Many successful agents reach a point in their careers where they need more sophisticated marketing and advertising strategies. Though many brokerages offer this kind of support, top agents often outgrow typical offerings and want to take brand marketing into their own hands. If this is where you find yourself, or you just want to stand out from your competition, you may want to consider tailoring your relationship with your in-house department or using an outside marketing firm that can offer you something different.
In this blog you’ll learn the pros and cons of working with in-house personnel vs. outside firms and how to determine what you really need from your marketing campaigns.
If you’re part of the TL:DR crowd, then start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and watch the full “Using In-House Vs. An Outside Ad Agency” course.
For many agents, the cost of working with a professional agency is the most important consideration in deciding who will handle marketing and advertising efforts. While you investigate whether or not your brokerage can do the job for you, consider these questions.
Can you get discounts for media placement? If your brokerage already has an advertising contract with a particular media outlet, you may be able to benefit from their frequency discount. Many media outlets offer lower rates on advertising space based on the number of placements purchased. If your brokerage secures a substantial media buy, and in return offers you discounted pricing for the space, you may see a significant savings when compared to buying media placement on your own or through an outside agency.
Does your brokerage offer opportunities to include your listing in ads that advertise multiple listings? What does it cost to be included? This opportunity may give you access to media space you couldn’t afford to purchase on your own.
Do the research, because there may be considerable cost advantages to using brokerage resources. When you work with your in-house marketing department, you may be offered different payment options. You may pay for time, per project or creative services may be a free perk for top producers. It’s up to you to negotiate your own marketing package. You can compare the services offered in-house to those of an outside agency. However, keep in mind that most brokerages are less inclined to help you build a significant brand outside of the brokerage. You’ll need an outside agent if you want to secure a higher level of attention to your own brand.
Let’s talk about the resources available to you. You’ll have to know what your options are before you can plan. Is there a skilled in-house marketing department that can provide the creative services you need? Is there a strategist on the team? Is there a graphic designer who will execute your direction? Are there professional copywriters?
Building effective ad campaigns and branded marketing is a highly creative pursuit, and quality may be subjective. As most agents have real estate expertise but are not trained creative artists, there may be a tendency to underestimate the value of quality design and to misunderstand how messaging can help or hurt marketing efforts. While agents may not recognize low-quality design or copy, many consumers do see the difference. Once you get a feel for it, you will see why some brands outperform other brands even when the actual products are very similar. It may seem too costly to hire professionals, but it will cost you even more to spend your ad budgets on ineffective designs and messaging.
The qualifications of the people you hire to execute this creative work can vary greatly. When reviewing candidates, look for artful attention to detail and an understanding of how to connect with audiences. Seek out creative people who know the principles of design, messaging, effective calls to action and brand standards. Ask for portfolios and past work and have them explain their process to you to see if you’ll work well together.
As in the real estate business, you may find your best candidates through referrals. Ask your colleagues if they have recommendations for marketing professionals or teams. Interview several candidates and get a feel for who would be a good fit. These people will be a part of your extended team, helping you identify your vision and meet your goals.
Don’t be intimidated. Some very good ad agencies are small shops while others are huge companies. If you are unsure if a particular agency is appropriate for the budget you have in mind, just ask.
To learn more about how to determine the marketing needs of your real estate business, as well as how to develop an advertising campaign that works, begin your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU today and start with our eight-course advertising track.