Imagine for a moment that you have spent the past 3 months running a bespoke marketing campaign to increase your market share in a specific area. You are immensely proud of this campaign. You have poured a lot of thought, time and effort into marketing the company.
You execute a well thought out, coordinated and structured plan over multiple media involving emails, cards, letters and flyers, digital footers, website, videos etc. Your message is clear. We are here, we are great, therefore you should use us. We are the best!
We are here, we are great, therefore you should use us. We are the best!
You have pushed it out to current clients, old clients, and even future clients you have painstakingly identified. You are going to great expense investing considerable sums at a time when others are maintaining tight purse strings, keeping their burgeoning pipeline cash for a rainy day. You are undoubtedly a good agent; you like every other agent is busy at the moment, yet despite your campaign your market share has not changed at all.
Furthermore, because you invested so heavily in your marketing spend, your profitability is now starting to reduce quite considerably. During a hard market a consistent advertising spend is exactly what you should do – ‘market or die’ is a well-known phrase and in no truer place than in the property industry, however things are not actually hard at the moment with many agencies achieving record months.
Market now, smile later
Imagine however you had started this marketing now in the belief that next year’s market with the COVID-19 restrictions, Brexit fallout, predicted high unemployment, impending recession, Stamp Duty holiday closure and everything else that was on the agenda had genuinely made you believe we are in for a hard time next year. Imagine with that knowledge you wanted to make sure you were positioned to capture as much of it as you can, whilst you can. Well this was the position for one agency who was recently referred to me.
The three business owners are in fact fairly experienced practitioners who have worked aggressively to build up a strong brand. They are professional agents who pride themselves in their results. Sadly, they could see houses going to the market that they had not been asked to value, despite heavily targeting those same properties. Things were not working as intended and were beginning to cause frustration.
We spent some time discussing what they wanted to achieve and why they had embarked upon this journey. They explained the depth of their marketing campaign and in fairness to them they almost conceivably covered nearly every marketing vertical within their marketing plan. They had drawn up a concise (if not lengthy) document to coordinate their campaign and had made a serious commitment to see it through.
Indeed, this was one of the most interesting cases I have recently looked at, because on the face of it they had actually done everything very well, textbook well. In fact, there was not a client movement that didn’t end up with a communication of some sort; furthermore they had backed this up to ensure replication.
We reviewed the client lists to ensure the communications had been received. The answer was yes. So, the content was being created, the content was being received and read – the problem was clients were not acting and were clearly voting with their feet.
Reviewing a sample of the materials they were distributing it became clearer where the problem may exist. I asked them to join me in speaking to a number of clients and via the magic of the VoIP phone system and Zoom we all spent the next 2 hours ringing around the client lists to establish sentiment and honest observations from the campaign. From 38 clients successfully contacted between us, (18 per cent) liked the bold presentations and self-aggrandising statements, others (82 per cent) were simply non-plussed, or in numerous cases were clearly actively dissuaded by the content, style, tone and consistency of the marketing.
Appeal to your market
Here we have an agency that with high levels of customer reviews, delivering excellent customer services and successfully selling properties in the locality, which other agents have failed to sell; an agency which genuinely goes the extra mile – yet is not using these core tools correctly to attract business.
In their pride and eagerness to showcase themselves, they had overlooked one of the golden rules of marketing and forgotten to communicate to their target audience in a way that appealed to those clients. The wrong message causes untold damage.
The results of the survey have now helped them recalibrate and re-engage with more proactive, inviting, and inclusive marketing. As agents we are commissioned to market properties effectively to the widest possible audience and showcase them to secure a sale. We are so good at what we do for clients that we can often sell the proverbial ‘ice to the Eskimos’, yet the truth is, as professional marketeers we very rarely market ourselves successfully.
This is an extreme example, but getting your own marketing message correct is arguably one of the most important aspects of the job. We have all the tools, but we rarely use them to our own benefit.