Niche image via Shutterstock.
I don’t think “niche” means what you think it means. Really. I don’t.
I’m finding that my fellow real estate agents think that a niche means a location. For example, when many agents say they are focusing on a niche, most of them refer to a town, neighborhood or community.
Sorry, but focusing on a geographical location is not a niche. No matter how small that geographic area is. Focusing on a geographical area in real estate is called a farm. For example, focusing on the downtown Philadelphia real estate market isn’t a niche.
So, if that’s not a niche, then what is?
Well, what is a niche?
niche /niCH/ a specialized but profitable corner of the market.
In other words, a niche is a specialty, a specific type of business, a specialized aspect of the real estate business. Here are some examples of niches:
- First-time homebuyers.
- Senior homebuyers.
- Vacation-home sellers.
- Investor home sellers.
Those are niches.
Even better? An even more narrowed focus:
- Downtown condo sellers, in a specific price range, in a specific building.
- Equestrian land buyers, looking for five or more acres.
Why are these even better?
They are more focused. They incorporate both a niche and a farm, allowing you to really dominate a specific niche market through your expertise. When you narrowly focus your business, your business will explode. Seriously. Here’s why:
- You’ll be seen as an expert.
- You’ll become an expert (if you aren’t already).
- Your marketing will focus on your expertise.
- Your blog posts will reflect your expertise.
- Your SEO will go through the roof.
- Your lead generation efforts will produce more highly qualified leads.
- Your focus will become sharpened.
- Your ads will hit the bull’s-eye.
As you may or may not know, my expertise is generating real estate leads online. Specifically, generating leads via Facebook, Craigslist and blogging. For my online lead generation strategy, these were the three main legs to my stool.
I started consistently blogging in 2006, consistently using Facebook in 2008, and consistently using Craigslist in 2010. My goal was to focus on three distinct areas that should a single one disappear, I’d still have two strong legs pumping in leads.
My goal has never been to generate hundreds or thousands of leads. In fact, the idea of building a monster real estate team appealed less and less to me. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted a high profit margin and as little face-to-face time (with anyone) as possible. I also wanted to spend fewer than 10 hours each week working. Those were my goals. That was my focus.
I made sure my niche fit my idea of a dream business. I made sure to narrow my focus and tighten my niche. I became focused on sellers in a specific price range, whose homes were located in specific geographical locations, who did not currently live in their home. Not necessarily sellers of vacation homes or second homes, just not “owner-occupied.” Once I knew what my niche was, I worked on making sure my blogging, Craigslist ads and Facebook strategies were just as focused. I had other offline strategies, but these are my three main online strategies.
What happened when I narrowed my niche? My business exploded. Quite literally. In 2012, we worked five months and made nearly double what we had made in 2011 working 12 months. In 2013, we decided we wanted a totally location-independent business and started referring all of our real estate business out, and, yet, we’ve put in nearly zero work effort.
I was more relaxed. We turned down business. We referred it out if it wasn’t in our niche.
The thing is, really knowing what a niche is and then focusing your lead generation in the right direction will drastically increase the productivity of your lead generation efforts.
I think this is why so many real estate agents fail at generating leads on Facebook. They are too afraid to “disqualify” people (narrow their focus) that they end up qualifying no one, since no one understands what their expertise is. Or, as some people are saying, what their “brand” is.
Once you know your niche, once you are 100 percent sold on your niche, your real estate lead generation efforts are much easier to implement.
Christina Ethridge is the founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com, helping real estate agents capture, convert and close Facebook leads.