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Spring has Sprung! New Marketing Trends for Real Estate

By Rebecca Chandler

springtimeAhh. Spring. Trees bud. Flowers bloom. Baby birds are singing. The time when we awaken from our winter hibernation and embrace a fresh start – and home buyers and sellers are actively shopping for homes and real estate agents. Are you keeping up? Or is your marketing plan still in hibernation?

As the media landscape has changed and consumer home shopping and media consumption habits have changed, have you? Here are some new trends you should embrace and some old trends you should leave in hibernation.

Old marketing habits you should leave in hibernation.

STOP – Referring to your home marketing presentation as a “listing presentation.” The most important service a seller expects from their real estate agent is marketing.* Begin referring to the presentation you make on an appointment with a potential seller as a “marketing presentation.” Include all the ways you will put their home in front of potential buyers. Make a list. Bring samples. Your presentation will outshine those who only bring a CMA.

STOP – Relying primarily on listing aggregation sites for leads. You absolutely should put your listings on free listing aggregation sites. They get a lot of traffic and are a basic expectation for your marketing presentation. However, your listings are competing with every listing in town and you are drowning in a sea of online data, waiting and wishing that someone will stumble upon one of your listings and waiting and wishing that they would call or email you. It just doesn’t happen that often. Consider it web exposure, but not robust lead generation. Look for ways to reach out to local buyers and sellers using active advertising and lead generation strategies instead of waiting for them to find you.

STOP – Relying on your referral network for ALL your business. Your referral base is a great source of business, but it can’t be the only source of business. Repeat business only happens every 6-10 years in most cases, and agents who consistently advertise and market their services may gain top-of-mind awareness that you’ve lost. Also, today’s consumers have high expectations. A simple referral may not be enough to seal the deal if a seller doesn’t feel you will actively market their home – or if a buyer has not seen you actively working their area of interest.

New trends you should embrace.

START With a fresh look at your branding. Is your website old and tired? Is your photo the same one you’ve used for the last 10 years? What about your branding in general – colors, logos, and style? Does it look clean and fresh? Dark, heavy colors are out. Light and bright colors are in – especially for spring. Freshen up your marketing “wardrobe” to get new attention.

START –Mobilizing everything. What does you website look like when you open it in the browser on your phone? If you have to “pinch and stretch” to see it, most will abandon it and move on. Do you have single property mobile sites for all your listings? Text code lead generation? GPS-enabled sign riders? More and more consumers are relying on their phones to text codes for more information, download apps, search the web, browse the Internet, etc. Make sure you are taking advantage of being able to reach consumers on the go.

START – Incorporating an IDX feed into your site. Buyers and sellers today think a home shopping experience should be comprehensive. They want to search, on their own, every available property – from one location. Create a home shopping experience for them that keeps them on YOUR site. If they can find all the available listings and search in a rewarding way, they will bookmark your site, and regardless of whether the home they are interested in is your listings, they will contact YOU.

START – Putting YOUR brand front and center. Of course you want to be everywhere a potential client looks for real estate information. But – are you lost in the crowd or do you really stand out? Download our Personal Brand Workbook here to take a fresh look at your personal brand and potentially, adjust your brand strategy.

START – Using locally distributed advertising to reach LOCAL buyers. Winning the Google Search over large listing sites is probably a futile effort. However you have a distinct advantage over them. You are IN the local market. Use tools like interactive print and direct mail to generate direct response on the streets of your market – in the places where your potential customer live, work, shop and play. Interrupt their day with your advertising message with an immediate lead generation call to action.

  • Text this code to see more photos, prices, and information.
  • Go to my website to shop all the homes in the market.
  • Call, text, or email me for a list of all the homes in the area that match your dreams to your next home.
  • Email me for an analysis of recent sales in the area.
  • Call me to find out about my marketing campaign for your home.

A direct call to action placed in front of those with the ability and likelihood to do business with you will create more business for you.

Have more questions on how to freshen up your spring marketing plan? Contact your local Real Estate Book representative or go to Store.RealEstateBook.com to learn more.

*NewPoint Media Group Research on Home Buyers and Sellers (May 2013)

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Who’s Marketing YOU?

By Rebecca Chandler

pointing-fingerSome companies in the real estate advertising industry are really good at marketing THEMSELVES. Have you thought about how they market YOU?

Let’s say your business depends on people who drink coffee. The largest concentration of coffee drinkers probably frequent Starbucks. And Starbucks charges you to gain access to their congregation of coffee drinkers. But, the experience is all about Starbucks, not you. And the more they market Starbucks, the more coffee drinkers they attract, and the more they charge you.

Or – let’s say you want to reach people interested in twine because you manufacture twine. So, you contribute twine to a tourist attraction to help build the world’s largest ball of twine and just as that ball of twine is becoming one of the largest spectacles in the world, the Ball of Twine Management Company starts charging you to advertise your brand of twine at the attraction.

Sounds a little silly, but familiar?

That’s what large listing aggregators do and this is why using your listing inventory as bait to catch a prospect is a poor marketing plan. Certainly, you want to market your listings aggressively. That was a promise you made to the seller. And, every lead you get for their home is a lead for your business as well. However, listings come and go, and by simply placing them online, you are sitting, waiting, and hoping that someone will stumble upon them through search on a site with all listings on it and they will contact you. That’s not a proactive marketing campaign for your business. It’s a passive approach – reliant on your listing inventory to create leads for you. As you sell listings, you have less inventory, and less marketing – and so a cycle begins.

Trying to win the Google ranking battle with a large listing aggregator with millions to spend is difficult. But, you do have a big advantage. You can place advertising offline, locally. In places where your prospective clients eat, work, live, shop and play. Use local print, direct mail, yard signs, bill boards, car magnets, whatever it takes to make sure that everywhere the prospective customer turns in your town, they find you.

When it comes to investing in your advertising and marketing efforts, think about how they drive traffic to YOU. If you can get the prospective client to engage with your brand, you have a better opportunity to work with that client to help them buy or sell a home. You wrap your arms around their home shopping or selling experience, which is exactly what a client expects from a real estate professional.

Want to learn more about bundled marketing packages for YOUR brand?

Contact your local Real Estate Book representative, or visit Store.RealEstateBook.com

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Food for Thought – How to Amplify Your Referral Base

By Rebecca Chandler

ReferralBaseLast week, as we finished up the National Association of REALTORS® Convention, I made an observation.

Some people think they absolutely need to market themselves, their listings, and their businesses.

Some people do not. They say they rely on referrals.

It’s not quite that simple, but almost.

I heard one say last week that they received ALL their business from referrals. And, I think that’s a testament to the level of professionalism and service they provide their clients – that they become confident to refer their friends and family. But, I think that as the sole source of business, it’s extremely risky. There are times when your referral base may just not know anyone who is buying or selling – or another good, professional, agent could also be considered and may begin to erode your referral base. Let’s assume that you are not the only reliable real estate professional in town.

From time to time, we have all liked a product so much that we would refer it to our friends. For example, I like my new Skechers boots. They look sharp and they are extremely comfortable. I would recommend them to my friends. However, not all my friends are in the market for boots, my tastes may not be theirs, and there are just certain times of the year when you are less likely to buy boots and we’ll all be less likely to be talking about buying boots. Some may take my recommendation and shop for Skechers boots, but, in the end, they will make their own decisions. Skechers certainly shouldn’t rely on me as a consistent source of business.

I wonder how many times someone in your sphere of influence is asked about a real estate transaction, and they don’t recommend you? It just didn’t occur to them. Or – they did recommend you and the prospect chose differently? Or they did recommend you and another agent crossed their path before they contacted you? There could be a multitude of reasons why you did not get the referral. Truth is, you may be getting a good number of referrals, but it’s highly unlikely that you are getting them all.

Let’s think about this a little differently. You are a very good, highly professional real estate agent who leaves a trail of happy clients. If you were to consider that for every piece of new business you gained through advertising or another lead generation activity, each of those would refer even more new business to you, your referral base would be amplified. If you are very good at getting referral business, just think how good you’d be if you also advertised.

Food for thought.

For More – Is Your Listing Presentation Missing Something?

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