Let’s get real estate agents riled up. I see these comments EVERYWHERE… Let’s get everyone focused back on branding, just when we were beginning to get people focused actual lead generation…
… Marketing is Changing. Direct Mail has very low impact today. Email marketing is dying…
…perhaps it isn’t just direct mail that is becoming obsolete. Perhaps both marketing and prospecting as we know it are changing. Drip emails are marked as spam… Traditional mailers hit the recycling bin, the message is lost and are perhaps an expensive waste of time.
…It’s all about … branding. All about people connecting and wanting to be a part of that brand. All about being the resource they find when they look for someone to help them buy and sell real estate…
I LOVE it when “real estate marketing experts” come along and perpetuate that “everything is changing” that “old doesn’t work” that you must “change with the times”…
Because it means that everyone is going to be chasing the new fangled “shiny object”. Seriously. Everyone. Except…. there will be a few that know that the “new shiny object” will phase out over time. If the shiny object doesn’t phase out, it still won’t make everything obsolete.
In the real estate industry (especially), there seems to be this idea that branding is essential, that it is the core to lead generation. That the most successful real estate agents brand themselves, which is why they get so many prospects, which is why they close so many transactions.
This is one, big, fat, fallacy.
Let me put it this way… The consumer, aka the buyer or seller, doesn’t give a rats patootie who their agent is. Every single statistical piece of evidence points to this fact. Most consumers use the first agent they contact. Most consumers don’t reuse their previous agent. Most consumers think about the “big” company name, not the agent or team name, with the exception being in the middle of their transaction (and even then, some don’t remember the name of their agent).
If it was about branding – the consumer would be loyal, they would be asking for a specific real estate agent or real estate team. If it was about branding, all one would need to do would be to plaster their face or their brand everywhere and they’d have a burgeoning business and, there would only be 2-3 top agents, dominating 99% of all business. Yet, have you seen agents faces all over (on shopping carts, on bill boards, even hearing them on the radio) and then you can’t remember who is doing that kind of advertising even a day later?
See, the so called “experts” at real estate marketing try to follow the “branding” philosophy. Some even have a decent business because of it. We see them everywhere, we hear about them everywhere… And yet, there are some very very silent but huge business owners out there – whom people have heard of peripherally and yet, their businesses are huge. Bigger than most people can imagine.
What is the difference?
The biggest difference is that “out loud” but “ok businesses” are branding themselves. The “silent” but “huge businesses” are focusing on lead generating. They don’t care if they sponsor a local team or get their logo out there to create recognizability. They care about having a CTA (Call To Action) in the right place, at the right time, to capture a lead when that lead shows interest in buying or selling real estate. A compelling call to action requires absolutely zero branding. Zero. It only requires timing.
To bring in leads – it’s all about real estate lead generation NOT branding. Really. Truly.
You’ve got to be in the right place, at the right time, and have a way to capture the consumer in the moment they are seeking your knowledge. You can stick your “brand” anywhere you want. If you do not have an engaging, attractive, compelling call to action, that branding isn’t going to do you one stinkin’ bit of good. Oh sure, people will remember you as the sports team sponsor, at least for the hour or two the games are being played, however, think about it… with the best commercials, the ones you remember, how many of them do you actually remember what the commercial was for?
Lead generation is about lead capture, not branding.
Repeat and referral business is about how you make your clients and customers feel. If you want to “brand” yourself, don’t do “brand marketing”. Instead, allow your clients and customers to “experience” your “brand”. What is your “experience”? What does a client or customer experience when they use your services vs. when they use someone else’s experience?
We love the memory we have of how that brand made us feel once. We love that it reminds us of our mom, or growing up, or our first kiss. We support a charity or a soccer team or a perfume because it gives us a chance to love something about ourselves. From: The brand is a story. But it’s a story about you, not the brand.
Lead conversion is about influence and convincing, not branding. It doesn’t matter how many times you flash your logo all over the place. It does matter how often you give the consumer what they want as it pertains directly to what they get from you. Sponsoring a soccer team won’t give you kudos’ with someone, but expertly answering their questions, before they even ask them, will. Anticipating needs and then fulfilling them, that will influence and convince someone to use your services.
Even with a wonderful, client focused experienced, do you think “branding” is going to get them to refer people to you? Maybe initially, while they are still in the euphoria of their experience. However, as time progresses, it’s going to take constant cultivation to get them to remember you. You don’t provide a product they can pick up at the grocery store every day.
You MUST focus on real estate lead generation and lead cultivation. The real estate experience you provide should be your brand. You should not be focusing on “brand marketing”.
Christina Ethridge is the founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com, helping real estate agents capture, convert and close Facebook leads.