…And, why real estate teams need to up their game, fast.

Late November of 2017 we launched a large real estate project for Vancouver-based real estate group, Zwick Chimes. Since then, we’ve been received a number of requests from realtors asking us to re-create what we’ve done for Zwick Chimes. Respectfully, we suggest this is the question you should be asking. Here’s why:

What makes ZwickChimes.com — and the brand as a whole — successful, is that every touchpoint has been designed to reflect the experience, professionalism and unique character of the Zwick Chimes team. It works because it’s sincere to who they are.

This kind of authenticity and character stands out in an industry flooded with templates, themes and overly-salesy boilerplate copy. What makes a brand is its unique character and its ability to connect with its audience in meaningful ways. We can’t possibly make you Zwick Chimes, nor should you try to be. What works for ZC likely won’t work for you.

Increasingly, prospective buyers have grown up using Google, Facebook, Twitter, Mint, etc. They expect a home-buying / selling experience that’s equally as intuitive and enjoyable as the products and services they use every day. These digital natives have high standards. They are informed, tech-savvy and know when a company is hard-selling rather than engaging. They can spot a fake a mile away.

As such, your logo, digital presence, market updates, email newsletters, listing brochures — even your answering machine recordings — all have a single job: deliver your brand promise.

Here are some important stats about homebuyers from 2016 (2 years ago!) to put things into context:

  • Over 80% of all home buyers are searching online. If your site isn’t ranking for the search terms prospective buyers use, you’re missing huge opportunity. Similarly, creating an seamless and intuitive home search experience should be top of mind for your firm. If prospective buyers are using a competitor’s site to search, they’ll likely stay there.
  • 42% of buyers’ first step was looking online for a home. Almost half of homebuyers look for a home online before searching for a Realtor. This is a great opportunity to attract prospective buyers to properties and convert them into leads.
  • Gen. Y accounts for 66% of all first time home buyers. Understanding Gen Y and the millennial market is crucial. Increasingly, your ability to compete online will determine your success in the market. If you’re not familiar or comfortable on with digital, you’d best brush up on those skills. Your competitors are.
  • 31% of millennials looking to buy a home want to buy within 2 years. This goes to show that the millennials are coming — and along with them come high expectations and content demands.
  • 83% of all home buyers want to see rich media (ie: pictures, virtual tours, etc) of the property online. The success of Pinterest, Instagram and Houzz are clear examples of how compelling media drives purchases. Your digital and physical presence should act as a canvas for the listings you promote. If your site becomes the go-to place to view listings, you’ll likely get the lead over your competitors.

What does this mean about the residential real estate industry?

  1. Competition is increasing and buying trends are changing. Your team and approach need to be as dynamic and flexible as the market requires.
  2. Search is the next frontier. Tomorrow’s leaders will win by attracting prospective buyers early in the buying journey with exceptional search experiences. Your search experience is competing with that of AirBnB and Yelp. Are you ready for that?
  3. As competition increases, trust will be won by those who have a unified brand that genuinely reflects the value of the team. Trust and brand recognition are all about continuity.
  4. Successful teams of tomorrow are dynamic. They master skills beyond what’s traditionally expected of a Realtor, like copywriting, editing websites, analyzing analytics, sending newsletters and even navigating design software. Invest in your team’s education, and moving forward, look for new talent with strong digital and storytelling chops.

We hope this post proves helpful as you plan your 2018 marketing initiatives. If you’re looking for help telling your team’s story and creating an experience that attracts homebuyers and delivers leads, we’d love to chat.

To learn more about Zwick Chimes, check out their website(s) and our case study.

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Article originally posted on Medium on February 8th, 2017