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Real Estate Marketing: Are You Selling Yourself Or A Home?

online real estate marketing

What are you selling?

It’s a basic question. As with many basic questions there is some confusion surrounding it. The question? As a real estate professional - Are you selling yourself or a home? It’s kind of a trick question but I don’t mean it to be. It’s kind of like the old chicken or the egg right? So, are you selling yourself or a home? I am a former title rep for a national title insurance company in Phoenix, Arizona and after 10 years in the title industry – working closely with thousands of real estate professionals I have my own thoughts on the subject. I want to know about yours.

So, Are you selling yourself or a home? Let’s first address what that really means, at least what I want it to mean. If you are a real estate agent selling yourself, your marketing is clearly about you. You are the product. Your website is about you. Your direct mail marketing [if you use any] is about you, your video’s are about you, your marketing is about you. In this marketing method I would expect to see awards you have won, your sales stats, “top producer”, “presidents circle”, designations. It’s all about you. To give an example of this, I would expect to see messages targeted at consumers with tag lines like “It’s all about You” or “Top Producer 20XX” or “Top producing team in X area” ya know, that kind of stuff. In this method there is no doubt that YOU are the brand. Consumers are buying you, because you have positioned yourself  as the product or brand.

If you are selling a home, your marketing would be all about a home or home(s) for sale. Where as above the agent is clearly the product or brand, the product is now the home, it takes center stage. Examples of this method might be “Beautiful 4 bedroom home for sale in X” or 3 bedroom homes below $200,000 in Y” or “Bank Owned Homes For Sale in Z”.  Your website is about homes for sale, your direct mail correspondence [if you use any] is about homes for sale, your video’s are about, yep – homes for sale. In this method, you have positioned the home as the brand, as the product for sale and it’s clearly not about you.

So, which one are you?

I think there are advantages to both methods but one has to come first. So, lets first look at some facts.

  • Over 90% of consumers start their home search online
  • 80% of consumers will go with the 1st agent they “find” when they identify a home that meets their needs
  • Only 3% of home buyers and sellers chose an agent based on the brokerage they were associated with. [X Realty, Y Realty vs Z Realty]
  • 37% of REALTORS had 0 [ZERO] business from their websites in 2010
  • 10% of REALTORS did over 25% of their business from their websites in 2010
  • In 2009 the AVERAGE REALTOR completed 7 transactions
  • Average age of first time home buyers in 30 while repeat buyers is 49

4 years ago, when I was still a title rep, many real estate agents would meet with me for their marketing needs. The conversations we would have almost 100% of the time surrounded direct mail [postcards, flyers, magnets] stuff like that, traditional marketing for REALTORS. The messages they were putting out to the consumer was clearly all about them [Top Producer!]. I did not see a problem with this method at that time for a few reasons, 1) almost every agent was marketing themselves in this way  2) Consumers still looked at home buyer books and direct mail 3) the barrier to entry for a website was still very high 4) Consumer behavior had not truly shifted online yet.

Today I have different thoughts on the subject. Here is why. First of all, I think making yourself the brand in your marketing is OK IF YOU ALREADY HAVE AN ESTABLISHED BRAND. If you are already “top of mind” in a geographic area, marketing yourself solidifies your position in that market. Remember – Brand is in the eyes of the consumer. You can say how awesome and wonderful you are but if the consumer believes differently your brand is all for not.

If you are starting in the real estate biz or you don’t have an established brand,  I would suggest that you don’t make yourself the brand – at least not yet. Here is why. Consumers have shifted online. Over 90% of consumers start their home search online. They are searching for information. Information about homes for sale, short sale vs foreclosure, bank owned homes near X employer, property taxes in New York, etc. What they are not looking for is a real estate agent – at least not at that point. If you market yourself, you could be missing out on the OVER 90% of consumers that start their home search online. Why? Because they don’t even know you exist. They are looking for information – homes for sale.

If you want to grow your real estate business you might consider creating content around the consumer, around your ideal client. The future of your business relies upon getting “found” online my consumers looking for information. Creating content they are naturally looking for is a great way to help them find you. Remember the info above 80% of consumers will go with the 1st agent they come across? To grow your business – Be the 1st agent they come across by creating content they are looking for.

To illustrate this point. I am a former title rep. Now I create content for real estate agents and title companies. That is my ideal client, that is who I create content for – to help them find me- real estate agents and title companies.  Guess who is reading this article?

What do you think about real estate marketing – Are you selling yourself or a home?


PRO-Found Marketing is an Inbound Marketing company specializing in helping professionals get “found” online. What can PRO-Found do for you? Give me a call, we specialize in online marketing for REALTORS. Visit our website at





Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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