We are more than 20 years into our now internet-dependent world. Back in the early 90’s, it was a novelty. By the 00’s, the web became essential.
Since 2010, the internet has been (and will in all likelihood continue to be) the single biggest opportunity for the inventive, marketing-minded business person to differentiate themselves. Whether we’re talking about real estate agents, online sales experts or startups. Put simply; the internet is power to the people.
Today, our business landscape thanks primarily to our good buddy “the interwebs” allows any entrepreneur to strike out on their own and rise up the ranks.
Step #1: Branding Is Key
With the insane amount of options available to consumers today, branding is crucial. Gone are the days when generic, disposable branding could still garner revenue. (Even worse is zero branding, but that’s another article.)
At the very start, put a large amount of time and energy into developing your brand. It matters so much, that if you don’t feel capable of hitting a home run by yourself, get some help. Whether it’s a professional marketing expert or just a bunch of friends sitting around tossing out ideas, work towards developing a brand that can win.
Jeff Charles, the founder of Artisan Owl Media, an Austin-based content marketing agency, identified the seven most important trait of a successful brand as:
- A Successful Brand Has Purpose
- A Successful Brand is Agile
- A Successful Brand is Unique
- A Successful Brand is Consistent
- A Successful Brand Tells Stories
- A Successful Brand is Simple
- A Successful Brand is Engaging
If you can even get five of these down, you’re ahead of the game. I rank them this way: 1) Unique (which can truly include the purpose, 2) Simple (also termed “runs”) and then 3) Consistent, which is really easy… it just takes discipline.
(Depending on your market, a brand that tells a story can be important but not always. That’s one of those things that a marketing company came up with and then used to promote themselves. Clever, huh?)
In real estate, your brand is you. Don’t let yourself be a sub-brand to your company, promote yourself! This means, have your own website, not just a page on the company site.
The branding on your website should be the same as it is on your business cards or any other marketing materials you create. Consistency is essential.
Large companies lose market share every year when they bounce around from one brand idea to the next when what they should have done was consistently promote their strongest brand.
Entrepreneurs don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on brand creation and marketing. Just proceed through the process thoughtfully, finding the winning brand concept that checks the most boxes and run with it!
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen Covey
Step #2: Become the Expert
Spend time each and every week learning. There’s always more to know.
Make this part of your routine by putting it on your calendar. Be disciplined about this and you’ll start to see others drawn to you.
When I began my career in Louisville real estate, my wife and I had built three homes together but even still, I knew very little about all the many facets of this industry.
But from Day One, I spent time each and every week reading as much as I could about anything I didn’t already know. If I couldn’t find an answer to a particular problem, I asked someone. As a general rule, people love sharing what they know.
By year’s end, I had made significant progress. The field of real estate is so vast, there’s always more to learn. Maybe your market is too. Better for you! Most people won’t work as hard as you will so the opportunity to gain ground and pass the average person is greater.
Becoming the expert means making best practices routine. They understand what it takes to improve and set achievable and measurable goals. Then all you have to do is work hard and… it will happen.
“The secret to success is to know something nobody else knows.” Aristotle Onassis
Step #3: Be creative
Here’s where the true experts separate themselves from the pack. Unless writing is your primary field, most people find it difficult.
Your website does many things but one that should not be ignored is a valuable source of information for prospective clients.
The web affords entrepreneurs the wonderful opportunity become a subject matter expert that’s recognized by as many people as you can reach. Gone are the days of Madison Avenue and large marketing budgets.
Today we have tools like WordPress and Squarespace (and many others) that allow even the non-techie to produce attractive websites that are easy to use on multiple devices. Setup has never been easier!
Next, build into your calendar appointments to sit down and craft valuable content on topics of interest to your target audience. Start by building a list of keyword phrases that your audience is likely to use. Grab one and get going! There’s nothing stopping you but yourself.
Use your increasing expertise to crank out an article (or more) each week and you’ll be well on your way to establishing your expertise to a growing audience.
“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” -Plato
Step #4: Be found with online promotion
Now, here’s the fun part! All that we’ve done before brings us to this point.
Your content that you’ve worked so hard to create needs to reach your target audience. Here are the best places to promote your content online. There are actually industry-specific ones that are great, as well. But for starters use these.
- Facebook Business Page: Create a page dedicated to your business and boom, paste the URL of your newest post and type a quick call to action and you’re done!
- Twitter: Every post should get a tweet. If your article is evergreen, meaning it’s not time-sensitive, you can schedule tweets to go out at scheduled intervals in the future. Cool, huh?
- YouTube: All entrepreneurs should have a YouTube channel. It’s not as hard as you think and some ideas are much better conveyed via video.
- Instagram: Primarily a mobile website, Instagram is where you post all the great photos you’re taking that best show your work. Don’t forget to # hashtag each image with appropriate keywords.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is a favorite of woman and works with pinning images on a pinboard composed of collections. It is an effective way to reach various niche markets.
For each article that you’ve published on your website, you then use these free promotional tools to share them with the world. Heck, now that you’re truly an expert in your field, clients and customers will start coming to you! How does that sound?
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