Here at Real Estate Leads, we won’t even began to suggest we’re experts on the subject but we do know of a number of tips for getting ahead as a realtor. These days – in the age of digital media – one of them most prominent of them is being able to create yourself and your services as a brand all within itself. Some of you may not know exactly what that entails, so let us explain.
What Exactly is Branding?
To give a definition, branding is “the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product or a service from other products or services. In a nutshell, a brand is what sets us apart from our competition.
That’s exactly it – we want to secure greater numbers of clients, and setting ourselves apart from our competitors in the industry is key to doing that. Clients have choices – plenty of them. Being really good at what you do just isn’t enough. You need to start making yourself recognizable as a distinct choice for them. Different from others. A unique name or catchy slogan won’t come even close to doing that on their own.
Every part of your marketing collaterals need to be geared towards creating a greater ‘whole’ – if you will – that’s regarded by prospective clients as a brand.
What Makes Up a Brand?
There is the “look of a brand” or the visual components. This can include logos and colours that you use on your website, specific repeated images, communication language choices, etc.
To use a very well known example, think about Apple. The distinctive logo, the “i” precursor in the titling of its products, etc. You associate a quality personal computing product when you see them, right?
When done properly, your brand will tell your customers exactly who you are and what they can expect when they use your company.
Creating your brand involves online and offline strategies, and that probably comes as no surprise. Your brand might begin with your website. Give some thought to the following; when someone goes to your website from one of your promotions, what do they see? Do they see the same logo? Do they feel like your website is an extension of your personal brand that you have built? If you can’t say ‘yes’ to that definitively, you either may not have much of a brand for yourself, or your brand is a work in progress.
That’s perfectly fine, and it’s not like this has been a staple process for realtors for decades. We’re still adjusting to the information age.
You want to create a ‘total’ brand. That’s the sum of two parts; the first being your companies brand (likely already well established if you’re part of a major brokerage) and the second being your personal brand (which again, is perfectly natural to be lacking at this point) The first step here – again considering we’re in the 21st century – should be a no-brainer. Secure a domain name that is immediately associated with ‘you’ as a realtor. And yes, that’s your name!
If you don’t already own your “name domain” you should get that as soon as possible. So if your name is Ron Donaldson you will ideally acquire the domain rondonaldson.com. Don’t delay in making the inquiry with a reputable web hosting provider asking if that domain name is available
Next up is a sharp, distinctive logo that speaks to who you are – both as an individual and a professional. Don’t hesitate to hire a creative designer who can coax ideas out of you if you’re at a loss for them yourself. You can get a simple logo on Fiverr.com for just $5 bucks or if you want to spend a little more you can check out companies like 99designs.com.
On to your tagline, or slogan as it’s also called. It should tell everyone what you do, but not be so plain and obvious as ‘I sell homes.’ Try to be creative, and again it’s vastly preferable to hire a communications pro rather than settle on something you came up with yourself if you’re really not sure about it.
Just do a little brainstorming to come up with your own tagline. This is just one more way your customers can remember you.
Consistency is Key
Before you begin this whole process of building your brand, you want to spend some time thinking about the big picture. Everything that is used in your business should contain the same branding. The same logo, colours, and tagline should be incorporated uniformly with all of your printed materials – letterhead, newsletters and business cards, all pieces of marketing collateral. The look and message of your website should be consistent with this too. If you buy company apparel you will want those to be the same too.
Your brand should embody your values, your ethics and your way of doing business, along with a healthy bit of who you are ALL the time, not just when you’re working as a real estate professional. The brand that you create is how you want people to think about you. Just remember that if you aren’t able to deliver what your brand promises or what it stands for, then a nice logo and some cool colours won’t make up for that.
We’ve just scratched the surface of what brand building for realtors entails here, but there’s a wealth of information out there for you and we’re happy to introduce you to the idea if it’s something that’s unfamiliar for you. Advancing your real estate career is going to be a priority for all of you, and it’s a great idea to sign up with Real Estate Leads here for qualified buyer and seller real estate leads delivered to you each month for your (and yours alone) territory in Canada.