As a rule, the real estate industry doesn’t do a great job educating agents on how to market themselves or their businesses effectively.
There’s over $9 billion spent by agents on marketing in the real estate industry every year and most of it is woefully inadequate in achieving its goal of driving demand to sell homes and bring on new clients.
Next to unfollowed-up and poorly-followed-up leads, poor marketing is the biggest culprit in draining agent’s bank accounts and putting their business on the brink of failure.
Fortunately, anyone can execute a successful marketing campaign and reap the rewards of it by following some simple rules and strategies.
The important thing to remember is that you must do the right things in the right order and test EVERYTHING you do to ensure it’s worth your time and money to keep doing it.
Here some key rules you need to follow to market yourself and your business like a champ.
How to Not Suck at Marketing as a Real Estate Agent
Rule #1: You ONLY advertise when you have the systems and tools that allow you to measure your Return on Investment (ROI).
It’s completely natural to hear what you think is a great marketing idea and then take action immediately to put it into play.
I’ve personally spent hundreds of thousands in my career on marketing strategies that netted me nothing or next to nothing for my efforts.
To say someone in the highest-priced neighborhood in my hometown of Lawton - Pecan Valley - could wallpaper their living room with failed marketing pieces from me would be pretty much spot on.
The best thing about these ineffective marketing efforts, though, is that I learned some valuable lessons, the chief of which is don’t spend one dollar or send out one piece of marketing without being able to track the ROI on your results.
If you don’t currently track or haven’t tracked in the past, then you’re not alone.
The important thing is that from this day forward, you don’t put another email address, phone number or URL on a sign, business card, postcard, email, radio or television ad or anything else without having a mechanism in place to track it.
Once I started tracking my efforts, my marketing improved dramatically as did my results. In fact, I went from getting little to no results in Pecan Valley to being the number-one selling agent with as much as 34% market share.
Never - and I mean never - do any marketing without tracking. Make that promise to yourself now.
Rule #2: Master these three marketing principles
Sometimes, agents emphasize form over function in their marketing efforts…and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Too often, they worry more about colors, fonts, their picture, their statistics, size, and taglines of their marketing than they do about getting the important parts right.
What they should be concentrating on are these three crucial elements:
- Message/What you say: Does your message match the market you’re addressing? Does it create interest and stir excitement in consumers? Does it have a killer call to action to get consumers doing what you want them to do?
- Media/Method of delivery: There are many media you can use to deliver you message: mail, billboards, face-to-face, phone, recorded message, website, newspaper, email, radio, tv, etc. Which medium do you choose to use based upon the result you’re looking to accomplish? Which medium is most appropriate based upon whom your looking to market to?
- Market/The right markets: Is your marketing relevant in the area you’re applying your marketing efforts? Will the area you’re marketing to going to net you the results you’re looking for?
Make sure you do your research and put your time into catering your marketing strategy and efforts while keeping these three principles in mnd.
Rule #3: Understand the Cash Conversion Cycle
Is there a wrong time to advertise? The answer is Yes if you need cash TODAY.
It’s vital that you know the cash conversion cycle (how long it will take for you to get your money back) before you invest one penny of your hard-earned commission dollars into putting a marketing campaign in place.
The cash conversion cycle is the number of days it takes a company to turn it’s production efforts into cash.
More specifically, it’s a metric the tells you how long it will take you to get your money back(and make a profit) on all of your advertising, marketing and sales efforts as well as on team members who help produce sales.
It’s important to know what the cash conversion cycle is on every investment you make so that you
- Manage your budget effectively
- Get the best return on your investment in everything you do.
Failing to understand this benchmark could cost you a lot of money and hamstring your business’ ability to produce effectively to the point where it could put you out of business - for real.
If you have some decent cash reserves and are selling 3 to 5 homes per month, you can afford to invest in direct mail campaigns and other marketing strategies that pay greater dividends, but take longer to pay off.
If you’re not doing as many deals, then you may want to invest your budget in pay-per-click and Facebook advertising where you can net more leads for less money that could net you results sooner.
Knowing the cash conversion cycle is crucial to the successful implementation of ay marketing campaign.
Many a real estate business has shuttered its doors because the owner took a flier on big marketing expenses expecting a huge payday that either took too long to come in or never came in at all.
Make sure you don’t become one of these casualties. Master the cash conversion cycle.
Rule #4: Differentiate yourself and get your prospect to take action
When crafting your marketing strategy, consider these two questions:
- What is the greatest benefit someone could achieve by doing business with you?
- What is the worst thing that could happen if they do business with someone else?
It’s in the answers to these questions you’ll find the main differentiating factor between you and your competition.
It’s called your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and it gives your prospect a real, tangible reason to consider you over your competition when deciding whom to select as an agent.
For instance, when it comes to sellers, they’re generally motivated by two main objectives:
Knowing this, you’d want the USP in your marketing message to “hit them over the head” how you can meet their goals fo timing and monetary gain better than anyone else so that it causes them to ask: “How does that work?”.
Some of the more successful USPs I’ve seen in the past that work well are:
- “Guaranteed Cash Offer in 24 Hours”
- “Your Home Sold in 89 days or I will buy it”
- “Your home sold in 89 days or you pay $0 commission”
- “Guaranteed Offer in writing in under 30 days”
- “Your Home Sold for up to 18% More Money, Guaranteed”
A solid USP will certainly help you generate more calls to your office, if for no other reason thatn to find out what it’s all about and how it works.
This is a good thing because we want the phone to ring so we have suspects we can convert to prospects and prospects we can convert to clients.
It’s worth mentioning here that aUSP is the reason people call you, but it’s not the reason people do business with you. You’ll still need to knock people’s socks off with a solid benefits presentation.
Rule #5: Know the perfect Marketing Strategy for you?
To be an effective marketer, you must know what marketing strategy works for you and your business.
In order to determine what works best, you need to look at a few specific factors:
- Your personality type: what are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Your skill set: are you better over the phone or face to face?
- Your budget: how much money do you have to invest and how long can you wait to get it back?
- Your market: what are your demographics and what types of homes/price ranges sell in your marketplace?
- Your reputation: how well known are you in your marketplace?
Once you’ve identified where “you live” in these areas, you then need to match your strengths up against the different target audiences/opportunities in your area:
- Raving Fans/Past Clients
- Expired Listings
- For Sale by Owners
- Newsletter to Chamber Business Owners
- Targeted Geographic Farm
- Home Value Leads
- Circle Prospecting
- Open Houses
- Pay Per Click
- Facebook Advertising
Ideally, you’re looking for a 3X to 5X return on your investment. Some of that will depend on your marketing and some of that will depend on your skillset and strategy in converting the leads you generate.
The better you match “you” with your marketing strategies, the better results you’ll get...for sure.
If you want to be a top producer in the real estate industry, you must be able to market effectively.
Follow what I’ve laid out here and you’ll have a good foundation to put some solid marketing efforts for the near and long term.