- You absolutely must put effort into your marketing; take the time to do it right, and it will produce leads.
- Cutting your marketing budget instead of investing in the right tools is detrimental.
- Don't be afraid to create your own brand and engage in relationship building online.
So you’ve been in the business a while and have found relative success.
Despite your vast number of years in real estate, there are a few items on the to-do list you might just be skipping over.
I’ve compiled a list of seven must-dos for even the most experienced real estate agents, but newer agents will also benefit from getting a jump on this list and doing it consistently. If you follow the action items outlined below, you’ll be reaching your goals and objectives before you know it.
1. Put effort into your listing copy.
From working with agents, we know this to be one of everyone’s least-favorite tasks. Once the excitement of the newly acquired listing wears off, it becomes time to take stellar photos and write a Pulitzer Prize winning description.
It’s critical to create descriptions that grab buyers’ interest.
Anything you put in the MLS will make its way to the buyer, as everything is syndicated — so unlike previous years, it isn’t just for agents.
My recommendation is to type your description in a word processing program, and then copy it onto the MLS.
Trying to come up with an award-winning story when you are inputting tons of information isn’t as easy. Take some time to do this correctly.
Read it over, and have someone else read it over, too. Don’t use industry jargon, abbreviated words or allow misspellings to make their way into your description.
2. Always follow up with leads.
Forgetting to follow up with leads and connections is a big no-no. OK, so the prospective buyer you spoke with isn’t ready to buy this month — but he or she will be at some point.
If you don’t stay in touch with him or her, the buyer will go with the real estate agent who does. Whether it is by email, text messages, direct mail pieces or all of the above — you need to make sure you stay on top of potential sellers and buyers alike.
It’s wise to invest in a system that can automate the communication for you and keep you on task. It is natural that with all that you have going on, you might be inclined to put off creating a follow-up system.
But force yourself to think long-term because this automated system will continue working for you for many leads to come.
From the time leads become interested in the prospect of buying a home to the time they close, the follow-ups will keep you in touch.
Every buyer becomes a seller, and every seller a buyer. Strong follow-up is the only way to keep yourself top-of-mind.
3. Spend more on your website
Agents often underestimate the power of a good website. It’s more than just having an IDX feed; it’s about having a site that clients find useful, but that also tells your story.
Does your site help guide prospective clients to the specific areas of your website? Are you giving them what they need?
A good website is essential in generating leads, and if your site isn’t giving clients the information they require, they can quickly go on to the next site.
A good site will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 for an agent, but it’s an investment that will pay for itself.
Don’t forget to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile. If you haven’t already guessed it, nowadays more people are using their mobile devices than laptops or desktops.
If your site isn’t easy to use on a mobile device, not only will Google penalize you, but your audience will, too.
Make sure that your site does the following: positions you as an expert source, solidifies your brand, educates your clients, establishes your local knowledge and provides the information visitors need in a clear way.
People would much rather visit a website than pick up a phone, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to build that site.
4. Use social media
Building relationships is critical for anyone in the service industry, and a excellent way to build trust and relationships is via social media engagement.
Did you know your prospects are on social? I bet you do. In the second quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion active users.
OK, so you might have already guessed you need social media, and might have even opened up a Facebook page. Here are some additional tips.
- Never use any social media as a sales tool.
- Make sure you use it to engage the local community and provide insights.
- Think of social media as a party at your house. You’ll want to act in a similar fashion as if you were inviting clients, friends and family over.
- Keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to show your personal side.
- Set aside some time to post some content that is interesting to you. If you’re posting on your personal Facebook, you’re halfway there.
- If you don’t have the time, don’t hire a company that syndicates the same inauthentic post on thousands of agent sites. If you don’t have the time for it, it is best not to do it incorrectly.
- If you do have the financial ability to hire a marketing firm, make sure that you are dealing with someone who will create original content for you. This original content has to be well-researched, and most importantly, it must sound like you.
- Don’t forget it is perfectly acceptable to mix a little personality with business.
5. Brand yourself
For an agent, a brand is everything. Sure, you have your broker’s brand to back you, but investing in your own professional brand is essential in building trust.
If every postcard you send out looks completely different each time, prospective clients won’t make the connection, and your marketing efforts will be in vain.
Equally as bad is when you only send out a branded piece every few months; nothing makes it more challenging for your client to memorize your brand and recognize it.
Make sure that before you go out into the world, you have a reliable brand that accurately represents you. Your brand represents who you are: your message, your personality and your entire essence.
A good brand is an investment. It has nothing to do with looking pretty, but it has everything to do with reaching the correct audience and generating more quality leads.
6. Embrace video
Even if you don’t have the professional set-up, a phone video is better than no video at all, (though we hope you’d set aside some money to create some worthwhile videos).
Videos give clients a way to connect with you on a more personal level. If you feel like shooting a video every day, go for it!
Not only are videos an excellent way to connect with others, but they are a very powerful tool for showcasing your expertise and getting more search engine cred.
Even if you film them on Snapchat and later transfer them over to your other social accounts, that’s fine too. Video works.
Although it might not seem like it with the death of Vine, rest assured that video is going strong.
Don’t take my word for it; just check out: SnapChat, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo, Periscope, Facebook Live or just about anywhere.
7. Set aside money for digital advertising
It is likely that you haven’t put your budget on paper, but you should. You should have a budget set aside for your marketing endeavors, and I am not just talking print.
Advertising on social media is a great way to get business. Make sure that you set aside some funds, so that you can effectively advertise your homes, and yourself, online.
With all the targeting tools available, it makes sense to spend some money on advertising online. You don’t need much, even $500 a month might be a good starting point.
Having a budget that you won’t reduce will help you keep your marketing consistent.
A budget works both to prevent you from going over budget and from not spending enough. There is a perfect balance when it comes to investing in your marketing and going off balance in either direction can prove costly.
It is essential that you have enough marketing to generate leads, but not that you are spending without direction or a plan in place.
Think of it like walking into a grocery store and having no menu or shopping list. You’ll either buy things you do not need, or you’ll end up forgetting those items you do need to get. A budget, particularly one with a detailed strategy, is crucial.
If you heed our advice, in the next six to eight months, you begin to see the results of all your hard work. As a reminder, don’t just pick and choose — follow all seven action items for the best results.
Laura Ure is the CEO of Keenability, a marketing agency specializing in lifestyle marketing that targets the affluent buyer. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.