Real estate agents should use return on investment as a more important factor than cost when analyzing marketing and technology products.

  • Marketing should be looked at as an investment, not an expenditure.
  • Always measure return alongside cost when analyzing marketing and technology products.
  • Traditional commission structures can make it hard for real estate agents to make long-term budget plans.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

A real estate agent here in Truckee, California, asked what I charge to write website content and listing copy.

I told her, and she said flatly, “That’s too expensive.”

At no point did she inquire more about my background, ask why I charge what I do, or even attempt to negotiate. She merely hung up.

Last week, I received a press release about a software product that asserted, as its opening argument, that it provides agents a great alternative to “expensive” advertising campaigns.

There’s that word again:


Does the real estate industry worry too much about things being expensive?

Tools of the trade

Being a high-producing real estate agent means knowing how to run a business. Actually, you are the business.

If you’re relatively new to real estate, my advice is to become acquainted with the word “expensive,” because nothing about running a business is cheap.

Dismissing a proven marketing tactic like advertising because its “expensive” demonstrates a lack of understanding of how business works.

Advertising is only expensive if you don’t manage it; it can’t be left to function on its own.

Today’s advertising tools are incredibly more effective than what the business world had even 10 years ago.

We can measure print and online advertising with landing pages, likes, shares, email sign-ups, contact forms and retargeting technology.

Heck, Facebook allows you to choose your audience.

Advertising is only expensive if you don’t manage it.

Think about that: You can handpick highly specific groups of people to see your ad.

Today’s businesses no longer have to trust the numbers and promises of a magazine media kit, compare CPM (cost per thousand), hope for “pass along” traffic, or negotiate for better page placement.

If an ad cost $1,000 for a four-week run but earned you a $500,000 buyer client, was it expensive?

If you tracked its impressions, added a few leads, and better understood who was browsing your website, was it a good investment?

Price isn’t a priority

I understand that the industry’s traditional commission structure makes it challenging for real estate agents to commit to long-term budgets.

I argue that that’s where risk enters the picture, another term that no successful business can function without.

When a business need is immediately dismissed for being expensive, it suggests that price is the most important feature of a product, whether it be a CRM (contact relationship manager), video app or online advertising campaign.

A company (agent) should always use cost as a factor in its due diligence on a marketing product, but only when “return” is given equal weight.

I’ll admit to some bias, as I’ve been in marketing for real estate companies for almost my entire career.

I had to fight hard to get plans and software purchases past my supervisors, and I didn’t always win.

However, when I really wanted something but knew that cost would be a barrier, I would position a more expensive product ahead of it in my presentation.

Fear sells, after all.

But that’s a topic for another day.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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