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2020 Tips for Successful Marketing & Branding in Real Estate

From Propy’s weekly webinar, Episode #25 is with Barry Enderwick, former Director of Marketing at Netflix, and Lucy Edwards, Director of Client Success at VHT Studios.

Barry Enderwick, former Director of Marketing at Netflix, and Lucy Edwards, Director of Client Success at VHT Studios, join Propy’s William Dickey, Tech advisor, to discuss how marketing and branding have evolved in real estate, and the lessons to be learned from renting DVDs.

How an idea for a Bed & Breakfast turned into a revenue machine in real estate 

Lucy Edwards and her husband Peter bought a beautiful old Victorian home in upstate New York in 2001, with the intention of converting it into a Bed & Breakfast. Peter purchased a digital camera, and Lucy learned how to draw floor plans, which they used to submit a business plan with the Small Business Administration. Ultimately, they decided against opening that business, but when one of Lucy’s relatives who worked for Sotheby’s saw the floor plans, a new idea emerged. Every property in Manhattan had floor plans; perhaps this concept would have a broader appeal if coupled with a digital photographer for listings. Lucy started door-knocking and offered their services for listing photos and floorplans, and the business grew to a successful revenue generating venture for the couple.

My brand is building relationships

Lucy had her breakthrough moment in 2003 when she met Georgianna Finn, broker/owner of Coach Realtors, at the Triple Play conference. This became her first big account. Lucy believes that a brand also must be your devotion and loyalty to clients. She built relationships as she met whom Coach Realtors agents and explained how these floor plans were a psychological marketing tool. Building relationships with the individual agents and not just the owners is what contributed to her success.

Building your brand

Barry explains that finding their target audience at Netflix was reasonably easy because 98% of America rented movies weekly. But to build your brand, you need to research your audience and determine what problem are you solving for that person? What is the emotional component that is tied to your brand? That emotional component becomes your brand promise. For Netflix, that promise became “Movie enjoyment made easy.” 

Barry Enderwick shares some insights on how to find an ideal client. First, you have to identify your current customers and look at the psychographic makeup for that group. Demographics are too narrow; the focus is only on age, gender, nationality, etc. Psychographics is more behavioral: What magazines do they like to read? What coffee shop do they frequently visit? What stores do they see? What activities do they want to do? This gives you a contextual model of who your customer is. Your goal is to find where there are more people like that. 

How do you stay up-to-date with technology?

For Barry, staying curious is the key to keeping on top of all the tech changes happening. He is regularly reading to see what other people are saying about a tool and how other people are using it. At the back of his mind is whether this new technology is something that he will want his clients to adopt.

Barry feels that anyone can leverage Google and social media ads is a massive shift in the market. In the past, you had media buyers responsible for getting ads out in front of people.  Now you can run ads for $5. Granted, you may not have the subject matter expertise of a marketing specialist, but you have access to it, which is a massive change in the industry.

Take advantage of social media, be personally involved

Initially, Lucy didn’t like being on social media, and she hired someone to help her with it. But she soon realized that she had to be personally involved in maximizing the power of social media. Lucy allows agents to position themselves on social media and believes that it is critical to use video showcase properties and create a video resume. Don’t think you’re “too old” to use social media; ask your younger colleagues to help you if you need to learn how to use new technology.

Lucy had just started a podcast channel right before the pandemic began, and when the studio closed, she changed over to using Zoom and delivered her presentations on that platform. She can teach agents how to sell despite the challenges the pandemic has presented.  By doing buyer presentations virtually, agents can spread the word about their listings and build those critical relationships. Lucy has seen great success in sharing these tools with agents and helping them to be comfortable using the technology.

On building trust

Barry feels that to build trust and relationship with your brand, you must provide outside value. You don’t have to sell something to someone – find out what their problem is. Take the time to listen and pay attention to what their needs are.  If you can’t deliver a solution, refer that person to a company who can. You will build more loyalty in guiding that potential client to someone else than if you said “we can help” and then not fully deliver on that promise.

Lucy believes in networking. Trust is not won overnight; you have to build that relationship. She will invest the time with an agent to discover why a listing hasn’t sold and help them develop a better strategy to get a closed transaction.  It all boils down to building those relationships, having good communication, and creating a positive experience and outcome for all involved.

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