The impact of COVID-19 is being felt on all levels. No part of the economy has remained the same as it was in February, and as a result businesses in all industries have had to adjust their messaging strategy.
Real estate is no exception.
Agents should be adjusting their messaging during the pandemic and continually reevaluating their success. This is a moving target, but with care and attention, real estate agents can come up with a plan to inspire confidence and retain clients throughout these difficult times. Here are 5 ways agents should change their messaging during COVID-19.
1. Soften Your Tone Amidst the Uncertainty
If there’s one word you’ll want to focus your change in messaging around, “gentle” is a good place to start. Speak gently, and don’t assume that all of your potential and existing clients are having the same experience right now. People are facing health problems, family issues, job losses, quarantine fatigue, and everything in between right now. Just because the tides have begun to turn for some does not mean that they’re improving for all.
You can sense the uncertainty in the market. Sellers have pulled listings from the market or are holding off on listing until they feel more comfortable, and many on the buyer-side have put their home search efforts on pause. To account for the uncertainty, we’d recommend staying positive, following up softly, and demonstrating your effectiveness as an agent without a hard sell. Ultimately, it comes down to doing what you’ve always done: focusing on what’s best for your clients.
It’s extremely important that you consider your tone in every situation, be it digitally, on the phone, over video chat, or in-person when social distancing rules are eventually relaxed.
2. Shift Towards Educational Content
The best antidote for fear is education, and it’s for this reason that we’d recommend shifting your content marketing strategy towards educating with transparency.
Typically, content marketing focuses on one of four themes: education, entertainment, inspiration, or engagement. During the COVID-19 pandemic, education should make up the bulk of your messaging. If you’ve sold a property during the pandemic, share the details of the sale with your social media followers, newsletter subscribers, and client list. Buyers and sellers are uncertain about even some of the most ordinary happenings right now, and they’ll welcome the transparency.
Being direct and addressing the new normal is the best way to keep your audience optimistic about buying and selling. Sometimes it’s the small, unaddressed fears like how to conduct a home inspection or how to see a notary during the pandemic that can keep people on the sidelines. Layout the process for things that you would normally not have to address, and if things haven’t changed for a particular process, be transparent about that as well.
3. Focus on Your Experience
This is a great time to demonstrate your expertise and offer your insights, especially if you can draw from past experiences. If you’ve worked through past market downturns or recessions, offer your take on the similarities and differences between then and now. If you’re an experienced agent you’re already likely fielding plenty of speculative questions about where things are headed, don’t be afraid to offer your thoughts to your client base.
If you’re a new agent and don’t have much experience to draw on, there are other ways to show off your expertise. One of the best ways to gain credibility is to get featured on publications that your potential clients are already familiar with. Make a list of notable digital publications, find the contact information for their Editors which is typically listed in a company masthead, and ask if you can become a contributor. Offer your take on the current market conditions and when you get published, share your column with your potential clients. Being featured in an online publication will help you start building a positive reputation as a qualified real estate expert.
4. Build New Retention Strategies With Social Media
Maintaining relationships with clients is always of the utmost importance, and solidifying your retention strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic is absolutely crucial. Keep retention top of mind when formulating your messaging.
One of the ways that you can stay in touch with your clients is on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. REW’s most recent Market Report indicates that agents value social media activity as the second-best strategy for surviving the crisis, so be sure to brush up on your social media skills. Now is a great time to start and learn how to use a proper Facebook Business account for your brand. A Facebook Business account gives you the opportunity to take advantage of Facebook’s powerful advertising platform, deeper audience insights, and more customizations than a regular Facebook page. When you get used to the platform you’ll be able to stay in touch with clients via live videos, targeted ads, and Facebook Messenger.
Use your social channels as a soft touchpoint to stay in touch with your clients. This way when things open back up your name will be top of mind.
5. Increase Your Video Content
Canada is at home right now, and video content is arguably the best way to stay in touch. Whether you’re using videos to update your clients on market conditions or as a means of direct communication in the form of video calls, it’s important to use video to stay connected with your clients.
On top of video content being useful for staying connected with potential clients, it’s also a great way for agents to market their properties to prospective buyers during times when strict social distancing rules are in place. If you haven’t been using video or virtual tours to promote your properties in the past, now is a great time to get started. Virtual tours improve your potential buyer’s online experience, and during COVID-19 they’re the best way to evaluate a property.
REW’s Virtual Tours make it easy for buyers to evaluate a potential home while staying inside and following social distancing policies. If you want to stay in touch with your clients who are actively searching for a home, Virtual Tours are a must right now.