Living Your Brand: Local Marketing, Maximum Results

by Deanna Kane

Build Your Brand – Not Your Company’s

Many agents are under the mistaken assumption that a local marketing campaign will not impact your business because of the national reach of your brokerage; they should think again.

“Coldwell Banker provides us with the tools to build our brand, but it is up to the individual agents to invest back into the business and really use those tools for themselves,” Dubray says. “All real estate brokers are independent contractors. A good company like Coldwell Banker is a roof over our heads, but it’s our business. No one will do the work for you.”

Agents can use these tools to their advantage and make themselves even more attractive to consumers, as well as promote their brand. For example, agents on Miller’s team have books made, complete with Jameson Sotheby’s branding, that list their accomplishments and personal marketing plans, which complements their listing presentation. Premium agent websites are offered through many brokerages, but it is up to the individual agent to maintain his or her brand throughout the site.

“Leading brands are attractive to the public because they offer legitimacy, quality and service,” says Miller. “While consumers are attracted to a national brand, and brokers see great success with the backing of their company’s brand, a consumer is ultimately hiring an individual broker. Sotheby’s is an attractive brand to the public, but if a client doesn’t like the broker, they won’t hire him or her regardless of the brand.”

Manage Your Brand

An increased digital footprint is an indicator that your branding efforts are working; however, this can sometimes be out of your control.

When consumers Google you, what will they find? Do they see Yelp reviews? Are the comments on your website positive or negative? As you promote your brand, you need to be mindful of those things.

For example, while many agents have several positive ratings on Yelp or the agent-rating site Quality Service Certification, one negative review can stand out. It is up to the consumer how to take this negative comment or review, and whether to trust the negative or positive reviews. In an Internet age where consumers rush to their computers to complain at sites like Yelp when a waiter at a gourmet restaurant messes up their order, it’s no surprise that consumers are turning more frequently to ratings sites such as Yelp to provide their opinions on the real estate agents they work with – which means you need to be careful to manage your brand.

Set up Google alerts with your name, business and tagline so you know where you’ve been mentioned – both for good or bad press, Miller says. Then, take it a step further – set up alerts for neighborhoods or streets you specialize in, recent home sales in your market and competitors in your area. After each sale, encourage your clients to write a review of you on Yelp, and when they leave a positive review, make sure to thank them, and promote those positive reviews through e-blasts and social media.  

“Any new broker just starting a real estate career needs to establish his or her presence and build relationships,” Murray says. “The more experienced broker has the trust and support of their sphere and the community; their messages are more direct.” 

If a full-time writer or photographer isn’t in your budget, visit a site like Elance, Scripted or Freelancer.com to find professionals who can be a remote marketing resource.

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