By Sharon Vornholt
My marketing isn’t working is a statement that I hear just about every week. When I start to ask people about their branding, I always get the same surprised look. Then that person usually says something like, “I’ll worry about branding when my marketing is on track”.
I have to tell you, that’s not how it works. Branding and marketing go hand in hand, and you need to be working on both things simultaneously. Think of it this way:
Marketing is how you get leads. Branding is what makes them choose YOU.
Really think about that for a minute. You’ve just dropped a chunk of cash sending out direct mail campaigns that are pretty much getting you zero results. One of the main reasons for that is most likely because you have completely neglected to build a brand. There are also a couple of other reasons what we will go over in a minute.
When your marketing isn’t working, the first step is to take stock of everything you are doing. What are all of your marketing activities? List them all out.
- They might include:
- Direct mail
- Bandit signs
- Websites (you must have a website)
- Craig’s list, Zillow etc.
- Calling expired listing
- Or anyone of a dozen other strategies
Then, ask yourself these 3 questions.
- Am I marketing consistently?
- Am I targeting the right group of people?
- What is it I should be doing that I’m not doing? (You know what that is.) No judgement here, but you do have to own where you are to get where you want to go.
Once you have listed out all your marketing activities, be honest and list the exact frequency of those marketing activities. List everything you are doing whether it is daily, weekly, monthly or some other frequency.
If you have big gaps in your frequency, I can almost promise you that’s one of the problems. Marketing cannot be a hit or miss thing. Consistency is one of the keys to generating a steady stream of leads.
The Next Piece of the Puzzle: Building Your Brand
So what exactly is branding?
There’s no doubt that the physical components of a brand are important. Those are things like logos, brand colors and other things that make up the “look” of your brand. But that’s not what branding really is.
Branding is the way people feel about you. Another way to say it is, “It’s what people say about you when you leave the room”. That my friend is why you need to build a brand, and you need to be the one in charge of doing that.
If you don’t consciously build your brand and the way you want to be perceived to your potential clients, one of two things will happen:
- Someone else will do it for you. Many times this happens by folks saying negative things about you. They will be in charge of what they want other people to think about you. The way you combat this is by building your own online reputation.
- Or you will simply be invisible in your niche which is the kiss of death.
What Has Changed?
For those of us that were around before the internet (I know, it’s hard to believe we grew up without it), only the big companies like Coca Cola had to worry a lot about branding. The local heating and air-conditioning company could run a few local ads, give great customer service and stay in business.
That’s not true anymore. When your marketing isn’t working, your failure to build a strong brand is almost always part of the problem.
Whether or not you intend to have a global brand, because of the internet you can be found by everyone. It’s no longer optional to build a brand for your business. In most cases, you will be the brand in our business.
Remember, that all your marketing has to touch people in some way that makes them take action. Whether that is to call you, to fill out a form on your website or take some other action, once they have found you, what exactly is it that they will find?
You need to ask yourself these questions:
- What makes you special?
- How have you branded yourself so that you are memorable?
- What makes people think you are the authority in your field?
- The big questions is why should they choose YOU? What makes you different than your competitors?
You must be able to answer these questions before you can really build a brand that stands out from all the rest. Remember that marketing is how you get leads, and your branding is why they choose YOU.
Where Does Branding Count?
It counts everywhere people have contact with you whether that’s on your website, social media, on your marketing pieces or even in the way present yourself when you’re networking. Your goal should be to build a consistent presence both online and offline.
Here’s a little exercise for you. Google yourself and see what comes up. Having nothing come up can be as bad as having something negative come up.
How Do You Build a Rock Solid Brand?
You can do that many ways. However one of the best ways is through content marketing. and I’m going to talk about that in my next article. I want you to be clear on one thing; you don’t have to write a single article to create great content. There are other ways to create content and that’s what I will go over next time.
I also have a free “Brand Assessment Guide” that you can get over on my blog. So be sure to stop by the Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog and get your free copy. It’s a great way to see where you are now, and what steps you can take to create a brand that leaves your competition in the dust.
Author: Sharon Vornholt