Crystal Ball Theory – Estate Agency.
Crystal Ball Theory - Estate Agency.
Here's what I see:
How estate agency marketing has operated for the last ten+ years - will no longer work.
T.V advertising, press ads, paid social, marketing automation, online pr, ppc and outdoor media. A crashing assault of the appalling, next to the indifferent, next to the infelicitous.
This assault will continue in the real world, of course. It's just too ingrained to disappear overnight, but for the niche world of estate agents and realtors, it's money down the drain. Money they can ill afford.
Chasing more 'leads'. Rather than the right 'leads'. It makes little sense.
Just as estate agents have been lured by the convenience of the portals, to the extent that that they are now subjugates of an addictive tyranny, so too have they, by the frenzy that accompanies social media marketing.
"The social media merry-go-round, that goes faster and faster, but never actually getting anywhere." as Seth Godin so succinctly puts it.
If you're selling popsicles, or other commodities, there's some justification.
But you're not selling that. You're selling something far more valuable.
You're selling yourself, or your agency.
Is worth paying for, don't you think?
You don't need to waste your precious time with prospects that don't value it.
You need better clients.
And a better marketing strategy.
Ignore the siren voices that tell you to "go where your customers are."
i.e Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Every single one of your competitors are doing the exact same thing.
And, for most, it's not working.
Here's the evidence - two indisputable facts.
#1 We couldn't care less if 74% of the world's most popular brands didn't exist. (Havas Media 2017)
That includes your estate agency. Would vendors miss you if you were gone?
So unless you're happy fighting an uphill battle to change that perception, all that you have done to date, all the re-targeting, all those pay-per-clics, all the column inches, all of it has been in vain.
We couldn't care less if your brand didn't exist.
There's a subtle point being made here.
Not that advertising and social media doesn't produce awareness, or results.
It just doesn't build brand loyalty.
If it did, your agency wouldn't have to brag, boast or manipulate its way to success.
The vendors would be waiting in line to use your services.
#2 Advertising is dying a slow death.
"People of all ages, really, really, don't like being annoyed. And ads, almost always, were annoying." - Andrew Essex.
Spam filters, fast-forward on the remote, T.P.S lists, ad blockers. All designed to help consumers avoid advertising.
Whilst advertising might still rage against the dying of the light, there is an inevitability about the media's downfall that's hard to ignore.
Of course, there are those that have a vested interest in estate agency continuing down this reckless path.
The ad agencies, the social media managers, the feckless P.R agencies and the outdoor media sales folk.
Examples abound of millions of pounds of other people's money being frittered away on T.V. On useless P.R and on hit or miss social media marketing. Without much buy-in. And with little accountability.
It has to change.
But to what?
My crystal ball tells me that owning the media is a far, far preferable option, than giving your money to the Don Draper's of this world.
A blog? A podcast? A video series? A free book? Distributed for you , by those other local businesses that you interviewed on your various platforms. Relationship distribution to give it correct terminology.
You're no longer a realtor/agency.
You're a media owner.
In that exalted category, along with Rupert Murdoch, Richard Desmond and, nearer to home, Nat Daniels.
Blogging is gradually replacing newspapers. As press readership falls off a cliff, strangely, there's never been a better time to write. If you're good, you will build an audience. If not, there's teachers a plenty, only too willing to share their thoughts.
"It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think that you were born that way." -Hemingway
Podcasting has been around for quite a few years, but is really starting to take off as it replaces traditional radio. There's hundreds of niche podcast episodes specifically for the estate agency/realtor market. It's convenient. It's on-demand.
Video, of course, is touted as the biggest thing since sliced bread. The Tom Ferry's of this world will tell you that if you're not on video, you're invisible. It's a great medium, of course, with endless possibilities, but no better, or worse than blogging or podcasting.
Those three platforms allow estate agencies to control the conversation. With no outside editorial barrier, you can literally write or say whatever you wish.
Here's what you, as an estate agent, should write and say.
You should tell stories.
Short stories, long stories. Stories that bring the listener/reader ever closer to your agency.
Sometimes a story about what you do. More often, a story of who you are, what you believe and why you believe it.
The story of loss & redemption.
Us -vs- Them.
Before & after we changed our marketing.
You have value in just being you.
In your writing, your audio and in your video.
Vendors might know quite a bit about your agency, but have little appreciation of the 'tints' that differentiate it from every other agency.
Let that show.
How Estate Agency marketing looks in my crystal ball.
The end of advertising. Replaced with storytelling.
Vendors, that previously didn't care less whether 74% of the world's most popular brands ceased to exist, now proactively subscribe to your writing, podcast, and video series. Vendors that like how you think, like what you have to say and have affinity with your values and beliefs. They've become your 'tribe' of loyal fans. They would miss you if you were gone.
Time to get off that social media merry-go-round and truly engage with your community. Face to face.
Time to stop being busy getting 'likes' and shouting ever louder in an effort to be heard above the 'noise.'
Time to hold listeners, viewers & readers with inspiring & engaging content.
Whilst having the courage to allow them to come, or go, as they please.
"Hi, How are You? Just checking in/keeping in touch."
The dismal call, or email from a Keller Williams agent following their 33 touch-point program.
Just in case you'd forgotten they exist.
Attraction marketing it ain't.
Not far short of stalking, it could be.
Interruption marketing, to call it by its proper name.
The polar opposite of permission marketing, where
"it is a privilege (not right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing." - Seth Godin
Quite a step-change.
But one that needs to happen if the profession is to survive and thrive.
For those agents that don't have the power of insight, that can't see what I see, then status quo will suffice.
Better and better. Faster and faster. Shouting, ever louder, to be heard above the incessant 'noise'.
Competing. Winning some, losing more. Hoping to find the vendors that aren't educated or switched-on.
Hustling for your worth. Never taking No for an answer.
"In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible." -Seth Godin (again!).
There's no denying the marketplace is crowded. And busy.
So fitting in and not standing out, can't be an option.
But that precisely is what almost every realtor/estate agent does.
Fitting in to the stereotype that is labelled.
A Personal Brand that features heavily on meaningless (to vendors) awards.
Instead of one that demonstrates your unique gifts of honesty, curiosity, empathy, or a whole host of other attributes.
That - will make you stand out.
That - will make you different.
That - will have meaning.
I see it all so very clearly in my crystal ball.
How estate agency marketing has operated for the last ten years will be changed.
By those agents that can think for themselves.
By those that have the courage to be different.
By those that care about the future of their profession.
Estate agency marketing is fragmenting like never before.
"The internet isn't a mass medium. It seems like one. It's used by billions of people. But, it's a micro medium. A direct marketing medium. There are 3 billion people online, but they are busy looking at 3 million websites." - Seth Godin (yet again!)
That's a thousand a page!
"I don't think marketing should be loud. It should be quiet." - Kara Swisher, Tech Journalist and Founder of Recode.
If it feels threatening. If it feels confusing. If it feels overwhelming.
That's because it is.
Clinging to the faint hope, that your 'message' might resonate with enough strangers to encourage them to respond, is no longer an option. Putting your faith, and money, in the hands of some self-styled 'social media guru' is ultimately a recipe for failure.
The future of estate agency marketing is in your hands.
Don't delegate your marketing to others that can't figure out how to talk to one person, never mind thousands.
Thanks, as always, for reading this far.
If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, just get in touch. I'm happy to chat.
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