Even though the amount of housing inventory has reportedly shrunk, the market for selling homes is still incredibly competitive. It is only expected to become more competitive in the near future. So what are some real estate marketing ideas for real estate agents, investors and regular homeowners that want to sell their houses and do it faster? The following is a comprehensive list of proven real estate marketing ideas:
What are the best real estate lead generation options today?
Where and how can real estate agents, investors and other related industry professionals generate more leads for buying, selling and renting properties? What are some of the little known benefits, and pitfalls of common real estate lead generation channels today?
Here are 12 ways for real estate investors and Realtors to bring in more leads:
Some popular real estate gurus have said that direct mail is the fastest and easiest way to generate new leads. It can still be very effective. In fact, as others have turned to online marketing, direct mail may have become even more effective and profitable. However, direct mail success does rely on volume and testing to hone messaging and delivery.
Cold calling on a large scale, such as using call centers, might face many challenges with regulations today, but it has still been proven to generate an effective hourly income of hundreds of dollars for Realtors. Simply picking up the phone can be one of the fastest ways to generate real estate business. It is also one of the lowest cost ways to generate leads, and can help professionals stay on top of their sales game.
Many fantastic real estate deals and listings can be uncovered by simply driving neighborhoods and knocking on doors. There are obvious obstacles in doing this, but when it comes to getting the jump on competitors, it can be hard to beat.
Google may have made reaching consumers via their inboxes more challenging, but email can still be one of the best ways to reach both the masses, and highly targeted contacts. Email lists may be rented from data companies versus buying them. Subsequently, real estate investors and agents can take control of their own email real estate and build their own lists.
Buying Internet Leads
Buying internet leads has been popular for a variety of real estate and mortgage companies since before the last housing boom. These individuals experienced somewhat of a bubble, but have now been improved with enhanced data and targeting tools. There are various types of these leads ranging from ‘aged’ leads, to live exclusive leads, and non-exclusive leads. Make sure you do your homework and understand exactly what you are getting, as well as the difference in these types of consumers, in order to maximize ROI.
Buying Lead Lists
Lead lists have been a staple of the real estate industry for many years. An almost endless array of filters can be used to laser target the best prospects with these lists. However, newer individuals and real estate companies need to recognize that they may not legally be allowed to have, or market to some of these lists depending on how the data was generated. Watch for junk, and be sure lists aren’t being fluffed out with bogus names.
Real Estate Blogging
Real estate blogging remains one of the most powerful and profitable forms of lead generation, but also one of the most underestimated. A regular blog can ensure real estate pros and companies are not held ransom by other platforms, and can go on helping to generate leads for years after posts are written. A blog can be used to draw regular internet leads, feed email list building, and fuel social media efforts.
While this medium changes constantly, social media platforms can still be a fantastic way to generate leads in real estate. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and even Pinterest are all great options. There are many debates over calls to action, the amount of engagement which is right, and how much should be invested off-site, versus on a real estate company’s own websites, but with the right funnel strategy, it can be fast, affordable and enjoyable.
Signage & Outdoor Real Estate Advertising
Even the simplest yard and ‘bandit’ signs can be incredibly affordable ways to generate real estate leads. With the right message, these and other outdoor advertising solutions can be used to generate a steady stream of local leads. New technology can make this even better. Call capture, QR codes, interactive augmented reality signs, text messaging options, and even links to virtual tours can be used to boost outdoor advertising performance.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can be one of the best methods of predictably and consistently driving in real estate leads on demand. PPC solutions, like Google Adwords, offer the ability to drive in leads on command. This can be tweaked to be hyper local, or reach global buyers, investors and homeowners right where they are now. With a little strategy and education, real estate marketers can significantly drive down PPC costs. With a large enough budget, they can even dominate, and starve out the competition by buying every lead for a given keyword. Aside from the big platforms, more affordable online leads may be gleaned from purchasing image, text and banner ads on other websites directly.
Don’t forget print. Beyond the traditional line up of real estate mags, consider other industry magazines that will reach the same prime prospects, and even leveraging online magazines.
Referrals and Affiliate Marketing
Personal referrals can be both a compliment, and the most valuable form of lead generation. Savvy real estate CEOs are taking this to a whole new level by using technology to scale and organize referrals on a national and global scale.
What if the world of real estate advertising and marketing, as we’ve known it for decades, was irretrievably broken? What would it mean for real estate investors and agents? What would it take to get real estate leads and retain clients? What level or care and quality would it require to stay in business and keep growing?
In a recent interview with Inc. Magazine, Seth Godin alluded to the idea that marketing and advertising, as we used to know it, has been broken in large part to too much noise. Perhaps ironically of course, Seth Godin is revered by many as one of the greatest marketers of our time. Seth has recently posed a couple of important thoughts. The first, which can be found in the respective Inc. interview, referred to paying for marketing as a losing strategy. The second, via his blog, asked what if there were no more customers to be had? What if this was the last generation of potential clients – how would you treat them differently?
There may absolutely be challenges in real estate marketing, more competition for attention, and platforms like Facebook may constantly be upping the premium to reach your hard worked for fans, but thankfully traditional channels aren’t dead yet.
Traditional real estate marketing (phone, SMS, yard and bandit signs, direct mail, email, PPC and SEO, print and display advertising) is far from being outdated. All of these types of real estate marketing may have their own cycles, just like the property market as a whole. However, attention is undoubtedly becoming more valuable, as are loyal customers. Few could argue that working with referrals and repeat customers isn’t the highest ROI and most sustainable type of business. So in order to maximize ROI and avoid being held ransom by marketing agencies which control the costs of so many of these channels, what does it take to make your budget go further, get free business and keep them coming back?
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, real estate companies and independent pros have to realize it is about the customer, not themselves. You have to really, really understand this, and keep it in mind with ever move you make. So make your messaging more about helping consumers, home buyers and sellers and renters and investors, and a lot less about you. Stop bragging and show them what you can do for them. Think creatively. In order to get more out of a real estate marketing budget, it needs to be highly effective. It needs to have viral capability by itself. Consider any paid boost to get it in front of others a bonus.
We are also seeing a return to personal connection. The internet isn’t going away, and in many ways this can actually augment relationship building if engaged accordingly. To cultivate referrals, close new business, retain customers and benefit from repeat business, relationships are important. Seth Godin suggests focusing on building ‘tribes,’ communities and groups that really care about something. This could be helping each other succeed in real estate, or rebuilding their community or beautiful design. It can be done on Facebook, Google+ groups, Twitter, via email, and in person at events.
The bottom line is that paying for marketing is still a reality in the real estate world and can have great returns. It’s just better done with same level of care and quality as if it was the only single message you could afford to send. Sincere marketing is hard to fake, and even harder to stick with. However, those that care enough and care about the long term will find these things helpful.
Print advertising appears to be making a rebound in the U.S. housing market, but what practices and tactics can help companies get even better results? More importantly, how can real estate investors increase their ROI with effective print marketing? How can you maximize your marketing efforts?
The current resurgence of real estate magazines suggests print media is back. During the downturn they thinned out, many went broke and others merged together. Now, housing is booming along with the offers made for print ad space. Experienced marketing and real estate pros know that all media, just like the property market, is cyclical. However,, no one wants to gamble or take chances with their advertising budgets. So how can real estate investors, agents and companies improve their ROI and ensure better results from print?
1. Credible Contact Information
Without accurate contact information, minimal response and action can be expected from any advertising campaign. The more options that real estate marketers provide, the better the odds that response and conversion ratios will go up. However, having credible contact information is equally important. For example; would you respond to a magazine ad that only had a gmail or Yahoo email address?
2. Research the Competition First
Don’t launch your ads until you’ve researched what the competition is doing with their ads. There is no sense in burning your budget and opportunity with an inferior ad. For example; if one mortgage company is advertising 2% interest rates and no closing costs, those offering anything less are likely to be overlooked or discarded. Make your ads count. By knowing your competition you can give yourself an advantage.
3. Split a Page
Having control of a full page in a magazine is great, but that doesn’t mean innovative real estate marketers can’t slash their costs, boost ROI and build relationships with strategic partnerships by splitting the expenses. Perhaps a mortgage, title or insurance partner will be willing to chip in? As long as it benefits both parties, why not?
4. The Back Cover
The back cover of a magazine can be just as valuable to real estate agents, investors and companies than the front cover.
5. Negotiate Better Deals
While demand for magazine and print advertising may be headed up, everything is always negotiable in this industry. Can you get a better deal if you commit to several months or multiple pages? Can you negotiate additional perks or discounts for referrals and links, or simply print ready ads versus having the publisher put it together?
6. Augmented Reality Ads
Augmented reality is the next big space for marketing, especially print. In fact, it is AR that has probably saved and revived the print industry from the brink of extinction. New statistics show a significant percentage of top print publications and ads in those publications turning to augmented reality, with as many as 80% of readers downloading AR apps and engaging across digital boundaries. If more money doesn’t excite you, it looks really cool too.
7. Print +
There is no denying that most real estate pros today are more interested in growing their online business. For those that are going to do print, try negotiating with the publisher to have them send out emails on your behalf, post social updates with back links and look for active back links in digital copies of magazines. These perks could far exceed the print value. Just make sure you know what their online traffic numbers look like in addition to the number of magazines left around which may be a poor reflection of readership numbers.
What are the best real estate blog strategies for those investing? More importantly, do real estate professionals even need blogs or websites anymore? If they do, is the best blog theme still real estate, or something entirely different?
Blogging continues to be a hot topic. In fact, blog industry experts and some of those with the most popular blogging platforms on the planet have already predicted that this median is only just getting started. We haven’t even begun to realize its hidden potential. At the same time, there are many new real estate agents, investors and related business owners contemplating the best strategy for setting up a blog. However, more than a few are wondering why they aren’t seeing the magnificent results that they hoped for.
There is no question that many are suffering the consequences of their own mediocrity. As the U.S. real estate market heats up, there will be a lot more real estate agents getting licensed, more brokerages being launched, real estate teams being formed and investors setting up businesses. Subsequently, each of these new entities will require a means of standing out from the crowd that they were so eager to become a part of. With hundreds, if not thousands, of choices of online destinations for consumers to get their real estate education and tap into resources, there is a need to give them a reason to choose yours.
Some sensationalists have recently posed that real estate agents should be focusing more on apps and social, as to not get lost in the sea of choices made available to consumers. There may be some wisdom in this, but few will want to take the risk of going without a real estate website and especially a blog. Even before most consumers or other parties will even consider doing business with a Realtor or real estate investment firm, they are going to try and look up their website online.
Neglecting to even provide a website is a huge red flag. A simple website, whether it is one or five pages, is far better than nothing. Short and sweet, but attractive, might be better than expansive and ugly. In other words, it is important to provide consumers with some form of online presence.
A blog is far more valuable than a website. It is a living real estate lead generation machine, with a potential ROI from each blog post that could far exceed what most real estate players can fathom. Of course, this doesn’t mean that sticking to stale blogging practices is what is best for your business. You might need a core focused real estate blog that deviates from tradition. For those looking for an outside the box alternative, consider taking an alternate approach or launching a unique blog on a new angle.
Some ideas might include focusing more on providing neighborhood information. Inman News and other real estate platforms have been talking incessantly about neighborhood experts. So why not incorporate some real keyword rich, SEO juiced neighborhood blogs that cover everything someone could want to know about moving and living in the area?
Other ideas might include architecture, interior design and home improvement themes. Regardless of what you right about, make it original and relevant to your particular profession as possible. Looking at innovative blog strategies may be just what your company needs to gain traction and establish a loyal base of consumers.
Are you constantly wondering what to post on your real estate company’s social media profile? With the endless supply of social media platforms your company can take advantage of, it is important to be proactive. Social media is an ever increasing presence that must be embraced and has the potential to propel your business to the next level. However, it may be easier said than done. There is a particular approach that must be taken to facilitate its progression.
Here are 60 social media ideas to help your real estate marketing:
Successfully flipping houses in today’s market requires more than a knack for remodeling – you also need to know how to advertise your business. To get your listings the exposure they need, a strong social media presence is highly valuable, but since social media is a relatively new invention, some of you who are currently rehabbing properties might not understand what the craze is all about. Well, we’re here to help you build your social status online. It all starts with a little bit of knowledge and a few simple steps.
Building a strong social following takes time, so don’t be disheartened if your inboxes aren’t stuffed with friend requests by the end of the first week. You need to be proactive about finding friends. Check out the profiles of any local realtors or home supply retailers that you find. If you keep uploading pictures and updating your status, your social media presence is sure to grow. We guarantee it.
A sales letter is one of the most common forms of direct marketing. Writing an effective marketing sales letter isn’t easy, yet you know the results could mean increased sales, impassioned customers and higher visibility. Many companies hire direct-marketing professionals to create their mailings, but you can write your own by following these tips.
Headlines: Write for the Heart, Not the Head
Most recipients will scan your letter rather than read it word for word. Cater to this reading style by using bold headlines throughout the copy. These statements should have an emotional impact that addresses the prospects’ near-term goals, fears or questions. For more inspiration, borrow some of the time-tested tips revealed in “Steal These Headlines.”
Copywriting: Write to Combat ADHD
You have about 2.5 seconds to make your reader want to read your promotion. Capture their attention by addressing a problem, issue or trend they may be facing.
An effective sales letter often begins with a question or statement that addresses their needs directly. Once you have their attention, you can tell them how your company can solve their problems with your products or services.
Call to Action: Write to Get a Response
Once you have their attention, you need to prompt them to take action. A good direct-mail letter has multiple calls to action and ways to contact your company. Although you can wait until the end of your letter in a printed promotion, you should pepper an online promotion with calls to action early and often. Your goal is to qualify leads and generate interest.
One effective strategy is to implement the “law of reciprocity.” Give them something of value, such as discounts in the form of a price offer or knowledge in the form of a white paper, in return for their response. Learn to write white papers that sell.
You’ve invested in a business plan, scouted for a prime location and honed your target market. Don’t settle for an ineffective, lackluster name. Here are quick tips for selecting a memorable brand name for your business. You also can follow these tips to name a product or service and create an integrated marketing naming system.
A Is Better than Z
Web search engines use an alphabetically driven organizational structure, so be sure your name ranks at the top of the list by choosing a name that falls early in the alphabet. For more on create a search-friendly site, read “SEO Made Simple: Understanding Keywords.”
Tell ’Em What You Do
Using a name that fits your industry can strengthen your brand and deepen the understanding of what your company does, offers or sells. “Just Tires,” “Toys R Us” and “Microsoft” all are examples.
Pick a Name that Reverberates
Can you activate the name? Companies such as Google, Kleenex and Xerox hit brand bonanza as their names have slipped into our vernacular as verbs.
The New Speak Easy
If your name is easy to spell and say, your name will be easier for people to remember. Be clever with other areas of your integrated marketing.
Don’t Be Counted Out
Numbers can cause confusion and spelling problems when someone is trying to find your company, service or product. Is it one or 1; two or 2; three or 3?
One of These Is Not Like the Others
Sounding too similar to an existing company can cause confusion and make it more difficult to differentiate your company, product or service from the competition.
Forget the Fads
Be aware of trends in names (e.g. dot coms or the letter “e” before any name) that could be short-lived fads. Understand the future of your products, services and industry and how it might affect the name.
Never Underestimate the Power of the Branded Pen
We all know that the pen is mightier than the sword, but it also might be mightier than an advertisement when used as part of a promotional product strategy. That’s the assessment of the Advertisement Specialty Institute (ASI) after interviewing more than 450 consumers in major U.S. cities.
The research group found that advertising specialties — promotional products branded with company logos and messages — beat out all forms of TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available. And that mighty pen could be the best ink your company receives. ASI reports that writing instruments are the most-recalled advertising specialty items, followed by shirts, caps and bags.
Pack Your Bags: Promo Products Travel Far
When planning a promotional products strategy, consider ways to complement your integrated marketing efforts with advertising specialty items. Here are some creative uses for promotional items:
At your next trade show or community event, give out reusable shopping bags branded with your logo, contact information and tagline. Even if the recipient doesn’t use it, changes are that bag will be passed along to someone who will carry it. Some studies show that up to 66 percent of promotional product recipients give away branded items to colleagues or friends, meaning that bag will travel far and provide your company with even more brand exposure.
The Award Reward
Instead of simply sending your best customers thank-you letters for their ongoing relationships with your company, create branded awards they could display in their offices. ASI found that recipients hold on to awards for 7.4 months on average, rewarding you with daily advertising and top-of-mind awareness.
Promotional product recipients value style. When unveiling a new company logo or product, extend your branding efforts by producing apparel, such as t-shirts or caps. Recall — the term used to define when a recipient remembers the advertiser printed on a promotional item — is nearly 100 percent on wearable items. And you get extra points for style. Receivers of branded clothing and accessories are more likely to keep these items if they consider them attractive.
Sure, you’ve been told numerous times how your business needs to be on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest. Instagram, and the social network du jour. Maybe you even know how targeted social media would fit in with your integrated marketing efforts. It’s just that you’ve got your hands full as it is, running a business. Not everyone has time to figure out the Tao of Twitter.
So how do you know when it’s time to outsource the social media part of your marketing? Here are three indicators that are the first signs that it’s time to get professional help:
If any one or more of those statements is true, save yourself the grief and get someone else who is good at it, likes doing it, and will make sure your social marketing gets done.
Is It Wrong To Outsource Social?
No. There’s nothing wrong with companies outsourcing their social media. Most do it for the same reason you’d hire an ad agency or a lawyer: You hire a specialist because it’s not always easy to represent yourself. Specialists do it better because they’re trained for it and do it full time.
With that said, do you really want to trust your digital brand presence to your college-age nephew who’s into blogging? Here’s why you should consider a social media marketing specialist, or even a full-service digital agency.
The Pulse of the Customer
Agencies can sometimes know more about a brand than the company knows about itself because a social media agency is actually closer to the pulse of the customer and what they’re interested in. An agency can also provide a more objective analysis of the market.
“A social community manager is on the frontlines and knows what the customers want,” explained Jason Raich, digital strategist of SocialEnvi, a social media marketing agency based in Los Angeles. “The company is trying to guess what the customers want. An agency can relay consumer suggestions to the client and listen objectively.”
Set Social Media Goals
Before expanding your integrated marketing campaign into social media, decide why (specifically) you’re doing it. What does your company want to get out of social media? What are your business goals?
Examples of realistic social media marketing goals can include awareness in the form of more Likes, Followers, subscribers, etc. Raich mentioned that his client Chipotle has grown because the fans have been vocal about it and the company has responded.
Another goal may be to build your customer email list; drive traffic to the company website; improve SEO rankings through increased social media presence and content; or the objective may be to increase sales of a particular product. Regardless of your goals, you should know before going in what you want to get out of your social media marketing.
One of your earliest childhood memories probably involves playing games. From hopscotch to dodge ball to tag, you learned how to validate your performance by keeping score.
As an adult, you probably traded in that bouncing rubber ball for a rubberized case on your smart phone, but your love of competition hasn’t dwindled. And that’s what integrated marketers are betting on when they introduce game mechanics into campaigns to convince consumers to buy their products, endorse their brands and tout their achievements to their social networks.
Nothing but Blue Skies Reported for Gamification
The concept of “gamification” as an integrated marketing vehicle isn’t new. If you’re a business traveler, you probably belong to a frequent-flyer program. Airlines “gamified” flying in the 1980s by logging miles flown and awarding status levels to their customers. According to Jonah Berger, author of “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” frequent-flyer programs provide consumers with social currency. They get a reason to talk about their achievements, and brands gain credible buzz they can’t buy.
Flash forward to today and the ubiquitous prevalence of smart phones. We use our smart phones to run businesses, manage family schedules and find recommendations for the best “anything” in town. Brands are gamifying integrated marketing content by turning it into interactive games and apps. This trend of gamification is expected to increase by 90 percent by Mind Commerce reports.
Spur On Your Customers to Market Your Brand
One of the easiest ways to jump into the gamification trend is to launch a contest. If you’re looking for inspiration, visit the iconic brand Burberry and its “Art of the Trench” website. Burberry posted content from its archives — a montage of vintage photos as well as contemporary images — and invited its customers to submit photos of them wearing their own Burberry trench coats. Those selected bragged about their accomplishments. Burberry reported millions of website hits and a boost in sales of 50 percent during the campaign period.
“Instead of marketing itself directly, a company like Burberry uses the contest to get people who want to win to do the marketing themselves,” Berger explained.
Even Fun and Games Must Be Measured
Think back to those fierce games of Red Rover you played as a kid and counting your victories on the playground. Remember that feeling and inject it into any gamification initiative you launch. The most successful programs are based on simple game mechanics, and let customers publicize their victories and feel like brand insiders.
Here are three rules for the gamification of your integrated marketing:
Transaction Coordinator Company
The next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, try this experiment. Scan the cover of every magazine displayed. You’ll notice a style of headline writing that not only grabs your attention but also seduces you into wanting to know more.
You might scoff at the idea that such sensationalized writing lures you, but editors follow a formula because it’s effective. If you read, “Three Surprising Benefits of Calling In Sick” or “Don’t Get Caught: How to Dodge an IRS Audit,” you might quickly add that magazine to your shopping cart.
These same principles apply to email marketing. Before writing your next email newsletter or promotion, consider trying one of these two time-tested headline-writing techniques.
1. Make It Count
Readers want to anticipate what they’ll learn by reading your email. Pique their curiosity by following a simple formula: number + adjective + noun + subject pertinent to your business. For a technology-consulting firm, the formula might generate this headline: “Four Ingenious Uses for Your Tablet Computer.” An accountant might tease, “25 Under-the-Radar Tax Deductions for Small Businesses.”
2. Read like a Tabloid
Although you owe it to your audience to be credible, that doesn’t mean your email headlines can’t sensationalize information a bit. When trying this strategy, involve every sense of the reader to create an experience without promising something you can’t deliver. This might prompt a personal stylist to proclaim, “From Bed to Door in 30 Minutes: How to Dress for Time-Crunched Mornings.” Or an employment law attorney to suggest, “Never Get Sued Again: Practical Stress-Relieving Tips for Employers.
Logo Auctions vs. Local Graphic Designers
Design can be very personal. Especially when it comes to creating a logo to represent your product or business. Some logos may appear arbitrary at first glance, but a good designer can explain the rationale for their choices, including why a certain color works over another.
When choosing a graphic designer for any part of your integrated marketing campaign, there are other factors to weigh besides the obvious cost considerations. For instance, what type of clients have they worked with? Can you see portfolio samples of their work? Do they have references? Are they responsive, and available to meet in person or only online?
One avenue for those looking to see more design options for less money has been online logo “auction” sites. The basic premise of a logo auction is like a contest. Here’s how it works:
A design “auction” site connects you with designers from all across the world. You provide direction by giving basic background information about your company and type of business, your tag line (if any), and what attributes and qualities your logo should communicate.
Determine what you can afford to pay and offer a cash “prize” (somewhere between $150 – $1,000). The higher the prize, the better the quality and variety of logos you will receive. Then set a deadline (standard contest length is seven days) and choose your winner. Feedback and revisions may be necessary before making a final selection.
The downside of the logo auction route is that you should know going in what potential uses you may have for your logo. If you don’t know how to give good direction, you could be in trouble down the road.
If you’re not very experienced at working with designers or giving direction, you may want to choose a local creative team that you can communicate with more easily. Key questions include:
All these potential uses have different design requirements. If you or your designer don’t know the right questions to ask, it can be difficult to provide the proper direction.
You may need to go back to your designer at a future date for logo modifications or variations, depending on the usage. There’s a certain comfort in knowing you can meet your designer in person to resolve any issues. However, if you hired someone on the other side of the world through an auction site, be aware that it may be tough to get a hold of them again.