Despite the experience you have in real estate, launching your brokerage firm will come with an entirely new set of challenges. To get your startup off the ground, you’ll first have to lay a foundation — aka get your marketing in order.

Gaining market share will require both time and money — and more money. Failing to invest the appropriate amount in your branding and marketing could stunt the growth of your company before it’s even developed. The majority of businesses fail. Without proper marketing and branding, yours will, too.

Regardless of how many deals you closed each year as a real estate agent, you’ll have to work to re-establish your credibility as an independent broker. Below are our seven marketing musts to ease your transition.

1. Set aside a marketing budget

You will need to advertise in print publications and online. You’ll also need to produce collateral materials and maintain an active marketing strategy with many moving parts.

Without a budget, you are extremely vulnerable to impulse decisions and many disjointed marketing tactics that don’t work toward a common goal.

A full-service marketing firm will be able to help with the creation of an effective marketing budget and, depending on your goals, a good starting point should fall between $250,000 and $500,000 to launch your brokerage firm properly.

2. Create a marketing strategy

Your goals might sound something like: recruit top-producing agents, establish awareness for the brand, generate leads, gain favorable listings and so forth.

Beyond your goals, you will have to define your niche, purpose, competitive advantage and overall specialty. It will involve looking at the competition and determining what you can offer to differentiate your brokerage.

It will also mean establishing a plan on how to achieve your goals, including which media you will participate in and why.

3. Establish a professional brand

If you rely on subpar branding, your business will lack a solid foundation. A professional brand is one that works well in every application, is consistent and, most importantly, is effective.

A credible, trustworthy brand will help recruit top producers and generate leads. During this part, you will establish your businesses personality both visually and in writing.

Creating a well-recognized brand is the greatest key to success in real estate, which makes it essential to dedicate your time and money to do it correctly.

If you brand your business effectively, you can depend on years of reliable revenue from repeat business.

4. Create a functional website

Technological tools are going to play a critical role in attracting top-producing agents to your firm, as well as generating buyer leads.

Your website provides a high level of functionality and a tool for several years to come. A site with an IDX feed and proper lead management is a wise investment for startup brokerages.

5. Create a branding campaign

Being new in the world of independent real estate, you’ll need to introduce your business, which means more than just listing ads.

You will need to promote your business with “branding” ads. This is where you will have the opportunity to make an impression and begin achieving recognition in the local community.

A branding ad will be based on lifestyle, not the homes you list, and will work to strengthen your brand position and messaging.

The goal of a branding campaign is to promote your brand through print advertising, online advertising and various pieces of collateral.

6. Execute your marketing campaign

Once you have everything planned, you’ll begin taking action. Taking action means utilizing the emails and direct mail pieces you send, as well as any advertising in which you engage.

This is why step two, creating the marketing strategy, is so crucial. Without employing a strategy, you will not have a clear direction, method or budget.

You need to plan ahead of time to ensure the execution process is smooth and efficient.

7. Build a marketing plan for your agents

Your agents are an essential component of your overall success. Thus, you will need to a create a structured marketing plan for them as well.

They will need to have guidelines that show how they can use the brand while also keeping them in line with your consistency and strengths.

By giving them brand guidelines and advertising plans, you will help to promote your brand as well. It’s giving them freedom while preserving your brand. Top-producing agents will love that.

Starting a brokerage firm from the ground up takes a lot of time, hard work and dedication, but it’s not difficult if you have a plan. Although everyone wants to believe that starting a business is as easy as hanging a sign on your door, it’s not. Do you want to be in the 10 percent of new companies that survive year one?

Do you have any tips for starting an independent brokerage? Please continue the conversation in the comments section below.

Laura Ure is the CEO of Keenability, a marketing agency specializing in lifestyle marketing that targets the affluent buyer. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Email Laura Ure.

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