How do you plan to grow your real estate business if people don’t know you exist? I want you to do me a favor, right now, stop what you’re doing and go to a store that you don’t know if it is even a thing. Sounds kinda ridiculous doesn’t it?
Case in point – if YOU can’t use a business that you don’t know about, how can you expect anyone else to? This world is not a “build it and they will come” system. It’s a “build it and market it and they may come,” system.
If you want to sell someone’s house, they need to know that you can.
Let’s dig into marketing efforts in the coming year. What are yours?
Branding, social media, print, email, SEO, PPC, do you need an app, what about billboards, buses, banners, and magazine ads? Let’s shore up your marketing plan and figure out what works.
Real Estate Agent and Broker Branding
Branding is a simple and profoundly important aspect of marketing that many people mistakenly view as an afterthought. They think, “Eh, I don’t need a logo.” They worry about branding after their branding has already been dictated to them.
Branding is simply this: Who are you, what do you stand for, who do you serve.
Your brand is not your logo. Your brand is your everything.
Before you do anything else, figure out your brand.
Who are you? Why are you in this market? Who do you serve – give them names, stories (these are called buyer personas).
Figure out emotions you want your business to evoke and how you need to get it there.
Create a logo that evokes this emotion, create brand standards that follow this.
Build a brand around yourself so that you have a framework and a guideline for your marketing efforts. With that done – you’re ready to market, right?
CRM and Follow-Up Email Marketing
What happens when you get someone in your pipeline? Do you have a marketing funnel? Does it work? Before you can market you need an effective plan in place in case it’s successful. “Figure it out on the go,” will lead to bad reviews, and lost commissions.
So let’s say someone calls you? What happens next?
Let’s say you get someone’s email address? What then?
Develop this plan and flesh it out and write it down so you have something to follow. If you can – automate as much of this as you can with your CRM platform. If you can’t – find a way to do it.
The less time you focus on ephemera, the more time you can focus on what matters.
Already have these questions answered? How are things working? Dive into the numbers. Figure out what’s working and what’s not. Cut what’s not, do more of what is.
NOW you’re ready to look at marketing.
Social Media Marketing
Having a presence on social media is important and recommended. Whether or not you pay for promotions is entirely up to you. But being there is part of the game.
Go claim your name and your brand on all major social media channels.
You can choose to use them or choose not to – but making sure YOU are in control of them is important.
To know if you should use a social media platform, you should know two things:
- Your real estate market
- The platform's demographics
If your market is people in their 40's and up who make over 200k per year, then something like Tik Tok (which trends down to teenagers) is NOT going to be your social media platform of choice.
From here – things get a bit more complicated and a lot more strategic. Leveraging social media is important. We suggest you check out our webinar (it’s free) Leveraging Social Media to Dominate Listings.
This is a one hour, on-demand, webinar that goes over the ins and outs of using social media.
You know your brand. You know your market. More importantly, you know where they live.
Print mail send-outs are a good way to get people thinking. “Do you know how much your house is worth,” or “Do you know what your neighbors are selling for.”
If magazines or newspapers are more your market's speed, then you need to learn what they're reading and show up there.
When creating print pieces the idea is let them know you're there. It's to promote awareness. The goal with all print marketing is not to make the sale then and there. Have you ever been sold to by a piece of paper? No. The goal is to get them thinking. The goal is to get them to take action and to take action with YOU, their next real estate agent.
You're not going to make a sale with a print piece. You CAN, however, prompt the beginning of the communication process.
SEO / SEM / PPC Marketing
You cannot hide from search engines. Almost every decision is being made after someone does a search on Google. You cannot afford to NOT be out there. Because if people are searching something, then they’re finding answers. Are YOU the answer they’re finding or is your competition?
The good news – you don’t need to compete nationally. Focus on hyper local search.
The bad news – you will have to go up against large brokerages unless someone is searching for your name.
So how can you compete with the big national firms that will spend millions on marketing? Do what you’re best at.
Websites are free to build, these days. I suggest a WordPress site hosted on any one of the many hosting platforms. WordPress is free, it’s relatively simple, and that’s to it’s open-source nature, you can do just about anything with it.
Customer testimonials, new properties, news, videos, everything under the sun – it can all be housed on your own BRANDED website.
Create content that people want to see. Create content worth reading. Create content that people will want to read and will come back to read. Your website is you showcasing your knowledge in the real estate world. Your website is your platform to promote your listings in a way that you KNOW will get them sold. Lean on that.
As we said, you're going to go up against big players. The Zillows, the Homes.com, Realtor.com and large brokerages, they are all going to be spending money and having entire departments dedicated to being the top result on Google. You will not compete with them. So how do you use them? Can you leverage them to your advantage? Where are your users going to be looking? Can you put your site there?
Where is your market when they AREN'T looking at houses? Can you put your site there in some way?
But the big question – do you need a blog. That depends. Is your market really going to sit down and read your blog? Is your blog going to provide unparalleled value to your potential customer? Probably not. Save the blog for people who have time sit down and write posts. You focus on your business.
Tracking Your Marketing Efforts
With all marketing there is cost. The biggest problem with print marketing is that it is difficult to track this cost as it relates to income. You know…ROI. One way around this is giving every print piece you produce a unique URL on your website. Yes, this is time consuming, costly, and very very tedious. Also, there's NO guarantee that a user doesn't just Google your name and you lose the tracking value in it.
The best way to track ROI of print marketing is, honestly, not something that is seen as statistically relevant. How much did you make when you weren't doing print marketing? Then how much did you make when you were? Then how much did you make when it stopped?
Basically you track the correlation. I know, not statistically sound, but it's better than nothing.
With ALL digital platforms and methods tracking becomes a little simpler. Google offers a free service called “Campaign URL Builder“. It allows you to tag and mark up links that lead back to your website, and these tags and markups are monitored in Google Analytics (which is also free – and a must have).
When you use URL builder you create tags for you link like:
- Your Campaign Source (example: newsletter, email, referral, facebook, instagram)
- Your Campaign Medium (examples: banner ad, sidebar ad, video, instagram bio)
- Your Campaign Name (examples: Spring 2020, Main Street Open House, New Listing on Main Street)
- Campaign Content (different ads/posts/videos get different names that you can identify EASILY – this means no naming it “Ad#324”)
When you create an ad – run it through the URL builder. When you create a social media post, run it through URL builder.
YES it takes extra steps. YES it takes extra time. But when you can look at your data and tell clearly what is working and what is not, the time more than pays for itself.
If you can't be bothered to take an interest in your own business then who can, right?
If you want to see success this year then you need to up your marketing game. But before you do that – you need to view yourself as a brand. Then you need to constantly do what's best for your brand.
It may seem daunting, and it is. But just take it one step at a time and you can easily do this, because YouROCK.