Today - September 24, 2017
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Category: Marketing For Real Estate Agents

Real Estate Marketing - Open House

7 Things Not To Do For Your Next Open House

As a marketing professional, I keep a close eye on different real estate marketing efforts around my own neighborhood. When I encountered one yard sign in particular, I realized quickly that it was unreadable from the road. It sparked an interest for me to check out this agent’s tactics because every time I drove by this house in and out of my community, it caused me to think.

Over this last weekend, my husband and I visited their  local open house as we were exiting our community. Finally, I was able to read the details of the sign, once I parked at a safe spot and walked onto the yard a bit.  As we walked towards the house, my eye started jumping around so I could take mental notes of what I thought worked well and what I thought could be done differently… for you, my tribe.

I hope you understand that I only point out these areas for improvement so people can see what works and what doesn’t work in marketing when it comes to branding, listing  marketing and doing open houses. This is the exact feedback I would give my clients – constructive criticism because I care and I want them to succeed.

Recommendation #1: Make sure your yard sign is large with large readable letters and is not too cluttered for people driving by at 30 MPH. Also, don’t ever put white lettering on a bright light background color (like yellow). One must use contrasting colors if they are to be read. Also, make sure that you focus on selling the home and not just your company. Have the sign brand you more than your company. Who knows if you’ll be staying at that company and do you want your marketing efforts to brand them or you?

what-not-to-do-signAlso, this agent assumed that they were doing business in their primary area code and made the area code small and unreadable. They were not in their primary area code. Someone might have presumed that it was the local area code and dialed the wrong number. It’s okay to use smaller fonts for local area codes, but if you’re out of the area, you could be missing out on potential leads.

Observation #2: Immediately, as we approached the house, there was this large vehicle that was haphazardly parked in the driveway blocking us from parking. It looked like someone was in a rush to get there and parked sideways. Since there was no one there upon entering besides her friend, it was confusing as to why the entrance was blocked. I surmised that she wanted it to appear as if there were people there and also perhaps she didn’t want people to leave oil stains in driveway? Another thought was maybe she wanted to avoid others blocking visitors that might want to park in the driveway and get blocked in. #shouldershrug

Real Estate Marketing -- Open HousesRecommendation #2: First impressions last. Don’t take up the whole driveway parking sideways because it could turn people away for a number of reasons. It felt unwelcoming and a bit inconsiderate. There wasn’t any street parking and it made attending the open house a bit less convenient than it could have been if we could have parked in the driveway. For some, that’s all it takes to not attend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observation #3: The agent appeared to be under dressed. Maybe I’m old school, but if you are a professional, show up as a professional. You could be dressed nice and still be casual.

Real Estate Marketing - Casual Business AttireRecommendation #3: Dress accordingly. Don’t represent your seller, your listing and yourself (your brand) looking like you would look if you met a friend at Starbucks for coffee on your off day. Business casual all the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Observation #4: We walked in and were not greeted. Once we found the agent, they were in the kitchen on the computer with a friend (unknown to us at the time) showing them stuff on a computer. She yelled that she was in the kitchen and she didn’t shake our hands, introduce herself or the house. I had to ask what the stats were for the house. The agent didn’t hand us a flyer nor ask us to sign in. All of these were lost opportunities to make a connection. 

Real Estate Marketing - Open Houses Dos and Don'tsRecommendation #4: Sounds so basic, but greet your guests immediately, warmly and with a handshake. Provide them with an overview of the pertinent facts of the home and hand out a flyer. Offer the option to take them on a tour of the home to create a connection if you are interested in attracting new buyer clients. Even if someone is a looky loo or a nosey neighbor, you should treat everyone the same. You never know if they will know someone and recommend you or if they might have a life stage event in the near future that catapults them into selling their home. No matter what, you want to make an excellent and lasting impression!

Observation #5: The flyer (that we had to ask the agent for) had four (4) pictures of the house and the only details about the home were the address, price and the MLS#. The logo took up the space of two home pics and you can barely read the her contact info because she was overly enthused about putting the logo icon that was used as a backdrop to the contact info. There was no website and no email address. The ONLY way to reach this agent for more info was a phone number. The agent had three (3) items about the company on the flyer and it felt like the company was more prominent than the agent and possibly even, the home. Anyone on a home tour would immediately have to do more research on the home to get more info (What was the square footage of the home? What was the bed / bath count? Description?). By creating the flyer in this way, the agent made it harder for the buyer and if the buyer was represented, the buyer’s agent.

Real Estate Marketing - Open House Flyers

I feel like I could go on and on about the flyer. But the last item I will share is that the photos were substandard for marketing purposes.  The carpet and walls looked dirty even though they weren’t. Is that the impression you want people to walk away with? Many buyers looking at open houses have homes to sell. Your open house demonstrates your listing marketing and representation. Everything you do at an open house, including the flyer, shows off your skills or your lack thereof.

Real Estate Marketing - Open House FlyersRecommendation #5:  Take the time to build a proper flyer with all the pertinent facts and awesome photos. See an example above of a well designed and informative flyer. TIP: If you design the flyer with a white background, not only will it save you on ink expense, it also won’t have those pesky white borders that can tend to make a flyer look low budget. Use high quality white paper with a high quality print setting for your best flyer! 

Observation #6: I had to look up the agent website in order to find their site and the listing. I finally found their website (which wasn’t easy) and the listing for the house wasn’t on her site as a featured listing. 

Recommendation #6:  If you are to represent your seller and the home correctly, make sure it is front and center on your website and easy for people to find and contact you.  Make sure there is a strong call to action for both buyers and sellers on the page that has your listing!

Real Estate Marketing - Open HouseObservation #7: There were no open house signs at any corners or high traffic areas and the sign for this agent was small on the corner and huddled together with a bunch of other like signs that were also unreadable.

Recommendation #7: Make sure that you have open house signs at important entry and traffic points. Another agent showing a house in our area had up to 6 open house A Boards and lots of traffic at their open house! They also had a beautiful flyer.

(Last small note: I attended two open houses in the same weekend. One other thing I noticed besides the sign, and the flyer, the warm greeting at open house listed above is that they didn’t turn on most of the lights in the house nor did they have the fireplace on. The second, better open house had all the lights on and both fireplaces lit. As Walt Disney attributed to his success, “small details matter.”)

Real Estate Marketing - Open Houses

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You might be thinking, “Lisa, maybe this agent is new to real estate?” During our conversation with the agent, we found out this agent had been in real estate for 12 years!  I was amazed that this person made it in the business this long.

This person was from out of the area (different state phone number!) and didn’t seem like a lot of effort was done. It didn’t appear that they cared about the listing nor that they wanted to build relationships with potential buyers that came by. That came across loud and clear in the agent’s marketing and how they represented the home during their open house. The impression I left with was that the agent was hurried, didn’t take attention to detail and wasn’t professional. How might that impression translate into how they perform on a deal, negotiation or seeing the transaction through to the end smoothly?

If I was a buyer, I wouldn’t work with this agent. If I was a seller, I wouldn’t hire this agent. Listings are the prime opportunity to gain more business through buyer and sellers seeing the way you come to market — for yourself and for your clients. Make sure you always put your best foot forward, every time. Having high standards and being consistent will be one of the hallmarks for your success in 2017!

I’d love to know what you think! What are your DO’s or DON’Ts for your open houses?

 

Best Real Estate Business & Marketing Plan Templates

2017 Best Real Estate Business and Marketing Plans – Roundup

It’s that time of year and don’t be discouraged if you haven’t taken the time to build out your Business Plan and strategy for this year this quite yet. Because there are many good resources out there, I thought I would share some of the best business plan resources available for free.

Below you will find a few business plan templates and marketing plan templates to guide your real estate business success in 2017!

“If you don’t plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

All too often real estate agents / brokers become reactive to the day and focus on the urgent and not the important. Focusing on the important plans you’ve built will allow you to intentionally and systematically grow your business and make it what you want. Don’t let it own you, own your dreams!

TIP: You don’t have to build a lengthy business plan to plan for the year ahead.

Placester’s Real Estate Business Plan Template – multiple pages

The article that goes along with the template is good, but the business plan template is an Excel Spreadsheet. I think Excel Spreadsheets are great for financials, but not so good for the overall planning process. You could print out the article and then create your own business plan by answering all the questions in the article. Then download the Excel Spreadsheet and fill in the financials. Click on the image below to get started!

Real Estate Business Plan

The Real Estate Trainer’s One Page Business Plan for REALTORS – 1 page

One thing I absolutely love is when trainers and educators make things really simple. A one pager is my go to motto. If we try to over complicate things and / or do too many things, we can get overwhelmed especially when you’re a real estate agent / broker trying to manage being everything to everyone. While listening to a top producer who just started in the business and did 135 deals his first year, he attributed his success to a couple of things: focus on 2-3 things in marketing and outsourcing for low dollar activities.

So, that’s why I chose this business plan by the Real Estate Trainer because it follows the KISS principal: keep it simple silly! Click on the image below to get started!

Real Estate one-page-business-plan-for-realtors-2-750x400

Zillow 2016 Real Estate Business Plan – 17 pages

As you know, Zillow has a plethora of great resources in their Zillow Academy. For those of you that are in your maturing years of your real estate business, perhaps you’re looking for something a bit more formal. This 17 page real estate business plan is a fill-it-in type of format and is great for helping you walk through a more traditional / comprehensive business plan structure. Click on the image below to get started!

Zillow Real Estate Business Plan

Zillow’s Free Real Estate Marketing Plan Template – 14 pages

Another free and comprehensive resource is Zillow’s 14 page Marketing Plan Template that helps you define your market, brand and how to attract the kinds of clients you want. Navigating a business without a marketing plan is like a navigating a ship without a compass. Just can’t and shouldn’t do it. Click on the image below to get started!

Zillow Real Estate Marketing Plan Template

Hubspot 12 Critical Building Blocks for Digital Marketing in 2017

Hubspot is one of my favorite marketing resources and they have some really smart people on their team. They pump out quite a voracious amount of highly valuable marketing tips and plans. If your 2017 marketing includes digital marketing, which it should, take a look at this article to see where you can incorporate some best practices to create a solid foundation. Click on image to get started!

Digital Marketing Building Blocks for 2017

What are your favorite business and marketing planning resources?

7 Must Have Audiences for Real Estate Facebook Ads

7 Must Have Audiences for Each of Your Real Estate Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are growing. The number of businesses who are using them are also growing and they are performing. I personally use them in my own business and in my clients’ businesses and have seen excellent results.

Facebook Ads hold incredible power to reach the specific people you want to target inexpensively compared to other traditional advertising channels. However, there are some tricks to using Facebook that you only glean from years of using that I’m going to share with you today to help you avoid pitfalls, paying for ads that aren’t your correct target audience and to get the best results!

First, if you’ve never used a Facebook Ad, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of using it or you’re wondering if you’ll do it right or if you know how to reach the right people. Let me tell you that it’s okay to jump in a get started and if you mess up a bit, that’s okay too. Practice makes perfect and you’ll be surprised at how fast you’ll get the hang of Facebook Ads with a little time.

1: Start Small, Boost a Post

If you have never boosted / run a Facebook Ad, start by boosting your Facebook posts.

What is the difference between a boosted post and an ad? Well, they are very similar. Facebook has several types of ads, but generally speaking, ads are paid and posts are free (organic). Nowadays, Facebook only delivers roughly 16% of the posts that your Facebook page publishes to your audience. Bottom line: you have to pay to be seen. If you had been wondering why your organic reach was so low, now you know why. Facebook wants money to show your posts to your followers… and to others who are NOT your followers. Basically, they want your money! But it’s okay… because the ROI is there.

By starting small, you can take a listing you have available and post it on your page and boost it for $7 for 7 days. You can target your own followers OR you can target people who are NOT your followers. I recommend that you target your followers with boosted posts and create ads for people who are not your followers.

Once you have started small, make sure you engage with those who engage with your post. This is important because it will actually BOOST your organic reach as well. Facebook gives more preference to posts that are popular (people liking, commenting and sharing).

2: Branch Out Into Other Audiences with Facebook Ads

Now that you have dipped your toe into advertising on Facebook with posts, it’s time to take it to next level.

You can start a real ad (under Ads Manager) and use your existing post above OR you can create a whole new ad campaign.

TIP 1: Use conversion ads at the Campaign level – increase conversions on your site. Then at the Ad Set level, pay based on impressions vs. cost per click. This is where you select your audience (see below).

TIP 2: At the Ad Level, select Carousel Ads as they outperform regular link ads. It takes more time but the results are worth it. Also, it might seem counter intuitive but trust me, it will work to your advantage. Take the time to put details under each photo, upload as many photos as possible.

3. Create Different Ad Sets and target these 7 Must Have Audiences for Your Facebook Ads:

You can create audiences in advance (under Audiences) or create them during the Ad Set creation process. Either way, save the audiences so you can use them for multiple ads in the future. Create new “Saved Audiences” with the following criteria (separate audiences):

  1. Renters that live in the area where your listing is located (zip code, city or zip plus X mile radius) (geo and interests)
  2. For people who visit the area but don’t live there (located in the geography section at top of audience)
  3. Homeowners who might be looking for investment property (in the interests section type in homeowners)
  4. There is an audience that you can select that says behavior is “likely to move” and another is “real estate investors.” (this is in the interests area)
  5. And, a more general one that doesn’t have all the targeting because not everyone meets all the criteria you set.
  6. Post on your personal page? If it really is a great deal, why not post on your personal page?
  7. CUSTOM Audience: And, if you want to get REALLY fancy, you can upload your contact list to Facebook and create a custom audience and target your existing circle of influence.

Remember that the more restrictions you place on your audiences, the less people you’ll reach and the more money you will pay. You don’t want the audience too large (over 1 million) or too small (under 1,000).

When you’re done with a single ad, you should have 1 campaign for the “listing” or whatever else you are trying to sell and several ad sets (name them accordingly) and you can have the same ad (creatives) for all of them. Just remember to speak the language of each audience vs. making a generic ad for everyone.

TIP 3: Once you start running your ads, start with $5 each per day. Then only incrementally increase the ad spend. Watch the ads and don’t edit them a lot and turn them on and off. Keep them running and the Facebook Edge Rank algorithm will stabilize. Don’t be alarmed if within the first few days you’re not receiving clicks or they are more than you thought they would be. Don’t set an end date. For some reason, Facebook like the ads to be set for continuous run.

TIP 4: How much money should you be paying per click? What is a good click through rate? Answer: We say that a click (unique click) is worth about $1 or so per click. And, anything over 1-2% is great in terms of Click Through Rate (CTR). You can see the stats on your ads by selecting Performance and Click Results drop down on your campaign.

One last thing that I want to leave you with is this… You can use this methodology for any ad you choose, not just listing links. You can use for Just Solds and if you’re having an OPEN HOUSE, add an event on your page for the open house and then boost it with the same audience criteria! The more you hit the same people with your events, listings and just solds, the more likely they are to call you up when they are ready to do a real estate deal!

TIP 5: When you are selecting Placements, do not let Facebook auto select for you. Make sure you only select Facebook Feed and Instagram. DO NOT SELECT AUDIENCE NETWORK and Right Hand Column is completely optional. With audience network, you’ll pay a lot less but you’ll get bogus traffic as well.

When you’re done with your ads, let us know how they did! If you need any help with getting started, we can help! Email us at info@realestatemarketingmachine.io.

Don’t have a Facebook Page for your business yet?

Get step-by-step instructions on just what you (as a real estate broker) need to do to establish the right business page and how to maximize your social media marketing, watch this Video to Launch Your Facebook Business Page in Just 7 Short and Easy Minutes and learn why it can be one of the most critical moves you can make to help your business grow in the next 12 months. Follow along and you can have your business page up in 7 minutes! It’s easy when you have the right instructions (guide included).

Need a fancy Facebook Cover Image to go with your new Facebook Business Page? Download Real Estate Facebook Cover Templates here! 

3 Tips to control your personal real estate professional brand

3 Tips to Help Realtors Control Their Personal Digital Brand

As a real estate professional, you might have several agency homes in your career. Every time you change your agency, you also have to sift through the mazes of digital breadcrumbs to update every mention of your previous agency, email, website address and phone number that are part of your personal brand.

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Managing broker real estate marketing

Managing Broker Marketing vs. Team Marketing – 4 Tips for Walking a Tightrope

If you are you a Managing Real Estate Broker and the following comments regarding real estate marketing resonate with you, you’re in the right place!

“When I was at my last brokerage, my managing broker marketed him / herself constantly and everyone in the office was dissatisfied. I don’t want my team to be dissatisfied / disgruntled like we were.”

“I want the ‘brand’ to stand on its own vs. me being the brand.”

When it comes to your marketing campaigns, you might feel like you’re often walking a tight rope…

The two statements above in quotes came from one of my clients recently while she was doing an email campaign blast. She wanted to remove her name as the person who was sending the email blast because she felt it was too self-promoting and she didn’t want to rock the boat with her team. If you’re vacillating between highlighting the team vs. your own personal marketing and don’t know which way to proceed, first answer these questions, then keep reading:

  • Do you market the company / team as well as yourself?
  • Do you offer a company website that promotes your agents?
  • Do you provide leads to your team?

Assuming that you answered yes to all these questions, you likely already know all of this but let me remind you of 4 very good reasons it’s okay to market yourself as the managing broker:

  1. You’ve worked your tail off for __  years to build YOUR real estate business, why should it be equal? I know you want to be fair, but your agents / team need to earn their way and pay their dues. That’s a problem with the newer generation, it’s been labeled the “entitlement generation.” You likely told them you would help them with leads, and you’re doing just that!
  2.  

  3. You’re paying for the marketing. Your team knows that as a part of being a real estate agent, they own their business and need to pay for their own marketing expenses. They are very fortunate that you are giving them leads and yet they also need to get out there and do their own marketing to build their personal brand as a real estate agent.
  4.  

  5. You’ve worked hard to own your own business and when all is said and done and if everyone left, you are it. You are the anchor and it’s your business, don’t be afraid to shine. Using the name of your company as FROM in email marketing campaigns dilutes the efficacy of the communication. Use YOUR name as people want accountability, authority and connection. The buck stops with you and you’re leading the team.
  6.  

  7. I’ve heard people say “I don’t want the brand to be about me. I want the brand to stand on its own.” Fooey, you are the brand. As you know, agents come and go more often than we like (and sometimes not often enough!). But when people think of your company, they likely think of you, the service you’ve so painstakingly cultivated and the relationships you’ve developed. Your company wouldn’t likely be as successful as it is today if YOU didn’t do all that was required. Through blood, sweat and tears, you earned that. Maximize it and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.

Now, how do you manage this messaging internally?

Very carefully. Balance transparency and communication with confidence and strong leadership. You could start by saying “you know, one of the things that really bothered me at my other brokerage firms was that they used to market themselves primarily and I felt it was unfair. Here’s what I’ve learned and what I would like to share with about being an agent and growing your own brand.” Then you can tell them that you will continue to share leads with them, but you are going to go about the marketing in a way that may “feel” unfair.

It’s important in team building that you are sensitive to their feelings, but you also need them to be motivated to be hungry vs. just being fed from what leads you’re offering. You WANT to give them leads, but you are leveraging your brand, experience and relationships to bring THEM more leads / revenue and to bring the company more business.

Trying to build a team in a real estate agency is hard because everyone is competing, you want to be inclusive, community-oriented and build comradery but you also don’t want to foster complacency and entitlement either. It’s a fine balance.

Lastly, offer your marketing tactics as training for them. You’ve paid for the marketing but show them what you’re doing so they can do the same thing for their personal brand. Just another benefit!

Do you agree or disagree with the statements in this article? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Lisa

Real Estate Marketing Grader

Real estate marketing

8 Key Steps to Grow Your Real Estate Business

As a real estate professional, you play many roles – business owner, employer, sales person, transaction specialist, accountant, counselor and often, internal marketing department. Real estate marketing needs to do more than attract new leads.

It also needs to nurture prospects, follow up with those leads and maximize every contact in order to grow your business. You hire an accountant, assistants, other agents to help but when it comes to real estate marketing, it’s a bit more difficult to find the right team member or resources. Perhaps you’ve tried implementing marketing strategies here and there without either being able to finish or get any real traction. If you’re like MOST real estate agents and brokers, you want a blueprint for success. You want the proven steps of what successful agents and brokers are doing that yields the maximum results with the minimum time and effort spent.

We are the experts in modern digital real estate marketing and conversion. As such, we have developed a proven, tried and tested blueprint for your real estate success in our newest 8 Key Steps to Grow Your Real Estate Business Checklist. In this free checklist, we outline step-by-step what marketing tactics you need in order to build a successful real estate business.

Ask yourself these 5 real estate marketing questions:

1. Does your website bring you leads?
2. Do you have a lead follow up process in place?
3. Do you have a multitude of emails, contacts and feel overwhelmed by managing your data and have a hard time sleeping because you *know* things are falling through the cracks, but you’re trying to keep your deals alive.
4. Do you know where and how your best leads are reaching you?
5. Do you know where your next deal is coming from?

If you’ve answered no to 1,2,4, and 5 and yes to 3, our free 8 Key Steps to Grow Your Real Estate Business Checklist is going to help you build a solid marketing plan for serious growth!

Below is a sneak peek of some of the content in the real estate marketing checklist and guide.

It’s All In The Follow Up

Each lead that comes in is the result of an investment. Your time, your marketing and the work that has produced referrals are all part of the equation. Increase the return on your investment by making the most of every single lead with a consistent follow up process.

Automating The Outreach

You already know that the follow up I mentioned is important. But it’s so time-consuming, you say! When am I supposed to get this done? Extend yourself with automating some of your nurturing.

Does Your Website Convert?

Driving traffic to your website through marketing is only beneficial if your site is doing it’s job – converting the casual viewer into someone ready for more information! Do you know your website’s conversion rate? This is the percentage of unique visitors who land on a page of your website and take the necessary steps to contact you – by opting in to your email list, putting in contact information, etc. If you aren’t generating at least 30 leads each month, your website could be working harder for you.

Facebook – More Than A Business Card

The social media channel used by 1 billion+ users is an incredible opportunity for real estate professionals to connect with individuals exactly when they need your services. Are you leveraging the full power of Facebook to grow your business and reach the right leads?

Search Results Matter

How do your clients find you? At some point, they might have hopped on Google and searched for their local area + homes for sale or realtors or some related search term. Do you show up in those searches and reach these leads/prospects?

Get More Leads With Your Real Estate Site on realestatemarketingmachine.io

Get More Leads With Your Real Estate Website

With smart phones attached to our hands and Google the go to answer solution, your real estate website is an integral and vital part of attracting and maximizing new leads. But is your website making the most of it’s visitors?

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IDX Websites, real estate marketing

Review: Best of IDX Websites for Real Estate Marketing

At some point in your real estate career you have questioned the effectiveness of having a website, but know you have to have one. If your website is NOT producing leads, it’s time to seriously consider jumping ship to another website provider. Not all websites are equal and before you dive into a new website endeavor, it’s important to know what to look for and how to evaluate the best IDX website for your real estate marketing.

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