Marketing plays an important role as real estate professionals seek to capture the attention of potential clients. A vast majority of home buyers use real estate agents to purchase their homes as evidenced by a 2018 study done by the National Association of Realtors which found that approximately 87% of buyers purchased homes with the assistance of a real estate agent.
Even though real estate agents continue to be a vital part of the home buying process, more and more, people are beginning their searches online. The National Association of Realtors found that 92% of home buyers prefer to use the Internet to start the process of looking for their next home. This statistic emphasizes the need for real estate agents to maintain an active presence online.
So, the question isn’t whether there is a need for realtors but rather, how best to market oneself as a real estate professional. Whether via traditional methods or the Internet, the key is to network and engage with existing and potential clients. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your marketing efforts.
Stay in Touch
Most people only buy or sell a home a handful of times in their lives. When it does occur, make sure your name is the first that comes to the minds of past clients by staying in touch and regularly putting your contact information in their possession. Create email newsletters and blog posts that are educational and informative. Let people know about trends in the real estate market and things that are happening in the community. Provide checklists and top tips for clients in various phases of homeownership. Birthday and holiday cards are another way to stay connected without forcing a business connection. Anything that is value-added or presents you as an expert in the field is excellent content for your client outreach.
Staying in touch requires an accurate database. Don’t waste the time and effort you spend on content, newsletters, etc. by having an out of date contact list that results in emails bouncing, spam reports and people requesting to unsubscribe from your communications. Invest the time needed to ensure you have accurate contact information and that you remove anyone who requests to be unsubscribed.
Find Your Niche
Consider helping yourself stand out from the competition by becoming an expert provider in a niche market of real estate. You can become known as THE real estate agent for seniors, pet owners, divorcees, or what have you, in your geographical area. This is, obviously, a long-term strategy as it will take time to build a reputation in a given area. Gear sections of your newsletter towards that sector and create blog posts focused on issues important to your desired niche audience. Learn about relevant topics and share useful content to attract more buyers and sellers in that niche.
Amazing visual presentation of the properties you represent is paramount to experiencing success in the real estate market. Don’t settle for a grainy or blurry picture taken from an odd angle. Anyone, regardless of their background, will notice. People are overwhelmed with online images and tend to remember the really good and the really awful. Make sure your images are remembered for the right reason. High-quality, professional grade photos are the only option for your website, print materials, and social media postings.
Establish a strategy to consistently ask your clients for referrals. Many studies have found that people trust recommendations from friends, families, and even strangers on the Internet more than they trust other channels of marketing. Provide extra business cards and ask people to share your information if they have had a positive experience with you. Make all of your digital content easily shareable and include a “share this” line on your newsletters and blog posts.
Testimonials are powerful social proof of the quality of your services. Solicit information about why someone chose you to be his real estate agent and what benefits were gained from working with you. Ask permission to include a photo of the person next to his testimonial and share them on your website, social networks, and on your print materials.
Your current and potential clients are on social media platforms so why not join them there? Grow and nurture your business via these channels but do so strategically and with purpose. Avoid making your social media profiles only about your listings. Not everyone who interacts with your posts will be currently looking to purchase or sell a home. Incorporate relevant, valuable information that meshes with the style and tone of content your target audience is interacting with on that platform.
Engage with people – ask questions about home features people think are important, host contests for best decorating ideas, or ask for user-generated content you can share such as “First (fill in the blank) at Our New Home” pictures. Join and be an active participant in relevant groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. These platforms are called social media “networks” for a reason.
Make all of your posts shareable to increase the potential for exposure to new clients and make sure your social profile information is on your website and print materials. It is also good practice to add social sharing to your property pages to allow visitors to share with others information about the homes they are considering. To make your content more findable, include relevant and trending hashtags on your posts. (For more information about hashtags, click HERE.)
There are a number of ways that real estate agents can jump on the video bandwagon to appeal to video-hungry consumers. Realtors can utilize video marketing to showcase properties and themselves by offering video descriptions and demonstrating knowledge about local markets. Personalized videos can be included in marketing emails and on websites to help potential clients get to know you and the services and expertise you offer.
A video walk-through of a property can provide potential buyers with a better understanding of the spaces in a home. If you have a steady hand, a walk-through can be done with a smartphone or, for a more professional product, with a drone. Virtual tours of properties can also provide a comprehensive look with the feel of a video.
As we mentioned earlier, today’s consumers prefer to start their property searches independently online before reaching out to a real estate professional. A device responsive, mobile-friendly website is a must for any real estate agent. Major real estate agencies usually provide their agents with a website hosted on the agency domain. Establishing your own website in addition to that agency website can offer you the opportunity to present yourself a bit more autonomously. On your own professional site, you can establish your brand as a real estate professional and offer the resources you know are important to your client base.
Your website should be focused both on functionality and being aesthetically pleasing. Simple and intuitive navigation will minimize bounce and increase user experience as will quick site speed. Content should be high-quality and offer both information and value to visitors. Offer crisp photos and virtual tours of your listed properties. Provide easy access to Google and Earth and Google maps as well as pertinent information about the area. If you tend to repeatedly work in certain areas, create subdivision specific web pages with photos, videos, and information about the community.
Consider offering live chat on your website so your visitors have 24/7 access to answers for their questions. There are a number of resources available to help you incorporate this feature on your website. Options like ReadyChat provide human interaction on your website to help increase conversions and create a stronger user experience.
Zillow is a key resource for people looking to buy or sell a property meaning it is important for real estate professionals to establish a strong presence on the platform. Your Zillow profile offers opportunities for advertisements as well as a place for clients to review their experience with their real estate agent. The Yelp of real estate marketing, Zillow has more than 180 million visitors each month. An added bonus is the connection between Zillow and Trulia. Trulia is its own brand but owned by Zillow meaning they have different front-end facing sites but shared services on the back end.
It goes without saying that all real estate agents track the data related to their performance when it comes to buying and selling properties. But what about the analytics surrounding the performance of their websites? To keep your thumb of the pulse of your online business, you should be consistently tracking and analyzing what is going on with your website and social media profiles.
Google Analytics can be incorporated into almost any website to help track metrics as they relate to site content and visitors over time. You can gain an understanding of how well specific posts are performing, how many people have visited your site, their average session rate, bounce rates, exit rates, and more. These metrics help you understand the impact your site is having and allow you to make informed marketing decisions instead of playing it by ear or working of off gut instincts.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram provide data regarding people’s online behavior and the integrated analytics help you utilize predictive modeling to better communicate with target audiences. The information allows you to create messaging that is relevant to the needs and pain points of specific groups of individuals instead of making sweeping statements that provide lower value.
While there are generalized best practices for marketing, the real estate industry offers unique challenges, especially when it comes to your online presence. To review, here are some top priorities:
Stay in touch with clients not only for repeat business but also for referral business
To get the most out of your communication efforts, maintain an up to date client database
Find a niche market within the real estate world and become the expert that group calls on
Use only professional, high-quality images on your website, in social media posts, and on print material
Establish a referral process to make the most of your clients’ networks
Collect and feature client testimonials to provide social proof of the high quality of your services
Establish social media profiles and maintain an active presence on those platforms
Incorporate video whenever you can
Establish a personal website to feature the best of what you have to offer
Create a presence on Zillow
Track, analyze and respond to the results of your online efforts
Strategy Driven Marketing has had the opportunity to work with some amazing brands and people spanning all industries and types of creative work. We understand that each client is facing their own challenges and goals and love to bring our expertise to the table to help businesses grow. From brand development to websites to social media and more, the experts at Strategy Driven Marketing are ready to help you make the most of your endeavors as a real estate professional. Contact us today!