5 Real Estate Branding Experts Share Golden Advice

5 Real Estate Branding Experts Share Golden Advice

I’m over the moon about sharing this treasure chest filled with nuggets of the best real estate branding advice out there. 

We’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several of 2021’s best realtor branding experts on the MailRight podcast, including Tonya Eberhart, Michael Carr, Kyle Draper, Christophe Choo, and Suzanne Tulien.

The result has been content on par with our best articles:

Whether you’re a new or veteran agent, whether you’re flying solo or part of an agency, the information we’ve gathered is highly relevant and timely for creating a magnetic real estate brand.

Table of Contents

Tonya Eberhart & Michael Carr, Real Estate Branding Gurus

Tonya Eberhart 

Founder of BrandFace®, a personal branding firm comprising a book series, speaking series, and personal branding program designed to help serious professionals differentiate themselves.

Author of four books, including multiple #1 International Bestsellers on Amazon:

Michael Carr

  • President & CEO of Michael Carr Realty
  • Co-author of Two #1 International Bestsellers on Amazon (Listed above)
  • America’s Top-Selling Real Estate Auctioneer

How To Develop a Personal Real Estate Brand

The first step in developing a personal brand is asking yourself a series of questions.

  • Why do you love working in the real estate industry?
  • What makes you different?
  • Who is your ideal client?

1. Your Passion

If you don’t love working in real estate, it’s going to be much harder to develop a brand that magnetizes clients. As Suzanne Tulien mentioned on our podcast, branding is really about the way people perceive you more than the message you communicate. Apathy is repelling, but passion is charismatic.

If working as an agent or broker does bring you joy, brainstorm a list of the reasons and moments that’s true. Knowing how you find meaning in your work will inform the rest of the process.

You should also tattoo that list on your mind for personal interactions. Always be ready and proactive about explaining why your job is more than just a job.

2. Your Uniqueness

You need to understand and communicate your brand identifier. You can also think of this as your Unique Selling Point or simply what makes you stand out.

There are two parts to your identifier. The tip of the iceberg is a zippy, memorable, slogan-like identifier. The rest of the iceberg is your personal story.

Slogan Identifiers

Michael Carr presents himself as America’s top selling real estate auctioneer. Another example Tonya mentions in the podcast is a Virginia realtor who brands himself as the American Dream Agent. Or take Denise Dakoulis, who brands herself as The Skydiving Agent.

Perhaps you’re the best negotiator in your area, or you have the fastest closing times. You may be an expert in waterfront properties in a lake town or simply the most personable realtor in your area with loads of reviews to back that up. 

Assess your professional and personal life, then find a unique way to crystalize your uniqueness into a 3-8 word identifier.

Personal Story

Beyond that, your personal history should always play a role in your real estate branding. 

This is a technique that I will champion to the end of my career, and it dovetails perfectly with the BrandFace® approach of building your brand around a real person.

For example, we interviewed Tim Stout on the MailRight podcast, who leverages his background as an MMA fighter in his real estate business. 

You don’t need to have a flashy shtick when drawing on your story to create a unique personal brand. I ran large call centers for 20 years, which isn’t the most riveting background, but I can communicate at the drop of a hat how that informs my expertise. 

You may have experience with business negotiotions or you may have served in the military, which should always be showcased among realtors. 

Read our articles on creating the perfect real estate bio and using real estate video marketing to find out more about how to coopt your story into your personal real estate branding. 

 

3. Your Ideal Client

“Saying your ideal client is age 25-54 is not a target demographic, it’s a family reunion.”

Your ideal client should be someone (1) in your niche and (2) fairly similar to you. 

However, if your market is an area of 50,000-250,000 people, it can be unwise to specialize in a particular niche. In that case your ideal client may not be niche-specific.

But you can still use an identifier because identifiers aren’t necessarily specific to real estate niches.  

As for appealing to clients that are fairly similar to you, Jonathon Denwood mentions, “By appealing to everybody, you appeal to nobody.” He elaborates,

“Because real estate is for many the biggest purchase of their life, clients want to work with a realtor that understands the mechanics of buying a house, but also someone they can genuinely resonate with.”

"If you’ve been in the real estate industry for 10+ years, you should seriously reconsider if your social media marketing is translating in 2021."

Kyle’s approach to real estate branding revolves around harnessing the power of storytelling on social media

I also talk a lot about the marketing effectiveness of narrative for both myself and my clients, so I stand behind this idea 100%. 

1. Capitalize on moments that have both professional and personal elements.

One of the secrets of Top 1% real estate agents is to focus on building connections rather than generating leads. When your marketing strategy pivots around authentic personal engagement, you automatically will have a professional life full of meaningful moments.

For example, we encourage realtors to host cocktails parties for all their recent clients in our article on choosing the perfect real estate closing gift. Or sometimes realtors take clients out to a celebratory dinner. One agent really went the extra mile and donated 13 inches of her hair to Locks of Love because her client’s daughter was diagnosed with cancer. 

All these examples are so people-centric that they outwardly don’t seem like marketing at all. For that reason, they all make perfect candidates for social media posts that draw your audience into your life while demonstrating your professional value. 

Check out our 2021 Ultimate Real Estate Marketing Plan for more thoughtful and powerful marketing strategies that harness the power of community engagement to generate referrals. 

 

2. Share the ups and downs of the process, rather than only showcasing professional highlights.

Conflict is central to storytelling. People don’t read stories where everything runs smoothly. The same principle absolutely applies to your social media audience. 

Expand your idea of great content to include a wider range of emotions beyond joy and gratitude. Consider the way COVID-19 impacted your real estate business. Did you ever post about the struggle or even heartbreak during that challenging time? 

It’s important to avoid appeals to pity. But sincere posts about your challenges, rounded off with hope and perseverance, can create much more engagement than a whitewashed social media presence. 

Think about your followers as your community, rather than a lead generation pool. 

For sure, you can and should set certain boundaries. Professional social media accounts are not the right platform to share political opinions or grieve publically. But they are the perfect place to be relatable, authentic, and human.

3. Drop your opinions about what kind of posts are best and follow the data.

Many realtors, especially those new to social media marketing, produce content that’s strictly about their professional lives. 

People are nosy by nature. Personal, casual social media posts that provide a window into your life may resonate more than you’d expect. On the other hand, professional social media accounts that post 100% about real estate can generate less interest from your followers.

As you create different kinds of social media posts, let the metrics dictate future posts. Personal posts get likes and comments, and listing posts get leads.

The catch-22 is that you’ll never generate leads until you have an established, active, and growing following. That’s where relatable posts come into play.

4. Expand storytelling beyond social media.

One of the best, but often overlooked places, where you can implement the power of storytelling is your real estate bio. 

Though it can be difficult to convince my clients to post a video introduction of themselves to their website, LinkedIn profile, etc., those who do so find it to be massively rewarding. Check out our article on crafting the perfect real estate bio for a complete guide on how to capture attention and drive leads.

4. Inject *your* personality into posts

Katie Page, a realtor serving South Carolina, has some wonderful examples of how to make social media posts shine. Katie uses her professional training as a dancer to add a unique and personal spark to her online presence.

Consider which elements of your personal life you can leverage in your social media. 

Do you have a couple of rescue dogs? Post a video of them playing in the backyard of a client’s new home along with your client’s dog. Mention how the new homeowners are even more overjoyed with the space, especially since you bought them an outdoor hammock as a closing gift for lazy Sunday afternoons.

Christophe Choo, America's #1 Real Estate Video Marketer

  • Voted #1 Real Estate Video Influencer in North America in 2018
  • 10 Million+ Views and  33K+ Subscribers
  • $120 Million+ in Sales From YouTube or Facebook Leads (Low Estimate)

Christophe Choo’s style of video marketing takes the BrandFace® approach of branding around a person to the next level. 

Even though real estate branding through video marketing is a powerhouse technique, I can feel some of you pulling away. I know from personal experience how difficult it can be to convince realtors to get on board. 

That’s why I can’t say this enough…push past your anxiety about filming yourself because the benefits are extraordinary. And the fact that so many realtors hesitate to get on camera is actually great news for you.

It means it’s that much easier to differentiate yourself from the pack. If you’re a millennial realtor, leverage your relative comfort with your smartphone to gain an advantage over more experienced realtors. If you’re a veteran realtor who resists the idea of video marketing, understand that it’s going to continue growing into a foundational aspect of real estate branding. Consider Austin Glanzer and his rapidly growing audience of 83,000 followers on TikTok.

Tips for Real Estate Video Branding

1. Find subject matter in your local market that you are passionate about.

Christophe loves luxury and spends tons of time shopping on Rodeo Drive and cruising through the neighborhoods he represents. He just films these things and talks about them. Simple as that.

In doing so, he brands himself as a relatable personality for clients in the luxury real estate market. 

2. Decide on a posting schedule and stick with it.

To be fair, this tip is more about real estate video marketing, rather than branding. But consistency can absolutely be part of your core values, and regular posting can demonstrate professional commitment.

Christophe publishes new real estate video two or three times a week. But you can have a successful video marketing campaign with a much less rigorous schedule. Consider posting two times a month while you gain expertise and an audience.

3. Drop the sales persona and be real.

People buy from PEOPLE more than they buy from messaging in 2021. Real estate video branding is about presenting a real and relatable human to your audience.

Ok, now this is crucial. You can create effective videos without high production value or even a regular posting schedule. 

Check out this simple introduction video from realtor Shannon Sisk. It’s a great example of a single video you can post to your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, etc. This 30-minute process can put you head and shoulders above your competition. Potential clients feel like they’ve already met you, which makes it much easier for them to give you a call.

1. “Delivering on your real estate brand requires consistency, authenticity, and delivering on your unique promise.”

This statement is more powerful than it may seem at first glance. Often agencies see their brand as nothing more than corporate personality and stylization. 

In some cases, real estate professionals understand that their brand is also a matter of how they convey their core values through their marketing strategies. 

But too often they fail to realize that ultimately their brand is not about the message a company delivers to the public, but how well the public believes that message.

2. “Your brand is just a perception. Everyone already has a personal brand, it’s just a question of whether you are in control of it.”

The key to controlling the perception is the first quote we mentioned. It’s a matter of consistently and authentically delivering on the promise that your marketing communicates. 

Referrals come to agents whose relationships with clients genuinely match what they promise in their marketing. Brands that simply put lipstick on the pig tend to fail. Branding is only partly about showcasing a corporate image. Just as essential is showing up on that promise. 

As you move forward with your personal branding efforts, remember that your actions will always outshine your stylization or graphic design.

For agencies, that means recruiting colleagues that align with your core values. At the same time, you don’t want to build a team where everyone functions the same way. That leads to groupthink and the inability to find creative solutions. 

In other words, the key to assembling a powerhouse team is finding people who are deeply committed to a singular mission and value set, but approach that challenge in different ways.

Additional Real Estate Branding Tips

1. Diversify your social media posts with a wide range of compelling content.

  • Helpful and authoritative blog posts
  • Local market news and statistics
  • Striking and shareable infographics
  • Local events (especially if you are participating or organizing them)
  • Holiday posts and well wishes
  • Local news and national news featuring your area
  • Tips for locals like great restaurants or small businesses
  • Choice homeowner advice and hacks

For a great example of diversified social media posts, check out the Facebook feed from Freestone Properties of Asheville, NC. In the below example, they cleverly combine a post about Father’s Day and local things to do.

We would encourage Freestone Properties to take notes from both Kyle Draper and Tonya Eberhart. Even though it’s an agency Facebook page, they would do well to make their posts pivot more around real people sharing more personal posts. 

Generally speaking, however, it’s a great example of how social media posts should move well beyond listings.

2. Use Fiverr for Graphic Design

There are dozens of free DIY graphic design tools online for every marketing material thinkable, from real estate postcards to logos to infographics. 

Unless you’re making simple template-based Instagram posts, we recommend hiring a professional. There are thousands of talented graphic designers providing high-quality content for reasonable prices.

Fiverr can be extremely affordable, and there are some talented designers. For example, we hired Leoramos to create the below graphic for $5 plus an optional tip.

tweetable quotes about realtor branding

Be aware that some Fiverr freelancers are non-native English speakers, which can be problematic. The best practice is to hire graphic designers who are fluent. Their profile should demonstrate a strong grasp of English, especially in the bio. 

Beyond that, it’s always smart to include examples of work you want your graphic designer to imitate. However, many Fiverr freelancers include several or unlimited revisions. 

InboundREM’s Head of Content and Brand Development, has this to say:

I've hired graphic designers from all kinds of platforms and sources. But I keep returning to Fiverr because nothing beats the value. I've paid $50 for infographics that look better than $500+ infographics from elsewhere. Or $100 for top-notch company logos. It's understandable that some people get turned off by poor initial experiences. I've had those too. But in my opinion, it's worth kissing a couple of frogs. Once you find a great match, you'll save piles of money.

Benjamin Wagner

Of course, there are great alternatives. If you’re a large brokerage with lots of graphic design projects, check out Design Pickle. They specialize in real estate, and you can submit unlimited projects with unlimited revisions for a flat rate of $399 per month. 

Design Hill is a good middle ground. You set up a project with a budget up to $99, and up to 10 freelancers will submit proposals. 

3. Start Graphic Design With A Logo

Your logo is the perfect starting point for developing your branding style, at least in terms of graphic design. 

Pay attention to the color psychology of logo design and research hundreds of example real estate logos. Then find a few options that match your real estate niche, but also will speak to your ideal client. 

Use your logo extensively. Place it on emails, social media, business cards, postcards, and everywhere you can imagine. Your logo should be memorable from the start, but you should aid that process by sinking it into your audience’s long-term memory. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that your branding should be built around your face rather than a logo. 

4. Be Consistent With Branding Materials

All your marketing content should be branded with the same headshot, logo, and color scheme. Beyond that, your writing should consistently feature a unique voice.

Real Estate Branding Strategy Example

Let’s say you’re a highly eco-conscious individual who’s deeply involved in a large community of environmental activists. You’ve decided to pivot your brand around eco-friendly real estate.

  • Brand Identifier: “The Eco-Friendly Agent”
  • Color Scheme: mostly green with notes of blue and white.
  • Logo: includes a treehouse in a grand old oak tree.

The voice of your content is always caring, positive, and excited about real estate trends and properties that build a brighter, cleaner future.

You’ve created your brand and identifier around your face, passion, uniqueness, and real estate niche. By doing so, you receiving glowing praise from Tonya Eberhart and Michael Carr.

You also create an Instagram post about recent news of a company that has been disposing of their toxic waste irresponsibly, which affects a past client you’re still in touch with. A week later, you post photos of yourself sporting a branded T-shirt at the rally to raise awareness of the issue. By doing so, you share a narrative, but you also stay on-brand while giving your audience a peek into your personal life. And that makes Kyle Draper smile. 

Inspired by Christophe Choo, you give virtual tours of new properties, highlighting eco-friendly features and lovely mountain views. Christophe shoots you a pair of friendly finger guns.

Finally, you’ve eschewed print marketing for digital marketing. You’re also committed to only selling properties that feature eco-friendly features and/or building materials.  Suzanne Tulien gives you a beautiful, soaring high-five for delivering on your branding promise. 

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How InboundREM Can Help You

If you have any hanging questions about real estate branding or friendly pushback on our article, we will happily respond to your comment. 

Beyond that, InboundREM is a top provider of real estate lead generation and digital marketing services. We build cutting-edge websites and then leverage those websites to drive inbound leads to you. Our claim to fame is an impressive long-term ROI.

How We’re Different

We’re also unique because we allow you to own your real estate website. Almost all similar companies lease them out. That prevents you from owning the very tool you’ve paid thousands for, but it also keeps you from switching companies. I won’t call it a racket, but it’s not how I do business.

For more information about our commitment to transparency and how we can drive high-quality leads to your digital door, get in touch!

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2 Comments

  1. Tonya Eberhart

    Thanks for featuring me in the article! Amazing work. Here’s some more of my thoughts. Your brand is like a book. It’s effectively your story. However, you can’t put the entire contents of the book on the cover. That’s why you need what we have coined a ‘Brand Identifier’. It’s a slogan or tagline that identifies what you stand for and serves as a marketing hook that captures immediate attention, thus giving your prospect something to grab onto and remember instantly. It should be unique and compelling, and encourage the prospect to crack open the first page of the book to learn more.

  2. Robert – I am honored you included me as a contributing expert in this well-organized article providing so many ‘golden nuggets’ that should not be dismissed! This article is a great road-map from seasoned experts that ‘cut through the clutter’ and can create immediate successes. Congrats on putting this together and sharing it to the masses!

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