A study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 87% of home buyers purchase their homes through real estate agents, while 89% of sellers use agents.
To tap into that large pool of potential clients, successful agents use multichannel real estate marketing ideas that integrate both traditional and digital strategies.
Here are six effective offline and online real estate marketing strategies to help jump-start your real estate career.
1. Build your local brand, network, and reputation as a go-to expert.
Some of the most effective real estate marketing strategies are locally focused. And in this highly competitive industry, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd, develop valuable relationships, and establish yourself as an authority.
Here are three great ways to do that:
- Networking. To expand your network, tell everyone you meet what you do. Connect with industry influencers and potential mentors by joining your state or local governing body and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Become affiliated with the chamber of commerce, the Young Professionals Network, and other organizations that promote professional growth. Join a Meetup group, attend local social and business events, and volunteer to perform community service with local charities.
- Reputation marketing. Make a name for yourself as a media source or pitch a column to a local newspaper or magazine. Try to get featured or quoted in the paper or on a local TV broadcast or radio show to help establish yourself as an authority in the area. Subscribe to HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a free service with daily emails of journalists’ requests for quotes and expert opinions. Respond as quickly as possible when you find an opportunity — journalists often have tight deadlines.
- Being memorable. Go the extra mile and make a lasting impression by giving a “care package” to every client who closes on a home. Send handwritten thank-you notes to both would-be buyers after showings and successful sellers. Add a personal touch to all of your open houses by adding information sheets that go beyond the basic listing details. Include information about the neighborhood, nearby attractions, and amenities your audience will be interested in, such as proximity to schools and grocery stores.
2. Use local real estate events to reach area prospects.
With many consumers experiencing digital overload and re-embracing offline experiences, use experiential marketing to capitalize on the trend of connecting with potential clients in the real world.
Here are some forms of experiential marketing to consider:
- Hold regular open houses and invite potential buyers. Add a twist by partnering with local businesses, such as home décor shops, clothing boutiques, and bakeries, to share their special offers in exchange for promoting your open house in-store.
- Lead local tours of historic, attractive, and up-and-coming neighborhoods where you have properties listed.
- Teach educational classes for first-time home buyers in your area who are ready to buy their first home.
- Sponsor how-to seminars on topics that cover the ins and outs of real estate buying, selling, or investing.
- Think outside the box by teaming up with an interior designer or professional organizer to offer home-staging workshops for sellers.
- Tap expert third parties, such as mortgage lenders and credit counselors, to present how-to clinics on financial and credit-improvement topics related to buying a home.
- Partner with other agents, and if a buyer or seller isn’t a good match, co-list or co-represent them for a fee split instead of turning them away.
Taking your marketing efforts offline will allow you to better engage clients with face time, and those who interact with you will be more likely to share their experience with others.
In fact, a study by the Event Marketing Institute found that 98% of consumers capture photos and video at live events, and 100% of those who do so end up posting about it on social media.
3. Focus on landing qualified leads.
Leads are an integral part of growing your business, so finding ways to land new clients is vital.
Here are three ways to generate more valuable leads:
- Establish a client referral program. Eighty-nine percent of real estate agents told NAR that referrals from current and past clients were some of their most successful leads. Offer past clients a commission if they recommend you to friends, family members, and business associates. Also, set up a referral agreement with local movers, home-improvement contractors, and landscapers as an extra incentive for past clients to share your program.
- Offer something for free. To build trust, give away information or advice without including a sales pitch afterward. If you met someone at an open house, email them similar nearby properties on the market. Write e-books on topics like 10 Things Every New Home Buyer Should Know About Mortgage Approval or 10 Ways to Save on the Cost of Home Staging. When people attend a seminar you offer — tailored to audience needs — offer to send them a copy of one of your relevant e-books.
- Create a newsletter. Publish and give away a print newsletter with tips for buyers and sellers; insights into the local market; and information about new property listing, upcoming open houses, and events you’re offering. Have the newsletter available in your office, at events you attend, and anywhere your audience spends time offline.
4. Turn others’ failures into your successes.
Cold listings can be a rich source of hot leads. Many agents who strategically target those listings are rewarded for their efforts. To start, mine unsuccessful listings by searching MLS for expired listings. Withdraw if needed, and get in touch with the owners to offer insights into how you’d approach their listing differently so that their home sells quickly.
Another option is to follow up on “For Sale by Owner” listings — they can be a great source of leads. Reach out to understand the seller’s needs, and offer to help them meet that goal. Only 3% of FSBO properties sell in the desired time, and they go for 24% less than brokered listings. You can find these listings in local newspapers, on Craigslist, and on real estate sites.
When you make contact with these leads, keep in mind that they’re probably disappointed and frustrated by the lack of results. It’s likely that they also get lots of calls, texts, and emails from agents who tell them how difficult it is to go it alone, urging them to hire an agent. This approach only adds to their frustration.
Instead of trying to sell them on why they need to hire you, act as a resource and send a message similar to this:
“Hi! I see you had your home listed for sale on [site]. I’ve put together 10 tips on marketing, staging your home, and holding open houses. Here’s the link. As a real estate agent who understands the market, I know that these tips actually work. Please contact me if you’d like to access more resources on how to sell your home quickly.”
Providing tips and advice shows that you care about the seller’s situation and are willing to invest in a meaningful relationship with them — not just ask to list their home. Be sure to follow up after your initial message to keep the seller engaged and your business top of mind.
5. Take advantage of powerful, free, local web-marketing channels.
Today, 51% home buyers find the home they eventually purchase online. And, according to Google, 46% of all searches are now local. Translation: If your marketing efforts don’t include the web, with a focus on local search, you’re missing out on prospective clients.
Here are three ways to approach online marketing and use your budget efficiently:
- Get on Facebook. Facebook business pages are free public profiles, similar to personal Facebook accounts, that provide a powerful way to connect with current clients and reach new ones who find your page when they search Google. Use your Facebook page to promote your business by responding to comments and by sharing status updates, links, event announcements, photos, and videos.
- Set up your “Google My Business” page. Claiming and maintain your free Google My Business account makes it easier for anyone surfing the web to find you in local searches and on Google Maps. Best of all, it comes at no cost, is easy to manage, and gives you a chance to add contact photos, contact information, and a short summary to describe what you do.
- Get or claim your business listing. Make sure you’re in the following local and national directories: Yelp.com, AngiesList.com, Yext.com, YellowPages.com, Local.com, BingPlaces.com, and Manta.com.
6. Leverage the power of online reviews, recommendations, and testimonials.
Research shows that 93% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations.
To leverage the trust people have in reviews, here are some ways to increase the number of reviews you get:
- Request reviews. Contact all satisfied clients by email and ask them to leave a review for you on your Facebook or Google page. Include direct links to make it easy for them to follow through.
- Ask for testimonials. When a client has had an exceptional experience with you, ask them for a testimonial and a photo to accompany it if possible. Then, share this information on your website, blog, and sales page; in press releases, direct mail letters, and brochures; and on social media platforms like Instagram.
- Offer an incentive. Give clients a tangible reason to write a review. Consider offering them a free gift card — for example, one from Starbucks, Amazon, Visa or popular a local spot — if they leave you a review.
It’s time to get started
Becoming a successful real estate agent requires time, hard work, and a little bit of luck. Use these six marketing strategies to establish a solid foundation for your business to pave the way to future success.
Test which options work best for your particular audience, and discover new ways to enhance your marketing so that it stays fresh and relevant. Your audience’s needs shift over time, so find ways to cater to this to help them meet their goals.