“Marketing is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world you are one.”
There have been many articles in the last few months calling for business owners and professionals to embark on a digital transformation and growing their online presence now, more than ever. For realtors and consultants, this is definitely a good time to grow their presence and increase market share.
Let’s face it. Despite being on a lockdown, many property buyers are spending more time online and turning into the digital space to continue their search for their dream home. While traditional advertising, email and event marketing are ways to bring in business, embarking on a content and digital marketing strategy creates a gateway for you to ‘speak’ to your clients even before you meet them, especially during this period.
To find out how realtors and consultants can build an authority, build engagements and turn them into profits, we speak to Mimi Marlina, a personal branding coach for realtors and founder of Raise Up Your Brand, who have helped many of these professionals market their brand value in this hyper-connected world.
Mimi, you have an interesting story. You started a career in aerospace engineering inspecting commercial aeroplane fan blades. However, you made a 360 degree turn and carved a career in digital marketing. Tell us what inspired you to make that switch?
I joined the aerospace field to fulfil my parent’s desire to see me carve a career in a lucrative industry. However, I had a different interest and was more inclined towards the media industry. I was still uncertain which parallel of the media industry I wanted to focus back then, but for sure, I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
The decision to leave a steady job and income was a tough one. I had a promising career in a global company and the thought of crushing my father’s dream made it worse. However, I felt that I needed to find something that was going to make me happy. I took some time to think about my life goals and more importantly, what I wanted in my life and career. Eventually, with a lot of faith, I took the plunge and left my aerospace job.
While waiting for a full-time job, I started my first branding business through freelance gigs. I built it from scratch and armed with knowledge and market research, I developed and executed marketing strategies for my clients. By the twist of fate, I met a mentor who gave me in-depth insights into marketing and I started work with a realtor company. From an admin position, I grew with the company and learnt the ropes of content and social media marketing, the importance of raising brand’s awareness and creating personal branding, especially in a fierce competition such as in the realtor’s industry.
From working with realtors and my experience doing freelance gigs, I saw the gaps and opportunities to help these professionals develop their brand, market their product and services better. Shortly after, I launched Raise Up Your Brand, a content marketing studio.
In my business, I believe in continuous learning and I get my inspirations from various business and marketing icons. However, the most prominent one would be YouTuber Vanessa Lau, who is an entrepreneur coach whose insights are very useful for rising entrepreneurs like me.
Tell us more about your content studio, Raise Up Your Brand (RUYB) and what does your content studio offer?
RUYB is a social media content creation agency targeted at realtors and financial consultants. We develop end to end content marketing strategies and tactics from ideation to implementation. We help our clients analyse, strategise and optimise their social media content with results they deserve.
Through a strategic plan, we help our clients save precious time and money allowing them to focus on their business while we help them with their marketing needs. This includes creating compelling and persuasive content, enticing images and videos for their Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.
We also coach our clients and guide them on how to leverage social media to raise their brand expertise, personal branding and thought leadership as strategies for recruitment purposes.
Your agency focuses on a niche group of clients i.e. real estate agents and consultants. Why did you focus on these particular groups of clients?
I suppose my experience working with the realtor company was the main reason. Back then, I realised that the majority of the agent’s posts include only plain text and static images. They tend to focus only on sales and do not maximise the use of digital marketing to their advantage, such as providing relevant knowledge of the industry, or use it as a brand building tool and thought leadership.
I saw the opportunity to provide social media content marketing through brand awareness and clever marketing tactics. In the real estate industry, content that is complemented with creativity will give you an advantage over static images. Blogging, using SEO and utilising data analytics can also help you get noticed better and surface among the rest. After my success with realtors, I expanded my services to financial advisors as I see the potential of doing B2B branding for them as well.
We all know that the content marketing space is getting more crowded. How does your content team find fresh, innovative, and interesting ideas for your clients?
Interesting question! As content producers, we need to keep up with the latest trends, notice the types of content that works well for our clients, learn and pick up new content marketing practices, trying out new content and testing them out on various platforms at different times. Keeping it relevant and staying in touch with the industry norms are keys to success.
I think a good practice is to jot down what we see and think as possible interesting content. We may not necessarily have to think about the formatting or the organisation of content at that moment. However, it’s to ensure we do not lose the idea or thought that pops up and quickly put them down before the idea vanishes into thin air. When we nurture a habit of jotting down our ideas, it helps during the writing process as we have all the points recorded already.
For me, I draw my content inspirations by immersing myself with acquiring new knowledge online, insights from people in the industry and mentors, observing the business landscape, news that are happening in the community and engaging with people I meet, especially on social media.
In your opinion, what are some of the common mistakes consultants make when they are trying to build their brand on social media?
The most common mistake realtors and advisors have is not having a social media presence. Even if they do, they are not utilising it to its full potential. Today, people are constantly scrolling through social media to make purchase decisions including viewing and deciding on properties and financial plans.
Unless you have a presence online with a complete profile, posting consistently on your social media and providing value to your clients, you will be buried in the digital jungle where people are not able to ‘see’ and ‘reach out’ to you. As mentioned above, use other tactics that work such as blogging, or identifying key words and using SEO to get your posts noticed.
Secondly, I noticed that many of them provide information such as their awards, ranks, sales achievements and abbreviations that people may not be able to relate to. While I understand these accolades are important as they bring a certain stature in their business, what is more important is how these can translate to helping their clients secure that property. Show the significance of these awards through publishing client testimonials and successful transactions, which makes more sense to clients.
What are your top three best practices that real estate agents and financial consultants can do to raise their personal brand and grow their business?
On top of posting regularly and consistently on their website and social media, it is important to be authentic. Showing your unique personality and creating a personal branding will help to get people to remember you. Use a little humour, art and wisdom in your posts to get top of mind recall.
I would also recommend bringing value and relevance to your audience by following the KCR method.
- Key Takeaway – Always share useful information or knowledge to your target audience. This could be in a form of latest property rates, latest government announcements relating to property purchases and financial plans, etc. You can even include a mortgage calculator on your website which can be very useful.
- Call-to-action – Producing content is one, but getting them to take action will make it even more compelling. A call-to-action provides that sense of urgency for clients to follow-up immediately. For example, some realtors will indicate a specific financial promotion for newly launched projects if the clients revert within a time frame. Make them feel the need to act quickly to avoid disappointments.
- Relatability– Storytelling is a good strategy to make your clients relate to your service or product offering. Tell them a story on how you have helped a family upgrade from a rented property to owning one or getting out of financial debt through your help. Find out what are some of the key issues people are facing when they wish to make a property purchase or buying a financial plan. How did you help clients like them in the past and what were your success stories? Make it relatable to your audience in a simple story they can appreciate.
How would you measure the success of a good content marketing campaign?
We look at three key metrics to measure a successful content marketing strategy campaign. They are website or social media traffic, conversions and consumption metrics. Website or social media traffic is the life blood of online content. No matter how aesthetically good looking your social media post is; but without any engagement or traffic, it will defeat the purpose.
For traffic, we look at attributes such as the total number of unique visitors and pages that garnered more engagement. This could either be on their IG post on the feed, IG stories, Facebook posts or stories. The analytics helps us identify the more popular content and work on ensuring that emphasis is given to that particular platform.
The second would be the actual conversion as a result of the social media campaign. After all, the top outcome of a campaign is to get leads, sales and income generation.
Finally, we also look at the number of quality leads and actual inquiries. For example, we look at whether they are getting leads from the right group and if the targeting is accurate. We try to ensure that our strategy and tactics bring the most value to prevent any wastage in marketing investment, as far as possible.
For consumption metrics, we look at the average time taken by a client on a certain video content. We can gauge the success of the tactic by the average time visitors are spending on the post i.e. whether they are spending some time on the post or just skimming through. If the latter is the case, the team will reevaluate and review the content based on these metrics.
How do you see content marketing evolving in the next five years?
My prediction is that Facebook, Twitter, Google Ads and other social media networks with mass audiences will raise their ad rates to maximise their earnings. Thus, before that happens, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the lower rates and maximise reach now.
Content marketing strategy will also evolve, such that more emphasis will be placed on having them strategically on their own platforms such as websites as it is a valuable asset. There will come a time where we can’t just rely on third party platforms. Instead, we have to learn how to drive visitors to our website, convert them to subscribers, analyse and use the data on our website to our business advantage.
I would say that, perhaps in the next three years, immersive technology such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will be a game changer for those in this business. This is already being applied in the gaming space and I would see this more in the realtors business where it will improve the convenience and experience for their buyers and agents alike, where they can have a clearer and more realistic view of their future homes with 360 ° panoramic views.
Having said that, as we tackle the new norm and look at how Covid 19 will take a few years to clear, we would need to be innovative in our marketing. For realtors and consultants, there is no better time to embark on digital transformation and be tech savvy. Start engaging more on social media and use tactics such as Facebook LIVE to engage clients and bring in potential business.