BrokerageMarketing

5 critical first steps for building your brand

Align your branding strategy and maximize your marketing dollar

Remember how that first day in a new job feels? Who can forget all the nervousness, excitement and anticipation associated with beginning a new journey?

Most new Realtors experience these same feelings just as soon as their license is sponsored, their Supra key is activated and their business cards are printed. It’s such an exciting but daunting time.

That’s how I felt back in 2008, when I received my Texas real estate salesperson license. You will recall that was  just about the time the real estate credit crisis began. Needless to say, I wasn’t in real estate very long, because few clients could obtain financing anymore. However, when I look back on my short-lived career today, I see a number of things I could have done much differently upon receiving my license that may be of benefit to you.

Take a lesson from a great brand

In my current role as a social media strategist, I observe that many brand-new Realtors lack a consistent branding and marketing strategy. Ultimately, they end up spending large sums of money constantly redesigning graphics, websites and marketing materials.

Instead, they should take a lesson from a company that is consistent in its branding: Burt’s Bees. Whenever you see its products in stores, you know exactly what you’re looking at and the quality of the product. Even if it’s a quick glance, that piercing yellow packaging and notable font alerts you that what you’re seeing is a Burt’s Bees product.

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This is the goal that you want to replicate within your targeted community. Whether someone is driving by a yard sign or seeing your brand on the back of a shopping cart, you want to start off with a great look and stay consistent.

With that goal in mind, here are five steps that you, a new agent, can take when building your brand that will save you headaches in the long run:

Step 1: Make sure you have a great-looking headshot so you can incorporate it into your branding and marketing efforts. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on a headshot, but I will say that you get what you pay for.

Step 2: Decide whether you’re going to use your name as your brand (John Smith Homes, for example) or file a DBA (such as Smith Real Estate). After you decide where you’re going to take your real estate business, get a quality logo created. This, along with your headshot, is going to be your calling card when you’re marketing yourself. Most new Realtors are on a budget, but you can get a logo designed for less than $10 at www.fiverr.com.

Step 3: Don’t get lost in the weeds marketing your brokerage. Always make sure you are the focal point (unless your brokerage has marketing guidelines that state otherwise). After all, you don’t really know if you’re going to be happy at the brokerage where you currently are hanging your hat. Remember that if you ever decide to change brokerages, all of your marketing material, content, websites, etc., are going to have to reflect the change.

Think carefully about creating your own logo and branding package so that no matter what brokerage you’re with, your branding and marketing stays consistent. It takes a lot of your own money, time and effort to get people to recognize your brand; don’t regress by switching everything if you change brokerages.

Step 4: There’s nothing worse for a potential client than finding an agent’s website and discovering that the telephone number listed on the site has been disconnected. For one, it says you don’t care enough to take the time to update your websites. It also makes you look a tad bit unreliable. So when you decide to dedicate a phone line, be sure to decide whether you want to use your mobile for personal and work, a landline at your home or a whole new phone line just for business. If you plan to purchase another mobile phone, you can try using TracFone.com. They are very affordable; you can get 365 days of service and 1,500 minutes for $199.

Step 5: Select a website name you want and keep it. That way, people will always be able to find you! Having one main website domain is optimal for your business. That, combined with a consistent phone number and your logo/headshot branding, will ensure that no matter where your content lives, it’s all consistent and uniform.

Having followed these five steps, you can begin to truly market yourself in a consistent and effective manner and avoid some very big headaches that can come with transitioning to a new company. I wish I had learned and followed these five steps when I was in real estate, because it would have saved me a lot of time and money.

Andrew Molz is an expert strategist when it comes to merging social media with real estate. Currently, Andrew is the managing partner at Dallas-based startups The Reputation Shop and 12 Rounds SEO.