The Council of Residential Specialists kicks off its fifth annual CRS Week on Monday, Sept. 11, offering five free webinars to all real estate professionals as a sampling of CRS education and credit toward a CRS designation or maintenance requirement. The webinars will cover topics such as creative video marketing, refining email newsletters, and choosing better listing photos. This year, participants can register for all five webinars at once. Pro tip: Even if you aren’t available to attend every live webinar, it still pays to register so you can access the video playback later.
In preparation for CRS Week, we gathered tips from each of the five presenters, as well as links to register for the webinars.
1. Understand Your Client’s Journey
Don’t confuse brand experience with marketing—they’re not the same thing, says Alice Soon, marketing manager at Pillar to Post Home Inspectors, the largest home inspection company in North America. “Brand experience is literally the way a customer lives and experiences your brand and how they feel about interacting with you or your company,” she says. Soon will discuss how to make your brand an intrinsic part of your customer’s real estate journey and how to differentiate yourself by making the client experience unique from beginning to end.
2. Go Beyond Generic Video Marketing
“Our industry is good at marketing ‘vanilla,’” says Michael Thorne, CRS, associate broker at RE/MAX Little Oak Realty in British Columbia, Canada, and cohost of Mobile Agent TV. “Many people like vanilla—but they don’t love it. If you want buyers and sellers to remember you and your listings, you need to give your audience something that’s valuable and makes you stand out.” It’s not just about better production quality, however. Thorne will talk about how to use video to speak to various customer segments based on location, income, demographics, and interests.
3. Make Your Newsletters More Relevant
Don’t send out newsletters strictly for advertising purposes. Melissa Zavala, CRS, broker-owner of Broadpoint Properties in Escondido, Calif., and columnist for The American Genius and The Real Daily, advises taking the time to research topics that interest your audience. She'll also discuss how to tailor your newsletters for different segments such as home buyers, sellers, and your referral network. “Focus your newsletter on a common thread that holds it together,” she says. “Make sure your branding is cohesive. In this way, your business—no matter how small—will come across as a well-oiled machine.”
4. Start With Your Most Compelling Listing Photo
With more than 92 percent of home buyers searching for properties online before contacting a real estate agent, the first listing photo must convince a buyer to click through to see the rest of the house. But too many agents default to an exterior shot, says Dale Carlton, ABRM, CRS, a professional photographer and broker-owner of Carlton Realty in Fayetteville, Ark. Instead, choose an image of any attractive feature of the home. Carlton will teach the importance of focusing on pictures that demonstrate the details of a property—and he’ll explain why not every room needs a photo.
5. Create Conversations on Social Media
If you want to optimize your social media presence, Leigh Brown, ABR, CRS, president of the Council of Residential Specialists and broker-owner of RE/MAX Executive Realty in Charlotte, N.C., says you should ensure you have a recognizable photo across all platforms. But that's just the beginning. “What you want to do on social media is to create conversations with people,” Brown says. “It’s important to listen, ask questions, solicit opinions, and respond—to be visible.” She’ll show participants how to create an offline plan for online relationships and deepen connections with an existing sphere of influence.