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Your Personal Brand: A Framework for Strategizing Your Real Estate Marketing Efforts

Promotional Strategy: The First and Last Impression

In many instances, the first time someone will interact with your personal brand is through a promotional effort you¹ve undertaken. For instance, let¹s say you¹re trying to win new clients and you¹ve decided that part of the brand you want is to be identified as an expert for a given neighborhood (possibly a nearby neighborhood to minimize the time you spend driving versus selling property). You hit that neighborhood with postcard mailers.
The people who get the mailer and see it or read it are interacting with your brand. What kind of impression are you going to make? Likewise, if you start off with a referral and have a listing from the start of your business, chances are one of the first things you¹ll do is post a yard sign with flyers. People will drive by and pick up the flyer (including other homeowners in the neighborhood, which hopefully represents your target neighborhood). Anyone who reads the flyer is interacting with your personal brand.

When they do, you want to make sure the materials represent the qualities you associate with your personal brand. Chances are you want to stand for professionalism. When people see the postcard or flyer, you want it to show that you¹re competent and present well. A lot of real estate agents think the best they can do in these situations is to pull something together in a word processor and print it on a laser printer. There are other ways of approaching this, whether working with a graphic designer (which entails a fair amount of cost) or finding a turnkey vendor (see our article on this for more details). Take some time to explore your options and make sure that whatever you do is consistent with what you want people to think of you and will continue to help you build your brand over time.

One area where it may be well worth the money to enlist a graphic designer is in development of your logo, if you decide to maintain one for yourself separate from your firm¹s logo. Tell the designer what kinds of qualities you want to represent and let them come up with something that communicates those qualities visually.

In any event, your brand strategy should inform your promotional strategy.
If you have a specific target neighborhood, you should focus on promotional tactics that will hit that target. Direct mail is particularly good at reaching a list of households in a specific geographic region. Sponsorships can be another good tactic ­ if you sponsor a little league team, you will be tying directly into the households in the community you want to serve.
Display advertising (web ads, newspaper, etc.) can be effective, but tends to be more expensive than things like direct mail. In any case, you¹ll want to deliver a consistent message and use your logo or other visual cues to tie your message into your identity.

You can also use your promotional strategy to extend your brand. For example, a week after a transaction closes, send a closing gift to your client. At a time when they're winding down and moving on, it reinforces the role you played in the sale. If personal care is what's most important to your brand, you can send something like a coffee gift pack or other luxury item. If technical real estate skills are important, you can put together a CD (be sure to label it) with the client's closing documents.

To stay top of mind long-term, tou can do a client newsletter (either via email or mail) and continually remind the customer of who you are and what you stand for. The newsletter should be informative and reinforce the qualities that you want to represent.

The Customer Experience: The Most Important Aspect of your Brand

Brand goes well beyond logos, color schemes and advertisements. The biggest aspect of your brand is the experience clients, buyers, other agents, partners and even vendors have when they interact with you. While promotional strategy may seem intimidating and interacting with people may not, this is in fact the most challenging and important part of managing your brand.

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