Using the Power of PR to Promote your Estate Agency:
What’s your definition of PR applied to the estate agency industry?
PR is such a broad subject. It can encompass everything from blogging to newsletters to dealing with the local press, building links with local charities and a lot more in between.
There are some really pretentious and nonsensical definitions of PR out there but for me it can be broken down to the following sentence.
Good PR for estate agents is anything you do which helps people to know about you, like you, trust your service and ultimately instruct you.
It’s more than getting a mention in the local paper every now and then.
It’s about how you communicate using all types of media including print, online, social media and face to face.
Do you think that most estate agents are missing out on good PR?
Yes without a doubt. Traditional High Street agencies have fallen behind online only and hybrid companies when it comes to PR.
Partly down to online agencies being a lot more proactive, having clearer messages and positioning themselves as the Vendor’s best (and notably less expensive) friend.
I think industry organisations need to do a hell of a lot more PR work to improve the public’s perception of estate agents.
Every agent I work with is decent, hard working and genuinely cares about their clients and regularly ensures that is communicated to their local markets.
Agents, regardless of their size, can help themselves by subtly promoting the good works they do in their communities.
If you have sponsored a sports club let people know, if you’ve saved the local gardening club from extinction tell the media. There are plenty of opportunities out there for agents to gain good PR.
How important is good PR for an Estate Agency?
If you don’t think PR is important consider this.
Ask people what they think of Sir Richard Branson. Most will have a very positive opinion of him. He is a PR genius.
Think of the smoothie brand Innocent. Their customers are ridiculously loyal in large part to the way they have used PR to communicate clear messages and build a positive image.
Agencies on a local level need to make sure their markets and audiences know them, like them and view them as experts.
There’s no quick fix to this. You need to commit time, effort and often a few quid (although PR isn’t as expensive as many fear).
However, a good reputation in any industry is invaluable especially when trust is such an important factor as it is when instructing someone to sell or rent your property.
Can you provide an example where good PR has lead to generating new business?
I ghost write a regular article for a client who publishes it online and in the local paper every week.
This agent tells me he’s lost count of the number of times his column is mentioned when he’s on valuations. His column is always down to earth, interesting and informative and he swears by its effectiveness for generating leads.
Just last week I was writing up a case study for one of my clients. The vendor who sold through him told me he called the agent in to value his property because he liked ‘The feel’ of the content on his company’s website.
The content on your website is pure PR. You’ll be judged upon it.
What can an Estate Agency do on a daily basis to improve their PR?
Probably the simplest thing is to be aware of your agency’s reputation. What do people think of you?
If you think their perception of you doesn’t match what you want it to be do something about it.
If you feel they don’t know about your agency do something about it.
We’ve a free download on our website, www.propertyprexpert.co.uk, which gives plenty of ideas on how to improve your agency’s PR.
How important is Social Media when it comes to gaining great PR?
I think it was Yoda that said ‘Don’t try, do.’ Either him or David Brent.
Anyway the sentiment applies to agents using social media.
If you are going to have a social media presence make sure it’s regularly updated. Ensure that you respond to any requests, that you join in online conversations and that you are professional yet friendly at all times.
Many vendors will judge you on your website, your marketing and especially younger savvy sellers will look to your social media activity to get a feel for whether they like your agency or not.
If you don’t think you can commit time to social media either farm it out to an agency or don’t bother with it.
And remember whatever you do to improve or maintain your agency’s PR have fun along the way.
Thanks to Jerry Lyons is a multi-award winning journalist and former magazine owner.