Having a great marketing strategy doesn’t have to mean shelling out big money for the services of a prestigious agency. In our “Small Biz Strategy Spotlight”, we explore universal methods of taking advantage of modern technology, and getting the most out of the traditional forms of marketing in any industry.
With a game winning synergy in place, you’ll be able to gain exposure and stand out in a crowded field. Today, we explore ways of standing out and being remembered in the competitive field of real estate.
Challenging, time intensive, and constantly evolving, the real estate profession is easy to enter, but difficult to succeed in. Los Angeles is especially tough, where a shortage of listings and skyrocketing home values make acquiring new clients difficult. Further increasing competition between real estate agents are short-term rental websites like Airbnb, which are taking up to 6% of housing units off the market in the LA area. A marketing strategy of buying ad space on bus stop benches and hoping for referrals won’t bring you the results you need. Instead, our four Real Estate marketing strategies below will help you get the upper hand for listings in your area and attract more clients.
Surely Email is outdated by now. For heavens sake, the movie “You’ve Got Mail” is nearly two decades old. With social media and instant messaging so popular, there’s no way Email can be taken seriously anymore, right?
In 2014, revenue from email increased proportionately by 28% and email marketing was ranked as the best channel in terms of return on investment, with 68% of companies rating the channel as “good” or “excellent.” How has this boring method of communication not only stayed level, but grown while competing against more popular developments? It’s accessible from any browser and used for both personal, as well as business purposes making it the go-to in digital communication. It’s also been able to ride on the coattails of mobile technology, and has experienced growth in this area with over half all Email opens done on mobile devices.
That said, there’s a right way and a wrong way of conducting Email marketing. While there have been some tweaks, the overall functionality of Email has stayed the same. The fact that this platform has stayed fairly constant over the years, leads us to wonder why there is still so much Email spam. We hated it before, and still despise it today. Instead of “blasting” your entire contact list with a generic Email, target specific customer groups and the interests they have. Focusing on the quality and relevance of messages you send to customers is more important and more valuable than focusing on the quantity of messages sent.
For example, the message that your first time homebuyer would find valuable is quite a bit different than your empty-nester looking to downsize. Our chart below suggests topics that could be of interest for clients with various levels of home buying experience.
Grouping your contacts to target them with specific emails is much easier if you plan ahead. Sorting an established contact list is a chore nobody wants to do. However, if every time you add a contact you group them by what they’re interested in, when they feel they’ll be ready to buy, what area or price range they’re looking for, etc. sending specific emails will be much easier. Of course it’s easier to just work up one email and send it to all your contacts, but don’t be surprised when nobody calls or writes you back. People like to feel that you’re talking to them personally, and not lumping them into a huge group. Using the names of your clients and personalizing a line or two in an email can go a long way to establishing a rapport, and is the cherry on top to getting your message out through email.
Cultivating your contact list and maintaining a relationship with your clients is critical for real estate professionals, and email should be your workhorse for this job. Recently, it’s been shown that email marketing was deemed the most effective for building awareness, acquisition, retention, and conversion (even more than social media). Programs such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Salesforce not only help you with client management and targeting specific clients, but also provide important data on campaign effectiveness with statistics such as open rates, click-throughs, and forwards. These figures help to know which emails are working best and what tweaks need to be made to score your next sale.
You need to advertise yourself, but you know that people hate feeling like they’re advertised to. How can you overcome this Catch-22?
The answer lies in content marketing. By creating valuable, interesting, and relevant content, you’re allowing your audience to learn from and develop a perception of your expertise in a particular area. Studies have shown that consumers rather get information about a company through a collection of articles rather than advertisements, and that this content gave customers the perception that businesses were interested in building good relationships with them.
A positive side effect of content marketing is an improved ranking in search engines. What this means is, if you have thoughtful contributions to Real Estate matters on your website or blog, then you’ve already started boosting your SEO, resulting in clients having an easier time finding you. You’ve probably heard of SEO, but beyond it being a popular buzzword you might not be exactly sure of what it is and whether you need it.
SEO can be thought of as a lighthouse beaming its searchlight into a dark and foggy sea. In order for boats (customers) to be able to make their way safely into the harbor (your business’ website), they need to be able to see the signal from the lighthouse. The better your SEO is, the bigger the light will be, which means more boats will be able to see it, and from a further distance.
If you’ve gotten your head around the idea of SEO and are ready to find out more about it, this video by Rand Fishkin at Moz does a great job explaining the evolution of SEO and how to take advantage of the changes in a simple way. If you’re feeling confident and want to delve deeper into the rabbit hole, this great study done by searchmetrics highlights specific areas of SEO that can give you the biggest boost.
Keys, wallet, cell phone. The three things the majority of the population checks off in their minds before leaving the house. With 80% of Internet users 16-64 owning and using mobile phones daily, the population is becoming so attached to their phones that 67% of cell owners find themselves checking their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.
By the clever use of Quick Response Codes, QR codes for short, it’s possible to leverage this mobile phone dependency into more exposure for you and your brand. Naysayers will proclaim that QR codes are dead and point to articles that highlight ineffective campaigns that placed these funny looking squares in areas where it was impossible or inconvenient to scan them. Of course, any campaign with improper execution and planning will end in failure, and there have been many examples of successful QR code campaigns that have boosted visibility of a brand or product.
The key to taking advantage of this little piece of digital technology is to be creative with it, but more importantly, make sure it serves a purpose and that people know what they’ll get if they scan it. Often, you’ll see these codes indiscriminately plastered on posters, T-shirts, or product tags without any explanation. Without conveying a purpose, a reward, and placing it in a simple to scan location, it’s illogical to expect somebody to take the time to pull out their phone and scan your code.
An idea to promote your business could include placing QR codes on your local super market shopping carts, gas station pumps, park benches, and other stationary objects in your area. Instead of simply linking these codes to your site, program them to automatically create a new contact in their device with your name, phone numbers, email address, etc. Other ideas could include linking a QR code to set up an appointment for a consultation with you, show listings in the area that the typical demographic of your clients would be interested in, or even play a video where you introduce yourself.
For an in depth look into QR Codes, best practices, creative examples, types, and more click here.
Every piece of collateral your business creates, from a business card, open house flyer, direct mail piece, or any other promotional material, should be viewed as an interaction with a client. Would you meet a client in a disheveled state with messy hair, a wrinkled shirt, and discolored shoes?
Of course not!
The pride you have in yourself and your presentation to a client shouldn’t end at a handshake, but extend to the promotional material they take home. In an effort to improve the bottom line, cost cutting often comes in the form of choosing cheaper vendors for printed collateral. Between this financial pressure and frequent advertisements for discount vendors, there’s a perception that all printers have about the same quality. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Don’t be blinded by the price of discount printers like Vistaprint, before reading their customer reviews in order to make an informed decision on their service and product.
With so many agents choosing a budget printer, handing a client a high quality card from a premium printer immediately sets you apart. More than just a slip of paper with your name on it, a business card is viewed as a reflection of its owner. It’s important for your verbal cues and body language to be congruent with the quality of your business card. By talking the talk, and walking the walk you establish a good impression with your client, but the moment you hand them a sub-standard card, you immediately undercut your efforts. Once you part ways, their memory of you fades over time, but the card will remain.
In reality, our professionalism, standards we set for ourselves, or our value has little to do with the weight, texture and design of a business card. However, your value is merely a perception in the client’s mind. It’s widely recognized that people link the weight of an object with its value: heavier = better. Heavier cars are perceived as safer, heavier wine bottles appear more expensive, and heavy credit cards are viewed as prestigious. It’s important to take advantage of this value placed in the tactile quality of objects. By printing a business card on quality paper stock to give it the extra weight, and incorporating unique textures (like silk, velvet, or soft touch), you’re able to elevate your image from that of a commodity, to a distinguished agent.
Once you see the raised eyebrows your business cards create, you’ll be convinced and will want to enhance all of your collateral to produce those positive reactions.