Walking into the Hill Realty office is like walking into the home of your favorite aunt. Rocking chairs on the front porch, rich hardwoods, big furniture, inspirational quotes scattered like art on walls and tables; pictures of family placed here and there. It’s just as well, because it’s a company that focuses on creating a family-oriented atmosphere of “helping” – both for employees and clients.
The current building on 10th street was built in 2007, and as a small boutique real estate brokerage, there is passion and space for tailored customer service. Hill Realty prides itself on the extra time and effort to “get folks where they want to be, with care.” It’s what drives the culture of the office and allows them to provide consistently impressive results.
When asked if they list non-luxury homes Donnita says, “Oh honey, yes! In order to do the big homes you have to do the little homes. You get the same treatment big house or small. I love seeing the first time homebuyers. There’s nothing like the gratification of a first time homebuyer.”
Speaking of Donnita, you definitely can’t talk about the home of your favorite aunt without talking about the aunt herself. A bonafide fireball, Donnita has been the #1 realtor if choice in our area for 35 consecutive years. Born and raised in Putnam County, she attended Upperman High School and went on to obtain a marketing degree from Tennessee Tech. She leads her small team of agents (Kayla and Kelly) and support staff in ongoing quality work.
“I currently have the finest team I’ve ever had. They are very dedicated and that makes a difference for everyone. Each person supports the whole office. My husband is the office manager and he does a mighty fine job keeping us in line.”
A typical day for the #1 realtor has her rising at 4:30 or 5:00 am to get some time with her Bible before she heads into the office around 6:00 am. Early morning gives her uninterrupted time to get the day going. When the rest of the office comes to life, she’s ready to roll with appointments, listings, and all of the other tidbits – often unplanned – that come with running a business. Sometimes they don’t wrap up the day until 8:00 or 9:00 pm.
“I’m highly energized,” she says. “I have long days but your mind tells you when to stop. Usually when I get home I’m done. I’m out.”
Outside of her life as a realtor, Donnita takes time to refresh by indulging in motivational books and films and is also a wife, mother, and grandmother.
“In our downtime my husband and I try to spend time doing things together. Just him and I. Oh! And I’m expecting a grandbaby in July. This is very exciting. Very exciting to receive the blessings of a little child.”
One of her mantras is thankfulness – as evidenced by the license plate on her car. “When I drive through town I want people to know hey, I’m thankful for them. In life, without gratitude, you’re getting nowhere…if you say thank you a thousand times a day, you gotta feel good!”
The most important thing for the Hill’s personal home? Key word: comfort. “Comfort to me is when you go to your home and know the walls are covered with wonderful memories from family. Go home and see their sweet faces in a picture. That’s comfort to me. Figuring out how blessed you really are.”
When asked for final thoughts, Donnita pauses and thinks for a minute. When she finally speaks, it’s with confidence –
“There are lots of misconceptions about being a realtor. Oh you know, people talk about all the craziness and all the hard work. Really, the dedication and professionalism of the realtor you choose and their integrity goes a long, long way.
Integrity. Do what you’re going to do and then do it. How hard is that? Over-deliver and under-promise. Don’t promise things you’re not going to be able to do. Yeah. Just do the little things that matter to people.”
To contact Hill Realty:
Visit 818 E 10th St, Cookeville 38501
Browse the web at www.donnitahill.com
For a chance to win this lovely wall plaque:
Just leave a comment at the end of this post tell us what makes a home comfortable for you and you’ll be entered to win! The winner will be announced this Friday.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re officially in the last month of the first quarter…and spring is right around the corner. Going into a new season and a new quarter, do you have a clear marketing and advertising plan? Do you have goals set on how you would like to grow or engage your customer base for the rest of the year?
Maybe you are at a great but scary place in business where you need to invest more resources to continue growing. Maybe you are happy with where you are and want to work on solidifying relationships with current customers. Either way, you must plan and act accordingly.
First, determine who your ideal customer is or who you’d like it to be. Once you know this key piece of information, it will be easier to tailor your products, services, and advertising efforts.
If you’re trying to create more visibility for your brand, advertising mediums like strategically designed and placed billboards and sponsored posts on social media are useful. Draw people in with great service and valuable introductory deals that will make them want to return. Provide useful content on your website that positions your company as an expert in your field. Attend local events and meetings and get involved with the community. Always make sure you have a clear brand identity with a logo, tagline, and consistent colors and appearance.
Creating additional value for existing customers is also important; retaining these folks is just as important (if not more important) than recruiting brand new buyers. Reward your best customers with special deals and communicate with them regularly. Understand and know what they like and listen to their frustrations so you can handle them accordingly. Make them feel included in your business, because after all – they are the ones that keep the business running.
These are some general starting points to think about. Remember,
- Who are you marketing to and what do they like/dislike?
- What are your marketing and advertising goals as we close out the first quarter of the year?
- What are some things you can do to build your brand and attract new customers?
- What are things you can do to take care of and retain your existing customers?
Best of luck to you as we “march” into spring and beyond. We always love to hear from you if you have questions or comments!
Hello friends! Are you eager for the weekend? After a couple of chilly days, the forecast is showing delightful weather this weekend. We’ve rounded up a few things you might want to do:
Saturday, Feb 27
Go for a guided hike at Big South Fork Natural River & Recreation area – there are two to choose from:
Join a Ranger on a Healthy Hike along John Litton Trail to the Fall Branch Waterfall on Saturday, February 27th at 10 am (ET). Meet the Bandy Creek trailhead (swimming pool parking lot) located on Bandy Creek Campground for an easy to moderate 4 mile hike along this beautiful trail.
Hike with a Ranger on Saturday, February 27th at 1 pm (ET). This 5 mile moderately strenuous round trip hike will take place on the Alley Ford section of Cumberland Trail. Meet at Rock Creek Campground and be sure to wear weath-er appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes. Well-behaved dogs on leashes are welcome.
Get rowdy and support our TTU basketball team against Eastern Kentucky at 7:30 pm. Check the schedule and buy tickets here.
Enjoy classical music at the Bryan Fine Arts Center by guest artists the Premru Quartet, 6:30 pm.
Now, for some goodies from the internet:
Spice up your morning with these chorizo and scrambled egg breakfast tacos.
For your viewing entertainment, young children winning at intense athletic feats.
And of course, there’s nothing wrong with just relaxing, so:
One of the challenges many small business owners face is creating fresh, effective advertising that is relevant to their company. One solution that can help navigate this difficulty is figuring out who your target market, or ideal customer is.
You may think, “I want to get my product or service to as many people as possible – my ideal customer is everyone.” However, chances are there is a certain segment or type of person that your product appeals to and is more likely to purchase. These are the individuals you want to focus more of your marketing efforts on.
Defining an ideal customer can be difficult, but once you get a feel for who they are, you can target your marketing and advertising efforts more effectively. Below, we’ll list a few ways you can start finding and catering to your ideal customer:
Think about your current customers.
Who are your long-standing customers who you have a great relationship with? Who are the types of people that seem to fit best with your company?Anything in common amongst the people you have coming in the door? Peruse your current customer list and think about characteristics they have in common.
Write down a list of common or desired traits as it pertains to your business.
What is the age range? Income level? Gender? What are their challenges and frustrations (this can be just as important as their likes)? Are they employed? Are they a business owner? What are specific personality traits they might have? What does their personal life look like? Depending on your business, ask the right questions you need to know and compile a list of what the answers would be for your ideal customer. If you have different types of customers that use your product, create this list for all of the different customer segments you would serve.
Understand how and where they spend time and make purchasing decisions.
Once you have a better understanding of who your ideal customer is, think about where they spend time and how they consume information and make purchasing decisions – both online and offline.
Collect data and gather information.
Writing down thoughts and observations can be useful, but nothing beats collecting data and gathering information from the source. Run reports on your current customer data to extract similarities and trends. Send out a survey or hold a focus group and analyze the results; provide an incentive for people to participate.
Create an ideal customer profile for your business. For instance, ours might look something like this:
Pete Pringle is 45. He is a successful small business owner who is still very involved in the daily operation of his business. He has had a digital billboard for the last three years and enjoys the comments he receives about it from his customers. However, between managing the different aspects of his business, being active at his church, and juggling a family with three children, he is not interested in coming up with creative new content for his billboards and often feels they are stale. He’s an active part of the community, participates in networking groups, and also spends time checking Facebook, opening emails that catch his eye, and perusing the local newspaper online.
As the business, we would likely reach this person by making in-person contact at a community or network event and also make good, informational online content available to him that catches his eye. It would be worth our time to advise on advertising campaigns and work with Pete and his staff regularly yet efficiently to keep content fresh and interesting for both him and his customers.
The challenge of developing your advertising campaign is very real. However, once you can get a handle on who it is you are or should be advertising to, it can steer your content and methods in a positive direction.
We’re available for questions anytime, just get in touch.
- The much anticipated Father Daughter Date Night is happening this weekend, although it is sold out. However, they may still have some tickets for Feb 26 – call Cara Sheets 520-5297.
- Stop in at Poet’s Coffee on Broad street and then carry on to the library, open 10 am – 5 pm on Saturday for some good books or videos to take home. Or, you can head downtown to the Cookeville History Museum where they are having their Star Wars Exhibit, full of vintage Star Wars collectibles. They are open from 10 am – 4 pm.
- Need to get the kids somewhere to get out their energy during spring break? Sign them up for basketball camp March 28 – April 01.
- Feel like having a refreshing workout? Head over to Synergy Yoga, they’ve got Power Yoga and Pilates on Saturday mornings.
- Want something more brisk than yoga or pilates? Sign up for a race at Cummins Falls next weekend and help raise money for our parks at the same time – 5K, half marathon, full marathon.
- If you’re itching for some work and fresh air and don’t mind the rain, volunteer to help the Cumberland Trail on Saturday at Rock Creek Campground in the Big South Fork Natural River and Recreation Area. Meet at 9 am and enjoy a day of trail work and hiking along the 2.5 mile section of Cumberland Trail between Rock Creek Campground and Alley Ford. Dress appropriately for the weather, wear sturdy shoes/boots, and bring work gloves, lunch, and plenty of water. Call 423-286-7275 for more information.
- Enjoy a full belly and good bluegrass music in Granville at the Sutton General Store – the Hamilton County Ramblers are playing this weekend.
- Some beautiful music will also be happening at the Bryan Fine Arts Center on the TTU campus as the Mastersingers perform their Mid-Winter Concert Sunday at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $10.
If you have any social media accounts for your organization or business, chances are you have encountered zealously opinionated or unhappy people commenting on your page or posts or leaving negative reviews. Whether there are grounds for the comment or not, it is difficult to handle; someone is bashing your business in a very public way.
First of all, don’t panic. And don’t delete the comment as if it’s never happened. Part of the authenticity of social media is the interaction you can have with people who have both good and bad things to say about your company. Look at negative comments in a positive light and respond graciously – it helps you build credibility and good will for your brand when you handle them well. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Don’t Panic or Get Angry
Doing these things puts you in a defensive position and increases the likelihood of responding with an answer you’ll regret later. Angry responses by the business can be viewed as unprofessional or unpleasant by social media onlookers and create a poor impression of you and your business in their minds. Take time to calm down, remove your personal emotions from the situation, and come back to it or delegate the response if necessary.
Think About the Person and Situation (objectively)
What actually happened? What is the unhappy person really trying to say or express? Are they rightfully upset about their treatment, asking for validation, trying to get free stuff, or do they work for the competition? Sometimes people feel insignificant and slighted and saying things online is an easy way to soothe the feeling of being “unheard” without being confrontational in person.
Craft a Response According to the Root Issue
After you have determined the core of the complaint, craft a response from there. Thank them for their comment, explain your side of things, apologize when appropriate or as a goodwill offering, and then offer a solution. It’s a good practice to record the conversation somewhere, whether on a document you create or via a social media management software.
Does that all sound a little broad and vague? Here are some more specific fictional examples – we chose a pizza place to illustrate our point:
Hopefully, this gives you a better grasp on responding to negative social media comments and the power of a positive response – remember, this is an instance you have control to take the bad and turn it around for the good of your brand integrity and business.
If you have any questions that pertain to your business specifically, feel free to get in touch with us – email@example.com
The forecast is showing chilly but sunny this weekend. Wondering what there is to do besides traditional Valentine’s Day activities? Here are some events going on around town – do make sure you check that an event is still happening (because of weather interruptions) before you head out; it’s so unpredictable sometimes! Without further ado:
Saturday, Feb 13
Westside Scavenger Hunt, 10 am – 2 pm, meet at Cookeville Depot
Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead – 8 pm at CPAC (Cookeville Performing Arts Center), $15 admission
Try an Insanity or Zumba class at the Cane Creek Rec Center, only $3 a class!
Get out and about for an easy hike at Big South Fork as part of their Centennial Challenge:
- Get Started on the Centennial Challenge and Hike with a Ranger along Middle Creek Loop Trail on Saturday, February 13th at 10 am (ET). Meet at the trailhead located on Divide Road for an easy to moderate 3.5-mile hike. The southern entrance to Divide Road is accessible from TN Hwy 154 just south of the Pickett State Park Boundary. Wear weather appropriate clothing. Hikers are encouraged to bring well-behaved dogs, however leashes are required.
- Bandy Creek Visitor Center (423) 286-7275 or visit us at: www.nps.gov/biso Twitter@BigSouthForkNRR www.facebook.com/BigSouthForkNRRA
Or head on out to the Sutton General Store in Granville, TN for some good, ol’ fashioned southern supper and a show featuring the band, Valley Grass. Dinner starts at 6 pm.
And, last but not least – if you fancy a jaunt out to our neighbor Jackson County for some more good ol’ timey fun, check out Nate Dodson and the Newlyweds at The Little Opry in Gainesboro – 1625 Seven Knobs Rd. Admission is free, show starts at 6:30 pm!
Whether you go out or stay in, enjoy yourself and have a grand time. Cheers from everyone at Roland!
Oh, and Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂
Advertising for Valentine’s Day can be tough, especially if your business doesn’t traditionally provide services or products that are “romantic.” In addition, it’s easy to get lost in the swirl of hearts, flowers, and chocolate adorning advertisements everywhere.
However, don’t be discouraged! With a little creativity and planning, you can create Valentine’s Day content that will get noticed. Here are a few ideas to help you advertise for Valentine’s Day:
- No matter your industry, keep ad campaigns simple and easy to read and don’t use too many words or graphics. If you have specials, make sure they are listed front and center.
- Consider using social media to specifically target an audience you want to appeal to – narrow it down to your ideal customer.
- Collect stories, pictures, and video from your customers and give them a platform to share on; this builds community and opens up the door for more communication
- Be creative and connect ads to things going on in your business to draw foot traffic
- Don’t forget the single folks and others who aren’t into the traditional Valentine’s Day stuff – they are by and large forgotten and represent a significant market share
These ideas should get you started – if you are a Valentine’s Day veteran, what are some unique or tried-and-true ad campaigns you have used in the past?
What if you were…
…a retailer that could advertise the need for an item based on the weather?
…a radio station that lets people driving by tune in to what’s playing now?
…a hospital that lets patients know they can see a doctor quickly?
…a mechanic that could let people know there isn’t much of a wait for an oil change?
…a business that wanted your social media efforts to go past personal screens onto a bigger screen?
a sports team or sports fan that wanted to let people know the score for a big game?
If any of the above looks or sounds intriguing, there’s good news. Thanks to the magic of the internet and forward-thinking product designers, companies like Watchfire Signs have programmed their digital billboards to support something called “dynamic content” – content that can change according to live feeds with customized information.
Instead of displaying the static image typical of outdoor advertising, technology now allows business owners to change up their advertising based on real-time conditions like the examples given above. You can communicate specific messages to your customers based on time, temperature, social media streams, countdowns for specific events, and more.
How could this change your advertising landscape? What can you dream up to tell your customers what you’re up to right now?
Take some time to ponder; we’re here to help you make it a reality.
Hi everyone! We’re expanding and looking for the next member of our team. Feel free to take a look at the job description and application instructions below – if you or someone you know is a good fit, please apply.
Roland Digital Media is an advertising company specializing in outdoor advertising and billboards. We’re growing and expanding in several ways and looking for the next member of our work family. Someone who is extremely organized, knows the ins and outs of payroll and billing, is a servant leader, and is good at setting priorities.
The right person will head up administrative activities in each department in the office and keep it stocked and running smoothly. They will assist with creating processes and systems for the office as well as work on improving current ones. This position will require someone who is very reliable and also flexible; someone who has fun and still gets things done in a timely manner. Someone who can see the big picture and also fill in the details; who can work on an employee handbook and also make coffee and clean out the kitchen sink if need be.
We have a peaceful but activity-filled office with lots of windows and a family-oriented environment. Last but not least, as our owner Dave mentions – we have FREE PARKING for all employees.
If you are still interested, please take a look at general responsibilities and requirements for this position –
General Responsibilities (include but are not limited to):
- Process payroll
- Process accounts receivable and accounts payable
- Process customer billing
- Manage office purchasing and purchase reconciliation
- Run errands as requested
- Support owner and other staff as needed
- Keep office and shop supplies stocked and inventoried
- Make coffee ß this is important
- Order uniforms and manage uniform inventory/system
- Manage shipping and receiving
- Update and maintain CRM program and run reports as necessary
- Create and maintain system(s) to ensure office information is well-organized, easily understandable, neat, and easily accessible
- Perform basic receptionist duties – answer phone, relay messages, etc.
- Take notes at all meetings and send to team
- Create documents and spreadsheets as needed and directed
- Assist with office events
- Light office cleaning as needed
- 5+ years experience as an administrative or accounting professional
- Exceptional organizational skills, accuracy, and attention to detail
- Able to handle multiple tasks and prioritize tasks effectively
- Team player with excellent people and communication skills and the ability to be flexible
- Possess a high level of efficiency and be able to see outdated or ineffective systems and offer suggestions for improvement
- Ability to interact and communicate with a variety of personality types
- Good phone demeanor and customer service skills
- A good sense of humor
- Extremely trustworthy, with very high ethical standards
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office suite: Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint
- Strong knowledge of QuickBooks
- Ability to learn software quickly
- Salary + Benefits; Salary is DOE
- Casual work environment, and as mentioned above – lots of windows and free parking
Submit cover letter and resume via this post. In the cover letter, include your favorite animal and least preferred type of cheese.