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Commentary by Jeff Lincoln

RISMEDIA, September 4, 2008-Learning to differentiate yourself and create a unique and memorable brand within your market is key to growing your business. Your objective is to have people remember you and the best way to do this is to inject some of your own personality into your brand. Remember, the basics to differentiating yourself is to be “different.”

Here are 5 easy steps to differentiate yourself:

1. Have a plan. Make sure you have a formal branding plan and stick with those elements in all of your advertising and marketing. You should have a set of colors, font type, tag line/slogan, graphics/photo that you use in all of your marketing. Consistency and repetition is critical to increasing your “name recognition” within your market.

2. Focus. Focus on a niche within your market and become a specialist. Whether it is vacation homes, starter homes, retirement communities, uptown/downtown, luxury, or condos-focus on that niche and make it part of your brand. This will also help your referral business from other agents because you will be known as the specialist.

3. Incorporate ‘you.’ Include one of your “interests” into all of your marketing. This might be associated with your hobby (fishing, golfing, gardening) or other interest (art, music, food,) and it needs to be something you are passionate about because it is going to be part of your overall image. Let’s say you love golf, then maybe include a background of a putting green on your business card, letterhead, website, etc and come up with a creative tag line like, “Let Bob make your next purchase a hole in one.” Or if you love gardening or food, include tips about either in all your correspondence (cooking tips, new restaurant reviews, etc.), on your website and on the back of your business cards. By including a personal element, you are further differentiating yourself.

4. Effectively market. Leverage your most visible marketing tool more effectively. Don’t ignore or “go cheap” when designing your signs. Since people (both buyers and prospective sellers) see this marketing tool more than any other form of your advertising, it is critically important for you to make a dramatic first and repetitive impression. Use flags, custom riders and upscale sign frames like those from Lincoln Lawn Frames to increase your signs’ visibility. Incorporate your branding element in your main or rider signs. Make a strong impression with your signs because you often only have one opportunity to attract a buyer into your listing.

5. Get active. Look to gain exposure through volunteering within some organization (rotary club, school committee, country club committee, environmental club) or non-profit board (Big brothers/Big sisters, American Cancer Society). Not only is it good to volunteer but you will gain personal contacts and that’s one of the most important parts of real estate-building personal contacts.

So let’s review how different you are:

– You are now an expert in a niche within your local market;
– You have included one of your passions into your business image;
– You have a set of branding elements you are utilizing in all of your marketing;
– You have joined some local organization where you are doing good and building personal relationships;
– You are upgrading the look of your signs to project a more personal and upscale image that clients will remember!

Jeff Lincoln is the owner of Lincoln Lawn Frames, which makes upscale, slip-on frames that dramatically increase your signs’ visibility while projecting a unique and upscale image.

For more information call 866-511-3399.