Embracing a Modern Real Estate Business Model: An Interview with Broker Chad Gaughan
Real estate businesses of all shapes and sizes exist today — and Local Property Shop President Chad Gaughan is leading the charge in choosing his own adventure.
The Boston real estate broker has seen business models of varying types in the industry thrive and fail. Some of the more interesting and fruitful of these firms, he notes, are of the “collaborative” kind — like his own.
Gaughan could have gone the traditional route for his own real estate business. However, that’s not where he sees the brokerage model headed in the future.
In fact, as Gaughan noted during our interview with him, there’s already a movement toward increased versatility among modern firms today.
Read our Q&A with the broker to discover his thoughts on where the industry is now, where it’s going, and how he plans to continually adjust to the changing winds in real estate.
An immersive web experience is vital to Local Property Shop’s real estate business model.
As with most industries today, a strong web presence isn’t a plus, it’s a must.
Gaughan recognizes this fact of life — as well as the need to engage his online audience with interactive content:
- “Most Fridays we go on Facebook Live. We try to talk about a project we’re working on — something that’s popular or some value-add to the city. We try to bring attention to some of the things that are current.”
In addition to hosting live streams, he says that blogging consistently earns his real estate business traffic: “It’s super easy to just jump in [and start blogging]. If you’re at Starbucks or in between showings, hop in, write a quick blog, then you can share that socially and drive that traffic.”
Writing roughly one blog post a week on topics of importance to his audience helps Gaughan and his crew steadily build up Local Property Shop’s site traffic.
Working with tech and marketing experts regularly helps Gaughan and Co. succeed online.
With sparse amounts of time to spend on his online marketing, Gaughan entrusts marketing professionals to help.
“I’m pretty savvy with websites,” he explains. “But we have to spend a lot of our time buying and selling real estate to keep the lights on.”
Optimizing his firm’s website has helped put Local Property Shop on the digital map.
To ensure it gets found organically and by the right audience, though, he works with Placester to get the most out of his web presence.
“I can usually get [our website] to the best of our ability,” Gaughan adds, “But [Placester] support comes in and revamps our website. It’s nice to have that partnership.”
Thus far, Gaughan is satisfied with how his Placester site has grown over the past 12 months.
“We’re still just a year in,” he says. “We’re still in the building stage of our company. But what we wanted to have in our website was a robust knowledge base. People can actually come and use it as a resource, and we haven’t felt limited in that regard with the platform.”
Growing the Local Property Shop real estate business model means providing superb value and services.
In the booming Boston housing market, it can be hard to stand out amongst competing firms.
Gaughan is unfazed by the challenge, given the personalized content he shares on his website.
“We’re competing with a lot of people that are using websites, like Redfin and Zillow, and there’s a lot of data there, which is great,” he shares.
“But when we communicate with our clients, we want to be able to send them our brand: ’Hey, look guys, here’s a listing that you may be interested in,’ or ‘Here’s some more information on something you reached out on.’”
Investing time and energy into making his site stand out from other local Boston real estate businesses is something Gaughan takes great joy in.
The reason? He understands buyers, sellers, renters, and even investors want that personalized touch when researching homes, developments, and agents.
“We take a lot of pride in the content we create,” says Gaughan. “So, selfishly, we want to pull these people toward our website so they can learn something and we can provide some value.
- “In a highly competitive market, the only way you can stand out is your level of service and area of expertise.”
Gaughan recognizes the value of regularly published, fresh content to his agents’ sites.
It’s not just Gaughan who gets the incredible value of original and innovative real estate content. His team is on board with the marketing approach as well.
He explains, “What I try to encourage the agents to understand is, ‘You guys are the frontline. Your opinion is what’s most important.’ [Maybe] you’re dealing with clients who are frustrated: ‘What can I do to change that?’”
His advice to his small team of agents is simple: Just start, and iterate and optimize from there.
“The minute you get your website, put up your first blog,” Gaughan told his team. “Blog about, ‘Hey, this is a new venture. I’ve never had a website before.’ People connect with that stuff along the way.”
The common dilemma for agents’ content creation efforts is time. Few agents have enough hours in the day (or even week) to blog enough to make it count.
Finding that time, though, is essential to the long-term health of your real estate business.
“Nobody blogs enough,” says Gaughan, “but one of the things I try to tell the agents is when we are part of this collaborative model, everyone brings something special to the table. They’re all experts at their own thing. It gives them an outlet at any point. Whenever they get the motivation to write a blog, they can log in, and it’s cool to watch them customize [their websites]. It’s cool they’re getting their own [content] up and running.”
Staying ahead of the marketing curve helps distinguish Gaughan’s brokerage from other firms.
Examining how other real estate brokerages conduct their content strategies – and identifying gaps – has helped inform some of LPS’ approach.
Few real estate pros have been able to master the art of crafting shareable, easily consumable content.
That’s why shareability is the one must-have trait of every piece of content Gaughan and his team produces.
It’s where he sees an untapped opportunity to resonate with his buyer personas.
“It’s easily shareable; that’s one of the nice things about my website,” Gaughan states. “You can pick up weekly habits with marketing, like, ‘I want to pick out a Wicked Cool Listing Wednesday,’ or something like that. You can set that up on a schedule. Take one hour a month to set up [and automate] your Facebook shares for a month.”
Devveloping this kind of bite-sized, yet robust content for his audience is what helps win him and his team new business regularly.
“One of the things we offer when we try to win listings with sellers is: ‘Not only are we going to go through and get your property up on all of your favorite websites that other people are searching on, but we’re also pretty nuts about our marketing. We create a custom website with the listing feature, which will link to virtual tours; a nice description. Then, we can use that link as a landing page with boosted social media posts and find core demographics you want to market to and track the results.’”
All of Local Property Shop’s digital marketing efforts would be for naught if Gaughan didn’t measure his content performance each week:
- “That’s the biggest thing at the end of the day: Seeing your marketing results. You can say to a seller, ‘Hey, 3,500 people [took] a virtual tour of your house this weekend.’”
At the end of the day, having a well-branded, content-heavy website featuring the latest listings is what puts Gaughan’s mind at ease.
“Sometimes, you do have to be all over the place,” the broker says. “When you have technology that’s ‘set-it-and-forget-it,’ yeah, there’s an initial upfront time investment to make it feel and look like your own thing.”
That investment, however, is more than worth it, Gaughan notes.
“Right now, I’m not worrying about my website,” he elaborates. “I’m worrying about my social media marketing campaigns. Then, at the end of the week, I’ll take a look to see how we’re doing [traffic-wise].”
Google Analytics and other data tools keep LPS moving in the right direction with its real estate marketing plan.
Other than making sure his site is a well-oiled machine, though, Gaughan makes sure he and his associates proactively engage with prospects and clients.
The more they do this, Gaughan says, the more likely they are to become memorable to leads and customers.
“We live in a world where it’s very easy to connect with people,” says Gaughan. “An online review or online referral, or somebody else likes this company, or they’re interacting with this company. It does end up feeling as though online activity will give other people a sense of comfort with that company. So we try to engage with everybody as much as we can.”
Watch our webinar with Local Property Shop’s Chad Gaughan to learn about his real estate business model and marketing strategy:
Published on September 28, 2017
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.