Every successful business has at least one thing in common. We are referring to a business plan. More specifically, a plan for seeking out and attracting the attention of customers. This plan is better known as a ‘marketing strategy.’ We will take a deep look at the process of planning and creating a strategic marketing plan for Real Estate Agents.
Outline of the content
We start by laying out your planning process. This provides you with the information you can find and refer to as you create and implement your marketing strategy. Creating goals and tracking progress toward those goals. Your audience, who they are, where to find them, how to get their attention and ultimately their business.
Before creating a strategy, we will analyze the current state of your marketing efforts. Research your competitors. Put together a step-by-step guide to follow, and finally, we will cover how to measure the success and progress of your strategy so you can focus on executing your job.
The importance of planning
Success doesn’t just fall into your lap. Instead, a successful real estate agent is one that takes the time to develop and follow a carefully planned out strategy. A strategy that directs your marketing efforts to where it needs to be every step of the way. Allowing you to refer to it regularly, I suggest quarterly, using key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge the success or failure of each quarter.
Your Digital Marketing Strategy
A well-developed marketing strategy
A well-developed marketing plan will include both your short- and long-term goals. Clearly describe your target audience in detail. Where you will find your clients and how you will get their attention. Guided steps to landing clients and keeping long-lasting relationships with them. Finally, there will be an outline for how to analyze your progress and improve your marketing performance.
Goals, Objectives and KPIs
The importance of setting goals is not something that can be over-stressed. Not having clear goals to work towards means you are blindly working towards retirement. Your short-term goals keep you on track daily, and when you consistently reach short-term goals you will find yourself reaching your long-term goals with more certainty and successfully.
Objectives can often be overlooked. It may seem obvious but if you don’t allow yourself to be reminded of why you want to be successful on a regular basis it can be harder to motivate yourself to keep focused and working towards something meaningful.
This could be anything from needing to provide your family with the lifestyle you wish them to have, or to earn enough to get a vacation home somewhere hot for the winters or even to help your loved ones find their first homes. Constantly seeing your objective will help you day in and day out staying on track to achieving your goals.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantifiable metrics that give us an idea of the success or failure of our marketing efforts along the way. You can set KPIs to gauge your short-term goals and also your long-term goals. Remember to keep these quantifiable, meaning they can be measured and compared to previous periods to tell you if you are going in the right direction.
Getting to know everything about your audience
If it isn’t obvious enough, the key factor for any real estate agent to be successful is clients that purchase or sell a home. Since your success is based upon your clients, it makes sense to take the time to get to know and to understand your clients. Their personality, their thought process, their likes and dislikes, anything that may influence the decision-making process of them buying or selling a home.
The best way for an agent to get to know their potential clients is to create a customer persona. This is essentially a persona of a fictional customer belonging to a target audience, which you can use to make the best decisions about your marketing.
Begin collecting as much data as you can on your potential customers. Before you make any marketing decisions you can use this persona to direct your efforts.
Giving a name to your persona can help humanize your customer, making it easier to ask yourself, “what would Aaron do?” before making any decisions.
Demographics are facts about a given group of people that can be measured. This can include information about average age, income, level of education, time spent on the internet, family size, number of homeowners vs. renters.
You’ll find demographics from tax records, census data, realtor associations, etc. It’s important to gather as much as possible to give yourself the greatest chance of understanding each customer you encounter throughout your career.
If demographics look at who your customers are, psychographics is looking at why your customers might buy or sell a home. This includes facts or educated assumptions about how a given group of people act or feel. A few examples of psychographics are political or religious views, personal interests such as skiing or yoga, and personal values like equality and justice.
Look for polls, voter registrations, data on specific geo-locations or from general knowledge you may already know about. Again, you want to grab as much information as possible to create a detailed customer persona.
To reach your audience
You have collected all the data and information you can, create a couple customer personas for both buyers and sellers to use while deciding where to focus your marketing efforts. Next, you must reach out to your audience and build a relationship with potential clients
Your brand identity and a good website
At the top of the list for marketing you as a real estate agent is to build a strong, recognizable brand identity. Anytime someone sees your logo, your picture and/or your name you want them to know what it is that you do and how you can solve all their real estate queries.
When it comes to your brand, you want to keep things consistent. Create an image or brand identity to be instantly familiar. Your brand is what sets you apart from your competition.
Your website can have a greater influence than you may think. If you don’t have one, you’ve just lost every potential client that’s ever searched the web for a real estate agent in your area. If you do have a website, but it looks basic, unappealing and uninteresting you will lose a large percentage of those who do view it. However, if your website is unique, professional and contains great content that shows you are in fact the successful professional with a great deal of industry knowledge that your brand identity is well known for, then you have just increased, dramatically, your odds of bringing on a new client.
I am not saying you will get them all but if you can get just one client from your website then you already have more than if you did not have a website at all.
For online presence and great content
A website is just one aspect of your online presence. There is way too much to cover regarding online presence, basically online presence is considered any form of discussion, visuals and documentation relating to an individual or group that can be found on the web.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the list goes on and on, are a major part of your online presence. What’s great about social media is number one, it’s free. Number two, the continuously growing amount of users you can reach. Number 3, you have total control of the content you put online and the way in which you engage with your audience.
Additional forms of online presence to note consist of an online blog, or vlog, newsletters, email lists, forums or review sites like ‘yelp’ and ‘google my business,’ and of course paid advertising.
Using what you know about your audience you can create content that most resonates with them. Building meaningful long-term relationships with potential clients requires you to provide value to your audience. Content that educates, entertains, and leaves the audience interested in what you put out is important. Too many businesses do not stay on top of their online presence, which is a costly mistake and you do not want to be one of them.
A Funnel system
Real estate is a unique type of sale. Buying and selling a home is not a regular occurrence. Leaving agents with minimal room for error when looking for potential clients, and then executing the purchase or sale of a property.
Creating a long-term funnel system can be beneficial to your business as a way of building strong, long-lasting relationships with potential clients.
Covering the process from beginning to end and generating an ongoing cycle of new clients without having to spend too much time cold calling or actively seeking out new business opportunities. Rather, the funnel will garner new leads through your existing clients for a continuous cycle of potential business at each of the three stages of your funnel system.
Stages of a funnel system
- Cold Audience – these individuals are going to include anyone that shows interest in real estate-related topics from buying a home to renovating a home, interior decorating to gardening/landscaping. Anyone that finds your content valuable, interesting and entertaining to view.
- Warm Audience – these individuals have shown further interest in your content and related topics you touch on by engaging with you online. Commenting on Instagram, signing up for a newsletter, participating in polls, etc. They have shown a greater level of interest by investing their time in your material.
- Hot Prospects – these individuals have indicated that they are interested in the housing market. Possibly joining an emailing list, accessing your website via a google search or a word-of-mouth referral, clicked on an online advertisement, etc. They are getting ready to buy or sell a home and are seeking an agent.
Remember the idea of the funnel system is to have a consistent nurturing of leads with potential clients in every step of the lead generation process. When satisfied clients discuss your services with friends and family, they are essentially beginning the funnel cycle with new potentials without any added effort on your part.
Creating a Real Estate marketing strategy
It’s time for the exciting part of starting your marketing strategy. Just one last thing we need to look at before the strategy.
Evaluating your current marketing strategy
Gather everything you can from the past year. All generated leads and their sources, your expenses, cost of any marketing campaigns, social and/or google ads, organized events. Go through any data you have such as click-through rates on your ads, closing percentages and closing ratios from different campaign sources, etc.
Take all the material you’ve gathered and start converting it into quantitative data that will be easier to analyze.
Real estate is a tough industry. The fact is that there’s a good chance your clients have spoken to other agents before speaking with you. Essentially your end game is to gain as many clients as you can and that means taking clients from your competition. I don’t mean becoming a sleazy agent and creating drama in the industry but if you can study your competitors and note what they are doing or not doing right you can use that to attract their clients in a fair and equitable way.
Step-by-step marketing strategy
- First and foremost, if you have a mission, vision and value statement you need to go back and remind yourself of what exactly you are working at. If you don’t have these, now is the time to come up with something.
- Create customer personas. After you gather as much data and information you can about your target audience, put it together to create the likeness of your clients. Give this persona a name to make them more of a person and ask yourself often, “what would Aaron do?”
- Audit your previous marketing efforts.
- Turn your results into measurable data and analyze all your marketing channels.
- Assess your branding material and overall brand identity.
- Build a solid SWOT analysis. This is the basis of everything you will do going forward.
- Analyze your competitors.
- Social advertisements. Social profiles.
- Website. The visual appeal, layout, navigation, content and finally their traffic.
- Traditional marketing efforts, newspaper/magazine ads, billboards, radio ads, bus stop ads, etc. These are not cheap so you can be sure to learn a great deal about the things you’ll want to consider including in your own traditional marketing.
- Using the collection of material from steps two through four, start making your marketing plans for the upcoming year.
- Start with what’s been working for you. Think about spending more time and money on things that worked well for you and converted to closing deals.
- Look over what didn’t work. Find a better way to use those resources or to make them work for you.
- Social Media Profiles.
Any platforms you decide to use, do the research and be sure you are using each one in a way that brings you the best results possible.
- The key to your content is to create value for the viewers.
- Avoid selling all the time. Instead, provide advice, educate, inform on related topics. This builds your relationship with potential clients.
- Continuously evaluate your progress along the way.
- Take a look at your mission and vision statements again, make sure your strategy still aligns with these and if not, make necessary changes.
- Use your KPIs to evaluate the progress towards your goals, both short and long-term.
- Seek out feedback from clients.
Wrapping up everything we have covered – having no plan to follow is a waste of your time. Your plan will help you stay on track and guide you every step of the way so you are working towards achieving the goals you set out to reach. Though there is no one way to do things, the information above will give you direction to create a plan personalized to you and your business.
I will leave you with that and wish you the best as you start to plan your marketing strategy.
About the author.
My name is Richard and I believe by sharing what I know, others benefit by understanding and knowing how to market their business to be more successful. I am currently an Intern at the International Institute of Digital Marketing and am excited for a long career as a Digital Marketer.