As a former event planner, I’ve always understood the importance of creating a memorable experience. I relied on my ability to create relationships to generate business and secure referrals. In that industry, word of mouth can truly make or break you.
When I made the transition to real estate, I wasn’t sure as to how that approach would lend itself to this extremely competitive arena. I noticed that most agents and brokers were adhering to a polished strategy, one that positioned them as subject matter experts but left much to interpretation in terms of who they were beyond the lawn signs. I’m sure that their methodology has yielded great results, but I knew that I wanted to be different.
Conversations that are deeply personal
I lead with conversations with prospects that were just as deeply rooted in personal anecdotes as they were in my industry expertise. I share intel about the market then shift gears into what my weekend plans looked like and the latest and greatest pertaining to my kids’ lives. I found that by creating that safe space, the folks I was building connections with were following suit.
I learned so much in those early days about ambitions, struggles, lessons learned and the apprehensions about taking on a mortgage. I found myself caring deeply about my clients and doing everything I could to help them navigate their life’s next chapter. What can oftentimes feel transactional and business-oriented, suddenly started to resemble a friendship, bonds that were based on best interests.
Striking that personal chord and creating a mutual sense of transparency, impacts how I approach the property hunt, the selling process and ultimately, my marketing strategy. It’s one thing to showcase a property, it’s another to cultivate an experience that feels as though one’s needs, aspirations, history and hopes for the future are at the center. The challenge is often integrating those emotions into the inbound/outbound promotional tactics.
Below, I’ve highlighted some of the channels I leverage and the tone that I work toward in order to effectively do just that:
Ali Sells Homes social media
The brokerage that I work for has its own social channels, and it’s a great place to forge connections while marketing services. That said, I decided to launch my own social presence in the spirit of providing prospects with a personalized glimpse into who I am, what I do and the things that I enjoy. My content consists of a fair balance between new listings, advice and updates related to my life beyond the real estate sphere. When folks hear that I have a child headed off to college or that I enjoy a good Orange Theory workout session, it tends to create an atmosphere rooted in trust, common interests, and the understanding that behind every exchange, there exists a real person.
I post organically, but every so often, I’ll put some spend behind targeted content to make real estate connections. The paid elements tend to consist of posts aimed at lead capture and details pertaining to market developments that will appeal to my target audience. While imagery/content quality is of the utmost importance to yielding engagement, targeting appropriately will make or break the effectiveness of any campaign. There are many parameters to choose from on that front but I’d recommend focusing on location, age and online behaviors.
Personalized texts & emails
No one enjoys SPAM. In fact, engaging with past clients and real estate connections who haven’t subscribed to your mailing list, tends to generate results opposite of what you were hoping for. My advice? Make sure that your promotion strategy consists of lead capture elements and then, most importantly, give them a reason to opt-in. If you consistently send messages solely centered on listings or a “what’s in it for me?” mentality, it’s likely that you’re one of hundreds currently infiltrating those inboxes. I have leaned into warm newsletters, incentives, one-on-one check ins and consistent follow ups based on their interests and goals.
Warm lead generation
Personal information is more sacred than ever as data sharing and selling continues to make folks more and more skeptical of providing that intel, especially to people and brands with which they aren’t familiar. Again, you must give audiences a reason to want to join that mailing list or engage with you beyond a social media metric. That’s why it’s important to treat your brand presence as an eco-system. If the channels that you have at your disposal are not cultivated regularly, sharing content that is relevant to your targets or expressing any sense of consistency, the likelihood of anyone wanting to engage further will be slim at best. Figure out what your target demographic cares most about, position yourself where they are and, most importantly, share messages with real estate connections that will resonate.
Here are a few tools that might be helpful in determining who your audience should be, what they care about and how to reach them:
- Pew Research Center
- Google Trends
- Google Analytics
- Social Media Insight Tools
Your approach must feel like your own. It’s easy to get lost in what you should do or blinded by what your competitors are up to. Authenticity must be at the forefront, and once you’ve solidified your narrative, the next step is selecting the channels that will be most useful to your brand.
If you’re a commercial agent, LinkedIn might be more valuable than Facebook. If you’re a small-town real estate agent, joining community groups could go a long way. There is no prescription to capturing leads or creating relationships, you have to lean into what feels right to you, generates the strongest results and feels most sustainable in your day-to-day. My “brand vibe” is rooted in a balance between personal and professional, what’s yours?