Determine and communicate your advertising niche. Written especially for real estate professionals, this article covers the general aspects of branding for every small business.
Branding Your Business the “Write” Way Let’s get personal for a minute…
- Who are you? (Be specific.)
- What’s your specialty?
- What do you enjoy most?
- Who are you personally and how does that affect your business?
- And, most importantly, how can you use it to your advantage?
Easy. Quit trying to attract the masses, and work on defining your professional and personal goals. Narrow your market. Yes NARROW it.
Determine which TYPE of client you enjoy most. With what group do you relate most
naturally? Who are your all-time favorite clients and what do they have in common?
Determine the answer to these questions and you can niche your market, define yourself,
and specialize your work. By doing so, you can guarantee that you spend your time working ONLY in those areas that bring you both personal and professional satisfaction and work only with those individuals whose company you enjoy.
Once you narrow the playing field, you must then WRITE your position into your marketing materials. Use a strong tagline to quickly convey your specialization and pointedly describe your own area of expertise in every letter, every e-mail, and on your website.
Job One in marketing for real estate success — Make yourself memorable.
Debby A. Smith, (www.johnlscott.com/debbys)
of John L. Scott Real Estate in the Seattle area of Washington seeks a specific type of client. When we first discussed her target market, she had a definitive idea of what she wants to do and an even clearer vision of what she doesn’t want to do. She doesn’t want to target the subdivisions. She doesn’t want to sell “run-of-the-mill” homes. She doesn’t want to cater to the investor or the commercial market. And she doesn’t want to become obsessed with her bottom line.
Debby believes a home is a reflection of those that inhabit it and bring it to life. So she specializes in matching individual families to a home as perfect for them as they are for it. Places, like people, have a definite personality and Debby is an expert at matching particular people with their perfect property.
She likes houses with character and has learned, after 19 years in the business, that she prefers working with the type of people who seek or desire an individualistic home. Debby will openly admit that these “creative types” are often more challenging to match to their perfect home than people who merely want to buy a house for financial reasons. But Debby doesn’t mind. She enjoys watching people interact with the “feel” of a place, she welcomes the adventure of finding the right dwelling for each individual, and she revels in the satisfaction of knowing that the home she just sold is a perfect fit for the client she was hired to serve.
During our first meeting, we developed an initial tagline for Debby “Matching unique individuals to unusual properties,” but it didn’t quite reflect her goal. It was a “working” tagline. She wanted to include an openness to her studies in feng shui, her understanding of the importance of physical personal space in homes, and a reflection of the feeling of serendipity when that perfect match is achieved. She said these things were like magic and they fascinate her.
We continued defining her personal/professional mission and playing with the words until we developed a more targeted tagline with words that were naturally positive in connotation as well as appealing to her specific target audience:
“The Home Wizard – Matching you to your perfect home”
“The Home Wizard” reflects more than merely skill, it conjures visions of magic, energy and sparks of inspiration. In the current age of technology, the term “wizard” is also associated with something that leads you gently through a complicated process – usually during software installation.
And the “Matching you to your perfect home” makes her message personal – not “clients” or “individuals” or “buyers” but to YOU. And the goal isn’t a sale, it’s a perfect match.
To further promote her niche, she uses language such as “From cottages to castles…” to reflect the “feel” of the homes she offers her clientele. Unique, personalized service is her trademark and Debby has begun using that to help define herself and personalize her message in venues – such as letters, brochures and the WWW – which are traditionally considered more impersonal. Many agents say their mission is to provide a good match between buyer and home, but Debby lives it.
Some people are buyer’s agents. Some prefer to work with sellers for listings. Some like to deal with condos, others would choose commercial, and others favor a particular type of residential. Some people specialize in specific client types or specific geographic regions. And some do both, like our second example:
Peter Kernan, of Prudential Florida WCI Realty in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, works only with elite, luxury, and resort community properties for people desiring a multi-million dollar tropical getaway. His clientele come from all over the world – but the thing they have in common is the desire for this specific type of luxury lifestyle. And Peter not only understands their perspective, as a 16-year resident of the lush Frenchman’s Creek luxury community, he is “one of the boys” in the club mindset.
Peter’s tagline is “Specializing in Golf Community, Waterfront and Luxury Properties in Southern Florida.” He has witnessed the growth in this area, keeps up with the real estate industry locally and nationally and has established himself as the local expert on these elite properties. He’s worked hard to develop the contacts he has within this community for the benefit of those buying and selling here and uses this insight in his marketing materials to help define his niche market.
Peter maintains strong personal relationships with residents in these communities through professional as well as social activities. He builds and nurtures mutually beneficial relationships with real estate agents nationwide who seek this type of property for their clients. Above all, he provides excellent customer service, because he knows this market REQUIRES going the “extra mile.” They expect it. And with Peter, they get it.
As an example, one potential client from New Jersey called and asked for Peter’s assistance to locate a local property that would meet his needs. Peter located the best property based on that individual client. He took pictures, compiled a packet of information and overnighted it to the potential client. He did this even though the property with the “best fit” for this particular client belonged to a developer and was listed with another agent. The client then flew to Palm Beach County and Peter escorted him onsite and helped him get the information he needed, bought lunch, discussed golf and offered an insider’s perspective on life and luxury in Palm Beach County. Peter remained available for questions long after the client returned home. He was the client’s primary resource from the first contact until the final sale and remains available to that client as needed.
Peter recently secured a local listing that had been with another agent for two years. He secured it by taking the time and using his skills to develop a formalized marketing plan targeted to that particular property, hiring a professional photographer and designing a four-color brochure on the property to present to the owner. The owner listed with Peter immediately.
Peter’s marketing is targeted and he pursues ONLY his target market.
Both of these agents accept and appreciate referrals that may not be in their particular “target” market. They don’t refuse to help other groups, and they don’t turn away business, but they DO spend their own energy and resources to market in those areas they enjoy most.
A key in any business is to have peers “court” peers. Peer-to-peer sales work best because people listen to and trust their peers. For instance, a person who doesn’t fully appreciate the art and character built into a craftsman style home would have a harder time selling it than Debby does. And a person who doesn’t live, love and know the resort lifestyle is less successful in selling those luxury properties than Peter. Both agents are selling what they love. They have melded their own lifestyles, their own knowledge and appreciation of a particular mindset to offer likeminded clients a clear advantage. They understand what their clients want and go out of their way to deliver it.
As a result, they have thriving businesses doing what they enjoy most. They have defined and advertised their areas of expertise in an industry that is traditionally more generalist than specialist. And, although many real estate agents may specialize, if they don’t communicate that specialization, it doesn’t really exist for potential new clients.
So…Niche. Specialize. Communicate. Make your statement memorable. Enjoy your work.
And be successful!
© Copyright 2003 by Angela Allen Parker of Wicked Wordcraft