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When it comes to marketing, real estate agents often think they have to appeal to everyone, but often they can get the biggest bang for their buck by modernizing a tried-and-true method: creating a niche, according to panelists at Inman Connect on Thursday.
In a session called “New Marketing Strategies You Need To Pay Attention To,” SparkTank Media CEO Jeff Lobb and Oakland, California-based eXp Realty team leader Kenny Truong, also known as the #FASTAGENT, talked about creating content that shows off an agent’s community expertise, but doesn’t have to appeal to everyone.
“Sometimes we get so frazzled by thinking so big,” Lobb said. “And yet, our biggest content is in the smallest, deepest places in our own community. My biggest passion has always been going deeper into your community versus wider. To me, it’d be video-based, but prospect and network with that community. Everyone wants to know what they didn’t know about that community. Creating your own community guide, creating your own video channel, creating your own Facebook page — it’s all right there to talk about.”
A prime example from another industry? A butt gym. Truong noted there’s a gym in San Diego called Glute Lab that is specifically geared to helping people work on their behinds.
“You would think that’s kind of stupid, but they have long lines waiting for this gym,” Truong said. “That’s incredible.”
Getting hyper-specific and appealing to a subset of people that will then follow you on Instagram, grow your influence and ultimately pay you for coaching or other services is probably a better strategy than being just one of a half dozen run-of-the-mill gyms in a neighborhood, according to Truong.
Lobb said a gym focused on the derrière was “a genius idea” because, as in real estate, people often show up to gyms lost and not sure how to proceed.
“So, the Glute Lab, as you mentioned, took something that people struggle with all the time,” he said. “‘How do I fix this problem?’ And they’re isolating that particular problem and doing it that way.”
Lobb said it drives him “nuts” that real estate professionals should be marketing themselves as experts when it comes to their community but consumers often only think of them as people that buy and sell homes because agents’ drip marketing campaigns reinforce that. Ninety-five percent of agents wouldn’t even open their own drip marketing campaigns, according to Lobb.
“What kills me is when I see that potential customer go into a Facebook group and ask strangers, ‘Hey I’m looking for a recommendation for a plumber. I’m looking for a recommendation for a landscaper,’” Lobb said.
“That makes me nuts because you know what? Your real estate agent should be the go-to for all of that.”
They’re not because agents aren’t creating what Lobb called an ecosystem. Apple, he said, has become one of the most successful companies in the world by creating a system where people use their devices for everything.
“So we as real estate agents need to become more of an ecosystem instead of a one-stop shop of real estate, mortgage, title.”
Truong agreed. “Be the resource for every single thing,” he said. His clients constantly ask him questions such as “I bet you know the best chiropractor in town. I bet you know the best restaurants in town. I’m looking for a fancy restaurant that can have kids.”
Agents’ marketing should show off their knowledge with guides to neighborhoods, preferred vendor lists, and timely service provider suggestions, according to Lobb.
“The last thing you want is that client going to an open stranger group and asking them for help when they should be asking you,” Lobb added.
Be your community’s Yelp, Truong said. “[You want clients to think,] ‘I trust that he knows people that have used the product before [and is] smart enough to give me the best advice.’”
Truong does this by documenting his day and turning anything “cool” into content, even recording team meetings. He said 90 percent of his marketing is on Instagram, mostly Instagram Stories, but he repurposes his content and posts it to other channels as well, such as Facebook’s Highlights.
It gives people an opportunity to learn something about him when they first discover him. “I do stuff that’s related to food, comedy, funny stuff. I like putting memes,” he said.
He also posts content specifically to do with eXp and with Zillow because his team is one of three Bay Area partners for the company.
“As [Zillow] Flex partners, documenting the entire journey has been really cool to show people what is it that we do,” he said. “Recently we made every single one of our team members audition to be on the Zillow team, and there’s whole 10-minute snippets. We document the funny parts of that when we’re interviewing them and we upload to YouTube, and then on YouTube we screenshot that.
“We’re reusing the same content already, but then talking about the content. Marketing is just doing what you’re doing and talking about what you’re doing all the time. I would describe it as marketing the marketing.”