A goal without a plan is just a wish.
Do you create a marketing plan for your real estate business each year? If not, you are almost certainly leaving a lot of customers and money on the table. A real estate marketing plan shows you how your business goals will become reality. When you write it down, it’s a concrete document that will remind you of what you set out to accomplish and what you still need to do to get there.
Many Realtors® don’t write a plan because they aren’t sure where to start. Others may feel they don’t have time. However, without a plan, you won’t know where you’re going or how to get there! It’s one of the most important things you can do each year. Here are five steps to help you create your real estate marketing plan.
Decide What You Want
Setting concrete goals is the first step to your marketing plan. Decide what you want to accomplish by the end of the year. You can think in terms of listings, sales, overall income, or number of customers. You can also set goals in terms of name recognition, market share, or number of referrals received.
You’ll want to make sure each goal is SMART:
- Specific: Rather than “grow” plan to “increase the number of listings this year”
- Measurable: Rather than “increase listings”, plan to “increase listings by 20%”
- Actionable: You should be able to take specific actions to accomplish the plan
- Realistic: It should be something you can accomplish
- Time-Bound: Set a deadline, like “By Dec 1” or “Before Jan 1”.
Define Your Market
Your market is probably defined by a specific geographic area and by the people that live in the area. Take time to write down all of the specific markets you serve. In my city in Iowa there’s a large university, so a Realtor® here might focus on groups from “college professors needing to upgrade” to “new graduates buying their first house”. There are also small cities very close by that have a large number of professionals and families, which provide additional markets.
Once you’ve written down all of the markets you have available in your area, you might choose just one or two to focus on for the next year. That way, you’ll have a manageable target for your marketing efforts.
Find Your Voice
The next step is to think about how you’re going to stand out to your target markets. What special value can you bring them? In my city, being a graduate of the local university could be a difference maker. You could leverage your role in a community or volunteer organization you care deeply about. Or, you could choose one of your market segments and concentrate on meeting their specific needs in an extremely focused way.
Once you find your voice, refine your marketing message. Decide what promises you want to make and fulfill to your target market groups. Write down several targeted offers that you want to present in your community.
Determine Your Tactics
Up to this point I haven’t talked about specific tactics, because deciding whether to blog, email market, use farming postcards, etc., doesn’t make sense until you’ve done the first three steps. Your tactics are determined by your goals, market segments, and voice.
Now that you have those laid out, determine which types of marketing would most likely reach the target markets you’ve chosen in a useful way. Older folks will be more receptive to mail, where younger folks may be a great group for email or social media marketing. In addition, think about what methods make the most sense based on the types of offers you plan to make.
Don’t use more than two tactics per marketing group to start with. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your community.
I’ve saved the best for last – take action! Unfortunately in every area of life people know far more information than they follow through on. Real estate agents are just as guilty of this as everyone else. Now that you’ve made your plan, WORK THE PLAN. Take the steps you need to take to reach your goals.
Every plan is subject to change. If you find that you need to adjust your plan in some way, do it. However, keep your goals clearly in your mind. Your methods may change, but you still want to create success each year. With your goals in mind and your plan in place, you will be well on your way to doing so.
Do you use a written marketing plan? Why or why not? Share in the comments!