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A 2-minute read. 📚
Yesterday my eight-year-old daughter jumped on an hour-long Zoom call organised by Brighton & Hove Albion football club.
It was held to mark World Book Day and featured a quiz, the men team’s top striker talking about his love of reading, and a couple of drawing and writing competitions.
My daughter loved it because she got a chance to speak with one of the players from the women’s team.
She’s now insistent that when lockdown ends, we ‘must’ go and watch the Brighton & Hove ladies’ team play. ⚽
Here’s where it got interesting, though.
My wife sat in earshot of the Zoom call and, when it finished, burst into the spare room where I was working like the drug squad, declaring: “That Zoom thing they did was brilliant, and they do a lot for the local community. It’s not just about football, you know. We should all support Brighton now.”
Mrs L doesn’t understand how football allegiances work.
But what Brighton’s Football in the Community scheme did is very clever. AND created two new fans.
I’m betting in several households where kids attended the session, a similar conversation was being played out.
Create Fans for Your Agency
The best estate agents I work with all have one thing in common.
They know the power of getting involved in things that at first glance having nothing to do with their property remit but have everything to do with helping people in their community.
Sure, they have different models. Different ways of running their agencies, but the exceptional ones all do loads for their community.
Whether it’s putting their money where their mouths are and donating computers for schools as moany have done recently.
Or organising community litter picking events.
Or showing tokens of appreciation to local NHS staff and keyworkers.
Or operating as a foodbank collection point or a winter clothing drop-off centre for local homeless charities.
This approach creates priceless local fans who support your agency because you are doing things outside of your remit to help their community.
And from a content marketing and social media perspective, it’s gold. This is because if people care they will share. Posts that have a purpose touch people’s emotions.
And when consistently they can turn bystanders into fans.
Walking the Walk
And this isn’t me preaching emptily – we practise what we preach through our content club’s Karma Club.
The Karma Club donated £7400 in the last financial year to good causes, community groups and local charities. Our members make this possible as £5 from each of their monthly fees is collected and then donated to community groups and charities.
It’s our key KPI. Because we know for us to do good, the business must do good. Call it the Karma Performance Indicator.
Thanks to us being actively involved in our community (the estate agency world), it is doing good on both fronts. It’s a good result for everyone.
I love hearing about the good things and great work agents are doing in your communities.
And with that lesson from Brighton & Hove Albion FC in mind, what is your agency doing to create new fans and support your community?
Thanks for reading.
Jerry
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What makes you pull your hair out about estate agency?
Is it your rivals and their overvaluations?
Or the way Rightmove treat you?
Or that many conveyancing solicitors have god complexes that would make even Bono blush?
What drives me to despair is bad advice.
I’ve seen at least three content marketing ‘experts’ say agents should only create content around property i.e. home tips, garden hacks ya da ya da.
Don’t get me wrong these are essential parts of any good agent’s content plan BUT they are not the be-all and end-all especially if you are thinking smarter and longer-term.
To prove my point we did a snap review of 25 of our members and their best performing content over the past 12 months. (Bear in mind we also do all the bread and butter advice stuff).
Here’s the top five:
  1. The recent printing for schools appeal. Ridiculous engagement.
  2. Shop local in lockdown as part of our Community Cheerleader campaign.
  3. Feelgood Friday (Weekly hits of hope and positivity during lockdown).
  4. How to keep your pets calm during firework season (in the seven years I’ve been doing estate agent content this annual article is usually the most shared but the lockdown has bumped it down).
  5. Ways to banish the pack to school anxieties of children returning to school last September.
Nothing to do with property. Everything to do with being helpful and interesting and THAT’S what makes them popular and highly shared. Remember this: ‘when people care, they will share.’
Look at it this way – let’s say you have a Facebook page with 500 members in it. What percentage of those are thinking about moving at any one time? In my experience, it’ll be less than 5-10 per cent give or take a little.
So if all you are doing is posting stuff about property then you are not relevant to the larger majority who, if you can keep them engaged with content that interests them, will possibly make that step towards you eventually.
At the very least if you keep being helpful, interesting, cheerleading for their community you’ll be in the front of their mind when the time is right to relocate or recommend.
My experienced-based advice is to mix it up if you want to stay relevant.
We need to remember we are in the attention business as much as we are in the agency business.
Rant over. Mic dropped. Off to comb dishevelled barnet.
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For my final article of 2020, I’ve got in touch with my inner Mystic Meg. Which sounds pretty weird right?

Here are my 6 forecasts for 2021 related to estate agents who ‘do’ content.

1) We’ll see more listicles (Google it).
2) Covid-19 related content will have a shelf life of at least the next 6 months – keep being seen to be clean.
3) Less but better – Less words, shorter videos BUT better, more helpful, interesting, trustworthy and sustainable content.
4) Videos – Turn all your content into videos where possible.
5) Community Cheerleading – Was big in 2020 will be massive in 2021.
6) Podcasts – you can use content generated by being a community cheerleader and turn it into a local podcast.

Finally, I just want to say thanks to all the people who read these emails.

And before I head off on Christmas holidays I want to share the exclusive Christmas video we created and licenced to members of our Estate Agent Content Club.

It’s been very well received and covered in the trade media.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amk7E82Hx2g&t=9s&ab_channel=JerryLyons

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe Christmas and let’s make 2021 better than 2020.

Cheers

JL 🙂

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Wall of Fame v Corner of Shame – Week 3

Each week I look at some of the best and worst in estate agency marketing—a one-minute read.

It’s Friday, and hopefully, that means you’ll be handing over the keys to plenty of excited buyers who can’t wait to start writing a new chapter in their lives.

But is that all you hand over?

No gift? No token of appreciation? No creative way of getting your agency’s efforts shared by the new homeowner online?

You’re missing a big trick. And one that this week’s Wall of Fame winner, Oliver of Oliver James, in M44 has perfected to an art form. Check out the photo with this post.

I love this keepsake he presents his purchasers with. Works on so many levels.

Oliver drew inspiration from Luke St Clair, who got the idea from our cousins Down Under.

It doesn’t matter where a good idea comes from; it matters what you do with it.

Corner of Shame

The reverse of Oliver’s agency approach is those agents who do nothing to mark such a key milestone in a client’s life.

I’ve bought and sold properties on six occasions and during that time have never received a gift or memento from an agent. So those six can head straight into the corner of shame.

You may only get one chance to make a first impression but has your agency paid thought to its lasting impression?

If you want me to share 12 great gift ideas for new homeowners your agency can give, let me know with a ‘go on, then you sweet haired rascal’ in the comments below.

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In this two-minute read, we discover what the annual John Lewis advert teaches estate agents about content marketing.

You know the run-up to Christmas has begun when John Lewis launch its annual feel-good festive advert.

And this year the theme is on kindness.

As with pretty much all the John Lewis Chrimbo adverts over the past five years, there is a big lesson here for estate agents about content marketing.

The Big Thing

The JL advert never tries to sell you products, ever.

But like with all exceptional content marketing, it attempts to get you to feel and remember something positive about the brand.

Usually, it looks to create a warm sense of homeliness, generosity, and trust.

And I’d argue it’s a worthwhile goal that your estate agency content should be aiming for.

But how do you do that?

It’s Pretty Simple

STOP only writing about property, the market and home moving.

Let me explain, using the content we create for members of my Estate and Letting Agent Content Club as an example.

We write, syndicate, and distribute up to three pieces of content to our 100 plus members each week.

Monday is lettings-based content written around landlords’ problems, interests, goals, and stresses in minds (PIGS). This establishes expertise.

Wednesday is sales-based articles with homeowners and moves in mind and addressing their multitude of PIGS. This shows care and knowledge.

Friday’s content we’ve dubbed CIA – Community Interest Articles. This can be about anything.

Usually, it’s something community based like supporting local stores. Although it can be to do with health, money, children, education, pets, you name it.

This CIA content follows the John Lewis advert approach.

We don’t talk about the core offering (agency services), but we do get the reader to (often subconsciously) feel that the agency is helpful, interesting, trustworthy and doesn’t just see or want us to be a walking wallet / potential customer.

Lockdown Lesson

When the first lockdown hit a lot of agencies who only focussed on property-based content were stuck. There was no market to talk or write about. Many just stopped posting content altogether.

But the agents that had realised there’s more to estate agency content marketing than market updates and How-to pieces (which 100 per cent play a part in a marketing mix) had plenty to share.

Our most popular pieces, by a country mile, during this time were our Feelgood Friday articles which shared positive stories from around the UK and the globe.

Again, nothing to do with property but everything to do with capturing attention, keeping it by being consistently interesting and creating positive feelings around their agency.

It’s worth some thought at the very least.

Better than John Lewis?

The Irish supermarket brand Supavalue have, in my opinion anyway, created a better Christmas advert.

Again, there’s not a product in sight. That’s because the smart marketing people behind it are focussed on getting the viewer to associate the brand it with a nice, warm, trusted feeling.

What feelings does your content create in your readers or viewers?

Thanks for reading,

Jerry

PS: This is my opinion based on years of experience. I’m not saying it’s the ONLY way, but if it’s good enough for one of the country’s most trusted brands ……..

 

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Wall of Fame V Corner of Shame

A two-minute read.

Introducing something new for the fine folk of Estate Agency Land.

Each Friday I’ll be looking over some of the exceptional things estate agents are doing with their marketing – agencies featured will make the soon to be highly esteemed Wall of Fame.

It’ll eventually become the Mount Olympus of marketing ideas, or a shorter-lived exercise than most people doing Joe Wicks’ workouts during lockdown part uno.

The flip side of this estate agency excellence is the Corner of Shame. You don’t want to be here, it’s where I’ll be sharing some of the lame, lazy and ludicrous efforts from not just the estate agency world but also further afield.

So here we go, drum roll, please.

The inaugural entrant into the Estate Agency Wall of Fame is ……. Umit Gorgulu.

Umit’s agency Courtney’s in Dalston, London, came up with the brilliant idea to add a lot of character to their direct mail efforts. They sent out letters to specific roads and areas. ‘Big deal’, I hear you think.

But Umit’s agency army hyper localised the pieces by talking about the history of that road/area.

Puts them in the local expert bracket AND it will gain the interest of far more people than a lame ‘We’ve dozens of people looking for a home like yours.’

Excellent, original and community based – Welcome to the Wall of Fame …Courtney’s Estate Agents.

Corner of Shame

The Corner of Shame this week was the selection of agents who are thieves.

Yep, those agents who nick the work of other agents and pass it off as their own. Seriously, shame on you.

Whether it’s content, property photographs or marketing literature, it’s never ok to use someone’s copyright covered material.

I had several incidents of this exact thing last weekend as four separate agencies stole content we had written exclusively for our members and paraded around shamelessly like it was theirs.

It’s great to be inspired by others. It’s natural to draw ideas from what you see around you, just don’t copy and paste things and then say, ‘we made this.’

If your agency has done something you are particularly proud of with its marketing, community work or anything else, please email Jerry@estateagentcontent.co.uk

And on the flip side if you‘ve seen something and think ‘that’s rubbish’ or ‘poor form’ contact me (this won’t be a name and shame exercise by the way).

Thanks for reading.

Jerry@estateagentcontent.co.uk

 

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A 60-second read.

Hello folks,

Ordinarily, I’d only share this in my members’ only Facebook group, but this has industry-wide importance.

It’s good for all of you all to know this / do this.

The news articles I’ve been writing this week revolve around the tier system and what it means to the respective local property markets. (Apart from my Content Club members in Scotland and Wales who have different regulations, so different messaging at the moment).

The articles reinforce the theme that, as it stands, estate agency is open for business despite the tier system restrictions.

This is such a key point to get across to your communities. Here’s why:

My neighbour, Anne, said to me yesterday ‘Oh so all the estate agents have stopped working, when will they be allowed to return?’

I live in a tier 1 area where it’s business as usual for agents, but Anne thought otherwise.

The public is confused, so it’s our job to provide clarity through clear, consistent communication.

Even if you are in tier 2 or 3 areas your agency can still help people move – so it’s ultra-important we, as an industry, get out there with that message, multiple times -The property market is still moving.

Stay safe, stay seen and stay helpful to remain relevant.

Jerry

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In this article I’ll share with you why the headlines you choose for your agency’s marketing content will make or break its effectiveness.

Now I’m guessing the above headline caught your attention.

I’ve used journalistic licence on the original headline which was published on the front cover of the New York Post in 1983.

And like all brilliant headlines, it sums up the story and arouses interest.

A man was indeed found decapitated in a topless bar. That’s a rough night out.

It is a legendary piece of work in journalism circles.

If you are creating content, of any description, you need to know how to create great headlines.

Get it wrong, and no one will want to read what follows, meaning all the effort you’ve put into the content is wasted, as the reader hasn’t gone past first base.

Get it right, and you’ll help them decide this is something they want to invest some of their precious time in and discover the full story.

It’s why student journalists spend weeks focussing on how to write them. I slaved over them because it was clear they would make or break the impact of anything I wrote.

What makes a good headline for estate agent content?

If it’s a blog, sum up what the reader can expect, i.e. Six things that can reduce the value of your AREA home.

If it’s a brochure, the headline needs to nail what’s in it for the recipient. i.e. How to secure the best price possible for your home.

The same applies to email subject lines, canvassing letters and captioning your videos.

The one I’m most proud was written for a news magazine where the editor insisted that all front cover headlines could only be three words long. That’s a challenge.

The story was about an upmarket restaurant which had been caught serving up horse meat and claiming it was premium beef.

The headline?

Horses for Courses.

What’s your favourite headline?

Thanks for reading and have a divine Sunday.

Rev Lyons

PS: For a simple way of checking how your headlines are shaping up, ping me a message at Jerry@estateagentcontent.co.uk

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What are estate agents really selling?

A two-minute read on how estate agents can create the most valuable asset they’ll ever own.

As estate agents, you sell houses, right?

And as letting agents you find landlords then place the best tenants in their properties, correct?

But before you do any of that, surely you must sell something integral to any successful relationship – TRUST.

When I’ve instructed agents in the past integrity and honesty were the most important things, I needed to feel I would be getting from them. I also wanted good results, obviously.

Whoever I do business with trust is my number one must-have and it’s the same for many people. You could have the best doctor in the world giving you advice, but if you didn’t trust his or her motives, you’d forever be second-guessing their advice.

But how do you sell trust as an estate agent? Here are seven brief thoughts, but I’m sure you have some of your own, and I’d be interested to hear everyone’s ideas.

  • Google It – Having lots of good Google Reviews creates trust.
  • SAS Your Email – Having your SAS photo on your email signature – Creates recognition – people like looking at people, we’re hard-wired to do this and make judgements based upon these so it’s good to look SAS, Smart and Smiling.
  • Award Wins – Now this will be a contentious one for some but by being able to show you’ve been recognised by external experts that you are great at what you do builds a sense of authority which is a familiar bedfellow with trust. In my opinion, there are only two industry competitions worth winning.
  • PIE charts – probably even more divisive than awards but being able to clearly show that you have the largest market share in an area will go a long way to reassuring many sellers and landlords you must know what you are doing. And don’t forget there are different ways to make these charts work to your strong points – Asking price achieved, lowest fall through rates etc.
  • Face Time – This one only applies to independent solopreneur type agents. Put your face on your boards, especially if you are working in a small community where ‘people know people.’
  • Get Involved – If you are aiming to be the community agency, what are you doing to show you’re living your values? Do you organise local litter picks like Sacha Scott EA in Surrey, or did you do Matterport tours for local schools returning after lockdown like Knightsbridge EA in Leicester? Being seen to be helping the local community is a win-win move and builds trust and brand likeability.
  • Content Marketing Matters. I’m biased, but if you are publishing articles, videos, and information, that is helpful, interesting, trustworthy and sustained (HITS) you will become front of mind for people looking for or recommending a local agent. The key is to show up consistently. It’s a sure-fire way of becoming known, liked, and ultimately trusted. 

Thanks for your time.

Jerry

 

 

 

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There’s a lot of talk on estate agency forums lately about content. Which is good.

One of the few positives to come from lockdown is the content marketing penny dropped with a lot of agents who for the first time in years had plenty of time on their hands.

With this in mind, I’ve come up with a 2-minute guide on things to look for when choosing a content creator to work with your estate agency. Here goes.

1)     Industry Experience – The best content creators in any sector are specialists, and as such, know the industry they are writing about inside out.

2)     Tone and Style – This is very important because different content creators have different styles and tone of voice. Get the content provider to send you some samples so you can gauge if you like the way the articles sound. Ask yourself, is this how I want my agency to come across?

3)     Social Proof – Whether it’s from their Google Reviews, case studies, or testimonials, a good content creation company will have no problems sharing the proof that what they do is working for other agents.

4)     Their Marketing – Do they market themselves well? After all, you wouldn’t take the advice of a financial adviser who was driving a beaten-up old banger. Or a gym instructor who was out of shape.

5)     Check Claims –If they claim to have dozens of satisfied clients, ask to speak to a couple of them.

6)     MultiUse  Check that the content lends itself to multiple marketing platforms. A good piece of written content is the springboard for your blog and/or video scripts, to be broken down into highly shareable chunks and even direct mailouts.

7)     Area Exclusivity – This is THE biggie and particularly relevant if you are looking for regular content. You want the reassurance of knowing your rivals across the road won’t have access to exactly the same content you are sharing. By NOT having area exclusivity, you are watering down your agency’s voice considerably and laying seeds of confusion in your audience’s minds.

I hope this helps some of you. Cheers, JL.

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