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Posts Tagged marketing programs

March Madness – You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play.

As the NCAA Basketball Tournament or “March Madness” gets started this year, it occurs to me that real estate, like basketball is competitive.  Top agents compete for business every day, but the stakes are even higher this time of year, right before the busy spring selling season.  The real estate industry has its own version of “March Madness.”

Agents compete for listings.  They compete for buyers.  They compete for market dominance and top of mind awareness among consumers.  It’s a competitive business.  So, how’s your game?

Consider these “winning strategies.”

Reach for new prospects.  According to the National Association of REALTORS, (NAR) 2009 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, nearlyhalf (47%) of buyers were first time home buyers.  Among buyers who were able to estimate a length of tenure in their new home, the median was 10 years.  This spring, if you are relying on past clients for new business, you may be sitting on the bench.

Stand out from the crowd.   Online exposure is abundant, free or nearly free, and a basic consumer expectation.  And standing out as a top ranked player in your market is nearly impossible  if you rely solely on listing aggregate websites for business.  Consider this video from “The Ladders” career site.  “When Everybody Plays, Nobody Wins”Particularly in uncertain economic times, consumers rely on the expertise of  the top players.  Do they know you are a top player?  How do they know?  Are you sure?

Keep your sellers happy.  As sellers have to adjust their expectations on price and days on market, the challenge for agents is to show that they are doing everything possible to sell the home for as much as possible and as quickly as possible.  When you have to ask for a price reduction, the seller is much more likely to agree if they know you’ve done everything you can to get more for their property.  In other words, it’s the market, not you.  This is where marketing comes in.

According to a 2010 proprietary survey conducted by NCI, the number one reason sellers choose an agent is because of the way they plan to market their home to as many potential buyers as possible.  It’s also the number three reason they fire an agent or let the listing expire – lack of a marketing plan.

Have a game plan.  Start with your desired income.  Determine how many properties you will have to sell to reach that desired income based on the average sales price of homes in your area and your average commission.   Then, determine how many leads or inquiries you work per actual closed transaction (your closing ratio).  The question then becomes, how many leads do I need to result in the number of closed transactions I need to reach my income goal?  REALLY track where your leads come from and adjust your marketing and advertising for the maximum effectiveness.  For downloadable worksheets on this, go to www.realestatebookmediakit.com/income .

Start NOW.  The 2009 NAR study indicates that the typical homebuyer searched for 12 weeks.  They searched for 2 weeks before contacting an agent.  It’s mid-March.  They are searching NOW.  Are they finding YOU? Are you even in the game?

You can’t win. If you don’t play.

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Basic Social Media Strategies for Real Estate

lipsAt the recent Keller Williams Family Reunion in New Orleans, agents packed multiple sessions on social media for real estate.  They have heard the buzz and know they should be using social as a part of their marketing mix and were looking for guidance on exactly what they are trying to accomplish with this new tool and how to reach their goals.

Goals and Expectations.  While social media may be the next new buzz, agents realize that they should have specific goals and expectations.  They don’t want to spend time and energy on an activity with no payoff.  What should they expect? 

  1. To ENGAGE potential prospects and clients through one-on-one interaction
  2. To PROMOTE their personal brands
  3. To INCREASE their sphere of influence
  4. To GENERATE new business

So, what are the recommended basic starting points?

The Facebook Personal Profile.  Think of this as your business social persona and use it in the same way you would interact with prospective and past clients and mix your personal life with enough of your professional life to make others comfortable doing business with you.  Typically, this means 75-85% personal and 15-25% business – the same type of mix you would use at a cocktail party or other social event.  It’s ok to feature a new listing on your profile if you have something interesting to say about it or invite others to an open house or event, just don’t overdo it.  DO show your personal interests, personality, and sense of humor while reminding your friends that you are a real estate professional.  DON”T share controversial political or religious views or become a Farmville or Mafia War fanatic. (It’s annoying.)  Top tips for getting started?

  1. Let Facebook look through your email addresses to find your friends.  Include a personal note in friend requests. Friend others you meet.  Start to build your network.
  2. Post happy, appropriate, and flattering photos not only of yourself – but of other people.  Tag them.  This creates connections to your profile.
  3. Comment.  When you comment, others see your comments and comment back.  This creates engagement and interaction.
  4. Don’t abandon.  Monitor and comment daily.  Post at least 3-5 times per week.
  5. Put your Facebook personal url on your business card, email signature, etc. to encourage others to “friend you.”

The Facebook Fan Page.  This is the appropriate place to showcase your business.  Think of it as your business web page within Facebook.  It’s publicly accessible to everyone – even those outside Facebook.  “Fans” come here for  information and advice on the local real estate market and community, so don’t make it all about you.   Share things on this page that offer value.  For example, share local market stats, showcase new listings, talk about schools, parks, and community events.  Encourage interaction by posting and sharing information that benefits the fans (so they’ll share) and that prompt comments.  DO offer value in every post.  DON’T oversell.  Top tips for getting started?

  1. Just start.  Create the page and set up an intuitive url through Facebook.  Make it something meaningful to the market – not just about you.  (example – www.facebook.com/yourtown  or your area of expertise.)
  2. Post.  Events. Information. Photos, photos, photos (tag when appropriate. )
  3. Allow others to comment.  Comment on every comment. 
  4. Don’t abandon.  Monitor and comment daily.  Post at least 3-5 times per week.
  5. PROMOTE OFFLINE.  Include the url on your business card, print ad, yard signs, direct mail etc.  Use offline to drive traffic online.

That’s the start.  And enough to get you started.  Next steps?  Blogging and Twitter . . . . For more information, go to www.realestatebookfacebook.com and become a fan.

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Real Estate Advertising and Home Buyers – Conversion is Key.

Hello?

Hello?

I travel across the U.S. and Canada talking to real estate agents on a regular basis.   Recently, I had what I would call a “very spirited” debate with an agent who, although he acknowledged that his advertising in The Real Estate Book had generated a significant number of phone calls on his listings, felt these leads were of no use if the buyer did not want to purchase the specific listing on which they called. He was adamant that he did not want to sell any one else’s listings – only his own.  

Of course you want to sell your listings, but if that home does not fit the buyer’s needs, then by all means, sell them one that does.  Seems like common sense to me. The advertising generated a phone call from a potential client.  That was the intention.  

The 2009 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers was just released.  In that survey, home buyers were asked where they found their home.  Not surprisingly, 36% found the home they ultimately purchased through a real estate agent.

Of course they did.  A smart, top agent knows how to create a volume of leads through a smart marketing program and convert those leads to closed transactions. 

Another 36% found the home they ultimately purchased on the Internet.  Of course they did.  Listing data is rampant and home buyers search every available media outlet for information.  Hopefully, they found their home online, called the agent or drove by (12% said they found their home on a yard sign), and then called the agent with whom they were working and began to negotiate the purchase.

The advertising in which this agent had invested was working.  He just didn’t know how to work it.

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