Gone are the days when you could plant a yard sign and idly wait for the phone to ring. Those distant times where you could join the local Rotary Club or BNI and count on walking away with a handful of solid leads. You remember, right? The days when you could wear your branded Realtor® pin down the sidewalk and be stopped by a prospective seller? Today, it’s all about online real estate marketing.
As CEO of BJC Branding, a digital marketing agency based in Boston, Mass., I’ve worked with countless real estate agents and mortgage brokers over the past seven years to elevate their digital brands and get more clients through a comprehensive online real estate marketing strategy.
My favorite project was working with Dakota Riley, a KW realtor who had no consistent branding and was stuck in 32nd place in her market center because she didn’t have the tools to succeed. Dakota was in a tough place: She had a mix of buyers and sellers, but her cash flow was becoming an issue. She even found herself asking her mother for $1,000 just to cover her expenses.
It wasn’t that Dakota didn’t have the drive and determination to succeed — it’s just that she didn’t have the online real estate marketing acumen to be successful.
With a brand overhaul, fresh headshots and some online real estate marketing magic, Dakota rocketed up to the No. 2 spot in her office in only two years and enjoys a healthy six-figure income. To add to this comeback story, Dakota has paid back the loan and now employs her mother, with plans to add more team members to sustain her growing demand.
Online real estate marketing magic in 3 steps
Establish a brand identity.
Get serious about social networking.
Start using email consistently.
Real estate agents like Dakota understand the importance of promoting themselves, but sometimes the strategies and tactics of online real estate marketing can seem overwhelming, if not paralyzing. According to a recent NAR survey, 48 percent of all respondents said keeping up with technology was one of the biggest challenges facing their firm.
Not to worry. Here’s how to get started working your own online real estate marketing magic.
1. Establish a brand identity
Every real estate professional needs to establish two points with their prospective clients:
- You’re organized and professional.
- You can be trusted.
These people are making one of the largest purchases of their lives with you, so they need to know it will be a seamless and supported experience. If you don’t have a professional-looking headshot, spend the money to get one because it will convey your professionalism and credibility (both leading to trust). As this will be your first digital impression, it’s well worth the investment.
Once you have your headshot, be sure that your contact information and imagery (headshot, logo, etc.) is up-to-date and consistent around the web, so your prospects can see how organized you truly are. For more information on building your real estate brand, take a look at this recent case study.
2. Get serious about social networking
With your consistent branding in place, you’re ready to build out your social media presence. A safe place to start your social media presence is Facebook. To be successful on social channels like Facebook, you can’t just overload your friends’ newsfeeds with listings and open house information. A true online real estate marketing pro will find that balance between shameless self-promotion and engaging, interactive content.
Only one out of every five Facebook posts should promote your business. The others should contain information that’s helpful to property hunters.
As a rule of thumb, you want to share interesting, educational or thought-provoking content about 80 percent of the time and promote your business the other 20 percent. You also want to make video your best friend. Whether you use Facebook Live or upload videos you’ve recorded, you’ll drive more interested buyers to every listing.
“Video gets three times the engagement, yet only about one percent of the posts from brands and businesses are video.” ~ Mari Smith
3. Start using email consistently
Would you believe the average person receives 264 marketing messages each day? That kind of volume leads to a lot of noise for your leads and prospects. Fortunately, email marketing provides you with a way to break through the chaos.
Consider sending weekly or bi-weekly emails to keep your brand in front of leads, prospects and clients. To avoid alienating or annoying them, don’t just promote your listings — show them you have your finger on the pulse of the community by sharing local news, events and updates.
Looking back at Dakota Riley, we opted to send a weekly email to keep her in front of customers, and it’s worked wonders. She’s re-engaged several past clients looking to buy and was able to drive two new listings because of her impressive online marketing.
Of course, these are just a few tools and strategies you can use to become an online real estate marketing pro, but they can potentially work wonders for you. The key to making it all work is to get marketing. Start slow, get that professional headshot, then build a consistent digital brand.