BrokerageIndustry News

5 overlooked real estate marketing opportunities

For some, social media isn't enough to generate client leads

Are you tired of trying to keep up with every single new technology, app and social media platform? If so, it may be time to circle back to some of the basics that are just as effective today as they were a decade ago.

I recently interviewed Realtor Ira Serkes of BerkeleyHomes.com about the latest innovations he is using in his real estate business. Serkes has always pushed the envelope in terms of using new technologies, including having a strong presence on social media. Consequently, his comments about the current state of technological innovation were surprising:

"Instead of what’s new and different, I’m more interested in what’s old-fashioned and works."

Serkes has always been quite effective at marrying traditional marketing strategies with technological innovation. For example, when he purchased his iPad, he turned the plain black case into a marketing piece by attaching a marketing postcard with his website address on the front of the case. That way, no matter where he uses his iPad, people near him will see "BerkeleyHomes.com" with his logo.

Serkes also indicated that even though he has been quite active on social media, those activities have done little to generate client leads. While he acknowledges social media strategies may work for some agents, for him, "My 5-year-old website that needs updating still generates more leads for me than anything I have done on social media."

So what’s old that still works? Here are five oldies but goodies that are just as effective today as they were 10 years ago.

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1. Zazzle
Serkes is an avid photographer who loves to capture the Berkeley, Calif., lifestyle. One of his most intriguing photos shows a huge orange moon rising over the San Francisco Bay Area. Serkes used Zazzle to create his own distinctive postage stamps (at 45 cents and 65 cents each for normal domestic vs. oversized postcards.) He also creates custom stamps for his clients using a picture of their home. This is a great way to market since his clients use these stamps when they send mail to their friends or family. 

2. Architectural photos
While it may not be practical to pay for professional photography on low-priced listings, it does make sense to use an architectural photographer whenever possible for a variety of reasons. First, your listing photos are your first showing. An architectural photographer can make small spaces look larger as well as showing the property to its best possible advantage.

High-quality listing photos can also be a powerful listing tool. For example, show seller leads your architectural photos and then have them compare your photos to what other agents post online. Since many agents take poor-quality photos, that difference alone may be enough to win the listing for you.

Point2.com conducted two extensive studies about how website visitors search for listings on the thousands of websites that Point2 hosts or syndicates. The results show that to achieve the best results from your online marketing, post a minimum number of 20 photos.

Very few agents take this many pictures. To capitalize upon this fact in your listing presentation, show potential sellers what you do. If the sellers are interviewing other agents, suggest that the sellers have the other agents show the sellers how they are marketing their current listings online.

3. Client appreciation
Saying thank you to your clients who refer or do business with you never goes out of style. The challenge is to find something that is a match for your clients. For example, if your clients like to cook, you might share your great-grandmother’s most prized recipe. For your clients who are football enthusiasts, you might plan a client appreciation event at a local sports bar when your team has an away game. Also, as old-fashioned as it may seem, handwritten notes still make a great impression as well.

4. If you feed them, they will come
Whether it’s a traditional open house, a private open house where you invite your sellers’ friends and/or neighbors, or a broker’s open house, when you serve food, you greatly increase the probability of having a great turnout. A great way to do this is to establish a theme for your open house.

For example, with Halloween just around the corner, you could do pumpkin pie and apple cider. You could also organize a pumpkin-decorating party for the local kids where you serve refreshments. When you advertise your open house, always reference that you are serving food.

5. Give back
Of all the things you can do to meet people, being involved in charitable fundraising or volunteering for worthy causes is still one of the best ways to meet new people and to build your business.

There’s an old saying, "What is old is new again." If you’re not using these tried and true tactics in your business, it’s time to dust them off and put them back to work right now.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success." Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named "new and notable" by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com. You can contact her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com or @BRoss on Twitter.

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