The real estate industry has had some interesting ups and down over the past decade – NAR (National Association of Realtors) membership hit its all-time high back in 2006 with 1,357,000 realtors before dropping dramatically with the housing financial crisis. However, since its rock bottom in 2012 (with 999,000 members), it has been steadily increasing, and with nearly 1,100,000 members in 2014, the competition among realtors is heating up.The competition is fierce, and these days you’ll need expert online and offline marketing skills to set yourself apart from the pack.While real estate agents are still key in the home buying process, buyers are increasingly looking to do more leg work online before involving the experts. A study from the National Association of Realtors showed that 92% of buyers use the internet to begin their house hunting quest, driving home the vital need for real estate agents to have an active online presence. If you’re not active, engaging, and networking online, then you’re missing out.
1. Set Yourself Up For Social. Make sure you have social media accounts on all the big networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and even Instagram if you snap a lot of house pics). Interact with users, share good press, and promote your properties.
2. Add Social Sharing To Property Pages. Chances are, home shoppers are eager to share their top housing pics with friends and family, so make it easy for home buyers to email and share various properties online by adding social sharing buttons.
4. Make Yourself Easy to Contact. Put your contact info on every page of your website. Ideally, make an impressive contact us page that grabs attention.
6. Make Use of Local Images. In many ways, you’re not just selling a house, you’re selling a whole town or area. Showcase the best that your area has to offer, with high-quality, beautiful photos of local town landmarks and familiar sites.
7. Create an Irresistible Content Offer to Capture Leads. Consider producing an ebook like “X number of things new home owners should consider before buying” or “X most valuable features of a new home.” Offering free ebooks in exchange for an email address (and zip code, in the case of real estate) is a great way to capture leads.
8. Hire a Photo Pro. Successful real estate relies heavily on great photography. Bad photos will diminish interest in even the greatest of properties. It’s absolutely vital that you have gorgeous photos of your properties. Hire a professional photographer (preferably with experience photographing homes and architecture), or, if you have sophisticated equipment and are confident in your abilities, have your own hand at it. Just remember this is one of those scenarios when it pays to bring in the professionals.
9. Create a Virtual Tour. Your clients’ time is precious, and they want to understand as much as possible about a property prior to visiting in person. Virtual tours are a great way to give a comprehensive, accurate preview of the property for potential buyers.
10. Local Sponsorship. Consider helping sponsor local festivals, sports teams, or school events. Signing up as a local sponsor often means getting your business a spot on t-shirts, program pamphlets, or flyers.
12. Pinterest Boards. Pinterest boards are a great way to provide images and information for specific listings. You can create a Pinterest board for a single property that, in addition, to property photos, highlights major benefits of the area.
14. Create a Newsletter. Email marketing is one of the best strategies for building client relationships. Collect emails from your website, local outreach, or any other methods you can think of. Send your email subscribers the stuff they’re looking for – notices about upcoming open houses, new houses on the market, news about seminars you’re offering in the area, etc. (Note: if you work in different geographical areas, you’ll want to segment your newsletter subscribers based on their location, ensuring that they only get relevant emails and updates from you).
16. Build Your Google My Business Page. Google My Business is the latest in Google location-based pages. If you’re feeling confused, don’t worry – it’s basically the same idea as Google Places for Businesses and Google+ Pages. Setting up a Google My Business account makes it easy for users to find you in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+. Trust me, this one is a no-brainer.
17. Consider Going Niche. If you’ve got some real estate marketing competition in your area, you may want to consider making yourself stand out by going niche. Become the go-to real estate agent for dog owners, families with kids, divorced individuals, whatever. Making a name for yourself in regards to a specific niche need can make you memorable, especially in saturated zip codes.
18. Use Emotional Storytelling. Utilize emotional storytelling with compelling copy and powerful visual elements. Humans respond to stories – tell a good one and clients will flock to you.
20. Saddle Up For Social Ads. Don’t be afraid to dish out dough for paid ads on social media. With organic reach dwindling on many popular social networks like Facebook, paid ads are often the most effective way to get in front of clients. Facebook has tons of great targeting features that ensure you’re only paying to get noticed by your key target audiences.
21. Old School Mailers. The web is where it’s at, but that’s not to say traditional advertising doesn’t have its place, especially when you have targeted audiences. Consider sending out postcards to qualified leads or potential buyers in the specific zip codes you are active in.
22. Become a Columnist in Local Magazines. When it comes to real estate, it’s important that you get laser focused on local. Getting yourself in local magazines or newspapers is a great way to get the word out about you and your brand. See if you can write a column or feature for local publications. You don’t want to be blatantly salesy – today’s consumers don’t like to be pitched to. Instead, try to showcase your knowledge. Write about how rising prices of houses on the market shows that the town is doing well, or list the reasons why your regional area is becoming more popular (maybe it’s the revitalized downtown area or improved school system).
24. Get Branding. Branding is your buddy – that means pens, drink koozies, and all those other freebies people love. Give out some branded goodies at local festivals and events to spread your brand.
25. Partner With Local Businesses. Developing relationships with other local businesses will be key for your real estate marketing efforts. See if you can get local breakfast joints to let you buy them a set of new coffee mugs with your logo on them, or buy a place on their paper placemat setting. Don’t be afraid to get creative with local partnerships.
26. Ask for Testimonials From Former Clients. Testimonials are tremendous trust signals. Showing that real, live people endorse your services means the world to potential clients. When a homebuyer has had a great experience with you, reach out to them and ask for a testimonial. If possible, try to get a photo of them as well. Make the most of these testimonials by placing them strategically on your website and sharing them now and then on social networks.
32. Give a Local Care Package After Closing. Your relationship with a client doesn’t end right after they close. You want them to remember your name so that hopefully they’ll share your info with friends, family, and acquaintances who might consider moving in the future. Send a local care package to clients after they close, with local movie or theater tickets, restaurant gift cards, etc.
33. Keep In Touch. Stay in touch (even months and years later) with past buyers in order to build in that good relationship. Send anniversary cards, holiday cards, etc to stay fresh in their minds. When they have a friend who is ready to buy, they’ll pass along your info.
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