Times are changing. Constantly. To survive in today's business environment, every business needs to innovate, use tools and possibilities that the market is creating and using. Standing still is not an option if you have plans to continue your business.
Every industry has different changes happening on a daily basis. In branding and design, new tools are appearing which makes work easier, more effective and faster. Some part of jobs are going out of value and being automatized, some are raising in value (for example, strategic thinking, creating value for businesses, offering full-stack services).
When we think about real estate agencies and brokerages, changes are also happening and it's much needed to stand out, be capable to compete and just to offer valuable services for the clients (which, in the end, is the most important part).
Below, I am discussing some parts of real estate agencies that can be improved to make your business more future-proof.
Everything starts with your brand. Imagine that your brand is the home for your business. You want it to look and feel good :)
A brand includes so many different things in itself. You can read more about that here. But what are the ways how you can use different parts of the brand to boost your business?
Have a brand visual identity that works well across applications and places of usage (think website, ads, design elements etc). Using a consistent brand style helps people to easily recognize and remember your brand.
Website - nowadays, there are no excuses not to have a modern, responsive and well-working website for your businesses. When people google your name or your business, make sure that the first thing they see (your website) is worth the good impression. Your website should be simple to use, information easily findable and tell a story about your brand. Think about it as an online business card.
In addition to the visual style, as important is the verbal part of the brand. Invest in good copywriting (in your homepage and also with listings). Words influence us and can make good compelling hooks and feelings within us.
And finally - be unique. Be you. Don't be afraid to show some personality. Everyone has their own story, why and goals. Show them :)
Marketing collaterals can include the following items: your business cards, brochures, presentations, proposals, ads (print and web) and also your website. Stunning looking materials stand out. It shows that you have invested time into making things look really good (as they should be) and value details.
Using professional-looking marketing materials that fit with your brand style creates memories. People start to connect certain style with you and your business, even when they don't see your company logo.
There are so many ways how you can benefit from a different type of marketing materials. Just make sure that they all follow your brand visual language.
When I was working in the real estate industry, I witnessed how much it was possible to give clients better impression about the property they were looking for by just giving them printed out version of a presentation about the property (with all the pictures, info, plans etc). Even when they would be able to watch these things online, it changes a lot to have "on-hand" experience. And imagine - after then had watched 5 properties in one day and they went home with your "paper-presentation" - guess which real estate is the one they will be thinking about more?
As it turned out, it purchase conversion was much bigger this way. The direct way of how marketing material and your brand style helps to boost business results.
Images are one of the first things that your clients will see when they open real estate ads. Because of that, they are also a really great way to show your professionalism, attention to details and quality.
Using only professional photography to advertise your listings and also your own business (for example, in your agency homepage, you can add professional images of your office, listing and also team members) can change customers perception about your company a lot. A good way how to look like a premium service provider. Especially nowadays, when even smartphones make really great pictures and videos - taking unprofessional, bad quality images cannot be accepted anymore. If needed, invest some time into learning how to take better pictures or if possible, hire a person to do the images for your company.
Agencies and developers who offer free and useful information for the people are the ones who can build trust. When your potential customers can see that you offer value even without paying to you, they have much fewer problems to pay you for your service - because they already know that you are the expert in this topic.
Start writing articles to your own website or to newspapers/magazines. Start making videos and explaining different processes, give tips etc. Start making Instagram Stories to share your knowledge. Start a podcast to discuss your industry topics with others. Just find the right medium for yourself and go for it. Of course, content marketing might not give results straight away, it takes time. But in the end, it will be worth it.
Creating a trustworthy network is the key for fast and successful deals through collaborations. You can collaborate with other brokers, consultants, bankers, notaries etc. People value their time and energy - if you can streamline the processes for them by suggesting trustworthy professionals who can help them out with different services they need to finish the deal successfully, you will build up leverage for the future.
Messes and meetups are a great way to create new contacts (B2B and also B2C) which can and will open up many new doors for everyone. Of course, over time, you will get to know many different services providers in your area and you will have a good feeling who you can suggest and who not.
Just keep expanding and sharing your network!
Some people think that social media is a waste of time (just scrolling, nothing else). But actually, if you want, then social media is a perfect place where to start building your audience, show your expertise, your processes and everyday doings. We are all people, and when a person is looking to sell or buy a property, he wants another person to work on it, not just a business. So why not to built your trust up in social media, so people know even before contacting you what are your values, your style of working and so on.
More and more businesses and private individuals are moving to social media (Instagram etc). It's a really good way how to approach them and built up your brand (business and also personal). They still might go and check property listings in Immobilienscout at first, but when they really need consultation or wish to sell their property, you have already done the prework and built the trust through social media. Give it a try and learn while doing.
Fun fact: nowadays, oftentimes, Instagram DM's (direct messages) are even replacing the traditional emails - it's faster, more personal and your followers (who might become your customers) have a much bigger change to get replies.
As I partly already touched personal branding topic in social media chapter, this is one of the best ways how to create long-lasting followers, customers and trust. I love to see how many people have used the power of branding to create new connections, long-lasting partnerships and leverage all that to boost their business results also.
To bring out an example, for me, Jonathan Vandamme from Berlin is doing really great work with his company and with his personal branding. He shows how he grows his business, everyday life with all the hardships and wins and also shares a lot of valuable content (in written and video format). Just the things that we want to see from a person.
I am very happy to see that more and more brokers in Germany are starting to create their personals brands (through social media, own website, branding etc) and built up their reputation this way.
Showing your personality, being consistent with the brand style (visually & verbally) and creating value will create massive results in the long term.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways how to be up-to-date with the market, technological options and just with your approach to the business you are in. Do not try to fight against updates and new solutions, they will come anyway. Also, do not try to start doing everything at once - take things step by step, see what's working, where you can improve and learn on the way.
Until next time! ;)
Margus Veeber | Brand Strategist @ VeeberMedia - Real Estate focused Branding Consultancy