Personal Branding was the mantra of the 90s and up through about 2005. Every one of the Big Name Real Estate Speakers extolled the virtues of having your name on everything that you handed out - hats, refrigerator magnets, T-Shirts, flyers, postcards, pens, rulers, calculators, and what-have-you. As the boom picked up momentum after 2000, all of this seemed to make sense - it was working wasn't it?
Well, maybe it wsas not working so much as the market was working, because now we are seeing market research that seems to indicated that consumers just don't care who you are as long as you can provide the information they seek in the quickest possible timeframe. There are Exceptions to every rule, of course. There are a handful of personally branded Realtors and Mortgage Brokers in each region who stand out from the crowd because of years of advertising their name. Particularly in small towns, well known and respected professionals tend to garner most of the business.
For the masses, of which I am one, personal branding is an expensive and "iffy" approach to generating more business. Putting my picture on a billboard just costs more than I am willing to fork out, just to see what will happen. For most of us, including the new entrants to the field, we must find a quicker and less expensive way to achieve success. The Internet has changed things dramatically, because now we are not just dealing with our local market, we are dealing with the World Wide Web. So now we cast our nets wider.
Internet viewers do not care WHO YOU ARE, they only care WHAT YOU ARE. Can you fulfill their need? For example, let's say you are looking for a magnetic lens adapter for your nifty little digital camera. You need a wide-angle lens to capture a wider view picture of the living room in a home you just listed. It has to be magnetic so the wide-angle lens will just pop off if the main lens withdraws into the camera. (Don't want to burn up the little motor in the camera). So what do you do? Do you jump in the car and start driving around to camera stores? Probably not, with gasoline at $3.50 a gallon. YOU GO TO THE INTERNET, of course. You Google it up and get 10 responses. Now, I ask you, how much do you care about the name of the person selling the lens?
If an unknown offers immediate shipment at a fair price and takes Pay Pal or a credit card, would you refuse to deal with the person or company? I doubt it. Why do you think a German Buyer googling up a Real Estate Agent in Cape Coral, Florida would feel any different. Stateistics from NAR show that the first person to answer a plea for assistance usually gets hired. What would make you think that the said German Buyer would google up a Real Estate Agent by name? Think about that for a minute. How many German Buyers have one of your cute little refrigerator magnets?
So, In other words, it is the WHAT YOU ARE that prospects are attracted to. Think about what search words a German Buyer would type in if he wanted to buy a Golf Course Home in Cape Coral, Florida. These words should be your new MANTRA !!!
If you are prompt, do what you say you will do, diligently pursue an objective, etc., then a person who just "met" you on the Internet, will be impressed.
Budget wise, this Internet approach is both easy and efficient. Prowling the pages of Active Rain for Search Engine Optimiztion takes time, but it does not cost money. Knowledge is an accumulated database that stays with you long after you have paid the price. SEO is an accumulated efficiency that stays with your website as it steadily brings in more inquiries.