In getting started, the first rule is to sit down and make a marketing plan. It sounds simple, I know, but when many agents get a listing, autopilot kicks in. They call a photographer and a printer, spend some quality time with the MLS and call it a listing.
If you take some extra time upfront to plan your marketing, it can save you money and time later — and make you look like a rockstar to your clients.
Here’s the inside scoop — a step-by-step guide in putting together an easy marketing plan:
First consider what you are marketing. Think about the property you have to sell and what makes it special. Ask yourself why someone might choose this home over any other in the neighborhood.
Make yourself a tagline to stay on track. One of my favorites for a Redondo beach property we did was: “Close to the ocean. Far from ordinary.”
When I worked in the creative department at a large advertising agency, we had a whole strategy team whose job it was to research and plan before the creative team ever put pencil to storyboard.
By the time we got an assignment to create a campaign, the strategy team would have a neat little packet of information about the product’s value proposition and the target demographic all ready for us. That way the creative minds were informed by the business drivers.
Who do you think will buy this home? There’s no point in reaching out to families and focusing on the stellar school system if the property has no backyard, and its best features are disco lights and a swim up bar.
Once you know who you’re talking to, you can figure out how to get their attention. Don’t forget about international buyers. If you want to attract these potentially lucrative clients, you have to create robust marketing tools that show the home from afar and speaks their language.
Once you have your target audience identified, think about where you can reach them. Are they newspaper readers or online shoppers? Either way most people spend a lot of time glued to their phones, so you can’t ignore mobile.
High-end photography that leaps off the page is key, but these days you can’t stop there. Agents are pulling out all the stops to highlight the special features and tell the story of the home — including dynamic aerial video, custom property websites, 3-D interactive tours and fully scripted mini movies complete with actors.
This might seem like a lot to do all at once. It can be helpful to plan ahead for a phased campaign that starts by targeting local buyers and builds momentum. You can build momentum by adding more marketing materials.
The more marketing materials you have, the further your reach — you can even translate your copy into different languages to reach buyers across the globe.
If you start with an impressive package and then roll out new materials to build the story of your home along the way, you can keep the buzz going and get that sold sign up.
You know what you’re selling. You know who you’re selling it to and where to find them. Now it’s time to check your listing agreement and verify how much time you have to get this puppy sold.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind through the planning process:
- Armed with that information, open up your calendar and plot out the order of events. Start with staging and any fixing up you and the homeowners need to do.
- Pad a day or two for any unforeseen circumstances. Then schedule photography, videography and aerial capture.
- It’s never too early to start hyping the property on social media even if you don’t have everything fully in place.
- Work with your marketing company on when they expect deliverables such as photos, the website, 3-D floor plans and video to be complete, and get those on your calendar so you can use them to their maximum potential.
- Pick your listing day, and schedule your broker’s open and some open houses.
- Be sure to book any ads you plan to run, and look ahead to any holidays or community events that might impact your timing.
The last rule in developing a marketing plan is: keep evaluating your marketing plan.
Schedule in some check-ins with your client to let them know how the marketing is going. Be serious about collecting data from the outset.
At the first broker’s open, get feedback from the other agents. At the first open house ask attendees what their thoughts are. If the house isn’t selling, some of their answers could suggest why. Then you can make informed decisions about how to adjust your marketing strategy — either addressing the issues or altering your focus.
Think outside the lockbox
If you want to stand out, don’t just think about real estate. Take a look at what other industries are doing. Ask yourself how Coke, AT&T or Toyota would market this property.
Be in the know
You’re reading this article on Inman, so I don’t have to tell you to study the trades, but don’t wait until you have a listing to catch up on the latest news. If you keep current on the trends, you’ll be ready to roll when you win that big listing.