The National Association of Realtors (NAR) says that the majority of homebuyers consider the internet as the best place to kick off home hunting. Indeed, 99 percent of Millenials (who make up 66 percent of first-time buyers) check a real estate website at least once during the home hunt. In total, more than 44 percent of buyers begin their property search online.
This shift to digital platforms is great news for real estate companies and the industry as a whole. It means that you can find customers pretty quickly. Also, your reach isn’t limited to your location. You can sell homes to prospects, even thousands of miles away from your local area. And if you’re savvy enough, you can combine social media campaigns with messaging apps and your website to net plenty of traffic every month.
Unfortunately, there’s one problem – stiff competition! According to the same NAR survey, 93 percent of real estate firms have websites and the most common feature on their websites is property listings. Over 96 percent of real estate agents also use email, while about 70 percent use social media.
What this means is that if you’re to succeed, you must brand yourself differently. For you to attract the right traffic in sufficient numbers consistently and, more importantly, convince them to choose your company, you must stand up against the competition and stand out from the crowd.
In this article, we look at seven practical steps you can take to set your real estate brand apart in the crowded marketplace.
#1: Build an awesome website
You’ll find that there are many requirements to get a great real estate website up and running. The most important thing is that the site should be professionally developed and designed along with an effective real estate logo design that captures your prospect’s attention and leaves a positive impression.
Two other important factors are speed and ease of navigation. All the great realtor websites load fast and are easy to navigate. Oh, and don’t forget about SEO (search engine optimization) and mobile optimization. Above all, make it easy for visitors to search for properties or post new homes on the site.
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#2: Invest in professional photography
According to VHT Studios, homes with high-quality photos and videos sell 32 percent faster. Properties with more photos sell more quickly too. For example, a house with just one photo takes, on average, 70 days on the market. Properties with 20 photos, meanwhile, only take 32 days on the market.
Interestingly, high-quality photography can also earn sellers more money. The VHT Studio’s study shows that properties in the $200k to $1 million price range generate $3,000 to $11,000 more if the listing has very high-quality photos and videos.
#3: Network and make great connections
Effective networking often leads to partnerships, sharing of experiences, and establishment of long-term business relationships. Most budding real estate agents, for example, don’t know the proper way to talk to clients. Networking will help you learn how to effectively communicate with both sellers and buyers.
Even better, networking will also give you access to great deals. Heck, you’ll even get buyers from your network. Finally, networking is vital for mentorship and building trust among your customers and site visitors. Conferences and industry events are some of the best places to connect with likeminded people.
Remember to always attend these events armed with your business cards to create the opportunity of establishing as well as maintaining contacts which can possibly lead to future business collaborations.
#4: Start blogging to share practical knowledge for customers and fellow agents
You need two things – expertise and personalization – to make your blog stand out from the pack. People who are serious about buying or selling want to deal with a serious professional who’s an expert in the field. As for personalization, optimize your blog to reach the right people (demographics) and write in a style and tone that instantly wins over the audience.
Providing readers with hard facts and industry data is one way to showcase competence, which can go a long way to winning people’s trust. So, quote and link as many studies and reports as possible. Providing real-life examples is another option good option for building credibility.
#5: Offer giveaways
Industry experts consider offers and giveaways as the best strategy to get your foot in the door. These freebies keep your brand front of mind for a long time. For as long as they have the freebie, whenever your customers think of buying or selling property, your brand will be the first thing on their minds.
Some suggestions include branded key holders, doormats, note pads, chains, bottle openers, pens or home air care appliances. You can also offer digital giveaways such as downloadable e-books, guides, and industry reports.
#6: Sponsor an event
With events, you spend money to make money. The good news is that you stand to gain invaluable exposure. Most of the successful real estate people you see around ride primarily on these events to remain visible.
There are endless events you can sponsor, including marathons, non-profit events, schools, local events, and local sports. These sponsorships will get your brand name on bags, shirts, social media, prominent websites, and newsletters. Owing to the popularity of social events, often, it takes just a few sponsorships to turn a small company into a household name.
#7: Invest in user-generated content
Finally, if you want to stand tall from the crowd, you must invest in User Generated Content (UGC). UGC is an umbrella term for content created by end-users online. The content is mainly created to share an experience. UGC, therefore, includes reviews, testimonials, and even social media posts, mentions, and comments directly linked to a product or brand.
The reason you need to take UGC seriously is that it opens doors to new leads and customers. Indeed, UGC for real estate agents is even better than branded content at getting leads. According to Hacker Noon, 85% of digital consumers trust UGC more than branded promotions and advertisements. If you want to gain trust, try to generate more positive UGC.
Be Warned; It Takes Hard Work
In the end, your success in building a successful real estate brand will depend, not on whether you implement the above tips, but on your consistency. Many new real estate companies follow a laissez-faire approach of acquiring a professional website, uploading professional photos and videos, and then wait until the spirit moves them. What makes the successful ones different is that they keep a consistent schedule.
About the Author: Zaheer Dodhia is a serial entrepreneur who has a passion for solving small business and startup problems with affordable branding solutions. His deep understanding of business needs and expertise in graphic design and search engines have motivated him to spearhead several online projects with tremendous success. He’s the mind behind Logo Design, a DIY logo tool. Connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.