The real estate industry has certainly not been immune to the impacts of COVID-19. The way real estate was typically practiced and performed, in general took a major change back in the spring/summer of 2019. Real estate agents have been forced to rethink everything from the way that they market and brand themselves, their listings, and ultimately the way they fight to remain seen and relevant.
As more and more lay-offs across major sectors like retail and tourism continue into 2021, the number of people considering starting a career in real estate is growing. This rise in more people getting into the real estate industry presents itself at an interesting time. Currently, many markets in Canada and the USA are seeing low inventory which means there are more agents than ever trying to market themselves to get a “seat at the table” (a virtual seat at a virtual table mind you) all in a time when the traditional means of real estate marketing have completely changed.
The old ways of Real Estate Marketing are DEAD.
The effects of COVID-19 have changed so many of the traditional marketing methods for Real Estate Agents. Let’s dive into detail on what has changed, what is here to stay and how Real Estate Agents can adapt to take advantage of this critically important time in the industry.
Networking – Historically, real estate agents were encouraged by real estate coaches to put themselves out there. Show up in person to events. Find networking meetings and gatherings in the community and use this opportunity to hand out business cards, shake hands and meet new people. This effort would often result in building new relationships with people who may be looking to buy or sell a home sometime down the road. The exchange of business cards meant that the Real Estate Agents could add the new contact to their database and easily add them to their marketing mailing list to keep in touch. Now, thanks to COVID, this traditional and effective marketing method is no longer viable which means real estate agents need to get creative with their marketing to find new virtual platforms to meet people.
Open Houses – In many regions, open houses are no longer permitted to flatten the curve and reduce human interaction. This is too bad because many Real Estate Agents used to depend on open houses as a way to meet new prospective buyers that they could ultimately turn into clients. With the loss of open-houses and the diminishing interest that sellers have in allowing a freeflow of people through their homes, the return to open houses as we know them may be gone for quite some time.
Traditional Marketing – With an increase of people working from home and being encouraged to only go out for essentials, the power of traditional marketing techniques like billboards, park benches, bus ads and physical mailouts is also taking a hit. The number of people seeing this traditional media is also subject to decrease and ultimately is making the case for these traditional real estate marketing options to be re-considered.
There are two ways to deal with this new reality. Retreat or Pour In. Real Estate Agents can choose to retreat and pull back on their marketing efforts or they can use this opportunity to pour into new marketing methods to position themselves as leaders.
Enter the New ERA of Real Estate Marketing
If Real Estate agents want to set themselves up for success in the coming years, getting started by pouring into the digital marketing world that is here now is critically important. While it won’t necessarily result in instant business, it is part of a very important long-term play. Getting started can be overwhelming though and many Real Estate Agents don’t know where to start or what to do. Here are 3 of our top recommendations on what real estate agents can do today to start marketing right in this new era.
Google My Business – Leveraging Google My Business is one of the easiest ways to put yourself out there and literally on the map. This essentially means that you are telling Google that you are “in business” – When people are searching for an agent in their area, now you will begin to appear on Google Maps and next to the search. Viewers will be able to view a full profile for your business, check your reviews and see photos and testimonials that you post. Creating a Google My Business page is free and can be set up in less than an hour. More importantly, this effort will go to work in helping market your business right away and for years to come. For best results, try to source a minimum of twenty, 5 Star reviews from friends, family, clients and colleagues in your first week. Work to become the real estate agent in your community with the most 5 star reviews.
Join or Create a Community Network – Seeing that the days of networking in person to market yourself have come to an end for a while, it’s more important than ever to get yourself in front of your community. This is a great opportunity to pour into social media platforms like Facebook. Make sure your Facebook Business Page is up to date and once it is, starts searching for Groups in your neighbourhood. Many neighbourhood and community groups exist on Facebook as a platform for people in a community to chat about anything from an upcoming yard sale, recommendations to contractors or even warnings about Coyote mating season. If community groups for the neighbourhood that you are farming don’t yet exist, this is your chance to lead it. Create the group. Invite people to join the group and make sure the group settings are public to allow anyone to find it. Post relevant information about neighborhood information inside these groups such as average selling prices, listings for sale in the market or fun facts like where the best sledding hills or trails are located. Remember this platform is a place to add value and not a place to ‘sell’ – By adding value, you are creating awareness and awareness is key to selling.
Build a Killer Listing Presentation – Getting a seat at the table for a listing should be your number one goal. This comes by creating awareness through digital marketing channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Linkedin, YouTube and even new apps like Clubhouse. The key though is to win the listing once you get that invite for a seat at the table. Imagine 6 agents all presenting to win the listing. This is what happens in low inventory, seller markets. Therefore, you need a winning pitch. A killer listing presentation! Be ready to inform the seller how you plan to market the home differently than any other agent out there. Show them how you go above and beyond to respect COVID-19 safety protocols. Explain how you provide better photos, videos, drone and 360 virtual tour solutions. Show them how you leverage virtual staging and twilight photography to really make their property stand out. Your goal here is to have a presentation that puts the other agents to shame. Consider this your secret weapon. Leverage tools allow you to present better visuals such as presentation apps like Mmhmm as you will likely have that presentation opportunity through virtual means. If you are fortunate enough to present in person, have it queued up on an iPad and consider a print leave-behind. Yes… not all traditional marketing methods are dead!
Remember…. Real Estate Agents are Marketers. Agents are hired to market listings and therefore the way you market yourself becomes really important. Millennials for example are now evaluating their real estate agent based on what they see them doing on social media. They are able to quickly view how active and present an agent is in a matter of seconds. They will look to see how active you are on Instagram. They will want to see if you have a YouTube channel, a Google My Business page, and reviews & testimonials. They will look you up on TikTok and can do all of this research really fast. What they see or don’t see online will impact the decisions that they make on who to use as their agent. Millennials are not alone. As Baby Boomers start considering downsizing, their children who are now in their 40’s are becoming more involved in helping them choose their agent. All of this to say, your time to pour into the new era of digital marketing is here. You will either lead the way or will be left behind. Leading the way is better.
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