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Breaking out with connected marketing

Success in real estate requires us to bring more to the table, to be more strategic, blended and clever in our marketing. We have to give clients what they want, in the moment they want it.

James and Sarah Bell, from Brad Bell Real Estate have built an outstanding blended sales and property management connected prospecting marketing program.

With 17 staff, James and Sarah moved the company to a blended prospecting program because, as James says, “Taking the company approach and having an overarching plan across both departments gives an economy in scale. If you have a company, your rental team can back up your sales team in terms of how they market and how they look and vice versa as well.”

He continues, “The blend is about showing a united front. I've always maintained that if you are still doing routine inspections on a property effectively, you're actually still the sales person for our business. For us, there's no difference in roles, for us there'll be no difference in marketing with consistency across the offices, whether it be the sales department, property management team or admin team, it should not matter at all.” Sarah says, “When you have a blended system, you have consistency across your rental and sales department in the marketing that's going out.” Sarah and James have multiple channels that they distribute marketing through.

 1. Working the Service Area

Sarah explains, “From the Service Area, we contact people that are unaware of our business, that we don't have permission to contact. We try and provoke some inbound enquiry for them, and start a conversation,”

2. Mainstream Marketing

People who have converted are categorised into tribes - homeowners, landlords, tenants, buyers, buyer/ sellers and buy landlords - and level of intensity of contact are entered in the company database and targeted with appropriate content to match their tribe and level of need. Sarah says, “Homeowners are potential sellers who aren't selling yet. You can't market to people who are happy living in their homes, not ready to sell, as if they were down the bottom of the funnel ready to select an agent. We engage with those people as homeowners because that's what they are before they're sellers. We can be helpful while they're homeowners so when it comes time to make a buying decision, we've already built some trust capital.”

3. Top 50

James explains, “Top 50 for me is a group of people that we can categorise that I've done an appraisal for. That's a thought process that they will be listing and selling within the next 30 to 60 days. For me going to a database, I can click my top 50 and there's a great big list of those.”

4. Community Building

The Bells have always been active supporters of their local community. James explains, “We’ve just engaged a local personal training company and Brad Bell Real Estate is going to put on a free boot camp for the community every Saturday morning in conjunction with the personal training company. We're looking forward to that because that's blending our office as well because the team is going to be there.”

5. Building an Audience through Social Media

The Bells use social media to provide content and acquire data. Sarah explains, “We're having a lot of success getting links from Facebook. Again, it's a content strategy - we have some of our Knowledge Books and eBooks available on Facebook for download. It's not a case of ‘Just give me the book and I'll have a read of that’. They go to a learning page, they put their name, their phone number and their e-mail address in and consent to marketing and then suddenly we've got a full contact. We've got the name, the phone number and e-mail address that we can follow up on.” She continues, “The Facebook pages themselves are learning pages we're sharing. People don't go on Facebook to find their real estate agent. They go on Facebook to be entertained and informed. We try to use our Facebook platform as an entertainment strategy.”

6. Postcode Books

James and Sarah use lush postcode books to anchor their marketing throughout the year. The Postcode Book goes out to 13,000 carefully targeted people and is a core factor in the mainstream marketing of the business. Half of the book is devoted to sales and the other half to rentals. James explains, “From our point of view as a business, if you're a landlord or if you're a potential seller, in that document they can see that we're serious about both angles and aspects of their business.” James says, “The Postcode Book has worked really well and we hope it will continue to work well for us. It's informative, it's a blend across the sales and across rental. We're able to target people that live in a property but own a home. It's not just saying, ‘We're great’ - it's informative rather than hype. That's the major difference.” They have had a great response within the community and it has led to many appraisals and reinforced their strong brand identity. The Postcode Book has been so successful, it has gone from quarterly to monthly.

7. Sideways Marketing

Sarah says, “Sideways marketing is just another strategy around infiltration. It's about not being Brad Bell Real Estate but being visible as Brad Bell Real Estate while something else is happening. What we’re finding more and more with digital disruption is that we don’t get the opportunities for people to talk or be belly to belly with everyone. We're communicating with people on Facebook because that’s where they're spending four, five hours a day, and that's fine.” Many people would come into Sarah and Brad’s office and ask where they could get a decent coffee so they saw a wonderful sideways marketing opportunity. Sarah says, “We opened The Hub 4022 - it’s a very small coffee kiosk but we serve over a hundred cups of coffee a day to residents. While they're waiting for their coffees to be made, they're looking at our listings.” Edward de Bono said that, ‘Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way’. He must have been talking about James and Sarah Bell!


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