Worried about recruiting and retention? Your agents hold the key to your brokerage’s success, and you hold the key to theirs through exceptional marketing.
There are aspects of real estate marketing that are standard for various markets and brokerage firms. For example, we emphasize knocking on the door with highly personalized market reports and other custom-designed promotional materials.
By contrast, other brokerages have less specific and less specific marketing materials. There is a farm agent in my neighborhood and all I get from them are Just Listed and Just Sold postcards. Nothing else. However, the message is that they are accepting listings and selling houses, which is attractive to a potential client.
Other agents and brokers don't submit anything at all, or submit a prescription or market update. They are not showing that they are actually selling houses.
So what do you do if you're an agent working for a brokerage that doesn't provide much in the way of marketing or design services? What is the best way to go and do it on your own?
More than that, if you're a broker, where should you invest in technology and marketing, considering it as a recruiting and retention component of the product offering for each agent?
3 ways to make it past the trash can
We think about marketing collateral in two ways, both to make it past the trash can or recycling bin on the way back to the house from the mailbox.
First, look at marketing from the perspective of your own home. What are you getting and keeping and what are you throwing away? Whether it’s a catalog, a piece of mail promoting new windows, or what have you — what is making it past the recycle bin and into the house?
Second, focus on the type of content that has staying power. One type of past-the-trash can content is handwritten notes. The more we can personalize our communication, the more likely it is to be opened, consumed and kept.
The other type of content we provide is value-added content that’s specifically designed to be kept. For example, we recently enclosed a “secret menu” for a popular local restaurant chain in one of our mailers. That’s something that people are likely to put in their glove compartment and hold onto for months if not years.
Finally, consider the look of the piece that you’re mailing out or handing out door to door. We use MAXA for graphic design, which I don’t think we could do without at this point, but there are other products out there, including Canva.
If you don’t have a graphic designer on staff, provide templates to your agents and training on using graphic design platforms so that their material always looks as professional as possible. The idea is to take them past the point of just printing out a page from the MLS. We want a branded, consistent look across all of the content we push out.
The agent has 1 customer. The brokerage has 2
For most agents and teams, there is one potential client: The consumer, whether that’s buyers or sellers. When we’re talking about marketing collateral, we’re often talking about communication that’s geared toward homeowners and potential listings, especially for direct mail pieces.
For buyers, the handout will often be marketing the listing itself while door-knocking or hosting an open house. Buyer agents may also create a buyer guide or local events guide to provide for relocating buyers.
At the brokerage level, while you’re serving the consumer as well, the agent is also a customer. As a brokerage, we have to decide how we’re helping our customers, the individual agent, reach their customers. We have to think about how to help them get into the house and in front of the homeowner.
That means helping them with calculating and presenting property values to homeowners. It means helping them to attend conferences and providing resources for creating video or podcast content. It may mean helping them with upgraded printing services for flyers, mailers, and business cards.
If an agent doesn’t have a background in marketing or someone to help them creatively figure something out, they have to deal with whatever the brokerage offers. Many agents are not creative enough to think outside the box, especially if they don’t come from an artistic or creative background.
That’s not an insult, by the way. The agent who loves to dig into the ins and outs of market statistics and contract details isn’t necessarily the same agent who will excel in visual design, graphic elements, and high-engagement copywriting. Those skills generally come from different sides of the brain.
Agents need to be given the tools to create better marketing, whether that’s through in-house design, a highly developed brand guide, templates for specific use cases, or outsourced creative services from a marketing agency.
How brokerages can serve the agent (and their bottom line)
Agents who are trying to grow their businesses will, eventually, turn to an outside marketing agency. There are plenty of them out there that specialize (or say they do) in real estate-based marketing.
Brokerages can turn this into an ancillary revenue stream and, by keeping it in-house, maintain tighter brand control. That’s good for the agent and the brokerage.
This is a call to action for brokerages to step up their game. Let’s offer more to our agents so that we can expect more from them. Help them grow their businesses so they can help grow yours.
We’ve seen our agents increase revenue. We’ve seen them increase price points year over year. Part of that comes from motivation and part of it comes from marketing. It comes from giving them the marketing tools that build their confidence in pursuing new markets or going door-knocking.
Forward-thinking marketing in real estate is essential, especially with the new generation of homebuyers on TikTok and Instagram. To compete, agents will need to get more creative. Those who have a marketing plan working for them will stand out.
The market is evolving. Agents are evolving to meet their challenges. Brokerages must evolve as well.
By Janet Pozos
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