With nearly 20 years in the biz, I’ve seen a lot: the transition from “property phone books” that were our source of truth to IDX feeds and websites, the presence of boom and bust cycles, the rise of digital, the creation of amazing marketing technology and social platforms, and a significant change from brands being in control to consumers being in the driver’s seat.
Whether it is the year 2000 or 2020, there are — and have always been — 3 universal truths of marketing that will drive results if followed. It’s important to note, these concepts work for small businesses, large enterprises and everything in between. You don’t need to be one of the bigger guys like RE/MAX. You can be a one-person office and follow these truths to success.
Now, let’s get to it.
Make it about the consumer, not yourself
Look around and you will find most real estate advertising is uninspiring — a sea of sameness. Most either focus on the aspirational parts of the transaction at the beginning or end, or spew details onto consumers like “new listing,” “a must-see property,” “X bed, X bath, X sq footage,” “X years of experience.”
Consumers can find most of this online. What agents and teams need to remember is that they are responsible for helping clients with the largest and most emotional purchase of their lives. You should think about who your clients are, what they need and how you can serve them versus who you are and what you need to sell. Demonstrate your value and how you can be their trusted advisor. That mentality is what served as inspiration for the latest RE/MAX advertising campaign, which focuses on the quality services and support offered to consumers by skilled full-time agents.
People aren’t demographics. A people-based approach to marketing is where it’s at.
Segmenting audiences based on who they are, where they might be in their lives, what they are doing and, in some cases, what they are not doing is available today. Rather than thinking in broad demographics, think on a more 1:1 basis.
For example, instead of adults and a price range, or current and past customers, think about your customers as people. Do you have a home to sell with a big yard? Perhaps market how the home is ideal for homebuyers with pets. If a property has an amazing gourmet kitchen, modify versions of marketing materials to promote how it could be perfect for anyone with culinary interests. Or perhaps how that gourmet kitchen meets the needs of someone who entertains a lot. These subtle adaptations in your marketing will help create relevance in the consumer’s mind almost as if it were meant specifically for them. One message for all isn’t as effective as it once was, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. A simple change of an image or call to action is all it takes in some cases.
Video is a wonderful option, too, because you can hit on more of the senses. The heavy lifting is in managing your database and having a way to tag and segment your database of customers and prospects.
Grow your real estate business without promoting real estate
Sometimes an unbranded approach to marketing can be smart. Yes, brand matters and there’s no denying it, but rather than always promoting listings and the real estate industry, consider positioning yourself as the community expert. Subtly integrate your brand into your marketing and promote new restaurants with interviews with the owners. Show off the community events that make up the fabric of the community you serve, or new communities you want to sell in. Simply promote anything consumers might want to know and has nothing to do with buying or selling homes.
If the thought of creating content and landing pages and print pieces feels overwhelming, consider video. It’s easy. Turn your phone around and start talking, walking and showing what’s around you. Then post to your website and YouTube channel and promote on social channels linking back to your website or landing pages.
By providing value, you can build rapport and trust with savvy consumers so that when they’re ready to buy or sell, you should be on their shortlist for consideration. I’ve seen this work well for seasoned veterans as well as new agents who don’t have many listings to market.
Now get out there and make it about your consumer!