As a property professional, even if the last couple of years were financially fruitful for you, it hasn’t made the current year’s change of pace any easier to deal with. If, like me, you thought this year was going to be much calmer and consistent – then, like me, you probably received a rude awakening.
Many property professionals are facing the reality that you need to start promoting your real estate business again, then don’t tackle this task alone – bring the team together to find some fresh ideas.
Monitor your motivation levels
Back in May, my energy levels were at an all-time low. And I recognised that my team were feeling much the same. Freedom from lockdowns, only led to sickness and staff shortages, closely followed by the great resignation and a market slowdown. So, as the agency owner, I needed to jump into action and muster up some renewed marketing momentum.
If your team spends their working days independent from each other, whether they are based at home or out on the road, you’d be smart to think of ways you can break the monotony, inject some team comradery and get everyone re-energised and excited about the future.
For the Hoole team, this meant a couple of days away from our main office and home offices at a luxury holiday home, where we could socialise and strategise and generally re-energise and get excited about marketing our services for the year ahead.
Offering flexibility to your work family
Today, the Hoole team is made up of over 30 digital marketers and creative professionals. Our staff are all degree qualified, with at least 5 years experience in their chosen discipline. Every member of our team either lives in Australia or New Zealand, or grew up on this side of the globe.
And, I am proud to have been able to retain so many like-minded and talented individuals. In fact, even when team members have needed to relocate to places like Brisbane, or even Beijing and Berlin they’ve been able to remain working within the Hoole family.
Long before the pandemic, our brand marketing agency had been primarily a work-from-home organisation. Having a remote business structure allows me to bring together experienced marketers, copywriters, designers and web developers from across ANZ to service our real estate clients. However, having a remote team means we miss out on the morning teas, water cooler chats and Friday night drinks that a traditional office environment enjoys. So building strong team bonds are a little trickier for us. It’s all well and good seeing each other on Zoom calls, but there is nothing like a face-to-face get-together to build real connections.
Changing your mindset from ‘all work and no play’
In the six-year history of Hoole Marketing, we had never had a strategic away day, and I was conscious for some time that all the business vision was coming from me and living in my head, and my head alone.
It was also evident that despite emailing each other most days, some of the long-standing team members (who regularly work on projects together) had never met face-to-face. So to further enhance and re-energise the business, I wanted to bring as many of the core team together to spend quality time in each other’s company – to get to know one another, share ideas and connect on a more social level.
Great minds think alike, if you allow them
When you’re so busy working ‘in your business’ and focused on meeting your client’s needs, it’s easy to use up all your energy on the day-to-day. If you don’t carve out time to work ‘on your business’ it’s easy to become a ship drifting in and out with the tide.
I’ll admit that over the past few years Hoole has been pedalling along without a documented strategic plan. Although we are agile and skilled at recognising what businesses in the real estate industry need, throughout 2018 and again in 2020, when real estate hit the pause button we were in survival mode.
But this year, as winter brought its seasonal lull, I knew I needed to seize the opportunity to get our collective, strategic heads together as a team so that we could forge a clear strategy. One that not only defines us but gives us a fresh set of values and a purpose to promote.
We all love doing what we do – branding and digital marketing. This time, however, I wanted the entire team to be involved in creating a fresh direction and setting the strategy for Hoole. The business had outgrown me as an individual leader, it now warranted having the team become masters of their own destiny.
Get away from the office to clear your head
Stepping out of our usual surroundings, and placing ourselves in a stunning Airbnb, on the south coast of NSW, I asked Steve Carroll to join us and share his industry insights. Steve is both a client of Hoole and a close friend, and with his help, we moved out of operational mode, started to think creatively and talk about the big picture. Steve delivered inspiring talks and workshops, sharing his experience with us as a real estate industry influencer.
Giving my team the opportunity to get involved in the business, and thinking from the top level, has allowed me to relinquish some of the responsibility for the direction of our digital marketing agency. In handing over the reins to others, I’m offering team members the freedom to evolve their contribution and influence the output of our business, both creatively and financially.
Refreshing your brand story
The house we found for our team away days came with Moroccan architecture, a gleaming pool and lush gardens – so what else would you expect a bunch of marketers to do? Organise a brand photoshoot of course!
Bringing in a local brand photographer, we wasted no time in capturing as much footage as we could. And, seeing as this was the first time in a couple of years that we’d been located in the same place, a team photo was our number one priority.
Content is still king and social media still queen
In the world of digital and social media marketing, brand photography is one of the most important assets to have in your marketing tool kit. Having a library of brand-approved visual imagery is your trump card for creating social content, all year long. Visuals communicate best who you are, and what you stand for, with prospective clients.
Featuring your staff in photographs not only allows you to showcase your unique personalities but provides visual proof that you all believe and are vested in the business. Continually adding to your brand assets makes marketing your business throughout the year so much easier. Plus there’s nothing better than pictures that feature real people who genuinely work in your real estate agency. Stock images just don’t cut it.
Having real team members in photos will foster genuine engagement from your followers. And, before you complain about the difficulty with convincing everyone in your team to participate, consider doing what we did and bringing everyone together in one place, in a relaxed environment, away from the office and the daily stresses of clients and workloads.
Inspire your team, and they’ll be far more willing to support your brand marketing efforts!
Back on track in business
So, in summary, we laughed, we bonded, and we came back to our home offices ready to take on whatever challenges the forthcoming year wants to throw at us.