Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, don’t forget to keep the work hustle going. There are only 16 days left in 2017, and here are five things you can easily do in the next two weeks to ensure 2018 starts strong!
Create a marketing budget and strategy. Marketing should be something you do throughout the year, not just when you get a listing. Check out our detailed post on how to create a successful marketing strategy.
Clean your contact lists. Every direct mail piece, every email, every phone call, every door knock costs time and money. Stop wasting money on emails sent to bad addresses, postcards sent to people who no longer live at that address, or cold calling people who are not part of your target audience. Now is a great time to go through your lists and get rid of bad contacts, as well as add new ones you’ve made over the years.
Ask for testimonials. Ideally, you should be asking for testimonials after every closing. But if you’ve fallen behind, no worries, now is a great time to catch up. Reach out to everyone you helped sell or buy a house for in 2017. Consider a video testimonial in addition to a written one.
Consider your brand. Take at a look at your visual brand and your messaging. Does it still reflect your values and uniqueness? Is it still appealing to your target audience? Does it convey the message you strive to live out in every transaction? If not, now is a great time to tweak it, or revamp it altogether.
Schedule your January marketing pieces. Order your direct mail postcards, write your email newsletter, schedule your social media posts and get that newspaper ad submitted. When everyone else is scrambling to get their stuff out that first week of January, you’ll already be done and strategizing for the next month.
Marketing should not be something you do only for listings. You need to be marketing yourself and your business throughout the year…that’s how you get the listings! Below are some of our tried and true tips for creating an effective real estate marketing strategy.
Set a budget. I know this is hard for real estate agents, because your income varies with each listing. But a great way to start is simply by determining what percentage of each commission is going to go towards marketing. To get an idea of how much you’ll make, look at your income from last year. Create a budget based on those two factors, and then adjust as necessary throughout the year.
Example- You decide you will use 10% of each commission for marketing. Last year, you made $80,000 in commission. Therefore, you could plan for a 2018 marketing budget of $8,000. If that feels high to you, set your budget a little lower. It’s always easier to add money to the budget than to take it away.
Create tangible goals and know how to track them. How many leads do you want a month? Are you trying to increase your referrals? Are you looking to increase your listings above a certain price point? Set these tangible goals and then monitor your marketing strategies to see which ones are helping you accomplish these goals.
Example. You want 50 leads a month without having to make cold calls. So in January, you set up a regular email campaign, direct mail campaign and Facebook ads. After about 2 months monitoring clicks and asking leads how they heard about you, you determine that email is bringing in the least amount of leads. So you scale it back and use that time and money on Google Ads. After a few more months, you realize this combination is helping you go above and beyond your goals, so you commit to it for the rest of the year, while still monitoring and being open to change should one of those strategies start to dwindle.
Determine a visual brand. A consistent visual brand is crucial to real estate marketing. Some agents use their broker’s brand…the colors, the logo, etc. Others find a professional graphic designer to create a brand that is unique to them and communicates their unique value. There are advantages to both, the important thing is to stay consistent. If you already have a brand, now is a good time to review it. It is relevant to your target audience? Is it modern? Does it still communicate your unique value and they key elements of your business?
Define your audience. I know you WANT to sell everyone’s home, but realistically, you cannot. And your marketing will be a lot more effective if you define an audience and tailor your marketing to them. Many real estate agents define their audience by location. They choose a geographic farm and consistently send direct mail, door knock and participate in community events within that farm. Other agents choose to focus on retirees, while others are marketing to luxury property owners. It’s also okay to have a few different target audiences, as long as each are defined.
Create your messaging. I recently wrote an entire blog about how to create good content. While a marketing plan is not the place to create specific messages, it is a good time to determine general messaging themes and goals. For example, maybe you want your 2018 marketing to focus on why people should live in your farm specifically, or giving people reasons to list this year instead of waiting, or encouraging them to choose you over your competition. Having a general theme, or a couple themes, will help you avoid content writers block and keep your messaging consistent and powerful.
Be willing to be flexible. Real estate is an ever changing industry. It’s likely your marketing needs and ability to execute will change throughout the year. That’s okay! A marketing plan isn’t meant to be a chain, but rather a solid foundation from which to build and change an effective marketing strategy that works for your specific business!
CALL ONE STEP SERVICES! Need help creating a marketing strategy? Need to update your visual brand or create a new one? We are real estate marketing experts ready to help you grow your business. We are currently taking appointments for December and January, so please give us a call at 949-587-5301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request and appointment with Valerie, our Director of Client Relations.
The Challenge: The Chanje Movement needed help promoting their first ever golf classic and gala. Previously, their big fundraising event had been a charity run which required very different promotional materials. They came to us with a vague idea of what they wanted, but didn’t know the details. Specifically, they needed guidance on their invitations, programs and signage.
The Solution: At One Step, we’ve created and printed marketing materials for several charity galas, including American Heart Association, so we had several different ideas for Chanje. We pulled out our stack of samples and discussed content ideas, design ideas, paper types and budget. Once we narrowed down the details, we brought in a designer who created a look for the event by expanding on the logo they had already created.
The Surprise: Two weeks before the event, we were discussing signage and the founder, Dave, expressed a desire for a sign that encouraged people to participate in child sponsorships. Their One Step account rep, Brianna, suggested printing on a white board sign so that the team could use markers to track progress.
The Result: The whiteboard sign was a huge hit. One Step printed a simple thermometer design on white board material, and the Chanje team wrote their goal and tracked their progress with erasable marker. They’ll be able to reuse this sign to future events. In addition, One Step created elegant invitations, event programs, sponsorship banners and signs for each golf hole. The Chanje Movement was incredibly pleased with the result.
The Testimonial: “Working with Brianna at One Step Services makes it easy for our small organization to increase our impact. When we need help with graphics & design or fresh ideas for our content or marketing, she is available – and they’re affordable and fast! We planned our first ever golf & gala fundraiser and their support made it possible to focus on sharing our vision and connecting with people. Knowing they are there for us gives me a confidence we have the support we need.” – Dave Brodksy
Our annual holiday schedules of events are ready to order! We’ve done things a little differently this year. Instead of choosing a city, you simply choose your county and we’ll put together a list of major events taking place in different areas throughout the county. Have some specific events you want featured? No problem, just send those over and we’ll put them on the card you choose.
These pieces are particularly effective because they are sticky, meaning people are likely to keep them around for a while and reference them more than once. Every time they do, they’ll be reminded of your name, your face and your brand. These pieces have a strong ROI and are a great way to wrap up your 2017 direct mail marketing efforts.
Each design is available as an 8.5×8.5 postcard or 8.5×5.5 postcard. As always, the production fee of $12 is waived when you order 200 or more. Additional bulk discounts apply for orders of 500+ and 1,000+. Download the order form and email it to email@example.com or give us a call if you have questions 949-587-5301.
If you are promoting a business, you are a content creator. Whether you write blog posts, send weekly emails, mail postcards, or post to social media, you are having to come up with content to share with your audience. The better the content, the more likely you are to
Step #1 – Make a list of types of content
This list will vary depending on what industry you are in and what type of business you are promoting. However, there are some general types of content that work well across the board. Testimonials and case studies make great content as do the answers to frequently asked questions. (Not sure what your FAQs are? Ask your customer service reps!) Other great content ideas include product promotions, event invitations, how to’s, top ten lists, and employee spotlights.
Step #2 – Create a list of content sources
Not all of your content has to be original. Your audience will appreciate you curated relevant content from trusted sources. Keep a list of sources that routinely publish good information on your industry. The easiest way to do this is with an RSS Reader <—- Go ahead and click that if you don’t know what an RSS Reader is. One of your primary sources should be us, One Step Services! Not only do we provide great content on our blog, monthly newsletter and social sites, but every month we release new content ready postcards that can be used for real estate agents, small businesses and nonprofits. Want to get the scoop when we release new designs? Sign up here
Step #3 – Give each day a theme
At One Step, Mondays are for motivational quotes, Tuesdays are for tips, Fridays are for fun. Giving each day a general theme or category makes it easier to decide what specific content needs to be published that day. I also give the months different themes. For example, in doing my planning for first quarter 2018 (ah, how are we already at the point of planning for 2018?) I decided that the theme for February will be the importance and relevance of Direct Mail. About 75% of the things I post that month will be related to that theme.
Step #4 – Create a content calendar
Once you have your list of content ideas and your themes set, it’s time to map it out. There are literally hundreds of different ways to do this. TBH, although I have been planning content for years, 2018 will be the first time I have to get every single thing down on a calendar to show the bosses. So my typical system of sticky notes and dreams isn’t really going to cut it. The first thing that I’m going to try is a color coordinated Google Spreadsheet. At first I was worried it would be a little to linear for my scattered creative brain, so far it’s working quite nicely. Want to see a sample? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to share.
Step #5 – Write /create / find your content
I know what your thinking…why do I have to do so much work BEFORE I start creating content? The reality is that creating content isn’t that hard, but creating effective, consistent, purposeful content is. And in order to create that kind of content, you definitely need to plan ahead and do steps 1-4. The good news is, that those first steps get easier and easier the more you do them and it becomes quicker to finish them every month. So don’t get discouraged! The hard work at the beginning is worth it.
When you create your content, refer back to the list you made in step one. Find a specific testimonial to post, answer a specific FAQ, write out a case study. Something to keep in mind…don’t be afraid to be a little personal. You don’t need to share your martial issues or what you had for breakfast, but your experiences with other business, your opinions on relevant industry news, and your solutions to problems you’ve experienced in business can be extremely valuable to your recipients. This entire blog post, for example, is based on my personal experience of creating a content calendar for One Step.
Step #6 – Distribute your content
Once you’ve written your content, its time to publish it! Where you publish is an entirely new topic for another day, but whether it’s on social media, through a direct mail campaign, or a post to social media, you need to share that ish! And yes, you absolutely can share the same content over multiple channels. You worked hard to create that content gold, use it and reuse it in different ways to get the most out of it.
I frequently participate in forums on Alignable, asking and answering marketing questions. I occasionally bring bits of the forum here to the blog. Today, I’ll be expanding on an answer I gave to a landscape design business about generating leads.
Can anyone recommend good lead generating tools/techniques for a custom home building and landscape design business?
My boss got her backyard completely remodeled a few years ago. Just a few months later, the next door neighbors also redid the backyard. About a year later, the neighbors across the street revamped their front yard. Typically, when one neighbor does something to upgrade their home, it inspires others in the neighborhood to do the same. Therefore, if you work with homes, either as a contractor, landscaper, real estate agent, house cleaner, etc, your BEST place to find leads is in the neighborhoods where you are already working. So, here are some ideas for generating leads from the neighborhood in which you are working.
Numero uno is signage! Stick a sign in the homeowners lawn to let ALL the neighbors know who you and what you’re doing. If they want similar work, they know who to call. You can do a simple coraplast sign, or you can do a large sign with an attached box for flyers or business cards.
Do a direct mail or walk and drop campaign. I recommend doing one at the beginning of the job and one at the end. I once received a mailed card from a solar panel company. They told me they were going to be in the neighborhood installing and that they’d love to stop by and give me an estimate. This was an incredibly effective message, especially since I had been under the impression my neighborhood didn’t allow solar panels. Another effective mailing would have been if they had gathered a testimonial from that client and sent it out once the job was done.
Introduce yourself. You may not have time to walk the entire neighborhood, but you can take an hour and just walk the street. Even if you don’t consider yourself a sales person, you’ll be surprised how far a casual introduction and a business card can go. You don’t have to make hard sell, just introduce yourself, chat with people about their needs, and leave them with a card or brochure so they know how to contact you.
Give your client a referral discount. Your customers are your best sales people. Do a great job on their house, and they’ll naturally recommend you when asked. But if you offer some sort of incentive, they’ll talk about you even when they aren’t asked! And their personal testimonial will go a long way in convincing neighbors to pick up the phone.
Do you have any other tried and true lead generation strategies for people working on homes? Let us know in the comments below. And if you need signs, postcards, business cards, brochures, flyers or ANY other print marketing to promote your real estate business, landscape business, or home contractor business, talk to us! We offer free consultations, competitive pricing and high quality custom design products that cannot be beat.
Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our Holiday Marketing Kickoff, our first ever Facebook Live event! We are so thankful that you took time out of your day to view the video and engage with comments. On a personal note, I want to particularly thank you all for being so encouraging! I was very nervous about how this would go but you guys made it a lot of fun!
If you missed the live video, don’t worry. You can watch the recording on our Facebook page and get some great holiday marketing and gift ideas.
We talked about ALOT of stuff in that hour, so I’ve compiled all links, products, order forms, etc into one place so it’s easy to view! If you have any follow up questions, feel free to reach out to us on Facebook, through email email@example.com or call 949-587-5301.
Also, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter. We give lots of great marketing tips, for print, direct mail, social media and email. We also give free printables or exclusive discounts every month, and for October we are giving away free printable gift tags. Sign up by October 6 to ensure you get the October newsletter.
Prices list and special items pricing
Halloween Coloring Contest Sheet (100 sheets) – $30 + design time
Custom Looseleaf Notepads (250 sheets) – $40
Acrylic Notepad Holder – $10
Wine Bottle Boxes (excludes design time) – Qty 10 : $3.75 each – Qty 25: $2.85 each – Qty 50: $2.55 each – Qty 100: $2.45 each
4AllPromos.com (custom candy corn)
4Imprint.com (custom reusable grocery bags)
Fancy Fortune Cookies (giant fortune cookies)
Man Crates (gift boxes with “manly” gifts)
Your Memory Lane (custom personalized artwork)
As a real estate agent, the holidays provide quite a few unique marketing opportunities. Unlike retail businesses, this probably isn’t going to an incredibly busy time for you as far as listings go. So instead of pushing deals, sales and freebies, you’ll want to use this time to build and maintain relationships within the community and with past and current clients. If you aren’t busy with listings, focus on increasing your brand awareness and engagement so that when people decide to sell, you’ll be the one they go to.
Say “thank you.”
If you’re still in business, you have your clients to thank for it. So thank them! It’s important to touch base with all clients – whether it’s through email, direct mail, phone calls or in person – and let them know how much their business and referrals mean to you. We always release a variety of beautiful and uniquely designed postcards and holiday cards which are perfect for communicating with your farm or social list. We can also convert these designs to email headers and social media images.
For clients that have been particularly loyal, or given quite a few referrals, you may want to consider giving them a gift. We’ve found some truly unique client gifts over the years and shared them in a recent holiday giving blog post. You can also find more ideas by visiting our Pinterest page.
You can double your impact by partnering with a local nonprofit. It’s best to contact the nonprofit and ask how you can best support them this holiday season. Common partnership ideas include donating a portion of your profits, collecting donations on their behalf, or sponsoring one of their events. This increases your brand exposure, demonstrates your company values and, most importantly, helps improve the local community and benefits residents.
Engage the community.
There are so many opportunities for engagement during the holidays. Take advantage of the many community events to get to know fellow residents. This isn’t the time for a hard sell, but it never hurts to mention what you do and hand out a business card. Here are some specific engagement ideas:
- Hand out branded treats to trick or treaters
- Sponsor an HOA holiday party
- Hand out a holiday schedule of events while door knocking
- Go Christmas caroling
- If your neighborhood does Christmas lights, set up a hot cocoa station in the driveway
Don’t forget lead generation.
While fostering relationships will be your primary focus this holiday season, successful agents are still going after those listings in very specific ways. Many unique life situations could force a homeowner to put up a For Sale sign instead of Christmas tree, and you should be the one they call. Try some of these lead generation tactics specific to the holidays.
- Send a postcard or email detailing the benefits of selling during the holidays
- Make holiday open houses extra special with holiday cookies, hot cocoa, carols playing in the background, and some subtle holiday decorations.
- Call past clients to wish them happy holidays, update their contact information, and ask if they have any real estate needs.
- Follow up with leads and let them know about any special promotions or partnerships with nonprofits you have at this time.
- When you send Christmas cards to clients, tuck in a few referral cards that they can pass out to friends and family.
Need help creating a detailed marketing plan for the holidays? Call 949-587-5301 for a free consultation with One Step Services.
Want to make the most out of the holidays? Download our 2017 direct mail marketing schedule. We tell you what to mail every week, taking into account deadlines for holidays. Our schedule includes our content ready postcards as well as full custom content. Pick and choose what you want, or simply give us a call and ask us to set up weekly mailings based on the schedule. We’ll handle everything for you!
Download 15 Weeks of Holiday Mailing_OSS
Our Halloween postcards are fun and festive, with carefully crafted messaging to generate phone calls or drive traffic. They are an eye catching relevant way to tell people about your real estate business.
Here are 5 ways to use Halloween postcards:
- Send to your real estate farm.
- Send to list of past and current clients.
- Having an event? These can easily convert to invitations
- Hand out with candy to trick or treaters
- Use digital versions in emails and on social media
Plus, if you place a mailing order of 300+ before by September 29th, you’ll get 100 free print and return postcards. Download the order form Halloween Postcards fill it out, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org