Building Your Real Estate Brand Using Digital Marketing
Dalton: All right, welcome, welcome. Couldn't get enough last week. Didn't get enough last week, so we got him back again. Taylor Owens, the Chief Marketing Officer at Lima One Capital. Thank you for joining for another week.
Taylor: Thank you, Dalton. So episode 58, now episode 59. It was fun recording this last one, and I talked a lot about in today's market and if lead volume is slowing down, deal volume is slowing down, and now's the time to work on building your brand, so certainly a topic that I want to bring to the table in terms of what a brand looks like. How do you build brand equity? How do you get personality in a marketplace that maybe you feel doesn't have too much personality? So that's where I'd like to jump in and provide some value today.
Dalton: I love it. So in the marketing space, brand, brand, brand, brand, brand. That's a word that I feel like you hear applied to everything under the sun, used so much. But what, to you, if I asked you how do you define a brand, what's involved in a brand, how would you answer?
Taylor: So I'm going to give just the very elementary foundational, you'll probably roll your eyes, but brand really starts with what who you are, what's your company name? Are you operating under one company or multiple companies? As many brokers do today as operating under multiple different" company names." It's funny, is a couple months back, I was down in Irvine, and I had lunch with a broker team. Great guys. Their business was booming. And talking to them, I emailed a few folks on their team, and they all had different signatures, they all had different email domains, and I bluntly asked the question, " Who are you guys?" And they said, " Huh, I don't really know if I can answer that question." And one of their colleagues, another person on their team, came a bit late, sat down. The first thing the CEO said to his colleague was, first question Taylor asked was, " Who are we? And I couldn't answer the question." So really it's defining, are you operating under your name or are you picking a company name? And if you can pick something that is easily going to stick in somebody's mind, whether you've got one entity or multiple entities, you roll it up into one brand, you can" really go to market" with, " Hey, this is who we are, this is what we offer." And you can tie a logo to that. So you got a company name, you've got a logo. Now in the broker world is probably a business card. Start picking some colors, start building an identity for yourself when you're going around to organizations to prospect new business or you're jumping into forums online. It gives really something for somebody to latch onto, and it can allow people or allow you to build trust in an industry. So brand name, logo, color palette. A lot of sales people or people in organization roll their eyes when they, " Hey marketing, you're just playing with colors and fonts all day long." But hey, that's part of building a brand and a personality in the marketplace.
Dalton: Yeah, if you have ugly colors and ugly fonts and an ugly logo, then I don't know you have a bad logo and bad font, bad colors.
Taylor: That's right.
Dalton: Yeah, this is true. And it's something that I know the progression of us as a company, I'm at a conference right now in between two conferences right now, and I'm thinking back to the first big conference we went to as a company. It was IMN East Single Family Rental Conference in South Beach, and this was May 2016. A couple of direct competitors knew who we were, but not everybody there, most people did not know who we were there at that conference. And then we came back from the conference, it was a massive expenditure for us, and we were really rolling the dice. " Let's see if attending this conference and shelling out all this money is fruitful." And we had a very quick, very massive ROI off of it and go there every single year. But thinking about just the progression, and we've tweaked our logo once, but what are your thoughts around? And the logo tweak was really, I'm actually, I'm wearing an old logo shirt right now, so you have the new logo shirt. There you go. So for the listeners only, the old logo was four boxes, all different sizes, kind of an offset square design, and then you had a logo going up and to the right, which is the direction we all want to go. And then the new logo strips out the arrow and really is a more clean, modern square that has a couple of, I guess you would say, it's quartered, a quartered square. So what are your thoughts around changing a logo, right? Because I think especially as companies progress, you get more resources and then you say, " Hey, maybe the design has changed." The furniture that my mom had in her house when I was a kid, very different from the furniture that she has in her house today. The style's very different, the aesthetics different, so even just if you're in a space long enough, maybe time dictates that you want to change. So what are your thoughts around logo change?
Taylor: Yeah, so first and foremost, I mean, brand really is synonymous with identity, and there's three cases where you can change your logo or really create a new logo. One being is, ask yourself, " Do I as a business owner or as a company, do I have an identity in the marketplace, a strong identity?" And if you are a really, you're a hustler, and people know your name, then maybe you don't want to lose that brand equity of your name and go forward as Dalton Elliot, LLC? Now, if you are a brand that has a few, you've been in the industry for a couple of years and you've started to mature, and that's now another opportunity to say, " Hey, we're not the small player anymore. Now, it's a time to take our logo from something that feels, looks and feels, as a smaller player to something that's a little bit more premier and polished." That very much feel looks and feels like in this instance, Lima One, but is now going to market with, " Hey, it's not completely removing the identity that Lima One has built, but it's now reframing it in a more mature, polished way because we've evolved as a company." We're not the same company that we were six, seven years ago. So now it's good to continue to play in the marketplace with a polished identity. Another piece is it's your personality. So as you're building a brand, it's not just a look and feel, but what do your prospects, or what does the industry, what do you want the industry to associate with your brand? Is it transactional? Is it conversational? Transactional is, " Hey, we're going to execute your deal. We're going to get it done." Conversational is, " Hey, we're not going to get just your first deal done, we're going to get your consecutive deals done as well, and we're going to be a partner with you." So that's something that you want to ask yourself in terms of building your identity and building your personality is how do you want to be perceived? It's not just a look and feel. It's an emotional piece of working with, even if you're an individual, so that's really what we've done in reflecting internally as a company, as a brand, is our current branding, a reflection of our personality and how we want to be perceived. And if it's not, then you change it. You be more creative.
Dalton: Yeah, I love it. I love it. So I took us on a tangent there, but one thing I really want to dig into this episode is digital marketing. I think perhaps there's no type of marketing that you could more easily assign ROI to than we're spending X in this digital marketing channel, the leads are coming in, and we're closing out deals and volume. So really just let's start unpacking digital marketing.
Taylor: Yeah, so very much I'll piggyback onto a comment I made on the last episode in terms of starting with your CRM and email marketing. We look at marketing as a funnel, so if you look at it as a upside down pyramid, the very tip of the pyramid is when you're converting a new lead, and then the very top, the funnel, is where you're being seen everywhere. You are putting money across 16 different marketing channels, you're getting eyeballs on the brand, and certain percentage of those are now going to enter your funnel, and you're going to convert them at the very end. Now, I always talk about focusing on building the bottom of the funnel first. The bottom of the funnel is where you convert customers, and where you convert customers is email marketing is one that's easily scalable, so you get your email marketing and automation working, that it's driving inbound leads, and it's closing leads, then you move up the funnel. And as you move up the funnel, Google, SEM is a great tactic to tap into. So for those that aren't familiar, you do a search for Nike basketball shoes, and the first three results within Google are going to be paid advertisements. So people pay to show up at the first results, and then everybody below that are those that show up organically. So you pay per click for those Google ads. But why Google ads is so good for an ROI standpoint is that it's based on customer intent or transactional search queries. If I search for Nike basketball shoes, I'm probably in the market to buy basketball shoes either today, right then, or probably in the next three days. So we get a great ROI using SEM for people who are specifically searching for fix and flip financing because there's the intent that as a borrower or as a real estate investor, I'm probably looking for investing now for a current deal or a future deal in the short term that I likely have my eyes on. So that's where you want to be visible when the customer or your prospective customers have the intent to transact in the short term. Now, once you nail that down, again, you move up the funnel and now it's awareness and being seen everywhere. And that's where you start to tap into Facebook. In Facebook, we're not necessarily looking for leads, but the more activity we get on Facebook is probably going to lead to more individuals going to their URL bar and searching www. lim one. com. And a lot of brokers that are, I was talking to at NACLB, small shops we're leveraging SEM as their businesses have been booming as they've been last year through the first part of this year, and they've had a little bit more income to direct towards marketing. Brokers were saying they're leveraging SEM, and they're generating business.
Dalton: So you mentioned Facebook. So talk to me about forums and groups like Facebook groups, forums. One of the biggest, probably the biggest forum in our space is Bigger Pockets. And I know just not just from an interaction standpoint, but also from a sponsorship and marketing standpoint, what are your thoughts about those different marketing and visibility opportunities?
Taylor: Yeah, I'll tell you what. Real estate and real estate investing is one of the most engaged communities online that I have ever seen, which is great because investors are teaching other investors, they're solving problems together, and because of that, I think Bigger Pockets has over 2 million active subscribers. That's opportunity. Get a subscription to Bigger Pockets, find Facebook groups, go onto Reddit and jump into those conversations and never pitch or sell your product, engage. People are going to know that you're probably a broker, or you could be a lender. Answer questions, give your point of view on lenders that others that are inquiring about. If somebody is asking a question about a specific deal that reminds you of a deal that you've worked on a customer with, put that case study into the chat and say, " Hey, I saw a very similar situation with one of my borrowers, and this is what we did to overcome this hurdle." And by engaging in organic ways, it's naturally going to get those individuals to reach out to you, do a direct message, and again, you're now going to start building this brand equity within these forums, within these groups as a thought leader and somebody who can provide a solution for maybe those investors who are just starting.
Taylor: Facebook groups is huge.
Dalton: You mentioned one thing that jogged my mind about content creation and repurposing content. I think in my mind, that's one of the biggest tips and tricks that you can apply in the marketing world to really throttle up efficiency and also visibility, and I have used this before. I used it a couple weeks ago. I was recording an episode, and the episode was based on a white paper that our marketing and data analysis team came up with and published. As soon as I realized that hey, taking one piece of content and pulling different parts out to create all these other pieces of content. Because if you say, " Hey, here's what I need to do this week in my marketing schedule. I need to write a blog post and I need to post on social media five times and I need to put up two videos on LinkedIn and go down the list." You're like, " I have 15 things I need to do." But if you say that the core of my content is going to be a blog post or white paper, something that's a little more long format, then you can rip and strip from that to put it out in different digestible formats because not everybody is going to sit down and read a 5 or 10 page white paper. Everybody digests things differently, so if you're on Instagram, then you want to make sure you're hitting the target there, LinkedIn, email blasts. And so talk about how we're really using that and what tips you'd give to brokers in the space on really being efficient with your content creation.
Taylor: Yeah, so if you're a broker, here's two things that you should be doing. Very actionable. If you drink coffee in the morning with your hour long coffee, do this every single morning. So you should be going subscribe to some publications, whether it's Housing Wire, it's Adam, it's Bigger Pockets, newsletter, or podcast. If it's reading publications, articles, listening to podcast episodes, whatever that may be, listen to 30 minutes of that as many, let's say three to five different articles or episodes at a time, and all right, let me redo that. Okay. So two things that you should be doing immediately as a broker, low hanging fruit. So content is king, content is king or queen, I call it. So I say content is supreme. And what you should be doing is an hour a morning with your cup of coffee, read some articles, listen to a podcast episode, aggregate that content into a one, two, or three paragraph synopsis that you've put together and put that into a newsletter and email marketing. Post that onto your LinkedIn. And what you're doing and what Dalton said is folks don't have a lot of time to read an entire white paper. Really. They don't really have a lot of time to listen to our long podcast episode or read a bunch of articles. And if you're doing a lot of that research for them and you're pulling out those nuggets and you're repurposing that data, that aggregated data, then you're, again, presenting yourself as a thought leader and you're being helpful by not just providing financing or capital solutions for your customers, but you're also a window into the industry and getting those folks, your audience, caught up to speed on what's going on. And it's really low hanging fruit there. The second one, second tip, I think it's going back to forums, is spend a part of that hour with your coffee jumping into forums, engaging and that organic engagement and those case studies that you're bringing to the table is content in and of itself.
Dalton: Yeah, I love it. A question popped in. Which one, and this is a, I'm going to force you into a corner, right, so don't try to weasel out one way or the other. If you had to pick which one's more important to capture, is it more important to capture a prospect's phone, their phone number, or is it more important to capture their email and why?
Taylor: Great question. I mean, it's the difference between are you a salesperson or are you a marketer? A salesperson is, " Hey, give me the phone number. I'm going to blow that up all day long." The marketer's going to say, " Get emails." And the reason I said this at the NACLB panel, but I'll say it here, it's be obsessed with capturing emails because as you capture emails, in organic ways, do not buy emails. It's a marketing no- no. But as you're capturing emails, you're getting attendee lists of conferences, you're sponsoring an HBA, Home Builders Association event. The more emails that you get, the more you can feed into your CRM and your email tool is going to nurture those folks. And what's going to happen is when you pick up the phone, you're looking probably for a deal or a transaction then and there, which is great. When you're emailing, it's not so much getting transactions then and there, it's getting transactions and investment for the long term. We have people in our email database that we've been emailing for two years, and they've just sent us their first deal. So this really goes back to building your email list. It will help you get at bats, and the other good thing about email too is it's a great way you can leverage your email list for partnerships with other people within your network. You can go to your top realtor in your market and say, " Hey, Realtor, I've got this 10,000 person email list that I've sourced all myself. We could do a co- market. I'll market your services and to your email list, you market my services." And that is a great way to build partnerships. Again, it's leveraging your emails as a tool to piggyback onto other people's email lists.
Dalton: Yeah, consistency is key in the marketing world and the sales world too, but I just thought back to, I am in East, it would've been not this past year, but the year before, just a couple months before we launched the podcast, but when we had first started talking about it, and there were a couple people at the conference who have podcasts with significant presence, like seven figure listenership, some pretty serious numbers behind them. And the same advice, I selfishly picked their brain around podcast, and the same advice kept coming up was consistency, consistency, consistency. And that's why we landed on doing this podcast weekly. We talked, should we do it weekly? Should we do it biweekly? Should we do it once a month? And the answer that we landed on was weekly. It takes a ton of work, a ton of resources, but consistency is the only way that you can grow, at least in any reasonable timeframe, and really achieve the levels of growth that you want to hit. And your comment about really just clients who have been in our email database and from getting in the database until they actually close a deal, it might take a year, two years, and we see this on the sales side all the time. We were in a all sales meeting a couple weeks ago, and one of the newer reps who's been here maybe eight months or so had an example where he talked with a guy, kept hammering him over the course of a few months. By hammering, checking in every couple weeks and just would not put the phone down because he knew that, " Hey, this is a prospect who is actively doing deals. I'm not going to belabor them, I'm not going to frustrate them, but I'm just going to check in, remind them that we're here, give them a quick rundown of where we are because the market is more dynamic than ever right now, at least in the space of business purpose lending." And he ended up closing a multimillion dollar construction deal with us. And the client is the one who called back and said, " Hey, you've been keeping me in the loop. You've been in constant communication and you set that expectation of,'Hey, we're here, lights are on.' And especially in this market, more so than ever before that, that consistency is critical." Right?
Taylor: No, absolutely. And I'm going to go back to, I keep coming back to the Home Builders Association, that's top of mind. But let's say they approach you and say, " Hey, you're been a great member. We know that you're trying to grow your business by being a member of our association. For$ 500 an email, we'll do a the Dalton Elliot Broker quarter where you can put some content out there and pitch yourself." Great, love it. You got 10, 000 leads or emails in our database that our emails will go out to. Never do a one off. Think of that as at least a 90 day investment. So let's say you get involved with your HBA, you're going to the weekly meetings, you're sponsoring a golf tournament once a month, you're maybe bringing lunch or dinner with a 15 minute presentation once a month. You're now piggybacked onto their email sponsorship, so it's their email newsletter with your little blurb or module on there. That's how you diversify your marketing and your message and start building a brand within the HBA. That's how you're consistent across a bunch of different channels within that ecosystem. But the email piece, again, never have a one and done. You figure that you want to invest and at least 90 days, probably the course of the entire year, because it's probably not going to be that first email that gets somebody's attention, it's maybe that fifth email that goes out to the HBA group with your module that finally gets people to say, " Oh, that's the guy that gave that presentation, and I've seen his email marketing pop up in the HBA newsletter, and I'm going to open the HBA newsletter because I'm a paying member." Right? That's why they sell their advertising space within their newsletter. That's what's going to help create that stickiness and start building brand equity within that, the ecosystem or in the environment of the HBA.
Dalton: Love it. So as we shut down this episode, put on your Notre Dames cap, get out the tea leaves. Let's look to the future of digital marketing. The next whatever timeline you want to attach to at 6 12, 18 months, where's the space heading? What are you excited about? What are you looking at? What are you considering for digital marketing strategy down the road?
Taylor: Yeah, I mean, I certainly have my opinions, but like I said, I believe I said this in the last episode 58, a lot of these conferences lately have been emphasizing marketing, brand building, customer experience, and there's two things that stuck out to me at the Housing Wire conference, the marketing summit. The first is when, again, when deal volume and lead volume slows down, turn and focus on brand. Build your identity, build your logo, establish your personality, feel confident about that, and engage in the marketplace as that identity. So many brokers out there have not established this. And the second piece is focus on retention. Again, if prospecting has slowed down and you've built this large database of emails and current customers, now's your time to really look inward and start, again, building your relationships that you've already had. Market to those individuals already in your database. Oftentimes it's free because you've already paid the price to acquire those emails. So build your brand, build your personality, be confident in that, focus on retention, utilize your existing data, leverage your relationships to tap into their database, and within that is really focus on partnerships, focus on sponsorships, and it's those three things that are going to set you up for success, and a year down the line, it's going to pay dividends in terms of when volume and activity may spike.
Dalton: Taylor, you have been a wonderful guest this episode and the last, a ton of actionable advice for mortgage brokers and really companies of any size, big and small, so thank you for sharing the pearls of wisdom, and I know, again, I learned a lot in this one, this little series we had, the marketing series. So thanks a ton, bud.
Taylor: No, it's fun. And you know what? Marketing is very creative outside the box thinking, and I just, for those listening, please add me on LinkedIn, Taylor Owens Lima One Capital is how you can find me. Direct message me that you listened to the podcast. I'm happy to hop on the phone, message, and give marketing tips. Thank you.
Dalton: Thanks again, Taylor. Thanks everybody for listening. Take care.
Your brand is everything in establishing your company's identity to a sound client base.
Creating a strong digital marketing strategy to promote your brand is one of the best ways you can create brand recognition and establish a customer network that will provide reliable repeat business.
In a continued conversation from last week, Taylor Owens, CMO at Lima One Capital, joins again to discuss how companies can create a digital marketing strategy through their brand and existing client base.
Join as we discuss:
- Defining and building your brand
- Crafting your digital marketing plan
- How to utilize your SEM
- Why capturing your email list is more beneficial than phone numbers