How thinking like a publication can boost your marketing efforts


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When you specialize in luxury real estate sales, you need to specialize in luxury lifestyle marketing by default. Yet agents don’t always see this as part of their portfolio—and as a result, many of them miss a prime opportunity to differentiate themselves.

I’ve been in this business for three decades, and the brokerage I co-own is part of a larger network of 465 agents and 23 offices across the California Bay Area. As a result, I’ve met and mentored a lot of real estate professionals. When they ask for advice to boost their marketing efforts there’s one thing I try to encourage: to think like a publication.

What does that mean exactly? It means having a more holistic mindset. Rather than viewing your brochures, newsletters, website, social media, and other marketing materials as disparate channels for different prospects, approach them as a complete package. A beautifully-presented package that reveals a consistent, authentic, and values-driven brand to buyers and sellers. Thinking like a publication also means being rigorous in the quality, accuracy, and accessibility of the materials you produce.

Rather than viewing your brochures, newsletters, website, social media, and other marketing materials as disparate channels for different prospects, approach them as a complete package.

Here are five considerations to keep in mind as you design your marketing mix and distribution strategy to be more like a leading publication.

1. Know your audience

Your clientele should inform your communication style. For instance, Silicon Valley and the mid-Peninsula area attract investors, financiers, and businesspeople from all over the world, so our content is intended for local, regional, national, and international viewers.

Because my audience also skews affluent and data-driven, I incorporate in-depth and data-heavy analyses into my materials. I know this resonates with buyers and sellers who are highly knowledgeable of market trends and conscious of what their properties are—or will be—worth.

Who’s your audience? This is a question that all publications—and all luxury agents—need to answer in order to reach the right individuals with the right information.

2. Establish your tone

It’s easy—even intuitive—to change the tone of your communications based on the medium and the channel. Maybe it seems natural to sound friendly on Facebook, engaging in an email, and polished in a pamphlet. But I challenge agents to find an authentic voice that can serve them on all their various platforms and touchpoints.

This is what the best publications do. Despite having many different authors, they consistently communicate in a way that’s recognizable for their readers. This is a powerful way for them to build their reputation, credibility, and brand.

3. Create an aesthetic

The tone you set isn’t only verbal; it’s visual as well. Just as publications have a signature look, the presentation of your marketing materials is yet another way to communicate the skillfulness of your team, and the quality of your service. Since you’re targeting a high-end clientele, make sure your materials are elegant, and that photos and video are never low resolution.

Just as publications have a signature look, the presentation of your marketing materials is yet another way to communicate the skillfulness of your team, and the quality of your service.

Your visuals add value by amplifying the messages you send and the stories you tell. As you announce your latest sales successes or summarize changing market trends, showcasing your company’s beautiful imagery not only lends credence to your content, but makes it more consumable.

4. Change the channel

Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty

Think of a publication you admire. Even if it’s traditionally a print publication, it likely produces content for its website and social channels in a variety of written and visual media—and all of this content appears cohesive. This is what luxury agents should aspire towards.

Of course, you should still allocate more resources to the channels that will reach your target audience. For my team, this means we frequently focus on direct mail: postcards, magazines, and city reports that feature in-depth data and analysis. But our monthly e-newsletter, social media posts, web content, and print ads are all important parts of our overall media mix.

Using multiple distribution channels that are all on-brand has two main benefits. You make sure information is being received, no matter how or where your audience is receiving it; and you can continuously reinforce your message.

5. Tell the truth

Top publications have a robust fact-checking process. This is essential in real estate too. One of the core reasons buyers and sellers enlist agents is because they want to work with experts; and with your marketing efforts, you can position yourself as such. Whether through astute home valuations, vendor recommendations, or timely reports tracking micro- or macro-economic trends, keep showing that you know the community better than your competitors. When it comes time for prospects to choose an agent, your name will be at the top of the list.


Michael Dreyfus

Michael Dreyfus has had 30 years of repeated success in residential real estate. He currently ranks as one of the leading sales agents in the Silicon Valley/Peninsula area and has regular appearances on the Wall Street Journal/Real Trends’ list of America’s Top 250 Agents.

He is a co-owner and the top sales agent for Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty with 465 agents in 23 offices across the California Bay Area.





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