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.
Whether you’re starting your career as a real estate agent or looking to grow your business, establishing a personal brand is a crucial first step. Your brand encompasses everything from your website and logo to the content you create and the way you share it, all to build your customer base and close on properties.
Branding goes beyond picking colors and fonts for marketing materials or creating an eye-catching logo. Effective branding tells prospective clients what they can expect from working with you before you ever interact.
Here are six ways to build your brand as a real estate agent.
Establish and understand your target audience
Before building your brand, it’s important to determine your target audience, particularly the types of buyers and sellers you aim to work with. When starting your business, it may be tempting to avoid narrowing your customer base too much, but it can grow your business faster by giving you more focus.
If you’re already an established agent or have a few clients under your belt, take a close look at your most recent clients. If you’re just starting, think about the part of the market you know best.
Look at what they have in common, particularly regarding the kinds of homes they’re looking at, their price range, and any other characteristics they may share. This could be retirees looking to downsize, millennials or Gen-Z buying their first home, investment property buyers, and so on.
Pick the right platforms for reaching your audience
Once you know your audience, you can build your brand to appeal to them and choose the best marketing channels to reach them. Rather than spread yourself and your budget thin by trying to have a marketing presence everywhere, you can focus your time and money where it’ll have the greatest impact.
For example, if you’re focused on building a client base of first-time homeowners, your marketing campaign should focus heavily on digital ads and social media, particularly Instagram for millennials and TikTok for younger millennials and Gen-Z.
Likewise, if you’re aiming to reach empty nesters, your social media focus should be on building a Facebook audience. You’ll also want to use a mixture of print and digital ads, including tried-and-true practices of handbills, postcards and flyers.
Learn about your competition and what sets you apart from others
Real estate agents are familiar with comps — the comparison of similar homes in a market to establish the best way to price and sell a home. That same practice applies to building your brand.
Study your fellow local real estate agents and their brands, particularly those who are working with the kinds of customers you hope to attract. Take note of the kind of content they create and what seems to get the best response from audiences. Just remember that likes and comments don’t always equal business.
After you know more about your competition, think about what similarities you have with them and how you’re different. Build your brand around what sets you apart, while also assuring clients that they will get everything the competition delivers — and more.
Develop relevant marketing content that prioritizes quality
With your brand and marketing plan in place, you can create content that best performs on a platform. High-quality photos and videos will do well across channels, so it pays to invest time — and even some money — in building an archive of quality footage to use across channels.
Not everyone will see every ad or post you share, so you can use and reuse photos and video footage multiple times without worrying about it seeming recycled.
Make sure you have clean links on social media and all ads — digital and print — directing prospective clients on where to find you. As a bonus, include links to contact forms and other materials that are relevant to your real estate business.
It’s a simple step, and they’ll appreciate the convenience of knowing where to get the information they need.
Maintaining a consistent brand is a central part of creating a brand that will leave a lasting impression on your future clients. This goes beyond using your branded color scheme, fonts and logos. What’s most important is to have a consistent message and voice that carries across platforms.
In addition to being consistent with your messaging and overall appearance, be consistent with how often you post content. If you’re trying to build a TikTok audience, for example, the app tends to promote accounts that post multiple times a day.
In contrast, you can build an Instagram following by posting to your grid and reels once or twice a day while giving frequent updates on your stories. Your blog, website and listings on Realtor websites can be updated less frequently, but make sure you keep them fresh, so they don’t grow stagnant.
To save yourself time, create content in bulk so you can simply schedule or share it throughout the day rather than starting over each time. This will keep you from spending too much time on your social media channels when you could be following leads and meeting prospects.
Be approachable, and build relationships
Being friendly and approachable in your branding — and in person — is a good approach for making a positive first impression on prospective clients. Buying and selling a home are often the biggest financial investments and transactions a person will make in their lifetime.
Add to that the stress that comes from moving, and you’ll find that potential customers are put at ease when they work with an agent they can trust to guide them through the process.
Show your humanity by sharing part of yourself within your brand. That doesn’t mean you have to tell all, but you can select parts of yourself that you feel comfortable sharing to help prospective customers relate with you.
Say you’re a recently empty nester; you might create content that appeals to fellow or future empty nesters, such as writing a blog post about “5 Ways to Update Your Home After Your Kids Go to College.”
If you’re a recent first-time buyer yourself, you can share short videos about your experience, offering up tips to others looking to buy their first home. Find the place where your shared experiences overlap with your real estate expertise, and you can build strong relationships with your clients.