by Rebecca Chandler
Have you ever heard the saying, “Plan your work and work your plan?” When it comes to your real estate business, creating a marketing strategy or plan is absolutely crucial to its success. Here are five steps to creating successful real estate marketing strategy.
1 – Define Your Goals
There are two areas to consider. What are your income goals? What type of business do you want this year?
When considering your income goals, start with the goal and work backward. For example –
Income Goal = $100,000
Average Home Sale Price = $238,000
Average Commission Percentage (Net of Broker Split) = 2.4%
Average Commission Per Transaction – $5712
Number of Transactions Needed to Meet Income Goal = 18
Everyone’s scenario will differ, but the formula for the calculations remains. The next step would be to determine your marketing budget based on the scenario. Most top agents devote at least 10% of their gross commissions to marketing. That means that your marketing budget for the year would be $10,000 or $833 per month. For more information on the “Income Based Approach to Real Estate Marketing” sign up for our upcoming webinar here.
While you are examining your income goals, think about the type of real estate transactions you would like to work next year. That will help you determine the average sales price of the homes you plan to sell.
2 –Identify Your Target Audience. Be very specific and write this all down.
Now that you’ve considered the type of real estate transactions you’d like to conduct next year. Think thoroughly through what that dream client looks like – in detail.
What is their geographic profile? Where do they live, work, shop, play? What does this look like on a map? What are the specific words used to describe these areas? Write all of this down so you can concentrate on those areas and keywords in your strategy.
What is their demographic profile? What is their age? Income? Household composition? Are they young families or empty nesters? Second home or investment properties?
What are their main challenges in purchasing or selling a home? Determining the objections or barriers to the transaction will help you design advertising that will overcome those or address how you will help them overcome them.
You may conduct real estate transactions outside this framework during the year, but focusing your marketing activities on the type of transactions you’d like to conduct will help you get more of them.
3 – Develop Your Message
Think carefully about your competitive advantage. What is your expertise? Saying that you provide excellent service is NOT a competitive advantage. It’s a basic expectation. Think of the things that you do better than others.
Look back at the definition of your target audience. What is most important to them? For example, most sellers hire an agent for their marketing skills over any other skills.* What were the main barriers to transactions that you defined? How do you address these for your clients?
Start with the long version of your message – free form. Then, prioritize. If you could only say one thing about your real estate business, what would that one thing be? If you could say two, what would be the second? Boiling it down will help you concentrate your messaging on the most important.
4 – Choose Your Tools
Today’s home shoppers are multi-media multi-taskers using the web, mobile tools, local real estate magazines, and more. Your goal is to reach them in every way possible.
Based on the geographic and demographic profile of your target audience, what tools will you use to reach out to them? This is very important. Advertising reaches out to the prospect. It doesn’t wait for the prospect to find it. So, placing your listings on an aggregate site is a good thing to do, and in most cases, it’s free. But that is not advertising. Look around the places where your prospects physically work, live, shop and play. Most likely, there’s a Real Estate Book there and most likely, someone interested in buying or selling a home will pick one up. That’s a good start.
The locally printed magazine page can also drive traffic to your website and trigger mobile responses through text and QR codes. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to include your phone number and email address as well.
But, also think about things like your yard signs and how you can create additional response triggers – a QR code or text code perhaps? What about your social media? You may have a Facebook profile, but what about a business page on which you post local events and information about the market?
Using direct mail can be very effective and not as costly as you think if you use a tool like TREBStore to geographically and demographically target your mailings. You may want to farm a neighborhood of 200 homes, but really only those who have been in their homes for 5+ years or who have an income of over $100k. This could reduce your mailing from 200 down to 50 or so, save you money and make your mailing absolutely more relevant to the recipient beginning to think about selling.
Contact your local Real Estate Book representative for more marketing ideas. They are your local real estate marketing consultant and you may be surprised at the number of tools they have available.
5 – Measure & Adjust
Track everything and record the results and then the conversion to appointment and conversion to sale. Most agents do not do this, so they have no idea where their business is really coming from. They may receive a decent number of leads from a website, but if those leads don’t actually convert to appointments and sales, then they weren’t really good leads after all. Some sources may provide fewer leads, but with a higher conversion rate – so they are well worth the money.
Also, consider your skills when it comes to conversion. What things are you doing or saying that are enticing the prospect to meet with you? When something works, write it down and use it again. When you are not having any luck converting an inquiry into an appointment, what did you say or do? Write that down, too – and then stop doing those things.
Once you have a good idea of where your business is coming from, you can adjust your marketing efforts and investment to your most effective tools. After all, marketing should never really cost you money. It should always make money for you. It is an investment on which you should expect a return. The right plan will help you invest wisely.