by Michael Cusden
Real estate agents have been helping people buy and sell properties for hundreds of years. But in the digital age it is all about innovating and finding easier ways to reach a larger audience.
Whether you’re just starting out in real estate or are a seasoned pro, there are always things you can do to improve your marketing initiatives. After all, your success as a real estate agent is dictated by your ability to market effectively.
1. Send Marketing Materials With Every Customer Communication
As the company that invented customer flow communication, we can’t offer up a list of ideas without stressing the importance of adding marketing to everything you do. Always include some sort of marketing material to drive readers to go elsewhere and improve your brand. This holds true for direct mail, email, phone calls, text messages, social media posts or any stage of your nurturing cycle.
2. Get Your Own Website
Apologies if this one is obvious, but we want to cover all bases for those just starting out. Even the most basic real estate marketing ideas are worth a mention. In today’s marketplace, not having a website is like not having business cards. In addition to looking unprofessional, it also prohibits you from collecting important marketing data from those who land on your website. There are numerous services to help you create a website based on your overall budget and programming knowledge.
3. Email Newsletters
Capture the email addresses of new leads and current customers and develop a real estate marketing email newsletter. Online email marketing providers can help you produce professional looking newsletters and track who opened the emails, what they clicked on, and if they unsubscribed. Make sure to send useful information that is not only self promoting. People receive a lot of junk mail in a day and you don’t want to be that type of email marketing sender. As long as you have an opt-in list to send to, you can include listing updates, industry trends, tips to find houses and even funny news from Hollywood (pertaining to real estate, of course).
4. Downloadable Whitepapers
Want to show your audience that you are an industry leader? Show off your knowledge with a whitepaper or eBook. A whitepaper is basically just a fancy term for an informational report. You can turn it into a PDF and put it on your website either to generate leads or to give out for free. Keep it simple and create something highly relevant to a real estate shopper, such as “The Top 10 Home Buyer Mistakes.” Offer your expertise on the subject and close with your contact info. These online guides are easy to share and will show up in search engine rankings, bringing in more free organic traffic. Content pieces like this are typical to be included in lead nurturing campaigns where the lead gets sent new content on set intervals via email.
5. Improve Your Google Ranking
Want to reduce the cost you have to spend on marketing? Do the basic things to help prospects find you on Google. Google generally ranks local businesses based on three things: location, relevance, and prominence. Location means you’ll show up for searches near your physical location. Relevance means you’ll show up for search terms related to real estate (not grocery stores, hotels, hairdressers, etc.) and prominence means how often Google comes across your business name address and phone number when they crawl the internet. By having a website and researching what keywords you put on your website, it can instantly help people find you. Do your research on search engine optimization (SEO).
6. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Search Engine Advertising
These are sponsored results that show to the right when you search on Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. This can be an excellent real estate marketing opportunity because it drives traffic to your personal website or landing page only from people actively interested in real estate. You choose who views your ads by location and demographics. Keep in mind that if you go into this blindly you could waste a lot of money trying to bring leads into the picture. Figure out who you want to target and what area you are focusing on before starting any campaign.
7. Host Seminars
Setting up events can seem like a lot of work, but with marketing automation it becomes very easy. To host a seminar requires promotion, and you can host seminars about selling a home, understanding real estate, buying a home etc. Invite people to your real estate office, use a meeting room at a local chamber, use space from a community center, or rent a location. Send an email RSVP to your contact list inviting them to a monthly seminar. They select the time that is best and the information is all managed with software. You can then trigger reminders and other information leading up to the date. Post event surveys to help get key feedback for the future.
8. Customer Surveys
Surveying people about service quality has marketing benefits. You can identify opportunities for improvement and you let clients know you value the quality of their experience. You can do this by sending an email and include a link to your survey. The process can be automated on any number of touch points including an open house, house tour, or even the final sale. Give your clients the freedom to answer a survey when they want and get the results in real-time.
9. Harness the Power of Facebook
Stop pretending that Facebook is not a huge opportunity for marketing or that you don’t know how to use it. Be creative, not too self-promotional, and use Facebook to amplify your community presence. Using marketing automation, updating your Facebook page with fresh and interesting content has never been easier.
10. Press Releases
Have something interesting going on with your agency? Hire someone new? Open a new location? Get appointed with a new broker? It doesn’t matter what the news is, you can write up a little blurb about it and publish it online. Be sure to reach out to your local community newspaper and use online services to get a link back to your website. The key is to use location terms like your city or town name to help you with search engine optimization.
11. Create a Google+ Page
Like we mentioned above with Facebook, even if you don’t plan on spending a lot of time on social media, having a small presence is better than none. Google+ is another social media site worth exploring. It’s benefits are that it is Google, therefore it is tied to improving your SEO. Create an optimized profile page with links to your website and you are already ahead of the game. As time goes on, Google+ is going to become more and more key to your search rankings, so starting now is a good idea.
12. Encourage Positive Online Reviews
When clients have a positive experience with your agency, encourage them to go online to sites like Yelp.com or MerchantCircle.com and write about their experience. It is also recommended that agents build a page on their website with links to their different profiles on review websites. When people are happy with their service they simply email them a link to that page and it makes things much easier for the customer. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to give you a review. You can also collect reviews by including these profile links in all of your messaging.
13. Carry Blank Business Cards
Have you ever made a really great professional contact and they don’t have a card to give you? Sure you can give them your card but then you’re dependent on them getting back to you. Carry blank business cards with you and when you meet someone without a card pull out a pen and one of your blanks and say something personal and witty. They’ll never forget you.
14. Customer Video Testimonials
No one can sell the benefits of doing business with your agency better than an actual customer. Most agencies have a client or two that love your service, so ask them a few questions and film it with your smartphone. Shoot with the client and camera in a standing position away from a wall – it will have a more candid appearance and the lack of quality will be less noticeable. If you want higher quality and production value, you will have to pay more, of course.
15. Consumer Reviews On Your Website
Like mentioned already, happy clients singing your praises is the best marketing you can get. So use it. Have a page on your site to feature and accept new reviews or testimonials. A simple form can automate the process and send you an email when a new review arrives. Then you can add it to your website. Take these same reviews and sprinkle then on all your touchpoints.
Think of Twitter as another way for prospects to find you. Set up an account, add a profile and a link it to your website. Then set up a few automated tweets to keep the account active while you are busy closing deals. Be sure to add new content and news so your feed does not become robotic or boring.
17. Online News Comments
After reading articles on the local news website make a post and try to include a link to your website. Link a theme in the article to your services. Add the articles to your blog. Remember, incoming links to your website from a reliable source like the local newspaper can help the search rankings of your website and drive targeted traffic.
18. Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn can also be a great resource for building your network. Here’s a hint for real estate agents: the value of LinkedIn doesn’t come from networking with people you already know as much as from connecting with the people they know. Join some groups and try to share your knowledge where people may be looking for help.
19. Publish a Blog
Publishing an online real estate blog is a great way to drive traffic. A general blog about real estate will be lost in the shuffle but a blog about a specific type of real estate in a particular area could be a great opportunity to find actual clients. It will add to your credibility as an industry expert. Blogs can be set up pretty easily these days, so there really is no excuse to not have one.
20. Reach Out to Contacts Every Day
It’s pretty simple. Keep your name and company top of mind. Make friends and increase referrals without looking like a salesperson by asking questions. This can be via email, social media, mobile or any place you interact with clients. Strong relationships within the community are perhaps the most powerful marketing tool an agent can possess. Strengthen these relationships by calling other professionals in the community and asking them questions as often as possible. Over time, the relationship will develop and they will send you referrals. Referrals are the sweetest form of real estate agency marketing.