A great real estate brand coupled with outstanding customer service is a winning formula for attracting more clients and closing more deals. If it’s time to upgrade your branding, Bernice Ross has the insights you need.

In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, Realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.

Are you ready to take your branding and marketing to the next level? Compare your current branding against the guidelines below, and if you’re not using these strategies, there’s no better time to start than now. 

Elements of a great real estate brand

A great brand is memorable, it immediately brings the product being sold to mind, and it identifies a specific target market. In real estate, it also references the most highly searched terms including “real estate,” “homes,” “properties,” etc. 

Why branding with your name is a bad idea

First, branding with your name doesn’t meet any of the criteria above. Other problems that come with branding with your name include: 

  • People are bombarded with thousands of names daily. Even if they do happen to remember your name today, the Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting says 70 percent will have forgotten it by tomorrow. 
  • Because broker brands have better exposure than their agents’ branding, potential clients are more likely to remember your brokerage’s name than your name. Remembering your name is doubly difficult if your brokerage also uses names in their branding (Berkshire Hathaway, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams.) 
  • If you’re creating a team, branding with your name makes it more difficult to attract potential team members. It also makes your business more difficult to sell when you decide to leave the business. 

Ditch the shotgun approach and target hyperlocal markets 

When I asked ChatGPT, “What is the most important step agents can take to create a brand that represents them in their local market area?” it replied: 

Establish themselves as an expert in their niche. This means understanding the unique features and characteristics of their local market area, such as the local culture, economy, and real estate trends. By demonstrating their knowledge and expertise, agents can build trust and credibility with potential clients and differentiate themselves from other agents in the area. 

Marketing experts Reis and Trout in their classic book, Marketing Warfare were dishing out this same advice back in 1985: “Get rich in a niche” still applies today. 

To create a hyperlocal niche, begin by selecting branding from any of the categories below: 

  • Types of properties: Condos, local historical homes, probate, foreclosure, horse properties, etc.
  • Types of clients: First-time buyers, baby boomers, teachers, nurses, military, relocation, etc.
  • Lifestyle brands: Golf communities, 55+ subdivisions, vacation homes, etc. 

The power of branding using a ‘function’ rather than your name

While remembering names is difficult, remembering function (what you do) is much easier. For example, I might introduce myself as Bernice Ross of Austin Probate Sellers. Six months from now when someone I met needs to list a probate property, they will probably remember the blond lady who sells probates in Austin. If I have branded my website with the keywords “Austin,” “probate,” “real estate,” the search engines should bring up my name. 

Use a tagline 

A tagline is a short, memorable phrase that communicates the essence of your brand, product or service. A strong tagline helps you maintain brand consistency, build an emotional connection with potential clients and differentiate you from competitors. Use your tagline whenever possible including in your email, marketing pieces, social media posts, video, etc.

To see how effective your branding and tagline are, plug them into the Headline Analyzer

According to the Advanced Marketing Institute, the creators of the Headline Analyzer: 

Reaching your customers in a deep and emotional way is a key to successful copywriting, and your headline is unquestionably the most important piece of copy you use to reach prospects. Your headline will be analyzed and scored based on the total number of EMV (Emotional Market Value) words it has in relation to the total number of words it contains. This will determine the EMV score of your headline. 

In addition to the EMV score, the Headline Analyzer also shows which emotion your headline impacts most: “Intellectual,” “Empathetic,” and/or “Spiritual.” 

In terms of how good a given brand or tagline is, most professional copywriters will have 30-40 percent EMV words in their headlines, though the English language only contains about 20 percent EMV words. 

Even if you follow all the guidelines above, your tagline may not be effective 

Below are five examples of taglines. Can you tell which ones are best? 

  1. Your key to a successful home purchase or sale.
  2. Let us help you discover the home of your dreams. 
  3. Let us open the door to your new home.
  4. Guiding you home, every step of the way. 
  5. From listing to closing, we’ve got you covered. 

In terms of the examples above, here are the Headline Analyzer scores:  

  • The first tagline (a) was the least effective at 22.22. 
  • Taglines (b), (c), and (d) were professional copywriter quality ranking at 30, 33.33, and 37.50 respectively. 
  • The final tagline was the best at 50. 

Here’s another example: If I specialize in selling waterfront homes on Lake Travis, rather than using my name, I could brand with Lake Travis Waterfront Real Estate Specialist. This brand does the following: 

  • It meets the three criteria of what you do, where you do it, and who you serve.  
  • It brands by function (in this case type of property) which helps you obtain better search engine results.
  • Prospective leads should be able to find you with phrases such as “Lake Travis homes for sale.”
  • This branding is more specific than your broker’s brand and easier to locate online. 

Unfortunately, this branding comes in at 0. Making a small change to the tagline in “(a) Your key to a successful home purchase or sale” results in a very powerful tagline: 

“Your key to finding your dream home on Lake Travis” scores 40. 

Choosing the right colors

One of the most important elements of a successful brand are the colors you select, especially for your logo. For example, if you look apps on the home screen of your phone, you’ll notice most of them are blue. Other prominent colors include green, orange, and red. 

Choosing the right colors for your brand depends upon your audience, the type of market you want to reach, and your own personality.

Here are what the five most widely used colors for real estate brands mean. 

  • Blue conveys security, stability, and professionalism. Use blue in your brand if you want to showcase your reliability and trustworthiness.
  • Green represents growth, freshness and renewal. It’s a strong choice if you want to focus on sustainability, eco-friendliness and well-being. 
  • Orange represents enthusiasm, creativity, and warmth and is a good choice if you want to convey a friendly, welcoming image. 
  • Gray represents sophistication, elegance and stability. It is widely used by many luxury real estate brands
  • Red is a bold, attention-grabbing color that represents passion, energy and urgency. It can help your brand be noticed and remembered, especially on flyers, banners and signs. 

Sell the ‘dream’ 

According to Clotaire Rapaille, the marketing consultant for many of the Fortune 100 Companies, the three most important cultural factors (or codes) that cause American consumers to purchase are “dream,” “hope,” and “fix it.” 

For example, when I changed the first tagline from, “Your key to a successful home purchase or sale,” to “Your key to finding the home of your dreams,” the EMV score increased from 22.22 to 33.33.

Ways to use “dream” in your marketing include, “The dream of owning your first home” or “The retirement home you always dreamed of owning.” 

When it comes to branding, consistency is the name of the game  

Once you select a brand, use the same branding (fonts, colors, taglines, etc.) across all your branding and marketing. This includes your email signature line, every print and digital marketing piece, videos and on social media. Maintaining consistency across your branding is essential to your success.  

The bottom line is a great real estate brand coupled with outstanding customer service is a winning formula for attracting more clients and closing more deals. Is it time to upgrade your branding right now? 

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.

| new agent | social media
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