September is Marketing and Branding Month at Inman. Tips for better branding and in-depth features on how to take advantage of marketing tools provided by Zillow, Redfin and other platforms are all in the works in addition to insights from experts. You’ll find it all at Inman, as well as our two-day virtual, flagship event, Your Playbook for the Fall Market, in October.
As a real estate agent, your business depends on effective marketing. You may find some clients through word of mouth, but you’ll also need to devote time and resources to actively marketing yourself to prospective buyers and sellers. That’s no small task in a growing market saturated with agents.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just beginning your career, it’s possible to stumble when it comes to marketing yourself to prospective clients. Although mistakes happen, and one won’t derail your career, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by avoiding common marketing pitfalls.
Here are seven marketing mistakes real estate agents make and how you can avoid them.
Not having a business brand
Before you go through the time and expense of building a website, social media channel and print materials, your first step in your marketing plan should be to develop a business brand. Your branding guide will include a logo, color scheme and fonts, as well as verbiage and tone that you can use in all of your materials.
Once you have this established, you can apply it to everything your marketing touches, including digital and print materials.
If you already work for a major real estate company, check to find out if they have any branding or style guidelines. While you may need to follow their format on print materials and websites, find out if there is anything you can do to personalize your brand to stand out from others.
While building your brand, be sure to create one that is true to who you are instead of trying to sound like everyone else. If you deal in million-dollar properties, create a chic brand that will appeal to high-end clients.
Likewise, if you’re most experienced working in single-family homes, make sure your brand reflects the interests and needs of people looking for their family’s dream home. By making your strengths obvious in branding, you’ll attract the clients you’re hoping to earn.
Thinking print is dead
With so many social media and digital advertising options to choose from, you may decide to go completely paperless with your business. But that isn’t always the best policy. Print advertisements, including printed brochures of a home’s specs and postcards for cold calls to potential customers, still carry a lot of weight.
Baby boomers are one of the largest customer bases in the housing market right now as they look to downsize from their family homes to smaller condos, and tried-and-true marketing practices, such as leaving a business card or sending a note, are still effective ways for reaching them.
Chasing social media trends
Though you may find good leads for prospective buyers and sellers on social media, use caution before devoting too much of your time and resources toward the latest trends. While platforms such as TikTok may be growing exponentially, you may not connect with serious prospects because it tends to attract younger users.
At the same time, make sure you know the difference between views, engagement and results. The latest post of you doing a dance trend in a property on the market may rack up a bunch of views and likes, but unless you’re getting serious leads or buyers, it likely won’t help you build your career.
Not using video effectively
While social media and digital marketing shouldn’t be your only marketing resources, they are still important to include in your arsenal. Every social media post you share should have a photo or video accompanying it — not only to get a boost from the platform’s algorithm but to attract more attention from viewers than a text-only post would.
Video tours are a particularly effective way to pique the interest of prospective clients. Buyers will be more likely to request information and sellers will be impressed by the quality of your listings. High-quality photos can also be used to make your print materials stand out to prospective buyers.
Using misleading copy
Honesty and authenticity will go a long way toward building trust and loyalty with prospective clients, which is why it’s important to avoid using misleading copy in your marketing materials.
Misleading copy is so common that most prospective clients know to avoid listings with words such as “cozy” and “quirky.” By using misleading words and phrases, you’re more likely to raise red flags with potential buyers and sellers than you are to secure them as your clients.
In addition to being honest, be sure to include a Call to Action (CTA) in all of your copy. Each social media post, listing or ad has a desired outcome, and you should encourage viewers to take it. CTAs could include phrases such as “Call now to schedule a tour” or “Message me for more information.”
Not working with professionals
Now that smartphones are equipped with high-quality cameras and many websites offer free templates to create graphics, it is tempting to skip hiring designers and photographers, saving money by using these options to create ads and listings.
While these resources may work in a pinch, they are no replacement for the quality of the product you will get by enlisting the services of professional graphic designers and photographers.
A designer or photographer has the eye and skill to elevate your marketing materials in a way no fancy camera or software can without their expertise. And when you build a long-term relationship with them, they’ll know your style and brand, saving you the time of having to explain it over and over again.
Not using trackable links and phone numbers
By using individual — and trackable — links and phone numbers on your marketing materials, you can find out how people are finding your services and listings. With this extra layer of information and research, you will know which of your marketing materials are doing the best to garner you more business.
Once you have this information, you can put more of your marketing budget and effort toward the methods that have the highest performance. This will give you the best return on your investment.