There are approximately three million licensed real estate agents in the U.S. And at the same time, housing inventory is down to around half its normal levels.
More agents plus low inventory equals high competition.
What does this mean for you?
It means now is the time to do everything you can to make sure your brand stands out so you can generate new clients and close more deals, regardless of housing market conditions.
In this real estate agent branding guide, you’ll learn…
What Is Real Estate Agent Branding All About?
Before we dive in, let’s cover the basics.
What Is a Real Estate Branding?
A brand in real estate represents the overall perception of a company, brokerage, or individual agent in the minds of their community, prospects, leads, and clients.
Your brand is the combination of tangible and intangible elements that make up the identity of your business. It includes your identity, values, and reputation.
The goal is to create a positive brand “experience” – a particular set of emotions, perceptions, and associations that a consumer associates with you and your team based on their interactions with you across various touchpoints.
Why Does Real Estate Branding Matter?
As a result of creating a positive brand experience, you’ll be more likely to establish trust, generate more leads, turn more leads into clients, and encourage brand loyalty.
In a crowded field with lots of competitors, it’s your brand that makes your real estate business unique in the eyes of your community, and sets you apart from your competition.
If you don’t manage your brand well, others will define it for you.
When Is It Time To Rebrand?
It’s never too late to rebrand.
According to Greg Maka, managing director of 24-7 Marketing LLC, “Rebranding is required when a company is not meeting its sales goals or does not see any growth.” At that point, he adds, “They are probably perceived as ‘like all the other real estate agencies.’”
Altering your established brand is no small feat. But the payoff is always worth it.
“Creating a new brand identity keeps you fresh and relevant in the ever-changing marketplace. Consumers want to connect with those that are up-to-date and understand the new way of doing business,” says Mukul Lalchandani (Level Group, New York, NY).
The process of reconsidering how you brand yourself as a real estate agent gives you a chance to refine your mission and vision and to recreate your business from the ground up. Most importantly, it’s a way to generate more leads and allow for greater levels of growth for years to come.
How To Get Started (or Start Over)
Real Estate Agent Branding Starts With Brainstorming
Get some snacks, brew a fresh pot of coffee, and take time to ask a set of good questions about your business.
Here are examples of topics and questions you could consider as you’re coming up with real estate branding ideas:
Imagine that one of your clients spent a day with your real estate brand. And on the next day, the client’s best friend asked him to describe their experience with the brand. What would you hope the client would say?
- Think about your brand values (the standards by which you operate “externally” with clients and “internally” as a company).
- Think about your strongest character traits.
- What are your most relevant and effective strengths and skills as a real estate agent?
- Do you have any specialties? (For example, maybe you specialize in a specific type of property or are particularly adept at connecting with a particular type of buyer.)
- What do you want your leads and clients to think of when they think of your brand?
- What are some qualities that are the opposite of what you want to portray, qualities that would undermine your values, personality traits, and way of doing business?
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A UVP is a statement that informs prospective clients about what sets your brand apart from that of the other agents in your market. Think of it as an elevator pitch, but in writing. It’s what shows you’re not a dime-a-dozen agent.
Be concise. It should be punchy so that it’s as memorable and clear as possible. Most UVPs are only a sentence or two in length.
Use numbers whenever possible. Stats and figures give prospects something to hold on to. Plus, they go a long way in boosting perceived credibility.
“I have helped more clients sell their Seattle homes in the last five years than any other agent. My client’s homes sell in an average of just 20 days, 25 percent faster than the average for my area.”
“My clients love the four C’s of my Worry-Free Guarantee: customer care, communication, and closings. As a veteran myself, I have a first-hand understanding of what my clients need and I know what it looks like to provide service that satisfies.”
A UVP is sometimes called a “unique selling proposition” (or USP). To learn more and to get a bunch of great examples, check out this video from Shopify:
Define Your Target Market
One of the most common mistakes real estate agents make is assuming that everyone is their target audience. It’s an easy trap to fall into when you don’t have a niche.
But in attempting to be everything to everyone, your brand can easily become watered down and you end up blending in rather than standing out.
Once you have your ideal client’s profile, you can more easily fine-tune your branding and marketing to cater to the specific needs, challenges, and interests of a particular client pool.
For you, that may include a certain part of town, a set of specific neighborhoods, or a niched type of consumer, such as veterans or home investors. If you want to get as specific as possible, consider creating profiles (or “personas”) based on your top two or three ideal clients.
Let data be your guide. For example, if you’re interested in a particular neighborhood, get all of the information you can find about the demographics in that area. Learn about who follows you on social media. Get a customizable website that allows you to collect and analyze data about your users and their activity on your site.
Craft a Mission Statement
Mission statements are an important part of real estate agent branding. It shows how your UVP relates to your vision statement. It explains what you do, who you serve, how you’re different, and why you do what you do.
A well-crafted mission statement serves two very important functions.
- It keeps you focused on your priorities, your overarching purpose, and the meaningfulness of your work.
- It tells your prospects and clients exactly what they can expect when they work with you.
But remember: beyond the basics, there are no hard-and-fast rules. It’s meant to serve you and your business, so there’s no need to get caught up in deciding between “right” and “wrong” mission statements. It doesn’t need to be comprehensive, overly specific and detailed, or even a complete sentence.
Example Mission Statements:
TED: “Spread Ideas”
RE/MAX: “To be the worldwide real estate leader, achieving our goals by helping others achieve theirs. Everybody wins.”
Atlassian: “From medicine and space travel, to disaster response and pizza deliveries, our products help teams all over the planet advance humanity through the power of software. Our mission is to help unleash the potential of every team.”
Hone Your Brand Voice
A brand voice refers to the distinct and consistent way a brand communicates with its audience through language and tone. It reflects the personality, values, and identity of the brand.
In other words, your content (your marketing materials that involve words and writing) needs to be in alignment with your brand.
What good does it do to plaster your website, blog, social media profiles, marketing materials with your colors, logo, and everything else if your content is geared to an entirely different audience?
This happens when agents don’t understand how important their content is to their brand. Writing a blog post haphazardly or hiring sub-par content writers to create drivel for your website can lead to a brand identity crisis.
At this point, it might be helpful to return to any learnings you may have had during the “Define Your Target Market” section above and ask…
- How do my ideal clients communicate?
- What kind of language do my ideal clients use?
- Would my ideal client be more formal or more casual?
- Would facts, figures, and charts be appealing to my ideal client? Or would they prefer more of a narrative approach that breaks it all down in plain English?
Change your brand voice, and you may just change the type of client you attract.
Establishing your brand voice isn’t easy. But if it speaks to your ideal client’s needs in their preferred mode of communication, it becomes a powerful real estate agent branding tool.
Best Practices for Real Estate Agent Branding
You know what real estate branding is all about and how to build your own. Now let’s take a look at five strategies, tips, and guidelines that will boost the effectiveness of your brand.
The goal of your real estate branding ideas should be to make your brand both recognizable and memorable. The best way to do that is to be consistent.
Every interaction your potential clients have with your brand should look, feel, and “sound” cohesive. All of your marketing should point toward your core messages (i.e., your UVP, mission statement, brand values, etc.).
All of the best brands are well aware of this point. You don’t have to look far to find iconic examples – Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Starbucks, Google, and Disney have all mastered the art and science of creating consistent, cohesive brand experiences
Here’s a checklist of the elements that should be consistent in all of your marketing materials:
- Design (e.g., colors, fonts, layouts, look and feel)
- Visuals (e.g., logo, headshot, images, photos)
- Messaging (e.g., tagline, bio, brand voice, the feelings and points you want to communicate)
And don’t forget to check for consistency in all of the marketing materials you might use. For example…
- Print pieces (business cards, postcards, flyers, brochures, etc.)
- Your website
- Your email signature
- Social media profiles and pages
- Online ads
Brand Yourself, Not Just Your Company
As an agent of your business, your personal brand is just as important as your company’s brand. So it’s very important to understand how to brand yourself as a real estate agent as well as a person.
If someone wants to research your services online, odds are they’ll find your personal pages as well. Be mindful of your client’s journey and be sure your personal and business brands are consistent.
Stay on Message
“In today’s world, successful branding really is the result of continuous promotion of the same unique theme or selling proposition, utilizing as many tools as you can afford,” says Maka.
Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. The best real estate branding ideas are the ones that will help you increase predictability.
You want to make it so that when your potential clients see one of your marketing pieces, interact with your brand, or work with you directly, they know what to expect.
The more your message “sinks in,” the more likely it is your brand will build credibility and stay top of mind. And with that, you’ll be well on your way to growing your business.
According to one study, consistent branding can lead to a revenue increase of 23% on average.
Don’t Get Carried Away & Miss the Point
If you’re a beginner when it comes to real estate agent branding, here’s a helpful heads-up: it’s easy to get so focused on the details of building a brand that you forget the basics.
When it comes to brainstorming real estate branding ideas, perfectionism can work against you.
Continue spending the bulk of your time prospecting, meeting with potential sellers and buyers, showing homes, asking for the sale, and closing deals. Branding is crucial, but it’s not everything.
Too many people in the real estate business spend too much time obsessing over logos and websites. Beware of avoidance behavior. Don’t let branding distract you from the activities that are higher priority and even more directly related to generating sales.
Otherwise, you may not be in the real estate business long enough to see your brand grow.
Get Feedback & Monitor Your Performance
Factors such as the quality of your customer base and the number of listings you get may help you determine how successful your branding is in the marketplace. And if your clients, competitors, and community express respect for your brand, those are also good indicators that you’re building a strong brand identity.
But like everything in marketing, you should have a way of measuring the success of your branding that goes beyond the circumstantial and anecdotal.
It doesn’t have to be time-consuming and complicated. It can be as easy as creating a basic table in your favorite word processor or spreadsheet software, writing down all of your goals in the left column, and using the rest of the columns to note your performance each month (or week).
For example, you could track the following items before and after you implement various branding plans:
- Lead generation
- Lead-to-client conversion rates
- Number of transactions per month
- Commission income
- Website traffic
- Response rates to your real estate direct mail marketing pieces
Here Are Some Practical Next Steps
All of this information about real estate agent branding can be overwhelming. So if you’re wondering what to do now, here are five options to consider.
1. Write a Bio
This may be among the most important pieces of marketing content you write. It’s responsible for creating a first impression, which means it could be one of the deciding factors that determines whether a potential client will work with you or not. Learn how to write a real estate bio that attracts leads.
2. Create a Logo
Well-designed logos help businesses stand out among their competition by establishing a strong identity and creating a lasting impression. And they can even attract potential clients.
No, you don’t need to be an expert, you don’t have to hire it out, and you don’t have to spend tons of time doing it. Because here are tips and tools for developing effective real estate logo ideas on your own.
3. Come Up With an Effective Slogan
It might seem small, but your slogan (or “tagline”) can actually be a valuable marketing tool that shows how you’re unique. It can serve to reinforce your brand message, while also keeping you top of mind among your ideal clients.
Check out this article all about real estate slogans. Not only will you get a strong-but-not-overwhelming list of ideas to glean inspiration from, but you’ll also get a complete how-to guide so you can more easily craft your own.
4. Start Forming Strategic Business Partnerships
Use what you’ve established by walking through the steps in this article to lead you toward developing the right kind of business partnerships, ones that will enhance and reinforce your brand identity.
Make a list of businesses you want to work with. Then ask the owner if they’d be willing to allow you to display some marketing materials and business cards at their spot.
Tell them that, in return, you’ll refer your clients to their business, feature them on your website, or that you’ll include them in your client “welcome packet” full of your best recommendations and local favorites.
5. Create (or Improve) Your Marketing Plan
Congratulations! Now you know how to brand yourself as a real estate agent!
Once you feel like your branding is good to go, it’s time to put it to the test by implementing a series of marketing campaigns.
Learn everything you need to know about creating a real estate marketing plan and get a free downloadable guide that walks you through the process.