Part of the reason the media companies are so successful marketing to real estate agents is because real estate agents believe in magic. Just sign up for a premium account, buy a ZIP code, and you will get “leads.”
To many, being a real estate agent seems to be all about lead capture and buying leads.
I remember back a few years ago the common wisdom was that the lead aggregators would go out of business. I guess some of them did, but lead capture isn’t all that different. Instead of buying the leads that the aggregator captures, agents capture their own.
Agents like to be able to have automated processes so they can capture leads and send out canned marketing emails. It doesn’t cost much or take a lot of time to send out a zillion email messages to thousands of leads.
When Facebook and Twitter first came on the scene, some real estate agents and experts viewed social media as the new way to get lots of leads cheap. A Facebook page was like magic. Some agents took marketing to a new level, putting automated tweeting houses on the Internet to drum up some business for themselves.
Sure, we would all like to just put our feet up and let the business roll in. We can automate and can every task using the wonderful technology that we have.
Each time something new comes on the scene, it’s treated as if it were invented just for real estate agents. We can just put pictures of our listings on Instagram and the business will come in. I remember reading articles about how you could use Vine to market real estate. Apparently short looping video of stationary houses was the next big thing.
Last week when Instagram rolled out its time-lapse video stabilization tool “Hyperlapse,” right on cue an industry expert wrote about how it can be used for marketing homes for sale. Super-fast videos of homes for sale and of everything else are apparently the next big marketing tool.
This year drones are magical. We can throw a drone at a home for sale and apparently it doesn’t matter what the video looks like or what it actually shows. It just needs to be taken by a drone.
When I started my blog it seemed like blogs were considered magical, too. Agents would start a blog and then post some statistics every other day and pictures of their listings and wait for the good times to roll.
Then, agents discovered that writing blog posts is work. It takes time, and is not a path to instant success. So agents gave up on the idea of blogging — unless they could do it on a platform where they got lots of comments and plenty of praise from other real estate agents.
It is work to tweet in person instead of just using auto tweets. It’s harder to write a separate email tailored to each situation, instead of using canned messages. And it is work to publish unique content on a blog that is about local real estate. Sometimes it is even all right to pick up the phone and have a conversation that isn’t scripted, but where we listen and respond.
The spam that hits my inbox is often from companies offering magical solutions that will easily lead to unimaginable wealth. If I were selling products or services to real estate agents I would use the same type of sales pitch, because it works. Many real estate agents believe there are easy magical ways to use technology to make a lot of money with little effort.
Sometimes we lose touch with the fact that real estate is still a relationship-based business. It doesn’t matter if we build relationships by direct mail or through Twitter. It’s the relationships themselves that bring us business. Those relationships are not generic or magical. They take time and effort and are usually built one at a time.
Successful agents who have been successful for longer than a few days or years all tell me the same thing: They work hard. When they have been working hard for many years, then the magic happens.
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minnesota, and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.