Data Vendor’ is selected, then click Submit Elections. If you agree to the T&C’s, click I accept the… and you will be taken to a list of Approved Data Vendors. Scroll down until you see “Market Leader,” click the radio button beside it, and then click Choose Election. You will be CC’d on an email from FMLS to Market Leader indicating your election to provide Market Leader with the FMLS IDX feed. (Figure 3)
Step #5. It may take 1-2 business days before Market Leader activates your FMLS feed. In the meantime, go to the MLS Administration tab of your eEdge website and click Start MLS Application. Select ‘First MLS’ from the drop-down list and click Save. (Figure 4)
Step #6. When Market Leader provisions your IDX feed, the status beside First MLS in your MLS Administration tab will change to ‘Approved.’ Once this status is updated, navigate back to your Profile Info tab. At the bottom of the page, click Edit. Now click Add Agent MLS ID. From the drop down box, select the new option of ‘First MLS’ and enter your FMLS username in the Agent MLS ID field. Click Save in this box and again at the bottom of the page. (Figure 5)
Congratulations! Within a few minutes, you should see listings from both services displayed on your eEdge website.
(Note: If you didn’t already have Georgia MLS provisioned, repeat Step #5, adding Georgia Area MLS this time. Since GaMLS is pre-authorized, you can immediately proceed to adding your Agent MLS ID as shown in Step #6.)
28 September 2011Posted by on
I recently saw a question on a real estate website from a consumer who wanted to list her out-of-state property for sale (by owner) and was asking if it was safe to list the home for sale on Craigslist. I decided that the answer was one that could benefit more than just her, so I wanted to share it with you here.
One of the biggest scams going on right now is people stealing the pictures & addresses of homesPosting ads on Craigslist for sale and then posting a fake “For Rent” post with that info. They’ll usually seem very legitimate to the consumer at first, and then they ask for the first month’s rent and deposit to be mailed to a PO Box somewhere different – often out of state. One way to combat this is to add your phone number or email address to the picture by overlaying it in a way that the scammer couldn’t easily remove it. This can be done with very little skill required if you can use a program like PowerPoint. Simply insert the image to a blank slide and add a text box where you’ll put your information. Place the text so that it doesn’t obstruct the view of the home, and is still in a position that removing it would render the photo useless. I’m attaching a photo of some options I recommend (using stock photos).