In this Tech Tuesday, Harley Wolfarth demonstrates some of the special functionality associated with team accounts in the DeltaNET.
Americans are exposed to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements every day. But, here's what most advertising and marketing professionals don't want to admit: Most are unwelcome.
Watch presentations from folks deeply involved in this advertising glut. You're sure to hear, "It isn't that people don't like ads! They just don't like irrelevant ads!" From a consumer's perspective, however, the facts tell a different story.
These days, most marketing and advertising happens online. People know going about their business means they will be sold to. In some cases, they are the product being packaged for advertisers. So, no surprise, more than 763 million people were blocking digital ads by the end of 2019.
The average person is exhausted of ads and increasingly wary of brands, especially those who want to cozy up on so- cial media. Historians looking back on 2020 might note the speed with which "we're all in this together" went from a rallying cry to a hollow cliché.
There's a reason why "Silence, brand!" is one of today's most prolific memes. People increasingly regard their attention as their property. And they are putting a fence around it.
Into this challenging landscape steps the real estate professional. Agents and brokers have two distinct advantages compared to so many other brands:
• Each one has a unique blend of skills and an experienced, personal perspective
• They are intimately involved in helping clients achieve major goals in their lives
No matter how hard a company tries to give a wisecracking hipster voice to its brand, it won't change the taste of its hamburger. But real estate is something wholly different, an industry that flourishes on personal relationships. One burger may be just as good as another when you're hungry, but there is a right real estate agent for any job.
Your brand exists to signal to your ideal customer that you are that person.
A brand is in some sense an abstraction – and exaggeration – of your best qualities. Just as a corporation isn't you but confers tax advantages on your activities, your brand is a shorthand for the experience you promise to provide to your customers. It represents you, but it will never be exactly the same thing as you.
When the difference between the real you and your brand is low, we call that "authenticity." When the difference is high, it's jarring – and people unfollow, block, or change the channel.
In Real Estate, Your Digital Brand Can Be a Truly Authentic Extension of Your Values
Big businesses know this, and they struggle to square the circle of making their brands seem "human" by giving them values, a mission, and more. When a robot appears human-like but is "off" just enough to be disturbing to look at, it's called the Uncanny Valley effect – and this is where many modern businesses end up.
Luckily, real estate agents don't have to assemble a brand from a collection of focus-group-tested parts.
Done well, your brand can spring organically from your interests, skills, personal values, and the needs of your ideal clients. The communication that comes from that kind of brand is naturally appealing and worth listening to.
Marketing automation enhances this effect by ensuring consistency. You can't be everywhere at once or talk to everyone individually, but your digital brand can. Build your brand on a solid foundation of humane, one-to-one communication, and the right technology can scale your messaging as you grow – without losing the human touch.
Here's how to expand your digital reach without sacrificing what matters:
• Choose Your Face Over Your Logo
There's an instant difference between seeing a face and seeing a logo: A face is a fellow human being; a logo is a transaction! Use your face whenever possible, including profile pictures, masthead images, and thumbnails for video. Larger images can incorporate your logo, but people or properties should take the starring role.
• Make It Easy to Connect in Real Time
Strive for a seamless transition be- tween clients reading your website and contacting you directly. A live chat interface is fast becoming the most popular way to do it, but text and social media can also work. Responding in minutes when a lead expresses interest demonstrates you genuinely care about their time.
• Incorporate Texting into Your Marketing
Texting is useful in other ways, too. Many people, especially under 30, regard it as more intimate than email. It's fast, convenient, and lets you show personality. Texting a quick follow-up after an open house or first meeting shows interest. Most people will also respond rather than leave a question unanswered, helping to foster those lines of communication.
• Be Part of Your Community
In real estate, digital and offline brands can blend in fascinating ways. For example, you might decide to post on your blog about local restaurants and attractions. Allow yourself to be part of the action and build ties with others – that can only benefit your clients, who'll be guided by your insights as a local expert.
• Use Video to Forge a Connection
Video was already gaining popularity, but now it is more important than ever: It is the next best thing to being there. A working knowledge of virtual tours and virtual open houses is a must. Be ready to videoconference if clients can't make the drive, and make video an ongoing part of your digital marketing plan.
• Embrace the Power of Storytelling
Storytelling is one of the things that unites. Across all of human history, everywhere in the world, people have told stories to make sense of their lives. For your real estate brand, stories of your clients, in their own words, are powerful social proof. They help visitors see others "just like them" succeeding thanks to you.
• Get Involved in Online Conversations
Old-fashioned brands talk "at" people; modern digital brands talk to and with them. Responding to others' social media threads lets them know you are there for a real give-and-take. Always aim to answer all replies to your social content. Browse relevant hashtags so you can find discus- sions where your input may make a difference.
• Stretch Your Online Brand Offline
Your online brand can pleasantly surprise people by meeting them in the real world when they least expect it. You know you need to follow up with past clients, so why not send a handwritten card or a small, meaningful gift that recalls your time together? That adds more "oomph" to your email marketing.
Digital marketing technology enhances, amplifies, and expands what you bring to the table – but it can never, and will nev- er, replace you. With these tips, you keep the human element center stage in your digital branding.