The marketing aspect for a real estate Agent has become very confusing to Agents who are trying to grow to the next level. We have so many different “magic answer” type marketing companies reaching for our wallets that it is hard to know which one is the most effective.
In some cases it is difficult to evaluate the return on the investment. Here are a few rules that I applied when evaluating the many opportunities to “get my name out there”.
Rule #1: The best form of advertising, in my opinion, was always a sold sign in a client’s front yard. To me that showed a job well done. It showed a market presence and had the ability to bring in future income with little expenditure. The more active listings and actual sold properties, the better my exposure. We would always affix a sold sticker right after the repairs were negotiated. I used sold stickers that no one could miss. They were large and bold.
If there could be a rule 1A, that would be to be liberal in your use of directional signs. Any and everywhere you can place one do so. We would often have four or five directionals for every one listing. By using a volume of direction signs, you give the perception that you have half of the town for sale. We always used regular signs and affixed my name and an arrow to them. These signs increased exposure and made it easier for the prospect to find the property. Doing the small directionals has limited impact. Using your signs well, I believe, is the most effective and financially efficient form of advertising.
Rule #2: Develop a strategy and budget for marketing for the whole year, then review it quarterly as to the results. I often see Agents change programs, focus, philosophy, scope and purpose of their marketing plan as often as they change their shirts. First, take the time to create an effective strategy. Evaluate the strategy from all angles before you commit to implementation. Create the strategy for the long haul, not the short run. Start developing your strategy with your end goal in mind, then work backwards to today.
For example, Nike created “Just Do It”. They ran with that strategy on their print and television commercials for over three years. Nike applied it to everything they did during that span. I can assure you that Nike spent considerable resources and time evaluating the campaign before they launched it. Make sure you are long-range planning your business and marketing strategy.
Rule #3: Before you advertise on billboards, television, shopping carts, bus benches and all other forms of institutional advertising, look for opportunities for third-party endorsements. The third-party endorsement has the power of the referral from a past client. There are many opportunities to get a third- party endorsement. To be elevated as an expert in real estate or recognized as a “top gun” Agent by that third-party will do more for your career than any advertising you create for yourself. The consumer reading the article on you or hearing the interview with you or watching you in action will be far more convinced of your ability than he would be by you telling him how great you are via a you generated piece. It is better to invest your advertising in third-party endorsements then to spend your marketing dollars in the institutional realm.
Rule #4: Gage the shelf life before you buy. Many advertising opportunities have a limited shelf life. They are tied to a season or specific event or specified one time occurrence. That is why newspaper advertising has limited pull. It is a one-time purchase for one specific day. Once the Sunday paper is read the effectiveness is gone. The Home and Land type magazines at least have a 30-day shelf life. Your web site allows for repeat impressions. By using your site as a resource you are able to get people to visit your web site again and again. Invest your money where you can get repeat impressions out of one purchase.
None of us has the marketing budget that McDonalds has. We need to use marketing products that have the ability to give repeat performances and can be used over time with the same results.
Start your marketing plan and create a budget today.
By John Benson