Selling real estate has always been a highly competitive game, but in today’s slowly recovering economy - novice and veteran agents alike need an edge. That’s where standing out from the rest, or branding, comes into play. I know that branding may sound like a daunting and expensive task, involving a formidable advertising budget and time, but I’ll show you how by investing a few dollars, using everyday technology and dedicating a few hours of work a week, you can launch and build your own brand – quickly differentiating from your competitors.
If you haven’t done so already, you should consider purchasing a “smart phone.” A smart phone is a phone that for all practical purposes is a mini computer that is connected to the Internet and can be used as a virtual office. They are either made by Apple or other manufacturers like Samsung or HTC. Telephone service providers such as Verizon and AT&T often run promos where you can pick one up for under $100, if you commit to a cellphone service contact. Why a smart phone? The savvy real estate agent uses a smartphone as her direct phone line and sets it up so all business emails are automatically forwarded from the office to this dedicated tool. This gives you instant access to your clients, or potential clients, and ensures that no matter where you are or what you’re doing - you’ll never miss a listing or sales opportunity.
While you will certainly get leads from your office’s website when it’s your turn, there is no substitute for launching your own site, where you can tout your experience, listings and contact info. This is true whether you are just beginning or are an established agent. If you are tech savvy, you can launch your own site with a hosting company such as Bluehost or Hostgater for as little as $100 a year. Or, if technology isn’t your strong suit, then consider using a service such as Point2, where you can launch an individually-branded real estate agent site with pointand-click templates for as little as $199 per year. The company also offers a free, two-week trial. No matter which method you use to create your own branded site, it is a necessity in today’s real estate marketplace. It is the first place you have the opportunity to show the world you are the agent they should choose to use.
Even marketers sometimes confuse the difference between a real estate agent’s website and a real estate agent’s blog. They are not the same. For example, your website is more formal and is focused on presenting your credentials and your listings, while a blog, which stands for Web log, is really a personal platform where you let potential clients get to know you and your sales and business philosophies. You can do this in a more informal and friendly manner. Another way to say this is that the formal real estate website is more a hard sell, where a real estate blog is a soft sell. On your blog you can post real estate advice, talk about different market trends and financing options in a warm, neighborly fashion. If this all sound complicated and over your head, don’t worry. The goal is to just get you thinking about how you can use everyday technology to build, enhance and grow your brand, which is you, in the real estate marketplace.