The real estate agent’s marketing guide to storytelling

Ready to win more business, build your sphere of influence, and stay top of mind in a tight market? Then it’s time to start telling a story with your marketing.

Welcome to the real estate agent’s marketing guide to storytelling, a resource packed with information that can help you win and promote listings, generate more leads, and better connect with buyers and sellers.

Let’s get started! Feel free to dive right in, or click one of the links below to jump to a section that piques your interest:

Part 1: Why storytelling matters: contributing to your bottom line

Part 2: Storytelling basics: 7 tips for telling a story that sells

Part 3: Properties, places, and people: what kind of story should I tell?

Part 4: Business-building tech tools that make it easier to share your story

Get 189 real estate video marketing ideas in your free copy of the Real Estate Marketing Kickstarter ebook!

DOWNLOAD NOW

Part 1: Why storytelling matters: contributing to your bottom line

Let’s start with a definition of real estate storytelling: Real estate storytelling is a marketing strategy that uses a combination of text, video, social media posts, websites, branding elements, and email to tell an overarching story about the properties, places, and people in a real estate agent’s geographic area. Stories are powerful because they’re engaging, they capture the emotion of potential clients, and they’re more authentic than traditional forms of advertising and marketing. And if you think about it, every sale starts with a story.

Buyers start imagining what it would be like to move. They want to get closer to the city center. Maybe they want to get into a specific school district. Or they just got married and they’re looking for a starter home. And inevitably the search goes online. Before you know it, they’re creating a story about what life would look like if they moved into that home they saw on Facebook. But one thing’s missing. They need another character in the story. Someone who can help them get from point A to point B. They need a real estate professional. Real estate storytelling online home search

 

“Everything you do to market your business is another paragraph, page, or chapter in the story people hear from you. And the story people hear is the one they act (or don’t act) on, and repeat (or don’t repeat) to others.”

– Brian Clark

Does this sound too psychological? Too much like a stretch? It’s not. Think about your own process for buying your home. Was it that different? Smart real estate agents and brokers are aware of how storytelling works, and they use storytelling (sometimes without even knowing it) to paint a picture of a home or neighborhood in a way that captures the attention of would be buyers.

Stories are great marketing tools because they “stimulate both the feelings and imagination of the teller and the audience.”

– Geoff Mead

Stories are relatable, and stories help us remember things. They make connections without beating people over the head. And even if you’re not the best writer, you can still tell an effective story about the properties, places, and people in your market. Here’s some more good news. Digital marketing makes it easier than ever to share your stories with both wide and targeted audiences. Whether you’re using video, social media, blog posts, or advertisements, the internet presents you with tons of opportunities to build your real estate business.

More reasons to tell stories with your marketing

It wasn’t too long ago that advertising and marketing were dominated by “shout-louder” tactics. Flashy colors, crazy fonts, and loud radio and TV ads were go-to promotional activities. But we’re living in a new era. Some call it the age of permission marketing. We’ve gotten really good at tuning things out, and we’ve gotten better at looking for quality content. It turns out that we actually like good marketing. We want more of it. Here’s a helpful way to see the differences:

Old-school marketing tactics

Tell people what they should want, think, or buy.

Be loud, flashy, garrish. Throw your message at people.

Push your message in front of as many people as you possibly can

Tell them about every single feature of the home you’re trying to sell.

Think of people as audiences and numbers and prospects.

Storytelling strategies

Tell a compelling story that people can relate to.

Draw attention to your brand and listings in a way that leaves people wanting more.

Think about your target audience, and create a story that would inspire or entertain them… a story that would draw them in.

Focus on the most important things and tell stories around those.

Think of people as human beings, and think about how your marketing can serve their interests.

Old-school marketing tactics

Storytelling strategies

Be loud, flashy, garrish. Throw your message at people.

Draw attention to your brand and listings in a way that leaves people wanting more.

Push your message in front of as many people as you possibly can

Think about your target audience, and create a story that would inspire or entertain them… a story that would draw them in.

Tell them about every single feature of the home you’re trying to sell.

Focus on the most important things and tell stories around those.

Think of people as audiences and numbers and prospects.

Think of people as human beings, and think about how your marketing can serve their interests.

Big brands do storytelling (think Apple, Starbucks, Coca Cola, etc.), and it works in real estate, too. And beyond just making connections with clients, storytelling can help you win and promote listings, and it’s a powerful tool for growing your sphere of influence.

How storytelling contributes to your bottom line

The way we see it, there are three main ways that storytelling helps real estate professionals generate leads and revenue… First, storytelling helps you win listings. Here’s how…

1) Through branding. How you interact with clients, the promises you make and keep, the logos and colors you use, your website, and your posts on social media all come together to create a brand story. Through all of these interactions with your brand, clients believe you can help sell their home, they buy in to your brand, and they decide to give you the listing opportunity.

2) Community stories highlight the people and places that surround a home. Think photos of a local event shared on social media. Or a video showing off the fare of a new restaurant. Maybe an agent shares a tweet about the renovations at the local park, and they follow up with a Facebook post about the school. All of these community stories demonstrate your ability to creatively tell a story about an area. This can go a long way with sellers. It shows them that you know how to do this digital marketing thing, and you just might be the person who can help tell the story of their home.

3) Stories help us connect with buyers and sellers on a personal level as well. That doesn’t mean you have to share everything that happens in your life. But a lot of agents share family moments, pictures from fun events, or personal “day-in-the-life-of” updates. These personal touches add some authenticity to your overall storyline and can show sellers that you’re approachable, you know the area, you’re just like them, and that can go a long way in giving you and your brand the human touch. And real estate storytelling can help you promote listings as well. Every real estate professional has a story to tell, and there are lots of ways to promote the homes in your inventory with stories. Listing stories, community stories, personal stories, and brand stories are all great tools to add to your marketing toolkit. We’ll get into more specifics (and even give you some practical tips) about how to use these later in the guide.

Jump ahead now!

Telling stories that build your sphere of influence

Your sphere of influence is a critical part of your sales funnel. And with the memory-jogging power and emotional appeal of real estate storytelling, you can reach your sphere with messages that better capture their attention and increase the likelihood that they’ll mention you to a friend. Real estate storytelling and your sphere of influence image

“People share, read, and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.”

– Malorie Lucich

Let’s take the next step and start looking at the specifics of how to tell stories that build your real estate business.

Back to top

Part 2: Storytelling basics: 7 tips for telling a story that sells

So you’re convinced. Real estate storytelling sounds like a great idea, and you’re ready to get started. Your first step is to create a story. Then you’ll share it. Pretty simple, right? Whether you’re writing a blog post or creating a short video, the process is just about the same. Try to limit your story to a single, powerful idea that directly relates to a clear call to action. Consider the flow of your story, do some planning, and dive in!

Here’s a checklist to help you get started…

◻︎ Brainstorming & planning: Start by figuring out what you’re trying to accomplish with your story. This will dictate what kind of story you tell, whether you break it up into installments, and it will determine the format of the story itself (text, video, photos, or a combination of these elements). Need help with ideas? Jump to the next section.
 
◻︎ Call to action: Your story may be incredible, but if your audience doesn’t know what to do as a result of having read it or watched it, there’s not much point to creating it. Make sure you include a clear call to action.
 
◻︎ Drafting: It’s time to sketch out a draft. Write out your story from beginning to end. You may want to consider running your draft by a friend or colleague. You’d be surprised how helpful their input can be.
 
◻︎ Editing: Once you’ve written a draft of your blog post, video script, ad, etc., make sure you take the time to comb over it for typos, errors, and holes in your storyline. It has to make sense, it should be easy to follow, and it shouldn’t be overly produced (meaning it shouldn’t be sappy, cheesy, overly emotional, or manipulative).

And it’s usually a good idea to go for a shorter piece of content rather than a longer one. Remember, your audience’s attention span is pretty short these days, and if a story doesn’t entertain, they’ll tune you out. Try using Grammarly and Hemingway to polish your draft.

Tip: If you’re planning to use video or audio to tell your story, make sure you take into account any technical help you may need and any tools you need to gather. And keep in mind you don’t necessarily have to be a professional to create great content. Remember that supercomputer/ video production studio in your pocket or purse (your smartphone) and try your hand at video marketing!

“[T]he more honest you can be about your business, about who you serve and the problems that you solve, the more loyalty you will find.”

– Sonia Simone

Promoting: What’s the use of a good story if no one sees it? With digital marketing you have several options for promoting your content, and generally speaking, it’s a good idea to use a combination of tactics to get the word out about your latest real estate story. Typically promotion will take place on the following channels:

◻︎ Your website

◻︎ Blog

◻︎ Social media

◻︎ Email

You could even take advantage of automatic posting features to get more mileage out of your stories. Pro tip: Evaluate how people interact with your marketing content, and take note of which channels seem to give you the most return on your investment.