Episode 394: Building Your Personal Online Brand as a Real Estate Agent in 2023

Episode Timeline

In the 394th episode of the Mail Right Show, Jonathan Denwood and Robert Newman discuss the strategies mid-range agents can use to build their online brands. Robert Newman, the founder, and CEO of Inbound REM, an inbound marketing agency, has had tremendous experience in the real estate SEO field for over a decade. On the other hand, Jonathan Denwood is the founder and CEO of Mail Right, a platform combining various digital tools into one convenient, user-friendly package. This episode delves into strategies and tools that will help real estate agents establish their online presence, create engaging content, and leverage social media platforms to attract clients and build credibility.

1. Define Your Unique Value Ad

If you want to progress in this industry as a real estate agent, you need to find a niche in your market because it will make things easier for you, even though it might initially seem surprising. You have the option not to do that at the beginning. But as you get more data, the quicker you find a niche by a specific area, property type, or client, the better you can do in the real estate industry. Once you do this, it becomes significantly simpler to identify and communicate the value you can provide to your target audience.

  • Find What Sets You Apart. What sets you apart might include the property and everything else you focus on. It can also be ways that you market yourself. For example, one strategy of a real estate agent is dropping postcards to two target markets focusing on local artists. This agent finds some artists, finds their artwork, then turns it into postcards and sends that with a typical real estate message twice a year — once during Christmas and once in the middle of the year. Those two sets of postcards get mailed, and they’re more like a keep-in-touch, and it drives 80 % of her business. This unique selling proposition is one of the very unusual ways to approach the market in terms of marketing, and the agent only has two separate areas to focus on. Thus, it is recommended to identify what might be a unique value proposition that you like.

    These days, YouTube can be used for research. However, there’s another way to use YouTube, whether or not you make a video. You can explore by selecting five or ten cities that you find interesting. After that, perform searches like looking for specific neighborhood names within those cities or the names of the cities themselves. Nowadays, real estate agents have become quite skilled, and they often upload videos about different cities. Most realtors with a unique selling point will talk about it in many, if not all, of their videos. So, with those videos, you can see realtors discussing how they define themselves inside the market.

  • Do Your Research. The number of followers on an account can show how well a real estate builder is doing. For example, you can look at someone who is relatively successful and then decide whether or not their unique selling point (USP) has merit to you. This means that when you’re trying to promote your business, research and learn about different strategies for marketing. Always do your research and figure out what everybody else is doing so that we can figure out what we will do.
  • Find The Specialized Knowledge Or Skills You Possess. A very easy way to identify your specialized knowledge or skills is through your clubs or interests in high school. For instance, if you have an interest in D&D and fantasy, although it will not help you much in your real estate career, it will give you a firm basis for doing much learning. There’s considerable learning in playing fantasy-based games, giving you a reason to exercise knowledge and research. If you have a military background, you can also leverage that to create an engaging, unique selling point USP.
    In Reno, an Art Town art festival runs in July, with another night event in August. It’s a nonprofit that does a load of concerts. As a real estate agent, you can volunteer your time for this organization or sponsor it because the Reno market is driven by people from California to this part of Northern Nevada. Reno attracts a load of people out of the state, and you can utilize it to some extent in marketing yourself to people interested in the art and culture side of it that go to this festival.

    When you start to say, how will you separate yourself as a real estate agent, especially if you’re leveraging digital? Being an ambassador to the brand, an ambassador to local businesses, and an ambassador in the area is improving and has a more definitive way to separate yourself from your competitors. And it’s having more and more value as search continues to get commoditized because when everybody else enters a couple of searches, you will get all the information about real estate.

    Your phone will give you everything you need about real estate. What was the price ascension over the last 10 years? How many homes have sold in a neighborhood? So with all of that information becoming increasingly commoditized through behavioral marketing, better known as AI, and similar tools, how do you continue to separate yourself? More and more, it will lean in the direction of lifestyle. Your opinion about where the places are that you should visit, could visit, who would visit them? People with kids are going to go someplace different than people without. Someone might be interested in going to music venues and art museums, whereas somebody with children might be interested in going to parks, piers, and beaches. And so clearly defining that to people researching you as a realtor will add much more value.

2. Craft Your Visual Brand Identity

  • Logos and Visuals. It won’t result in direct leads, but it directly impacts the conversion rate you get when people visit your website. Many agents’ websites don’t look very good when you visit some websites. This often happens because they have chosen bad logos, used low-quality photography at the beginning, and their branding (like how things look) differs throughout the website.

    If you are planning to make or looking for logo ideas, and want to hire someone to create it, remember that most designers require much input. To expect a non-graphic based individual to explain verbally the logo he wants is a bit hard, but you should be able to take some screenshots and show a little library of what and a quick sentence of why you like a particular look. Go and look at many websites, take screenshots of logos you want, and then use them somewhere to store them. You could use Pinker, a private board, or free online platforms to upload images and write a little comment. When you’ve collected enough, have a look and then try and rationalize why you like something. This will help you visually show them what you want to do and then explain.

    You can also get online services, which offer a reasonable design. A great place to go to get design references would be 99 Designs and Google IMAGE library. Once you have found images for logo design ideas from these resources, you can send them over to a designer. One big difference between them and hiring someone directly to assist you is that you will need to take charge. You’ll have to clearly explain what you want, as a design you like won’t magically appear. If you don’t, you might feel frustrated and waste time.

  • Professional Brand Photography. Over the past years, how images are displayed has changed. But good listing images have always been relevant regarding selling a product or a house. The better your photos are, the more appointments and calls you’ll likely receive. Nowadays, the information on your online listing is also crucial. Can you connect this to the quality of your photos? Your photo quality strongly reflects the digital outcomes you’ll achieve.

    Although you can hire a professional to take photos, you can do some of this yourself. But you don’t need to spend much money. You can take courses aimed at real estate agents to take photography and video. You have a fantastic device in your pocket now, but you need to educate yourself about how to utilize that device best. This is ideal for those just starting with minimal or no marketing funds. Educate yourself about how to use the device to get the best photography you can until you are in a position where you can hire a professional. If you’re conducting just a few transactions, relying solely on people talking about your business and recommendations, and if your involvement is quite limited—like being a part-time worker, mastering the skill of taking high-quality photos using your phone could be one of the most valuable learning experiences for you.

  • Consistent Branding. Your tagline, logo, content, and photography are all interlinked. Have a consistent branding message linked to your niche, understanding which target audience you’re aiming at. And a particular way of consistent branding is posting consistently about the things you feel passionate about or an expert. Doing consistent videos inside the YouTube space is also incredibly important.

    Once you start doing this and getting busy, hire people or a virtual assistant. It is good that you keep the person doing marketing separate from the person doing the other duties because the same problem will occur when the person that’s supposed to do your social media do the other stuff; they will get into a time problem.

2. Develop an Online Presence

There are several ways to develop an online presence: creating a website, content marketing, social media, and online reviews.

Online reviews are critical. If you’re not leveraging reviews, if you’re not getting them on every single interaction or attempting to, if you’re not responding to them in-depth, if you’re not structuring or leading people to the review that you want, then you’re losing out on one of the best, easiest, and most incredible marketing opportunities that you have.

Regarding the website, you have three different ways to utilize this. You can create a simple business card website, so you will only spend a little time on it. This website will have limited functions. It’s like having an impressive digital business card. Sometimes, this website can be beneficial in a strong face-to-face sales process. You can use this website during phone calls, showing people how to use it as you guide them. Any website tool could be helpful if you’re good at selling in person. Some tools might be more useful than others, but in general, most real estate agents will only find websites very useful if they put effort into them. For most agents, having a website is still essential, even though it’s less crucial than before. You won’t lose business as you would five years ago if you don’t have a website. You can have a Facebook page or other social media platforms. Alternatively, you can use a local or social profile without losing much credibility.

If you’re going to go the route of not having a website, then whatever way you do go, if you want it to be a valuable marketing tool, you need to focus on making some content. Make a Google business profile with images showing at least your inventory and videos explaining your messaging.

Having said that, the people playing the long game inside the real estate business, the people trying to do something incredible with their career and create a robust and informational brand, then you must have a website. You must use that as a platform you control and own, define the message, and spend all your time and energy on. And you go out of your way, which will be an omnichannel destination today. That means you’ll have six other profiles in other places, but they all link back to your website, like your real estate portals. They all return to the website where you control the message you spend a lot of time crafting.