Whose Cow Is That?

 Bubba Mills  |    May 05, 2016

“Whose cow is that?” 

“Well, let’s take a closer look. Oh, looks like it’s old Bubba Mills’ cow; it’s got a big ‘BM’ sizzled on its rear.”

All summed up in a few words: branding is all about identity. Just as branding was about identity for ranchers, branding is vital for REALTORS® because there are so many of you out there so you have to let people know which cow is yours. 

Branding is also more complicated than a swift, blistering poke with a hot iron. The Internet — with websites, social media and mobile technology — has added layer upon layer of extra items to your marketing to-do list. 

The digital age has drastically changed how people learn about real estate and how they make purchasing and listing decisions. Most consumers today with real estate needs start their search with the Web — reading websites, blogs, reviews and more. So they’re less likely to believe you’re the best REALTOR® just because you say you are. Plus, consumers are now much more likely to ignore traditional, interruption-based marketing messages. 

So in this complex digital age, how can you brand more effectively and let people know which cow is yours? Well, fire up your cattle branding iron and start using these tips today:

Accept and become a student of the digital world: First and foremost, you have to accept we live in a digital world now. Practically all consumers get most of their information online. Traditional media now supports digital — not vice-versa. The more you learn about digital marketing communications, the better you’ll be at not only promoting yourself, but also your clients.

Forget the push and remember the pull: The old world of branding was all about pushing information to prospects. Now it’s all about pulling. By that I mean consumers want valuable information — not volumes of information. With the pull strategy, think of pulling consumers toward you with content that’s useful and practical, and with information they may not easily find online. Before you send anything out or post to your website or social media, ask if a potential buyer or seller would find this information valuable. If not, trash it. 

Know that your website is integral to your brand: Now more than ever, your website is the first sizzle of your brand online. When people learn your name, where will they turn? The newspaper? The yellow pages? What are those anyway? No, consumers won’t use these resources to learn more about you. They’ll visit your website to learn more about you. Any money you put into your website to make it more appealing, educational, interactive and persuasive will be money well spent. And beyond your website, adopt and use other online media, such as blogs, email and social media. Be sure to give these items the same look and feel with your design and copy. 

Appreciate and capitalize on the mobile revolution: Yes, I said revolution; that’s a strong word but in this instance, it fits. If other people are around you right now, take a look at what they’re doing. Yep, looking at their phone. The phone is quickly replacing TVs, desktops, laptops, tablets, iPads, books, and everything but the kitchen sink. What does this mean for you? All your digital communications better work on mobile devices. 

Adopt lightning-quick responses: One reason digital communication has caught on is that it’s efficient but it’s also fast. That means your responses to inquiries have to be fast. Digital communication is also much more about customer experiences and interactions. Think about all the places where a potential client might interact with you: your email, your website, your Facebook. Develop a strategy to engage with them at those touch points. A great example is an automated “thank you” message in response to their inquiry.

Bubba Mills is co-owner and the executive vice president of Corcoran Consulting and Coaching Inc., an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into real estate companies, mortgage companies and small businesses.

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