The Three Key Factors to Successful Real Estate Marketing
As online marketing continually expands into new forms like native content and ultra-targeted social media advertising, finding the right niche as a real estate agent can seem like the single most substantial obstacle in your business endeavors. There are nearly endless opportunities for you to engage with your customers but the process of finding the way that works for your business may seem daunting and frustrating. But, with the right combination of lead generation and client retention strategies, you can take your business to new heights. In this article, we will discuss three key factors to successful real estate marketing. First, we will demystify the challenges to real estate marketing, then discuss how to reach new buyers and sellers, and then finally which marketing channels are best for long-term customer retention.
1. Getting started: the state of real estate marketing
The fact is, real estate marketing can be challenging. Many agents find they don’t have the tools or knowledge necessary to implement a successful marketing strategy fully. Some common challenges face every real estate professional as they set out to market their business. You will likely find glimpses of yourself in the following list:
What separates me from the crowd?
You are the most significant value added to any real estate transaction. Of course, the home is the product, but the agent is the champion for the buyer or seller. You will lead your clients to a successful purchase or sale, and it is you who will navigate the more delicate points and details of the transactional needs. Working with the title company, lining up inspections and dealing with escrow companies are just a few things your clients will rely on YOU for before they receive the keys to their new home.
How do I market myself instead of my listings?
Actually, these two things are not entirely separate. Your brand will help you establish your value-added proposition to your leads. Once you have made the step to establish a personal brand, you can begin using those online assets to cross-market from listing sites and integrate these assets into your other more traditional strategies such as print mailers, door hangers and newsletters. Your brand, along with your listings, will combine to create a unified presentation of your expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm.
With so many different ways to market, which is right for me?
This is perhaps the greatest challenge most agents face. Knowing which combination of marketing channels will work for you has no easy answer. Finding the right strategy could be a trial and error process, but by diversifying your marketing tactics online and in print, you are sure to set out on a path to success.
How do I measure my success?
Metrics and analysis can be a monster all their own. This step ties in very closely to the previous point. Knowing which methods work comes down to seeing the data. Online advertising is a good example of how you can use data to tell you where your visitors are coming from. If you use a referral link with a targeted Facebook ad you will be able to track how many clicks led to your website from it. Likewise, with a print advertisement you can add a custom phone number or encourage the reader to visit a custom landing page. Analyzing your data will be essential to deciding what works and what doesn’t.
2. Using marketing to reach new buyers and sellers
The first step in establishing a successful marketing strategy is to understand why you are doing it. There are, of course, different purposes for launching advertising campaigns, and attracting new customers is often times the number one reason.
Although 21% of a Realtor’s business comes from repeat business (42% for agents with 16 years of experience or more), an additional 21% can come from referrals. To look at it another way, a total of 42% of all buyers found their agent through a referral. Tapping into that referral pool will be a prime target for your lead generation. Leveraging your relationships with your previous customers can be a perfect way to access that referral pool.
To get you started brainstorming some ideas of your own, here is a list of some proven methods for accessing the referral pool:
Host a housewarming party for your new buyers
There is no better way to meet your client’s future referrals than one-on-one. Be sure to bring your A-game and showcase your enthusiasm and expertise. Remember that the value-added proposition is your personal brand.
Refer business to existing clients
If you know that your clients work in a particular professional field, let them know that you meet folks that need their services regularly. This two-way street of referrals can go a long way to increase sales.
Let clients know you are actively seeking referrals
Active referral seeking may seem like a no-brainer, but after the whirlwind of buying or selling a home, sometimes the last thing on a client’s mind is business. Make sure to let them know at the moment that you would appreciate any referrals they can provide, but don’t be surprised if they forget five minutes later. Make sure to follow up and remind them.
3. Marketing strategies to retain clients long-term
As was previously mentioned, the referral is only one piece of the puzzle. Repeat business is an equal, if not larger, portion of any agent’s business. Let’s take a look at some tried and true methods for retaining your customers in the long term.
This tried-and-true marketing channel is a fantastic way to get your message straight into the hands of your customers. Like most people, your clients probably lose business cards and contact information all the time. Regular newsletters, say on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule, ensures that your brand and contact information are in the hands of your most valuable leads. Showcase your successes, and encourage the recipients to contact you for details on new listings.
Like the newsletter, email marketing is another great way to nurture your existing relationships with your clients regularly. Engaging content is crucial, and your design should be of a professional level that is in alignment with your overall brand. Take the time to make sure your design looks fantastic, and your content is engaging. The goal is repeat business. Excite the clients with emotion and enthusiasm for the best results.
You and your client’s success are inherently intertwined. What better way to acknowledge your appreciation than through a gift! Giving a welcome basket as your buyers arrive in their new home is a generous way to create a long-standing relationship.
As a real estate agent, you have a specific knowledge that is outside the norm for the average buyer or seller. Providing regular content (whether through your blog or as downloadable content) not only educates your clients, but it develops loyalty to your brand through trust in your expertise.
Another meaningful way you can engage your leads is through useful and engaging social media. Posts like “home warranty must-haves for the new year” or “10 easy DIY ways to make a house your home” further develop the relationship between you and your lead pool.
Don’t be afraid to jump in
You can’t learn to swim if you never get in the pool. The best way to figure out what will work for you is just to start marketing. Try out some different methods and track your success to see what works and what doesn’t.
Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone (or your datasets). The most successful ideas may be those that you dismissed previously. The real test will be sales growth, lead generation and return business. With a combination of lead-generating advertising and customer-retention marketing strategies, you will overcome your challenges and push the needle forward.