If I told you that I could get your name in front of thousands of local, potential customers, for free, would you be willing to kiss a pig in exchange for the publicity? I made that decision this year when I volunteered to raise money for the local county fair. In return, I had stories written about me in the local papers, was covered on local radio, and garnered some name recognition. I also got to stand in the center ring at the Fair and introduce myself to everyone there.
It’s been three months, and I still have people seeking me out to see if I did, in fact, kiss the big, dirty pig. (Seriously, I didn’t ‘win’… so I didn’t have to kiss it. And that was really okay with me when I saw that pig.) But folks that didn’t know me before recognize me now, and the people that I already knew in the community? I had an excuse to call them and remind them I’m still alive (and selling real estate). Some agents told me I was crazy, but to me–it was just good public relations.
Protect Your Offline Reputation, Too
The best listing agents spend tons of time crafting marketing plans to promote the homes they are selling; well thought out, strategic marketing to put each home in its’ best light. How many agents spend as much time and energy to market and promote *themselves* as a brand? Shouldn’t you have as clear a focus on how to put yourself out there, how potential clients should perceive you? All major companies and corporations have someone managing their public relations. As an agent, how are you incorporating a good public relations strategy to manage your public perception and reputation, and help bring in future business? Someone recently said to me that communication all comes back down to public relations…your face, your personal brand, within your community, is what brings you business and success. Beyond guarding your ‘online reputation’, guarding your business reputation and your place in the local community is just as important.
It’s about having goals in mind for how you want to be perceived, and which audiences you want to reach. (While I don’t want to be perceived as a pig kisser, being perceived as supportive to the local fair and 4H programs is a good thing.) Are you trying to place yourself as the expert for the huge active adult community nearby, or are you looking to position yourself as the most knowledgeable agent for first time buyers? You’ll need to have very different activities in mind for each niche market you are working with.
The Long Tail…in Real Life
At REBlogWorld in Las Vegas last week, I learned from Jim Duncan that you can (and should) establish relationships with local media outlets so that they turn to you when they need a quote from an expert. I have also heard successful agents talk about taking the time to get to know the builder’s representatives in different new construction communities: keeping your ear to the ground with them allows YOUR clients to know about good deals before they are gone. Nicole Nicolay talked at Inman Connect about working with your local school’s PTA to meet people and build a network for the long term. The “long tail” is not just an online term…apply it to your offline marketing plan, too.
So I’m not saying everyone needs to kiss a pig to grow their business..but I think it’s important to not get so wrapped up in your online presence that you forget to have a real presence in your local community, too. What are you doing to interact locally?