We spent the past few weeks interviewing top producing agents on their most effective marketing techniques. Our initial intention was to finally settle the debate on real estate marketing and come up with the definitive marketing plans agents should be investing their time and money in.
Unfortunately, after dozens of hours on the phone, only one thing is absolutely certain: top-producing agents focus their efforts in areas that fit their personal strengths — and so should you.
Here, we’ve broken down the four most common agent personas we encountered in our research and detailed the type of marketing they find to be most effective. There’s no single answer, but hopefully, our research can help you fit your outbound efforts to who you are as an agent.
The face-to-face agent
These agents feel like they excel in situations where they find themselves belly to belly with their current and future clients.
Odds are, the idea of cold calling anyone is unappealing to these agents because they often prefer to take their time and foster existing relationships into useful sources of leads.
Marketing for face-to-face agents:
- Sending meaningful gifts to past clients on a regular basis.
- Top-notch listing marketing materials that clients can be proud of (think: well-designed single listing sites with 3-D walkthroughs).
- Educational materials for clients to ensure that they feel adequately prepared for the homebuying or selling process. Providing in-depth buyer and seller consultation packets at the ready for each new client.
- Face-to-face agents will often focus on personalized outreach on social media, striving to make personal connections on the platform while being careful never to come off as spam.
- To truly excel as a face-to-face agent, you have to perform well enough for your clients during the transaction itself (no one refers agents they think did a poor job on their transaction), so often these agents will invest in additional back office support as well.
The outbound agent
These agents are thrilled by the chase of new clients and go through massive numbers of leads to get there. They’re energized by meeting new people, and they have the uncanny ability to shake off a “no” and keep charging ahead. These agents tend to close a lot of houses after putting in a whole lot of work to get there.
Marketing for outbound agents:
- These agents focus on prospecting with their marketing efforts functioning more as an enhancement than a core business function.
- Outbound agents find Zillow and other lead sources to be their best friends, often buying leads then working through a structured sales process to reach out and qualify each one.
- Outbound agents in their most advanced form will often hire one or more sales reps to speed up the process of qualifying their leads.
The neighborhood agent
Neighborhood agents know their farm like the back of their hand. Often having grown up in the particular area they now represent, these agents focus on becoming the go-to name in real estate for their territory.
Their outbound marketing is narrowly focused, but if a listing comes on the market in their area, they have a good shot at winning it.
Marketing for neighborhood agents:
- Regular mailing to their farms (often including a little gift like a calendar or a notepad).
- Listing mailings for their farms. This isn’t limited to announcing the agent’s listings anymore, as many agents will send out notifications for any new listing in their area, whether they represent the listing or not.
- Live community events. Neighborhood agents like to get their face out there and meet the people who call their farm home, often through positive community events like food drives.
- Having a specific and limited area of focus makes going door to door a reasonable way to establish themselves in their farm.
The specialist agent
Real estate specialists will often focus on particular types of real estate transactions to draw in a very focused client base. This level of specialization is difficult to cultivate, but it can pay dividends when partnered with a concrete plan to establish oneself as an area thought leader.
Marketing for specialist agents:
- Content marketing. To provide proof of their specialization, real estate specialists produce large amounts of educational content focused on their specific area. Often running their own blog or guest posting on prominent partner sites.
- Workshops. Buyers and sellers in need of real estate agents with specialties are often encountering issues with their transactions even before they reach out to an agent. Hosting a workshop is a great way for specialists to both meet new potential clients and provide value immediately.
Once again, here are the big four and where they excel:
- The face-to-face agent: giving clients such a delightful experience that they refer additional business down the line
- The outbound agent: taking a disciplined approach toward a large number of leads to find viable clients
- The neighborhood agent: becoming a household name in a specific farm and securing whatever business hits that market
- The specialist agent: pulling off transactions that no one else could and letting the world know about it
So the only question left is: Who are you?
Thanks to the agents who made this article possible:
- Jackie Gallanagh
- Peter Parker
- Brett Bynum
- Patric Carpenter
- Ryan M. Perkins
- Linda Elkin
- Deidre Joyner
- Serina Molina
- Kim Cole
- Brad Gill
- Sandy Kay
- Julie Wyss
- Paul Gallegos
- Martin Ku
- Larry Benedetto
- Sami Elabed and Anissa Burnley
- Julie Gardner
- Samit Shah
Plus several others who donated their time but would like to remain anonymous.
Marshall Darr is the co-founder of Captivate Real Estate. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.