“What story are you telling? Who are you talking to? What are your audience’s problems? What are you solving?” Molly McKinley, the vice president of First.io, asked the audience at Inman Connect New York 2019.
Here are Connect speakers’ top tips on how agents can step up their marketing game:
1. Start with an idea
You are a real estate agent who wants to sell more homes. The first step, naturally, is to figure out what sets you apart from everybody else.
Ideas could be as simple as positioning yourself as the new agent in town or becoming the agent who specializes on retirement transitions or homes for veterans. Figure out a niche that needs filling, and then run with it.
“You never know where an idea’s going to come from,” said David Marine, senior vice president marketing at Coldwell Banker. “The important thing is figuring out how you can run with it.”
(If you’re completely lost on the hows and whats, read up on some potential marketing strategies here.)
“When we talk about marketing, we should be looking outside our industry,” Garcia said.
3. Channel your fear
Fear is natural — nobody wants to spend a lot of money on a project that will fail. But instead of letting fear hold you back from trying new things, let it push you, and run ideas by other people from the industry. Talk to other agents, friends or a marketing consultant; it will help you gauge whether your fear of making the wrong choice is justified.
“Fear of failure is paralyzing in this business,” Marine said. “The important thing is to surround yourself with people who will help you vet your idea.”
4. Don’t try to be everything to everyone
A truly successful marketing strategy comes from specialization.
Once you’ve figured out your niche, do not be tempted by marketing ideas that take you off your brand or dilute your community’s understanding of what you do.
“It’s really easy to do too many things,” Cara Whitley, chief marketing officer at Century 21, said. “Being able to say no to things is one of the most important things to learn how to do.”
5. Do what works for your budget
Stop us if you’ve heard this before — you see an agent with a really impressive marketing strategy, then you see your own meager budget and decide that you will never be able to afford anything that nice.
That’s actually a big mistake. Instead of overspending, try sending out a social media post a day or publishing ads in a more specialized market.
“Most importantly, don’t just sit on an idea,” Marine said.
6. Think differently
And if all else fails, you can always pose in listing photos wearing a dinosaur suit.
7. Don’t go overboard
If you’re part of a brokerage, it’s important to align your own marketing strategy with the larger brand. This might not give you as much room for creativity as an individual agent, but you also get to tap into the powerful PR machine that a larger brand already has.
And if you start feeling that your employer is stifling you or limiting your creativity, this could be a sign that it might not be the right fit for you.
“You are either in accordance with [the larger brand’s] values or you aren’t,” David Baldwin said.
Marketing isn’t all social media ads. At the end of the day, it’s about making connections with the people that you meet and know.
Go to events, send out thank-you cards, meet with other brokers and just take the time to reach out to those who live in your neighborhood — fostering and maintaining those bonds often leads to sales in the most unexpected ways.