How are you different from your competitors?

 

In real estate, competition is fierce and even the most dedicated and skilled agents are finding that it’s taking more than just their services to become well known in their market. This is where the USP comes into the mix to give real estate professionals a head start to being where they want to be. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘USP’ it’s short for Unique Selling Proposition which is essentially the one thing that enables you to stand out and attract your market which puts you on the path for success.

Unique Selling Propositions are certainly not new to the real estate industry, however they are often based upon propositions that are not unique and focus heavily on the process of selling. For example, we have seen many agents heavily market that they have low days on market which at first glance looks like a great thing to promote – however as a real estate agent you’re expected to sell homes and to sell them in a reasonable amount of time making ‘low days on market’ something that consumers readily disregard; and to make our point even clearer – how many agents and agencies do you know that promote that exact same thing? It’s not unique.

If you’re up to the challenge of developing or ‘renovating’ your USP here are a few things to consider:

  1. Your USP should have a focus on the benefits of your service rather than focusing on the features or process of what you do.
  2. Developing a USP takes time. Even if you have a certain idea on what your USP should be, take time to analyse it, talk to family and friends who aren’t in real estate and gauge their response as you may find that you end up with a totally different USP – and even if you don’t, at least you know your USP has been well thought out.
  3. Your USP needs to be authentic. If you’ve decided to use something along the lines of ‘coming from a long line of real estate agents’ as your USP but you’re the first in your family to be a real estate agent, your USP won’t get you very far.

Once you have taken time to finalise an authentic USP it’s time to establish how you’re going to deliver it to your marketplace. For this you will need to devise ways in which to communicate your USP and your marketing is one of the best places to start.

When in this stage we recommend the following:

  1. Establish what you have in your marketing repertoire and marketing that you don’t currently do but should be doing.
  2. Establish where messaging can be added in your marketing – for example, your monthly nurture email could include a footer that refers to your USP. The more places you can include your USP, the more effective it will be. This is down to patterns and how customers depend on patterns to recall information.
  3. Work out how you will communicate your USP – the type of language and copy you use to communicate and promote your USP is incredibly important, especially in regard to whether it’s as effective as it can be.

All in all, if you have a well fitting, authentic USP and you’re communicating it effectively, homeowners are substantially more likely to remember and prefer you over your competition.

Here at Identity Marketing we specialise in helping real estate agents uncover their brand to market it in effective ways. If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to your Unique Selling Proposition, get in contact with us.

Have you reflected on your email marketing yet?


  

If we asked you how many different marketing emails you’ve sent this year, would you know the answer? (We’ve sent 50 different emails in 2018, in case you were wondering). If you do know, kudos to you! You’re in a very small percentage of people who know how many EDMs they’ve sent annually, and an even smaller percentage of real estate professionals who know. However, it’s not just the number of emails you’ve sent in the past year that you should know – you also need to have a good understanding of your overall email marketing strategy to ensure you’re maximising results and minimising effort.

So, what does it mean and what’s involved in getting a ‘good’ understanding of your email marketing? We recognise it seems like a big, daunting task – especially if you don’t know how many marketing emails you’ve sent this year – so we’ve created some questions for you to ask yourself to get you started. Are you ready?

Question one: What do you want to achieve with your email marketing?
To maximise your results you need to recognise the result you’re really after. Ask yourself, are you looking to nurture your leads or are you looking to be seen as the authority in investment data? Your answer will shape how your emails look and the information they include. Want another expert tip: If you have multiple (different) audiences, create separate recipient lists and email them with messaging that speaks to their needs instead of marketing to the masses.

Question two: ’How often are you sending emails?
Are you sending too many emails, or not enough? To help you answer this question, you should look at your analytics, especially open rates, click rates and the unsubscribe count.
If you don’t have a definitive answer, don’t stress. There is no one size fits all number of emails someone should be sending as it’s all about finding the right balance and trialling this with your marketplace to see what’s right for you.

Question three: Are you tracking the right metrics?
Perhaps we’ve skipped a step here – let’s ask this first – are you tracking metrics at all? If not, you should be. Your email metrics and analytics allow you to study how your emails are performing, and if you know how to interpret these analytics, email metrics are the yellow brick road to your next steps in maximising your email marketing. The metrics you should be looking into at the very minimum are open rates, click through rates and your unsubscribe count as these will give you a good indication of how your audience is responding to your email marketing.

Question four: Are your emails optimised for mobile?
This is a hugely important question as over half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, meaning if your emails aren’t optimised for mobile you’re only planning to talk to half of your database. If that fact doesn’t have you on your way to see if your emails are mobile optimised – maybe this will – un-optimised emails affect loading times, unsubscribe rates and often receive much lower engagement.

To get the most out of 2019, email isn’t the only part of your business and marketing that requires analysis before next year.

Check out our 19 things you should be doing before 2019 to dominate your marketplace in 2019, and don’t forget to get in contact with us if you need expert hands on your email or 2019 planning.

December Social Media Updates


Facebook Messenger Stories Layout (Testing)

Facebook is currently testing a new layout for Facebook stories in Messenger. Currently, Stories are shown in a single line above messages however should tests prove fruitful we could soon be seeing stories taking up more screen space.

This feature is very much in line with Facebook’s broader moves to promote Stories use and to maximise engagement, as brands see up to 10x higher engagement rates on Instagram than Facebook. It’s clear that Facebook is attempting to bring across some of the features of the higher engagement platform, as recently they also introduced Music on Facebook Stories and expansions on Lipsync Live. More than 70% of Instagram and Snapchat users use the story function on both platforms every day, and 80% of all daily active Instagram users watch Stories just as often as they scroll the feed, so Facebook is clearly homing in on this on their highest user platform.

Instagram Update (Testing)

Keep an eye on your Instagram profile in the coming weeks – as Instagram has some changes in store.

Instagram is live A/B testing multiple updates worldwide including de-emphasising followers and following statistics and implementing new tab options for business profiles. Business profiles are being tested with a variety of tabs – there’s a new ‘shop’ button which is linked with the various shopping options that have been introduced this year, such as the shoppable stories, the in post shopping links.

A new ‘mutual follows’  tab is being tested which could be beneficial for marketers – brand collaborations could have be more informed before going ahead  and and targeting could be honed in on what your demographic is interested in. it is also a valuable addition as it will provide more context as to how users are attached to others in your own network, and allow people to create content accordingly.

Lens Creative Partner Program to boost branded Snapchat lenses

Snapchat is making it easier for businesses of all sizes to include branded lenses in their marketing.

Snapchat is introducing a ‘Creative Partner Program’ that enables businesses to link with certified creators to build engaging AR Lenses for Snapchat. The concept behind this being that it will encourage further spending on AR campaigns. Snap Lenses have proven to be quite popular, however it appears they are beyond the technical ability of most advertisers, even with Snap opening up the Lens Studio tool to all advertisers last year.

One in three of Snaps 186 million daily active users use Lenses for an average of three minutes each, according to data from Snap. If you’re trying to reach a younger audience – that’s a LOT of engagement. If you’re using Snapchat in your marketing and struggling to connect with your audience via regular Snaps, it could be a viable option to invest in an effective Lens campaign.

Instagram Cracks down on Fake Followers

Instagram is on a mission to eliminate inauthentic followers and likes that are gained by use of third party apps.

Instagram announced they have built machine learning tools to help identify accounts that use third party apps. The users will be notified, urged to change their account password and inauthentic activity will be removed. This could be a game changer as there are a plethora of spammy accounts and platforms that promote growing your following.

As explained by Instagram:

“Every day, people come to Instagram to have real experiences, including genuine interactions. It’s our responsibility to ensure these experiences aren’t disrupted by inauthentic activity. Starting today, we will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity.”

This will be interesting to observe as last time the platform cracked down on ghost and fake accounts – the spam purge of 2014 – follower counts dropped by millions for some accounts – Justin Bieber lost 3,538,228 followers, and rapper Akon apparently lost 56% of his followers. This time it is more of a warning it seems, however if you use apps to comment, like and follow other users, be aware of the potential risks.

Business Analytics Updates (Facebook Pages & Instagram)

Over the coming months, Instagram and Facebook Page analytics will be getting a makeover.

The current analytics functions will be expanding to cover all the ways people engage with businesses via their business profiles.

As explained by Facebook:

At Facebook Analytics, our core quest is to help marketers understand how their content and channel strategies actually drive real business results. As part of that charter, we’re excited to announce a major addition to Facebook Analytics: our Instagram Account and advanced Page analytics beta! Instagram Account analytics are a brand-new addition to our suite, and Facebook Page analytics are expanding to cover all the ways people engage with your business through your Page.”

In a nutshell: you’re going to be about to get more information about the people who interact with your social media accounts, and you’re going to get it all in the one place.

Why is the number 3 important in real estate?

  

Have you heard of the Three By Three rule in real estate? If not, you should have. In real estate marketing, some trends stay relevant for a millisecond and others have the capacity to stand the test of time. The Three By Three rule is decidedly the latter and something that all real estate agents and agencies should be incorporating into their marketing to maintain a competitive edge in a market that craves authenticity and differentiation.

The Three By Three rule, for those who are not familiar is real estate marketing rule about communicating your 3 key strengths and communicating them 3 times to help you win over homeowners. When talking about the 3 by 3 rule, we at Identity Marketing always think back to a quote from Kristin Schier: “The first time you say something, it’s an incident, the second time you say something, it’s a coincidence, but the third time you say something, it becomes a pattern”. You may be asking, why is this important? The answer is, patterns are powerful and patterns provide meaning in the mind of homeowners. This is because the human mind is a complex pattern completing machine that thrives on using knowledge that it has been exposed to multiple times and so by using the Three By Three rule you’re helping to guide people to the right conclusions, conclusions that you set.

Now that we’ve got the Three By Three rule covered, we bet you’re wondering how to put this in motion. If so, keep reading:

To get started you will need to narrow down your strengths and this task is easier than it sounds. Many agents and agencies focus on strengths such as a low number of days on market or selling an amount of houses in a year – but in today’s day and age, those ‘benefits’ are expected and don’t seperate you from your competition. The strengths to focus on will be ones that really connect with you marketplace, making it easier for them to link and complete the pattern in their mind about who you are and why you’re the right choice for them.

Once you have your three key strengths that align with you and your service, it’s time to put these into your marketing so that you’re communicating it three times. To begin with, start by adding your strengths into your pre-listing kit, listing kit and proposals so that you’re communicating your strengths before meeting, at listing presentations and after meeting.

This rule can also be expanded on so don’t limited yourself to communicating your strengths in print – you can apply this to your email marketing, social media and ‘elevator pitch’ when meeting people.

If you’re looking for advice on identifying your key strengths or how to place these in your marketing – get in contact with us.

Are you doing what it takes to stand out in a digital format?

  

There are a lot of variables to success when using digital marketing. Most recently success is increasingly coming in the form of video. However making a video here and there isn’t enough. To ensure every opportunity for success you need to remember and abide by three words: content, consistency and frequency.

Firstly, content refers to delivering engaging, valuable and quality information to your audience, whether that be through social media channels, email marketing or via your website. Don’t forget, video content should be of high quality.

Consistency refers to ensuring that the valuable information and video content that you’re delivering is provided in a consistent manner, using the same fonts, colours, music and transitions. This leads to the development of your own unique digital style that your marketplace can easily identify.

And finally, frequency. This refers to rolling out your valuable and consistent looking video content at frequent intervals, whether that be monthly, fortnightly or for the ambitious among you, weekly.

If you’re looking for more information on how you can take advantage of content, consistency and frequency – get in contact with us.

Are you standing out for the right reasons?

  
Homeowners have more options than ever when it comes to choosing an agency to sell or manage their property – and with choice comes a new level of expectations. No longer are homeowners, and consumers in general content to simply go with faceless companies that promise ‘results’. In this day and age, people connect with people, not brands which is why it’s more imperative than ever to ensure your agency is standing out for the right reasons to be considered by those in your marketplace who are making the decisions.

All too often we see agencies and agents marketing the same expected benefits, such as ‘low days on market’ or ‘high clearance rates’ which leave homeowners ripe for the picking by real estate agencies who know their strengths, strengths that people are able to ‘connect’ with and this is what it means to stand out for the right reasons.

If you can identify the key strength that differentiates you from a sea of diluted messages shouting almost identical claims then you’re laying the groundwork for a smooth transaction with clients. Not only will your marketplace look to you because of your identifiable difference that resonates with them, they will also come to know the type of service you deliver through your identifiable difference.

If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of finding an identifiable strength that connects you with your marketplace and makes you stand out for the right reasons, that’s perfectly fine. Finding something so vital takes time, requires strategic thought and research. To get you started, remember this: “It’s not about doing what no one else is, it’s about marketing it in a way no one else is”
To summarise, what makes you stand out and connects your real estate brand with people on a personable level will be a combination of finding something that feels uniquely you and then effectively marketing it to your marketplace through the right platforms and mediums.

If you’re looking for assistance in defining your key strength or setting up the right marketing to match your identified strength – get in contact with us to discuss your options.

Steve Osborn
Co-Founder and Sales Director
Identity Marketing

November Social Media Update

  
This month saw some unusual changes in the social media world, most hilariously an update that encourages you to get your feline friends in your social selfies.

Updates across platforms continue 2018’s theme of ‘cleaning up the internet’ with features that look to promote authentic communication, ensure account security and improve social advertisements.

Let’s jump in and see what November has in store:

There is no denying that live video is becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, the amount of less-than-high-quality live video on social media is prolific – in fact, it’s of apocalyptic proportions. We’re not here to judge, as the quality of video that comes from planning and preparation often isn’t an option with live video. This brings us to Facebook’s new feature – ‘Facebook Premiere’. The thought powerhouses at Facebook HQ clearly understand the predicament of live video popularity but the attention spans of viewers requiring quality looking content in order to engage with it. Facebook Premiere looks and feels like live video to viewers and has a limited time to actually view it, similar to live video in that it can be viewed ‘in the moment’. The main difference between Facebook Live and Facebook Premiere is that the content is pre-recorded, allowing for all the editing, preparation and planning to provide polished video content that engages – but this time, people jump on to watch because of the limited time. This could be the incentive users need to get on and watch videos, however the inability to ask questions/reply in live time may mean that Facebook Live maintains its popularity.

Facebook has another update this month, and this time they’re focusing on advertisers. 2018 could be described as the year that social media cleaned up its act, starting in February with one of the biggest algorithm changes we have seen in Facebook’s history (link: https://identity.marketing/2018/02/02/the-sky-isnt-falling/).

Facebook is now targeting advertisers who mislead or generally ‘annoy’ their users. They have categorised this into three easy to remember no-no’s:

  1. Advertisements that use engagement bait tactics. As a refresher, engagement bait is generally classified as content that asks users to ‘like and share’ such as ‘share if you love real estate! Ignore if you want bad house karma’. The reason these types of ads are getting the tough treatment is they are seen as an annoying ‘hack’ to the current Facebook algorithm, which favours posts that have authentic engagement.
  2. Advertisements that withhold information – Facebook is (finally) cracking down on click-bait. ads that lure clicks by alluding to more information within the link but are not clear on exactly what the link contains. An example of this is “you’ll never believe what this man did to his neighbour’s house!” without alluding to any other information. It essentially gets the better of people and they click on the link only to be left unsatisfied by the link’s content.
  3. Advertisements that use sensationalised language – the third and last of the targeted no-no ads is all about the misuse of sensationalist language. You’ll notice that we’ve emphasised the word misuse – why? Sensationalised language is a great marketing technique, it gets people excited and connects to the emotional part of their brain. What Facebook doesn’t want you doing is creating a post that says ‘MIND-BLOWING ways to use paint that YOU NEVER KNEW!!’ and then having it link to a post that talks about painting each room of a house. Essentially, Facebook is cutting the crap.

No one quite knows the exact penalties that will be inflicted upon these kinds of ads, but we suspect it will involve the ad being deleted, your other ads (even if they are within Facebook’s new guidelines) will get less reach and the cost of performance will increase – so best to avoid being on Facebook’s naughty list.

Next up, Instagram is cracking down on hackers by introducing optional two factor authentication. Two factor authentication which is sometimes known as 2FA is described as an additional ‘check’ to your account so you can be sure you’re the only one logging in. Previously, Instagram offered text message two factor authentication, however in some cases this can be subject to sim-jacking and is not the most robust form of account security. The new option requires an external authentication app. When possible, using two factor authentication is up there as one of the simplest, toughest basic security precautions you can take to protect any kind of account. Will you be using this function? Let us know in the comments.

LinkedIn is the latest in a line of popular social media platforms to alter their feed algorithm. However, it’s kind of gone in the opposite direction of the other platforms, by encouraging everything to be seen, rather than just what’s trending. Previously, LinkedIn’s algorithm had put the focus on ‘big players’ such as large companies and top content creators, leading to everyday users posting less updates as they were not being seen or engaged with. Users who see less and less engagement on their posts are inclined to post less, leading to a 1% situation within the platform. LinkedIn has solved this problem by updating its feed algorithm to generate more engagement on each users post. Since putting these algorithm changes into effect, LinkedIn reports that there is now a multifarious assortment of content being posted in feeds, and users are returning to regular posting. Try posting something on LinkedIn and see if your engagement has improved! Make sure you tag us for a follow – >link< (https://www.linkedin.com/company/identity-marketing/?originalSubdomain=au)

In more light-hearted, ever relevant, cat related news, Snapchat, or ‘SNAPCAT’ (yes, we went there) has updated their range of filters and now caters (pun totally intended) to its users’ love of their furry best pals – you can now stick a pair of glasses on your cat, or show off its pedigree by placing it in a virtual slice of bread. The lenses have been specifically created to work on feline features, so now not only can you be a cat on the internet, your cat can be a person. You can now selfie your rager of a Saturday night away, with matching cat-human lenses. Snapchat is onto something – people love their pets more than just about anything. We have many questions – will this update bring the crazy cat people to Snapchat, or will they stick to the ever popular, semi-plagiarised version of the app over on Instagram stories? More importantly – where’s the beautiful filter for our dogs?

That’s all for this month, let us know what updates you’ll be trying!

Up and Coming Agent – Lachlan Goddard

Each month we interview a real estate agent that we consider to be an expert in the real estate industry, whether that be determined through impeccable sales results or taking an innovative approach to the industry.

This month, we wanted to expand on the strong foundation of our Expert Series and shine a light on agents who are ‘up and coming’ – the type of agents that you’ll want to keep an eye on.

To kick us off we have Lachlan Goddard, an up-and-coming agent operating out of Jellis Craig in Northcote. In this interview Lachlan shares insight on coming from a real estate family, finding success in choosing the right real estate niche and advice to those in the industry on how to make the most of their social media marketing.

Does your agency’s style guide have a plan for digital assets?

  
Style guides are exciting, especially when starting a new real estate agency or rebranding. Naturally, people are very visual and style guides show a glimpse into how people will see us and our brand.

However, once the business is up and running the style guide is often forgotten. Copies of the style guide are generally passed on to external contractors offering marketing services and these people will remember to use the basics such as fonts and colours. The style guide has then served its purpose and will sit alone on the server or in a drawer gathering dust. As with most forgotten things, they don’t keep up with the times and this is something that we’re increasingly noticing here at Identity Marketing.

Technology has wildly advanced in the past decade, and considerably so in the last couple of years. Video content has become the new normal on websites and social media but many real estate agencies don’t have style guides that include parameters around how their brand is to look on video and other digital assets – and this is where things get problematic. When real estate branding is left open to interpretation, brand cohesiveness goes out the window and in the past few months we have witnessed content from the same office, and even the same agent that look wildly different because they don’t use digital asset parameters.

This might not seem like the end of the world, and depending on your perspective it might not be, however when your branding is inconsistent that’s when your marketplace starts to make assumptions about the services you provide. You could be a great agent who knows their stuff, but if your brand is all over the place, people will start to assume that you too are ‘all over the place’ and not in the positive sense. Agents often focus on giving their audience every option to use them but forget to think about removing every objection to choosing them and their service.

So it’s time to dig up the style guide and see what’s missing in this new and exciting technological age. But before you do that have a think about the type of digital marketing you do now and what you may be doing in future. For example, you may not be doing a whole heap of video now but what kind of digital marketing will you be doing this time next year?

To get you started, and at the very least your style guide should include the following:

Lower thirds

To recap, a lower third is a graphic that is placed in the ‘title-safe’ lower area of the video. Lower thirds are key for introductions such as who is speaking and/or what the video is about. Lower thirds help to save time and allow you to jump right into the thick of your topic without having to worry about verbal introductions.

How text appears on screen

How your text appears on screen details much more than fonts and colours. Your style guide should cover the approved text transitions, whether you will include solid background boxes for visibility and how information of key importance will be highlighted.

Logos

Your style guide should cover approved logo placements, size, style and transitions.

Statistics style

Statistics are key in real estate, especially when communicating to the local property market. Your video statistics should have a set style to ensure easy readability between your statistic videos and to create a style that becomes known for valuable knowledge and insight.

  
Additionally, When creating these guides for our clients, we like to include a segment about song choices as music can determine the tone of your videos. We also recommend presenting your digital style guide elements in video format to ensure there is no room for interpretation, which will keep your brand consistent across all platforms.

If you’re unsure of what your style guide needs to meet today’s standards – contact us to start a conversation.

How To Know It’s Time For A Rebrand

 
 
Deciding to rebrand is a big step, one that often comes after a lengthy deliberation process.
If you’re still in the decision process, or you’re unsure if you are in need of a rebrand, continue reading to see the 6 reasons for a rebrand.

Marketing pieces are no longer in alignment:
The most obvious reason is having marketing pieces that are no longer in alignment.
Are your print, email, and social pieces matching and looking cohesive? If not, it’s time for a brand refresh.
When looking at your marketing and communication materials look for variations in colours, fonts, logos and design aspects.

The current brand doesn’t represent the business:
As businesses evolve, they can often outgrow their original image – as was the case with a recent rebrand client. They had a very serious looking brand that was dry and formal. This is all fine and dandy, except this client’s main audience was young people and first home owners and so we worked with our client to develop a fun and informative brand that could really connect with their audience and win them over.

Expanding and recruiting:
If you’re expanding or looking to expand, it’s time to assess what your brand looks like from an outside perspective. If you want promising talent to join your agency or team, you need to be able to accurately portray why you’re the right choice and that starts with your brand. Does your brand accurately portray the values and the type of people who work within your agency? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your brand guide and then rebrand.

Shaking off an old image:
Similarly to outgrowing original branding, shaking off an image is about ensuring your brand reflects who you are now. Shaking off focuses on distancing a brand from negative connotations or prominent people who are no longer within the agency.

Losing market share:
As people are very visual, they often flock to the brand that visually and simply portrays their values – this is great, unless your brand isn’t the one they’re flocking to. If you have experienced a downturn in customers while another local agency has experienced an increase, it’s time to reassess your branding.

Tapping into a new demographic:
If you’re wanting to tap into a new demographic, it’s time to understand whether your brand will align with their wants and expectations. People judge a book by it’s cover, so you need to ensure that your brand’s ‘cover’ covers what a prospective vendor wants to know from the outset.
Then the flip side, you need to ensure that any new branding isn’t going to alienate your current clients.

If you’re experiencing one of more of these – it’s time to get serious about your rebranding discussion. We’re experts in real estate rebrands and we recognise that no one experience fits all – so give us a call to discuss what options are right for you.