It’s hard to believe that another new year is right around the corner. Each year, the ideas behind real estate marketing shift a little. Modern methods become increasingly important while others lose priority.

  • Facebook is still the name of the game when it comes to social media.
  • YouTube, which is owned by Google, should be a vital component of your strategy as it becomes increasingly important to SEO as well as consumer searching.
  • You can Google anything -- so can a potential client. Set up Google alerts to make sure you know what is being said about you and manage it.

It’s hard to believe that another new year is right around the corner. Each year, the ideas behind real estate marketing shift a little. Modern methods become increasingly important while others lose priority.

Through my 12 years experience involved in cutting-edge real estate marketing, I have seen many trends change and, along with it, the playing field for agents.

Do you want to bump up your game and be more competitive in 2016? These are the things you should be thinking about from a marketing perspective as we enter the new year:

1. Make a business plan

If you don’t have a business plan — if you have never had a business plan — start work on this now. Every successful agent I have ever spoken to had a plan of some kind before experiencing immense success in this industry.

As is true in any business, it’s vital to quantify goals, set a plan to reach them and stay on track throughout the year.

Bloomua / Shutterstock.com

Bloomua / Shutterstock.com

2. Use Facebook regularly

Facebook is still the name of the game when it comes to social media, though many other platforms are out there (more on those later).

There are differing schools of thought about setting up a Facebook business page or maintaining it as a personal page.

At the end of the day, you are your brand, so keep it on the same page. Promote your listings, blogs and projects alongside your personal life. Whatever you decide, make sure you are using this platform to stay in touch with your sphere.

Kikovic / Shutterstock.com

Kikovic / Shutterstock.com

3. Create unique content

Note, I did not just say, generate content. Gone are the days when more was better with regard to content creation. Think about things that have not been done before, in your market at least, and try to do them in a unique way.

Look to agents you admire and other sources for inspiration. Write the type of content that you would want to read.

4. Get involved

In-person interaction is still the best thing you can do from a marketing perspective. Concentrate on getting involved more in 2016. My best advice is to choose activities that you enjoy and want to be more involved in.

If you like playing sports, sign up for a league. If you have a strong affinity for your alma mater, think about joining your university alumni group.

tulpahn / Shutterstock.com

tulpahn / Shutterstock.com

5. Join Instagram immediately

Consumers today are more visual than ever — especially in the 25 to 40 demographic. Appeal to this by using the social media outlet they flock to: Instagram.

Photos of listings, decorating ideas, community shots, etc., are all great insta-posts and a nice way to connect with your sphere.

6. Take your email marketing to the next level

Email campaigns are a vital part of a real estate agent’s marketing activities as they provide a nice touch to your contact list. That being said, people are inundated with emails on a daily basis.

Make yours stand out. Provide a unique position on the market or a specific reason that people would want to open and read your email campaigns.

Alix Kreil / Shutterstock.com

Alix Kreil / Shutterstock.com

7. Showcase your expertise

Think about third-party sources that could use your advice to share with their readers. Examples could be local print publications, online blogs, community newspapers and more.

Reach out and offer a regular column with advice from your perspective as a leader in the market. It’s a win-win — by giving them free content to publish, you’re getting your name out in front of their readership.

8. Educate others

Offering classes geared toward first-time homebuyers is an excellent way to get yourself in front of people directly while sharing your expertise.

Consider reaching out to corporate human resources departments to see if you can meet with a small group and bring lunch to reach out to this particular group. Also, don’t stop at buyers. Classes for sellers can also be a great form of outreach.

GongTo / Shutterstock.com

GongTo / Shutterstock.com

9. Ask for reviews and testimonials

More often than not, consumers still turn to online reviews to get feedback before making a purchase.

Encourage your clients to “Yelp” their experiences with you and also share testimonials that you can use in your marketing.

If possible, ask them for a photo to use as well — testimonials with photos get a lot more traction.

10. Find your niche with YouTube

YouTube, which is owned by Google, should be a vital component of your strategy as it becomes increasingly important to SEO as well as consumer searching.

Similarly to how people are more image driven, consumers also find quick one-minute videos of properties appealing because they can get a feel for the space virtually.

Find a way to make your videos stand out and create the most impact in your market.

11. Don’t forget Periscope and live-streaming video

Taking it a step beyond YouTube, services such as Periscope allow for live-streaming video that is a great asset to your real estate business if you choose to use it.

You can answer questions and concerns immediately and drive consumers into the decision-making process more quickly. Agents will see these tools become increasingly popular and beneficial in the coming year.

12. Employ 3-D tours

If you have not yet embraced 3-D video technology, you are already a bit behind the curve. This technology has become more available and cost-effective to provide a sensational view of a property.

13. Retarget those clients

Retargeting ad campaigns have been around for a long time, but it’s just starting to see an increase in usage from real estate agents.

If you aren’t familiar with this strategy, think about a time you looked at a product in a place like Amazon. If you then saw an ad for that item pop up on a random website, you were looking at a retargeted ad.

Think about specific uses for these campaigns that make sense and can drive traffic back to your site.

14. Manage your online brand

I’m always surprised when people don’t think about their brand online like a company does. You can Google anything, and so can a potential client.

Set up Google alerts to make sure you know what is being said about you and manage it. Also, be mindful of what you post on your social media page — it develops a story of who you are as an agent.

15. Optimize listing websites

Listing websites have been around a long time, and many agents take advantage of them to create a portfolio of photos and stats for their individual properties.

If you don’t, read this article I wrote about the essential components of listing websites. If you do use listing websites, work to optimize them to look pretty and act as lead capturing machines.

16. Bring on a professional

Consider bringing on an outside consultant to manage your marketing efforts for you. A professional can develop a plan that makes sense based on your target market and location.

The bottom line is that it’s not about throwing out the old and bringing in the new. It’s about taking what you have been doing and doing it better by adding some new aspects.

Put your time into the items that you enjoy and have the manpower and budget to manage. Be amazing at the pieces you decide to pursue, and your clients will respond.

Gregory Kiep is the director of marketing at Charlesgate Realty. You can find out more about him at GregoryKiep.com or follow him on Linkedin orFacebook.

Email Gregory Kiep.

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