Reaching the point in your career where your name actually means something within real estate…that’s the dream. By now, you’re probably well aware of the importance of building your brand. Your every interaction marks you as a walking billboard – constantly promoting your business, expertise, and everything you represent. The Tom Ferrys. The Chris Smiths. The Tristan Ahumadas… Even the Josh Altmans – before they graced our news feeds, seminars, and TV screens, they were household names with personal brands that were carefully cultivated.
Great, so how do you start building your brand and become the Oprah of real estate?
Thankfully, there are tools and tips out there that you can take advantage of to accomplish this. While these resources are quick and easy, know that the process requires effort and “consistency”.
The Road Map
When determining your brand-building road map, Brandtoolbox best describes what your goals should be. “Step One: Brand awareness. Step Two: Brand loyalty. Top step: Brand affinity.” However, it’s best to kick things off with something you’re definitely familiar with: an appraisal, otherwise known as an evaluation:
- Conduct a Brand Assessment
Start off by taking stock of where your brand currently stands. This kind of assessment would take place at the beginning of your (re)inventing, and throughout as you gauge the effectiveness of it.
How is your current brand perceived both externally and internally? A critical question that can be achieved by a Brand Perception Survey. These “studies track how well consumers are accepting the ideas you try to associate with your brand.” (Qualtrics)
Essentially, we are gauging brand affinity.
“Customers who demonstrate affinity for a brand buy more, buy more often and complain less than all other types of customers.” (Brand Tool Box)
While achieving brand affinity will ultimately be an end goal to all your efforts, it’s worth knowing what to aim for as you cultivate your brand.
There are 4 human factors that lead to this:
So when performing your brand perception assessments using the resources above – via surveys and questionnaires posed towards clients and employees alike – key in on these 4 factors:
Evaluate the Competition
The fine folks over at Fortune Builders strongly recommend this step, as it allows you to identify what works, avoid what doesn’t, and also prevent you from accidentally copying another brand (and we all know there’s nothing more awkward than showing up with the same outfit as someone else).
Here’s a great list of successful real estate branding tips to help give you an idea of how to do it right.
Define Your Brand
Now that you’re armed with research, you’re capable of defining exactly what you want your brand to be. Some of the basic things that go into defining a brand are the messaging (and the values/feelings that come along with it) and the visuals (i.e. your logo).
The best way to establish this is to identify your business’ unique value proposition. Kathryn Royster of Inman describes these as “irreplaceable qualities…. Your selling points.” These are the values that you emulate, values that help you stand out from the millions of agents occupying the real estate space. Having these values in hand will give you a consistent guideline with your messaging and how your present yourself.
Speaking of presentation, your image is arguably just as important when it comes to defining your brand. So with those values in hand, now comes the other fun part – creating your logo.
While logo design doesn’t have to be hard, it’s definitely a process that demands a lot of consideration. To help you get started, Inkbot Design provides a great guide of what to keep in mind when creating a real estate logo.
If you’re not comfortable designing your own logo, Fiverr is also a great way to outsource your creative needs. There’s a community of stalwart freelancers just a click away, ready to assist with all of your logo creating leads (and at an affordable rate, in most instances).
Finally, with all of the fine-tuning of your image and messaging behind you, your next step is to put your name on the map!
There’s an endless stream of advice columns on this topic, but the best ways to build awareness boils down to: staying top of mind by increasing digital presence, providing value, and to consistently do both.
Some of the ways to accomplish this are:
- Social Media
Building engagement and using data to optimize your efforts is crucial to growing your name and your business, especially as a real estate agent. Considering that 44% of buyers are starting their search process online – a number that stands to increase in our digital age – then it’s growing awareness on social media is definitely the best way to start building your brand.
- Referral Marketing
We’ve covered the benefits of establishing a strong referral game, but you don’t need us to tell you that Word-of-Mouth has been (and still is) an age-old staple within real estate. It’s crucial when it comes to building a business, especially if you’re growth-hacking your business by means of a referral program.
- Content Marketing
Content is king. That’s the long and short of it. Attract customers by providing them with value-driven content, and give them a reason to engage with your online persona. Also, let’s be honest, upon encountering your name and brand, they’re going to do a little digging. Since we live in an time of pseudo-sleuths, where you’re labeled as a weirdo if you don’t stalk every person you meet.
So take control of the content they’ll encounter when a client searches for your name, and provide them with useful material that showcases your expertise.
Now you got their business, but how do you keep them coming back for more? It’s the customer service you provide that goes hand in hand with referral marketing. Whether you’re working on generating reviews or managing expectations, it’s all about creating an unforgettable experience for your client. Make them feel special.
And now we’ve come full circle. Successful brands are always tweaking and optimizing themselves. They change with the newest trends. They respond to the needs of their audience. They adapt. So never remain stagnant or complacent!
In summation, as a real estate agent, your reputation and your name is your life’s blood. So make sure you do everything in your power to build, establish, and continually improve your brand. It requires constant effort and attention, but just refer to the success of household brand names to witness how that time will be well spent.