Ali Jamal is the Owner and CEO of Stablegold Hospitality, a real estate investment company.
If your real estate business is a small shop and/or just starting out, still trying to grasp its tentacles on future expansion, your marketing department can easily thrive as a one-man band. As the business expands, however, it will need to reach a wider audience. A strong, effective brand must be established, and content is required to deliver that brand beyond a graphical impression. As our generation’s new primary channel for communication, social media will need to be used very strategically to deliver that content and ensure it’s getting into the right hands, telling the right story and making the right impression.
For some businesses, establishing a good brand image and advertising their services is enough to help them reach their objectives. Businesses experiencing rapid growth, however, should also be prepared to manage the public’s response to its advertising and brand promotion.
As the CEO of Stablegold Hospitality, I’ve learned that public relations and sales teams are also essential components of the marketing team. These teams are tasked with getting and maintaining positive responses to our messaging or advertising. Talented individuals will be able to convert those responses into more investors, loyal customers and partnerships within the local communities that our locations reside in.
The following guidelines should be useful to all innovators and business owners who are leading their companies through major growth, as well as marketing professionals who intend to lead the way in this expansion.
Branding is something that should be established before you, as a business owner or innovator, begin to tell your story. It all starts with your well-designed logos and hand-picked colors to ensure the first image people see will allow your company to stick out and get noticed. I recommend hiring a very skilled graphic designer, with a proven portfolio, to help out. Preference should be given to those who can master a multitude of tools such as photo, video, website and content editing software.
Remember, we want our brand to tell a story, and that’s why creating a visual image is only the first step toward establishing your brand. Next, you have to provide substance by adding content to brand images that help communicate what it stands for. The three remaining guidelines below are meant to help you find individuals to create that content, deliver its message using the right channels at the right time and then manage the response to that messaging in order to maintain and increase brand recognition.
Options for content creation are limitless; that’s why it’s important to hire a content creator who knows exactly what target audience is appropriate for each category of content being delivered. They must also be able to produce content that’s engaging, relatable and useful to its readers. Before publishing anything, content creators should ensure there’s a fine balance between promoting the business and fulfilling readers’ needs.
Ideally, you want to hire someone who’s a jack-of-all-trades and can write articles, press releases and newsletters; produce videos; create advertisements; and do the graphic design that accompanies all this work. Often, this can be a tall order and you may find yourself outsourcing some components. I’ve found websites like Fiverr and Upwork to be very helpful, showcasing the work of many talented freelancers, and the perfect solution for work that can be done remotely.
As a CEO who has been actively participating in the growth marketing of his real estate company for the last 10 years, I strongly believe that social media has become the best platform for delivering our business’s content. According to Statista, approximately 4.2 billion people are active on social media. In another survey, almost 80% of respondents believe that user-generated content significantly impacts their purchasing activity. That’s why I have dedicated personnel creating and, very strategically, delivering content on a daily basis. Yet again, delivery is not the end game and means very little without follow-up.
On a macro level, for all businesses, there’s so much room to improve here. According to Sprout Social, 79% of consumers expect a response within one day of reaching out, however the highest average response rate is from the real estate industry (29%). This is why I also have dedicated sales personnel to follow up on every inquiry.
Your public relations manager will play a key role in the follow-up aspect of your marketing strategy. Like the sales team, they’re responsible for converting responses into customers and, in addition, community partners. The key quality to look out for when recruiting a PR professional is credibility, which is why they should be an active member of the community, even before applying. Ideally, they already have connections with community groups who can use the services your business provides. Through networking, the PR team would create opportunities for key influencers within these groups to use those services.
A credible PR manager is also better suited to establish a positive online presence for your company. The strategy should include a number of tools and resources, like press releases and video marketing, that help strengthen brand image by aligning the company’s values with community partners and customers.
It’s completely understandable if you, as a business owner or innovator with a growing business, are not yet able to hire a full complement of marketing staff. In this case, it’s very possible to find staff who can wear multiple hats, especially during a time when our labor market has an influx of extremely good talent, indubitably because of the impact Covid-19 had on employment. As your company expands, however, it will become crucial to ensure there are no missed opportunities for delivering your message strategically and ensuring the response to that message is converted into loyal customers, partners and impactful brand recognition.
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?