When it comes to effectively marketing one’s personal brand, there are a number tools and tactics that might cost time, money, energy or repeat business, and therefore, it’s imperative to parse through what’s worth the investment and what’s not.

In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, realtor.com and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.

Inflation has calmed down a bit from highs earlier this year, but life is still not cheap by any means, which means every extra penny in a real estate agent’s purse counts.

When it comes to effectively marketing one’s personal brand, there are a number of tools and tactics that might cost time, money, energy or repeat business, and therefore, it’s imperative to parse through what’s worth the investment and what’s not.

As Marketing and Branding Month has arrived at Inman, it’s a great time to review the tools and tactics below, and take a good hard look at what should and should not make the cut when it comes to your next marketing refresh.

How bad is it to either neglect to pay for these tools, or alternatively, dish out some extra cash for them? Only you can decide for yourself, but what follows are some suggestions.

1. Let go of buying leads

Ask any number of top agents in the industry today, and many will say they don’t buy leads. Why? Because it’s not always easy to get quality leads by purchasing them, and there are so many other things an agent could be spending their hard-earned money and precious time on. For instance, many top agents say they’ve solely based their business on repeat clients and referrals — because it works.

Bottom line: Worth the gamble

2. Pay for automated marketing services

Automated marketing services (MoxiWorks is one well-known example) can be a great tool for some agents. After taking on a new listing, an agent is automatically emailed marketing materials with information drawn from the MLS.

These types of services are great for agents who can keep up with them, and actually make good use of those materials after they’re generated.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, if an agent doesn’t put those materials where they’ll be seen and interacted with, it might feel like more of a waste of money. And there’s also a risk that marketing materials may end up feeling formulaic.

Bottom line: Depends on your business style

3. Spend money outsourcing

Inman has seen a number of success stories over the years from agents who have hired support staff like personal assistants or marketing coordinators. Afterward, their production levels soared.

For agents who work well with others, are truly good at delegating (and can actually relinquish control of the task) and have the extra money to pay for support staff, it’s probably worth it to do so.

But agents who don’t take advantage of their support staff member’s services, and squander their extra time instead of using it to sell more homes, would do better to forget about this option.

Bottom line: Depends on your business style

4. Leave marketing tools and subscriptions unchecked

This one can get pretty bad if left unchecked for a long time — suddenly a $500 charge to a credit card may pop up for a tool an agent hasn’t used in a year, and it can be a real bummer.

Twice a year, it’s a good idea to do an inventory of all subscriptions and other tools being paid for on a monthly or yearly basis, and determine if they’re getting enough use to be worth the cost. Scrap those subscriptions no longer in use, and end those free trials that soon might be charging a fee to avoid wasteful costs.

Bottom line: It may cost you

5. Pay for print ads

In the highly digital world that we live in today, any print ads or other print marketing materials should be scrutinized before investing in them. Variables like an agent’s typical client demographic and what markets they operate in will undoubtedly play a role in this.

For instance, leaning more heavily into print ads might be worth it for agents who interact with more traditional, old-school buyers. But otherwise, agents might want to be careful how much they’re spending on this, and make sure placement is very strategic and in a high-visibility location, given one’s target client pool.

Bottom line: Depends on your business style

6. Ignore video platforms

Marketing through video, whether that’s through social media, commercials, video tours or otherwise, is the way of the present and the future. Ignoring the fact that there’s been a huge rise in recent years in video marketing will not be helpful to any agent. Video is accessible, easy to digest, and in terms of production, it’s not hard to learn how to do even rudimentary, low-cost video marketing that’s still effective.

Bottom line: It may cost you

7. Forget about past clients at the holidays

As mentioned earlier in this story, client referrals are one of the top ways agents get new business. Therefore, keeping up relationships is key — especially in terms of getting clients to come back as repeat customers — and it doesn’t have to cost much money to foster those relationships.

Simply sending a card over the holidays or at the start of a new year is one easy, low-cost way to remind an agent’s clients they exist. And agents who have a little extra cash or time can always do something a little more special to show their client appreciation.

Bottom line: It may cost you

8. Focus on ultra-targeted sponsorships

Agents who live and work in small towns or whose family is very active in the community can potentially drive a lot of business through more targeted marketing and sponsorships. This can be a really effective long-term game when neighborhood families start seeing an agent’s name attached to things they appreciate or enjoy in their community.

Consider regularly sponsoring a school event, a town Relay for Life fundraiser race, a community carnival or other similar event. Sponsoring a good cause not only feels great, but also helps spread the word about one’s business while building goodwill.

Bottom line: Worth the gamble

9. Share marketing costs with other agents

Jointly going in on marketing campaigns can be a great way for a few agents to cut costs while building their brand. Agents who don’t mind compromising with other agents on what your ads will look like, what format they’ll take, and the design aesthetic they’ll channel could benefit from sharing the burden with others.

This could also include going in on a fancy piece of equipment together, like a Matterport 3-D camera. But agents who have a hard time sharing or giving way to others’ ideas likely won’t benefit in the same way from this strategy.

Bottom line: Depends on your business style

10. Pay for social media boosts

When it comes to paying for social media boosts versus growing one’s social channels organically, there are bound to be advocates on either side. But the thing is, any agent who makes just a few key tweaks to their social media strategy has the capability to grow their following significantly — without having to pay for it.

Choose at least one or two platforms on which to post consistently, get strategic with geography-specific hashtags (including those for your own brand) and be authentic. While paid social media boosts will get your name out there, the leads may not end up being a good fit nor as long-lasting as the ones an agent develops organically.

Bottom line: It may cost you

Email Lillian Dickerson

| Matterport | social media
Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription