The Boutique Broker's Guide to Delighting Agents and Winning Star Talent

Seth Price
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Seth Price
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Website Design
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Design

Look at us! Managing marketing materials

Following the Ninja Selling strategy means that Staub at West + Main Homes has to think about what she’s providing her agents in terms of materials for reaching out and talking to their spheres. That includes a glossy lifestyle magazine with all-original content, branded merchandise, direct mailing materials, and social media listing materials that align with West + Main’s aesthetic.

The blog is a powerhouse on the website, consistently producing new content around Denver-specific real estate interests. It goes well beyond the typical “here’s a new listing” posts (although their listing posts are beautifully teased on social media and executed on the website) and delves into real estate market trends, home design and architecture pieces, finance advice, home maintenance and home improvement, gardening, cleaning, mortgage rates, local artists and makers, and things to do in and around the city.

“It’s all done through a really streamlined process—everything from listing marketing to any other kind of marketing request,” says Staub. There are forms set up for any form of marketing an agent might want to do, “down to if they want to submit a project to be featured in the magazine.”

The magazine features West + Main listings and agent projects on the covers; it’s mailed out directly to clients, and Staub says that her agents typically order extra issues for open houses and meetings with people. (We’ll share more about how the brokerage manages to produce a magazine and sell real estate a bit later, but here’s a hint: The in-house marketing team includes print design and writing expertise.)

Ansley uses a similar templated form model, where agents can upload their marketing materials and manage them from anywhere. “If I took a new listing today, I could upload the pictures of the home and,

within five minutes, have a social media post already ready to go and posted,” McCormack explains. That’s hosted in-house so that agents get a consistent experience, and the branding remains dialed-in and immediately identifiable as Ansley.

The brokerage employs eight graphic designers, an art director, and a senior director of social media and agent marketing, who works one-on-one with agents to cultivate social media plans and also handles the company’s social media in-house.

At Wemert Group, marketing requests for things like personalized listing materials are also automated. “We have two professional photographers on staff, and they go out and take care of all the inner marketing team’s needs,” outlines Smith. “We have people in the office focused on listing marketing, and then people focused on brand marketing.”

The brand marketing support allows agents to request specialized materials for their farms or markets; for example, an agent who’s focusing on farming their gym community might put in a request for branded hats or water bottles. There are forms they can fill out to get that done, but Smith adds that they want their agents to feel like they have access to the marketing team, “so they can text the marketing team and get help. Our staff is stable; they either work from home or the office, and agents can text or call, and then marketing stabilizes the request in their own system.

“We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for the agents,” she adds.

As a brokerage that relies so heavily on repeat business—and staffs a team to make sure nobody in the database falls through the cracks—Smith notes that Wemert also goes to great lengths to ensure that former buyers and sellers receive birthday cards, “home-aversary” cards, and other special touches.

In December the first year after you’ve bought a house with Wemert, you’ll receive a customized ornament in the mail as a gift. “We prebuild those packages through the year,” Smith discloses, noting that it’s easier to tackle piecemeal than all at once in December.

They also send out lottery tickets with “lucky to know you” notes, holiday packages (this year for Thanksgiving, they distributed a cookie theme: potholders with a low-key logo, a wooden spoon, cookie mix, and a house-shaped cookie cutter), and other small items to let clients know they’re thinking about them.

Like West + Main, Wemert also hosts client events. “Typically, we’ll rent out movie theaters during the year, or water parks—some pretty major events,” Smith says.

And Smith adds that the experience itself has to be a marketing experience for clients. “If they remember that we were problem-solvers and solution-based, and we guided them with what’s next, they’re going to feel like we’re really capable,” she explains. “If you sell a home, we’ll do a personalized photo book of the client’s pictures of the home they sold. Those have made people cry at closing tables.

“We have a couple of touches that are too fluffy for investor clients, but agents can pick and choose depending on their databases,” Smith concludes.

At Middleburg Real Estate | Atoka Properties, brand strategy is important—but as Showalter explains, “we have found that for agents, their brand is just as important as our brand, and we want them to all be cohesive.” To ensure that, they have a staff designer who works with agents to create personalized logos and other marketing materials that fit within the brokerage’s brand, including a brand board for each agent.

The process currently includes a consultation with agents, creating concept boards, sending mock-ups and proofs for agent review, and then delivering the final brand boards and logo assets.

Agents get logos in different color versions and file types, and part of the process includes walking agents through adding their new logos onto their websites, listing presentations, and other basic areas where they might want to include it.

The brand boards include approved colors, typefaces, logo alternatives, and other details an agent needs to ensure their brand is consistent within and with the brokerage.

“If we can’t offer the service on the level that our agents want, then we find a company we can direct the agents to, that has all our branding assets,” Showalter explains. They work with agents on social media to make sure that everything aligns not only with brand but also with the agent’s own personality—“agents can’t outsource social media unless they have someone who knows them personally, so their social media goes along with their brand,” she notes.

Middleburg Real Estate | Atoka Properties also focuses heavily on hyperlocal resources and marketing, much like West + Main, so they offer a wide spread of neighborhood guides, community resources, and other local tidbits; Showalter says their community content captures about 40% of the website’s traffic now. They also use in-house creative talent—designers,

writers, creative directors, sometimes interns—to make and update the community content. When they send out a brokerage newsletter, they’ll include a link to a resource (such as a restaurant guide) to go along with their “just listed” details, for example.

Although print marketing (yes, we’re talking about newspapers) is likely considered an old-school tactic, “it’s worked for us,” Showalter says, and they run a combination of listing ads and general branding ads. They also print the community resource guides, which include information about buying or listing a house, and make those available in offices for people to pick up and flip through.

Because the agents who work at Middleburg Real Estate | Atoka Properties operate under specialized marketing programs, Showalter says they can handle their agents’ direct mail and other print needs in house. “We have very few agents who do direct mailers, but the ones who do are very consistent,” she says. “We have one agent who, every single listing, he does a postcard for coming soon, just listed, under contract, sold.” They’ve created templates that agents can use to order and print the postcards, and then a local company prints and mails them for the agents using the latest version of the mailing list.