Coming full circle with Iowa Realty.
Lindsay Black is experiencing a bit of deja vu. The new marketing director for Iowa Realty just started her job in August. But it’s not her first time with the organization.
In 2008, Black was fresh out of college when Iowa Realty hired her as a marketing coordinator. She was eventually promoted to website administrator, a job that included overseeing all aspects of IowaRealty.com.
She left Iowa Realty in 2012, working in two very different industries before making her way back to real estate. Now, Black oversees a team of five individuals and is responsible for all marketing-related aspects of the business.
“It felt like I was coming home because it was where I started my career,” Black says.
Can you Describe your educational and professional background?
I graduated from Iowa State University in 2008 with a journalism degree, but with an emphasis in public relations. I had an internship with Freestyle Public Relations, and from there was hired at Iowa Realty, where I worked until 2012.
While at Iowa Realty, I also did weekend and seasonal work for Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton. They offered me their marketing director position in 2012, and I oversaw their food and wine events, website, national advertising, and social media. After a year, I left Maytag to go to the National Pork Board where I was their producer and state communications manager. I managed Pork.org and #realpigfarming, which was the group’s social media effort for which we won national awards. I was there for a little more than two years before returning to Iowa Realty.
What’s new at Iowa Realty?
One of my main goals is to enhance our digital marketing and social media efforts, an area I have focused on throughout my career that has become a specialty of mine. I would really like to see our social media efforts become more engaging, conversational, and valuable for our consumers, agents, and builder partners. We have some social media presence right now, but I think it could be a lot stronger. We want our consumers to come to us as an expert on social media.
We’ll also be tweaking many of our programs and adding some new ones. That includes reinventing ourselves in regards to our television presence, trying new things and making adjustments to our current television show.
We’re not quite ready to announce all of the changes yet, but know that many are coming in 2016, and they’ll be very positive.
Could you share what new ideas you have to enhance Iowa Realty’s marketing strategy?
We’re really focusing on our agents and building partners, ensuring them they’re aware that we, as a marketing department, are here for them and willing to help in any way possible.
Our more than 630 agents are extremely important to us and I want to make sure they feel they can always come to our department for assistance. We can help them with strategy, design, digital efforts, traditional print media, or television.
We’re also as a department trying to strengthen our relationship with each individual agent by attending more sales meetings and meeting them face-to-face. I’ve heard from a lot of our agents that they think this is the best marketing team we’ve had in years. I think the agents are excited to see that we’re a very organized and enthusiastic group, willing to go the extra mile.
What lessons have you learned since your first stint with Iowa Realty?
I kind of grew up at Iowa Realty. I was young, right out college. Since then, I’ve grown as a professional, both in my customer service relationships and knowledge of digital and other new mediums. I think previously working in two different industries is valuable because I’m able to bring a fresh perspective, applying ideas and knowledge from my past experiences here.
What’s the most pressing challenge facing real estate marketing?
I think there are a lot of new mediums and different things coming up, so you’re constantly weighing where you should really put your focus and spend your money—traditional media or more digital platforms? It’s about considering what’s the next big social media trigger and how we can stay on top of that. It’s asking whether there’s still value in print. In Des Moines, we’re fortunate that many mediums, from print to digital, are all still of value.
What’s currently the most promising medium in the market?
A lot of people are focusing on video and online video right now. I feel it’s an avenue we could explore and find some strengths in, and I’m hoping to venture into that a little more in 2016. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. I think our YouTube presence could be stronger and we could really ramp that up to get more search efforts and S.E.O. (search engine optimization) benefits. I’d like to also see us utilize videos more on Facebook, Instagram, and our website.
Do you volunteer with any nonprofits or charities?
I’m on the board of directors of Winefest Des Moines, and have been involved with the event for five years. In addition, I volunteer with Everybody Wins! Iowa, a program that provides one-on-one reading and mentoring experiences for children during lunchtime. I’m very involved with the Iowa State Alumni Association, and am on the Baxter Fun Days committee. I live in, and am originally from, Baxter, Iowa, and I commute to work in West Des Moines everyday.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been married for about a year-and-a-half to my husband Colby. We’re expecting our first child in February, which is pretty exciting and kind of the main focus right now. I grew up showing quarter horses, and I still do that now on the weekends in the spring and summer. Also, my husband and I are big Iowa State fans, and we go to all the basketball and football games. Iowa State is a huge part of our lives.