What We’re Working On: Branding and Marketing for Realtors
I’ve been working with several real estate agents to help them create a more distinctive brand and develop digital media strategies.
Great at building relationships, lousy with technology
Realtors, as a group, have spent their careers building relationships and selling houses. They spend a good part of their days on their phones, meeting with people and stuck in traffic. There’s nothing they don’t know about endless regulations and crappy hours; what they don’t know about is technology. The rest of us learned to use computers and Microsoft Office Suite, graphics programs and myriad web-based apps, as required for work or school. The more applications we use, the more we understand their capabilities—making it easier to figure out the next application.
Realtors busy in the field with their clients, missed this whole experience
And now they’re in trouble. Their agencies are going electronic, with centralized systems for processing everything. Ordering ads and flyers means logging into a web-based application and filling out fields. Everything is integrated and streamlined—and online. It works well—for those willing and able to learn how to use it.
A new marketing paradigm
It used to be that an occasional postcard and flyer along with ads in the local newspapers were pretty much it. Somebody would do the artwork, and it was done. Now, newspaper circulation is rapidly declining, and it’s a matter of diminishing returns; the number of people who are actually going to see those ads is decreasing every year. With the advent of electronic delivery and social media, it’s become imperative that real estate agents change their marketing paradigm, weaning themselves away from print advertising and leveraging electronic distribution. Their companies host endless tutorials for them, but the reality is that making digital media work requires a huge time commitment and a lot of savvy—even for those who understand how this all works.
The importance of creating a unique brand in a fiercely competitive industry
There is a huge number of real estate agents in the Bay Area, and it’s becoming critical that realtors brand themselves, creating a unique identity that sets them apart. To really develop a unique presence and leverage digital media, real estate agents need to have their own websites that are fully integrated with well-developed social media sites. Their Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Google+ pages need to be kept fresh and lively with new posts with socioeconomic and community information and best of all, new listings. But even that’s not enough. Posting to social media isn’t effective unless you have a community that responds to these posts, so getting people to Like your Facebook page, Connect on Linkedin and Follow you on Twitter is critical to making this all work.
“I need to focus on what I do best, and it’s not marketing”
As one successful agent who’s been doing this for a long time told me, “I’ve plateaued out in terms of sales, and I know it’s because I’m trying to do all of this marketing and administrative stuff. It’s supposed to help me grow my business, but so far, it’s a time suck that’s cutting into my sales efforts. I need to focus on what I do best, and it’s not marketing.” We’ve just started working with this client who promised herself that she was going to outsource her marketing in 2015. We’re building a beautiful new website, creating a more distinctive new brand, doing a monthly newsletter so she can stay in front of her clients, updating her social media on regular basis and growing her community. She’s freed herself from the tyranny of marketing, happy to be able to focus on her clients again.
Are you a realtor–or do you know one–who’s ready to outsource some or all of your marketing so you can focus on your business again? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and digital media experts.