As a REALTOR®, marketing is the lifeblood of your business. Whereas most businesses cultivate a name or a brand, a REALTOR® is both the name and the brand. In essence, promoting your business means promoting yourself and your services in a particular market area.
So how do you promote yourself and make meaningful connections in your target neighborhood? It may sound difficult, but there are several ways you can do it. Here are five methods for cultivating effective relationships in a target neighborhood:
- Put Social Media to Work for You
I’ve talked a lot about how social media can make a difference in your real estate marketing. With one in two American adults on Facebook, social media should be a key component of your marketing efforts.
Some Realtors® are hesitant to engage in social media because they are concerned about appearing too informal, or they simply don’t know what to say. It’s important to remember the “social” side of social media. In other words, you can achieve great success by simply being yourself, as well as providing information that is interesting and valuable to your target audience.
People like to feel proud of their community. Join Facebook groups focused on specific communities and neighborhoods, and then tap into the sentiment by sharing photos of the neighborhood and relating personal stories of your interactions with community members. You might also consider posting content that is entertaining or useful, such as “10 Tips for Spring Cleaning” or “Where to Find a Pet Sitter.”
- Invest in the Community
This doesn’t mean you need to buy a home in the neighborhood – although if you already live there, it’s a great start! Ultimately, real estate is about people, not property. Consider investing your time in local programs or service organizations. Many communities have civic organizations that need regular volunteers. Show families and individuals in the neighborhood you care about the area and its residents – and gain some great exposure for yourself and your business in the process. Offer to plant flowers around an intersection that could use some beautifying, or donate some items to a bake sale. Even a little effort will pay off down the road.
- Consider Predictive Analytics
According to REALTOR® Magazine, predictive analytics is a powerful new spin on traditional door-to-door marketing. Rather than wasting valuable hours – and the soles of your shoes – knocking on doors at random, you can tap into a stream of data designed to predict which properties are likely to hit the market in upcoming months.
Predictive analytics uses computer algorithms to compile data from numerous sources, track trends, and assess the likelihood of a future sale. There are several companies and apps that have developed algorithms that scour sale records, auditor records, mortgage loan records, delinquencies, and tax records for information – something made possible by the digitization of many county and state public records.
Although it is possible to compile these records yourself and track trends without the help of a third party app, data-crunching demands time – time you need to make personal connections with potential sellers. Armed with this valuable data, you can focus your door-to-door efforts on homeowners likely to enter the market in the near future.
- Stay in Touch with Past Clients
You have made a sale, negotiated the closing, and sent your client a thoughtful housewarming gift. However, your work is not done. As all REALTORS® know, referrals are an important source of future business. In 2014, 40% of all buyers chose to work with an agent that was referred to them by a friend, neighbor, or relative.
Whether you represent a buyer moving into a target neighborhood or a seller moving out, be sure to stay in touch long after the sale is final and the moving trucks have left.
There are several ways to do this. Many agents send holiday or birthday cards, and include past clients on their newsletter mailing lists. Most people put down roots in their community – even if they move away, they maintain connections in their old neighborhood. You never know when a past client will recommend you to a friend, family member, or work colleague looking to buy or sell in the same area.
- Build a Business Referral Network
Local businesses are the backbone of any community’s economy. Residents rely on these businesses to provide services and products. In turn, businesses thrive when people perceive them as trustworthy and reliable. As a REALTOR®, you can become part of this network of providers by building relationships with your fellow local businesses.
Getting started is much easier than you might think. Real estate clients may rely on their agents to recommend everything from landscapers to a good pizza place. If a business serves your target neighborhood, there is a good chance your clients will patronize it. Reach out to these business owners and ask about establishing a referral relationship.
Making It Work
Growing your business can be tough. With persistence and a firm commitment to making personal connections in your target neighborhood, however, your real estate business will benefit both now and down the road. These five tips will help you build the relationships you need to be successful.
What steps have been key to building relationships in your target neighborhood? Share in the comments!