Branding isn’t just a strategy employed by Fortune 500 companies and Texas cattle ranchers: it’s a key component to small business and real estate investing success. In fact, having an arsenal of tested, proven real estate branding ideas will not only allow you to position yourself in a crowded marketplace but also improve your ability to take advantage of financial opportunities.
But how do you establish your real estate brand identity? How do you avoid many of the personal branding mistakes that plague most small businesses? Perhaps even more importantly, how do you market your brand when you don’t even know what your business might look like?
Here are three real estate branding strategies you can use to boost exposure, increase leads and differentiate yourself in even the most competitive of markets.
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7 Real Estate Branding Tips That Will Get You More Leads
The significance of strong real estate branding cannot be understated. From building trust with potential clients to helping you attract more leads, good branding will go a long way in the success of your business. That being said, there are several ways to go about creating a brand for your business. Here are some of the best real estate branding tips:
1. Be Authentic
Many residential redevelopers think branding themselves in real estate is about the products and services they sell — and shouting from the rooftops how great those products and services are.
However, according to Forbes Magazine, the most effective branding strategies aren’t about screaming the loudest, but instead focusing on the core principles of your business. As the wildly popular publication put it, business “today doesn’t come down to what you sell or what you do. It’s about who you are and what you stand for.”
That’s because everyone you encounter in your business life — potential clients, future partners, the barista who makes your morning latte — are all looking for something more: the feeling they’re part of something larger than themselves.
By aligning your brand to a set of core values — that are about more than just making a few, quick bucks — you’ll link your current venture to a powerful vision. (Something even more powerful than your triple-shot morning latte.)
Quick Tip: Pull out a piece of paper. At the top, put the words “We are about…” or “I am about…” and brainstorm different ways you can express your core business principles.
2. Be Consistent
Consistency refers to an even implementation of ideas or values, and it is one of the most important elements of strong branding. To create a consistent brand, businesses should ensure all marketing materials relate to the company’s core message.
A consistent real estate brand will reach your target audience while also reflecting the core values of the business. A few simple (but necessary) steps to creating a consistent brand include using the same logo across marketing materials, deciding on a voice for the company, and relating all promotions to the company’s main goal. Remember, you want your mission statement to shine through each material you create.
One thing to keep in mind as you brainstorm your company brand is that consistency should never be used as an excuse for repetitive marketing strategies. You are allowed to mix up your materials, cater your content, and even implement seasonal advertising campaigns. Make sure all messaging contributes positively to your existing brand. In doing so, you will build trust with your audience and generate a recognizable image for your business.
Quick Tip: Work with a graphic designer or market to create a branding guide for your company. This should include fonts, color schemes, and logo variations to use when generating marketing materials.
3. Find Your Niche
When it comes to branding and marketing, it’s important to understand that not everything you do will be successful. Just as you have worked to identify your investing niche, you will need to take time to identify the best ways to market and brand your business. Not every campaign will work out as you want it to, and that’s okay.
To help find your niche and maximize your results, be sure to test your ideas before you launch them. Ask your trusted colleagues for feedback on a logo design, or read through your advertisements with your mentor. Be open to improvements as you seek to find the right place for your business.
Perhaps you do well marketing to first-time homebuyers or older homeowners looking to downsize. Whatever it is, identify what works for your business and stick with it. Then, look for ways to continuously improve and perfect the areas you are good at. In time, you will find an audience (and potential leads) that work with your brand.
Quick Tip: Track the success of each marketing campaign you launch so you can determine what works for your business and what doesn’t. Try using a simple spreadsheet and monitoring the response rate of all of your efforts.
4. Tell A Story
One of the common pitfalls when developing a real estate branding identity and establishing what you stand for is the temptation to fill your marketing message with buzzwords, those annoying platitudes one picks up at marketing conferences and business blogs along the small business journey.
However, like Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, has found, a majority of people make decisions based not on reason or objective analysis but on how they “feel” about a decision.
As Psychology Today detailed,“People are capable of rationally processing information about alternative choices; but are unable to make decisions because they lack any sense of how they feel about the options.”
Nothing pulls on the heartstrings like a good, old story. Especially one in which you detail your personal journey and how you got from “there” to “here.”
Quick Tip: Spend less time on synergistic platform integration and spend more time crafting your personal business narrative. Link up core values to your personal experience.
5. Identify Pain Points
Sometimes the most powerful real estate branding ideas aren’t about establishing who you are but about establishing who you are not.
No matter what rung of the small-business ladder you happen to be on, you’ll face a situation in which you must try to convince somebody to do business with you — to “convert” them to your way of seeing the world — only to encounter massive resistance and skepticism.
Even if you’re selling your customers something they desperately want — a concept, a new rental property, the hottest new album — there’s a big business elephant in the room messing up your business transaction. That is: Customers are more afraid of being taken advantage of than they are of taking advantage of a great opportunity.
They’re afraid of:
Unethical business owners
Huge, uncaring corporations
Generic (non-customized) solutions
Product and services that aren’t made for them
The key is to realize that this resistance isn’t personal and acknowledge the elephant in the room; make it clear you are not that peanut-eatin’ pachyderm they have grown to fear.
Dollar Shave Club did this brilliantly with their successful marketing campaign based not on what they are, but how they are not like those “overpriced shave tech companies” that charge $27 for a pack of three razors. Subway did something similar with their “Eat Fresh” campaign when they rebranded as a fast-food alternative.
Remember, the point is not to be mean or slanderous, but rather acknowledge, in every sector of business, some people don’t go about it the right way; that cut corners and provide overly generalized solutions; that don’t have the vision and dedication to their customers and clients that you do.
Quick Tip: Find the elephant (the unsavory element in your business that creates resistance for your customer ) and let ‘em know that isn’t what you’re about. This will be some version of a competitor who doesn’t have your customer’s best interests in mind.
6. Have An Online Presence
While the real estate industry still employs some more traditional marketing techniques (think bandit signs and direct mail), there is a growing shift towards online media. This includes websites, email campaigns, newsletters, and social media of all types. The options can sound overwhelming at first, but the fact of the matter is: a strong online presence is one of the most effective ways to shape your brand.
Think of your website as your “home base” for potential leads. No, not everyone will be able to find your business online, but a large portion of customers will. In fact, searching for your website is often the first thing potential leads will do after interacting with you or your marketing materials. Make sure you have a worthy landing page.
Another thing to keep in mind as you brand your business is social media. Which platforms are you going to use? What kind of content will you post? How frequently will you get online? Try and think through an online strategy before you jump in headfirst. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Do a little market research and identify what is performing the best for other investors in your niche. Are they using Facebook or Instagram?
Don’t use social media to spam your followers. Instead, curate a strong feed that showcases your best work.
Cater your content to the platform you post on, but make sure everything relates to your company brand.
Add a company description and link back to your website on every social media account you create.
Consistency is key even when it comes to posting online. Determine how frequently you want to log on, and then stick to it.
Look into a software to help schedule social media posts in advance, like Later or Sprout Social.
A final note to remember as you brand your business is to make sure your online and offline materials match up. Use the same logo across your print and web materials, and let clients know where they can find you on and offline. Even adding a simple “Find us on Facebook!” to the bottom of your direct mailers can go a long way in boosting your online presence and strengthening your overall brand.
Quick Tip: Familiarize yourself with a few corporate brands you like. Pay attention to how their online presence helps engage potential customers, then consider how you can apply similar tactics to your own business.
7. Provide Value
According to Sales Force, it can take six to eight “touches” to turn a potential lead into a customer. A brand touch, simply put, is any time a consumer interacts with your business or messaging. This includes anyone who interacts with your direct mail, social media posts, company blogs, and more.
As a real estate investor, you should seek to provide value with each brand touch to ensure potential leads come to you first. The purpose is not to spam buyers or sellers with your contact information but instead to build up trust so when they are looking for an investor, you are the first person they call.
For example, think about direct mail campaigns. It is well known in the real estate industry that the response rate will increase with each additional mailer; this is no coincidence. By reaching out consistently, real estate investors have the opportunity to build a reputation and establish a network for leads.
Quick Tip: There are so many ways to provide value to potential leads, like creating a free blog, becoming a mentor, writing a market guide, and more. Each of these materials will help provide value to potential leads and keep them coming back for more.
Best Real Estate Branding Examples
Branding your real estate business is the perfect opportunity to explore your creative side. Start by reviewing the branding of other businesses in your industry for inspiration. There is a lot to learn from companies you like, and even from those you don’t. Here are a few great examples of real estate branding to review before you get started:
Century 21: From their metallic color scheme to their simplistic yard signs, Century 21 nailed their recent branding campaign. Each component works perfectly to communicate its message of luxury real estate. Be sure to review the Century 21 website for an example of minimalism in real estate branding.
Luxury Portfolio International: If you are torn between logo designs for your business, be sure to look at this real estate company for inspiration. Luxury Portfolio International opted for a simple monogram design, but it will certainly stand up to the test of time. Many businesses make the mistake of overcomplicating their logo early on — creating the need for future rebranding campaigns. This is a perfect example of less is more.
The Jills: Jill Hertzberg and Jill Eber came together to form this Miami-based real estate business, which is now iconic for its branding. The Jills’ business stands out because of its personalized approach to real estate branding. This can be a great approach for those looking to stand out in larger markets.
The Weiniger Group: This New Jersey real estate company is a great example of a content-first branding strategy. Their website and mailers help to guide readers through the home selling process. By including information in their main marketing materials, The Weiniger Group is a great example of using branding to build trust.
Brown Harris Stevens: This luxury NYC brokerage is one to look up to when it comes to comprehensive branding. Each word of their slogan, “Bold, Honest, Smart,” begins with the first letter of each word of the business’ name, which is a great way to state its main qualities and make the business’ name stand out. Their online, printed, and promotional materials make use of the same bold orange and grey colors that make signage pop out and appear distinguished from other brokerages. Overall, Brown Harris Stevens’ branding is a great example of maximizing the impact of your company’s design strategy.
The Importance of Personal Branding
Personal branding has the power to determine the course and scale of your career. Build a presence for yourself that includes an appropriate and memorable business name, a slogan that clearly communicates your business’ goals and values, and an eye-catching logo. Establish your presence online, on social media, and billboards or printed flyers. By creating a cohesive personal brand, you are more likely to establish yourself as an entrepreneur who has what it takes to grow your business and achieve success in the real estate industry.
Branding isn’t just a one-way conversation in which you do all the talking, though many companies approach it that way. It’s about giving your customers clarity, focus, and the ability to reduce the number of options available. (Despite what most people say, they want less choice, not more.)
If you’re able to deliver a crystal-clear message about what your business is about (and not about) and stay true to yourself, you’ll have learned the ultimate lesson.
The best real estate branding ideas aren’t about “selling” — they’re about inviting potential customers to a conversation. (And it’s a conversation that can make your business more successful than you can imagine.)
Which real estate branding examples are you excited to try? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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