Estate agents play a unique role to their customers, and – on a wider scale – the UK economy; helping people move from one home to the next whilst safeguarding their greatest financial assets.
As such, in moments of crisis – like we’re now seeing with the coronavirus pandemic – it’s natural for the public to pay close attention to what businesses and agencies are saying and doing.
To assist agents during this time of difficulty, we’re looking at what your communication strategy needs to take into consideration step-by-step, with some examples as well.
We’re also running a four-part online program, aligning your strategy to today’s purposes and future growth opportunities.
If you’d like to find out more about these consultative sessions, click below.
Step one: don’t ignore what’s going on
Each day brings with it new headlines about the coronavirus, so business owners are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to knowing what to say and how to get that across.
However, the worst thing that your agency can do right now is nothing at all.
Consumers are just as anxious about the situation, but they’re also anxious to hear from you.
Waiting for more definitive answers from the government may mean that you miss the mark communicating to your clients.
It reflects poorly on your agency’s strategy and could lead to alarm amongst your sellers and landlords who currently have properties on the market. We’re still seeing activity and stable prices, so this needs to be educated to your client base, giving them some much-needed assurance that you’re right behind them during this period.
Step two: lead with empathetic and educational content
The coronavirus poses a serious threat to the most vulnerable members of our community.
Anything that you say over the next few weeks and months needs to bear in mind this need for compassion and understanding.
Making light of what others are going through could alienate your customers and leave them feeling disconnected from your brand. So if you’re using humour in your marketing, steer clear of potentially insensitive content and show tact with how you phrase your messages.
Step three: demonstrate your measured approach to safety
At the end of the day, business disruption is not just a hindrance to your agency but to your customers; those homeowners who have been waiting for market conditions to pick back up for their property sale, purchase or next letting investment.
Tell them what measures you are putting in place to ensure that you can keep servicing them.
For instance, have you changed how you are conducting property viewings and appraisals? Even simple steps like verifying everyone’s well-being beforehand, avoiding any physical contact and utilising hand sanitising gel could ease their apprehension.
If your hours of operation have been changed, you have a smaller workforce or expect broader disruption to your usual service, you will need to give plenty of notice to your database.
As well as emailing known customers and leads with these updates, you should consider your social media posts, uploading specific website landing pages or sending other forms of communication to get that news in front of as many people as possible; preventing any uncertainty about your approach to COVID-19 and procedures.
Step four: help where you can
A lot of agents we work with support local charities and community relief efforts, so if there’s something happening near your branch that’s connected to the COVID-19, talk about your participation in that project.
You might inspire others to follow suit, whilst showing your customers the full value of your agency.
Step five: keep alert and on top of any changes
If you’re used to scheduling your marketing strategy weeks or months in advance, make sure those campaigns are safe to leave in the background of your day-to-day business activities.
Leave anything you want to say about the COVID-19 for your manual or short-term send plans, as a lot can change in a very short space of time.
A communication strategy for agents
An example of what you could be saying to sellers and buyers at this time. In particular, referring to ‘safety measures’ for viewings and property appraisals.
This is a generic example that can be sent to your entire database, focusing on your commitment to the well-being and health of your clients and colleagues.
As a blank template, this example structures your communication, with the primary topics you need to address with your audience, like changes to ‘business hours’.
If you’d like more information on any of the guidance provided here, we would recommend referring to the World Health Organisation.
You can also talk to our team of marketing strategists about your agency, email us at email@example.com.
All BriefYourMarket.com clients are advised to schedule time with our Customer Success Managers to start implementing and reviewing their COVID-19 communication strategies.