How to create a tone of voice for your estate agency

Miles RedgraveBy Miles Redgrave in Marketing

Having a tone of voice is everything for a business – whether you’re an estate agency, plumbing service or a world-renowned international company. You could suggest, however, that estate agents should pay even more attention when it comes to making a clear distinction between themselves and the competitors.

After all, to say the market is oversaturated would be somewhat of an understatement, so It’s important to find an identity – one that your audience can resonate with. A good brand tone of voice (TOV) will distinguish you from your competitors while reinforcing your company’s values and underpinning your promise to your customers.

But how do you create a tone of voice for your estate agency? Fear not, because we’ve got the answers.

So, what exactly is a brand tone of voice?

That’s actually a very good question, especially if you’re not professionally involved in marketing. Every now and then there is an array of words thrown about for the purpose of sounding flashy, yet they often have little substance. A TOV is not one of these flashy words, and actually be one of the most important aspects behind your agency.

Your TOV encompasses the type of words you use to describe yourself as well as the flow and style of your message; it’s ultimately your agency’s language. A TOV will play a key part in all of your agency’s communications.

Your agency’s writing style is one of the strongest ways it can communicate its vision. A distinctive TOV that is consistent with its messaging will be what people come to affiliate your brand with. If you get your tone right, it could be the key driver that makes people want to use your agency.

DNA

Before other people can get behind your message and believe in your brand’s ethos, you need to be able to identify your own story – to know the qualities you want your agency to champion. There seems to be an unwritten rule in the residential property market industry that says your message must be one of prestige.

While there is nothing wrong with an identity that tows those lines, sometimes it can be a good idea to break from traditional practices and give your audience something new. Perhaps that is through humour or maybe it’s by being ‘the different agent’.

What is clear, however, is that you need to set out your mantra and decide which type of agency you want to be – and that needs to be reflected in your writing.

Content audit

We’ve touched on the need for a content audit before when we were writing about brand strategies. They all link together, and it’s imperative that you revisit your previous material to see if you’re adhering to the TOV you have created.

A content audit will also help you realise whether there is consistency in your message or if you have trailed off, sending out communications that don’t match up with each other. This is one of the key factors many businesses forget when they create a TOV: the tone of the message needs to be the same, whether it’s a tweet, an industry white paper or direct marketing communication.

Style guides

A style guide will give your more clarity for choosing a TOV, and help current and future employees to get a better understanding of your agency. It’s important that you don’t overcomplicate your style guide, getting bogged down with fancy adjectives and unnecessary phrases.

We’re not saying it should be simple, but the message does need to be clear and easily understood. Another good thing is to explain what the tone is and why it’s important to adhere to.

Let’s say you want the TOV to be conversational. Let people know exactly what you mean and the type of words that reflect a ‘conversational’ tone. Use some example sentences of ‘how to’ and ‘how not to’ write in your chosen tone.

Trying a different approach

If you can it is worth testing different types of tone of voice, for example in a press advert, one being positive, approachable and friendly – ‘See our local team for advice on selling your property’ and the following week try a more bold, authoritative, informed way – ‘Our team of local property market experts are ready to help you in selling your property’. This can always be backed up by ‘Get your Free local property market information’ as a softer call to action as this will appeal to people not quite ready to sell their properties as well as those ready to sell.

This way you can see what has the best impact, sometimes advertising has a slightly different tone of voice from more informative pieces of copy such as on your website. An evolving tone of voice is good but be careful not to confuse the audience by changing too much too quickly.

A better guide for all

Once you have found a message that you think resonates with its audience, the rest is all about fine tuning. You should place the same amount of effort into your style guide as you do attaining instructions – at least when first creating it, anyway.

You’ll have everything in place for a strong brand with an exciting TOV, which will ultimately make you more confident when it comes to attaining those all-important instructions.

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