I have talked a little bit about building your brand previously. But I believe it is even more important now than ever before. There is just so much competition in this real estate investing niche.
Here is the big question –
How many of you have consciously given branding serious thought much less put even a rudimentary plan down on paper? I would like to formally declare this the year we work on building our brand.
What Is the Definition of Branding?
“The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product or service from other products or services”
That’s it in a nutshell. A brand is what sets us apart from our competition. Your logo and the look of your website are certainly important parts of your brand. If you sell a product, your packaging is part of your brand.
BiggerPockets has built a very definite visual brand with its logo and its colors. They have also done a great job of communicating exactly what they are about, and have built a community around their brand.
What about Other Brands?
- Coke is always red; it is never green or blue.
- Shell is always an orange/yellow colored shell outlined in red
- McDonald’s has golden arches
- Google and Starbucks are easily identifiable brands
There Is So Much More to Branding
The “look” of a brand is important, but there is so much more to creating a brand.
If done property, your brand will tell your customers exactly who you are and what they can expect from your company. So it is vital that you give branding some serious consideration before you dive in to this project. Your particular brand comes from not only who you are, but who people perceive you to be. Here are some examples:
- The Dollar Store – the cheap guy
- Mercedes – the expensive guy
- Domino’s Pizza – the fast guy
- Levi’s Jeans – the dependable, mid-priced guy
- BiggerPockets – the complete resource for real estate investor’s guy
Can you see how your brand is all about perception? What perception do you want to create?
Creating Your Own Personal Brand
I believe that you should not only brand your real estate investing business, but you should brand yourself. In most cases they can (and should be) interlinked.
First of all, everyone should own their “name domain”. If you haven’t already purchased yours, then take a few minutes and do that today. Head on over to GoDaddy.com or one of the other domain sites and get your name in the form of a domain. You want to be in charge of your name recognition and your reputation, and the best way to achieve that is to create it (your reputation) yourself.
The last time I wrote about this, I had just purchased Sharon.vornholt.com. I have to admit that I never got the site up and running. So now that I am officially “on notice” for not completing this task, I will get it done within the next 30 days. So that is the first step. Get your name domain. Then put up at least one page “about you” on your site.
Secondly, everyone should have a business website. You can create one yourself on Wordpress for just the price of hosting which costs from $8.00 to 10.00 a month in most cases. If you don’t know how to do this, you can hire someone from fiverr.com to do that for you for just $5.00. You can also get one of the “done for you” websites that include hosting in many cases pretty cheaply too. So there really is no excuse for not having a website.
Branding 101 for Real Estate Investors
Here are 7 tips for creating your brand:
- You need a great logo. If you intend to cross brand your business site and your personal site, this can simply be a picture of you. After all, you are the face of the business.
- Determine what message you want to create about your brand. Who are you? What do you want to communicate about your brand? Are you the best in your city? What do you offer that the competition doesn’t offer? Write it down and get clear about who you are. Why should your customers care about you?
- Your brand should be consistent. Your brand includes every aspect of your business. Things like your email signature, how you answer the phone, products or books you create, freebies you give away, and possibly even some of the clothes you wear.
- Develop a tagline for your business. When I had a home inspection business my tagline was, “Inspecting Louisville one house at a time”. My tagline for my real estate investing business is, “We Buy Houses – We Solve Problems”. Your tagline should be simple and easy to remember.
- Your printed materials should all reflect your brand. Things such as letterhead, marketing materials, newsletters etc. should all contain the same branding; the same colors, logos, taglines etc. This is how you establish your brand. Consistency is once again the key.
- Create the persona you want your brand to reflect. – Is your brand friendly? Do you work with average folks on a daily basis?
*Are you working with high end clients where you need to look and speak a little differently; perhaps a little more formally?
*Are you working with folks in distressed situations that need extra empathy and hand-holding?
*There is one point I want to make here; be genuine and just be yourself.
As the saying goes:
“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken”.
7. Finally, create a brand that embodies your values. You need to be consistent in delivering that brand. If you are not able to deliver whatever your brand promises, you will have little chance of getting referrals or staying in business in the long term. Live your brand on a daily basis.
Real estate investors and “we buy houses” companies are a dime a dozen in most areas. There is more competition than ever. So if we are to be successful in this business over time, it is absolutely essential that we carve out a very specific niche for ourselves with consistent branding.
What can you do this year to differentiate yourself and your business from all the other real estate investors in your area? Weigh in below.
Photo Credit: Urban Woodswalker
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.