Research shows that one in eight real estate agents will spend more than $20,000 on marketing initiatives this year.
From websites to social media advertising, the avenues for outreach are wide and varied. As such, industry experts recommend that professionals in this space reserve 10% of their commission to cover such expenses.
However, before you begin crunching numbers, it’s important to come up with a strategy. This is where a real estate marketing plan can make a world of difference.
From content creation to lead generation, there are myriad considerations that go into an effective and actionable real estate campaign.
Today, we’re discussing how to create one that sticks, generating the return your agency deserves.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.
Step 1: Define Your Real Estate Marketing Plan
Before you can convince homebuyers and sellers that you’re the best agent in town, you’ll need to define the basic pillars of your real estate marketing plan.
While this step can take some time, resist the urge to glaze over it. Many agents skip the behind-the-scenes legwork and head straight to the income-focused part of their strategy, expecting immediate results with minimal effort. Taking this shortcut can lead to a horrible mistake with your real estate marketing.
A slapdash approach could lower data integrity, compromise your reputation and focuses your efforts in the wrong areas. Let’s review where to begin, so you can prevent such costly and avoidable errors.
You might hand out business cards around every corner, and spend hours on your website design. Yet, do these elements flow together seamlessly? What about your print materials, social media profiles, and other promotional items?
A cohesive branding strategy helps all of these disparate items make sense.
Begin by evaluating the competition. Look at what other real estate agents are doing in your local market, along with their performance. What elements seem to be working, and which are missing the mark?
From there, you can define your brand’s position by asking the following questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- Is there a specific demographic you want to reach?
- Is there a certain region you want to work in?
- What are your agency’s values?
- How do you want prospects to view your business?
Once you’ve discovered a little more about the identity you want, it’s time to create it. In addition to creating a logo and a slogan, take a closer look at your online presence to make sure all customer touchpoints provide the same look and feel.
Pinpoint Your Competitive Advantage
Chances are, there are hundreds if not thousands of real estate agents serving your same territory. A home is one of the largest investments that your clients will ever make. Why should they trust you to take the reins?
The answer lies in discovering the unique angle that you can take as an agent, filling a gap that’s thus far remained open. Going head-to-head against the competition to win profitable deals hinges on finding your “it” factor or, in industry-speak, your competitive advantage.
There are several ways you can set yourself apart. For instance, you can be the best in your region at:
- Finding listings more quickly
- Closing deals more quickly
- Connecting clients with industry contractors
- Communicating efficiently
- Sharing industry knowledge, such as real estate social media marketing tips.
- Handling complex negotiations
Highlighting and advertising your strengths can help you gain audience attention, even if you’re an industry newcomer.
Set a Budget
Your biggest and brightest marketing ideas can fall flat if there isn’t enough money in your account to support them. To this end, set a budget early on in the process.
Not only will budgeting help you keep track of expenses, but it will also help you track the performance of each individual marketing channel. This way, you can see which ones are outperforming the others and where you should focus your efforts.
Create a Buyer Persona
In short, a buyer persona represents your ideal customer. You can’t serve every single person in your region. Who do you want to focus your efforts on the most?
For instance, some agents focus mainly on helping young families find their forever homes. Others are more interested in helping retirees live out their golden years in paradise.
As you create your ideal buyer persona, a few of the attributes you can assign include:
- Education level
- Marital status
With these details in hand, you can segment your audience based on these categories and others. This allows you to tailor your marketing approach and customize your content delivery to be as personalized as possible, ensuring that the right person hears the right message, every time.
Create Your Pitch
You only have a few seconds to convince an on-the-fence homebuyer to hire you. What will you say?
You might choose to start the conversation with a question, such as, “Are you new to this area?” Or, you could find it easier to skip the formalities and head straight to the topic at hand.
Either way, there are a few elements that can turn a ho-hum pitch into a memorable one. These include:
- Making the conversation about the listener
- Mentioning your specialties and industry certifications
- Sharing a brief anecdote
- Highlighting your unique differentiators
Above all, remember to be brief and use plain language. This isn’t the time or place for complex and alienating legalese.
Choose Your Media Channels (Online and Offline)
Ideally, you’d love for your logo and tagline to pop up on every media channel. Yet, even the most robust budgets must have direction and priority.
This is why you made buyer personas. Think about which channels these buyers and sellers tend to frequent the most, and let that intel guide your strategy.
In your research, you’ll find that you can choose both online and offline media channels. Online channels include web-based elements, such as:
- Social media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing
On the other hand, offline channels include any kind of print media, including:
- Television advertisements
- Radio advertisements
The exact channel mix you deploy is up to you. Ultimately, it will need to be an appropriate match with the personas you’re trying to reach.
For instance, a real estate agent specializing in young families will likely be active on social media. Conversely, one focused on the 65 and older crowd might rely more on traditional channels, including television commercials or magazine advertisements.
Step 2: Build Your Sales Machines
With the definition stage behind you, it’s time to build the engine that will put your plan to work. There are a few key components that go into an effective real estate sales machine. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
As you build your sales machine, the first digital asset to consider is your website.
Your web design can make or break your business, encouraging users to explore your products and solutions more or click away to a competitor. If yours doesn’t captivate them in the first few seconds, you’ve missed a valuable opportunity to convert.
At the very least, yours should be responsive and mobile-friendly, enabling your audience to view it on any device. Beyond that, other principles that make a great web design include:
- A clear and obvious purpose
- Simple, uncluttered design (color, typography, imagery)
- User-friendly navigation
- Visual hierarchy
- Compelling, relevant content
- Quick load times
- Grid-based layouts
By prioritizing these objectives, you can help your website stand out and get the attention it deserves.
Marketing automation software and your lead generation strategy go hand-in-hand. These tools allow agents to send real-time updates and personalized promotions to clients via the platforms they prefer.
Though the term might sound futuristic, this isn’t about letting machines do the work of marketing for you. Rather, this software helps eliminate or reduce repetitive manual tasks so you can optimize your core work.
For instance, rather than hand-tweaking your email marketing letter for each of your identified audience segments, this resource makes the necessary adjustments. You can also use it to schedule social media posts, facilitate online document sharing, manage your sales pipeline, and more.
Marketing automation also helps all of your campaign elements flow seamlessly, so clients have the same experience across phone, print, and digital platforms.
Are you spinning your wheels and wasting your time on leads that are showing little to no interest in converting? If so, predictive lead scoring can help you adjust your priorities.
With this resource, you can qualify every lead you encounter, categorizing prospective clients based on their intent. Traditionally, this was a manual method that relied on a points-based system to rank interest levels.
Now, agents can use automated lead scoring tools, including online models and algorithms, to determine which leads are the most qualified.
Lead Lifecycle Stage
Similar to lead scoring, it’s also important to identify each lead’s lifecycle stage. When you categorize your contacts this way, you can visualize where a certain prospect is within your process.
The four main stages in the real estate customer lifecycle are:
- Phase 1: Lead generation
- Phase 2: Lead nurturing
- Phase 3: Closing the deal
- Phase 4: Maintaining client loyalty
There are software tools that help you set up this organization in seconds based on the information you enter about each lead.
There might be more tech-savvy digital marketing tools on the horizon, but email marketing is far from dead. This is especially true in the real estate sector.
When you pair your email marketing software with your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, you can create tailored messages and deliver them right to the inbox of each target buyer.
Most real estate email marketing campaigns center on a series of drip emails that become more actionable as a client moves down the sales funnel.
For instance, your initial email will be more of a general introduction. As users interact with your site and express interest, you can fine-tune the personalization, sending follow-up emails with details on listings they viewed, including upcoming open houses and similar properties that match their search criteria.
One of the most effective and affordable tools in your sales machine is content. This is a powerful way to establish yourself as an industry thought leader and spark a conversation with your followers, both online and offline.
Create a content delivery schedule and aim to stick to it. This might mean committing to writing three blog posts a week or sharing your thoughts on social media every day. You could also set a more long-term goal, such as creating an e-book in the next six months.
Some content is quick to create and the visibility it generates is enough to prompt you to share it for free.
Other times, you’ll invest a significant amount of time and resources into a piece of content, and you deserve a return for your efforts. In this case, you need a content offer strategy.
Put simply, a successful content offer uses dynamic and compelling language to draw interest, prompting users to share their contact information before they can access the content in full.
The wording you use and approach you take can help determine how many people click on and ultimately read the insights that you shared. A few examples of content offers include:
- E-Book: The Laymen’s Guide to Real Estate Law
- Tool: Home Checklist Template
- Kit: First-Time Homebuyer’s Kit
- Webinar: How to Find a Reputable Real Estate Agent
- Video File: Your Burning Real Estate Questions Answered
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What good is an incredible website if it’s hidden on Page 2 of Google? Studies show that the first page of the search engine enjoys between 70% and 90% of all internet traffic.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to the process of optimizing all of your online content so that it’s as easy as possible for Google bots and other machines to “crawl” and analyze.
Let’s take a look at the key points of a strong SEO marketing strategy that real estate site owners should consider.
This step makes sure a search engine can read your site and rank it accordingly. Many of the elements deal with web design and development, including:
- Mobile accessibility
- Page indexing
- Page load times
- Content hierarchy
This step optimizes all of your content and code to be as SEO-friendly as possible. Key elements here include:
- Keyword research
- Page titles
- Meta descriptions
- Alt tags
- Descriptive URLs
This step establishes your authority through link building. This isn’t a case of “any publicity is good publicity.” You want to make sure that the links connected to your data are credible, high-authority and relevant to your content.
A Website Design That Converts
Google and other search engines reward websites that are user-friendly and easy to navigate. Begin by making sure your site is optimized for mobile use.
From minifying your code to optimizing your images, there are a few quick steps that can make a world of difference, enabling users to view your content from any device.
Other website design principles that can boost your conversion rate include:
- Crafting compelling headlines
- Increasing your number of landing pages
- Improving image quality
- Using color strategically
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Gone are the days when you could enter your client list into a simple spreadsheet and keep up with all communications in that way. One little secret to real estate marketing? It doesn’t have to be this away.
Now, sophisticated CRM systems make it easy to capture and share real-time lead and client updates as they arrive. You can save all data on a centralized platform accessible by all authorized employees, so no one misses a beat or the chance to connect.
Retargeting means reserving certain advertisements for users who previously interacted with your content, such as those who clicked on your blog.
When you focus your efforts on this audience, you can create custom offers based on the content they interacted with on your site. This can help drive more business in the long run, but what kind of approach will you use?
Decide how you plan to monitor web use and which advertisements you’ll ultimately retarget.
The process that real estate clients take as they turn from curious shoppers to happy homeowners can be a long and winding one. A sales funnel describes the interactions that occur between Point A and Point B.
A traditional sales funnel leads customers along the path-to-purchase, resulting in an inventory purchase. Yet, a real estate sales funnel is a little different. You’ll need to tweak it to fit this industry, with steps that follower homeowners along the journey to close.
Step 3: Content Creation
With your website up and running and your social media posting schedule near completion, it’s time to figure out what kind of content you’ll create.
Once you have the information in mind, you can take your pick from many different kinds of platforms. Let’s review each one.
A blog enables you to connect with your audience through thought leadership.
You can share your insights and press “post” in only a few seconds, sending out your latest musings to all of your blog subscribers.
In addition to blogging, videos give a creative and visual touch to the densest data.
Instead of creating a downloadable guide to the intricate steps in the homebuying process, you can create a video that simplifies the topic instead.
You can also incorporate videos into your online property listings, showcasing them from all angles.
Investing in this step is critical, as 73% of homebuyers said they’re most likely to list with an agent that incorporates video.
3-D Modeling Pictures for Off-Plan Projects
Are your clients looking at an off-plan property? If so, it can be difficult to visualize what the finished project will look like, especially when it’s still in the pre-construction phase.
This is where 3-D modeling pictures can help set your services apart from the rest. These images help illustrate the layout, functionality, and dimensions of space via advanced computer software.
A recent study revealed that 40% of home buyers find it challenging to visualize themselves in a space. If you can offer them the ability to see every detail of the design before it becomes reality, you’re one step ahead of the competition.
Finally, keep in mind that real estate is a highly visual industry. You might save a few bucks, but you won’t get very far with a cheap camera.
Wondering how to get more leads in real estate? Invest in the tools necessary to provide top-notch photography.
From your website images to special property listings, you’ll want clear, high-quality pictures on par with your level of professionalism. Research reveals that misleading or grainy pictures are one of the top 10 issues that turn prospective homeowners away.
Step 4: Real Estate Media Channels for Lead Generation
With your sales tools and content strategy optimized, you can begin looking for various ways to drive traffic to your agency and increase your viable leads.
Let’s take a look at a few methods you can try.
While digital marketing is hotter than ever before, there’s still a place for traditional print-based outreach.
One example is your offline banner. When you put one in the front door or on the window of a home for sale to advertise its availability, you earn instant publicity.
Take your time designing yours so it can stand out for all the right reasons. Choose colors that pop and make sure your name, contact information and agency name are all bold and easy to read.
Not all traffic is the virtual kind.
Want to engage your target buyers as they cruise down the road? A physical billboard can catch their eye and pique their interest. Now, you can even invest in digital billboards that display your message in a more high-tech way.
This kind of outreach is particularly effective for Millennials. Though they’re becoming increasingly wary of online advertisements, 56% of this demographic trusts billboard messaging and 33% of viewers go home and look up more information about the company online.
Facebook ads for real estate can help you market your services on a slim budget. When you set an advertisement up on this platform, you can display it on Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook’s partner websites.
Yet, this can also lead you down a wandering road of missed targets if you aren’t careful. In your marketing plan, include steps to do the following:
- Target your core audience
- Keep the focus local
- Customize your language and imagery per segment
- Keep the text brief and easy to read
- Include a Call-to-Action
Remember: When a user clicks on the link included in your Facebook ad, they’ll go to a landing page. Optimize and tweak this page to be as effective as possible. Often, you’ll ask for user contact information in exchange for a helpful piece of advice, such as:
- A home value estimation
- A real estate guide
- A list of properties that match their preferences
Also known as Pay-Per-Click ads, these work as their name implies. As the advertiser, you’ll pay a small fee every time your ad gets clicked, but you can use these to ramp up interest in your brand.
In your plan, define how you’ll approach this setup. Use elements including geotargeting, negative keywords, and ad extensions to make sure your message is going to the right, receptive audience.
If you’re new to this marketing tactic, a guide to real estate PPC can be a helpful place to start.
Listing sites are online websites where businesses can share their profile information with a large number of visitors. From your contact information to images of homes you just sold, you can include all kinds of relevant data here.
There are pages of different listing sites available. Find the ones that fit your real estate niche and focus your efforts there. In addition to smaller sites, be sure to have an active presence on some of the heavy-hitters as well, such as Yelp.
As you’re considering all the different kinds of real estate advertising ideas, make sure you’re adopting each one as strategically and smartly as possible.
To be specific, keep your SEO goals top of mind. Does your PPC landing page include your targeted keywords? What about your social media posts or your blogs? Did you add alt tags to those images on your listing site profile?
In your effort to put as many eyes on your content as possible, don’t forget the basics. Over-cluttering your web presence can undermine your efforts, so keep your focus simple and direct.
Google My Business
One of the most popular listing sites around, Google My Business is the go-to place to include your key business data. Keeping this information up-to-date is great for your local SEO and helps people find you on the web.
As a real estate agent, some of the key points to mention in your profile include:
- Your working hours
- Your office address and contact information
- A link to your website and social media channels
- Client reviews
Step 5: Create Your Sales Book
You have your marketing approach planned out and prepared. But, what do you do if your efforts aren’t yielding the results you expected? It could be that you’re not correctly matching your leads with the right advertising approach.
Your sales book is a critical resource that can help define how you communicate with and manage leads. If you notice that your recorded sales numbers are dwindling, take a closer look at the strategies you’re using. In some cases, a sales call can help clarify the situation.
In your plan, be sure to include language around post-call follow-ups. After each sales call, you’ll need to adjust your recorded lead status.
If the lead is still not ready to move into the next lifecycle phase, it’s time to revert back and reassign it to the marketing phase. From here, you can retarget the lead with the right content.
Include this language in your marketing plan so you know the next steps to take after you’ve implemented Steps 1 through 4.
Discover the Power of Real Estate Marketing
You pour your heart and soul into your real estate business, and you should reap the benefits of that hard work. Yet, a waiting list of clients and a stellar reputation don’t happen overnight.
This kind of value begins with a real estate marketing plan. When you know who you’re targeting, what you’re saying, and how you’re delivering that message, you’re poised for unparalleled success.
Want professional support as you navigate this terrain? That’s where we come in.
We’re a digital marketing agency for real estate professionals and we’re ready to help you soar.