Distinctive Marketing in the Estate Agent Sector
As a hugely competitive sector, estate agency is a tough business these days, particularly with agents dropping fees to win business. Some of the best agencies manage to retain their fees at a consistent level and I believe this is because they deliver a distinct point of difference with their approach to client services and innovation.
In 2014 we carried out in-depth research into the sector, and identified what we consider to be the top 10 boutique agencies in the UK and what we believed set them apart. We focused on three key drivers:
How their brand was positioned in the marketplace and how we perceived its positioning
How they marketed themselves, was their approach unique?
Did they demonstrate innovation in their client services?
The estate agency sector can be a pretty traditional place, with old branding in a lot of cases and particularly where agencies may have merged in the past. Our 3 tips to ensure your branding is up to date and will last you a long time are:
Choose an icon that is going to set you apart on the high street and on your marketing such as boards
When it comes to colour, select a palette that is distinctive, can be produced in many formats of print and digital and complements the way you want to be perceived
Pick your font carefully and don't be afraid to mix serif and sans serif fonts, be creative and adventurous
When we created a new brand for the agency Grier and Partners, we chose a distinctive reference to the owners; their two Cairn Terriers. This gave it a completely unique and personal feel, just what we wanted to convey to the target audience as a reflection of the agency's true personality. This carried over to our use of colour and font, and as you will see in the marketing strapline 'the agent with the terrier spirit' too.
Some of the most innovative marketing campaigns we found in our research included the use of traditional imagery with a modern twist, for example a 17th century painting with modern technology combined, clever videos with key information about the property being marketed in tracked messaging over the film and free advisory events for clients and prospects, aimed at demonstrating expertise and a totally focused client service.
Don't always follow the old marketing channels you've used before, and don't fall into the trap of being over dependent on Third party portals such as Rightmove. People choose an agent to sell their property based on a number of key factors, not just price and if your marketing evokes your personality and sets you apart from the rest, you can engage with people from the outset. They want the right people to sell their home.
This is one where most agencies struggle, as they can be dependent on the proven ways they've always used to sell houses. When we started working with Grier and Partners, we always said from the outset that innovation is a key driver for the affluent consumer and making their life easier through the use of technology was key.
So we developed MyHousebook, an online tool that allows the agency to keep vendors or landlords up to speed with the performance of their property 24/7. Each one has secure access to information such as viewing feedback, viewing webstats relating to their property and Rightmove and Zoopla performance, all in one place. This means the agency offers a unique and additional service to its clients, over and above anything anyone does within its competitive set.
Finally, evaluating your brand, its position and creating innovation is not an easy task especially when you are completely embedded in the operation, so I strongly recommend you engage the right people to help you with this; specialist branding agencies like mine, Zero Above can help unlock the creativity within your own agency and drive new innovation in business generation and distinctive positioning.