Welcome back to our our Q&A series here on Adwerx blog. From the Trenches features interviews with smart marketers and tech-savvy advisers who share their wisdom on the web and through social channels.
In our last Q&A post, we heard from branding expert and consultant Katie Lance. This week, we feature Real Estate guru Virginia Munden. Head to the comments section to let us know what you think — and feel free to suggest your favorite real estate maven for an upcoming post.
Meet Virginia Munden
Veteran Realtor and avid social media marketer Virginia Munden is an innovator in her field. This award-winning real estate powerhouse has been selling homes alongside her husband for 18 years as a sales representative for the Wayne Munden Team at RE/MAX Legacy Realty Inc., where they have established themselves as one of the top 100 teams in Canada to date in 2013. Virginia concentrates on exploring unique ways to achieve unimaginable results for her clients through social media, technology, marketing and promotions, networking, customer care coordination, and special community events.
Q. You’ve been selling real estate for 18 years. Over this period of time, the market has been through multiple boom and bust cycles. How have you seen personal branding help realtors survive, and thrive, during these phases?
A. The timeless real estate mantra that has helped us thrive in any circumstance, is “people first, not properties.” A realtor’s personal brand must be authentic, yet provide a relevant message within the real estate industry. Our personal brand has evolved over the years to deliver an experience of value, which is tied into our core principles. This is all a part of our larger value proposition to our team members, clients, colleagues, partners and – most importantly – to our industry.
Q. In a hot real estate market like this, it’s tempting to spend too much time working in the business instead of on building the business. How much time should an agent spend on marketing themselves vs. marketing their listings?
A. If one follows a consistent commitment plan early in their career to create brand awareness, it will be easy to maintain a strong referral network. Concentrating on people first, not properties, helps in building a better plan. We do not work with a business plan, but rather a passion, vision and commitment plan. Our clients market us now – that’s the beauty of it all. Newspaper ads aren’t a viable primary brand marketing strategy for realtors anymore. Results should be the strongest marketing component of a brand. We like to concentrate on sharing our data and statistics rather than how glossy or big our advertising is. Data and statistics do not lie.
Q. What advice would you give to a new real estate agent who wants to create a brand for themselves?
A. Be clear on your passion, vision and commitments. Have a strong set of core values and have a dynamic value proposition. Be clear about what you represent to your team, clients, partners and industry. A brand is how one engages with people. Branding isn’t just a logo or a tagline, it’s much more. Our industry deserves more. I encourage everyone not to push real estate onto anyone, but rather pull people into the value of your business by providing them information, knowledge and results. Knowledge is power, but experience will earn results.
Q. What social media and technology trends are you seeing really pay out for agents? Which do you think are passé?
A. All social platforms are important – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, WordPress. Wherever we can engage with the consumer and industry, we are there! Content is king. It is also a way to deliver value. Posting content out of context can harm your brand and business, so always ensure the content is within the proper context.
Q. Is there still a place for offline promotional tactics in an increasingly digital marketplace? What tactics do you see as still effective — direct mail, outdoor advertising, print, events?
A. We do concentrate on events as well to deliver value to clients, partners and colleagues within the real estate industry. Traveling the world to spread our business – including Vienna, Buenos Aires, Las Vegas and many Canadian provinces – has been essential in building our referral network.
Another platform that is important for us is cause marketing. Giving back to communities and sharing is a commitment we have made to ourselves and to others. We support the Children’s Miracle Network and Sickkids Hospital, as well as many community and school events dear to us. We do not do this for any other reason but to stay grounded and to keep up with humanity the best way we can.
We do not print, and if we do it is minimal and must include a digital, mobile and text option for our clients. We want to engage with the online consumer only. The millenial generation is important to us, as they are the future of our buying power. We study buyer behavior and 95 percent of consumers are online searching for properties while 75 percent are online searching for realtors to list their homes. We need to be there!
Great points, Virginia. Thanks for giving readers ways to build a strong brand on a solid foundation. Look for Virginia speaking across the country at a variety of RE/MAX and real estate industry conferences. Follow her on twitter — @VIRGINIAMUNDEN
Want to suggest an agent that can contribute to our “In the Trenches” series?