Branding for Real Estate Agents

When you start out in the real estate industry, you may take your branding inspiration from the brokerage you are working for. However, after a while, you will want to build your own brand. This will help you stand out from other agents, and will set you apart from the competition.

Building a brand from the ground up that stands out is no easy task. What should it look like? How should it make people feel? Will it resonate with your target audience?

Those questions will no doubt come up when you start thinking about how to connect the dots between what you bring to the table and who you’re trying to reach.

There’s a lot to consider, and it’s much more than just a logo or tagline. It extends beyond the materials you use. A personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. It’s a way to differentiate yourself and stand out in a crowded market. And it isn’t something that happens overnight; it takes time and consistency to build.

Why Building a Brand Is Important

There are tons of real estate agents out there. Building a brand will differentiate you so you attract more clients. Here are some reasons why creating a brand is important.

It Describes the Value You Offer Clients

In building your brand you will want to advertise the skills that set you apart. Are you a great negotiator? Do you specialize in homes in a certain area? Are there specific problems that you are adept at solving? Describing your value will make you more attractive to the clients who find those characteristics important.

It Builds Trust

Most branding efforts serve to connect you with your target audience and establish you as a thought leader. After repeated contact your followers will begin to see you as someone they can trust, and trust is very important in the real estate business.

It Generates New Clients

Branding is a continuous effort that helps you build your business and generate new leads and clients. It may not happen overnight, but if you reach out often enough, you will see your business start to grow.

How to Build Your Real Estate Brand

Now that you know why building a brand is so important, you can begin taking the necessary steps involved in making it happen. Here are some you will want to integrate.

Know Yourself

This is the single most important task you should do before marketing yourself. If you don’t know who you are, it will inevitably come across in your marketing strategies and in your communication with leads, clients, and even other real estate professionals.

You need to determine:

  • Your why
  • Your mission and values
  • Your strengths and weaknesses
  • Your boundaries and limits
  • Your goals for 1, 5, and 10 years from now

In order to accurately and clearly market yourself as the best real estate agent to clients you need to have a complete awareness of yourself.

For example, negotiation is a valuable skill in real estate, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If negotiation is not one of your strengths, accept that. You can work to improve that skill, but focus your marketing efforts on your other strengths and values.

In addition, you need to know your personal work boundaries. Most people get into real estate for the appeal of freedom and flexibility, but end up getting sucked into the expectations that you need to be available 24/7. You can easily get carried away trying to respond to clients immediately (no matter what time of day), scheduling listing appointments on the fly, and spending hours traveling to and from showings. In order to maintain your passion for your job and help your clients to the best of your ability, you need a clear picture of your goals and your boundaries. For example, you can tell your clients upfront that you will not answer texts, calls, or emails after 7pm, and protect yourself from burnout or resentment.

To set these boundaries more easily, think about your goals as an agent. Do you plan to work with clients part time while you homeschool your kids? Or do you have dreams of opening your own high brokerage? Your goals will outline the path you will take and it will attract the right kind of clients to you.

Know Your Customer

The phrase “ideal client” can be hard to swallow for many real estate agents and brokers, because they believe they need to be open for any and every possible client to come their way. After all, more clients mean more commission checks.

However, by learning more about the buyers and sellers in your area and learning what type of work that you prefer, you’re setting yourself up for maximum success. Although you can leave yourself open to working with anyone, your marketing capabilities will be very limited and you inevitably face additional challenges.

Instead, pay attention to who your customers are so you can accurately target your branding, messaging, and overall marketing methods. Start by asking yourself these questions about your customers:

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they currently live?
  • Where do they want to move?
  • What motivates them to move?
  • What do they dislike about their current home?
  • What do they want in their next home?
  • What kind of jobs do they work?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • Where do they spend their free time (shops, restaurants, clubs, etc.)?
  • What groups are they part of?
  • Where do they consume their information (mobile apps, Facebook groups, television/radio stations, magazines)?
  • What social media programs are they active on?

Create Your Logo and Website

Your next step will involve creating your logo and website. These are the marketing materials that are likely to play the biggest role in how you market yourself.

Start by determining the colors you feel best represent you and what you have to offer. Consider that colors work on a psychological level. For example, blue symbolizes loyalty and serenity. Yellow is vibrant and friendly. Choose ones that you think are in line with your personality and the vibe you want to send out to clients. Then use these hues in your web design.

Your personality should also come through in your images, the logo you create, and the layout of your website. It should even be presented in the font you use.

You may also consider adding a tagline that’s catchy and says something about the services you provide. A brand story also helps in forging a connection with your clients. Include a page that explains your experience and why you are drawn to the real estate field.

You should include pictures and, ideally, a video of yourself on your website. Putting a face to the name goes a long way in letting people know what you are about.

Source: jotform.com

Set Up Your CRM

A CRM (customer relationship management) is a tool used to track your contacts, leads, clients, and sales. Using a CRM prevents you from forgetting to follow up with potential leads. There are plenty of real estate CRM options out there including Follow Up Boss, Hubspot, and Pipedrive, to name a few.

Business Cards and Postcards Are Mandatory

Handing out business cards to people never gets old. It works and is something you absolutely must have as a realtor. Printing business cards isn’t expensive, but ensure it’s a good design without overdoing it. Business cards are easy to make, work like a charm, and give you a professional look.

Postcards are similar to business cards. They’re easy to make and work great for building brand recognition in target areas. Postcards make it easy to advertise and introduce a new real estate agent to the neighborhood and the community.

Example of a Luxury Property Niche

Consider Choosing a Niche

When you’re first starting out in real estate, you may find it limiting to choose a niche. But it can work to your advantage, especially when you are more established.

The niche you choose should be in line with what you’re good at and what interests you. It may be luxury properties, commercial properties, or it may be specific to a certain area.

Specializing in a certain niche will set you apart as a thought leader in your selected field. It will ensure that clients come to you first when they need your specific services and expertise.

Consider Choosing A Cause

In today’s socially-aware world a cause can really set you apart. If people see that you are doing something to help the community or the world, they will be more likely to invest in your services. And if your cause is something they believe in, so much the better.

A real estate agent may find it more challenging to back a cause as compared to some other types of companies. Unlike retailers, you aren’t going to donate the commissions of every sale to a nonprofit due all the splits involved. But you can host events that support what you’re about, and the events you host will connect you to the community.

Picture from: birorealestate.com

Start a Blog

Blogs are a great way to boost SEO (search engine optimization) and they will further connect you with your client base. Just like your other marketing materials, your personality should come through in your blogs.

So if you have a fun outlook, your blog voice should be cheery and uplifting. If you are more concerned with industry trends and general income, stick to the facts. Your blog layout should also be inline with your website design.

You can blog about any number of things from market outlooks to buying and selling strategies to key attractions in the area. It’s recommended a bit of everything regardless of what your brand is about, however, if you have a certain specialty or expertise, relevant topics should be spotlighted.

Your blog will serve as a way of connecting with your followers and it will establish you as a thought leader in your field.

Create a Strong Social Media Presence

Your social media presence will also keep you connected with your client base. You will need to start out by finding the platforms that are right for you.

Think of where your target audience is most likely to be (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) and create a profile that shows your personality. Then start writing posts, and sharing links, images, and videos to keep them engaged. If you don’t feel social media is your strong point, you may want to hire a specialist.

Over time, you may find that some platforms are getting a better response than others. If that’s the case, concentrate your efforts on what’s working best.

Remember that social media is also about engaging. So rather than just creating posts, you will also want to respond to other people’s posts and start conversations. You should also answer anyone that comments on your posts.

Another good social media strategy is to join and/or create groups. The group doesn’t necessarily have to be about your business. For example, if you sell real estate in Charleston, SC, look for or create groups that pertain to Charleston real estate. Then work on engaging members by asking and answering questions and generally making your presence known. The idea here isn’t to handsell your services. It’s more to establish yourself as a knowledgeable member of the industry in the hopes that the people you are communicating with will come to you first when it is time to buy or sell.

Send Out Emails and Newsletters

Emails and newsletters are also valuable in forging customer connections. Like any other marketing materials, they should reflect your personality in tone and design. But they should also be personalized to the customer’s needs and where they’re at on the funnel.

So you may consider having a few emails or newsletters pre-created to be sent out at certain times in the conversation process. They should be automated for your convenience.

For example, you may have a welcome email prepared for when a potential client enters their contact information. Then you can send another a few days later to find out what they are looking for. Others can be sent out regularly to keep them informed of what’s new with you and the local market.

Emails can be further customized to whether the recipient is buying or selling, the type of property they are looking for, and so on.

The tone should not be overly aggressive; after all, some clients may not be ready to make a transaction. Most communication should just be a way of staying in touch until they are ready to sell or invest. However, if clients are further down the funnel, you may want to send them something more targeted.

Stay Current with Your SEO Efforts

Your website can play a major role in getting clients in the door. But it won’t mean much unless it’s SEO optimized. 

There are several things you can do to ensure your site is doing all it can to get you to the top of search engines. This includes using keywords, using alt tags and images, incorporating video, and more. You should also integrate analytics to figure out what’s working and what’s not and update accordingly.

Keep in mind that SEO trends change all the time and it’s important to be on top of the latest to ensure you are making every effort to maintain online visibility. For best results, you may want to work with an SEO expert to get your site up to speed.

Get Active in Your Community

Digital marketing is a great way to reach your target audience. It conveniently connects you with a wide range of people and it produces a high ROI. But an in-person touch is what will really help you forge a personal connection.

Participating in community events will allow you to build a face-to-face repartee with the people you are likely to be working with.

There are many ways you can join in to establish a personal connection. Try staying in touch with your local governments to find out about community trick or treats, community parties, and other neighborhood affairs. Volunteer at car washes that benefit local schools and organizations.

You may also consider hosting your own events to get to know the people around you. Those can include fundraisers for your causes, real estate workshops, and more. You should also invite the community to your open houses so they can see how you operate, even if they are not interested in buying or selling right now.

Showcase Your Testimonials to Earn Trust and Increase Conversions

Customers read online reviews before buying or considering something. If you have worked hard to help someone, then there’s no point in hiding that. Testimonials are an excellent form of content that helps build trust and make custom decisions. Real estate transactions are something where a customer needs all the validations they can get before they can make a move.

Keep an Eye on Your Competitors to Find Opportunities

If you are in a saturated market, keep an eye on your competitors. See what they’re doing and what’s working for them. You don’t always have to try and build a successful method from scratch.

If you’ve done market analysis and worked on your market plan, you should already have a list of competitors. Always do things differently to stand out in the market.

What opportunities you can get and where to focus can greatly depend on your competitors. Always know what you’re up against.

Ask for Referrals and Keep Up with Previous Clients

Once you close a deal, it’s not the time to cut your relationship with the client. It’s much more expensive to hunt a new client compared to the existing client list you have.

Sometimes one family can make multiple purchases, and everyone usually has relatives or friends that might need a realtor.

Once you close a deal, keep following up. Talk to them and simply ask how they’re doing. Humbly ask for referrals. Genuinely communicate with your customers to make them feel valued. Start a referral program where people get monetary benefits for leads and successful closings. You can always do it through an email if you have a long list of customers.

Use Traditional Media to Create Top-of-Mind Awareness

Whenever you think about coffee, Starbucks comes to mind. When you think of burgers, it’s Mcdonalds. When you think of smart phones, Apple or Samsung. These are examples of top-of-mind awareness (TOMA).

Once you repeat something for a prolonged period, you get the benefit of TOMA from your customers. Whenever they think of a real estate agent, they should think about you.

Real estate can be very lucrative, but it’s also very competitive. Building a brand will help you stand out. Now that you know the steps to take, you are ready to move forward with your marketing efforts. Which of these will you be integrating when you prepare your campaign?

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