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When Branding Gets Targeted, Results Start to Multiply





In the following interview, Jesse Zagorsky, broker/owner of Live. Love. San Diego Homes with eXp Realty in San Diego, Calif., discusses marketing, from branding efforts to generating leads.

Region Served: All of San Diego County
Number of Team Members: 17
Had a Team Since: 2004. “In many variations and combinations…”
Current Market Conditions: Buying and selling slowed a little six months ago (at press time), but now that interest rates have come down, things are picking back up and we’re seeing some price appreciation again.

Real estate agents and brokers spend a lot of money on branding, and the goal is always to make a name for themselves in the community. But many times, it’s hard to know if branding is actually working. How are you focusing your branding efforts to make sure you’re reaching the right people at the right time?
First, you have to start by niching down, whether it’s in a certain geographic location, or within a certain occupation or price point, depending on who you want to work with. Then, once you see where you’ve had success, it’s all about repetition, and being omnipresent. When buyers are ready to buy—when they move from research to transacting—most of them are on realtor.com®, and that’s why I decided to have a more prominent presence there.

Can you tell me about the content of your brand advertising? Many real estate professionals used to focus on the number of houses they sold and just getting their name out there. Is that still the case?
Yes and no. There’s still some blasting my name out there for recognition, but that ties back into a larger content marketing strategy. They see my name, and that ties into one of my profiles that they click on to read, where they can see my third-party reviews. Then there’s the incredibly powerful feature where my ads start to follow them around on social media platforms, and I can target them with content marketing, such as helpful tips around home-buying or preparing a home for sale. That’s a really powerful part of tying the brand campaign together with content.

You recently rebranded to Live. Love. San Diego Homes. I imagine this branding strategy was even more important in light of this…
When you go through a rebranding, you have to use a lot of online and offline strategies, and the Local ExpertSM piece in geographic areas was helpful in getting the rebrand out there. If you have someone searching on a portal on a regular basis, and your brand continues to pop up, that’s big. It’s all about repetition. Marketing research will tell you that it takes between seven and 10 exposures before something even registers on a person’s radar.

And with the increasing amount of digital input and media consumers are exposed to, it must take more impressions than ever to gain that consumer recognition…
It probably does take longer, but I know it’s working. We’re still generating leads with our own outbound efforts, and when I connect with someone, they’ll say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen you online.’ They may not be clicking on the ad, but they’re still seeing you, and it’s incredibly difficult to track that ROI. But it helps you cut through the clutter of the digital landscape. You can’t rely purely on an attraction-based strategy. This branding strategy complements that nicely.

Does your branding strategy with Local Expert seem be more effective in attracting sellers and getting listings or attracting buyers?
It’s probably equally effective for both, although I tend to focus on the seller/listing side more for leveraging the branding campaign. It’s very powerful when you’re sitting face-to-face with a seller and you explain how realtor.com’s Local Expert platform works—how your brand awareness equals more eyeballs for their listing, which equals more showings, which equals a higher sales prices. When you connect all those dots, people understand how powerful this program is.

And how do you track results to know that it’s working?
Like I said, it’s difficult to track the ROI of a branding campaign. You have to look at your overall profitability, the revenue generated and sales, and make interpretations as to how the branding campaign has supported those efforts. And you know that for every person who says they saw you online, there are twice as many who have.

Finally, Jesse, what’s next for you when it comes to brand marketing?
Definitely an increased use of video, as that’s a trend in everything to do with content marketing. It’s all about creating local celebrities in hyper-focused markets. That’s the biggest trend we’re seeing in the next couple of years.

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com/sales.  

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com.