Realtors have it too easy.  Not too long ago, marketing for real estate agents wasn’t too complicated because there were very few realtors with an online presence.  These days there are services available to help them quickly create pre-designed websites, content and newsletters for little cost.  These services, however, can be a massive waste of money as the finished product usually looks impersonal, cheap, and does nothing to separate realtors’ services from the pack.

Canned Websites

I was shocked to hear that there exists a company sells prefab websites to realtors with the content already written.  Why would any real estate agent want that?  The only reason is because it is cheap and easy.  A website full of business talk never gets read and in that case even the listings will look cold and ‘salesy’.  Real Estate is built on a connection between the client and the realtor.

A real estate website should be an introduction to you, the realtor, your successes, your thoughts and opinions on the industry, who you are personally,  and maybe charities you are involved with.  Get the web working for you and connecting with a like-minded community.

Static Daily Content

Many realtors use a web service to push general daily content about the real estate market for them on Facebook or Twitter.  That same service is used by several others with no personalization or relation to the person posting.  This is junk!

Content is used to build a community of people who are interested in a realtor’s opinion, and who see you as a thought leader.   If hundreds of people are publishing the same content written by someone else about the real estate industry who is going to read that?  All you are doing is saying ‘I give up… I have no time to share anything of value so I will just pump this mass communication and see if anyone notices.’  This is a total waste of money as no one is reading this.

Produce some personal content in hopes of building a community, share a client story, tell your followers about a neighbourhood you like.  They want to get to know YOU because in the real estate industry personal connections gets you clients.

Direct Mail

Right now you are probably sending out a realtor report by direct mail and you have no idea who is reading it or how many people are even opening it.  But I bet you spend anywhere from $100 to $200 dollars a month to send it.  One way of making a huge digital leap is to send your realtor report by email where you can track opens. clicks, forwards, and opt-outs.  If you don’t have email addresses for the entire list the next mailing should be a simple letter asking for the best way to communicate with the list and they could send you their email address.

Eliminating direct mail outright might not be possible, but you can seriously reduce overall costs.  One thing to remember is if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it! Just another reason to begin phasing out bland paper flyers and implementing dynamic e-newsletters that can be optimized every time you send them out.

How to Start Getting More Clients

Clear Objectives

You need to start by asking yourself what exactly you want:  personal introductions, email addresses, your card in more hands, or being top of mind. Then start to form a strategy and campaign ideas around those objectives.  I think realtors will soon see that they can trim expenses, increase reach and have more fun with marketing initiatives by bringing some creativity to the table.

Monthly Campaigns

Part of a realtor’s strategy might be to come up with a unique monthly  (or bi-monthly) campaign to help find a large group of new leads.  A guerrilla-style idea, coffee at the front door of a condo, neighbourhood meet ups at an open house, something different!  And because so few realtors are doing anything unique this will allow you to stand out.

Building a Community

All of the ideas and campaigns you create should be focused on building a community.  Realtors struggle with what to do after everyone in their immediate network finds houses.  Word of mouth is great and a very valuable ally, but still you need to be growing that community constantly.  You can do that with an eNewsletter, an email collection contest on Facebook, or a Twitter campaign.  Keep focused on objectives and grow the community.

Personal Connection to Clients

One of our clients commented to us: “I like meeting people face-to-face”.  Her comment really got us focusing on campaigns that resulted in personal connections to her leads.  Simple thank you letters and neighbourhood wine and cheese functions have helped her put a warm face to her occupation.

I really hope this post helps overall efforts for you real estate professionals.  Just remember: personal content and community rule!