Huntington Beach real estate agent Jerry Del Mauro made the news the other day not for closing a deal and scoring a sweet commission, but because he was ordered to pay a $2,750 fine to the city for putting “too many signs” to an open house he was hosting. If you’re wondering how many is too many; in Huntington Beach the number was 18. The city only allows 11 in order to control visual pollution, but Del Mauro says he had no choice; the house was on a hidden island at the end of a secluded road 2 miles away from the nearest traffic light.
This case – that shows how much the old school marketing is struggling in the modern world - is not the only one making the news: New Canaan Real Estate Agents in Fairfield County, Connecticut will start a 6-month trial ban of signs outside the homes. But this time it wasn’t something that came from the government; it was the New Canaan Real Estate Agents themselves that decided jointly to give it a try, to see if it makes the community more attractive without their advertisement visual pollution.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that we at RealEstateAgent.com advocate for modern marketing we believe in it so much that we founded this website and serve as the best tool to connect home buyers and home sellers with local real estate agents nationwide. But being honest, however awesome The OFFICIAL Real Estate Agent Directory® is, we know it’s not enough; real estate agents should do everything they can to get out there, score some leads and get that money. And that means working both the modern marketing angle of your business and doing/adapting some of those old-school marketing tricks that always brings clients to the yard. So, on this post, we will not bring you one of those “this or that” how to market your business, but a thoughtful rundown on both their current standings for you to figure out where you can improve your game.
Let’s do this!
Direct marketing is the name people give for the action of directly selling your goods to the end user, instead of going through a middleman like a retail store, or an advertisement company. A real estate agent is the middleman itself; he/she markets and sells someone else’s house on their behalf. However, when selling his/her own work, the agent needs to do some direct marketing himself/herself. To do that, the Old School Marketing has something that is irreplaceable: the face-to-face contact. Nothing is as good when you want to make your name heard and remembered. It’s the ugly truth about open houses; the place where you will make a lasting impression on home buyers and home sellers and hopefully turn them into your clients. If done with the right approach, even knocking on neighbor doors will score you future clients and deals. Old School Marketing is all about spending your time getting your name out there.
Good ideas to put your name out there (besides the regular ads and signs that, if the New Canaan Real Estate Agents ban is any indication, will no longer be a possibility):
Sponsor a community event. Nothing says put your name on the community map like sponsoring an event with the city, an NGO foundation and, especially, a Homeowner’s Association. Become best friends with them, as they crave for these kinds of gatherings and activities. Try to find a sweet spot on the Venn diagram between your niche and important social activities for the well being of the community. If you can have kids in the middle; all the best! Just make sure your logo showing up in a few spots (don’t go overboard with it, as it will backfire on you). Surprisingly, you don’t need to have a lot of money to sponsor an event: sometimes all you need to do is help to provide supplies, space or even personnel.
Call your former clients. A lot of people overlook how important that is. Call former clients from 1 year ago or even six months and catch up. Spend a good 20 minutes talking with them – in person, if the relationship is good and you both can, or on a phone call – and ask them how is their experience going with the house (if they were home buyers) or how’s it going ever since they earned that sweet money (if they were home sellers). Former clients can be future clients, and satisfied former clients can be the ultimate lead provider; sometimes they just need a push to remember you, since they’re so busy enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Might you run across complaints? The house you sold has a leak or whatever? Try to help. That’s why it’s so important Building a Real Estate Team; with a contractor close by allowing you to recommend to the former client valuable resources, you’ll immediately solve his/her problems. Who doesn’t appreciate help?
Introduce yourself to the neighbors. Another Old School Marketing strategy people overlook is introducing yourself to neighbors of the house you’re selling. There are a few reasons you should politely knock on neighbors doors and introduce yourself: besides common courtesy, it’s really important as you won’t be able to stay at the property 24/7 and you might not be able to put a sign on the lawn etc. Make a nice impression, leave some cards with them – be charming and say “give this just to the ones you’d like to have as neighbors; I won’t be mad with you” – so not only will they call you once they want to sell their house or buy a new house themselves, but also so they can proactively act on your behalf when they see lookie-loos rolling through the neighborhood looking for vacant real estate. Plus; what if someone in the neighborhood has always dreamed of having that specific house you’re selling and you don’t even need to make huge marketing efforts on it? You could have the potential home buyer right there! Now, that’s direct marketing!
Yes, as you can see, the old school marketing is all about being present and devoting time to build a relationship with people. There’s an argument to be made that if you can’t fathom doing that, you shouldn’t be an agent at all, as this is a people’s business. However, yes, you need to keep it real and understand that nowadays time is a commodity; for you and your clients. And reaching out is not as easy anymore as “knocking on neighbors doors”: most of the times you will be met by unattended teenagers or will have no reply at all. So, how to market your business? You just have to adhere to the modern marketing way. Let’s talk about the many things you need to do.
E-mail marketing. E-mail marketing campaigns are still very effective. Here’s how to do this modern marketing tactic: get your client’s e-mails. You probably have the latest ones; the oldest clients you can call to catch up and ask for their e-mail. This will be a continuous work project; the more e-mail addresses you have from and around the zip code you work, the better. Get a designer to make a clean, professional artwork. And the best digital marketing tip for your e-mail marketing strategy: do not only give them what you need (listings of the homes you’re selling), put some interesting, informative, resourceful content that will appeal to homeowners in general; even the ones who are not looking to buy or sell a home. Doing this, your name will be remembered as a source of good real estate information and knowledge and chances are they will e-mail you back whenever they need help doing new business. The last thing you’d want is for them to view you as a spammer and unsubscribe from your e-mail marketing list.
Social Media Marketing. While e-mail marketing campaigns are almost old school modern marketing, social media marketing is something relatively new and requires you to put yourself out there even more. It’s all about bringing your followers inside your professional world. You show your listings indirectly by visiting one of your properties being renovated to sell for a higher price and documenting the progress. There’s nothing like storytelling to hook people – if someone in your audience doesn’t just straight out contact you interested in the property, at least your face is deep on everyone’s mind and heart, as they feel participant of your professional struggle. You show your success by posting a retrospective of the best properties you sold that year.
Most importantly; you make yourself a Real Estate authority by interacting. This is what’s so great about social media marketing. It’s a way to do the old school marketing “face-to-face” to a much larger number of people in a much smaller amount of time. So much so that it’s possible to encounter people with higher followings than the size of their actual real estate market! That agent in question will start to diversify his/her revenue with book deals, TV appearances and other stuff that is nationwide and not confined to the real estate market he/she works in – which is great in itself, but also actually makes them even stronger than ever in their real estate market. Because their name and audience are so big, they become a commodity and suddenly can only take Exclusive Right to Sell Listings, for instance.
Lastly. with social media marketing you have access to direct target campaign. Instead of shooting blindly, hoping to land somewhere, you can be super specific on your direct marketing, targeting the right audience that’s looking for a home for sale - or for rent, depending on your niche - which will make leads come easier and faster.
So, as you can see, these two schools of marketing needs to complement each other. It’s okay if you are more apt to one than the other, what is absolutely not doable in this day and age is to completely shut yourself out of the one you don’t like.