If you’re a freelance graphic designer trying to increase your workload, you might want to consider the niche market of real estate agents. You see, real estate is a very competitive industry. Whether an agent decides to specialize in working with home buyers, home sellers, or both (and you should know that Realtors often specialize), they need to look professional so that they can stand out from every other real estate agent in town. As a result, some of the best potential clients for a freelancer can be the budding real estate agent. Understand the reasons they need you, and you’ll be better suited to land more clients.
Learn the Basics of Working with Real Estate Clients
Real estate clients are a little bit different than clients in other industries. You’ll need to learn some of the basics, such as what needs to be included on every page of every real estate website, every postcard, every flyer, and so on.
For example, the real estate agent you work with is going to belong to a specific brokerage, such as RE/MAX, Prudential, Ascent, and so on. That brokerage will have unique guidelines for how their logo needs to be displayed on all of their agents’ marketing materials. The guidelines for RE/MAX will be different from the guidelines for Prudential, and so on.
Additionally, did you know that Realtor actually needs to be written like this on marketing materials: REALTORⓇ. It’s all capital letters followed by the “R” with a circle around it. That’s because “Realtor” is a trademarked term by the National Association of Realtors, and your client can only call herself a Realtor if she is a dues-paying member of that association. If she is a Realtor, there will need to be the appropriate logo that goes on all of her marketing materials.
How do you learn this type of thing? One way is to start examining all of the real estate advertising that you encounter in your personal life; however, there’s no guarantee that everything you receive is up to standards. The best way is to ask your real estate clients during their initial consultation about the branding style requirements they are responsible for. They may be able to give you the contact information for the person that handles the marketing for the brokerage they belong to. That person won’t handle the marketing for the individual agents, so don’t worry that they’ll see you as a threat; they won’t. Generally, these people are very busy, but happy to talk to fellow professionals.
A Real Estate Agent Without a Logo Doesn’t Have the Same Curb Appeal
In addition to falling under branding guidelines from the brokerage, team, and/or associations they belong to, real estate agents need to establish their personal brand. Ask yourself to quickly identify the name of any particular Realtor in your town. Obviously, if you’ve recently purchased or sold a home, you’ll remember that agent. But can you think of any others? If you can, it’s because they have built a memorable personal brand.
This is why the budding real estate agent needs to hire a real graphic designer like you–not just pick up something “quick and dirty” on Fiverr. While the Realtor may not know it, they’re not just looking for a logo; they’re looking for a brand. Once a fledgling Realtor recognizes this, they will spend as much as they can possibly afford–if not a little more–on their logo.
A Real Estate Agent Depends on Their Online Presence
Millennials make up the largest percentage of up-and-coming homeowners. The current modern age does not allow the generation to physically house hunt. We rely mostly on our gadgets like phones and laptops whenever we want to source something. Since our generation wants everything at the touch of a button, an astounding 89% look for their homes via the internet. This, in turn, means that a massive chunk of home buyers buy their homes via the internet. This large sum of online clients brings about the difference between a successful firm and a merely surviving agency. The changing trends in advertising have seen most agencies adopt social media presence. Along with the website, many clients are looking through their mobile phones and tablets for realtors and agents.
If a real estate agent’s website is hopelessly outdated, you could potentially lose access to a large pool of clients. They know that, and so they’ll be looking for help in this department.
Collateral Materials Can Be An Ongoing Income Source
Once you’ve helped your real estate client build their brand through logo and website design, your work isn’t done yet. While you may not want to get involved with the day-to-day marketing materials a real estate agent needs, the opportunity might be there for additional client work. Here’s the dirty secret: Most real estate agents need every piece of marketing to be done ASAP. If you are comfortable having this type of working relationship with a client, you can move on to postcard mailings, listing brochures, and other collateral material.
This is because Realtors get a lot of their business through referrals and postcard mailers. For example, let’s say that you’re doing some design work with a Realtor who is a Santa Monica real estate agent, and she wants to pick up clients in Venice or the Pacific Palisades. She’s going to want to establish a presence for her brand in those areas, and she doesn’t want to look sloppy doing it. Personalized stationery such as media ads, reports, business cards, or brochures can leave a lasting impression. Even if the people who get her postcard aren’t looking to buy or sell, they might know someone who is. So it’s in your client’s best interest to hire you to help her with highly professional collateral materials, including postcards, banner ads, reports, and social media posts.
Infographics Make Realtors Look Smart
Professionally designed infographics help a real estate agent gain clients because it makes them (the agent) look like they know what they’re talking about. A potential home buyer or home seller starts their search for a Realtor online, and Realtors know this. Hopefully, Realtors also know that the world doesn’t need another “when to clean your gutters” blog post from a real estate agent. So if you’ve provided your real estate client with an awesome logo, a modern website and some great property brochures, you might suggest an infographic on local market conditions.