The following is from a friend, Greg Herder. Since 1986 Greg and his company, Hobbs Herder have had an incredibly positive impact on thousands of real estate careers over the years.
Branding and Hyper Personalization
The hot topic being thrown around the marketing world today is “hyper personalization.” What they mean is that a company has to adapt its marketing to each person that clicks on one of your ads based on their browsing history and the mountain of information that Google, Facebook and the rest of the world are collecting about everyone as they interact with the internet. The point is that marketing is getting more personal and intimate by the day.
What Does It Mean for Real Estate Agents?
So what does this mean to you as a real estate professional, especially if you don’t have the technical skills and resources to take advantage of all the information about your prospects that big companies are tapping into? What it means is that your personal brand, what I have called your “personal brand advantage” for the last two decades, must be more focused and emotional, in short, more personal than ever before. The problem is most agents resist being both focused and emotional. They say, “I don’t want to limit my options by focusing on a particular segment of the marketplace.” The age old excuse so many agents use is, “I have a wide range of past clients I don’t want to lose any of them.” These are the same agents who complain they have tried personal marketing themselves and it is not effective, does not produce a decent ROI and figure it is best to go back to the basics of cold calling, door knocking and holding lots of open houses to generate business. The problem is that what they tried was not personal in any way. They tried running things with as broad of an appeal as possible, thinking “if I cast out as wide of a net as I can, I will surely catch something.” The reality is, mass appeal is dead.
Building Your Brand into a Household Name
The amazing thing is, in today’s socially connected market place the best way to become a household name is to start by focusing on a small targeted group of people you can provide real value to and are a perfect fit for your personality. Then you build a deep emotional connection with them through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Over time, you can broaden your appeal by small amounts so your core target market spreads your message through social media to the next level of influence. To do this you have to take the risk to be personal to expose who you really are. In the great book “Daring Greatly,” the author talks about how powerful this is but how fearful most of us are from taking the risk to expose who we are, flaws and all. I have been creating marketing campaigns for real estate agents since 1986, and without fail, when an agent is willing to create their campaign around who they really are, it works — whether it is their passion for family, their values, their beliefs or an activity they truly love. And it never works when an agent tries to focus their campaign on how hard they work, how much they know, what great service they provide.
Personal (And not Logical) Spreads Virally
In today’s socially driven marketplace it’s the personal, emotional information that spreads virally and allows you to build and grow your brand. That is why YouTube videos of listings that just focus on the house don’t get lots of views, but videos where an agent gives a tour of the home and lets their natural personality come across to build an emotional connection gets watched dramatically more and is more likely to spread between friends.
How Do You As a Real Estate Agent Do This?
So lets make this practical. Well, the key to creating an effective personal brand as a real estate agent is to first look inside yourself and make a list of the three most important values or beliefs about yourself. Then look at the marketplace you are working in and ask: “based on my values and who I am at my core, is there a segment of my market that would naturally be attracted to doing business with me because we share a set of common values or beliefs?” Campaigns built around a shared set of values or beliefs are always the campaigns that produce the best results. Agents often ask me, “Greg, if this is true, why don’t I see more agents who do it?” The answer is simple. It’s because it is very scary and an agent has to be willing to look at themselves, flaws and all, and then risk being rejected.
A Realtor Rising to the Challenge
Realtor Priscila Rodriguez in Chula Vista, CA is a great example of what I am talking about. Her slogan is “Rising to the Challenge.” Priscila’s basic message is, she will face any challenges that arise for her clients because she has overcome challenges in her own life and shares those challenges with her prospects which makes her real. When you talk to her, she is exactly the person her marketing talks about.
Keeping it Real
Robin Milonakis is another example of an agent who shares who she really is with her prospects and it has paid off in a huge way. She is one of the top agents in the OC in a hyper competitive real estate marketplace. Robin is known for posting everything she is thinking and feeling on her Facebook page, some would say she can be over the top. But mixed in with her passion for football, hating stupid people, and relationship challenges, Robin shares how she is fighting for her clients and her clients talk about why they love working with her. Robin admits she is in your face with her opinions and if you have a problem with that, it is clearly your problem, not hers. Her clients will tell you the reason they work with her and love working with her is because she always “Keeps it Real” and they want and need someone who is willing to tell it to them like it is.
A Powerful Concept: “OK Realtors Are You Ready to Go “Hyper-Personal?”
The bottom line is this: To build a strong personal brand you have to be willing to be personal. It sounds easy, but most agents are simply not willing to take the risk because it requires you to put the “real you” out into the world. No list of accomplishments to hide behind. I know it’s very scary, but it is so very powerful. Such a simple concept but can you see why it is so powerful and effective? People want to be real and want to work with people who also are real. Why not sit down tonight and take an hour to think of the 3 most important values or beliefs that make you, “you”.
Now the question in the balance is… “are you willing to share “you” with the world”?