Getting started in real estate can be fun and exciting…but it’s not always easy. Especially in areas where realtors seem to be a proverbial dime-a-dozen, new agents can have a hard time standing out in the crowd. It takes a lot of work, in the beginning, to get one’s name out there front and center AND plenty of consistent work to keep it there.
Marketing and Branding
Marketing and branding. Those are certainly two “buzz” words of the 21st century. We hear them all the time, associated with products and services of all sorts.
Anyone in the real estate business should do their best to establish a “brand”, which is defined as a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers (source: American Marketing Association), and must strive to market that brand so that they become recognizable.
So, what’s the best way to begin?
Many branding experts suggest that blogging is the ideal way to get your name and face in front of those in your area.
The term “blog” – or weblog – actually got its name from the ship’s log, the notes the captain wrote down each day at the end of the day, providing details about the voyage. So, similarly, you want to keep a captain’s log of your business-related activities and write about them for your audience.
But you’re brand new to the business! So, what do you write about? Well, it’s not likely you’ll be able to write much about home buying and selling yet or about mortgages and other related topics. That’s okay, say the experts. Instead, choose things that will interest those who live in the area that surrounds your office. Is there a local festival happening or perhaps a special holiday event? Is there a landmark in your area that attracts a lot of attention? Or maybe there’s a neighbor that’s done something particularly exciting or noteworthy. If so, you can profile that person in your blog.
Of course, you can also write general real estate articles that aren’t specific to your area. That’s called “evergreen” content because it is long-lasting and applies to more than just your region. You can research evergreen topics on the internet, subjects like preparing for an open house, improving your home’s curb appeal, getting pre-approved for a mortgage, and much more.
Branding also means making yourself known on the web and through social media, which involves setting up a website, making Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter posts, and perhaps purchasing Facebook or Google ads or something similar.
In real estate, “farming” doesn’t have anything to do with crops. Farming is when you concentrate the majority of your marketing and branding efforts on a specific geographic area or certain types of clients in your area. The term refers to the fact that you are “planting seeds” in that area.
How do you choose a farm area? Well, the first thing you’ll need to do is consult your broker, who perhaps has already suggested a specific farm area. You can’t just choose without inquiring around your office as to who is already farming as you may wind up infringing on someone else’s farm area. And that’s not a great way to start!
Nonetheless, once you have chosen or been assigned a neighborhood, subdivision, or other areas, it’s your job to let those in that section of town know that you are going to be the “local expert” for that area. While you’re not quite an expert yet, you can still spend time letting homeowners in your farm area know that you are mainly concentrating on getting to know that section of town and will be able to speak confidently about housing prices there and other details. Of course, this will take some studying on your part, but you’ll find that it’s worth it and, remember, your broker is also there to help you.
There are several ways to get your name out in your farm area. Some agents still go door-to-door to introduce themselves, especially in small towns. Still, it will likely be better to connect through targeted social media campaigns and perhaps postcard mailings. Many agents also gave been successful in this kind of marketing by putting out a neighborhood newsletter, kind of like a blog on paper. You can write about what’s going on in the neighborhood and surrounding regions, highlight some of your office’s listings (or yours when you get your first ones), and even interview some locals and profile them in your newsletter.
That’s a lot of work!
Sound overwhelming? You don’t have to do it all yourself. There are scores of companies/individuals who are skilled marketers who can help agents put together such campaigns. Again, it will cost you to hire someone to organize this, but an expert can certainly save you time and may also represent cost savings in the long-run.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask your broker or manager for suggestions on how he/she or others in your office have been successful in getting started. Most will be eager to help you because your sales will benefit them as well.