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.
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.
Each time I query a Lead Source Report, to determine where all of the leads are coming from, I am never surprised to see the top lead source. Property signs always produce the most results, and many times the best results. When analyzing lead data, property signs have contributed to over 60% of the monthly lead sources, year to year.
Property signs are advertising, and should be treated similarly to a billboard. What is it about each micro-billboard (property sign) that is going to gain attention, and inspire a call to action? First thing first, can people see your sign? Paco Underhill writes in his book, Why We Buy, how marketing departments need to be aware of how viewers are going to be viewing the a sign: from their car, at 60 mph. Can a viewer see your sign and read the information on the sign? Additionally, when someone would like more information about the property, does the sign offer the viewer enough information?
The next most important part about the sign is what happens at the call to action. Is there a link or QR code to send the prospect to a property specific webpage for more information? Or, even better, what happens when they call the office? The hottest lead is the lead that is standing on the property and calling you for more information.
Overall, property signs should not be overlooked on any listing. Allowable: there are some listings where signage is not permitted. However, most of the time signs are allowed, and should be installed on the property the day the property is listed.
If you ask the Marketing Department, every lead is a result of their efforts. Conversely, if you ask the Agents at the office, every lead just so happened to find their way to the Agent’s iPhone. So, to answer this question I will give two quick examples of lead generation situations.
- A prospective buyer sees the newest issue of <your city here> Magazine. The prospect sees the advertisement for your Real Estate Firm and calls to buy a property.
- A previous client calls an agent at your firm on their iPhone and buys a property.
In Example 1. The Marketing Department wins!
In Example 2. The Agent wins!
But wait… In Example 2, does the Agent win? In the book Never Lose Again: Become a Top Negotiator by Asking the Right Questions the first question is “How did you hear about us?” This question is of most importance to the Marketing Department. This question can answer what marketing dollars are being well spent. Additionally, a revision of this question can be asked of previous clients, “What made you call me?” Considering the client already knows about your real estate firm, what made them (a.) remember you out of all the other agents in the world, (b.) what was the call to action that prompted the client to call you?
Ha! In Example 2. Marketing wins again.
Marketing Departments not only create content to procure new buyers, but they also create “drip marketing” to stay in the forefront of the client’s mind. The moral of the story is, Marketing behind the enemy lines, creating an arsenal of marketing weapons to utilize on the company’s behalf to keep clients engaged and active. Next time a client or a prospect calls you, ask the right questions and determine where your marketing efforts are having the greatest return.
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:
- Put up a sign,
- Put it online, and
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.
I’m sure there’s one in every family… An Uncle of the sort that can do just a bit of everything: hang drywall, delete a computer virus, change out an electrical panel, or even jump a dirt-bike over his trailer. But, I’m sure he probably isn’t a contractor, a computer technician, an electrical engineer, or a stunt double for Tom Cruz. He might actually be a door-greeter at the Wal-Mart. Why is it that he never succeeded to top of an industry? Specialization.
When my friend Zachary got his real estate license he quickly hung it with a national firm. On his first day he was filling out his profile page on the company’s website, where he proceeded to checkbox every option available to add to his online profile: First-Time Home Buyers, Luxury, Short Sales, Foreclosures, Mobile Homes, Land, Rentals, New Construction…The list goes on and on. His thought was that if he checked everything he would be found for something, and then make a sale. What he didn’t do was find one field of real estate that he had a passion for and stick with it. I, personally, have always loved luxury real estate. When I got my real estate license that was all I focused on, and it took me a while to get where I was going. However, I had a vision of what I wanted to accomplish and stuck to reaching my goal.
Don’t get me wrong; I can do a bunch of “other stuff”. But when it comes to what I “do”, I only “do” one thing. The benefit is that clients notice when specializations are spread thin, and they will run for the hills. So in the words of Snoop Dogg, “Do wha cha do, cuz dat’s wha cha do.”
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 stumbleupon.com 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.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Adam_J_Stahura
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.