In this monthly advice column, Marketing Mastermind Christy Murdock Edgar answers three burning questions from the real estate industry at large. This month’s topic: perfecting your content strategy.
There’s no question that real estate is a competitive industry. Maybe that’s why there are so many books, webinars and strategy sessions focused on helping agents to step up their game.
But what are some of the game-changing things you can do to make your marketing and your reputation stand out among the rest of the agents and brokers in your area?
Let’s explore some ways to stand a little taller and shine a little brighter this month.
Questions of the day
Question 1, Dillan Thompson
Many markets are very competitive. What is the best way to separate yourself from your competition online?
Having worked with a lot of agents and brokers — some with really stellar online profiles and some without — the two things I would say make the biggest difference are having a highly refined sense of audience and talking to them consistently.
Many agents — both newbies and old-timers — say, “I don’t want to get too specific in my audience. I want to help everybody.” Well, yes, of course. But you can’t talk effectively to everybody. You can’t tweet effectively at everybody. You can’t write a blog that everybody is going to read.
What you can do is drill down to a specific niche. Do you want to reach first-time homebuyers? Sellers in a specific neighborhood? Retirees looking to downsize? The more specific you get about your audience, the more effectively you can create content that appeals to them and distribute that content effectively.
Beyond the presence you create online and on social media, you need to ensure that you are communicating consistently. Does that mean that you have to post a blog every Wednesday at 2 p.m.? No, but you do need to post on a regular basis, communicate with your sphere on a regular basis and post on social media on a regular basis.
Out of sight equals out of mind — if your fans, followers and your sphere are not hearing from you, you might not be top-of-mind when it’s time to make a buy or sell decision.
Question 2, Brett Ringelheim, NYC
What are a few pieces of information that agents provide but are not necessary on the marketing material?
I love this question because it gives us a chance to talk about different types of marketing materials. You have your MLS property description, your social media shares, your brochure or flyer copy and maybe a longer piece, like an article in the local paper’s real estate section or on your blog.
You might also have additional platforms like mailers or video tours where you’re providing information about the property.
When it comes to the property description itself, I am not a fan of writing how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms and square footage.
All of that is in the listing information, and most buyers are searching using those criteria — they don’t really need it repeated. In addition, it takes valuable characters away from details that might really get those buyers through the door.
(Note: There is a new trend of MLSs providing thousands of characters for their descriptions. Don’t give in to this! No one wants to read a dissertation on any listing. If you want to include that much material, write a blog post about it, or do a video home tour and link to it within the description.)
The other big thing I see is agents who are letting the sellers drive the car when it comes time to write the listing description. I can assure you that no one is going to care what year the caulk was replaced or what kind of subfloor repair was done 10 years ago.
Homeowners want to justify every nickel they’re asking so they want to throw everything plus the kitchen sink (literally!) into the description, but it’s off-putting and awkward. Stop it.
You are the expert, and you know what buyers in your area are looking for. If the homeowner wants to include a nonsensical detail, just say no.
Question 3, Michael Edlen, Pacific Palisades California
What differentiates the truly best and most successful agents from the others?
There are probably as many answers to this as there are markets and successful agents. Of course, everyone says things like “client service” or “market knowledge,” but if that was true there would be a lot more successful agents.
From the people who I meet and work with, I would say there are three markers that pretty consistently indicate great agents.
- Complacency isn’t a problem: Even if they have a huge, built-in referral network and SOI, they are always setting goals for growth. They leverage people, processes and technology to grow their reach and their effectiveness.
- Great agents are true experts: They know everything about their market, about its people, about its home trends and about its future. They know everything about the latest contract changes and industry movements. They are often trainers or speakers, sharing their knowledge with others and using the opportunity to meet the leaders in their local, state and national associations.
- Many of the best agents have an additional differentiator: Maybe a law degree, maybe a very specialized niche, maybe international connections, or maybe expertise in investing and finance. This area of specialization allows them to become the go-to, second-to-none expert for a percentage of people in and around their local market. Here too, they often go out and share their knowledge, both with other agents and with potential clients. They are eager and enthusiastic in helping others.
Being a great agent is no joke. It’s a lot of hard work, but the rewards — both tangible and intangible — are pretty great.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate in Alexandria, Virginia. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.