The latest stats from USA’s National Association of Realtors (NAR) are in and it’s nothing surprising: the most popular source buyers use in a home search is the internet (93%). In fact, 99% of millennials, who make up 63% of first home buyers, check a real estate website at least once during their search to buy a home. With the Australian real estate market undergoing this same rapid shift to digital, competition is heating up to win the branding and awareness battle online.
NARs quotes 93% of real estate firms have websites and their most common feature is property listings. Another statistic to consider is that 70% of agents use social media. With these sorts of figures, a solid digital presence is now par for the course, and to thrive as a real estate agent in today’s market, you must consider your internet presence as paramount, and standing out from the crowd is what will turn heads to your direction.
Here are five ways you can take your brand to the next level.
1. Create a quality brand and digital presence
Don’t skimp here, it is not 1999 and free DIY options with old stock photos and an amateur logo will not cut it! Your website is probably the first or second touch with your potential client. In just a few seconds, prospects will judge you based on what they see and decide whether or not you’re worth following up for an initial meeting or phone call.
While there are new tools that make it easy to do your own graphics, business branding and logo design is not for the amateur – professionalism is key and it’s worth investing in. Beware that the consumer has little patience and so navigating your website must be intuitive and easy. It should load fast and should not be clunky when viewing from a mobile phone. Your potential clients will most likely want to easily search for property listings so consider including this option – stats show that your competitors most likely have it.
2. Professional photography and video
These days, lots of people consider themselves on the professional spectrum when it comes to photography (cough Instagram). But trust me, you are not as good as you think you are! As we’ve seen from research, and personal experience, homes with multiple high-quality photos and videos sell faster and attract more potential buyers.
As buyers scroll through the real estate site search results, much like they do on social media, a compelling lead photo is also key to getting them to stop and take a look. Partnering up with a great photographer can be money well spent.
3. Face-to-face networking
While we know the world is shifting to digital, real estate is still very much a people business. Networking often leads to the strongest and longest partnerships. Trust is key when it comes to choosing a real estate agent, and we humans tend to trust flesh more than words and pictures on a screen. The bells and whistles of your website will mean nothing if you come across in person as disorganised or desperate.
Learning how to talk to people will win you more clients, and finding mentors within your professional circles will grow your knowledge base. So get out there and push yourself into larger spheres with your gift of the gab, and perfect the way you communicate. Conferences and industry events can be great venues to connect with your flock.
A serious buyer or seller wants to deal with someone who knows what they are on about, so consider sharing your experience and expertise by posting an article on your website and social media. Make sure you know who your audience is and use a tone they will relate to.
Hard facts and industry data are fantastic for winning clients, so back up your statements with hyperlinks to credible studies and reports from reputable industry organisations as well as from your own local experience.
5. Sponsor a local event
Although you are dishing out cash on the front end when you sponsor an event, you and your brand are getting valuable exposure – both on paper and in person. Successful real estate agents often rely on sponsorship to maintain visibility with specific demographics.
A high-end theatre company is going to have a subscription base that may be looking for their next property purchase, and if you involve your brand as part of the fundraiser or preview night, you may forge an immediate emotional connection with the patrons, and your investment will in the end pay off.
Schools, surf clubs, sporting teams, local fun runs, charities… the list of local organisations needing extra funds or exposure is endless. Often the investment is quite low and you’re helping the community as well as your business.
Above all, consistency is key
Make sure your offline branding is consistent with your digital presence, and whatever channels you choose to invest in – social media, events, sponsorships, networking – remember that marketing is a long-term activity that will get results when you do the right things continually throughout the year.
A great way to maintain a professional profile and ensure your brand stands out is to outsource the task to Agentpoint, who offer prime marketing services to real estate agents internationally.