You’d have to have been living under a rock to not know what marketing is. Yet even with the abundance of information and resources available, many agents still don’t quite get it right – or worse, don’t do it at all.
“Everything you do as a business is marketing,” says Aga Russell, Marketing Manager at Basic Bananas. “From the copy on your website to the way you deliver your products and services to your clients.”
Russell and Micheal Ossitt, Founder and Director at STRAND Property Group, discussed the importance of marketing for buyers’ agents in a recent REINSW webinar. And, lucky for you, they’ve shared some sure-fire ways to strengthen your marketing strategy and build your brand.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Larry Elder
Russell says every business must have a marketing plan, but it doesn’t have to be daunting or arduous.
“A marketing plan doesn’t have to be fifty pages long,” she says. “Our marketing plans are usually no more than two pages and give a clear outline of what we’re doing over a set period.”
In fact, Russell says developing your marketing plan actually helps you better understand your business and define your goals.
“Having a marketing plan in place helps you focus on your strengths and avoid a scattered approach,” she continues.
“Something a lot of business owners do when they start marketing their business is to try Google or Facebook advertising, without considering their audience or brand. This is an ad-hoc approach and makes it hard to track results and see what’s working for your business.”
Russell says it’s good to take the time to sit back and think about what you’d like to achieve with your marketing.
“Who are you speaking to?” she asks. “Who is your audience and how are you going to reach them. When you know that, you can plan accordingly and choose the right marketing strategies for your business.”
And the key word here is strategies. Plural. Multiple.
“Having a marketing plan in place that consists of various marketing strategies helps you to avoid market ups and downs,” says Russell.
“Think of your business as a house. If you’re only using one marketing strategy, only one door into your house is open. But people can find you all different kinds of ways. They can hear about you from a friend, read about you online or find you through Google. So it’s important to open as many doors to your business as possible. It’s the simplest way to ensure a constant flow of clients.”
“You can’t rely on one strategy and hope for the best because that strategy can – and, most likely, will – dry up,” he says. “As the property market goes through cycles, so to does your business. One day you might have a flurry of new enquiries. The next day you might have none.
“By having multiple strategies, you can even the flow of new prospects.”
“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time” – Elon Musk
Brand is one of your business’s most important assets.
It is an emotional construct. It is fickle and can be irreparably destroyed in seconds. Which is why your brand must honestly reflect your business and its values.
“You want to shape the perception of your business to attract the right clients,” says Russell. “In doing so, you build familiarity and trust. This is what people will remember and tell their friends about.”
Ossitt says buyers’ agents – and all agents – essentially offer the same service, so positioning is critical in attracting clients.
“As a buyers’ agent, you could specialist in a geographical area or a particular property type (for example family homes or investment properties),” he says. “Understand what you want to be known for and use it in your messaging.”
Russell takes this a step further, suggesting agents ask themselves three questions when deciding on their brand.
“First you must ask yourself, ‘How do I want to be perceived?’,” she says. “And it’s not enough to simply say 'professional' or 'honest', because that’s what every agent wants to be.
“You have to think about the things that really set you apart from other agents and their brands and what you want to be known for. Do you want to be perceived as family-oriented or fun or conscientious?
“Instead of trying to please everyone, pick the things you know you do well and that people will remember you for in ten years. And, whatever you choose, these characteristics should shine through in everything you do – from the copy and images on your website to how you conduct yourself with clients.”
“Outsourcing was the bogeyman of the 90s” – Vivek Wadhwa
Ossitt says there are a lot of businesses out there who will happily spend your marketing dollar while promising marketing magic.
“But if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, you could end up spending thousands of dollars and still not understanding how it is helping to build your brand,” he says.
And this is why Ossitt and Russell both believe in the importance of developing a sound marketing plan.
“Understanding your strategy, your brand and your audience will help you understand what you want to achieve,” says Russell. “At that point you can outsource. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re wasting time and money, and potentially damaging your brand.”