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Real Estate Branding: 6 Steps for Agent Success
Quick: name three brands! Don't read further until you do. Seriously. We'll wait... Okay, so which came to mind? Maybe popular consumer brands like Coca-Cola and Nike, or perhaps big-name brokerages like Keller Williams and Century 21. Because of branding, you already have an idea in your head about what those companies stand for or represent and the kind of experience you'd have when using their products or services. Personal real estate branding isn't much different. Instead of branding for a large corporation, real estate branding is the effort of accurately and attractively representing you or your team, which helps you sell your services. Real estate branding is important because when consumers in your local market are asked to think about real estate agents, you want to come to the forefront of their minds. With real estate branding, you become the agent consumers think of by conveying to them your personality, what you represent, and what type of experience they can expect when they work with you. Learn why real estate branding is important, what different components real estate branding involves, and how you can enact real estate branding best practices to get the most out of your marketing and public image. 1. Create a Visual Real Estate Branding Identity It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We don't know whether that's true, but it is clear that having an effective visual presentation and theme to your marketing materials will improve your real estate branding. If you need a visual branding revamp, take it step-by-step. First, brainstorm the main messages you want your brand to convey. There are two directions you can go in: either focus on the type of real estate you specialize in (luxury properties or veteran housing, for example) or consider which type of real estate agent you are, as your personality type is directly related to how you'll work with clients. Next, come up with a short, memorable slogan/phrase/keywords/sentence that literally tells people what you want them to know about you and your services. It doesn't need to be clever to be memorable. Keep it simple and straightforward. Then, work with a graphic designer to create a logo that fits with your slogan and embodies your brand. Run a few samples by people who you trust so you can gather feedback. Ask them for their first impression, what they like, what they dislike and any general feedback for future iterations. It's important that you spend time getting this right. You may think that it will be easy to change your visual identity — logo, colors, slogan — but it's not easy considering how many marketing materials will carry your real estate branding. Plus, consistency is what will make your brand memorable. So don't stop iterating until you create a visual brand identity that you're happy with, because you'll likely be using this identity for years. 2. Develop a Written Real Estate Branding Identity Having a strong visual identity is essential to building your real estate brand. But it's only the first half of the creative real estate branding identity equation. You must also work to create a strong written real estate branding identity. Visuals may attract people's eye, but well-written agent biographies and listing descriptions are also going to be integral to establishing yourself as a real estate leader. Think of it from a buyer or seller's perspective: A poorly-written, uninformative agent biography is going to cause concerns about your ability to conduct a real estate transaction. And listing descriptions that aren't telling a descriptive, coherent story risk turning consumers away from your services. As you develop a written real estate branding identity, keep a few general tips in mind: Be authentic – Use your words, not the words you think people want to hear. Your tone should match your personality. Don't eliminate contractions if you typically use them. Don't use formal language if you speak casually. Share your passion – Why does your work excite you? Weave your enthusiasm for your job into your bio. No one wants to work with a two-dimensional agent. Showing passion will make others feel eager to work with you. Tell a story – Use your written materials to tell a concrete story about your brand, your services, your team, and the properties you're listing. Remember that the story should consider a consumer's point-of-view – use the second-person "you" and focus on stories that end with satisfied buyers and sellers. One other, absolutely essential tip: Proofread. Always proofread every piece of collateral to be sure that there aren't nettlesome typos, misrepresentations, or other mistakes – you want to establish your professionalism, and those sorts of mistakes don't help. 3. Own Local Google Search Results for Real Estate Services If you want to develop a winning real estate brand and grow your business, you can't hide in the shadows. Visibility is key, and it's accomplished through marketing. In the same way that you put up yard signs and A-frames to draw attention to your listings in the offline world, you need to create similar visibility online so that it's easy for prospects, leads, and clients to find you. With well over 90% of all real estate searches starting online, the best place to achieve that visibility is on Google. Visibility is an important part of branding. Prospects equate you being at the top of a Google local search page with you being a credible, trustworthy agent. Now, more than ever before, Google is prioritizing local search results. That means that when prospective buyers and sellers search for terms such as "real estate agent near me," they're going to be served results that list agents in their neighborhood and town. If your competitors appear in those searches and you don't, you've essentially signaled to buyers and sellers that your competitors' brand is more trustworthy than yours. Google gives clear, written instructions for improving your local search ranking. It instructs users to create a Google business profile that includes information such as your address, phone number, website, and industry. The profile should also have a verified location, accurate business hours, and up-to-date photos. Most importantly, Google urges businesses to solicit and manage reviews. Google uses these reviews to determine your prominence and relevance and decide whether to feature you as an agent consumers can trust. Solicit reviews from clients, fellow agents, friends, and family – anybody who can speak to your skill, professionalism, and ability should give testimony. 4. Spread Your Brand With a Personal Real Estate Website If Google is the front door of the internet, then think of a personal real estate website as your living room. It's where you can welcome guests, explain your services, and establish your credibility and style as an agent. Plus, a clean real estate website with a modern design and easy navigation demonstrates to potential clients that you are tech-savvy. So much of the present real estate transaction experience occurs online, so you need to be sure that your brand indicates that you are an agent who will be up to the task of helping clients market their products online. Make sure your agent website includes your basic business information and your listings. By publicizing your existing listings, you let sellers in particular know that you're already trusted by other home sellers in their market. 5. Use Social Media Social media is an increasingly important brand-building platform for real estate agents. In particular, Facebook and Instagram have become popular places for buyers and sellers to look for agents, homes, and general real estate services. In order to earn new leads and business, then, agents should have a strong social media presence. We recommend that you use the EAT framework to develop a well-branded, fully-organic social media presence. EAT Social Media Framework EAT stands for: Engagement Authenticity Thought leadership The first portion of EAT is engagement. With engagement, you should consider posting on social media channels and responding to consumers' comments on the posts. Agents should also ask questions to spur audience engagement. Consider asking questions such as "carpet or hardwood?" to get people talking about their preferences or "what homes are catching your eye this fall?" to learn about why people are entering the market and the homes they're most excited to tour. The second component of EAT is authenticity. By producing authentic social content, agents can tell honest stories about the home selling and buying processes and the real estate market in general. For example, you shouldn't solely post videos and photos of fully staged homes and tours. Instead, consider posting before and after photos, or a video of your open house preparations. This way, consumers see that buying or selling a house is a process, and that you're dedicated to the work necessary to make it happen. The final part of the EAT framework is thought leadership. For agents, social media provides the opportunity to display subject matter expertise, which is especially valuable knowledge to share in a complicated time for the real estate market. Following the EAT framework ensures that when people view your social media content, they see a credible, engaged real estate professional. If a consumer sees one of your paid advertisements and later searches for your information, strong organic social media may help reassure them that there is substance behind your advertisements. With engagement, authenticity, and thought leadership at the forefront of your organic social media efforts, you can develop a solid foundation for social media success. 6. Remember Offline Real Estate Branding Opportunities As you work to build your brand online, don't forget about the benefits that offline real estate branding can provide. Yard signs, sponsoring a little league team, setting up a booth at community events – these types of real world opportunities to connect with consumers and people in your local market are invaluable if you want to establish yourself as a leading local agent. Offline real estate branding extends all the way to the end of a real estate transaction. Providing buyers and sellers a small but thoughtful closing gift is a good way to communicate how much your value your clients' business – and also ensure that they come to you the next time they need real estate services. How Can You Develop the Strongest Real Estate Branding? Clearly, real estate branding is important if you want to be the agent that buyers and sellers turn to when they have real estate needs. Overall, having the best real estate branding in your market requires: A visual real estate brand identity A written real estate brand identity Owning Google local search results An personal real estate website Using social media Practicing offline real estate branding To view the original article, visit the Homesnap
Why and How to Boost Your Online Presence to Get More Leads
Real estate marketing, social media, repeat and referral, top-of-mind marketing. You've probably heard of all of them, but may not know how they apply to your real estate business. And even if you do, the nuances may be so eclectic they continuously escape you, leaving you with a social media marketing strategy that no longer works or an outdated well of tactics that Google and company no longer smile favorably on. Take a deep breath, massage your temples and embrace social media — even as a real estate professional. Why social media marketing is so crucial in real estate Social media platforms have a wide range of new lead generation potential, while allowing you to stay up-to-date with your past clients. The relationship aspect of social media accounts is a well-known facet of the platforms and their target markets. But other than just having access to more leads and past happy clients, what are successful real estate agents using their platforms for? Marketing and influence. Most social media platforms allow you to utilize their built-in metrics to gauge what marketing strategies are working with your brand and which to leave by the wayside. Social media posts pushed from marketing and business managers often come with insights that tell you who engaged with the post, what the engagement was like, and whether to update your locale to reach more of your target market. But to get the most out of this, you'll have to ensure you have a deep well of influence across your channels. How do I strengthen my social media presence? Post often and post about more than just houses, neighborhoods and market updates. While these things are great to post about, venture out and give your target audience more to take in than just housing. To start, try posting general real estate advice. Use your social media channels to make yourself the expert real estate agent in your particular location and desired market. From there, use your Facebook page, Twitter posts, Instagram page or other platform to engage with your social media followers. These engagements are key to understanding what it is your clients and leads are hunting for in the current real estate market, and what pain points you can solve for over other real estate professionals. Be sure to genuinely follow some of your followers back, engage with their posts and paint yourself as the available expert ready and willing to help, at normal and non-invasive intervals. After all, you want to post often and frequently, but you don't want to post about the same exact things so often that you lose the social following you've worked so hard to gain. Use the resources available to you Probably one of the most overlooked success strategies out there is utilizing the resources available to you through your social media platform. Each is designed with extensive help desks and knowledge bases to help you navigate through their resource pool. Likewise, support channels also exist where you can get live feedback. If you still need a little extra help with your online presence and digital marketing strategies, education and coaching opportunities are available to give you an extra edge when working toward your influential marketing goals. So whether you're in the market for a new marketing strategy or just want to understand the landscape a little bit more, starting with social media is a great, low-cost way to give your marketing prowess the extra boost it needs. Download this FREE GUIDE for actionable ideas for your social media marketing Your free Social Media 101 Marketing Guide will give you fresh ideas for how to create awesome social media marketing content. Download this guide and get the tips and trips from pros to elevate your social media marketing content today! DOWNLOAD
Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Real Estate Direct Mail Marketing Strategy
With the industry becoming ever more dependent on digital trends and technologies, many real estate professionals wonder if direct mail should even be part of their marketing strategy these days. Don't get us wrong—online marketing has its obvious appeal (convenience, immediacy, and personalization), but direct mail is a great offline alternative that offers several advantages that many other online channels lack. The following five tips are almost guaranteed to make your direct mail marketing set you apart from the competition, stand out in your in your target customers' mailboxes, and ultimately, lead to more sales for you. Identify Your Target Audience Without a target audience, you don't have a message. And without a message, you don't have a direct mail campaign. To help determine who your ideal recipient is, consider whether you want to target home buyers or home sellers and what your desired end result is. Create a Clear Call-to-Action A strong call-to-action is meant to evoke a response and entice your audience to act. You can incentivize the action by including the recipient's name, adding a can't-miss offer, or using effective command words like "call," "download," or "subscribe." Make the Direct Mail Piece Eye-Catching Your central marketing message needs to be the first thing a recipient sees when your direct mail piece arrives in their mailbox. If you design a mail piece with bold text or unique fonts, just remember not to overdo it. Balance the text with attention-grabbing, high-quality images, and make sure to leave some space available for the design to breathe. Emphasize the Benefits In the highly competitive real estate market, simply telling your target audience who you are and what your business does is not enough. You need to point out what's in it for them. How will your customers benefit from reaching out to you? Follow Up The ultimate goal of direct mail is for the target audience to reach out to you. If you take too long to respond to your real estate leads, they'll immediately lose interest. It's vital that you make yourself available to answer phone calls and reply to emails in a timely manner. To view the original article, visit the Zurple