In my journey to give clients "more meaningful marketing", I often find that my real estate clients seem to struggle with the same frustrations when it comes to marketing themselves.
Whether you are focused on your buyers or your sellers, finding your real estate niche, defining your own personal brand, and focusing in on a prime location is critical to helping you market yourself and helping you to build a successful, long-term career.
Here are 4 tips to get you started on your journey as a real estate agent:
1.) Find your real estate niche
In the market, people understand at a very basic level that realtors can help them in their home buying and selling endeavors. In fact, when you ask Google what the definition of a realtor is, you get: "a person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; a real estate agent."
So, rule number one is that you don't want to scream from the mountaintops that you buy and sell homes. If people know you are a realtor, they already know that much about you. Focus on what makes you different and focus on what your ideal client looks like. Start thinking in terms of what value you can add to your clients' lives over your competitors. How are you adding more meaning to their experience with you?
Finding your real estate niche means finding that extra "it" factor that makes you so special that clients will refer you to their friends and family. Maybe you find it especially soul igniting to help first-time home buyers. Perhaps you specialize in helping the senior community. Are you passionate about helping military veterans find housing? Do you already have a couple of short sales under your belt? Think about the experiences you would like to have and which clients you like to help most and stick to it.
2.) Perfect and market your niche
I know when you're just starting out, it's hard to turn down business. It's good to get a little bit of everything so you understand which area of real estate you enjoy the most. This practice will help you build your niche, but it takes pounding the pavement to find it. There is no doubt that real estate is hard work. Rest assured, there will be a transaction that shines above the rest. When you find it, don't lose it. Go all in and start building your real estate marketing efforts around it.
Let's say your niche is helping millennial prospects find the home they plan to raise their children in. Start concentrating your marketing efforts around 23 to 38-year-olds who are newly married and considering children. Concentrating your real estate marketing efforts doesn't mean you have to turn down business, it means that you won't want to scream those transactions from the mountaintops like you will the wins that fall into the niche you are perfecting. Here are some helpful ideas and strategies to consider that have helped other realtors.
Perfecting your niche will be a career-long exercise and so will marketing it. Some of marketing is experimental, but as time goes on, no one is going to know those clients like you will. As a real estate agent, you'll always be learning how to communicate with your ideal clients. Using these practices, you'll be able to easily identify where your wins and losses are to be able to more easily quantify your successes and areas of improvement.
3.) Create your personal real estate marketing brand
What do your clients like about working with you? Is it your charismatic nature, your 'can-do' attitude, or the fact that you will show someone 88 houses and not bat an eye? Sure, if you work for a broker, you have a brand, but that is your company's reputation. What is yours? What makes you, "you?" What is your personal brand? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
You'll want to think about what sets you apart from your brokerage and from other real estate agents. In other words, how do you differentiate yourself? Do you want to be known for offering care packages, sending hand-written cards, for adding a different kind of lasting impression? Are you the only realtor who offers your family's secret cookie recipe at open houses?
During your career, you may change brokers, but what will people remember about working with you as an individual? Strive to be that person consistently and success will follow.
4.) Location, location, location
I know it sounds cliché and I know hard it is to turn down prospective clients in the early months, but once you've put work into defining your niche and you're working your personal brand, don't be afraid to get picky. As a real estate agent, time is money and you can't possibly cover the whole state as one person.
First, pick an area that you would like to concentrate on. Of course, it's not as easy as it sounds. You'll want to take a look at market conditions and comparable properties to understand your investment, but then think about what you can bring to that location. What can you offer to that neighborhood? Did you grow up there? Do you know where all the great parks are?
Concentrating your efforts around a physical location will help you in your real estate marketing efforts in the form of mailers, door knocking if you choose, and name/face recognition. You can't be everywhere all the time, but you can be meaningful and intentional with your efforts and that's what matters.
Have you heard of the term, "evergreen content?" Do you know what it means and why it's important for you and your business?
By definition, evergreen content is content that is always relevant. Think about evergreen trees that keep their leaves year-round...
In a time where content is always evolving and changing, it is important to have your staple pieces that maintain their relevance and captivate your audience. And guess what, you can rotate it with a cohesive digital strategy and spin it 10 different ways if you want to -- extract those stories! Tell them, and tell them again, but don't spam.
Think about it. If you have content that doesn't have an expiration date, your amount of repurposing can be vast and we have learned that content creation doesn't have to be a time suck. Yes, I said it. Creating content takes time, so focus your effort on a handful of really meaningful pieces that tell your business's story well and can drive long-term, repeatable engagement.
Another meaningful use of evergreen content is to drive SEO. The SEO game is a long one and with literally more than 3.5 BILLION searches daily, you have to meet your prospects and customers where they are -- online. This is time-intensive work and it doesn't pay off overnight. It takes a lot of time and concentrated effort.
If you create a content-rich, search engine-optimized piece of content that doesn't have an expiration date, you're looking at a gold mine for prospects and customers finding you long-term.
Don't cheat your business out of success. If you don't have a digital strategy already, you could be spinning your wheels. That doesn't mean going into content marketing overload, it means having a strategic, thoughtful approach to marketing your business.
The short answer is, "everyone."
If you haven't taken the time to drive out a content strategy, no worries, you've got time. Maybe this is an area where it's okay to work in reverse. Maybe you've already performed a content audit and you don't even know it — it's quite possible.
Simply put, a content audit is taking a hard look at your existing content — your literature, your blogs, your case studies, your webpages, your social posts, and all of the things that can inform your current, or future content strategy. Then, taking a look at your current customer base and your prospect pool and really starting to analyze who your audience is, and how they like to receive information.
Consider different ethnicities, generations, skills gaps, preferred communication method, and other differentiators that can help you make solid determinations about your business and then learn how to communicate with each segmented group. Okay, maybe it's not that simple, but it's not outside of your grasp.
Your #1 goal should be to trim the fat, so to speak, but you can't do that without data. You'll want to look at your email open rates, your social media engagement, your best and worst performing marketing campaigns — all of it. The more access you have to clean data, the more segmentation opportunities you have.
Don't have data? Don't worry. You can quickly and easily implement digital strategies that will give you a good starting point for tracking important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). If you already have a social presence, that is the easiest way to analyze your following since all of the tools are already in place. To spread your wings, you'll also want to consider looking at, or starting to track website analytics, too.
If you're trying to get to a place where you want to understand which content is relevant to your audience and what kind of content "sticks," some of this is trial and error. That's the fantastic thing about digital marketing — there is a lot of room for experimentation. Again, social is a good place to start. You'll know by the reach, number of impressions, and consequent follows of how engaged your audience is — then, your path won't feel so "guess-y."
This can be a tedious, but a much needed exercise to position you for success. Not sure where to start?
I'm sure you hear it all the time -- "consistency is key," but what does that really mean in terms of marketing? It means first defining what your overall strategy for your business is. Is it:
Let's talk through an example. Say, your goal is to curate more relevant content to support your brand and you are a small DIY crafting business. To determine your overall strategy, you'll want to know who your audience is and what frustration they are having. Personally, I would love to sit down and craft because I have a deep appreciation for art, but the truth is, I don't have time. I am a mother of a small child, have a full-time job, and a side hustle. This is likely one of the personas of your audience and one you will want to target.
Start curating content about crafting on little time. Guess what? Your target is probably on Pinterest, too with a mood board the size Texas. Jackpot! You have to go there. Hang out there. Post relevant content there and the rest will follow, but not so fast. Take the time to drive out a cohesive digital strategy, which includes posting cadence and consistency.
If you know time constraints traditionally have held you back, give yourself a strategy you know you can commit to. I'm going to join Pinterest and I'm going to post 3x a week. I'm starting a blog and I'm going to write once per month. I'm going to commit to adding seasonality to my social channels and plan my posts one month in advance.
If your wheels are turning and you want to bounce some ideas, I would be happy help you define your direction. If you remember one thing from this blog, please don't think you have to everything to everyone. Don't be a serial social media poster just for the sake of communicating your brand. I promise that putting thoughtful meaningful content out there will get you so much farther in your journey to success!
After several years in marketing-related jobs, I become a mother to a beautiful baby girl. If you know marketing, you know it’s full of chaos, mostly unattainable deadlines, long hours equaling A LOT OF COFFEE. Prior to becoming a mother, I had the mindset that I would continue life, at the same pace, doing the same things, being the same ambitious woman I have always been because I THRIVED on this career, this lifestyle. I was wrong, kinda.
Can you believe it? It turns out that seeing that sweet little face, fingers, and toes put me into some kind of new-mom trance (ah, that’s the thing all the already-moms talk about!). I became so infatuated with my little angel and vowed that I was never going back to work. I said things like, “I could live in a cardboard box with this baby and I would be happy,” dramatic, right? Well, I meant it, kinda.
So the months of maternity leave passed, the new motherhood glow subsided slightly, and I came to the realization, “I have to go back to work.” WHY?! You mean I have to leave this baby. The one who has relied so heavily on me for the last three months? Okay, I’m ready. I can do this. Guess what? I got my livelihood back. Well, kinda because my rediscovered passion was only interested in committing part-time for the first year.
And then, it dawned on me, everything became more meaningful. My life. My relationships. My career. I did everything with even more passion and even more efficiency than before. Really? Yes
I realized that I loved my new life so much that I started to apply it to my professional life. If my life wasn’t feeling meaningful, it was my job to work harder to find fulfillment again. If my relationships were half-assed and one-sided, they had to go. If my career wasn’t giving me life like it used to, it was my job to make sure that it did again.
So, if you’ve stayed with me this long, please understand that not all parts of life are meaningful - focus on the ones that are. Be greedy and strategic about your investments. I’m not talking money. Not all relationships are necessary, but the ones that are worth it are. Keep them. If your career isn’t getting you to where you want to go, get off that path. Now. Don’t waste any more time. The same goes for marketing. Some of it is experimental. You try it out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to be creative and switch it up.
Life is short. Find the right kinds of clients who keep you loving your job. Don’t settle for less. Not everyone is going to give you a meaningful experience. In fact, some will give you crappy ones. Let them go. It’s not all about the money. It’s about the feeling you have after an interaction. If it isn’t contributing positively to the life you want to live and giving you that spark, let it go. You won’t regret it. I promise.
Not all relationships are necessary, even the ones you’ve had the longest. That’s why they say, “the riches are in the niches.” Find your niche. Commit to your prospects and buyers. Not everyone is your audience and not everyone is your customer. Find your loyal brand followers to where they are and make their experience with you meaningful. Kick the others to the curb. You don’t need time wasters. Focus. Strategy. Execute.
You can do it and I can help with customized digital marketing efforts that cater to giving you, your customers, your audience, and your goals more meaning.
Frustrations -- we all have them, right? Personally, and professionally. The things that keep us pondering and saying, "there must be a better way. There has to be a solution to my problem."
Think for a moment how this pertains to your life.
When we have been searching tirelessly for a new job, but haven't had much success, we might turn to a headhunter to give us the extra boost we need. To see something we haven't seen. To do something we haven't done. When we are trying to find ways to save money, we might turn to a couponing app, a weekly grocery budget or a financial advisor.
Think about how your customers might be feeling the same way. Why do they need you? What pain point can you solve for them? How can you make their lives a little easier?
If you don't know how your product, service or solution can help your customers, or what challenges they are facing, you might be at risk of losing your ability to influence and retain your customers, or your prospective buyers.
You'll hear me say often that we can't forget what it's like to be a consumer. You can't solve all of your customers' problems, but if you don't know what is keeping them up at night, chances are, you could be doing a better job serving them.
Survey your customers. Ask them what you're doing right and don't be afraid to ask them what you are doing wrong. This type of knowledge is so valuable and just by asking, you've already shown them that you care. Even a simple question of, "what made you give me a call today?"
Customers are eager to share. They are eager for a listening ear. They want to know that you understand them and you can help them.
In a world of big business, it's easy to get caught up in the "big" aspect of doing business, but a little old-fashioned customer service goes a long way. Knowing what keeps your customers up at night and getting into the mind of your buyers will help you serve them in ways that other companies might perceive as being too time consuming.
Chances are, if you are an entrepreneur, you've got passion and a creative spirit. After all, that's what made you decide to pursue your small business endeavors, right?
Depending on the size of your business, you may prefer to be more, or less "hands-on," which is why I'm good with either approach.
Typically, I like to help my clients identify their strengths and where they want to invest their time. A 1-year period is a good, attainable time frame to gain each other's trust and to create a cohesive, strategic plan that makes sense and shows a return for your business.
During the time we spend together, I can be flexible to be more, or less "hands-on" as well. I can provide training to you, your business partners, or employees so that the work we complete together can be modified and reused year over year.
You may decide that you think I do great work and don't want to take on the time investment to learn and execute all marketing efforts. Pick and choose what you need help with, or let's set up a cadence to meet and have meaningful conversations to take a look at what's working well for your business.
The reward is the same for me. I take pride in helping other small business, whether or not they use my services for a year, two years, or more! No hard feelings. Promise!
My end goal is to keep a very good and open working relationship where the businesses I help can speak highly of my work and refer my services.
Need help with a portion, or all of your marketing efforts?
So many times when our business seems to be doing well, we tend to forget to think about our customers. We think as long as we're selling, we're doing our jobs, right?
In marketing, brand loyalty is built on what kinds of experiences you're giving your customers through all aspects of the buyer's journey. Beginning to end and in between.
For this exact reason, I am passionate about helping small businesses. You can get more direct control over what experience you provide for your customers. Many times, this is what loyal consumers like about the small business they interact with.
They are choosing you. They prefer you. It's important not to lose sight of that because at the end of the day, they can always choose someone else. Kind of like dating.
In my consulting work, I always challenge businesses to invest in the time to do the groundwork to find out how their customers are responding to their efforts.
What made them reach out to your company?
Did you meet their expectations?
Do you follow up with them after they've purchased your offerings?
Do you retain them long-term?
Do you offer competitive prices to them?
What makes them go elsewhere?
Gathering all of this information starts with knowing who your customers are, so do you really know who your customers are? Do you care about their experiences? Do you want to keep them engaged? Of course you do.
I think everyone has a little creative genius inside of them. The instincts that tell us what people like, what they will respond to and how to best-promote ourselves. Our products. Our services.
I know how tempting it is to take it all on being in a small business, wearing many hats, trying to keep overhead costs to a minimum.
I see great work often, especially within small businesses and a common theme I find is that small companies are sending out email blasts, getting flyers printed, sending out a quarterly newsletter, advertising in their local distribution channels, etc.
This is all wonderful, but without a strategy, I'll bet you've wondered, "am I spinning my wheels."
Strategy is the part of marketing that people question if they really need. I hear things like:
"I think what I'm doing is working."
"We have a newsletter and I think people are reading it."
"I think people see us on our website."
"I think people visit us on our Facebook page."
But, how do you really know? We need to look at a quantifiable, strategic approach to what we are doing because without it, we ARE spinning our wheels.
When we can't tie data back to a campaign to measure our progress, our conversions, our lessons learned, our success, are we really serving our customer base, or let me rephrase that. Are we really serving our customer base well?
Instead of always guessing, let's work together to better-serve your customers and their pain points because at the end of the day, our customers are who make you, "you."
In the times of "content marketing," or "branded content," I think one of the biggest misconceptions I run into is that people think in marketing, more is more.
The more I hit my target audience, the more my prospective or current customers will remember me.
If I send my content out to more people, undoubtedly, I will generate more interest.
If I have more outlets to market my business, I will get more business and generate more revenue.
If I have a company website, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page, and a Twitter handle, I will get more followers.
If I have run a digital ad, a radio ad, a TV ad, send this email blast, print out these flyers and circulate them, people will be more likely to remember me.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Have we forgotten what it's like to be the consumer? To be on the receiving end of "more?"
The reality is, most of us are thinking, "if I get one more email. If I hear that radio spot one more time. If I get one more piece of mail."
The truth is, people don't have time for one more piece of information just to consume one more piece of information. We are already inundated.
Think about your customer as a consumer. Stop throwing your money at marketing efforts without a cohesive strategy. Just because you are there and you are trying to be visible doesn't mean people can see you.
Strive to be strategic and thoughtful in your marketing efforts. Because more is only more when you can truly quantify your successes. And you can only quantify your successes when you have a good grasp of a small amount of really powerful marketing pieces.
Hello from Ohio! I am the mother of one sweet, strong-willed daughter. She is my pride and joy.
Writing is my passion and when I'm not behind my computer with a cup of coffee, 90% of the time, I'm wondering if I walked out of the house with mismatched shoes.