As a real estate professional, you understand how important marketing is. You’ve seen high-quality photographs and well-written copy sell houses.
Unfortunately, understanding the value of marketing and tending to your own real estate branding strategy are two different things. The truth is, agents can get so focused on serving their existing clients that they lose sight of how they’re viewed by new leads.
Think about it: when was the last time you looked critically at your logo or marketing materials? Was it over six months ago? More than a year?
If you’re neglecting your brand, you’re not alone. It’s a common mistake, and it’s one that could be costing you leads.
In this post, we’ll explain how to tell if your brand is getting stale—and what you can do about it.
WHY YOUR BRAND MATTERS
Let’s get back to basics. What, exactly, is your brand—and how important is it?
As a real estate professional, your brand is the distinct identity you create for yourself. It’s what you want clients and leads to think of when they hear your name.
Do you want to be seen as a warm, trustworthy agent who knows your community inside and out? Would you like to be viewed as a highly-authoritative negotiator who fights for your clients?
In your marketing materials, the imagery and tone of voice you use should shape (and continuously reinforce) the perceptions leads have of you. Fonts, signature colours, writing style—it should all come together to tell the story of who you are as an agent. This is the essence of real estate branding strategy.
Here are just a few of the reasons why branding matters so much.
IT CAN SET YOU APART
There are about 2 million active real estate agents in the United States. And since 2000, membership in the Canadian Real Estate Association has nearly doubled.
In other words: when it comes to finding a representative, buyers and sellers have no shortage of options. You’re not just competing with a handful of agents—you’re competing with a massive herd.
Most agents have a website, a digital media presence, and a ton of traditional marketing assets. But few really make an impression, which means you have an opportunity to stand out.
Your branding should make a strong statement about who you are. If it doesn’t, you’re giving leads a reason to cut you from a very long list of agents they could work with.
IT CAN MAKE YOU MORE MEMORABLE
Branding is about making sure leads have positive associations with you. But it’s not enough to simply form these associations. You need to strengthen them continually.
To state the obvious: deciding to buy or sell a home is a big deal. A recent analysis concluded that a buyer requires 52 touchpoints with an agent before they make a purchase.
While leads are deciding whether to work with you, they’re also exploring their options. Even if your marketing efforts capture their attention, you can lose them pretty quickly.
This is why your branding needs to be clear and consistent. Without consistency, you’re sending your leads mixed messages—which means they’ll be less likely to remember you when they decide to contact an agent.
IT CAN ENSURE YOU LOOK PROFESSIONAL
Appealing, well-thought-out branding is also an indicator that you’re a professional.
Imagine you’re thinking of buying a particular product. You find it for sale online, but the website that’s selling it uses outdated clipart. Every page contains different fonts and colours. If you’re like most consumers, you’ll try looking for the product elsewhere.
Sloppy branding sends the message that a business isn’t credible or trustworthy. It’s just that simple.
WHY YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR BRANDING CURRENT
Once you’ve put the effort into developing your professional brand, do you really need to revisit it?
Yes, you do. And here’s why.
LEADS AREN’T ATTRACTED TO OUTDATED BRANDING.
Think about it. What would you say to a seller whose home contains wallpaper they haven’t changed since the ‘80s?
There aren’t many buyers out there who can see beyond old-fashioned interior design. The same is true when people are searching for real estate agents. If you’re branding is outdated, most buyers, sellers, and investors won’t bother learning about you. Subconsciously—or consciously—they’ll be wondering what else you’re behind on. Market trends? Housing rules?
You’re also bound to evolve as an agent over time. If your branding no longer matches your approach or the services you offer, new clients may feel that you’ve misrepresented yourself.
Here’s the key to a real estate branding strategy that will help you attract and retain new clients. Ensure that your branding is modern, consistent, and truly representative of you. And if it’s been a while since you’ve considered your brand, it’s probably time to do an audit.
HOW TO DO A BASIC BRAND AUDIT
Performing a basic brand audit will help you figure out if it’s time for a refresh. Start by digging up as many marketing assets as you can—from your email campaigns to your listing presentations.
Think about whether you want to include branding professionals or members of your team in the process. You’ll probably be more successful if you have well-informed second opinions.
Your next steps will depend on where you are in your professional brand development. If you’re unclear about your brand values and the messages you want to convey, go back to the beginning. Ask yourself the foundational questions—like what made you want to be an agent, and who you wanted to help.
If you already know your brand, it’s time to look at your marketing assets. I mean really look at them.
Here are just a few of the elements you’ll want to consider:
Is your logo aesthetically pleasing? Does it look dated? Compare it to the logos of other agents. Yours should be distinct, but current.
Does your tagline convey the unique value you provide? Is it memorable?
ALL OF YOUR DESIGN ELEMENTS
Look at the colour palette and imagery you use. From white space to colour saturation, there should always be a reason for your aesthetic choices.
REVISIT YOUR WRITING
Does your writing use a specific tone? Is it clearly conveying the values and characteristics that you want to be associated with?
REMEMBER THAT CONSISTENCY IS A PART OF AN EFFECTIVE REAL ESTATE BRANDING STRATEGY.
Signs, listing presentations, email campaigns, social media—your branding should be consistent across all assets and platforms.
Does the tagline and colour scheme in your website footer match your brochures? If the answer is no, you’re not making the strong, memorable impression you could be.
WHAT IF YOU NEED TO REFRESH?
If you’re branding isn’t helping you stand out in the best possible way, it’s time to make some changes.
Start by finding people who can help—whether they’re on your team or outside of it.
If your logo is outdated, you need a killer graphic designer. If the copy on your website isn’t converting, a skilled writer can help you whip it into shape. But what if you don’t know where to start?
The right marketing team can help you figure out whether you’ll benefit from a few improvements or a rebrand. Look for a team that understands real estate branding strategy (and has the track record to prove it). Once you’ve found an agency that does work you like, it’s time to set up a discussion to see if you’re a good fit.
Whoever you decide to consult with, remember: you own your brand. Ultimately, every decision you make about it is yours.
Maintaining a brand can be overwhelming, which is why many agents don’t do it. Be one of the agents who makes branding a priority. Trust us—you’ll be happy with the results.
Want to drive traffic, build your brand, and engage your target audience? Download our eBook: ‘The Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Marketing’. It’s a collection of some of our best marketing articles, tips, and tricks that we’ve collected over the years.