Worried about the winter slump? Here are some things to keep you busy — and to prepare you for the spring market.
Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.
If you got your license during the hot Spring and Summer market, you may feel that the slower Fall and Winter selling season offers a respite from back-to-back transactions. Alternatively, if you didn’t do as much business as you’d hoped this year, you may be worried about the effect of the cold weather slump on your real estate business and momentum.
Here are some things you can do to make the best possible use of this slower part of the season – and to gear up for 2020 in fine form.
Getting the word out
For many real estate agents and brokers, this is the prime time to review, rethink and reboot your marketing initiatives.
1. Content marketing
If you’ve been promising yourself that you were going to add content marketing as a strategy this year, this is the perfect time for you to create new blog posts, videos, podcast episodes, and other content for roll out during the next few months.
While you’ll want to use some of this new content now in order to build Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over the Winter, you’ll also want to hold some of these posts back and dole them out during the Spring when you may be too busy to create new content.
2. Email marketing
This is a great time to work on your email audiences, optimizing and segmenting, creating auto responder sequences, and otherwise organizing both your messaging and who receives your message. In addition, you can create templates for your various email marketing initiatives so that your 2020 emails are more plug-and-play.
3. Social media management
If you struggle with social media management, this is a good time for you, or someone in your firm, to create a spreadsheet of social media messaging, content distribution, and scheduling. In addition, you can spend some time putting together branded graphics like quote of the day cards or excerpts from the blog posts you’ve written.
4. Website review
Take a look back at your website or have a trusted colleague or consultant do so and determine what you need to change for the new year. Consider both images and content, structure, and functionality so that your website will be ready for prime time by Spring.
5. Handwritten notes
You’ll have opportunities during the holidays to send handwritten notes and cards to your sphere, past clients, valued referral sources, and others who could use a personal touch. In addition, you may want to put together a plan for acknowledging birthdays, anniversaries, and other events for your sphere of influence in 2020.
6. Event planning
This may be a good time for you to put together some events so that you can create opportunities for face-time with the most valued members of your sphere. Host a movie night at the local theater, a holiday open house, or even a series of intimate dinner parties in order to show your appreciation and keep yourself top-of-mind for next year.
Whether you need a new headshot or would like to have a series of casual candids for use in your 2020 marketing, this is a great time to book a photographer. Combine interior and exterior shots as well as a variety of cold weather and warm weather wardrobe choices in order to give yourself new options throughout the year.
8. Testimonials and reviews
If you have not had a moment to reach out to past clients for testimonials or reviews, now is the time. Thank them for the opportunity to work with them in 2019 and send them a link so that they can share their positive experiences with others.
Education and training
Now is the time for all of the training you didn’t have time for in 2019. Get up to speed on something new or get ahead on your required training.
9. Licensure and continuing ed requirements
Even if your license renewal is not due until late 2020, you can go ahead and take your continuing ed classes now. That way, all you’ll have to do next Fall is send in your payment while everyone else is scrambling to complete their requirements.
10. New designations and certifications
If you’ve been looking for a new niche to serve or simply want to increase your level of expertise and effectiveness, consider a new designation or certification. You may be able to complete the training requirements online and add it to your website and marketing materials before the new year.
11. CRM or transaction management training
We all have access to so much technology, yet often we only use a small percentage of its total potential. Take a class to optimize your knowledge of your CRM or transaction management platform and find out all the ways that you can be more efficient when that busy Spring market rolls around.
This is a great time for catching up and thinking ahead. Use the Fall and Winter slowdown to get up to speed on your records and finances.
12. Document organization
You may have dozens of files with file names that are just strings of numbers or letters. Take some time to go through, rename, and organize those random files into folders. Take a look at your transaction management software and delete any duplicate files that you have saved on your computer.
13. Tax preparation
Now is the time to put together receipts, create spreadsheets, and research other records so that you will be ready to prepare your taxes as soon as possible in 2020. If you use a tax preparation software platform, go ahead and put in some of your basic information and make a list of information you’ll need when it’s time to calculate your 2019 taxes.
14. Financial planning
Work with a CPA or CFP on both long-term and short-term financial planning. Determine what you need to be putting aside for taxes, savings, college funds, and retirement and implement a plan for continuing oversight to stay on track.
15. Inbox zero
If you are one of those people with two thousand emails in your inbox, this is the perfect opportunity for you to create folders, file relevant emails, and delete the rest. Make Inbox Zero your goal by the New Year and see if you can keep it going with regular upkeep and maintenance.
16. Time management
If you’ve found yourself constantly scrambling to keep up in 2019, this might be a great time for you to explore some time management strategies and begin to implement them. Whether you choose time blocking or some other technique, you’ll feel more in control everyday when you exercise more control over every day.