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: effectively communicating with your sphere of influence amid COVID-19.
I often take inspiration for this column from the real estate agents and brokers I meet as a trainer and speaker. In a time of social distancing, I’m not hearing from those rooms full of pros, but I am hearing from them on the phone and online.
Here are the things everyone wants to know right now to be effective in crafting their communication.
Should I reach out to my sphere?
Many people are concerned that their intentions will be misunderstood if they reach out to people in their sphere or to leads with a COVID-19-related communication. No one wants to be seen as insensitive or too salesy in their approach.
However, I do believe it’s important to reach out to your sphere and to anyone else with whom you are normally in communication. People still have needs. They definitely have questions. Most of all, in a time of profound uncertainty and difficulty, hearing from someone helps.
Now more than ever, people need a sense of normalcy. They need to know that someone cares about them. They need to know that there’s someone they can call on if necessary.
In addition, people are realizing things about their homes. After all, this is the most concentrated time many of us have ever spent in our homes. There are things that don’t work. Rooms that they hate. Problems to solve. That’s where real estate professionals excel.
Be a problem-solver for your sphere. Let them know who to reach out to for home repairs or if they are having trouble paying the electric bill due to job loss. Tell them how to donate to a local food pantry or what non-profits can assist them if needed.
Most real estate agents and brokers are people-focused connectors who know everyone. Put that knowledge to work as a valuable resource for the people in your community. They’ll remember it long after shelter-in-place orders are lifted and the quarantine becomes just a memory.
Are there rules for what to say?
I don’t think there are rules for what to say, so let’s create some.
- That you care
- How you can help
- What local resources are available
- How the market is doing
- Where to find reliable information
- How to give back or volunteer
- Something positive, funny or uplifting
- What you’re reading
- What you’re binge-watching
- What you’re cooking or baking
- What you’re eating
- Something good about local businesses
- Something good about healthcare workers
- Something good about delivery drivers
- Something good about the people you miss
- Something gloomy
- Something inaccurate
- That you need clients
- That everyone is overreacting
- That it’s a conspiracy
You will surely develop your own list of do’s and don’ts, but these are mine for now. Remember the adage: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it helpful? These should be your guides.
Should I wait until all of this is over before I (fill in the blank)?
I’ve talked to people who’ve started up all of the following within the last two weeks:
- A new website
- A website rewrite
- Blog posting
- Weekly SOI emails
- Letter-writing campaigns
However, I’ve also talked to one person who was putting off all marketing as a new real estate agent “until after this is all over.”
In some cases, of course, people are changing their marketing plans due to budgetary constraints. Often, however, people have the idea that there’s no sense in marketing anything right now because no one is doing anything.
That’s a short-sighted approach based on a marketing plan that is only concerned with hot leads now. To develop an effective marketing strategy, however, you need short-term and long-term leads. You need ongoing conversations. You need evergreen and time-sensitive content.
Right now, you have a captive audience for your content and other marketing materials. People are hungry for something to think about or for a new face. Even with no budget, you can:
- Start a blog
- Start a YouTube channel
- Start a new social media account
- Develop a first-time homebuyer Zoom workshop
- Create an email drip automation
- Handwrite notes to your sphere (for the cost of stamps)
Not sure how to get started? There are tutorials everywhere. Not a good writer? Go the video route, and just talk to people. Not tech-savvy? Reach out to a younger colleague or relative, and ask them to talk you through the basics.
Now, more than ever, you have the time and opportunity to create effective and value-added marketing. Try something new, say something relevant, and show people you’re the problem-solver they need — both now and in the days to come.
Do you have questions for the Marketing Mastermind? Send them here.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr