A real estate business can be an extremely profitable venture, but only when you do it right. With the pandemic taking a heavy toll on various industries, the housing market is one of the most affected ones. Surging deaths, extensive layoffs, stay-at-home restrictions, business failures and economic uncertainties led people to prioritize financial security over real estate investment. However, as people get back to normal life with vaccinations and other necessary precautions, there’s an expected improvement in the national economic situation and consumer spending. Relatively low mortgage rates and positive consumer sentiment are indicating a surging interest in home buying. However, as a real estate business owner, this isn’t going to get any easier. The competition is fierce and you’ll need strong real estate branding strategies to make your business stand out from the rest.
Solid Real Estate Branding Strategies to Help Your Business Grow
While real estate brokers are still important in the home buying process, investors are doing more leg work before involving the professionals. According to a study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 77% of first-time buyers were driven by a home viewed online. Hence, it only makes sense to have an active, engaging online presence that turns property viewers into buyers. Here are some real estate branding ideas that’ll make your online marketing efforts more successful.
1. Know what you’re doing
If you’re new to the real estate business, ask yourself a few questions like “In what areas do you want your business to excel? Foreclosures or first time property buyers? Luxury homes or commercial buildings?”, “Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?”, “Are you doing it for profit or passion?”, and “How do you plan to proceed?” Once you’ve answered these questions, it’ll be easier for you to choose your target audience and plan your real estate branding strategies.
2. Stay consistent
Successful branding doesn’t happen overnight. You need to remain consistent, understand your target audience, and learn through various mistakes. Remember, what works in the food or fashion industry may not work in the real estate market. To create a consistent, reliable brand, ensure all your online and offline marketing materials relate to your company’s core values and goals.
A few simple (but effective) ways to create a consistent business identity is to use the same real estate branding logo across different marketing materials. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to sound repetitive or boring in your marketing campaigns. Feel free to come up with creative content and include special promotional offers. This way, you’ll retain your clients’ trust and build a strong brand image for your business.
Pro Tip: Work with an experienced graphic designer or marketing agency to create unique real estate branding logos.
3. Work on your marketing content
Smart, expert brokerages know the importance of strong marketing content. Publishing multiple photos of on-sale properties in brochures or booklets—however appealing—aren’t enough if you’re looking to play big.
You need to look for ways to add value, information and credibility to your marketing materials. Upgrade your website and social accounts with the following tried and tested techniques.
- Tell stories that your target audience can relate to
One of the most common mistakes that real estate companies make is to fill their marketing materials with buzzwords that have become a part of almost every marketer’s vocabulary. According to Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, a majority of the people make their buying decisions based on how they “feel” about a decision. So, instead of simply showcasing the buildings and the rooms inside them, use narrations to help your prospective customers imagine living or working inside them. You could also feature interviews with your previous clients, describe the amenities or the community that’ll improve their overall lifestyle or business. The possibilities are endless; you need to try different strategies and see what works (and what doesn’t).
- Don’t forget the FAQs
FAQs are a great way to reach out and connect with your target audience. They’re also an effective tool to optimize the user experience and increase conversions from your site. When you provide high quality, relevant content in this section, it can dramatically improve your website’s rank in the SERPS (search engine results page). Always consider your target real estate audience when drafting the FAQ section, and address their possible queries.
- Invest in video and photography
The National Association of Realtors states that 85% of property buyers and sellers prefer to work with an agent who uses video marketing, but just 15% of these agents actually use video in their promotional campaigns. In today’s digital marketplace, where posts containing visual content like pictures and videos gain the maximum viewers, embracing this technique is the key for brand survival.
4. Master Your Linking Game
Backlinks are one of the most widely recognized and accredited ways to build brand recognition and boost search engine visibility of your website. However, it’s not always easy to build a strong network of high quality, organic backlinks.
Start by ensuring that every real estate agent in your locality (or even beyond) has a link to your brokerage website on their own official websites. You can also offer quality blog posts for their personal websites as a way to receive more backlinks. Also consider trading free content with industry-relevant websites, like popular local businesses or non-profit organizations, for backlinks.
5. Make the Most of Social Media
While traditional marketing techniques like billboards, newspaper ads and direct mail still work, one cannot undermine the importance of social media. It is one of the easiest, fastest and most cost effective ways to reach out to your target audience. Start by creating a Facebook business page or group and post interesting photos and videos related to your business. Offer first looks at new real estate properties, special discounts, and valuable industry info that are valuable to your target audience. Also ask questions and provide customer support, as it’ll create a sense of community among your followers.
6. Grow Your Network
In the words of Than Merrill, a real estate investor and educator, branding is the precursor to consumer loyalty. With the pandemic still looming over us, you cannot expect a lot of business right now, but creating a strong business network and recognition can pay off when the market picks up again.
Participating in fundraisers, attending conferences, advertising at community events, hosting parties, and creating strategic business partnerships with local businesses are proven ways to boost your brand identity and get your business noticed. You can also use online platforms like Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn to boost your branding efforts.
7. Build a Strong Website
Today, websites are something of a check-box item for businesses of all types and sizes. When we say a ‘strong website’, we mean one that’s visually appealing, impactful, user friendly and engaging. Imagine your real estate company’s website as a digital storefront, catering to your customers’ first impression about your business. Since the first impression is often a lasting one, you should pay attention to how you convey your message or brand identity on every page. Since there are thousands of similar websites out there dealing in real estate properties, you need to have one that’s both unique and well optimized.
While there may be hundreds of websites selling similar products or services, your brand identity can set you apart from the pack and make your offering feel more unique.
Here are a few tips to go about it.
- Invest in a good logo
Your logo is a key part of your brand identity. In fact, it’s one of the very first things that visitors notice when they come to your website. It pays to work with a good logo designing company to your real estate branding right. Whether you need a new logo or want to upgrade an existing one, they can help you with it.
- Have a cohesive content strategy
You need to add fresh and engaging content to keep your readers hooked on your website. However, simply adding random or low quality content can have an adverse effect on your brand identity. Spend time and resources creating well-researched content that will resonate with your target market and grab the readers’ attention. This’ll reinforce your branding and generate significant buzz for your business.
- Pay heed to your website’s layout
Website visitors exhibit similar patterns when they scroll content. Once you understand the ‘hot-zones’ and predict their readability pattern, you can highlight specific areas your website and plan the design accordingly. A study shows that visitors scan websites from left to right, with the top-left corner getting the maximum attention. Place the key branding elements like your business logo and tagline in the most prominent areas to ensure instant recognition of your brand.
8. Embrace Banner Marketing
Most people, including big businesses, neglect the effectiveness of a good banner ad. If you haven’t yet realized its potential, it’s time for a change!
A banner ad or web banner is a display advertisement on a webpage. It typically consists of an image (.jpg, .png, .gif) or a multimedia object (usually created using Flash), and can be static or animated, depending on the technology used to make them. When the readers click on this image/multimedia object they see on a web page, they’re directed to the advertiser’s website or landing page where they might make a purchase. They work the same way traditional print media advertisements do: they provide product/service information, they notify about latest events or special discounts, they grab readers’ attention, increase brand awareness, and so on.
9. Connect with Brand Influencers
A brand influencer is a popular social media personnel who leverages his/her recognition to authentically connect brands with audiences. Simply put, a social media influencer partners with a brand to create sponsored content. Since they’re popular with audiences in their own niche, their recommendations appear more authentic and credible. Try to locate and connect with such influencers and collaborate with them to get more exposure to a huge number of people. This branding strategy works wonders for all types of businesses, including real estate companies, and your brand can become a household name in a short span of time.
10. Leverage the Power of Email Marketing
According to a recent study, social media is the most effective form for event marketing (74%), closely followed by email marketing (66%). A weekly/bi-weekly newsletter sent to your mailing list can keep your customers informed about what’s going on at your business, even when they aren’t actively making purchases. Once the market recovers and they decide to make a real estate investment, they’ll surely get back to you. It’s all about finding the right way to connect with your audience and describe what makes
- Segment and strategize
It’s expected that all your subscribers won’t be interested in the same content at the same time, so strategize your mailing practice. Segment your email recipient list and plan your email campaigns accordingly. This way, you can provide relevant information to the right audience at the right time. It’s annoying to receive an email that’s completely irrelevant to you. Also avoid sending unnecessary follow-ups or irrelevant offers to the wrong people.
- Try A/B testing
Try experimenting with different email subject lines and see which approach gets the best reaction from your target audience. Divide the recipient list into two and send one version to one group and the other version to another group. Track the response percentage for both the groups and use the more successful strategy for your future email campaigns. However, don’t forget to upgrade your newsletter content and try new email marketing strategies every now and then.
11. Upgrade Your Logo
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, your logo is the face of your company that differentiates you from others and fosters brand loyalty. A well designed logo not only looks professional, but also signifies something deeper. That said, if a logo design sticks around for too long, it can lose its essence and identity. That’s why even big brands like Animal Planet and MailChimp have done a logo redesign. Check out the new logos of some of the biggest brands around the world:
12. Tap on Technology
We live in an age where technology is the mainstay for most human interactions. It’s a common way of communication for many prospective buyers and sellers, especially the Generation Y and Z population. According to a study conducted by The National Association of Realtors, Generation Y homebuyers are doing their property searching online prior to reaching out to a real estate agent. Even when they’re working with an agent, they seek quick and easy communication, especially through email, texts or video calls. When you incorporate technology in your business operations, you build a brand that resonates with the every-growing group of millennial property buyers who are likely to refer you to their connections. Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, a renowned real estate company in North Carolina, provides each of their agents with an iPad and access to the company’s proprietary mobile app. This’ll help them with effective client communication and deal closures, anytime, anywhere. Having such a technology driven work system will not only attract potential property buyers and sellers, but also leverage the knowledge of tech-savvy real estate agents.
13. Start Blogging
You run a real estate business, but why should people care about what you do? While this is a very straightforward question, I don’t really mean to be harsh. The point is, people will pay heed to your business only when it adds some value to their life, some way or the other. And the only way to do this is through brand building. Considered one of the best branding tools, blogging can help you connect with your prospective customers and hence, increase your sales.
Post quality content, including blogs, infographics, case studies, videos, and industry based news regularly on your blog site. Make sure that your content is fully relevant and caters to the queries of your target audience. Also, make sure that your blog design communicates the right message to your visitors. Remember, an engaging and useful mix of content will draw more potential customers to your blog and build more brand loyalty.
14. Customer Care Service
Traditionally, customer service was considered a post-sale activity. However, today, customers expect companies to offer advice and help way before they’ve made a purchase, and long after they’ve closed a deal. It’s a type of branding, and definitely a part of sales. Make sure that you have a strong customer support team that’s well trained, spontaneous, polite and easily accessible. For better efficiency and consistency, you can consider incorporating chatbots on your website and using other messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and LiveChat.
15. Don’t Undermine Your Business Cards
While online platforms are an effective way to promote your brand and do more business, one cannot undermine the importance of print materials like business cards and envelopes. They’re a piece of your brand that people can hold and feel, stuff in their letter rack, or even hand them over to someone else. The trick lies in using a unique design and content that’ll make it harder for people to throw them away. For example, Daniel Feuer, CEO, Pranga & Co, designed a laser cut business card containing a pair of emergency cufflinks. Crafted from sustainable growth wood (part of their corporate DNA), these cards had six pieces that could be pushed out, assembled and used as a pair of cufflinks. Inventive indeed!
Tip: Consider including more than just your company name, logo and contact information on your business card. You can include a deal or coupon, but be careful not to cram it with too much information. You don’t want to overwhelm your prospective clients.
16. Choose an Impactful Brand Slogan or Tagline
A slogan or tagline is a catchy phrase that’s used in brand advertising. It typically exemplifies the value of your brand, its personality, and purpose. An impactful tagline will help customers recognize your company and they can recall it anytime. If it sticks in their mind, you’ve hit the bull’s eye.
However, the slogan doesn’t always have to apply directly to your products or services. For example, big brands like Apple and Nike have taglines “Think Different” and “Just Do It.” These phrases have nothing directly to do with their business, but they’re memorable and convey the essence of the brands. Most importantly, they’re motivating.
Here are a few tips to create an effective business tagline:
- Limit the phrase to 4 or 6 words.
- Avoid exaggeration; be precise
- Use rhyme or alliteration to make it memorable
- Instill positive feelings about your brand
- Send a valuable message for the audience
17. Expose Your Brand Personality
Customers today are smarter than ever. They no longer look for another cookie-cutter company that offers similar products or services as their competitors. They need custom made products or services, backed by close client communication. In order to build a strong brand recognition, make your personality stand out from the rest.
Here’s how to remain consistent with your brand personality across all platforms of communication.
- Use a conversational tone in your communication (use “I”, and “you”)
- Share behind-the-scenes photos and videos
- Narrate real customer experiences
- Promote your real estate properties in a fun and interactive manner
Top Real Estate Branding Examples
Here are some of the real estate agencies or brokers who have totally mastered the game of branding in their own niche. Check out what makes their brands unique and compelling.
Matt Beall is the CEO and Principal Broker of Hawaii Life, a large residential real estate company founded in 2008. Although he had a humble beginning, today, he has over 350 brokers, agents, and employees working across his 15 offices in Hawaii. The agency has helped thousands of people in buying and selling properties, and is now one of the largest and most successful real estate firms in Hawaii.
Matt has hosted a brokerage-sponsored conference called Worthshop that featured several big industry names. He has also managed to get his agency featured on HGTV, thanks to the famous series “Hawaii Life.” In other words, he has invested in the right branding efforts to build a powerhouse real estate firm.
Century 21 Real Estate LLC organized a rebranding campaign that included a complete overhaul of their brand identity. This campaign was launched with a new visual identity – TV, digital, social and print media, along with an integrated cross-channel media partnership with ESPN. Their new real estate branding logo has transformed them from a tired and aging 70s style to the modern 21st century. They’ve also redesigned their business cards and other print advertising materials. Using their new logo, they’re able to maintain a strong and consistent identity with their global agents.
Just as skydiving is considered a risky venture by many, Giguere is willing to take all kinds of risks to help her clients bag good deals and provide excellent customer service. Email is one of her chief real estate marketing strategies, while she also invests a lot of time and effort in her blog, which she use to inform the local community about interesting events, venues, restaurants, and other important news. Giguere has taken every possible initiative to make herself as available and approachable as possible — and she’s definitely made her place in the real estate industry.
A strong real estate branding strategy differentiates your agency from your competitors and helps others understand why they should do business with you. However, just a fancy logo or a catchy slogan won’t do. The secret behind an effective marketing campaign lies in creative display elements, valuable content, a strong web presence, and close interaction with your audience to address their queries. Remember, there’s no rule book for successful business branding. What worked for your friends and peers might not work for you; what was effective 5 years back may no longer exist today. Stay updated, try different branding techniques and see what works for your real estate business.
Business Development Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Media and Digital marketing sector, Passionate about innovation and bringing the future into new business solutions.