Today’s Big Question? How important is brand awareness for an estate + letting agent

If you are an estate and letting agent, you need do something that will make landlords and homeowners want to use your agency.

So that where good brand awareness comes in, as initially you need those landlords and potential homesellers aware of you and what your company offers .. but awareness and attention won’t get the homeowner or landlord to pick up the phone.

Why? Well just like everyone one is aware of all the other banks on the High Street but indifferent to their own bank .. people still don’t swap banks.

Just like landlords and homeowners, obviously not your landlords and homeowners, but the landlords and homeowners of other agents who offer indifferent/rubbish service, those landlords and homeowners are  aware of the other estate and letting  agents (including you) on the High Street, but still those landlords and homeowners don’t swap from those agents.

Awareness is one thing, but if you are not interesting, you don’t stand a chance.

Now when I say interesting, I mean interesting to the homeowner or landlord, not YOU as an Agent. ‘Property of the Week’ is as interesting as watching paint dry to a homeowner or landlord, every homeowner or landlord knows they are wanted, so why keep banging on about it. I have a degree in Surveying .. do you care ..of course you don’t .. so why would a homeowner or landlord care you are ARLA qualified.  Landlords and homeowners do not care about you .. they don’t care how many offices you have or how long you have been open … they only care about one thing ….THEMSELVES! (it’s human nature!).

Give them something that helps THEM, solves THEIR problems or helps THEM with THEIR opportunities and you will be the most interesting person in the world, because creating something of value to the homeowner or landlord, you are creating an asset… an asset that has value which gives you direct access to building an audience of local landlords and homeowners.

Think about your favourite newspaper. Why do they give away so much valuable content for next to nothing? They do it to build a loyal base of people who subscribe to their newspaper by buying it each day. They want to build an asset that people willingly come back to each day by buying the newspaper. They are then able to turn that attention into pound notes by people buying the newspaper and other companies advertising in the newspaper.. That’s why so many companies spend billions of pounds on newspaper advertising each year. They’re paying for your attention.

But here is the game changer, now we have the tinterweb. 

The same is true online, and it’s why content is an essential component of estate and letting  agency marketing. It also scales better than newspaper advertising, so you are able to grow larger and faster, for less over time. That’s why creating content is essential, but not just any content. 50% to 60% of landlords are local to you…. And here the obvious but true statement for you estate agents reading this  ..100% of owner occupier homeowners live your area because they live in the house they own

You need exceptional content that gets your target audience’s attention, and keeps them interested (ie So, how do you do that? By wholly understanding your customers. You need to ask these questions …Who are they? What makes them tick? What keeps them up at night?

Who are they? ..Landlords and homeowners tend to be 35 to 70 year old lower-middle to middle class people, or they might be business owners or have decent jobs (to pay for the mortgage). What makes them tick? The really interesting stuff, they are a homeowner, just with a couple of homes (one they live in and the other(s) they rent out.) Like all the British, they are obsessed about the value of their property, what’s it’s worth, what’s happening to the local property market to  affect their property. Where is the next BTL property deal? What’s worth buying?

What keeps them up at night? Well for landlords its Voids, tenants trashing the place, non payment of rent … but then they forget about .. because that’s the nasty stuff they pay you for .. (and let’s be honest no one likes to think any of these)… so they assume it wont happen to them and they blame you if it goes wrong

Until you understand these things, you won’t be able to create content that speaks to landlords and homeowners and compels them to take action.

The fact you have hit your target this month, won an ESTA award, you do half price fees or you have changed your pantone colour on your branding doesn’t even register

Most businesses have several different customer segments .. but you have one .. LANDLORDS AND HOMEOWNERS (tenants take care of themselves .. that is what RM and Zoopla is for). The average man and woman in the street all have different motivations, so it is hard to create content for a vague vast general audience, but you aren’t talking to the massed public .. you are talking to landlords and homeowners who own property in your town or area.

The first thing you have to do is to narrow your focus and go deep. Yes its true you have one type of customer .. the homeowner or landlord. So if content marketing starts with a specific audience’s opportunities and problems, then it can be difficult to create content for different types of landlords and homeowners from different age groups and interests. They are all going to respond to different things.

You can in fact categorise and put landlords and homeowners in subsets.

Some landlords are accidental, some are new landlords, some want to become landlords and some are small portfolio whilst others make it full time job. So by narrowing your focus on one specific landlord segment, you can create and design everything for their unique characteristics. .. and homeowners .. well all they are interested in is how much their house is worth and what the neighbours has gone on the market for.

There are clearly defined things you as an agent I can coach you to do, things that you should be doing on a daily, weekly and monthly basis …  so by giving this level of attention to detail, you are of interest to a homeowner or landlord

.. they will consider you are the ‘Local Property Market Guru’.

But there’s one more thing you will never find in my client’s agents blogs, newsletters and newspaper editorial. You won’t find many articles on the blogs, newsletters and newspaper about their company, or their estate and letting  agency services in particular.  The most common excuse for not blogging is,

“Landlords and homeowners don’t want to read anything”. You’re right… no one wants to read about you or your estate and letting s firm.

But they would read about their own opportunities or issues (we mentioned those above). Instead of being topic focused be homeowner or landlord focused. Yes the topics will change or evolve depending on what your audience cares about but all homeowner or landlord’s care about is what is happening to the local property market to MY PROPERTY and if they are a portfolio landlords and homeowners – where is the next BTL property I want to buy?

There is nothing so boring s.8 vs s.21 notices. Many landlords and homeowners could not care less about tenancy law. Think about how your estate and letting  agency’s service helps other landlords and homeowners. How does it take away their pain? What is the solution they get? For example, no one wants to read about your estate and letting s agency, no one wants to read what YOU have sold or let this week, nor what YOUR property of the week is, nor what Award YOUR agency has won, nor how many landlords and homeowners choose YOU to let their property….. but they would read about how you have helped other landlords and homeowners on THEIR quest to find out what is happening to the property market, how you have helped other landlords and homeowners to find THEIR next buy to let property to buy.

Savvy estate and letting  agents know that they’re in the people business, not property business. You can’t sell anything without first getting your customer’s (ie landlords and homeowners) attention, but content is a commodity. Millions of blog posts go up each day, so good content just doesn’t cut it anymore. You’ll just get lost in a sea of mediocrity. If you want content to drive landlords and homeowners to your door, then it needs to be exceptional.

You are in a industry that the British are obsessed about .. PROPERTY.

By understanding your audience, and translating the benefits you provide by writing fab content about your local property market,

Here are some examples …

Lancaster http://lancasterpropertyblog.co.uk

Derby  http://www.derbypropertyblog.co.uk

Chelmsford http://chelmsfordproperty.blogspot.co.uk

You see people (and thus landlords and homeowners) consume that content and share it with their friends on a daily basis.

Last year, Twitter sent 230 million Tweets with links per day, and Facebook 30 billion pieces of content shared in a month. If landlords and homeowners aren’t commenting, sharing, liking or tweeting your posts, it’s not because that audience doesn’t like them… it’s because your content doesn’t move them.

.. become the local property expert, the local property guru

Christopher Watkin

I teach, guide, support, mentor, consult, counsel, partner many hundreds of UK Estate and Letting Agents in their quest to grow their estate and lettings agencies business. Old school techniques of touting, landlords wanted leaflets, ring us for a free valuation, we have sold this in your street leaflets don't work anymore. There are too many competitor agents .. meaning cheap fees are epidemic, overvaluing is almost a norm to get the stock and don’t even mention about the online/hybrid threat. So a few years ago, I set about looking around the UK and spotted that certain agents (not many mind you) in certain towns were still seen as the ‘go to person on property’, the person the newspaper editor rang up every week for a comment and I looked at what they did and they were doing some thing quite remarkable…. Only one thing but they were doing it so well .. and reaping the reward in terms of decent listings and decent fees, happy staff, decent sales pipeline and exchange income, managed lettings portfolios in the many hundreds .. but more importantly, they really enjoyed the job… they enjoyed getting up in the morning and people looked up to them Over 400 agents around the UK are on a mission to change the way our Estate and Lettings agency profession is perceived and looked upon, doing it town by town, city by city. I guide these 400 agents, teach them, mentor them and support them to be seen in a different light, to be seen as the ‘go to person for property’, actually be the ‘local property expert’ and prove it. Christopher Watkin 07950 147 572 christopher@christopherwatkin.co.uk

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