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  • If you don’t tell the story of your company, someone else will — probably a competitor.
  • Understand the “why” of your business, what sets you apart, and use it to leverage your marketing.
  • Make plans and collect data. Use the data to tweak your plans.

SAN FRANCISCO — What happens when you don’t have a good brand story? Other people tell that story for you, and it’s usually a competitor. That’s what Jessica Swesey of 1000watt said at the Inman Connect San Francisco digital marketing workshop, where four more branding experts also shared their tips and takeaways for agents and brokers.

Jessica Swesey

Jessica Swesey

Swesey discussed some case studies for successful real estate brands and offered these tips for branding your business:

1. Think about why. Why do agents join your brokerage? Why do clients select your brokerage over competitors?

2. Be truthful. Don’t claim to do something well that isn’t your strength.

3. Be compelling and succinct. Think beyond your product and discover where your business fits in the bigger picture.

4. Make it about more than you. Consumers don’t necessarily care if you were the first or you are the biggest. They want to believe they’re part of something bigger.

5. Tell us why we should care. Your customers don’t care that you want their business. They do care about how you can help them, though.

Katie Lance

Katie Lance

Katie Lance of Katie Lance Consulting talked about building organic traffic. Her big takeaway? Building organic traffic takes time, so you must be intentional about building content and website around your strategy.

There are four components at the heart of organic strategy:

  • Time
  • Resources
  • Patience
  • Consistency

“Everything starts with the story of what it feels like to work with you,” noted Lance. Find what makes you or your brand stand out.

How do you make content happen? There are a few factors that make a big difference.

1. Have an editorial calendar. Know what you’re writing about this week, this month, this quarter.

2. Take time to plan. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and brainstorm about the questions you get asked all the time. Think about the parts of real estate that you love and write about that.

3. Put the right person in charge. Maybe it’s you. Maybe you need to hire someone.

4. Make it a priority. Don’t just work on your strategy when business is slow.

5. Put the right content on the right platform. There are so many options for how to deploy your content. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for each platform.

“The magic is in the one-to-one,” said Lance.

Chris Scott

Chris Scott

Your pay-per-click traffic

What about paid traffic strategy? Chris Scott of The Paperless Agent gave an overview of what he’s tried and tested.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising obviously costs money, said Scott, but it will save you time. Most people think of Google AdWords, but in addition to Google, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, Bing and others also offer PPC.

Scott offered tips for PPC best practices:

1. Clarify your desired outcomes. Make sure you know what you want to do with your PPC campaign, whether it’s generating a lead or marketing a video.

2. In all your marketing, make sure you have the right message going to the right person at the right time.

3. Test your campaign. Your data will tell you how to make it better.

4. Review your data and results and discover opportunities you might be missing.

Audie Chamberlain

Audie Chamberlain

Your PR

Audie Chamberlain of Lion & Orb talked about how to drive traffic to your brand using PR techniques. As Aristotle once said, Chamberlain recapped:

  • Tell them what you are going to tell them.
  • Tell them what you just told them you were going to tell them.
  • Then tell them what you told them.

After recapping a case study from Partners Trust, Chamberlain launched into a discussion of print. “Print is not dead,” said Chamberlain. He used The Wall Street Journal’s Mansion publication as an example.

“Print delivers results, without question,” he said. But be strategic: Even if your property is on the cover of Time magazine, if it isn’t priced right, it won’t sell. “PR is not a cure-all,” he noted.

Print generates business and targets affluent consumers, said Chamberlain, and press releases are public records of milestones. Both can help you grow your business.

Don’t reach out to the media only when you need something, he added. Treat your media contacts like friends; send them tips and help them so that when you need help, they’ll be more willing to bend over backward.

And because nobody wants to be “that guy,” Chamberlain gave three ways to avoid the label:

  • It’s better not to say anything than be a broken record.
  • Help others, and when the time comes for a favor …
  • Relationships help grow your business, so respect them.
Seth Price

Seth Price

Your website

Wrapping up the workshop was Seth Price, who discussed building websites that convert visitors into clients.

“We look at our websites as a checkbox,” said Price, “not as our best, unpaid salesperson that is constantly representing us in the world and is a nonstop destination for who we are and what we believe in.”

Some people, Price noted, are afraid to stay away from their phones. They just can’t put them down. And 70 to 90 percent of a home search happens before a consumer is ready to talk to an agent — because consumers don’t necessarily want to be sold on something they aren’t certain they want or need.

“When we look at sites, we as marketers have the tendency to broadcast,” he added. What he means: Sometimes, agents and brokers might want to sell to everybody — but they all have an ideal client. “Make your communication speak to that person,” he said, and work to solve that person’s problems.

Keywords still matter, noted Price, but they’re part of a larger strategy. Don’t hang your hat on keywords, and although you might need help figuring out what the ideal keywords for your site might be, don’t outsource that component of your website project entirely — involve yourself.

“Content, to me, is the only differentiator,” said Price. Trust can be engendered in a simple headshot, too — visual information is absorbed much more quickly than written.

Consider using the following formula for content creation, he suggested:

“The best/most X in Y” — where X is the superlative and Y is a geographic region. For example, “The ugliest houses in Miami” or “the most expensive properties in San Francisco.”

And the biggest asset when selling a home? The home itself.

One final bonus tip from Inman’s own Morgan Brown: “Fix what’s broken.”

Email Amber Taufen.

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