EventsMarketing

Agent Connect takeaways: 4 pros share their best community event ideas

Creative ways to get the word out about your brokerage

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Takeaways:

  • Brian Bair, owner of the Bair Group in Phoenix, hosts quarterly events that focus on whatever he sees trending across his local community.
  • Debbi DiMaggio, an agent at Highland Partners in the Piedmont/Montclair area of Oakland, California, takes advantage of a Fourth of July parade route that goes right past her company’s office.
  • Vicki Monteagudo, broker-owner of Century 21 Tri-Cities in Washington state, works with a more traditional market but has hired an events director who runs three events per month on behalf of her brokerage.
  • Pam Blair, who co-owns YogaBug Real Estate Estate with her husband, Bruce, has built her brand on her love for yoga and wellness.

SAN FRANCISCO — While this morning’s Agent Connect event today offered a lot of tech advice, some of the most interesting ideas came from panelists who were boasting about the fantastic ROI of their community events.

If your first-time homebuyer seminars have grown sleepy (or are empty), consider some of these innovative event ideas from leading agents across the country.

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Brian Bair, owner of Bair Group in Phoenix, hosts quarterly events that focus on whatever he sees trending across his local community.

Bair has hosted events about “paleo” diets, real estate investing and 401(k) savings strategies for his prospective and past clients.

I liked that Bair branches out of what he wants to talk about to drive in new faces. While he may not personally be interested in a new diet craze, he doesn’t want to miss out on a large group of people who live in his area and are all bound by that trend.

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Debbi DiMaggio, an agent at Highland Partners in the Piedmont/Montclair area of Oakland, California, takes advantage of a Fourth of July parade route that goes right past her company’s office. Her brokerage invites the entire community — not just past clients and prospects, but truly everyone — to meet at their office for coffee and a gathering before the parade begins. (Their Italian espresso cart doesn’t hurt when luring in tired parents and candy-happy kids!)

The benefit of an annual experience like DiMaggio’s is that people begin to relate you and your business with a great tradition that means so much to them. In 15 years when their children are grown, DiMaggio’s parade attendees will have photos of their children enjoying the parade from her office’s front lawn. You can’t pay for that kind of emotional connection, it has to be earned.

DiMaggio also used to host “Workshop Wednesdays,” where she would invite local professionals and specialists to teach about their line of work to members of the community. For this seminar-style event, you could invite anyone from an interior designer, to a professional stager, to an architect, to a landscaper.

Attendees may vary from workshop to workshop, getting you more contacts for your database. Best of all, you can start a reference guide of community specialists that you can promote on your website, or one-to-one with clients and past clients.

Vicki Monteagudo, broker-owner of Century 21 Tri-Cities in Washington state, works with a more traditional market but has hired an events director who runs three events per month on behalf of her brokerage. The events vary from wine tasting to meetups at the mall, and everything in between.

Monteagudo’s team first invites each contact via email, then follows up in some way with a personal invite. The final touch is to add the invitee to the Facebook event, which also makes them more likely to attend. Monteagudo says that events can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. But by tracking the ROI of who attends and who eventually converts, you can determine which event pricing strategy is best for you.

Pam Blair, who co-owns YogaBug Real Estate with her husband, Bruce Brickman, has built her brand on her love for yoga and wellness. While that wouldn’t work for every market, it’s the perfect hybrid for their “artsy, hipster” neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.

Blair and Brickman believe in giving something of value before asking for any business, so they host nights where vegan restaurant owners or acupuncturists speak, and they market the event heavily to their area. Blair says this drives in a lot of leads. “I get a lot of clients out of it. We meet them by offering something they want to hear about,” she explained.

No matter where you live, your community is waiting to meet you in a natural way. Whether the events are tailored to your brand or an unrelated trend that doesn’t really affect you, the kicker is to create a professional, organized experience that you can promote and leverage.

If you have other event ideas, share them! Drop them in the comments and I’ll share your tips in a future article.

Gina Thelemann is a content writer for SmartZip Analytics. She has previously worked on the marketing teams for Inman and Edina Realty. 

Email Gina Thelemann.