Brokerage

Update your marketing, or get left behind

Adapt to technology without getting caught up in the chase for the latest shiny new object

You update your clothing and your technology, but have you updated your marketing? If you’re still using the same old outdated tactics from five, 10 or even 20 years ago, it’s time to freshen up those old approaches with a new look for 2013.

With all the buzz about video, mobile and social media, it’s easy to get caught up in the never-ending chase for the latest shiny new object. On the other hand, it’s also just as easy to become complacent and to keep on doing what you have always done.

The challenge is that if you constantly chase what’s new, you don’t develop consistent systems. On the other hand, if you don’t adapt regularly, you’ll be left behind by the agents who do.

So how can a busy agent like you determine what needs a remake? Here are some useful tips.

1. Real estate is, and always will be, a face-to-face business

Does calling on owners of expired listings, for-sale-by-owners (FSBOs) and door knocking still work? Absolutely! These tried and true techniques that put you in direct contact with owners are as effective today as they were 50 years ago.

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You can use technology to identify listings that have expired or are available as a FSBO, but ultimately, there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction. In fact, the NAR statistics on this point haven’t changed for many years. The large majority of buyers and sellers are most likely to do business with the agent they have seen most recently face to face.

The large majority of buyers and sellers are most likely to do business with the agent they have seen most recently face to face.

2. If everyone else is doing it, do something different

Are you using this hackneyed old phrase, “I’m never too busy for your referrals”? If so, stop! This phrase has been so overused that it’s simply not effective any longer.

Today’s consumer wants your communication to be about them, not about you, how busy you are, or how much you have sold in the last month or year.

Moreover, if you are using a mailing program that is being used by other agents in your area or if you are marketing your listings using “Just Listed” or “Just Sold” cards with your picture on them, it’s time to stop that, too. The best way to update your look is to do something unique that differentiates you from the pack of agents who are all marketing the same way.

To illustrate how to stand out, one of our private coaching clients recently contacted several of her neighbors regarding a buyer who was looking in her neighborhood. Her mailing campaign yielded one showing that really wasn’t right for her buyer.

While most agents would have thanked the owners for the showing, this agent did something that made her stand out. She personally delivered a box of beautiful Danish cookies to say “thank you.”

It is this personal touch coupled with doing something more than what is expected that will make you memorable in a sea of forgettable marketing pieces.

3. Three trends that are here to stay

Like it or not, there are three trends that you must address in the very near future if you want to continue to stay relevant to today’s tech-savvy, mobile-based consumer. Those three trends are going paperless, having a “responsive” website, and incorporating video into your marketing.

If you haven’t shifted to becoming paperless, the sooner you make the move, the better. Before you adopt any new technology, a key question you must always ask is, “Will this new technology improve my productivity?” In the case of going paperless, there is no doubt that it will yield huge returns for years to come.

Systems such as DocuSign, Cartavi and dotloop make it possible for you to store all your marketing materials, contracts and other related transaction documents in a single place. A great place to begin this transition is to start working with digital signatures.

Cartavi and DocuSign are now integrated so you can conduct all these functions easily from your iPad or other tablet PC. In fact, the DocuSign phone app (DocuSign Ink) is much faster and simpler to use than the desktop version. Merely photograph your signature, upload it to the app, and no fax machine needed.

The second trend is becoming “responsive.” This means that you have a website or blog that automatically senses the type of device where your site is being viewed. Your site then shifts the display to fit the appropriate size screen. No finger expanding or shrinking required.

The third trend is video. If 90 percent of the traffic on the Web will be video by 2014, now is the time to make the shift. Whether you hire a professional or take fun videos yourself, remember to focus on what matters to the consumer.

Ultimately, the goal for your marketing remake is to make people who receive your marketing materials feel that “this agent understands me and my lifestyle.” That’s the real secret to any type of marketing success. Use the new technologies to maintain contact, but never let them become a substitute for what matters most: personal connection.

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.