Ideas and thoughts about marketing

“You only call me when you want something.” 

Maintaining client relationships is obviously important to repeat business, but why do many of us do so poorly with keeping in touch?

I was pulling a report to view the analytics of an email campaign and I noticed our bounced email list was fairly large. This is bad for us because we lost out on being able to email them, and it shows that we have not kept in contact with them to know that they have a new email address. Fortunately, this now creates an opportunity for us to reach out and call our past clients and prospects, and gain their new contact information. It also opens the window for a conversation on what they have been up to, and if they have noticed the rise in the Real Estate Market.

Now… For the contact information that is correct in our CRM… How often are we reaching out to them? Also, when we do contact them, are we just trying to sell them something? This reminds me of someone I knew in college. Every now and then I’d send a txt to that “special person”, and they would always txt back “You only txt me when you want something!” <INSERT winking face with deviant smile> I learned a great lesson from this experience: Continuous meaningful contact.

What this means: When you see an article, or photo, or idea, or just think of someone… Let them know. Send a txt, email,  a card, or give them a call. What I have found is I have built better relationships, gained more referrals, and sold more. I didn’t ask for any sales or referrals, but keeping in touch and reminding people of myself kept me on their mind for when they needed Real Estate help.

What this does not mean: Blasting constant emails with the same content to everyone in your database. The key aspect to making this tactic work is personalization. Think about how many unrelevant calls, emails, postcards, and such that you receive. Don’t be one of them. Simple.

If your client feels like a cheap booty call, they’ll respond accordingly. Believe it or not, you’re replaceable. Don’t give people a reason to replace you, give them a reason to want to marry you.


The Most Expensive Marketing Is “Free” Marketing

There is an idea of “Free” marketing, but it simply does not exist. I can think back to Econ 1101: There is no such thing as a free lunch. This is always true, but let me explain it in terms of free marketing.
Many real estate companies are focusing on Social Media Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization in their marketing plans and strategies as avenues of “Free” marketing. However, how much is this free marketing is actually free?
Many real estate brokerages do not have, or can not afford a dedicated Marketing Manager. Therefore, end up running their own social media and SEO, or delegating it to an Office Manager. The overhead of the Office Manager, office supplies/space, and time taken away from other income producing activities represent the overall cost of the free marketing. Then, we need to look at the return derived from the free marketing. If it seems like the efforts put into social media and SEO are not producing any leads, then there is no return on investment. Even worse, there may actually be a negative return on investment! We have all heard the expression that “all press is good press.” However, that is not always the case. In fact, meaningless chatter and content may actually be driving clients and prospects away.
So what is the solution?
First, the cost of time needs to be calculated, and realized. Then, the cost needs to be compared to the cost of hiring a Marketing Manager or Marketing company. After that, determine the average lifetime value of a client. Once all of the data is collected, calculate the number of clients that would need to be generated each year to offset or justify the costs. For a quick example: Suppose a Marketing Manager will work for $85,000 annually. In that year, 5 new clients are gained. Each client representing an average lifetime value of $150,000.
150,000(5)-85,000= $665,000
To sum up… Just because there are free marketing channels, does not mean there is not a cost associated. It is always best to do what Real Estate Agents recommend their clients to do, i.e. hire a professional.

Proportional Real Estate Marketing Expenditures

Proportional Real Estate Marketing Expenditures

Marketing for Real Estate should not be one size fits all. Yet, many agents seem to think it is, and that the 3 P’s of Real Estate Marketing always apply to every listing:

  1. Put up a sign,
  2. Put it online, and
  3. Pray

Here is a little secret… Real Estate Marketing is not a fixed expense for every property. If the price of the house and the real estate commission are perfectly elastic (for every increase in the price of the house there is an increase in the price of the commission), then why are marketing costs not weighted the same? I constantly see agents putting forth the same amount of effort and marketing for a $100,000 property as they do for a $1,000,000 property. The reason a commission is a percentage of the sale is for the reason that it takes more effort to sell more expensive properties. Thus, if it takes more effort, it should take more marketing effort as well. Each property is different and should have a marketing strategy created for each listing as they occur. I think it is great that one website syndicates to thousands of other websites, and there is a printed out marketing package that says that exact same thing. However, it takes more than a quick pic with an iPhone and uploading the property to the local MLS.

Before listing a property, ask the potential agent what specifically they are going to do to market your property differently than every other agent available.

Hit the URL Jackpot!

The URL Jackpot; what exactly does that mean? In January I was asked to help name a new commercial real estate firm. Of course, one of the first things I thought of was to have the keywords in the title. The second was the availability of the URL and the availability of the same name on social media networks. Why would I worry about that? Good question, I’m glad you asked. Even if the company didn’t want to start out from day one on social media networks, it is always a good plan to go ahead and secure the name on all the networks before someone else does. If another user has the same name on any of the networks it can be challenging or even costly to obtain the name. Additionally, it may be that an entirely different name has to be used on one, some, or all of the social sites. This can cause some confusion among the world wide web.

Here is what happened to me: I was out with my friend Joni and we decided to post a photo to Instagram. The photo was so great that I wanted to share it that night with all of my Facebook and Twitter friends (which can be done right from the Instagram app). I tagged Joni in the photo on Instagram, and syndicated the photo to the other two networks. About an hour later I received a reply on the photo from an 11 year old boy on Twitter claiming to not be in the photo with me. What had happened was… Joni had one username on Instagram and a different username on Twitter. So when I syndicated the photo it ended up that a little boy on Twitter had the same username that Joni had on Instagram. Wow! Talk about a slip up.

So, how does one avoid this situation? Fortunately, there is a website that can check the URL desired among the majority of popular social media networks: This is an amazing tool, and I actually just used it last week. My dad is starting a new construction company and asked me about a website. The first thing I did was plug in the URL he wanted in to Name Check. He was in luck! Not only was the URL available, but all of the social sites were as well.

Moral: Don’t learn a lesson the hard way like I did. Keep little boys out of late night drunken photos, and check for URL continuity.

The Law of Diminishing Marginal Listings

The Law Diminishing Marginal ListingsOne of my little brothers called me yesterday worried about whether or not he should keep his listing agent. I asked him a few questions, and he finally said, “I just think she’s too busy to list our house.” What?! Is this true? Someone is too busy to make more money? It is true, but not intentional. This is where I have developed a new law; it shall be known as the Law of Diminishing Marginal Listings. Looking at the image of the graph above, we see that the red line represents the number of listings. Additionally, the green line represents the ability to list one more property. The number of listings is increasing at an increasing rate, and will continue to increase into infinity. The green line, however, is increasing at increasing rate up to maximum capacity. After maximum capacity, the ability to list one more property changes the green line to be decreasing at a increasing rate. What does this all mean? Every Real Estate Agent only has the physical and mental ability to handle X number of properties at one time, and efficiently and effectively list/sell their properties. Once an agent reaches maximum capacity they are no longer providing a service; they actually become a disservice, increasingly, to all of their listings.

There may be a mathematical formula to equate the maximum, but there is a different maximum for each and every agent. The best way is for each listing agent to know what his or her maximum is, and make sure not to reach the maximum. Dr. Kimball said it best, “I don’t want you working at 100%. I want you working at 90%.” Why is that? Because people just get burnt out. There is no way for someone to work full speed everyday all day. Not possible. Even if they did, who would want to be around them?

The moral of the story… Ask your agent how many listings they currently have, what do they feel their maximum capacity is, and what can amount of time can they promise to devote to effectively selling your property. If you feel your agent is maxed out, then it may be time to find a fresh face in the game with only a few listings.

Time to Kick It Old School

Typewriter, Mine.

There is a rumor I heard once, that back in the day, the MLS (multiple listing service) was literally a printed book. Brokers would have to wait a week, or so, for a new book to be printed to see what new listings other brokers in town listed that week. Now everything is online and updated to the millisecond. But it leads one to think… If there are websites such as that allows users to jump around the internet seeing different and new pages while never seeing the same page twice, it makes me think that there may be too much content (I really don’t think there is too much). If an office gets a new listing, it just gets tossed into the MLS and pushed through to other syndications too. But, just because there is a percentage offered to outside brokers doesn’t mean that the outside brokers will search out to see what new listings other brokers post. Don’t worry, here’s my solution that has proven to have results for me.

  • Put on your “fancy” suit. (You know the one. The one you bought for an interview, but then never wore again after getting the job.)
  • Print out an executive summary or flyer of the property (Take your time and do it right. Use some thick, glossy paper from the local office supply store.)
  • Drive to your competitor’s office. For me, I chose the top 4. However, I now drive to the top 6.
  • Physically hand the flyer to the top selling agent or broker at the company. First, they will be glad to see your “fancy” suit. Then, will check out the time and effort you put into your listing flyer.

I have been doing this in my local market for a short period of time and have two additional contracts attributed to the distribution. I drive the market once a week delivering the flyers. It takes about an hour total (sometimes longer if the agent has an interested party). The additional contracts pay a commission that outweighs the one hour per week that I spent. Furthermore, when the other brokers are sitting at their desk my flyer is right there. The side benefit is the ability to show off to the other brokers on how hard you work to sell your listings.

All in all, don’t get lost in the mix of the never-ending content continually being generated. And, get your face back out there. So many brokers are lost behind their computer screen “working”. Get back out there and kick it old school.

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“The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf'”

The Boy Who Cried Wolf (character design)

To start, here is the story of the “Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf. ‘“ If you know the story, just skip over it and get to the good stuff.

There was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day, so he thought upon a plan by which he could get a little company and some excitement. He rushed down towards the village calling out “Wolf, Wolf,” and the villagers came out to meet him, and some of them stopped with him for a considerable time. This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterwards he tried the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help. But shortly after this a Wolf actually did come out from the forest, and began to worry the sheep, and the boy of course cried out “Wolf, Wolf,” still louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and nobody stirred to come to his help. So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy’s flock, and when the boy complained, the wise man of the village said:

“A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.”

Everyday. No fail, everyday, I receive multiple, unsolicited emails about great deals on any and all properties all over the world. While in theory, many of the properties may be good deals… just not to me. There is such a thing a building a relationship with a client and understanding what they like and want to buy. If someone is interested in Restaurant properties, or may even buy restaurant properties, does not mean that they should be emailed every restaurant ever listed. The major risk behind email blasting blindly is the basis behind the “Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Once there is actually a really good deal on a Restaurant property that fits the specific needs of a client, it’s too late. They have already designated the email to go straight to trash/junk/bulk/spam/etc. The moral of the story, know the client or potential client; know their needs, wants, and buying motives; only send them stuff that they are actually interested in. Think rifle, not shotgun.