Have you ever noticed that not everything we real estate agents do produces the desired results or ends up being as beneficial as we thought? It’s something I started pondering when I was planning my 2015 real estate marketing strategy.

Take Facebook. If you find that you spend more time working on your Facebook page than you do working on your website, then you are limiting your success. And there are plenty of other things we do that don’t generate as much business as we would like to think. These include:

1. “New listing” fliers on social media. I have found that people on Facebook become immune to “just listed” fliers, and to property marketing in general. Many will stop following your feeds, as this kind of activity seems “all about me.”

The agent who splashes new listings all over social media, every day, is like the uncle who wants to talk only about your family ancestry … all the time! And what do you do with that relative? You avoid him!

Have you ever gone to Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus to look for a place to have dinner? I haven’t. Instead, I do a Google search for restaurants with reviews. Why? Because when I am in need of something, I don’t run to social media. That’s not why it’s there. I want to know about what consumers say about a particular restaurant and not what they say about themselves on their Facebook page.

Use Facebook as a way to connect with other agents and past clients. It is a great to use it almost like a customer relationship management (CRM) system, only don’t keep flashing those new listings!

2. Emailing “just listed” fliers to other agents. Some weeks I get “just listed” fliers in emails over and over again. In fact, there are so many that they become “noise” and the message gets lost. Why do we spam ourselves? Is it because everyone else is doing it? New listings do hit the MLS, after all, but if I need to find a listing for an active buyer client, it will be there when I need it.

3. Paying for leads on Web portals. I’m not naming any names here, but you don’t have to pay for leads on major Web portals. Paid leads normally are not very good leads, and if you don’t have any or many reviews on the portal, you won’t compete well with the other agents in your area who are also paying for space. If you developed reviews online at these same sites, which can be done for free, then people will contact you based on your credentials as a highly reviewed agent, and not because you show up as a paid ad on some buyer’s agent box.

Given that these three marketing strategies aren’t as effective as you might think they are, where should you be focusing your efforts in 2015? Here are some ideas:

1. Get some agent reviews up on the portals. This takes time, and I know it is no fun to remind your last client to “please review me on …,” but keep at it! I have new clients who contact me every week because of my online reviews. Just like finding that local restaurant, when people need a real estate agent, those who have a higher number of reviews are contacted first! It is tedious work, but I send a link asking each client to review me after closing. Typically, I will follow up in a week, and for clients who have still not completed a review during week two, I send an email thanking them in advance and offering a gift card in exchange for the time they spend to review me.

Believe it or not, no one has ever taken me up on the gift card offer! That email always causes them to come through, and that effort pays dividends! In fact, I just got a listing from a seller who told me I was there talking to him “just because of the reviews.” It turned into a $375,000 listing, and the reviews cost me nothing but time and tenacity.

2. Ensure your past sales are on the portals, too. Agents also can showcase past sales on major portals. A seller recently picked me because Zillow rated listing agents based on number of reviews and then past sales! It’s easy to add them; a few minutes spent and you are done!

3. Develop SEO search pages on your website. This might take many out of their comfort zone, but go to the MLS, pull top-selling neighborhoods in different price ranges in your market and, through IDX search pages, build content and make SEO-friendly neighborhood search pages. People call me up and say, “You are everywhere online!” Buyers (and sellers) search neighborhoods and prices. If you appear in a Google search for a given price range in a certain city, searchers will think you are the area expert! They see your name over and over again. Who else would they call?

After the neighborhood searches, add searches based on school district to your site! People also search for homes based on highly rated schools.

I see agents spending too much time at HOA meetings, at the Chamber of Commerce, sitting for hours at empty open houses, and spamming each other instead of doing things that cost little more than some time and know-how! Learn how to implement one of these new ideas in place of the old ideas in 2015, and I promise it will add to your success.

Hank Bailey is an associate broker with Re/Max Legends and a Realtor for more than a decade who provides buyer’s agent representation and seller listing services related to residential real estate.

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