In today’s real estate brand building journey, we learn about two gentlemen who successfully made the leap from career agents to agency owners, taking their small teams and brand names to new marketing heights. Of course, marketing budgets are going to be tight when you make the switch from agent to principal and establish a brand of your own. But you also need to stay visible online and ensure your name stays front-of-mind with prospective clients.
CASE STUDY #1
Jonathon de Brennan
When we first started working with Jonathon de Brennan several years ago, he was a young 28 year old real estate agent with a small team of three. Having spent over a decade as an agent at Century 21, Jonathon had taken the plunge and launched his own real estate agency, De Brennan Property.
A high-energy night owl, when Jonathon isn’t moonlighting as a DJ he lives and breathes real estate. Working in the highly competitive Mosman area, Jonathon is competing with mature and aggressive agents with more gravitas. Often on the phone after midnight, Jonathan has established a reputation with high-net-worth international sellers and home buyers currently working overseas but ready to return to Australia.
A million-dollar real estate agent, Jonathon consistently sells properties in Mosman, with a focus on houses priced between $5 million to $25 million. Jonathon and his team have had great success attracting new property listings with the old-fashioned methods of going door-to-door and using a “we have buyers” letter. However, he was aware of the importance of having a solid online presence to back up his team’s physical interactions with local homeowners – as prospects will head online to conduct a digital interview.
Jonathon de Brennan’s challenges
Jonathon’s main concern was his age. Although he is what we’d term a ‘career agent’, having worked in real estate since he was 18 years old, he needed to convey to potential clients that he has the experience and sophistication needed to sell premium properties. Mosman, with its highly sought-after multi-million-dollar harbourside properties, is a lucrative area for real estate agents, hence the competition for listings is fierce.
After attempting to manage his social media and online assets in-house, Jonathon realised that he needed a consistent presence that could be managed without cannibalising his or his team’s time. Jonathon also wanted to improve his brand reputation and personal identity to convey his level of expertise and that he offered a tailored approach to his clients.
When we took over Jonathon’s social media accounts he hadn’t posted an update for two years and his high-net-worth clientele and abilities to reach prospects internationally was not reflected through his branding or web presence.
Our marketing strategy
First, we conducted a review of De Brennan Property’s brand positioning. We then embarked on a set of marketing strategy workshops to fully explore Jonathon’s personal brand, his ideal clients and their pain points. As Jonathon had clear ideas about how he wished to portray and market himself, we worked with him to translate those ideas into unique marketing messages that would appeal to his wealthy clientele. We also devised a positioning statement and byline that better represented his abilities: Tailored Property Sales | International Reach. Tenacity. Dedication. (When we work with our clients, it’s a case of sitting with each one to home in on their key strengths, or niche, so we can then tell their story, authentically.)
Next, we updated Jonathon’s social media profiles and replaced his bio’s across the real estate industry web directories. We included new positioning statements and visuals that would better appeal to his high-net-worth clientele. This was the starting point for showcasing Jonathon as one of a select few Mosman real estate agents that work at the top end of the property market.
Next, we built De Brennan Property a new real estate website and installed an automated marketing system to work in conjunction with his WordPress website and online advertising platforms. To overcome any perception that his youth was an issue, we ghost-wrote a weekly article, as Jonathon, selecting topics that would pique the interest of ultra-high-net-worth individuals who reside in Mosman.
As Jonathon’s goal was to be the #1 agent for prestige homes in Mosman, he negotiated and secured advertising banners on both Domain.com.au and realestate.com.au, from which we drove prospective home sellers to his website. Once on his site, sellers were enticed to leave their contact details in exchange for a downloadable report that listed the most recent and most expensive property sales in Mosman.
Posting regularly to Jonathon’s social media accounts, running paid ads for every post, as well as emailing his 16,000 contacts each week, helped amplify his reach to more than 30,000 people living in the Mosman area each week.
In line with Jonathon’s own branding ideas, and to help his real estate agency stand out from the mass of 80+ Mosman real estate agents, the look and feel for the De Brennan brand was aligned with high-end fashion websites. Using black and white imagery for his brand content and ‘negative’ (white) space to create a sense of sophistication, we lifted Jonathon’s brand reputation and made him more appealing to wealthy Mosman homeowners. Even the social posts leverage the black and white imagery, enabling his messages to stand out against a sea of colour in the social feed.
Jonathan’s sales excellence has gone from strength to strength over the years that we have been supporting him. We enjoy helping him to promote key wins such as his position as the agent with the both the highest and second highest sales price last year. Jonathon understands that to remain as the go-to real estate agent in Mosman for prestige homes you need to invest in your brand and maintain a first-class digital presence.
CASE STUDY #2
Boutique Property Agents
Sometimes we have to go the extra mile despite pesky hurdles such as budget constraints.
When Tolga Ozer of Boutique Property Agents and his wife Joyce contacted us for marketing help, they had limited funds but wanted to see results from their digital marketing. With an office address and client properties based adjacent to Hyde Park, in central Sydney, this real estate agency specialises in the sale and rental of high-end luxury and inner-city apartments. Many of these homes are in historic or keenly sought-after prestige Sydney buildings such as The Grace and The Connaught, and their clients are a mix of owner occupiers and property investors.
Boutique Property Agents’ challenges
Having used a PR agency to manage their social media without results, Joyce and Tolga realised they needed a digital marketing professional who specialised in property. They were keen to grow their real estate business, as well as attract agents to work with them, but they had limited knowledge as to where best to place their marketing funds.
Joyce, who has worked in marketing for international finance organisations, saw clearly that the PR agency they’d been using had been targeting an audience of buyers and renters rather than their key market of sellers and landlords.
The Boutique Property Agents’ branding, and in particular their logo, was in need of improvement. Plus their website, which had been built by their CRM company, was clunky and lacking core web functionality such as meta descriptions that help a site appear in Google searches.
Our marketing strategy
After several strategy sessions, and in person workshops, we were able to reveal two ideal target clients. The first was apartment owners (being a mix of investors and owner-occupiers), and the second was property developers selling off-the-plan apartments in pockets of Sydney’s Inner West. Boutique Property Agent’s have become the agency of choice for both sales and property management in key apartment buildings, so we also wanted to highlight this fact.
Once we had a clear picture of who Boutique Property Agent’s clientele was, the Hoole creative team set to work designing a new logo and selecting a more modern brand colour scheme to make their real estate agency more attractive. In parallel, we set to work writing content and property investor reports as part of a content and social media advertising program that would resonate with prospective clients, drive traffic to their new website and increase their overall visibility.
Although they stressed they didn’t have the budget for a full rebrand, we modernised the logo and colours to sit more comfortably within the new real estate website we were building. A subtle gradient of blue, pink and purple in the logo is repeated across the site. The Q in their logo has faint echoes of the almost subliminal ‘speech bubbles’ which was incorporated throughout their website too.
As with many of our clients, they had some ideas of their own. For Boutique Property Agent’s, it was having time-lapse photography of Hyde Park using a camera placed on buildings they manage or were selling. Well, to us, that was a challenge – to run with their idea but at the same time improve on it. Saving them both time andmoney, we sourced some professional time-lapse videos of Sydney icons such as the Archibald Fountain and the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park as well as Bondi Beach and Sydney Harbour. These videos now rotate on their home page.
Every real estate website we build is unique with one of a kind features. With Boutique Property Agent’s website we included a series of gateways into some of the apartment buildings with which the agency is associated (and for which there is often a waitlist). As many of the buildings they work with are icons in their own right, we created pages for five of them to showcase the features and history of those buildings.
To help Joyce and Tolga grow their real estate agency, we ghost-wrote social media posts and articles and designed a series of downloadable sales and property management reports that targeted prospective landlords and sellers and captured their contact details.
Now, with updated social media profiles and a large collection of blog articles and gated property reports, Boutique Property Agents present as a contemporary and highly professional real estate agency, have gained an enhanced brand reputation and achieved the digital growth they were after.
This article first appeared here: https://www.hoole.co/digital-strategies-real-estate-teams/