As a real estate agent, marketing is a major part of your job. And it’s not only marketing houses and properties, but marketing yourself.
There’s a good chance that the idea of marketing yourself makes your stomach turn. We’ve all been approached by too many sleazy salesmen and seen too many faces plastered on billboards. You don’t want to be that guy constantly promoting his business and annoying everyone in arm’s reach.
The good news is, marketing your real estate business doesn’t have to involve irritating tactics, big advertising budgets and constant self-promotion. There’s a better way.
The five marketing tactics below are easy to execute and cost very little. The best part is, they won’t aggravate people — they’ll help people. Let’s dive in.
5 Tactics for Marketing Your Real Estate Business
1. Start a customer database.
An organized database of your existing and potential customers is vital to your success as a real estate agent. For any marketing or sales efforts to be successful, they must have a targeted audience. It’s nearly impossible to define your audience without an up-to-date database of your clients and prospects.
Keep it Simple
Your database can start very rudimentary — a simple spreadsheet will do. You may wish to upgrade to a more complex solution over time. A few free options are available, such as ZohoCRM, and many paid options are available, such as SugarCRM and Salesforce.
Look Like a Genius
Your database should record basic contact information, but also special dates that warrant a personalized communication from you, such as birthdays or the anniversary of their home purchase. You should even record notes about each client, such as home-buying preferences and family information. When you reference these notes in communications with them in the future, your clients with be amazed by your attentiveness and thoughtfulness.
See New Opportunities
As you enter information into your customer database, you will begin to see opportunities for highly targeted marketing and sales initiatives that you might not have otherwise been aware of. For example, you might see that you have several clients who purchased foreclosures. This information can guide you in seeking new niche markets.
2. Create a client referral program.
Your satisfied customers can be your best sales team. Reward them for sending business your way with a formal client referral program. Let your clients know that every time they refer a friend or family member to you, you will reward them in some way, such as with a gift card to their favorite restaurant. (If your customer database is set up, you’ll be able to look back and see what they like!)
3. Send handwritten thank you cards.
In the age of email and social media, getting a handwritten note is so rare that it never goes unnoticed.
Make a habit of sending a simple thank you card to your clients (and vendors and colleagues) after every transaction. They are guaranteed to read it, and may even keep it on their desk or refrigerator for a while. It will leave them with a positive impression of you and your business, increasing their propensity to work with you again in the future.
4. Start your own real estate blog.
While a blog requires a significant commitment of time and resources, the returns can be well worth the investment for a few primary reasons:
Blogs help you get found by potential customers.
- Search engines, like Google, love blogs because they provide fresh, keyword-rich content for your site.
- Search engines also like authoritative, credible sites. The way search engines can tell a site is credible is by seeing that other sites are linking to it. Other websites will often link to your business blog if you are known for providing useful, interesting content.
Blogs demonstrate your expertise in your field.
- You want to be seen as a thought-leader and expert in real estate. Your blog gives you an opportunity to solve problems for customers and build trust within the community. Potential customers can clearly see your skill and knowledge, giving them the confidence to do business with you.
Blogs encourage customer engagement.
- Blogs can be much more personal and prompt significantly more engagement from readers than a corporate or template website. They’re a chance to show a bit of your personality, and let prospects know what it’s like to work with you.
- Blogs are a platform to invite readers to further engage with your brand. You can offer additional content like webinars, white papers and consultations to get prospects to “raise their hand,” giving you an opportunity to reach out them them.
What should you write on your blog? Content ideas are everywhere if you just start looking for them. A good starting place is to think about the questions your clients ask you most often, and turn your answers into blog posts. You can also offer information about your city to assist people moving to the area. The possibilities are endless.
5. Utilize email marketing.
Because real estate transactions can be separated by years at a time, you have to regularly nurture your relationships to keep them strong. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools to accomplish this.
An email newsletter that provides useful content for readers — such as home buying or selling tips, home maintenance advice and decorating ideas — can be an excellent brand-building and revenue-generating tool. Most importantly, it keeps your name top-of-mind.
Your blog is a great place to capture email addresses of potential clients. Email service providers supply code that can easily be plugged into your website to allow readers to sign up for your electronic mailing list.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
- Focus on providing valuable content for readers, NOT talking about your business.
- Keep it brief. Many successful newsletters break their content into chunks, with headlines and a photo for each section. This makes it easily scannable for readers.
- Use a professionally designed template. Designing newsletters can be tricky. Make sure yours looks polished by having a professional designer create a customized template, or use an existing template from an email service provider.
- Send on a consistent basis.
Marketing your real estate business doesn’t have to be about buying expensive ads and pushing your business on everyone you meet.
The tactics we’ve discussed here are a strong foundation for building your brand as the go-to real estate agent.