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 email@example.com to request and appointment with Valerie, our Director of Client Relations.
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 a conversation I had with a bookstore owner about how to generate referrals.
Bookstore Owner : Looking for advice as to how best to market my audio bookstore to the local neighborhood and online. Here’s my issue. Our business model, that makes us unique to bookstores, is that we offer audio books for Rent. I believe we give a great value to our customers for the price we charge. But I have tried everything including radio ads, print ads, Facebook Ads and writing articles. Yet, most people find the store by accident. After 9 years in the same location, people still walk in and say to me “Wow, I didn’t know this place existed”. Thanks in advance.
Brianna at One Step: Do you have any sort of referral or rewards program? Often the best marketers are those clients who already love your business. Maybe you could offer a free month’s membership or a free book rental if they share your Facebook page, bring a friend to an event, tell a friend about your business, etc.
Bookstore Owner: We have tried several types of referral plans. Giving $5.00 credit for each referral. Offering a 1 Free month to our customers if they get a customer to sign-up to a plan. We usually advertise these referral programs for three months in a row. Out of the 300 customers we sent the offer out to only less than 1% referred anybody. That’s not say that we don’t get referrals from our customers, because we do. They just happen to be given organically. I don’t think our customers which skew in a older demographic care so much about getting a free month or receiving a dollar amount for each referral. Plus our business is so unique, I don’t think most people are thinking about it when they are out with friends.
Brianna at One Step Services: Rather than trying 3 month plans, I recommend thinking of ways that you can consistently and constantly remind your clients to refer you. You may be right that they aren’t interested in rewards and that organic referrals are best for your clientele. However, there is nothing wrong with reminding them to make those organic referrals. Many studies show that the more you remind or ask people to do something…refer you, like your social media post, write a testimony, etc…the more likely they are to do it.
So to increase those organic referrals, consider including a referral card in every book you mail out. Just a little something that a client could pass on to a friend with your info. Keep those same handouts near your cash register so people can grab them on their way out. Every time you send an email, make sure there is an obvious link so they can forward it to a friend. If you’re on social media, about once a week make a post asking for referrals or asking them to share your post/page with their friends. Here at One Step, we send out handwritten welcome notes to new clients and we include referral cards. We also send handwritten notes to our most consistent and loyal clients, people we think would speak highly of us.
It may sound obnoxious, but keep in mind one single person will probably only pay attention to one of these touch points. And it’s critical that you constantly stay top of mind to get those organic referrals. This is not a three month program, but something that is part of your long term marketing strategy. And I do think that you are off base in saying that your service is so unique people don’t think about it when out with friends. Media is a very popular topic amongst friends and movies, music and books are easy conversation starters. Your clients will refer people if you tell them to.
Summer is over and we are speeding towards the holidays. Every year, I make the mistake of waiting too long to come up with client gifts and at the beginning of December there is great snarling and gnashing of teeth as I curse last minute shipping costs. But not this year! This year I am determined to have the gifts picked out and bought and landing on clients’ doorsteps before Thanksgiving.
If you’re trying to get ahead of the game as well, here are some client gift ideas for you. All of these are ones we’ve bought in the past and they’ve been a big hit. Got another idea? Share it in the comments below.
- A giant fortune cookie with a customized fortune from Fancy Fortune Cookies.
- Champagne gummy bears from Sugarfina
- Customized desktop notepads and notepad holders from One Step Services
- Decision paperweight from Uncommon Goods
- Branded reusable grocery bags from 4imprint
Here are few more gifts that are a bit more expensive and personalized. We’ve sent these to consultants, vendors, even our boss.
- Jerkygram from Mancrates
- Custom Bobblehead (can’t remember which company we used, but there are lots of different ones).
- Custom tie from Zazzle
- Personalized lifetime artwork from Your Memory Lane
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 childcare center who needed ideas on how to promote a new location opening.
How do you alert others of a new location opening? We are opening a new location of our childcare center – Spectrum Station Barry Road. We are enrolling and hiring new staff. What is the best way you would suggest communicating this with the local community?
Alright readers, 10 points if you can guess what marketing tactic I suggest first. I’ll wait here.
Did you guess direct mail? Of course you did! We are all about direct mail here at One Step Services. But seriously though, direct mail marketing is PERFECT for this sort of thing. A 3 month, 6 month or even year long campaign to residents directly surrounding the new daycare center would be very effective. There are two ways to go about doing this, and you’d have to run the numbers to see what would be most cost effective. The first way is to use the US Postal Services EDDM program. With this program, you don’t address to specific people. You simply pick a carrier route (or multiple routes) in the area you want to target. The pieces are addressed with “postal customer” and every single house on the route gets a piece. The rates for EDDM are lower than first class or standard mail. If most residences in the routes you choose have children, then this is probably the best way to go. However, if there aren’t a lot of residences with kids, the second option may be better.
The second option is to purchase a targeted list. You can set geographic parameters, and also choose to only get addresses of residences with children. The list will have specific names and addresses. With this list, you know that each piece is going to a home with kids. Plus, you can use variable data to personalize the pieces which will give you a better return on investment. You’ll also receive standard mail discounts, which is cheaper than first class, not as cheap as EDDM. But if you are mailing to fewer houses, it might save you money overall.
In addition to direct mail, I highly recommend getting current staff, students and families on board with promoting the new site. I send my kids to daycare and would gladly share about my experience to friends and family on social media. I’d also write a review on Yelp or any other site. But, I’d have to be asked. This is key. Those parents and staff are busy, so you have to ask and then ask again. Send an email, post on the social media channels they follow, put a note in the kids cubbies or folders. And if you really want to amp up the referral game, offer a tuition or registration discount for families that get other families to sign up.
Summer is in full swing! And we know the beach is calling your name and you’re finding it hard to choose work over Pina Coladas, but it’s so important to keep marketing and prospecting even during the slower summer months. Our content ready postcards make it so easy. Just pick one, give us your info, and we’ll plug it in and mail it on your behalf. So go ahead, download an order form and submit it, then take a well deserved lounge by the pool.
Download the Pool Tips + Whats Your Next Move OSS Order Form
Download the Summer Bucket Order Form
Download the 4 Reasons and Navigate Order Form
Download the Summer BBQ Order Form
Download the HighDemand+SecureHome_OSS-OrderForm
Celebrate baseball’s opening day by mailing the complete season schedule for the Angels, Dodgers or Padres. These pieces provide valuable information that recipients are likely to keep around for a while, so they are perfect for building name recognition. Opening day is the beginning of April, so order today to ensure timely delivery.
Download Baseball Schedules 2017 order form
Selling season is in full swing and now is the time to take a look at your listing presentation. Has it been updated with your new brand? Does your bio reflect your most recent awards? Do you need to replace your agent photo? The creative marketing team at One Step Services can make changes big or small, or we can design an entirely new presentation from scratch. Our specific listing presentation creation services include:
- Graphic and layout design
- Custom brand implementation
- Printing with a variety of paper options
- A variety of bindery options
- Creation of digital copies you can display on a computer or tablet
- Creation of smaller leave behind brochures that summarize the listing presentation
A professionally designed listing presentation will put you a step ahead of the competition and make quite an impression with potential clients. Call one of our friendly customer service reps at 888-587-5301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to start your order.