Imagine what it would be like to wake up to an inbox filled with inquiries from local residents in your farm, wanting to meet with you to discuss their home buying needs?
When people start seeking you out instead of you chasing leads, you, my friend, have become a real estate influencer. In fact, chasing leads is a dead end game that will leave you burnt out, disappointed, and broke.
Believe me, I’ve been there. A few times. And it ain’t pretty.
Why I Became An Influencer
Before I become the local leader for my neighborhood and a recognized influencer, I was living day-to-day like a lot of entrepreneurs. And, like most agents, I was constantly chasing business until I realized how futile my strategy was.
As I looked at the successful people I admired – the Gary Vee’s, the Bryan Casellas’, the Grant Cardone’s of the world – I realized they all had something in common.
Besides success, these guys love to inspire others to be their best.
What a radical idea! I realized that if I could show others how to be their best, I too would become the success I always knew I could be.
Because success really isn’t about money, it’s the feeling of accomplishment that motivates you to MAKE money.
And that is the key to being an influencer. An influencer isn’t just someone who influences others. Far more than that, an influencer is someone who leverages their experience and expertise to motivate others.
So, with this in mind, I decided to share my strategy for helping agents become local influencers in their farm.
Ready? Here’s my 7-step plan:
7 Steps To Becoming The Local Real Estate Influencer For Your Geographic Farm
- Choose Your Niche
- Personalize Your Branding
- Find Your Audience
- Plan Your Content Strategy
- Distribute Your Content
- Engage With Followers Consistently
- Track Your Results
Once you put this strategy into action, you’ll see a radical shift in your marketing and branding. You’ll stop pouring money down the drain on outdated marketing tactics, and start acting like a thought leader.
Now let’s look at each step in detail.
#1) Choose Your Niche
Promoting yourself as a realtor® does very little to distinguish you from others. If you really want to stand out from the crowd of agents in your farm, focus on serving a single segment of the market first.
Successful influencers are masters of niche marketing. I’ve spoken before about the benefits of focusing on a niche. Whether you’re just starting your real estate career or rebranding your business, a narrower focus will generate better results than a broad one.
By specializing, your audience of prospective buyers/sellers will be smaller, but you’ll be able to build a reputation, and word-of-mouth about you will spread much faster.
There are many ways you can specialize:
- Seniors seeking to downsize
- First-time Millennial homebuyers
- Green Homes
- Smart Homes
- Commercial Property Investment
- Waterfront communities
- Single Female First-time Buyers
- Newcomer Homebuyers
- Families seeking to upsize
When you decide on a niche, establishing your credibility with prospects will is important to building your brand.
Acquiring a real estate designation is a great way to establish your credibility. If you plan on being an influencer in your geographic farm, displaying your designation on your website can add valuable proof of your qualifications.
#2) Personalize Your Branding
Your branding is about much more than a fancy logo. Good branding is about telling your story in a personal, compelling way. If your audience connects with your story, they will trust you.
The key reason we follow influencers is that we feel like we can relate to their story. By sharing their personal story, we gain valuable insights into their motivation. This, in turn, helps to build trust with your prospects.
One way to personalize your brand is through your bio. Here are some tips to personalize your real estate bio:
- When sharing your story in your bio, be sure to tell others what event or experience motivated you to become a specialist. Be specific.
- Demonstrate your passion for your audience and empathize with their challenges with examples of how you have helped others in their situation.
- Include details about your background that show others that you understand their needs.
Remember, people want to know your story, so make it interesting! Show prospects in your niche that you are one of them.
Bio Tips For Real Estate Influencers
Your bio should answer the following questions:
- Who are you?
- Where did you grow up?
- Why did you choose your real estate niche?
- Describe a challenge that you have overcome (ie a fear or obstacle)
- What do you enjoy most about real estate?
- Relate your value-proposition in 3 points (ie why are you different, why should people choose you, what will you do for your client)
Another great way to personalize your brand is a bio video. You could, for example, create a short video to introduce yourself to your audience, and post it on your website.
Realtor® Jillian Allen Kotler of JMAK Properties has a great example here:
Your video doesn’t have to be long, or high-budget. A smartphone or iPhone can produce great quality images. There are also online services that offer royalty-free stock video.
With a little persistence, you can even find a videographer to professionally shoot and edit your 1mn bio for as little as $500. Ask your existing contacts for a referral, put out a request on your Facebook feed, or just get out in your neighborhood and ask.
#3) Find Your Audience.
It probably seems obvious that you should go where the fish are if you want to catch them, right? Actually, you’d be surprised at how many entrepreneurs, including agents, have no idea where their target audience is.
Hunting for salt-water fish in the ocean makes no sense. So why would you look for retirees in a trendy neighborhood full of up-and-coming millennials? Posting content on Instagram will engage female millennials, but it’s not a great place to find military veterans.
My point is, do your research and figure out where your audience is. Understand their habits online and offline. Then, direct your marketing to those specific locations.
If you decide to focus on waterfront properties, for example, create a detailed buyer persona of the typical waterfront homebuyer. Using web analytics from your website or your social media pages, you can learn a great deal about your audience characteristics and preferences.
This is particularly useful if you are advertising on Facebook. Facebook offers advertisers the option of targeting a Lookalike Audience. These are individuals whose activity and profile characteristics match the characteristics of your website audience.
So for example, if your Facebook Business Page typically receives its highest engagement from local single mothers with an interest in Yoga, you can target your Facebook ads to reach women who match these criteria.
#4) Plan Your Content Marketing Strategy
These days, it’s all about content. And guess what? Listings aren’t the only thing you can offer.
If you ever hope to become a real estate influencer, you need to build a reputation online for delivering high-quality, thoughtful content.
Content marketing, as it’s referred to by marketers, is a highly effective strategy for attracting organic traffic and building followers. It costs less than advertising and generates long-term benefits for your real estate career.
Simply put, content is anything you create and share. There are lots of different kinds of content you can create to convey your brand and target your niche:
- Blog article
- Downloadable E-guide or E-book
I highly recommend that you start by creating content you are actually good at. In other words, if you’ve never done a podcast, don’t start there. If, on the other hand, you love taking photos, or you have a graphic design background, start by sharing great images on Pinterest.
Whether you start your content strategy with a blog or photos, the key is to be consistent. Commit to a schedule for creating and posting 1 original piece of content each day.
Take the time to produce thoughtful content that users will want to share, and your effort will be well rewarded with followers/subscribers.
Topic Clusters And Pillar Posts
One really effective marketing strategy that’s very popular with influencers like Gary Vee is the Pillar Post.
Let’s say you have a website or blog. You write a long-form article (1500 words or more) about real estate trends in your neighborhood.
The same article can be repurposed into a script for a short video on the same topic. It can also be converted into a podcast and a slideshow. All this, from one article!
You can also think of related topics, or topic clusters, and write follow up articles. Then, link the additional articles to your original long-form post.
Here’s an illustration of what a topic cluster strategy should look like. The topic in this example is health, but the same principles apply to real estate:
You’ll notice that the cluster topics are relevant subheadings that expand on the pillar topic. Your pillar post will then be filled with useful hyperlinks pointing readers to more of your content, where they can find more in-depth information.
Get the picture?
Pillar posts not only rank higher in search results, they generate more shares as well because they’re so useful. The sharing will generate word of mouth for you, attracting subscribers to your blog and further branding you as a true influencer!
#5) Distribute Your Content
You can’t build a following if no one knows you exist. The great thing about digital marketing is that you don’t have to rely entirely on advertising to get the word out about you online.
Of course, there are a lot of digital channels to promote your content, but they are not all created equal. Some social networks, for example, provide you with advertising options for boosting your exposure.
Marketing and automation software is also helpful for distributing your content in the form of emails. As your following grows, you can use marketing automation tools to deliver your content strategically by email to your audience.
In fact, email marketing remains one of the most effective forms of marketing for real estate, delivering drastically higher ROI than Facebook ads, neighborhood flyers or even a billboard.
I would recommend you focus on a single channel at first. Facebook is the most obvious choice. Once you’ve worked out a reasonable schedule and demonstrated consistency, you can branch out and explore other social media and websites frequented by your audience. You can also start diversifying your content using infographics, memes, etc.
#6) Engage Often And Promptly With Your Followers
If you really want to encourage loyalty from your local audience, respond to comments and inquiries promptly. Users feel rewarded when you reply to their comments personally. Your promptness will also leave a very positive impression on them.
Think about how excited you are when you read an interesting article that motivates you to leave a comment. Now imagine getting no reply, no reaction, from the author of the post. You feel ignored, undervalued, and unappreciated.
When you delay in replying, you risk losing the opportunity to build rapport while the prospect is at their peak level of interest. In other words, if you respond days later to a comment it makes you look either negligent or like you simply don’t care enough to reply.
Often, a reply can lead to a dialogue that engages other readers and inspires more comments. And don’t just offer a short answer. Be specific and offer additional resources if you can. Each communication is an opportunity to build recognition and to probe for insights into the needs of your niche audience.
#7) Track Your Results
Web analytics refers to the data reporting tools that track user engagement. Some of the key metrics you should be monitoring include:
- Click-through rate: how many visitors click from your landing page or ad to your content?
- Comments: how many people commented?
- Shares: way more important than likes
- Bounce Rate: how long do visitors spend on your website before they leave?
So, instead of guessing what your audience likes, you can base your decisions on the facts.
Using the insights gained from analytics, you can determine how best to tweak your content for better results. You can determine whether your audience prefers long-form articles or short form, for instance. Or, you can identify the content that performs best, and find ways to create more.
If you’re using a website CMS to create, post and share content, web analytics tools will likely be included. On WordPress, there are several plugins available to give you more robust, granular reporting.
Google Analytics is a free tool that anyone with a Google My Business account can access. The Google Marketing Platform combines Double Click and the entire Google Analytics 360 Suite to give you free, end-to-end marketing solutions with in-depth analytics.
Becoming a successful real estate influencer is a rewarding journey, full of challenges and surprises. The shift from chasing leads to attracting them, however, will change the way you do business forever.
Be sure you have settled on the right audience for you and the right brand identity. It’s very difficult to rebrand yourself after your audience has already become familiar with your story. If your brand messaging isn’t sincere, the audience will know.
Above all, don’t try to rush your results. A successful real estate influencer is built on thoughtful, quality content that resonates with your target audience. Grow your audience slowly and steadily at a manageable pace, one content piece at a time!