I believe that owning your own marketing is critical to being a successful Realtor. By marketing, I specifically mean the tools and materials that you use to promote your real estate business. By owning your own marketing, you are not at the mercy of your broker or other platforms to earn your business. You are also branding yourself as a Realtor and not your broker when you own your own marketing.

Finally, you appear more professional and come across as more of an expert when you brand yourself differently than other Realtors. I can think of no better examples of owning your own marketing than taking a look at websites, email marketing and social media.

Your website

Let’s say you join XYZ Real Estate Firm and they provide you with a template, their template, to use as your website, and they do this for free. Great, you don’t have to spend a dime! Now you have plugged in your information to this template and all of a sudden you start getting a lead here and there. This is great, you think — “I love my website!” But the problem is, it isn’t your website. What happens when you decide to part ways with XYZ Real Estate? Well XYZ Real Estate keeps your website along with the leads that you have been receiving every month.

The other issue with using XYZ Real Estate’s website: Who are you branding, you or XYZ Real Estate? When you own your own website, it is a custom website about you and one that is designed to bring value to your clients. You can create the content, the look and you can make all the changes you would like to on your website. Having your own custom website makes you stand out from the crowd, makes you look different than your co-workers and shows that you are a professional Realtor who has a true expertise in the local market. Now you can take your custom website and your leads with you, wherever you may go. This is why it is better to own your own website instead of relying on your broker to build one for you or using someone else’s template.

Email marketing

In the same vein as your website, you sign up for XYZ Real Estate’s email newsletter to be sent to your clients. You are happy because you don’t have to lift a finger and your email marketing is done! Now again the question has to be asked, who are you branding: your company or yourself? To present a professional image to clients, one of expertise, you have to show that you are invested in your business, and customizing your marketing tools is one way to accomplish that. When you own your own email newsletter, you can make the content unique and really brand yourself (as a Realtor) and your message. Even better, if you do leave your company the only thing you have to change is the logo on the email newsletter.

Social media

I think one of the biggest cases for owning your own marketing comes from social media. Social media is important for marketing and, yes, it is something every Realtor should use to grow their business. However, it shouldn’t be your main source of growing your business. Why? Because you really have zero ownership over the business you build on social media. It is someone else’s platform and you are at the mercy of them changing the rules whenever and however they see fit.

Let’s take a look at Facebook, for example. A few short years ago, you could build a Facebook page for your business and at that time, if someone liked your page, your posts would always show up in their news feed. You could also do something called “like-gating,” asking people to like your page in exchange for a free report or e-book. Then Facebook began to change the business pages. First came the elimination of “like-gating.” Then came the Follow and Get Notifications buttons on the pages. In order to have the possibility of having your posts show up in news feeds, your likers had to select the Follow button and finally the Get Notifications buttons — and even then, it isn’t guaranteed.

Now if you own your own website, own your own email marketing list and are getting leads from these two marketing mediums, these Facebook changes didn’t hurt you. For many people, that wasn’t the case! Building your business on someone else’s platform can really devastate your business when the platform owner changes the rules on you!

To be successful in real estate you must invest in your business and own your own marketing. Don’t be at the mercy of your broker or a social media platform to get your business for you. By owning your own marketing, you can use tools that ensure you can get business wherever you are, and it shows that you are a true professional dedicated to your business. This is what will help make you a successful Realtor!

Jennifer Snyder is the owner and chief marketing consultant at Automated Marketing Inc., whose custom marketing solutions help Realtors build their brand through websites, email marketing, social media and print.

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