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Why Farming is Essential in Real Estate

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Why Farming is Essential in Real Estate

Do you have a farm? If you’re a Realtor®, you probably know that I’m not talking about acres of corn or hundreds of cattle.

A real estate farm is a specific geographic area where you develop your business. A neighborhood or group of neighborhoods become the place you focus your marketing efforts.

If I were to ask you right now, “Where’s your farm?” you’d probably be able to answer me. But what if I asked a few more questions?

When is the last time you sent postcards to your farm? How often do you reach out? What’s the newest development in your city that affects your farm area?

Do you know?

It’s Not a Farm if You Don’t Farm It

I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but one thing I’ve noticed is that many people have “farms” that they aren’t active in. I have a good friend who lives in the Midwest, and she points out that if you don’t farm your land, it quickly fills with weeds.

Weeds, in real estate, like competing Realtors®. Local groups that don’t know who you are. A complete lack of awareness of your name and brand.

You can’t let your farm go. If you do, someone else will show up, take over, and it won’t be yours anymore.

What Can a Farm Do For You?

So why bother? Maintaining a farm area takes a lot of time and effort. You have to be consistent and active in the community. People need to know who you are.

What are the benefits of having a real estate farm? 

Convenience of Location. When you cultivate a farm area, you save yourself from having to run all over the place to serve clients. While you’ll probably have some customers outside the farm, having a local area of focus allows you to list and build relationships more easily. You can get more done in less time when your focus is on a specific area!

Build Deeper Relationships. It’s no secret that relationships take time. If you spread your efforts all over your city, you may have a lot of relationships, but none of them will be deep. The more consistent you are with your contacts, the more loyal they will be. A farm makes that easy.

Become the Go-To Realtor®. This is the #1 reason most real estate agents have a farm. When you become top-of-mind to the point that you’re the go-to agent in an area, you can get incredible results just by maintaining your efforts. You don’t have to sweat so hard to get business! You’ll also become the first person the residents think of when friends or family ask for a Realtor®, so you’ll get great referrals too.

Be a Better Expert. A farm area is localized by definition, so you don’t have to have your finger on what’s happening everywhere in your city. You can know a few things around town, but be an absolute expert in your farm area. New store? Change in local government? Zoning questions? You’ll know it all because you only have to know everything about a small area.

Farming is Worth the Effort

I’m not going to pretend that real estate farming is easy. It takes time and effort, just like regular farming. This is especially true if you’re starting from scratch.

You put in a lot of work, including:

  • Farming postcards several times a year
  • Participation in committees or local charities
  • Door Knocking
  • Cooperative marketing with local businesses
  • Brochures
  • Sponsoring charity events
  • Sending a newsletter

But you get an incredible harvest. When you have a consistent stream of clients and referrals coming from a single area that you enjoy and can easily get to — nothing’s better!

Choose the right farm and then put in consistent marketing. Be patient. The fruit is worth the work!

Fall is a great time to reach out to your farm area. Send a farming postcard or seasonal postcard. Remember, it’s OK to use the same farming postcards multiple times!

 

Unique Marketing is Overrated

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Unique Marketing is Overrated

Do you feel like every single postcard you send out and every single marketing message you write has to be different than the last? Do you think that your marketing has to be absolutely unique to be effective?

If so, I’m here to take a huge burden off of you.

Unique marketing is overrated.

Yes, you need to stand out from your competitors. But you’re not competing against yourself! 

So don’t think that every message has to be different. In fact, repetition can be very powerful.

What Do the Big Boys Do?

How many different commercials does Pizza Hut really have? Or even GEICO, known for its various storylines?

If you said, “a lot,” you’ve probably been noticing them for a long time. At any given time, a GEICO has about half a dozen different commercials running. And that’s a LOT compared to most other brands.

You see the same six over and over and over…

And for most brands, you see the same ONE over and over.

Why?

Messages are more effective when they are repeated.

It’s that simple!

If Pizza Hut has six commercial slots during a two-hour span on a channel, they are not creating six unique ads. They have one commercial, targeted for the consumers of that television show, that they show six times.

And it works.

The Effectiveness of Repetition

Let’s look at some iconic phrases in advertising:

  • Got milk?
  • Just do it!
  • Good to the last drop.
  • Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

If you’re like most Americans, you know the exact brand each phrase represents. The reason is that you’ve heard them over and over for YEARS.

“Got milk” has been used since 1993. “Just do it” was used for 26 years, starting in 1988. “Good to the last drop” was used for almost 100 years, starting in 1917. “Melts in your mouth” was used for over 60 years, starting in 1954.

These brands burned their message into the American psyche. How? Not with uniqueness… they used repetition. 

So what does this have to do with you?

Are you holding back from marketing your real estate business because:

  • It’s too hard to think of new things to say
  • Buying different postcards is expensive
  • Your farm is too small to buy 1,000 or 2,000 postcards
  • You don’t have time to come up with new images or phrases for social media

If so, it’s time to drop the excuses. You don’t have to do any of those things!

Buy 1,000 postcards for your 300-home farm area. Use the same postcard three times throughout the year.

Put up the same image and marketing message on social media several times a week for months.

Craft one really great marketing message and repurpose it over and over.

People are more likely to believe a message they see over and over, presumably because it becomes familiar.  They remember it, believe it, and start to think it’s a popular opinion.

You will get bored before the consumer does. Don’t let your own annoyance with a repeated message stop you from reaching the effective frequency and making an impact. You see the message every time – your consumers see it infrequently, and notice it deeply even less often than that.

Consistency Beats Uniqueness

The key point in marketing is that being consistent with one message is better than being original occasionally. Take the pressure off yourself. Create one great message, use it multiple times in various ways, and don’t be afraid to repeat!

Are you ready to get your marketing moving? Our farming postcards are ready to deliver your message. Check out our selection today!

How to Find a Farm Area That’s Right for You

Finding a Farm Area

Real estate farming involves making your presence known in a particular area. You choose a neighborhood and send regular postcards and fliers. You may target the area with Every Door Direct Mail, or go door-knocking there. You may drive through the neighborhood looking for FSBO signs and give them a call.

In short, you’re building your brand and your business in a particular geographic location. But how do you choose the right geographic area? Most real estate agents operate in cities with many, many available options. Here’s how to narrow it down.

Is it Close to Where You Live?

You may not want to farm a neighborhood next door to your own home, but you probably also don’t want to drive two hours to do an afternoon of door-to-door visiting. Finding someplace close enough that you are motivated to spend time there is essential.

You won’t be a successful agent in a neighborhood you never want to visit. Find a farm area that’s within a comfortable distance from where you already live.

Does Another Agent Already Dominate the Neighborhood?

Every neighborhood will have some kind of competition, but if there is another Realtor® who already dominates that market, you probably want to find a different area. Check the MLS and see who has sold the homes in that area in the last year. If 80% of them are the same agent, you’ve found a successful farm. It just isn’t your successful farm.

If someone already seems to own a neighborhood, you’ll spend a lot of time and money going head-to-head with them. Instead, move into an area with a less clear go-to agent.

Is There Enough Activity at a Good Price Point?

For once, Zillow can work for you. Check the market conditions in the neighborhoods you are considering. How many homes are currently listed? What are they listed for? How many have sold in the last year, and at what price point?

There may be regions near you that have beautiful homes that you could sell for an excellent price, except that no one ever moves in or out of the area. Make sure you understand the volume of home sales, the prices, and the time on the market.

Do You LIKE the Neighborhood?

A friend made me laugh one day when she said, “If you hate your target market, you’re probably in the wrong business.” So, think about the area and who lives there. Are the residents folks you can relate to? Are they the type of people and homes you would enjoy working with?

If you hate working with first-time home sellers and buyers, you want to avoid an entry-level neighborhood. If elderly clients drive you crazy, keep that in mind when choosing a farm area. Every Realtor® has these types of preferences, even if you don’t ever voice them. Be sure to choose a farm you’ll be excited to go into.

When you select a farm, you’re making a long-term commitment. Do the research to make sure you’re happy with your choice. After you pick a neighborhood, make a marketing plan. It should include getting to know people, attending community events in that area, sending farming postcards, and more.

Are you ready to make your farming and marketing more consistent? We’re here to help. Check out our large selection of farming postcards today!

How to Nurture Your Real Estate Farm on Foot

Farm neighborhood on foot

There are so many ways to farm an area – that is, to build up your brand and credibility in specific neighborhoods. At Printerbees, we often advocate using farming postcards and other in-the-mail outreach.

Postal mail is far less crowded than email marketing, so it can be a great way to stand out about above the crowd. But you know what’s even less crowded than direct mail?

In-person communication.

In this age of email and social media, very few people take the time to make personal connections anymore. As a Realtor®, you can have a big impact if you take some time to nurture your farm on foot. Here are some ideas on how to do it.

Walk a Dog (Or Cat, Or Lizard, Or…)

If you have a pet, take it to your target neighborhood and go for a walk. Pets make a great conversation starter, and you can introduce yourself and get to know residents of the area.

If you have an unusual pet, you can do even better. While I wouldn’t recommend a snake, almost any other animal would help you catch people’s attention and build relationships even faster.

Don’t have a pet? No problem! Folks with pets are almost always looking for a break, so offer to walk someone’s puppy, cat, or other leash-trained animal. You can tell the local residents you meet that you’re helping a friend by taking his or her pet for a walk in your favorite neighborhood!

Of course, be a good neighbor – pick up after any pets that you take walking, and dispose of any waste properly. No leaving it in a yard or dumping it in a home’s trash bin!

Door Knock and Drop Off Goodies

Creating some kind of goodie bag gives you a perfect reason to knock on people’s door and introduce yourself. It doesn’t have to be food, either. You can create something seasonal or even go door to door giving each resident a single carnation.

No matter what you choose, you should have a business card and a door hanger to leave with your goodie bag in case no one answers.

Handing out fun gifts door to door is a great way to build goodwill and help the local residents get to know you and your business.

Take a Walk

Even without a pet, being present in the neighborhood is a good way to meet people and learn about their needs. You can take simple walk through the area, offer to help people where you can, and introduce yourself.

Weekends are the best time to walk through, of course, and evenings can be good as well. Choose days with good weather – not only is it more comfortable for you, but people are more likely to be out and about as well.

Attend Community Events

Community events, such as garage sales, neighborhood fairs, or other local activities is another great way to make in-person connections in your farm area. When you’re at a social gathering, people are already looking to chat so it’s easy to make connections.

When you meet someone, don’t immediately launch into a real estate sales pitch. Instead, focus on common interests and ask a lot of questions. You don’t want to push people away before you’ve even met them!

Get Out There!

These ideas are just a starting point, of course. You can come up with a variety of creative ways to make in-person connections. The basic thought is that when you get out of your office and meet people personally, they’ll remember you. You’ll create a great first impression, and be able to build your relationship from there.

Do you need new business cards or door hangers to get you started on your in-person marketing? We’d love to help. Contact us today!

Three Tips for a Great Farming Postcard

Farming Postcard

As we move toward the spring selling season, what are you doing to stay visible and relevant in your target neighborhoods?

Hopefully, you’re using farming postcards to stay in touch with prospects in the neighborhood. You don’t even need a mailing list – Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) allows you to mail to every home on a postal route, and it costs less than regular postage!

To make sure your farming postcards get the results you’re looking for, follow these tips to create a great mailer.

Get Attention!

One of the great qualities of a postcard is that the recipient sees it immediately. There’s no envelope to open, so the number of people who at least glance it over is almost 100%.

That doesn’t mean attention is guaranteed! You still have to have something on the postcard that will grab their interest in those first few seconds. Some ideas include:

  • A funny picture or saying that piques curiosity. Humor is a great tool!
  • Ask a question that triggers a desire or fear in your prospect. Desire and fear are powerful emotions for getting and keeping interest.
  • Give useful information. Sharing a recipe or a home-related tip can ensure your postcard gets more attention.

Once you’ve gotten their attention, your postcard will get a closer look. It may even be kept for future reference.

Target Your Message

A useful or attention-getting postcard is a great start, but if you don’t follow up with a relevant message to the recipient, you’ll lose your momentum.

Remember that marketing is always about the client, not about you. You may be tempted to fill a postcard with your certifications and awards, but that doesn’t help the client understand why they should care.

Instead, address the client’s needs in your postcard immediately. If you’re focusing on families, try a headline like, “Need to buy a new home before school starts in the fall?” Or, if you’ve got retirees looking to downsize, a message like “An empty nest can be cozy. Let me help,” may work well.

Tell the Reader What’s Next

Once you’ve gotten attention and delivered a relevant message, what’s next? You need to make sure to answer that on your postcard. Otherwise, you’ve taken an interested prospect and left them hanging!

A powerful call-to-action is a great way to continue the conversation. It doesn’t have to be a direct “Call me for an assessment of your home,” although it could be. You could also use these ideas:

  • Provide the link to a relevant post on your website and ask them to comment
  • Ask them to share the postcard with friends
  • Invite them to interact on your social media page
  • Invite them to an event or open house

Whatever you do, don’t forget to have a call-to-action. You want to keep the relationship building, so let them know what’s next!

Consistency is Key

Once you’ve created a great farming postcard and sent it, you’ve started the conversation. However, consistency is key if you want to see real results. Try to send farming postcards at least six times a year – in fact, 9 – 12 is best.

Your highest-value market should get the highest frequency, and other markets can get fewer. Remember, it’s about getting your message, name, and face in front of prospects enough times that they feel like they can trust you with a major purchase. That takes time!

Ready to get your farming postcards ready for spring? We can help. Take a look at our templates and contact us to customize them today!

Real Estate Marketing – Farming for Fun and Profit!

Real Estate Farming for Fun and Profit

Real estate marketing can be tough, and determining which marketing techniques work best can be even tougher. And in an increasingly digital world, are old-school real estate marketing methods still relevant and useful?

Do people still pay attention to non-digital marketing and advertising?

We’re talking specifically about postal mail farming for new leads, and yes, this strategy absolutely still works in today’s world.

Why?

Because there’s just something about direct mail campaigns that will always be effective.

What is Farming in Real Estate Marketing?

Farming essentially involves selecting one specific target area or neighborhood at a time and hitting that area hard with various mailers and promotions. Then, once you’ve generated a steady presence and ongoing leads in one area, you can move on and focus on another neighborhood full of new potential leads.

Farming is a key way to build your visibility in desired neighborhoods. You can do anything from advertising just listed or just sold properties to sending a monthly newsletter full of interesting information and upcoming events. You’re only limited by your imagination!

Why Does Farming Work?

What is it about postal mail that really gets through to potential clients? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons farming really works:

  1. Leaves a Tangible Message – While digital messages such as email, texts, online advertisements and social media postings work well, they are gone as soon as you shut down your computer. And generally the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” begins to kick in. But, with a physical mailer – like a postcard or flyer – you’re giving potential leads something tangible to remember you by, keeping your business in the forefront of their minds.
  2. Specifically Targeted – By choosing to send targeted mailers based on location, you have the unique opportunity to customize your advertisements in a way that you might not be able to do online (where generally you are appealing to a much larger audience). Farming allows you to take your real estate marketing to the next level by giving you the opportunity to touch on very specific pain points, struggles and needs of your immediate audience.
  3. Opportunity for You to Sell Well – A postcard or flyer gives you as a realtor quite a bit of blank space to really let your marketing skills shine. Take the opportunity to create something really eye-catching that appeals to your target area. Just remember not to be too over the top – you don’t want potential clients to think you’re too unprofessional to work with. Aim for a balance and always promote yourself as a qualified real estate expert.

Getting Started is Simple and Easy!

Interested in incorporating farming into your own real estate marketing plan? Getting started is simple, easy and quicker than you might imagine.

Locate specific areas and neighborhoods in your region that could be targeted. Think about areas where the real estate market is doing well, and figure out what might motivate someone to buy or sell. Once you have the specifics in order, it’s time to actually create your farming mailers like postcards and flyers.

This is where you get to be creative and really help your business stand out from the crowd. And if you need any help creating the perfect real estate postcards or flyers, we have a large selection of unique options for you to choose from and customize!

Remember, even though digital media seems to be dominating the real estate marketing field, direct mail is far from obsolete. Don’t neglect farming in your market!

Stop “Wishing” And Start “Doing”…Get Inspired!

real estate wishes come trueHow often do you say to yourself things like “I wish I had more clients” or “I wish I was doing more business” or “I wish I had more listings” wishing for this and wishing for that, hoping that if you keep “wishing,” it will come your way.  I was inspired to write this article by an electrician that is doing some work at my home who said to me “You’re lucky, I wish I could work at home.”  Luck has nothing to do with it and neither does wishing… 😉

I am “Hope” (Nadine means hope in Russian) and I hope reading this helps begin turning your wishes in to reality…or “realty”…whichever you prefer. :-)

I no longer “wish” for things like I used to for two reasons.

  1. Wishing for things doesn’t do anything to move me forward towards my goals and life ambitions. It certainly doesn’t get me any closer to my purpose to “wish.”
  2. If I’m wishing for something else, how am I appreciating what I have and living in the moment I’m in.  This moment is the only one I have, so instead of wishing for something else, I choose to be thankful for what “is.”

The definition of the word “wish”
To feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; want something that cannot or probably will not happen.

So my question to you is…do you want to keep “wishing” for something in your life, that according to the definition “cannot or probably won’t happen?”  Or are you more in tuned with “doing” something that leads you to where you’re going?  If it’s the latter, I have some ideas I wanted to share to help you get to “doing” instead of wishing, which leads nowhere.

As a Realtor®, you are in the lead generation business and must keep yourself busy “doing” activities that result in getting more leads for your database.  Leads turn in to listings when you work them.

  • Talk to 10 people per day.  Just make contact with 10 people.  Don’t sell them real estate, just keep in touch and find out how you can serve.  When you keep in touch and are always ready to serve the needs of others, things just work out and the magic happens.
  • Visit no less than 10 properties in your market per week.  The best way to keep yourself educated and up to date on the market and what’s happening in it is to be “in” it.  Get out of your office, get out of your house, step away from whatever it is that distracts you and “be” a Realtor® by “doing” the things Realtors® do when they are working and lead generating.
  • Participate in Social Media.  Social media isn’t going anywhere and if you’re not participating, you’re missing out on a huge amount of opportunity to build your reputation as well as your brand.  You’re missing out on the opportunity to meet up with people on line, keep in touch and remind people you’re a Realtor®!!!  Many friendships and relationships are established on social media sites like Facebook.  It gives people a glimpse of who you are, what you stand for and what’s most important to you.  Concerned about privacy…don’t post what you don’t want people to see!  Simple.
  • Attend networking events.  You’ll meet a lot of local people at networking events.  You must “list to last” and the people who are local to your community are the ones you want to network with.  They are attending networking events to “network,” so get out there and network, finding out how you can serve each others businesses.
  • Be of service. Being of service in your community and the community you serve, serves everyone.  When we serve others, it all comes back around 10 fold.  Getting involved in community events helps you to get to know the community and the leaders of the community.  They’re the ones who making things happen in the community you serve and will direct people your way when they see you’re commitment to the common goals of a great community.
  • Be consistent with your marketing.  Marketing is like food for your business and without it, your business can’t survive.  Have a real estate marketing budget, work your budget by working your database via mail, phone and email.

If you had a wish list in your real estate business, I hope after reading this you put wishing aside and start doing to make it all happen.  Your life and your real estate business is where it is because you set it up that way based on what you do or don’t do.  Start doing something different and something different will come your way as a result.

Be blessed!  Keep me posted on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn on how these ideas worked to change something in your business.

 

 

Important Information For Realtors® Not Wanting To Be Left Behind…Realtor Marketing