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Archive for real estate best practices

Save Your Money – This Marketing Doesn’t Work

Marketing That Doesn't Work

Don’t you wish you knew in advance what marketing would be effective and what wouldn’t? It would be nice not ever to have to waste time or money on ineffective marketing. In fact, what if you had a friend who worked in marketing and could tell you exactly what to focus on…

Oh wait, you do! *wink*

As someone who sees a lot of marketing day in and day out, I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s not just because I’m a marketer, it’s because I’m a consumer! I know what catches my attention and what I throw away without another look.

So here are two pro tips on what kind of marketing doesn’t work and isn’t worth the time or money – and what to do instead.

Inconsistent Marketing Doesn’t Work

Planning to send one postcard blast and never do it again? Want to try Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) once, but aren’t sure if or when you’ll try again.

Let me be straight with you – you’re wasting your time and money.

We all aspire to be better than we are, but we forget it takes time – and a process – to get there.

Try these steps to build into a consistent marketing plan:

  1. Take an hour to write down attributes of your ideal client
  2. Finish this sentence, from their perspective: “If I could only __________, I would be so much less stressed.”
  3. Choose one – just one – social media platform. Post daily. Focus your message around helping your ideal customer with that one concern that keeps them up at night.
  4. Choose one – just one – farm Commit to mailing them postcards four times a year.
  5. Commit to showing up at live events in or near your farm neighborhood four times a year.

Once you’ve completed these five steps, you can go back to 3, 4, and 5 and add more platforms, more mailings, and more live events. There you go! You are more consistent than most other Realtors®, and your results will show it.

Unfocused Messaging Doesn’t Work

Even if you’re brand new in real estate, you know that you can’t just walk up to someone and say, “I’m a Realtor®!” and expect them to sign a contract immediately. You have to get their attention.

If you plan to send out marketing on social media, mail, or email that simply says, “Hi, I’m a local Realtor®!” don’t waste your effort.

Try these steps to build a focused message:

  1. Take an hour to write down attributes of your ideal client
  2. Finish this sentence, from their perspective: “If I could only __________, I would be so much less stressed.”
  3. Make a list of all the ways you can serve them to relieve that problem.
  4. Start all marketing with “You” rather than “I.” Instead of “I do X,” try “You struggle with {problem}. It’s hard. I can help.”
  5. Create content – mail, email, and social media – that explains the problem they have, the struggles it causes, and how you can help them solve it, and the benefits they get.
  6. Always lead with the benefit or outcome you want to help them achieve. It’s a guaranteed attention-getter.

When you have followed this process, your marketing will be focused on helping your ideal client solve their most pressing real estate problems. That will gain attention and help you get traction!

Marketing has a lot of facets, and it can seem overwhelming. But I promise that if you get consistent with a focused marketing message, you’ll be miles ahead of most other real estate agents. Over time, your results will show it!

Ready to get consistent in your mailings? We can help! Not only do we have a variety of marketing pieces available, but we can also help you mail them on time, every time. Contact us for details!

Real Estate Email Marketing Best Practices

Email Marketing Best Practices

Email marketing is an effective way to reach out to busy prospects, especially when you combine email marketing with farming, print marketing, and social media outreach.

However, like all marketing approaches, there are good ways to go about email marketing and terrible ways to go about it.

Here are some best practices to follow to make sure that your list welcomes your email marketing and it’s effective for your business.

Get Permission to Add Someone to Your List

Certain rules should be followed when you use email marketing. Using an email service provider (ESP) instead of your personal email address is one. Getting permission to send emails to your prospects is another.

Recently I had someone add me to their email list without asking permission. They found my email address, probably through Printerbees, and decided that was all they needed.

That’s far from the case. You need to make sure that people specifically opt-in and give you permission to contact them. You can gain this approval by offering a free report, a contest, and more. However you do it, it’s important to make sure people choose to receive information from you.

If you add people to your list without their permission, you can receive complaints and your email provider may block you from sending and receiving emails. More than that, it doesn’t do you any good to send information to someone who doesn’t want to hear from you! It certainly won’t make them more likely to do business with you.

Email Frequency is Less Important Than Consistency

When Realtors® start working with email marketing, many are concerned about how often they should email their prospects. You want to be front-of-mind, but you don’t want to be annoying.

What you may be surprised to know is that how often you email is far less important than setting an expectation and sticking to it. Consistent daily emails will get fewer complaints and unsubscribes than inconsistent weekly emails.

Of course, each email needs to provide high-quality, useful, engaging information. If you don’t have enough to say every day, focus on providing weekly or twice-monthly emails loaded with value.

Mix Helpful Real Estate News with Sales

When you produce marketing emails, it’s vital to strike a balance between sales and providing useful information.

If you only provide valuable information but never tell prospects to contact you, you won’t gain clients from your efforts. On the other hand, if you’re nothing but a self-promoter, people won’t be interested in reading your emails for very long.

You might consider setting up a schedule that varies your content while also letting you know what you’re going to send. This way you don’t have to come up with ideas from scratch each time. Here is a sample for once-a-week email marketing:

  • Week 1: Helpful seasonal tip for homeowners, invitation to contact me
  • Week 2: Customer testimonial, invitation to contact me
  • Week 3: Inspirational content, invitation to refer friends/family to me
  • Week 4: Highlight a current listing (pure sales), invitation to contact me for showing

As you can see, every email includes an invitation to be in touch with you if they are looking to buy or sell a home. However, only one of the four is purely a sales email. This gives you a good mix of value and promotion.

Email marketing is an important part of your overall marketing mix. When you use email in addition to farming postcards, just listed and just sold postcards, door knocking, and more, you’ll increase your chances to reach prospects.

Just be sure to do your email marketing correctly, so your readers welcome it!

3 Ways to Get Buyers to Pre-Qualify Before Showing Homes

Pre-qualification for Real Estate

Pre-qualifying buyers is an important element of making sure a buyer is serious. None of us want to waste our time with buyers who aren’t pre-qualified, because we aren’t sure if they will even be able to buy a home they pick out.

Worse than that, of course, are people who know they are looking out of their league, much like someone that asks to test drive a Maserati when they have nowhere near the funds to buy it. Did you know I’ve actually seen lists of low-cost date ideas that suggest you should go to an expensive open house just for fun?

Unfortunately, buyers aren’t always interested in respecting our time and business. If we want them to pre-qualify before showings, we need to explain it terms that matter to the buyer. Start with requiring a pre-qualification before you show homes, and explain why in these three ways.

A Pre-Qualification Is Required for Agent Safety

We’ve all heard the horror stories, so share them with your potential lookey-loos. Spare no detail to express the gravity of the situation. Explain that you require a pre-qualification in order to assure your own safety.

You can let them know that a pre-qualification isn’t just about money, it’s about identifying the person who’s browsing with enough detail that should anything go wrong, they will quickly be found. Tell them that potential criminals would never agree to a pre-qualification, and that it’s a major deterrent.

Point out that you know a lender who can help them get pre-qualified and it will take 20 minutes. If they refuse, apologetically and respectfully let them know there will be no showings.

A Pre-Qualification Ensures We Find the Right Home

Let buyers know that it’s not uncommon for someone to be wrong about the mortgage they qualify for. Focus this one on the positive – they may be able to afford more home than they think!! Explain that the pre-qualification policy ensures that you help the buyer look in the best neighborhoods. And by the way, you know someone who can help them out in 15 minutes. Would Tuesday or Wednesday work best?

By going into detail about some amazing listings you know about just above their price-point, you can get them salivating about a home they may be able to view – if they pre-qualify. As an added bonus, it encourages the buyer to think about a bigger home in a better neighborhood, which benefits you as well as them and their family.

Explain that you want to honor their time by showing them the best homes in the best areas, and you can only do that with a pre-qualification letter.

A Pre-Qualification Ensures a Quicker Offer Acceptance

Many sellers won’t be quick to accept a non-qualified offer. In a multiple offer situation, this will generally mean that your buyer will get skipped in favor of a different offer. It can also mean that a seller won’t accept as much of a drop on the price, because they aren’t motivated to work with your buyer.

When you explain these realities to a potential buyer, you can express that pre-qualification in their best interest. You are in a better buying position, especially for sellers who want to avoid specific types of financing. Or, if your buyer plans to use a non-conventional loan, let them know that a pre-qualification will help that financing be more readily accepted.

There’s a finesse to describing this in a way that is respectful and uplifting to the buyer, and I find that a “I’m just telling you the reality of how it is,” attitude is the best approach. They will trust you when they know you’ll give them the whole story.

In the end, Realtors® need to insist on pre-qualification before they show homes. It protects your time, helps protect your safety, ensures that you show a buyer appropriate homes, and ensures a quicker offer acceptance. When you describe your pre-qualification requirement in a way that makes sense to the buyer and appeals to their self-interest, you’ll have much less trouble getting them to agree.

How do you explain pre-qualification to your buyers? Share in the comments!