Real Estate

An agent’s guide to marketing during a pandemic

Tips on how to be sensitive, focus on you neighborhood and more

As our world continues to change at a rapid pace, where each week feels like a month, rest assured that new opportunities are also emerging every single day. 

One huge opportunity that any agent can take advantage of is marketing even more during this period of time where most of our colleagues and competitors are playing defense. They’re playing it safe, sitting on the sidelines until there’s less uncertainty.

Dustin-Brohm
Dustin Brohm,
Columnist

While I certainly understand that, I also want to win. I want to play offense,  I want to take big leaps forward and grow while others are falling behind, and I know most of you do too. 

The only questions becomes: how do you double down on your marketing during a global pandemic so that you don’t end up doing damage to your brand and reputation (uhh, same thing!)? The same old marketing and advertising messages just won’t cut it.

In fact, some of the ads you were running over the last year or so may actually come across as tone-deaf and insensitive. And just so we’re clear, marketing doesn’t always mean “running an ad.” Marketing can also mean being visible in your community.

So here are some guidelines for marketing during this time of global uncertainty and fear.

Be sensitive to heightened emotions

Right now is not the time to be overly self-promotional, pushy or in your face. We’re all on edge right now, on so many levels, as we battle through each day to the best of our abilities.

Any advertising that could be construed as “taking advantage of a pandemic for personal gain” will be called out and chastised on social media. And rightfully so.

I’ve seen some awful stuff from agents lately, usually just getting a bit too cute with making light of a virus that is killing loved ones and causing livelihoods to be lost, seemingly overnight. A sense of humor is good, people need some laughs right now.

Just be careful not to push it too far or you could wind up with a PR nightmare on top of everything else. 

Focus on your neighborhood

The smaller the area you can focus on, the better. Now is not the time to try to market to the whole damn city. Rather, stand up and be a leader in your neighborhood, subdivision, or town. Be the lighthouse in storm for your neighbors, and do as much good as you can for them.

Utilizing NextDoor and/or a Facebook Group, organize a group of neighbors who will go pick up prescriptions and groceries for those who can’t, or shouldn’t leave their homes. Offer to deliver some extra pasta, bread, or toilet paper to neighbors who may be unable to restock themselves.

Make a video to get the word out, and share in relevant local groups. Ask others locally to help you share the message. You can make a major positive impact in a neighborhood, but it’s much harder when those efforts are spread across a whole city. 

Listen first

What does your community need? Before you just start blasting “The Interwebs” with crap that you want them to hear, first try finding out what they want/need to hear. Listen, watch, read.

Are neighbors asking for updates on specific things? You’ll likely see many conversations about which stores have which items in stock, what kinds of local ordinances have been put in place to encourage (or enforce) social distancing, and where the drive-thru virus testing centers are.

Why don’t you just gather that info that people are already looking for, and provide it all in one place? Turn your Facebook Page or Group into a central resource for everything people want. Don’t make it about real estate, at all. There will be plenty of time for that. Just help. If you do, people will remember. 

Video is powerful

Video is extremely powerful, for many reasons, but for this conversation, it’s powerful in that you can concisely deliver a bunch of community updates all within a 60-second video.

Video performs great on social media anyway, so it’s the perfect tool to quickly reach as many community members as possible. The personal connection that the community will then make with you is a great bonus.

Make content easy to share

If you want to do the most good, have the biggest impact, and help the most people, your content needs to be easy to share with others. Videos are certainly easy to share, but so are lists.

Do a post listing some of the local restaurants that are still open and offering takeout. Share a list of stores that have toilet paper in stock. Make a list of companies in the area that are hiring or need some extra help. Lists are concise and easy to share. And when you make something easier to share, it will get shared more.

Seize the opportunity to become a leader in your community at a time when you’re needed most. Don’t worry about making everything you do about real estate. It’s not all about real estate, especially right now. But if you can make an impact and do good, you’ll be remembered for it. At some point down the road, all the help you’ve been providing will catch up to you, and your business will surely grow as a result. 

Stay safe, stay home, stay positive. We will get through this, and when we do, we’ll be much stronger and better for it. 

 Connect with Dustin on LinkedIn

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