The biggest question in your real estate career arrives in a wave of panic the day you get your license: What do I do now? Here are three great ways to get the ball rolling in the marketing department as a newbie on the cheap.

New to the industry? Get started with everything you need to know about the early decisions that’ll shape your career, including choosing a brokerage, learning your market, creating an online presence, budgeting, getting leads, marketing listings and so much more. If you’re a team leader or broker-owner, New Agent Month will be jam-packed with resources to help your new hires navigate.

This post is largely taken from Kevin Hoover’s previous work on Inman.

The biggest question in your real estate career arrives in a wave of panic the day you get your license: What do I do now?

You might have joined a team or company that offers training, guidance, and even leads, but what should you be doing to capitalize on those efforts? You need to get your name out there and get some deals. 

Most real estate agents work with little or no marketing budget at this stage in the game, and the mountain of solutions seems to cost money. 

Here are three great ways to get the ball rolling in the marketing department as a new agent for little or no investment at all.

Social media

Social media is the go-to solution for marketing. It’s free, everyone uses it, and it’s the first place you would go to tell people what you do. However, most agents misuse social media. They treat it like the “For Sale” board on Craigslist, and it turns people off. 

Update all of your profile information so that people you haven’t met know that you are in real estate, put your professional headshot with brokerage logo as your profile picture, and resist the urge to make every post about real estate. 

It will be tempting, but try to resist pushing your products non-stop. The idea is that you want to keep and grow your audience

People who don’t know you need to see what you do at a glance, but they don’t want to see that you are all sales and no fun. 

As a real estate agent, you add value when you solve someone else’s problems. Give advice on places to eat, lawn care companies, moving companies, events, and yes, talk about how to make buying and selling easier. 

Consult your broker and seasoned agents if you need information on that process. 

Pepper the real estate value with some human interaction.

Be a connector

There is no getting around that you need to build your sphere of influence as a real estate agent. The proven way to bring value is to be a connector for other people.

If you spend time connecting people with your relationships, you will increase your value and your sphere at the same time. 

Connecting a neighbor with a handyman, helping a cleaning company connect with homeowners or co-marketing on social media with a local restaurant are all ways to be a connector. 

You don’t get paid for the effort, but the return on the time investment is that you become known as the person who solves problems. 

Both are strong reputation goals of a real estate agent.

Micro market value

Information during the first year of real estate is like drinking from a fire hose. It is a fast and furious stream of “you have to know this.” Although that might be true in the long-term, it’s far more valuable and marketable if you become an expert in a small area at first. 

Committing to one neighborhood or community will make all of your efforts more effective because the audience is smaller. 

Once you pick your area, start adding value to that area. 

Inman contributor Jimmy Burgess lays out a five-step farming plan that new agents can do entirely virtually and likely using the tools they already have (smartphone, computer, MLS).

When the time is right, going to yard sales, bringing sunscreen to the community pool on a Saturday, or just stopping to chat with people who are out and about in that area are all low- or no-cost ways to get your face in front of homeowners. 

You decide who is in your farm, your ideal client, but you have to add value to the people who live in that area, whether that be in-person visits, online farming strategies or a combination of both.

Once you have one area mastered, you can grow your expertise. You can duplicate this process over and over in multiple communities. In time, you could be well-versed in a significant portion of the entire market. Start small and grow steadily.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the next shiny object in real estate. There will always be something new trying to grab your attention, something that will change your business, a silver bullet. But no such thing exists, and new agents would do well to recognize that early.

The key to building your brand and capitalizing on marketing efforts is to make it all about the people you serve. Put your best foot forward both digitally and in person by making your real estate career about the people, not the process.       

Kevin Hoover is a Realtor with eXp Realty – Myrtle Beach. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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