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I n this new guide, you’ll learn exactly how to use marketing to promote your real estate business, including:
- Real estate branding
- Offline marketing
- Website optimization
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Listing promotion
- Online reputation signals
- Blogging, video, and lots more
Who is this for:
- A real estate agent, office manager, managing broker, admin, tech lead, or anyone who is interested in improving the way you market and promote real estate for your business.
- Knowledgeable about the process of buying and selling real estate. You’ve worked in real estate, in a brokerage, with other agents, brokers, admins, and assistants, and you are looking for new methods to deepen your marketing skills.
- Interested in marketing tactics, tools, and strategies to be more effective generating new business, getting referrals, and staying top-of-mind with the business you have. You are eager to learn more, while recognizing that there are no silver bullets.
- A greater sense of impact and control over your buyer and seller pipeline.
- A more focused, less reactive way to promote your business.
- To create a system for marketing your business that is less reliant on advertising.
- To be super effective supporting others with their marketing.
- More options to respond to unpredictable business challenges, while ensuring your efforts are continually building on a strong foundation.
- To be strategically driven instead of letting the next shiny object drive you in circles
- A shared language and common understanding about marketing goals, strategy, and tactics.
By the end of this guide, you will:
- Understand the purpose of a good marketing strategy.
- Understand the elements of consistent brand building.
- Be able to define and prioritize marketing tactics (and related
- activites) to promote your business.
- Be able to identify and address common marketing traps.
- Be able to collaborate with others on marketing.
- Be able to effectively communicate your marketing needs when hiring help
- Understand how to consistently improve your marketing
- Understand how to measure your marketing success.
- Be able to adapt and improve your marketing as circumstances change.
Let’s get started.
Real Estate Marketing Fundamentals
Picture this: In 2018, there were 5.34 million existing homes sold, plus 667,000 newly constructed homes, according to the National Association of Realtors and the US Census Bureau. That’s about 6 million homes sold to new buyers — and there are about 2 million real estate licensees in the country.
When you do the math, even generously including new construction sales, it’s clear that real estate is a cutthroat business, and only the best agents will capture enough clients to survive long-term.
Real estate agents might not immediately understand why marketing is critical to their success — but it is. Marketing is simply the act of sharing goods and services with an audience who might be interested in buying those goods and services; the better you can promote your goods and services to a receptive audience (as opposed to one that’s not interested in what you have to sell), the more successful your business will be.
When done well, marketing highlights the unique value that you bring to the table, showing specific buyers and sellers exactly why you’re the best choice for them. This means you probably won’t be the ideal choice for everyone — marketing means making some tough decisions about who your audience is and how you want to reach them.
Marketing is especially complex for real estate agents because you’re selling both services (your ability to help a buyer or seller close a home transaction) and goods (actual homes for sale). As a business-owner, you’re marketing in order to find clients who you can represent in a home sale, and to find qualified buyers who are interested in making an offer on your listings.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to create a marketing strategy for your real estate business, step-by-step.
We all know what branding is, simply by virtue of living in modern times: A brand is the collective symbolic values and attitudes of a company. Examples of good branding include the golden arches (McDonald’s) or the swoosh (Nike), both of which evoke different thoughts and feelings when you think about them.
It’s not just about the logo being identified with the company, but also the fact that when you see golden arches, you probably think about drive-throughs and Happy Meals and combo upgrades and possibly, in 2021, coffee. And when you see a swoosh, you probably think about athleticism and trying hard and perseverance and possibly, in 2021, political controversy.
Now, you might not ever be as well-known as McDonald’s or Nike, but you should still think about your brand. How do you want your buyer and seller clients to feel about you and your services? How do you want prospective buyers to feel about the homes you list that they tour? Finessing your branding will ensure that you’re in control of the feelings your clients have about you and the relationships you have with your clients.
Step 1. Develop a value proposition
If you want to be a successful agent, you should not only have unique characteristics that set you apart from the competition, but you should be able to define what those unique features mean to your clients, leads, and community. A short value proposition should exhibit your value and strengths as an agent. This statement will be reused in your marketing materials again and again.
Ask yourself what makes you unique. What do you bring to the table that other agents don’t? Is it your experience? Your personality? Your knowledge of the area? Or something else?
It’s possible that you bring skills from a past career that are invaluable to you as a real estate agent, or that attributes others might label as flaws are actually secret superpowers in your arsenal. For example, maybe working in health care gave you the ability to handle even the most outsized emotions calmly, which might make you an ideal agent for high-stress sales involving divorce or contentious estates. Or maybe your introversion makes you a good listener, which you can emphasize in your value proposition.
Step 2: Identify your target customer
Marketing always works best when its messaging is focused on a specific segment of your overall market. For example, your marketing will need to speak one way to investors and an entirely different way if your target customers are first-time home buyers.
Ideally, there will be something about your target customer that ties into your value proposition. Why does this particular group of customers need your services? What is it about you that makes you a perfect choice for them?
Resist the temptation to make your target customer overly broad. You can’t be everything to everybody, and you’ll be limiting your own voice if you try. You also don’t want to get too specific if that won’t serve you well; there’s no sense in specializing in condo sales if there’s only one condo unit in your town!
Step 3: Develop a strong real estate agent bio and add it to your “about” page.
Now you know who you are, what you do, and for whom you do it — so put it together in a bio that’s clear, easy to read, professionally written, and can be used across all of your professional platforms. When buyers and sellers find your brand online, they should be able to get a strong sense of your professional qualifications and personality.
Step 4: Get a professional headshot.
Your bio isn’t the only thing that can provide consistency and coherence to your brand; you’ll also need to come up with a personal photograph that exudes a friendly demeanor and elevates your brand with a professional look. Hire a professional photographer who can provide tips on positioning and who can make sure the final product is crisp and presentable in a variety of formats.
If you’re low on funds early in your career, you can also opt to take one on your own that looks professional. Here are the basics:
- Polish yourself up: Put on makeup and nice, tailored clothing so that you look your best for the picture.
- Find your scene: You want a solid-colored background with good light that’s not too harsh.
- Use a self-timer or get a friend to take the photo.
- Test out different facial expressions and poses.
- Cheat: Use a photo of someone or something you love to generate a warm smile if you feel self-conscious.
Step 5: Decide which marketing channels to use.
We’re going to cover a lot in this guide, but not every channel will make sense for every agent or every audience. Traditional marketing might not be the best opportunity if you’re trying to target entry-level buyers in a big city with a large tech scene; in that case, you probably want to think about digital market and social media to really capture that younger, tech-savvy demographic.
It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to find the time to use every platform and optimize every channel effectively, so choose where your time will be used best.
Will you use a website? Will you blog often? Will you use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or another social media option?
Select the marketing channels that make the most sense based on your personality and other skillsets. Start with what will make you feel most comfortable and what you’ll actually do — you can always venture out of your comfort zone later.
Step 6: Prepare your elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a 30-second pitch to use when talking to new leads — essentially, something you can tell them about who you are and what you do in the time it takes to travel together in an elevator.
If you created a value proposition (above), you can think of a pitch as something very similar. But how things are read on paper doesn’t necessarily translate well to personal interactions.
In your initial conversations with leads, you should be able to make a brief but powerful statement that conveys you’re a knowledgeable agent who knows the market better than anyone. Once you’ve created your pitch, practice it out loud.
Step 7: Infuse your brand with a personal touch
Now that you have an idea of who you want to reach, what you want to say, and how you want to reach them, think about some interesting or quirky ways you can add a personal touch to your business cards, email signatures, social media accounts, website, and other marketing channels that will help identify you and differentiate you.
People like working with other people. If you can give them a glimpse of who you are as a person (include your pet in your branding? share your music obsession in your videos? consistently refer to your favorite sports team in your blog posts?), they’ll be more likely to want to work with you.
Step 8: Have a unique signature item or look.
By the same token, many agents have a distinctive look, whether it’s a color they wear often, a style of dress, a hat, or hairstyle. Develop a positive, distinctive factor for your personal brand that is recognizable and memorable.
Step 9: Get some swag printed with your branding
Brand exposure in your area can help grow your business. Get items like calendars, pens, keychains, and notepads, and have your name, logo, and contact information printed on them to pass out to clients or at local events.
By “traditional marketing,” we simply mean marketing pre-internet. For many agents, this is still a quite lucrative and important part of their business, so if it makes sense for your niche and target audience, you may want to consider some or all of the following traditional marketing tactics.
Step 10: Establish partnerships with local area businesses.
Develop relationships with local businesses and request to put your real estate cards or listing information at their desk or bulletin board. Maybe you can keep real estate fliers and brochures at the local pizza place in exchange for always delivering pizza to your buyers on move-in night?
Step 11: Sponsor local events.
Local festivals, churches, schools, and sports teams are constantly seeking sponsors. Look into fees in exchange for brand advertising on booklets, T-shirts, banners, flyers, and so on.
Step 12: Host free seminars on topics concerning buyers or sellers in your area.
Don’t just offer value to locals when you have a listing on the market. Find areas to host informal sessions to offer your knowledge and advice to locals. Use a sign-in sheet to collect information so you can follow up with attendees after. Libraries are often willing to offer free space for these types of events.
Step 13: Advertise your business and listings in local media.
Advertise your brand in local media like newspapers, magazines, radio, television, or whatever outlets are available to get your messaging in front of local buyers and sellers.
Step 14: Take local sponsorships to the next level.
Be creative with local sponsorship opportunities: Sponsor the coffee mugs at your local coffee shop, the golf tee boxes at a golf club, or a stand at your local farmer’s market.
Step 15: Run an open house.
Yes, an open house can be a marketing tool — when done right. The key is to develop open houses where you can interact closely with buyers (or even the lookie-loos) passing through and provide intimate walk-throughs.
Make sure the house is staged well, and offer packets about the property and free swag with your company logo. Collect information via an open house sign-in sheet, and follow up with leads the day after your event.
Step 16: Use custom banners, balloons, and signs to advertise your open house.
Build brand recognition every time you host an open house by providing signage and other extras so everybody knows exactly where to go. Then go the extra mile by putting your brand name or logo on them.
Step 17: Create a high-quality physical mailer.
Mailers can help get listings and your brand in the hands of everyone in your community. Use high-gloss paper and sophisticated design to generate premier real estate mailers for your area. Think beyond the “just sold” or “just listed” announcements and try to provide information and details that will inspire recipients to hang your mailer up on their fridge or pin it to the family bulletin board. Here are some ideas.
Step 18: Write a consistent column for your local media.
Writing a regular column in your local newspaper, magazine, or online blog will help you present your knowledge to an audience most poised to buy or sell (from you) and will also build your brand recognition in your community. If you’re a better talker, add your thoughts to a regular radio show or podcast.
Step 19: Attend local events and join local meetup groups and associations.
Being a force in your local community means showing up in places where you can build real face-to-face relationships. Use local groups, festivals, or meetings to grow your contact base. Real estate organizations are always a good place to start, but consider joining groups or meetups that interest you personally — an amateur sports league, a toy-collecting hobby group, a regular poker night, whatever will get you in the door (and keep you attending). Meetup.com and Facebook groups can be two ways to find local groups of interest for you.
Step 20: Get some out-of-the-box business cards
Business cards will never go out of style. You’ll always have in-person meetings and run-ins with buyers, sellers, and other industry professionals, meaning it’s vital to have your information on hand to share with them. A boring card that lists your business name and contact details in the smallest, plainest font won’t be memorable (and the recipient might lose it). Take a risk and order some original business cards few have likely seen before. From gold-foil details to cards you can plant, there are endless opportunities in 2021.
Step 21: Write handwritten notes
Think for a moment about what you normally get in the mail: mostly bills, right? When you send a buyer or seller prospect or client a handwritten note, what you’re really delivering is an opportunity to delight them with an unexpected experience.
Combine this strategy with the home valuation tool mentioned below for sellers — send handwritten notes to any home valuation leads that failed to enter their email address and invite them to reach out for a solid dollar amount, or send them some other piece of information that might be relevant right now (such as average days on market in their neighborhood).
Step 22: Go above and beyond for clients during and after the move
Let’s face it: Moving sucks! There’s so much you can do as an agent to make it smoother and more enjoyable for your buyers and sellers, such as:
- Arrange their moving truck
- Order pizza the night they move in (remember those local partnerships we mentioned?)
- Send a handyman over a week or two after move-in to fix any small issues
- Coordinate a cleaning service to deep clean after move-in
Step 23: Volunteer
Like meetups, this is a way to circulate with other people in your community and learn more about the buyers and sellers all around you. Find a cause that means something to you and see if there’s a way you can give some of your time or money to it — homeless shelters, animal shelters, victims of crime, and many other opportunities exist for you to give back charitably. (Not only does this arguably help your business, it’ll also help you feel good about yourself!)
Digital marketing begins and ends with your website, so if you don’t have a website yet and you think you want to make digital marketing a core part of your real estate strategy, you will want to start here. These steps will get your website into marketing shape and create a foundation for your digital marketing strategy.
Step 24: Find a website provider
There are tons of options available in 2021, from free and generic to real-estate-specific (and pretty pricey). Ask around and do some research to see which option might work best for you. (Placester will let you play around with our software for free if you want to test it out — you won’t pay unless or until you decide to launch the site and make it live. Check it out!)
Step 25: Use a responsive design with multiple search features
Make sure your website design is responsive, meaning it can adapt to any device, and that there are varying ways to search so buyers can seek out the ideal property types for them. In 2018, 44% of buyers began their home search online (https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2018-real-estate-in-a-digital-world-12-12-2018.pdf), and with so many searches originating on mobile devices now (more than 50% as of 2018 https://www.statista.com/topics/2479/mobile-search/), it’s critical that you serve your clients a good search experience no matter how they’re searching.
Step 26: Streamline IDX integration
Honestly, this is really just a basic must for any real estate agent — you have to offer all the listings in your area on your website. Make it easy for buyers to find their dream home!
Step 27: Generate lead capture landing pages
Squeeze pages and lead capture forms are great ways to secure lead information so you can take communication into your hands. Set up squeeze pages after someone clicks on a property advertisement, or perhaps before someone gets all the information about a property on your site.
Additionally, you should also have optional lead capture forms on each website page for leads interested in getting more information. Forms should ask for names, phone numbers, email addresses, and include an area where someone can pose a question.
Step 28: Create area pages
Buyers and sellers won’t know your locales the way you do, and one way you can get their attention and provide information they crave is by putting together area pages. Here are some questions you might think about answering.
- What jobs are available?
- How are the schools?
- What do people do on evenings and weekends?
- Where can you go for a romantic dinner or a family-friendly meal?
- What parks or cultural facilities are available?
- What recreation options are available?
- What types of homes are common? What are some common inspection issues? What do historic homes look like? (Can you tell any stories about some of those historic homes?)
Once you start writing down answers to all the questions your buyers have asked you about different neighborhoods where you operate, you might be surprised by how much you have to say.
Step 29: Include beautiful local imagery
When it comes to building a great online experience for your website visitors, nothing does the job quite as well as local photography. There are online courses you can take that can give you a decent foundation in taking some good photos with your cell phone camera, or (even better) you can hire a professional to capture some truly breathtaking local images that will sweep buyers off their feet — either way, the investment will be well worth it.
Step 30: Make sure your contact information is available on every page
Lead generation is always one of your top priorities as an agent, and your contact information shouldn’t be hidden or only available on one page of your website. Prominently display your contact information on every page (usually at the bottom) to make it easy for leads to reach out via their favorite method — text, phone call, email, and so on.
Step 31: Offer financial tools for buyers and sellers
One reason why buyers and sellers consistently turn to real estate agents to help them with their home sales is because figuring out the finances is utterly overwhelming sometimes. Why not make it easier for your buyers and sellers by giving them tools that will help them make some decisions?
Sellers almost always crave home valuation information, and buyers want to know how much house they can afford right now — start there. (One note: Sellers will also probably want to know why your valuation is more reliable than an online automated valuation, so be prepared to offer them some extras, like a comparative market analysis with MLS details of homes that have recently sold near them.)
Step 32: Use CTAs
A CTA in marketing-speak is a call to action — something you want your reader to do after they’re finished reading. Of course, it would be ideal if your buyers or sellers picked up the phone to call and hire you right away … but barring that, what action would you most like your website visitors to take? Maybe it’s signing up for a newsletter, following you on social media, or some other activity that will help you stay in touch.
Step 33: Add testimonials
Once you’ve requested testimonials from your happiest and most vocal clients, showcase them on your homepage to leverage the social proof they provide. Happy customers generate more happy customers! You can create an entire page of testimonials for visitors to browse, intersperse them in the design of your website, or use a combination of tactics to bring them to visitors’ attention.
The acronym “SEO” stands for “search engine optimization” … and you might be wondering why your website needs to be optimized for search engines. Won’t all of your amazing content for buyers and sellers show up automatically at the top of Google?
No, it won’t — you have to tell Google (and Bing, and other search engines) why your pages are among the best on the internet. This means you’ll have to optimize your website pages and your business in general so those search engines can read and find them easily. Here’s how to do it.
Step 34: Set up a Google My Business page
Google My Business (https://www.google.com/business) allows you to manage and control how your real estate business appears in Google Search and Maps listings. Filling out your NAP (name, address, and phone number) profile completely helps you show up properly in Google’s three-pack map listing. The reason you want your agency to show up in the three-pack is because searchers pay attention to the visual aspect of the map, ratings, prominent website, and directions links, plus the call button on mobile devices. Getting your site listed in this top-three listing area improves your opportunities to attract quality local leads.
Step 35: Submit your site to major aggregators
Much of the information spread throughout the local search ecosystem is handled by the major data aggregators. Localeze, Factual, Acxiom and Infogroup are the four major aggregators that publish local business information to social media, search engines, directories and review websites.
Submitting your information to these aggregators increases your chances that Google and other search engines take your business seriously. You will gain a competitive advantage when you’ve listed your agency correctly, while other local real estate agents and brokers have failed to do so.
Step 36: Ensure consistent NAP across all online properties
Employ a consistent approach when filling out company information (also known as NAP; see Step 34) at the major aggregators or directories. A large component of increasing your local search rankings involves ensuring that every listing is consistent, which makes search engines think your business is reliable.
Any online property that lists your NAP is called a citation. Google and Bing consider NAP inconsistencies across citations as a negative search signal, so you’ll want to make sure that each listing has the same business name, address, phone number and website.
This prevents duplicate listings and avoids confusion as search engine algorithms decide how to rank your business. Duplicate listings are a problem because search engines don’t know which one is accurate or should be prioritized, which in turn creates doubt within the algorithm about how trustworthy your business is. The result is a lower search ranking.
When you consider that Google’s search market share is close to 90%, you want to make sure you do everything possible to increase your presence there.
Step 37: Set up schemas
Schemas allow you to mark up elements on your site in a way that helps Google understand what the data means. Through schema markups, you gain the ability to tell Google how to attractively present your information.
For example, take a look at how you can list your upcoming open house directly in the search results and ask yourself about the quality of buyers and sellers that results from this marketing method. Learn more about schema in our Ultimate Real Estate SEO Guide.
Step 38: Build local landing pages
A real estate landing page is a single page on your site that allows you to speak to a specific segment of your target market.
For example, if you’re targeting a keyword such as “guide to buying Phoenix real estate,” you’ll get far better results pointing your visitors to a landing page offering a free guide for buying real estate in Phoenix than pointing them to your generic home page.
Multiple landing pages can generate a 120% increase in lead flow, so it’s important to learn how to use the various real estate landing page methods
Step 39: Collect reviews on major third-party review sites
There is a direct correlation between the number of reviews your agency collects and your local search rankings. In fact, ranking signals account for 15.44% of Google’s local search rankings (https://moz.com/local-search-ranking-factors).
Your interaction with reviews is vital. Google states specifically on its Google My Business help page that it not only pays attention to positive reviews when it comes to ranking sites, but that your interaction with reviewers is a factor.
Step 40: Build local backlinks
Increasing the number of other sites linking to your real estate website will also increase your search rankings. More incoming links to your website improve your domain authority and thus, overall keyword rankings across your entire site. You can do this by linking to other local businesses (such as restaurants) and asking them to link to you in turn, or working to create original content or research that other local resources will want to refer back to (and link to) as a backlink strategy. (This can work well in conjunction with blogging.)
Step 41: Paid advertising
Whether it’s for search engines or social media, learn the basics of setting goals, understanding pricing, and setting up campaigns.
Step 42: Conduct keyword research
Your real estate marketing campaign should include a comprehensive plan for taking advantage of keyword searches used by future site visitors. There are three basic types of real estate keywords to research and use:
- Primary (for example, newport beach homes)
- Secondary (for example, orange county real estate)
- Long-tail (for example, tips for buying real estate in costa mesa)
These areas are further segmented in terms of:
- Buyer intent (realtor near me, santa ana houses for sale)
- Type of sale (luxury vs foreclosure)
- Property type (house vs condo)
- Location (oceanfront vs lake)
- Information-gathering stage (do I need a realtor, house buying tips)
Of course, you want to attract qualified prospects looking to buy now. But don’t underestimate the power of attracting buyers or sellers who are still in the information-gathering stage. If you give these people valuable information and get them to trust you, then you will benefit when they decide now is the time to start looking to buy or sell their next piece of real estate.
Several tools exist to help you research your next set of real estate keywords:
- Ahrefs (paid tool)
- Ubersuggest (free tool)
- Answer the Public (free tool)
Step 43: Develop keyword targets.
Set your targets for both the focused keywords you want to target and the types of customers who would make the most qualified leads. You’ll use this information later when setting up campaigns. Bonus: Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Keywords (+ 105 Ideas). Ideally, the keywords you’re targeting will be high-volume and low-competition — a sweet spot for you.
Step 44: Write your advertisement copy.
While the length and scope of your copy will depend on each platform, most ads contain a value proposition and call to action. Write these early and give yourself a few options to test against each other, then pick the strongest.
Step 45: Choose a vendor to set up campaigns for you.
Setting up, monitoring, and tracking advertising campaigns takes time and lots of advertising savvy.
Agents who want to maximize the impact of their ads should work with a reputable company where a human will oversee their campaigns and provide guidance on how they are performing.
Step 46: Create an ad budget.
Understand the factors that will impact the investment you should make to get the return you’re hoping for. Then, calculate your PPC (pay-per-click) ROI based on your budget.
Step 47: Buy listings on Zillow
Zillow gets more than 36 million visitors per month.
Their Zillow Premier Agent program allows you to advertise and show up for local Trulia and Zillow listings. Buy your own listings and take advantage of the traffic already flowing to this massive site.
Step 48: Use social media.
Social media advertising can put your message in front of targeted users. Major networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer options to put your message in front of their large audiences. See more below on how to use social media to market your listings and your brand.
Step 49: Develop captivating graphics for ads.
The strongest ads have visual elements to draw users in. Create custom photos or video to pair with your ads to maximize their potential.
Step 50: Advertise in high-audience newsletters.
There are popular consumer-facing real estate brands that send out regular newsletters. Advertising there can put your ad in front of thousands of readers, but it’s best to go with hyper-local newsletters.
Step 51: Create a dedicated landing page connected to your ad.
If you want to increase lead generation from your ad, a click should lead to a landing page where you provide more value to your lead (based on the content of the original ad), as well as a lead capture form.
Step 52: Create custom media around featured properties.
For featured listings, create custom images, graphics, and video to advertise the best aspects of a specific property.
Step 53: Generate targeted video advertising of single properties.
Target specific users with YouTube advertising by showcasing captivating video of individual properties.
Step 54: Layer on retargeting across key channels
Identify the social media channels most important to your business and re-engage your warm audience. For example, target non-converting website visitors the next time they visit Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.
Step 55: Warm up email leads
Did you know that 75% of the leads you encounter every day are not ready to buy or sell right now? That doesn’t mean you should forget about them!
Warm up email leads by periodically sending them information that builds trust and reveals your expertise. Send out new blog posts to your newsletter list. Provide your subscribers with neighborhood updates, real estate market trends, how-to videos, information about how to qualify for a loan, walk-through videos of your latest listings, and so on.
Step 56: Create an email signature with essential details.
Your email signature should include your full name, phone number, email address, and website address that links directly to your site. Not only is this an easy way to provide your information, it also ensures that if your email is forwarded, the recipient will see all of your brand details.
Step 57: Set up email sign-up forms on your site to grow your recipient list.
You can only get a good return on your investment in email if you have a substantial recipient list. Use on-site sign-up forms with effective calls to action to get readers to sign up, and offer something in exchange, such as a guide, a checklist, an ebook, or something else of value.
Step 58: Set up autoresponders for thank-yous when not immediately available.
Whether it’s late at night or you’re away at a conference, set up autoresponder messages to let clients and leads know you’re not immediately available but that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible. The same goes for messages to those who download a resource from your site or RSVP to an event.
Step 59: Construct responsive email templates that look good on every device.
Email templates come in all shapes and sizes, but you should be using a newsletter template with responsive design and clean layout. However, templates for typical buyer or seller inquiries can save you a lot of time and also allow you to delegate some email tasks when your business grows (and still maintain your voice).
Step 60: Segment your email list.
If you want to give very personal experiences to your leads, segment your email list based on client personas and needs. Then, target communications with details pertinent to each client.
Step 61: Personalize emails.
Including a recipient’s name and other details from your interactions can make emails feel more personal and will deepen their trust.
Step 62: Use storytelling and imagery to increase engagement.
Include effective storytelling elements and videos or images to increase click-through and conversion rates for your emails.
Step 63: Add social media accounts and share buttons to your emails.
Increase cross-platform engagement by encouraging users to share your email content directly on their social media accounts with share buttons placed in your email. Use a modern template to get these features.
Step 64: Adapt your email calls to action based on needs.
Use your list segmentation and lead tracking to figure out the best call to action to offer each lead as a next step, whether that’s getting new leads to sign up for your newsletter or inspiring a client to download a closing checklist.
Step 65: Develop an email course for leads.
Your buyer and seller are likely facing similar roadblocks or questions about the sales process. Increase email engagement by offering an exclusive email course to go over various real estate issues, offering a new tip each day or week.
Social media and networking
Step 66: Set up social pages.
Your brand should have a strong presence on social media, as these are a major driver of successful marketing campaigns and referral traffic.
Even if you don’t currently use all of them, it’s good practice to secure usernames on every platform in case you choose to use them later, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, SlideShare, and Instagram. If possible, use the same account name across all platforms.
Step 67: Create custom social media bios for each platform.
Every social media site is unique: Their users interact differently and expect different types of personality (think a hilarious video on Facebook versus a career advice article on LinkedIn).
Additionally, each platform gives you different amounts of space to write a bio. Write social media bios that stand out on each platform but still sound consistent across all your social media channels.
Step 68: Invite friends and family to like your pages or follow you.
Every page starts with zero, so allow your personal network to give your online social brands a boost.
Invite friends, family, colleagues, and past clients to like or follow your professional pages so you can build an immediate following (and so they can see and share what you post).
Step 69: Add social media retargeting tags to your website
Since you know that most visitors to your site won’t convert to customers immediately, it’s important to use retargeting. This also applies to email leads who don’t convert right away.
Retargeting is a method where you place a piece of code, called a pixel, on your website. This then allows you to “retarget,” or remarket your business, to people who have visited your website once across different social media platforms.
For example, a Facebook pixel on your site allows you to place an ad in front of website visitors the next time they go on Facebook. You can do the same with other channels like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.
This marketing method lets you re-engage prospects no matter where they go. It builds your brand and creates awareness about your services each time a past site visitor sees your offerings.
Step 70: Post regularly on each social media platform.
Social media is only as effective as its user and the engagement you are able to generate.
Successful agents using social media know it takes a consistent posting to build an audience that will engage with you. This means posting almost daily on your core social media sites.
Use our post to learn more about what types of content work best on each social site.
Step 71: Include social follow buttons on your website.
You should make it more than easy for folks to find and follow your social media accounts. Whether it’s in your header, footer, or sidebar, make sure your icons are prominent on the page.
Step 72: Showcase your savvy with video.
Video specials that offer your real estate knowledge, provide advice to buyers and sellers, or give in-depth previews of listings can deliver a major return on your marketing.
Additionally, optimizing your YouTube videos can increase the SEO of your content.
Step 73: Get a social media scheduler.
Avidly posting on social media doesn’t always mean being glued to your computer every minute of the day. Many posts — blog posts, announcements, property details, and general advice — can be scheduled in advance using automated systems like Hootsuite, Buffer, or Edgar.
Step 74: Generate slideshows.
Multimedia presentations produced from content on your website can build readership from audiences who prefer visuals to plain text. Publishing slideshows on platforms like SlideShare puts your content in front of potentially thousands of users.
Step 75: Join a Twitter discussion (or run your own).
Twitter is a great platform to engage with other professionals or leads. Follow major real estate–related topics by searching relevant hashtags and offer thoughts or pose questions.
You can also host your own Twitter chat, in which case you’ll need to advertise it to your leads via email and social media, letting them know how to engage with you during that time to get their questions answered.
Step 76: Develop or join groups, and start discussions there to build thought leadership.
Many discussions and coalitions are built within social media groups. Join some to build your network, or create your own to build a resource where you can offer advice.
Step 77: Run a contest through social media.
Contests can be an effective way to generate leads. Use social media to host a contest — and offer a prize, like a gift card to a local business or a free consultation.
Step 78: Publish new, original, thoughtful articles on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn now allows anyone to create thoughtful articles in its publisher platform. Using this platform can get your thoughts in front of thousands of readers if you happen to strike a chord that resonates with them.
Step 79: Post Instagram Stories
The key to building your brand on Instagram (and all social media platforms) is to become great at getting your followers to engage with you. Instagram Stories provide you a method for generating engagement and gaining brand recognition in the process.
One way to use Instagram Stories is to run a giveaway or contest. Direct followers to take screenshots as they listen in to your IG Live segment and direct message you those images. Choose a winner and give them something fun or helpful (a free book about qualifying for a loan, for example). Cross-pollinate your social media channels with the above method. Use this strategy with your Facebook Lives or tweets and get your Facebook and Twitter followers to discover you on Instagram.
Step 80: Create memes.
You may think memes are simply another internet distraction — one that keeps you from completing much more important tasks, like segmenting real estate leads in your customer relationship management (CRM) database or scheduling meetings with prospective clients. On the contrary, though: Memes offer a (dare we say) fun real estate marketing tactic that is just now taking off with agents and can get some laughs from your audience.
The second you notice that a (politically correct and totally appropriate-for-work!) meme is making the rounds online, try to come up with a way to use it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest (like Realtor Paul Fernandez’s board above), or even on your blog. A post titled “10 Feelings All Home Buyers Have During the Process” filled with memes could be your key to connecting with your targeted demographic.
Step 81: Post ideas and tips for homeowners, buyers, and sellers in Reddit.
Before you get all flustered wondering how Reddit can help your real estate marketing (or what Reddit even is), just know that the site isn’t simply the “front page of the internet,” as it promotes itself to be. There are endless amounts of “subreddit” forum boards on the site devoted to the most specific topics in the world — including homeownership, home buying, and home selling. Find ones in which people looking to buy or sell properties need wisdom and where homeowners are looking for advice regarding their mortgages or tax tips.
One thing to remember about Reddit is that its users can sniff out self-interest faster than you can dream. Make sure your advice is non-promotional and thoughtful for this strategy to work.
Step 82: Answer questions on Quora
Another place on the internet where people are asking questions about real estate (and getting some answers) is Quora. If you set up an account and start answering questions, you might even find that some people start requesting answers to different topics from you specifically.
Step 83: Devise a fun game to accompany awards shows or televised events
Ever see publications, bloggers, and brands share “drinking games” for events like the Academy Awards and the Super Bowl? Join in and create your own version of a game (of the drinking variety or something different is up to you). You could even create an interactive or printable Bingo chart, of sorts, for people to use during these events and see if your amusing insights and predictions come true. Brand this marketing collateral with your logo to get those who partake in your game to remember where they got it.
Step 84: Publish a local market quiz on your real estate website.
If you’ve ever checked out BuzzFeed, then you know people like to take quizzes on just about any subject. Test your audience with a short, multiple-choice quiz on something of interest. See if they know things like which famous people grew up in the area and tidbits about your town’s history. The questions or topics can even be created around broader subjects unrelated to your market, like music, movies, or some other facet of pop culture.
If you want to be the ultimate resource for your leads, however, a thought-provoking quiz on the ins and outs of buying or selling a home, like the one below from Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of San Francisco-based Vanguard Properties, could be your ticket to gaining their confidence.
Step 85: Send a request to clients to review your services online.
A company’s online star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to judge a business. Online reviews have a prominent presence in search engines, have a large impact on your business’s reputation, and are a major source of lead referrals. Take control of your brand by requesting online reviews from good past clients, and make it easy for them to post in multiple places.
Step 86: Ask your best former clients for testimonials.
Happy past clients are your best brand ambassadors. Their opinions and feedback posted prominently on your site will give your brand social clout. Approach some of your best former clients and ask if they would offer feedback for a testimonial. Written is good, but testimonials with photos or video are even better.
Step 87: Establish a referral program
While you build your online presence and leadflow, don’t forget about getting referrals from happy clients. One of the easiest ways to get referrals is to simply ask — and then maybe send the people who refer you business a gift card to their favorite coffee shop every now and then. Focus on providing your prospects a smooth transition throughout the entire home buying process and then ask them who they know.
Step 88: Staying focused on providing ongoing tips and helpful content to email subscribers will foster more referrals.
Send periodic content to your clients that provides home owner tips. This high touch follow-up keeps you “top of mind” when past customers hear that friends and family are looking to buy a home.
Step 89: Optimize listing pages.
Optimize your listing pages with local keywords, proper address formatting, appropriately sized photos, and the necessary links.
Step 90: Feature top listings on the home page
Stage properties and hire a professional photographer to capture the best angles of every room.
Step 91: Construct great real estate listing copy
Great writing can make or break a listing’s potential. The bare minimum details won’t do the trick if you want to get the best leads and offers. Write great real estate listing copy with interesting adjectives and descriptions that entice readers.
Step 92: Make your listings look their best
Stage properties and hire a professional photographer to capture the best angles of every room.
Step 93: Dedicate blog posts or landing pages to showcase your listings in detail.
A dedicated post or landing page for a listing can help you build a robust marketing campaign for a property (beyond just the listing page). Share your blog with your network as you would a regular blog post.
Add more in-depth descriptions, photos, videos, and information about the area to better pitch the property. In order to attract organic traffic, optimize the post with:
- hyper-local keywords
- address names
- property type keywords
Step 94: Advertise listings in a dedicated newsletter to your leads and clients.
Leverage email’s great ROI by using your newsletter to advertise your listings to clients.
Keep your message fairly brief and to-the-point, adding in alluring subject lines and headers, a few striking photos, descriptive detail, and a link to your listing or landing page for the property.
Step 95: Create video presentations for your listings.
Photos are expected as part of listings, but video can build a fuller experience for your leads and give them a more in-depth perspective on the property. Create professional property videos for priority listings to generate interest.
Step 96: Post listing information on every social media outlet.
Listings on your website are great, but let your followers know about new featured listings everywhere else by posting them on each social media site.
Step 97: Develop listing boards on Pinterest.
Pinterest is a great platform to create mood or informational boards around listings.
Include pictures of your property, scenes and highlights of the area, and general tips and advice for buyers. Be sure to include your contact details and links to the listing page or landing page for the listing.
Step 98: Consistently create content
Successful inbound marketing starts with consistent content creation. This enhances your search engine optimization, generates traffic, and gives real value to your clients. Consistency is crucial in blogging: You should expect to publish between two and five blog posts per week on your market, listings, area details, and real estate statistics. See these 101 blog post ideas for inspiration — and you can also leverage your keyword research from the SEO step.
Step 99: Develop guides for buyers and sellers.
Nearly every lead you encounter is going to have lots of questions about buying or selling, which means you’re probably answering similar questions over and over and scrambling to find resources that might help them. Create your own downloadable or printable guides you can give to leads that include lots of information about processes and expectations. Gate them (so buyers and sellers have to provide an email address to access them) and ask if recipients want to opt in to your email newsletter.
Step 100: Answer frequently asked questions
An effective way to get ideas for blog content is to identify questions your target market is asking. Two tools help you find these lists of questions:
Answer The Public
People Also Ask
Answer The Public is a free tool that generates a list of questions based on your keyword search. For example, if you type in “los angeles homes”, the questions received from this search may include:
Should I buy a los angeles home?
How much is it to buy a los angeles home?
People Also Ask is a free feature inside a Google search.
Step 101: Create informational posts about community features
Yelp, TripAdvisor, and a wealth of other websites offer up reviews and details about movie theaters, restaurants, and similar businesses. But these portals have an issue: They can take forever to sort through just to find a well-written review or locate the right information. That’s where you, the all-knowing real estate agent, comes into play. You can give people a list of the best movie theaters, restaurants, parks, and so on — a reliable community guide on the internet.
Step 102: Vary post types.
Not every piece of content has to be a long-form piece. In fact, most readers love variety. Create a mix of written blogs, ebooks, infographics, videos, photos, lists, etc.
Step 103: Curate content from other sources to include on your site.
Not every piece of content on your site has to be completely original. Effectively curating content from other sites, crediting the original source, and adding your own perspective makes content creation simple and quick.
Step 104: Create multiple websites.
While you may already have a real estate website, many successful agents representing large geographic areas or many properties create multiple websites, with each covering specific niche areas of the market so they can target the needs of specific leads. (Think changing up the neighborhood domain names and creating neighborhood-specific content.)
Step 105: Dig into infographics
The best real estate marketing plan includes plenty of graphics — but not just any will do. Taking time to hone your Photoshop skills (or building enough capital to hire a professional graphic designer) will allow you to add striking images, charts, graphs, and other visual elements to your blog and social media posts. When that time comes, ensure your graphics explain something of value to your audience, like the best parts of your local market.
The infographic below is a perfect example of this: Startup Seattle, an organization run by the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development to help foster a great environment for local startups, created this beginner’s guide that explains the current startup landscape in the Emerald City. You can also be a bit humorous and develop less comprehensive graphics, like the one from Kind of Normal, via its Truth Facts comic. Home buyer and seller jokes may seem corny, but a laugh could lead to more clicks on your website and more leads in your contacts database.
Step 106: Interviews
Word of mouth recommendations are a powerful way to help prospects understand your value. Take the time to interview past customers and allow their words to do the heavy lifting when it comes to pointing out the advantages of working with you specifically.
Don’t forget to expand your interviews beyond past clients. Interview home inspectors, mortgage brokers, construction company owners, and other people you work with throughout the entire process of a home sale.
This is your opportunity to show your prospects the positive way everyone you work with looks upon you.
Step 107: Agency explainer video
Shoot a video that goes into detail about what your brand is all about — and make it fun: These videos are traditionally meant to be serious, as they relay your value proposition and what makes your agency successful and worth hiring. But as noted, personality plays a big role in the decision-making of buyers and sellers, so have some fun while still getting across the details that buyers or sellers need.
Step 108: Shoot video tours of all listings.
Showing is always better than telling. Using listing videos to showcase the properties you have for sale is one of the most effective ways to help prospects see exactly what each property offers them.
This is a way to get prospects motivated to elevate their relationship with you and schedule phone and in-person meetings.
Step 109: Educational videos
Educational videos that offer real estate buyers advice are a way to establish credibility. This is a real estate marketing idea that reveals your expertise and shows prospects how much you’re interested in helping them with their purchase decisions.
Focus on mortgage options, how to save for a down payment, tax advantages to owning a home, the importance of home inspections, and other similar topics you know your buyers will benefit from learning more about.
Step 110: Community videos
Create videos that showcase the neighborhood and community atmosphere around the homes you sell. Your prospects want to know they’re moving into a safe area with excellent schools, parks, and surrounding neighborhoods.
Showcase other homes, businesses, developments, restaurants, shopping areas, and other neighborhood features that help your buyers understand what type of community they’re potentially moving into.
Step 111: Ask questions.
“Person-on-the-street” style interviews are popular for a reason — and they can help give people moving to the area a good sense of what the community is like. You don’t need to stick to local topics, either; you can ask people what song they last listened to on Spotify or to show you their best party trick, or to share their personal meaning of life. (But don’t get too controversial.)
Step 112: Promote helpful how-to videos.
Use helpful “how-to” video content to teach prospects step-by-step ways to solve challenges or realize important concepts you know they should understand throughout the buying experience.
For example, a how-to video that walks a prospect through the process for selecting a real estate agent goes a long way toward getting them to see you as the perfect choice.
Step 113: Shoot offbeat videos.
Everyone loves some personality. Create a video that showcases yours and helps your clients get to know you before they even meet you.
Step 114: Add videos to email drip series.
Don’t forget to include your video content inside your email follow-up sequences. Create a welcome drip series so that new subscribers receive videos along with your written content.
Use the videos discussed above to help subscribers learn about your listings, your community, and what past happy clients have to say about working with you.
Step 115: Use video annotations to drive website traffic.
Take advantage of YouTube’s annotations feature to encourage viewers to watch your other videos or to opt-in to your email newsletter.
Step 116: Promote videos across social media channels.
It’s important to combine all of your social media platforms into one synergistic real estate marketing campaign. Avoid the tendency to create videos and then use YouTube as your only distribution channel.
Instead, take that content and distribute across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social channel you decide to use inside your marketing efforts.
Iterating and improving
Step 117: Use analytics to drive your marketing.
Whether it’s a piece of content that gets high traffic, a listing that gets high time-on-site statistics, or an influx in referrals from a particular blogger, monitor your website analytics and visitor behavior to determine where to focus your marketing.
Step 118: Select the right tools.
Make a list of the tools needed to put your real estate marketing plan into action. Determine your email service provider, project management software, event software, website creation software, and other brand-building tools.
Step 119: Measure performance.
Define precise metrics you will use to measure achievement. Use goals that easily tell you whether you’ve hit the mark within specific timeframes.
Don’t write, “I will increase my lead flow.” Instead, create a goal that says, “I will generate 500 new email subscribers in the month of June.” You will know for sure at the end of the month whether you hit your goal!
Step 120: Set clear goals
Identify which objectives you’ll work to achieve. Create a plan and understand what types of habits you might need to grow into.
Will you measure the number of sales per month? How many new leads generated each month? Ask yourself which marketing strategy will help you accomplish each goal.
Use activity goals, too. For example, hone in on a specific number of calls to make each day. You’ll experience ups and downs when marketing your real estate business. Measuring activity helps ensure that you’ll continue working hard when results haven’t shown themselves yet.
Ready, set, market
As you can see, marketing is critical to your success as an agent, and you can customize your marketing to fit your business, your needs, and your personality.
Take your time to identify which strategies make the most sense for you and then create your foundation. It’s usually easiest to start with the steps that build off of assets you already have in place. For example, if you have a large Facebook following already, look for tips above that help you maximize that audience. Then, move into other areas that logically build your social media presence, then your web presence as a whole.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed. The key is to plan out the long-term strategy and then start implementing that plan step-by-step each week.
Finally, make sure all of your real estate strategies revolve around your website. Your website is your “home” on the Internet. It’s the place where most lead flow and business will come from.
Build your brand, grow your traffic, and enjoy the benefits that marketing brings to your real estate business.