7 marketing musts for startup, independent brokerages
May 18, 2023
7 Marketing Musts for Startup, Independent Brokerages
Are you a seasoned real estate professional looking to brand off and build a brokerage of your own? You likely possess a treasure trove of superb people skills, invaluable industry insights, and expert market knowledge. Despite the experience you possess from years of operating in the trenches of the real estate market, launching your brokerage firm will come with an entirely new set of challenges. Like any well-constructed house, to get your startup off the ground, you’ll first have to lay a strong foundation.
Gaining market share will require both time and money — and more money. Failing to invest the appropriate amount in your marketing and branding could stunt the growth of your company before it’s even developed.
The majority of businesses fail. Without proper marketing and branding, yours will, too.
Regardless of how many deals you close each year as a real estate agent, you’ll have to work to re-establish your credibility as an independent broker. Below are our seven marketing musts to ease your transition.
1. Set aside a marketing budget
You’ll need to produce traditional collateral materials and maintain an active marketing strategy with many moving parts. In addition to traditional print advertising, you must ensure you meet customers on their ever-increasingly digital turf. With more and more time spent on their phones, it would be fool-hearted not to invest in digital advertising and social media marketing.
Without a budget, you are highly vulnerable to impulse decisions and disjointed marketing tactics that don’t work toward a common goal.
A full-service marketing firm can help create an effective marketing budget, and depending on your goals, a good starting point should fall between $250,000 and $500,000 to launch your brokerage firm properly.
2. Establish a marketing strategy, and stick to it
Your goals should sound like this: recruit top-producing agents, establish awareness for the brand, generate leads, and gain favorable listings.
Beyond your goals, you must define your niche, purpose, competitive advantage, and overall specialty. It will involve looking at the competition and determining what you can offer to differentiate your brokerage.
It will also mean establishing a plan to achieve your goals, including which media you will participate in and why.
3. Build a professional brand
If marketing is the house's foundation, then branding is the curb appeal. No matter how well you market yourself, no one notices a house’s strong foundation when driving down the street. What they do notice, however, is an overgrown lawn, crooked shudders, and the mid-2000s Fifty Shades of Beige color scheme — aka bad branding.
If you rely on subpar branding, your business will lack a solid foundation. A professional brand works well in every application, is consistent, and, most importantly, is compelling.
A credible, trustworthy brand will help recruit top producers and generate leads. During this part, you will establish your business's personality visually and in writing. Creating a well-recognized brand is the most significant key to success in real estate, which makes it essential to dedicate your time and money to do it correctly.
4. Create a functional website
Continuing the house analogy — if branding is the curb appeal, then your website is updated, modern appliances. Picture a potential homebuyer’s face when they see outdated appliances in an otherwise great house. See it? Not the happiest face and potentially turned off on the property altogether. That same thing could happen when a customer lands on your website if it is not up-to-date with user experience best practices.
Technological tools are going to play a critical role in attracting top-producing agents to your firm, as well as generating buyer leads. Your website provides a high level of functionality and a tool for several years to come. A site with an IDX feed and proper lead management is a wise investment for startup brokerages.
5. Create a branding campaign
The old saying, “if a tree falls in the forest ...” can be adapted here — if a brokerage is selling its listing services and nobody knows about the brokerage, does it get the listing?
Being new in independent real estate, you’ll need to introduce your business, which means more than just listing ads. You will need to promote your business with “branding” ads. This is where you will have the opportunity to make an impression and begin achieving recognition in the local community.
A branding ad will be based on lifestyle, not the homes you list, and will work to strengthen your brand position and messaging. The goal of a branding campaign is to promote your brand through print advertising, online advertising, and various pieces of collateral.
6. Execute your marketing campaign
Once you have everything planned, you’ll begin taking action. Taking action means utilizing the emails and direct mail pieces you send, as well as any advertising in which you engage.
This is why step two, creating the marketing strategy, is crucial. Without employing a strategy, you will not have a clear direction, method, or budget.
You need to plan ahead of time to ensure the execution process is smooth and efficient.
7. Build a marketing plan for your agents
Your agents are an essential component of your overall success. Thus, you will need to create a structured marketing plan for them as well.
They will need guidelines that show how to use the brand while keeping them in line with your consistency and strengths. By giving them brand guidelines and advertising plans, you will help to promote your brand as well. It’s giving them freedom while preserving your brand. Top-producing agents will love that.
Starting a brokerage firm from the ground up takes a lot of time, hard work, and dedication, but it’s not difficult if you have a plan. Although everyone wants to believe that starting a business is as easy as hanging a sign on your door, it’s not. Do you want to be in the 10 percent of new companies that survive year one?
- Set aside a marketing budget: Allocate funds for traditional collateral materials and digital advertising, including social media marketing.
- Establish a marketing strategy, and stick to it: Define your goals, niche, purpose, competitive advantage, and specialty.
- Build a professional brand: Invest in compelling branding that works well in every application. Establish a credible and trustworthy brand that attracts top producers and generates leads.
- Create a functional website: Develop a modern website that adheres to user experience best practices.
- Create a branding campaign: Promote your business through branding ads that focus on lifestyle and strengthen your brand position.
- Execute your marketing campaign: Implement your marketing strategy by utilizing emails, direct mail pieces, and engaging in advertising.
- Build a marketing plan for your agents: Provide structured marketing guidelines for your agents, allowing them to utilize the brand while maintaining consistency.