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Are You Making These Common Email Marketing Mistakes?

Common Email Mistakes

Email marketing is a great way to reach your customers, especially millennials. Even more, it’s an extremely effective marketing tool, with an amazing return on investment. Recently we talked about how automated email marketing could effectively give you a full-time marketing assistant for $199/mo. It’s amazing what email can do!

However, there are some common mistakes that Realtors® make when they implement email marketing. In order to get the full effect of your marketing efforts, make sure to avoid these five common blunders:

Typos and Grammatical Errors

Nothing looks less professional than an email with typos or grammatical mistakes. Unfortunately, some agents put in errors on purpose because they think it makes the email look less automated and more human! This is a mistake. Remember that your clients are trusting you with one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. If it looks like your attention to detail is lacking, they will definitely find someone else to help them.

Wrong Property Link

When you’re sending out a lot of emails, it’s tempting to cut and paste quickly to get the work done. Unfortunately, this can result in you sending out a link to the wrong property to a customer or prospect. This is a mistake that will confuse your clients and make you look like you don’t know what you’re doing. Even if you’re serving five clients right now, each one wants to feel like they’re the only one. If you make mistakes with your links, you’ll look disorganized and your customers will likely wonder what other mistakes you’ve made – which is not a good place to be when they’re signing dozens of documents with you.

Sending the Wrong Date or Time

If you are setting up an open house or a showing, triple check to make sure the date and time are both correct. This is especially important when you are dealing with multiple buyers/listings at once. Sending the wrong information results in frustration, wasted time, and a poor customer experience. Clients will NOT think you’re the one to refer others to if this happens! You need to get this right the first time – folks may not read your follow-up email trying to correct your mistake.

Having Wrong Information in the “From” Address

Some email software programs don’t have a great default set for the “From” field of the email. In order for your marketing and outreach to be effective, you want to make sure it’s set to show your name. If it shows your brokerage or some other information, your prospects may simply think it’s spam. Having the “From” field correct is also a way to reinforce your personal brand every time you send a message.

Failure to Personalize

An email that seems like a bulk email isn’t likely to do you any favors. You want to personalize as much as you can. First, start with a greeting that includes their name. If you’re more formal, you can use “Mr. White” instead of “Mark”. But some form of their name is important. Then, be sure the email is going to a targeted list so you can mention specifics of their situation. For instance, “I know you’ve had a frustrating time selling your home,” to an expired listings list. This makes the email feel much more personal to the recipient.

There are many ways in which email marketing can extend your brand, make your outreach and follow-up more consistent, and help you land clients and referrals. When you avoid these five common mistakes of email marketing, you’re positioning yourself for amazing success.

 

What common mistakes do you see in email marketing? Share in the comments!

Are You Slow Enough to Win the Race?

Making Time As A Realtor.  Real Estate Marketing MagazineHave you ever wondered what makes some Realtors® amazingly successful and others just so-so? The answer comes from Winston Churchill: “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”

This made me think of the old children’s story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare was sure he’d win the race based on his brilliant speed, and he was ahead at the beginning. However, he got lazy, rested, and fell asleep, allowing the tortoise to pass him and win. So my question to you today is, are you slow enough to win the race in real estate?

What do you mean, SLOW?

No one wants to be slow. Slow is a negative word in our society, especially as obsessed as we are with instant gratification. If a website is slow, fix it. If traffic is slow, curse it. If your cell phone is slow, upgrade it. Slow is always a problem.

However, when we focus on the continuous effort required in our real estate career, we realize that slow is not the problem. Inconsistent is the problem. Inconsistent marketing. Inconsistent in requesting referrals. Inconsistent in our farming. Inconsistent in our cold calling. Inconsistent on following up leads. The list goes on and on.

Be OK with being slow. Be OK with starting your day with 3 hours of cold calling, the way a successful California agent shared he did in a Facebook group for lead generation. He is on track to hit $10 million in sales, and this is his second year in the business. His average listing is right around $365,000. Yes, it’s California. But every market has its problems – he’s just discovered that slow and steady wins the race.

How to be more consistent

Slow Enough to Win the RaceSo, as real estate professionals, how do we build more of that slow, consistent effort into our lives? One of the most important ways is through routine. By having a daily routine – or even just a morning routine – we’ll ensure that we are doing the same things repeatedly.

However, being consistent alone won’t help as much as making sure we are being consistent in the right things. Review your last year, or last quarter, of business. Where are the majority of your leads coming from? What’s working? Spend the first part of each day focused on the activities that bring you the most leads and new business. Everything else can wait.

There’s a philosophy called 80/20, that says that 20% of your activities give you 80% of your results. Review your lead generation and appointment scheduling tactics, and focus daily time and effort on the 20% that matter most. Then, no matter what else happens during the day, you’ve accomplished your most impactful work and set the stage for your ongoing success.

It certainly seems like an odd question to ask if you’re slow enough to win the race. But when you realize that consistency wins over hurry, stress, and scattered efforts, it all begins to make sense. Steady, consistent work is how you win the race in real estate.

What effort in your business do you want to focus on more consistently? Share in the comments!  

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace…

Speak Now

The part of weddings where they ask if there are any objections always makes me nervous. I guess I’ve seen too many romantic comedies or something, because I half-expect there to be an outburst, a revelation of cheating, or some other drama. Of course, in real-life weddings, there almost never is.

Today, though, it’s not about a wedding – it’s about YOU! Here at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine we want to know what struggles YOU have with real estate marketing. Here are some questions we have:

  • What Holds You Back From Your Best Success? No one comes into real estate looking to do poorly. However, most of us don’t achieve the success we dream of. What’s holding you back?
  • What’s the Hardest Part of Real Estate Marketing? We know there are dozens of strategies, from farming to choosing whether to focus on buyers or sellers. Even with all these options, we still see Realtors® struggle with marketing. What’s the hardest part for you and the other Realtors® you know?
  • What Do You Enjoy Most About Real Estate? Why are you a real estate agent? What do you love about it? What makes you excited to get out of bed and get to work each morning? Share with us what you love most about your work!
  • What Do You Hate About Real Estate? No line of work is all rainbows – what do you like least? What is your biggest struggle? What makes you want to hide under the covers on a Monday?
  • What’s The Hardest Part of Getting Leads? Every Realtor® knows that leads are how you last in real estate. What’s the hardest part of getting them? What strategies do you need help with? Or do you just need a new strategy altogether?
  • What Resources Are Missing? Is there one type of information or template that you wish you could find, but you can’t? Or perhaps the options are too expensive? What resources would be most helpful to you and other agents you know?

We at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine and Printerbees want to help. We’re planning on launching a website very soon that will provide resources and hopefully help you answer some of the tough questions of being a Realtor®. However, we can’t create great content without knowing your needs – so let us know! We want to hear from YOU!

You can comment below, visit us on Facebook, or send us an email. No matter how you choose to reach out, we appreciate your feedback. We want your real estate business to be as successful as you ever dreamed it could be!

Thanks for taking the time to share. Here’s to your success!

3 Tips for a Successful Real Estate Blog

Real Estate Blog connections

Blogging has been a hot trend in business for several years now. Business owners, including Realtors®, realize that customers are searching online, and search engines give results based on great content that seems to match the keywords used by the customer. The goal of any business blog is to be relevant to specific keywords in order to gain customer traffic.

However, that shouldn’t be the only goal. Just like with print marketing in key neighborhoods, you want to establish a relationship over time. That means creating useful content that keeps readers coming back, even if they don’t need your services right now.

Here are five tips that will help you establish a successful real estate blog that brings in search visitors and builds relationships over time.

Write About Local Real Estate

This is the most important way to get noticed in your market. The key to being listed highly for a search term is to write about it frequently. Being in the top results for terms like “real estate agent” is very difficult and really not that helpful. Customers are much more likely to be using terms like “buying a home in Dallas” or “selling homes in St. Louis”.

This means that the most bang for your buck will come from writing about local real estate. Write about new home developments in your area, or write specific tips about how to prepare a house for sale with references to your city built in. When you write with local terms, your blog will naturally rank well for local real estate search terms.

Know How Often to Post

Some Realtors® don’t start a blog because they are worried about the time commitment. In truth, you can post as little as once a week and still have a great, fresh blog. Quality of content matters much more than quantity.

This can help you avoid starting a blog and abandoning it also. If you know you don’t have to post every day, you can take some of the pressure off of yourself and create great content once a week or so, rather than trying to post every day and burning out.

If you need help creating regular blog content, there are writers who can help. Find someone who is a great writer and is familiar with the real estate business to help you. You can work out a contract where they ghost-write for you, and you own the content and can publish it under your own name. Of course, these need to be high-quality blog posts.

Write Naturally

The best and most authentic writing is when you write similarly to how you talk. You don’t want to sound fake or canned. You certainly don’t want to be shoving keywords like “St. Louis real estate” into every other sentence. Just write naturally, the way you sound.

When you write naturally, not only will you be creating great blog posts, you’ll be allowing your audience to get to know you. This will help them feel a connection with you immediately, which is essential to getting business. In addition, those that don’t need your services right away will still feel connected to you and may well come back and continue to read your blog. This will keep you top-of-mind when they do need a Realtor®.

When you create a frequently-updated local blog, you’ll be creating a resource that is valuable for those moving in to your area and those that already live there. When you write in your own natural voice, you’ll be building authentic relationships through your blog. A great resource and authentic relationships bring sales to YOU, saving you time and making you money. Sounds like a win/win, doesn’t it?

Do you have a customer-facing real estate blog? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

5 Tips to Maximize Your Realtor® Website

Maximize Realtor Website

There are over 3 billion people in the world that use the internet. With that many people online, a Realtor® can’t afford to do without a website. However, there are so many websites online that it can be hard to know how to stand out. These five tips will show you how to maximize the effect of your website on your realty business.

Use Graphics and Have a Responsive Site

Graphics are an undeniable part of showing off your real estate business online. People love to see pictures, and having a great photo gallery of each listing will help generate interest and create buyers. However, it’s also important to have a “responsive” site, or one that adjusts to fit on the screens of mobile devices.

Many times, you can bypass knowing the nuts and bolts of website design by using pre-designed templates on a website service. Just make sure the service lets you have your own domain name, such as MyNameRealty.com. In addition, take advantage of slideshow templates that allow you to cycle photos of various listings and recent sales on the homepage.

Focus on the Visitors’ Perspective

Visitors to your site aren’t interested in you; they’re interested in how their own needs can be met. Be sure to set up your website and optimize it with this in mind. You’ll want to use keywords based on prospective clients’ needs, such as “moving in Atlanta” or “new homes in Charleston”.

When you write the content on your website, whether it’s a blog post or a property description, think about it from your visitors’ perspective. What would resonate with a potential buyer or seller? What do they need to know? What needs and fears can you address? When you focus your website on the visitor, you’ll stand out to the right people and your site will gain traction.

Link Your Social Media Accounts to Your Site

If you have active social media accounts – and as a Realtor®, you should – you’ll want to link them to your website. Not only should your social media posts invite viewers to visit your website, your website should also have links that encourage people to visit your social media accounts.

It’s always helpful to specify what you would like people to do when they visit your page. You can say things like “Follow me on Facebook!” or “Check out my latest pins!” These types of invitations will help people join you on all of your platforms, allowing them to receive information from you more often. That will keep you top-of-mind when they have a need!

Have a Blog that Informs More Than Sells

A blog ensures that new content will be created on your site frequently, which will help it rank highly in search engines. In addition, you can share your blog posts on social media to encourage viewers to visit your site and check out your listings.

However, your blog should be about more than your real estate business. You should use an 80/20 rule – 80% of your content can inform, educate, and entertain, while 20% can advertise your listings and recent successes. Sometimes a Realtor® has a hard time knowing exactly what to write about on a blog. If that’s you, check out this amazing list of 101 blog post ideas. You won’t lack inspiration ever again!

Focus on Lead Management Along With Lead Generation

As many Realtors® know, it’s not enough to just generate leads. It’s important to nurture those connections as well, so that they will come to you when they are ready to buy or sell a home. If you simply collect new contacts, you may lose out on old leads that are now ready for a Realtor®.

There are many ways to keep in touch with the network you create. Social media is one way, but you can also keep in touch from your website. Offer a monthly email newsletter highlighting what’s going in the neighborhoods you serve. You can use the newsletter to show of recent success stories you’ve had, and to congratulate new homeowners. This way, you don’t lose touch with leads that aren’t yet ready to act – and when they are, they will be more likely to come to you.

Having a website isn’t optional for Realtors®, even though the homes you sell are definitely not virtual. Using the five tips above will help you maximize your website results and help your realty business grow tremendously. The time you invest online will be handsomely rewarded!

How to Get More From Your Social Media Efforts

Realtors® Get the most out of Social Media

As we discussed earlier this week, having a social media presence is essential for a Realtor® in developing relationships, building interest in properties, and gaining attention for their business. But are you really getting the most out of your social media profiles? Remember, social media shouldn’t be a passive experience for your followers. Building relationships is all about engagement!

Be of Service

This is the first and most important thing you can do on social media as a Realtor®. Remember that your business is not all about making money, or selling more houses than someone else. The point of your business, if you want to be truly successful, is to serve. Use your social media profiles to be the most helpful Realtor® around, not just to potential clients but also to other professionals. If you’ve helped another Realtor®, they will remember you and may make a point of bringing a client by to see one of your listings. Community will get you much further than being a lone wolf.

Include Social Media Monitoring in Your Strategy

Social media monitoring may sound intrusive or time-consuming, but it really isn’t. Another term for it is ‘social listening’. It just means you keep up with what people are saying about you, your industry, and your business. A social media monitoring strategy can let you know when someone is tweeting about an upcoming move, or has questions about using a Realtor®. By being the first professional contact that person gets about their question, you’ll put yourself on top of the pack when they need your services. Social listening helps you build better relationships, beat your competition to the punch, and get a better return on your social media time.

Initiate Contact with Those Who Express a Real Estate Need

By being proactive and finding those who are talking about moving or selling property, you can dramatically increase you results. NM Insite published a report that showed that 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are more likely to recommend that brand to others. In social media, you ARE your brand, and if you can make a connection, you’ll be more likely to find recommendations coming your way.

Add Value Statements to Your Profiles

Being a Realtor® is about bringing tons of value to your clients as they search for or sell their property. By making those statements of value upfront, you’ll gain extra attention on social media. A value statement will describe and differentiate your services, and give consumers a better idea what you are about. Keep in mind, though, that customers want to know how you meet their needs, not how amazing you are. So keep the value statements focused on the customer and the important benefits they gain from working with you.

Keep Interest with a Variety of Content

Your social media presence will be more interesting and gain more followers if it provides a variety of content experiences. Here are some ideas you can use as a Realtor®:

  • Video walkthroughs of a property
  • Case studies showing how you helped a client
  • Infographics showing the importance of using a Realtor®
  • Photos of listings
  • Well-written articles describing the value of your services to clients

Create Targeted Calls to Action

Whether you’re posting a beautiful listing on Facebook or engaging with property hunters on Twitter, you want to make sure to let viewers know what you’d like them to do next. The power of suggestion is potent, and by saying things as simple as “Don’t miss this open house!” or “Call me about this home!” you can create action on the part of your customer. A targeted call to action can make the difference between a post with no engagement and a post that drives customers to your listing.

Social media can be a gold mine of relationships with colleagues and potential clients. However, it does take proactive work on your part to make it happen. By using the tips above, you’ll be taking full advantage of your social media experience.

What’s your favorite thing to share in social media? What gets you the most engagement? Share in the comments! 

How Realtors® Can Take Full Advantage of Social Media

Realtor Social Media

As of January 2014, Pew Research found that 74% of online adults use social networking sites. 74%!!! That means that three-fourths of your online customers can be found using social media.

As a Realtor®, it can be difficult to know exactly how to approach social media. There are so many options, and consistent engagement can be hard to maintain. In this article you’ll find great tips for the three most common social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

No matter what social media platform you focus on, be sure to listen, add value, and interact consistently. Also, follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of your postings should be lifestyle, connecting, and helping. 20% can be about your listings.

Facebook

Facebook is the most well-known and well-used social media platform. Pew Research found that 71% of online adults use Facebook, so this is a great place to start your social media strategy.

  • Set up a business Facebook page focused on your realty business. You want to separate your Realtor® work from your personal life and personal posts. Stay natural though! Have real conversations and make connections. And use lots of pictures! Some ideas include pictures of your target neighborhood, pictures of unique staging or architecture, and of course pictures of your listings and sold properties.
  • Using the 80/20 rule, post a lot of helpful information, especially about your target neighborhoods. Post about local events, local news, and local sports. This will make you stand out as a very knowledgeable Realtor® to potential clients in that area!
  • Run contests to encourage engagement. Ask what your page followers’ favorite street name in the neighborhood is, or have them vote on a favorite photo of unique or celebrity homes. Award a random winner with a local treat. You’ll build your reputation and strengthen your network!
  • Consider targeted local advertising with Facebook. You can have promoted posts offering your services end up in front of locals, encouraging them to contact you if they know someone buying or selling.

Pinterest

Pew Research states that 21% of online adults use Pinterest, and demographics show that these users are largely female and focused on home, food, and design. That makes it the perfect platform for a Realtor® to show their expertise!

  • Get ideas for staging properties you sell. Pinterest is full of amazing home décor ideas. You can start a board of home décor ideas – this will allow you to attract followers while stockpiling ideas. Avoid using the word ‘staging’ in titles and descriptions, as that comes off as inauthentic.
  • Set up a variety of board that will help you attract followers, such as celebrity houses, interesting architecture, or DIY projects. Not only will these pins teach you facts that make interesting talking points, others may follow you and see your listings and other pins as well.
  • Be authentic – post about your own hobbies and interests too. On social media, it’s important to show your real self, not just a professional image.
  • Have a board for your listings. Repin listings that have important changes to bring them to the top of others’ feeds. An upcoming open house or recent price reduction can be highlighted this way. Also highlight your sales!

Twitter

Twitter may be the most intimidating platform of these three. Because it is text-based and uses only 150 characters per tweet, many realtors aren’t sure how to use it to promote their business. However, 19% of online adults use Twitter, so it’s worth learning how to tweet effectively!

  • Create the right account. Your handle (name) should have something to do with real estate, and your smiling face can be your image. Be sure to give a quick elevator-style pitch in the bio, add your website address in the links, and create an attractive background.
  • Remember the 80/20 rule in your tweets. You can tweet your listings, but also tweet about local events, local news, fun things to do in the area, and tips for moving. Don’t forget to include pictures – you can add a short link that leads to a Facebook photo or pin on Pinterest!
  • Use hashtags to expand your reach. A hashtag is a pound sign – # – and indicates a general subject. You might use something like #NYMovingAdvice or #TXHomesForSale. You can make up any hashtag you like, and folks who search for that topic will see your tweet.
  • To build followers, find influential people in the area and follow them first. Ideas are local celebrities, news organizations, or community groups. They may follow you back, and in any case you can retweet (re-share) their content. When you do, their followers will see you, and may choose to follow you for more information.

Social media is about being as helpful as possible in order to build connections with others. Whether you choose to focus on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or some combination of the three, authentic interactions are key. The people you help are likely to become customers as they learn to know and trust you. They’ll think of you when they need your services!

Do you use social media as a Realtor®? What have you found to be effective? Share in the comments!!

Create the Perfect Real Estate Business Card

Perfect Real Estate Business CardLasting impressions are made in a matter of moments, especially in real estate. One way to ensure you make a great impression is by having amazing real estate business cards. As a Realtor®, handing out your business card can mean the difference between gaining a customer and losing to a competitor. However, not all business cards are created equal – it’s important that yours stand out and really represent who you are as a professional. Here are some tips on creating the perfect business card.

Standard Size

It’s fun to be creative, but keep your creativity inside the standard sized card. Oddly shaped or sized cards do stand out, but for all the wrong reasons. Customers will find them hard to place in a wallet or standard business card holder, and as a result your real estate business card may get thrown away rather than kept for future reference.

You also want to make sure you choose excellent paper quality to help your cards seem more professional and ensure they hold up inside a wallet or purse. You may also want to choose a supplier that allows you to add additional information to the back of the card, so that you can utilize the full surface.

Choose Complementary Colors

Winning a customer is all about having a business card that stands out in the right way. If you were listing a property, would you want it to have bold, brash colors inside, or complementary tones? Obviously the home that shows best is the one with complementary colors. The same holds true for your real estate business card. You can choose noticeable coloring, but make sure the colors aren’t too bright and don’t clash.

Remember to be careful about using colors that are too similar for the background and the text. The text can disappear into the card, especially after printing. Suppliers and design programs do their best to show you the finished product, but there will always be a difference between the screen and the printed result.

In the same way, detailed pictures should not be located behind text. The text and the details of the picture can trick the eye and result in neither one being clearly visible. A detailed picture in one corner, such as a photograph or logo, and text in a different area is the best strategy.

Mind Your Edges

The edges of a card can be a danger zone. Whether you are designing and printing your own cards or are ordering from a supplier, you want to watch the outside area known as the ‘bleed area’. This is the area where you or the supplier aims to cut the cards. You want to make sure your background color covers this area completely to avoid white edges. However, you also want to make sure no important information carries over into the bleed area. If it does, you could easily end up with your phone number or email address cut off!

In addition, to keep your cards as sharp as possible avoid putting any kind of border around the edge. This is especially true if you are ordering from a supplier and not doing your own cutting. A small change in the cutting zone can result in cards that have only three or two edges bordered, creating a very unprofessional look. In the same way that your property listing photos should be centered and clear, your real estate business cards should also be symmetrical and centered.

Display Your Smiling Face!

As a Realtor®, you are your own brand. You want to make sure that your card shows off a professional image of who you are. This serves three purposes – first, it displays you at your best ever time the customer looks at the card. Second, it helps them remember who you are and what you look like – if they see your picture elsewhere, it will trigger recognition. Finally, a personal picture helps create a personal connection, allowing the customer to feel like they know you despite what may have been a short introduction.

Additionally, make sure you include all relevant information. The more ways a customer can reach you, the better. A phone number and email address are the minimum – if you have an office address, website, or Facebook page that’s even better. Finally, think of a clever or personal tag line that can be the motto of your realty business. By including that on the card, you’ve added another memorable personal touch.

Your real estate business cards are a key part of your realty business. You want them to be colorful but not brash, unique, and display your brand at its best. By being mindful of size, color and edges, you’ll be assured of having a professional card. By placing your clear, smiling picture and personal motto on them, you’ll build recognition and create relationships. These steps will give you the perfect business cards to grow your brand and win customers.

 

Need help getting the perfect real estate business card? Check out PrinterBees right away – we provide professional quality, customizable business cards at a great price

Real Estate Marketing Ideas for 2015

2015 real estate marketing ideasThe New Year is upon us, so it’s time to revamp your marketing efforts for 2015! A new year is a great time to review what worked in 2014 and make plans for what you want to change or continue. Here are some real estate marketing ideas for you to consider for 2015.

Person to Person Interaction

The world has become too impersonal – we rely so much on email, postcards, and social media that we’ve almost forgotten how to actually speak to each other. For your 2015 real estate marketing strategy, place your agency on the front lines of in-person interaction. Here are some ideas on how:

  • Take regular walks in your target neighborhoods. If you have a well-behaved dog, even better! Strike up conversations with homeowners that you see out in their yards and driveways. Get to know them, shake their hand, and offer a useful branded item, such as a pen.
  • Host quarterly in-person events. These can vary throughout the year – perhaps a costume party at your office in the fall, and a free spring-cleaning seminar in the April. By regularly having face-to-face events, you will become well known in your community as a resource and a helper. Even if attendees aren’t buying or selling they likely know someone who is.
  • Participate in festivals, fairs, and other events that take place in your area. This may include attending farmer’s markets regularly, or having a booth at a local fair. Whether you’re simply attending or actually advertising, your presence will make you a trusted, familiar face.

Ask for Referrals!

As much as 75% of a Realtor’s® business comes from referrals and word-of-mouth. As a result, it’s important to not only make yourself known, but to ask for referrals! It costs many times more to get new prospects than it does to keep in touch with previous clients and ask them to help you find new customers. There are several ways to keep the communication going with previous clients:

  • Invite them to your in-person events. Using the “80/20 rule”, you should spend 80% of your interactions being helpful to others and only 20% offering your own services. As a result, you should be offering plenty of events that previous clients can learn from. If they come and gain more valuable knowledge from you, they will keep you in mind if someone they know needs a Realtor®!
  • Keep in touch with regular mailings. These mailing should be different than they ones you send prospects – they should include a thank you for your previous work together and ask for referrals if they know someone who is buying or selling property. These mailings can be holiday cards, seasonal postcards, or – for an especially personal touch – a birthday greeting.
  • Keep in touch on social media and email. Although you can focus on personal interactions in 2015, you can’t neglect the amount of time people spend online. Sprinkle in some emails, social media mentions, and other online interaction to keep your bonds with previous customers strong.

Rework Your Open Houses

Open houses can be one of the most effective ways to introduce buyers and other Realtors® to your listed properties. In your 2015 real estate marketing, focus on giving these a special touch. Here are some ideas:

  • Set up special stations near key features of the home. Everyone understands that staging is a must if you want to sell a home quickly and efficiently. But making interactive stations near key features is a great way to draw special attention to them. Set up some snacks on the beautiful kitchen island, or put some cocoa or cookies near the focal-point fireplace. This will also give people a reason to linger in the most beautiful parts of the home.
  • Consider when you schedule your open houses. Weekend afternoons can be very busy, and many buyers will be working during weekday hours. Consider an evening open house during the week, or a late morning brunch on a weekend.
  • Advertise your open houses in unconventional places. Think about where your ideal buyers are likely to spend a lot of time. Is there a popular gym in the neighborhood? Are there online sites that appeal to that demographic? By using targeted advertising, you can get more of your ideal buyers through the door and increase your chance of selling the home quickly.

A new year doesn’t mean you eliminate everything you did last year to build your real estate business. However, it is a great opportunity to bring new focus to your work. These real estate marketing ideas will help you create personal connections of trust, increase referrals, and make your open houses more effective. Here’s wishing you a prosperous and successful 2015!!

FSBO Lead Generation Tactics – FREE Download

FSBO Lead Generation TacticsWhen many sellers get ready to sell their homes, the first question many consider is, “Can I get away with not using a Realtor®?” With all of the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) websites popping up, it’s easy for a homeowner to think they can save money by listing the property themselves and not paying your commission. You and I know that’s simply not true and that homes sold by Realtors® sell for more and much faster, it’s been proven time and time again.

With lead generation being critical to the success of any real estate agent’s business, prospecting to FSBO’s offers an extremely targeted list of prospects/leads to target.  The key is showing the person who has decided to go FSBO that it is in their best interest to use your services.  Here’s some great objection handling information (which can be downloaded as a flyer…free) for you to use the next time you’re speaking with someone about the advantages of using a Realtor® vs. selling it themselves. It’s a no-brainer!



Buyer’s Commission
As a seller, you would still end up paying the buyer’s agent commission if you sell your own home. This means that your savings is not 6%, but rather 3%. That amounts to $7500 on a $250,000 house. While that may still sound like a significant amount of money, think about the amount of work you’ll do to get the word out. How much is your time worth? Realtors® really do earn their pay.

Listing Services
When you use an agent, they take care of listing your property. They do this not only locally, but also on the internet, where 90% of home buyers look before purchasing a home.

You can certainly list your own home online, but it isn’t free – sites with Multi-Listing Service (MLS) access charge anything from a $395 flat fee to $199 for a 6 month listing. And you want to make sure to hit all the major sites, free or paid. It’s the only way to make sure you are visible to all potential buyers and their agents.

A Realtor® will take care of all of these listings for you, so you don’t have to worry about which sites to use, how long they take to set up, or how much they cost.

Screening Buyers
When you use an agent, they receive all of the calls and weed out the ‘just curious’ lookers or others who would not be able to qualify to buy your house. When you list the home for sale on your own, you have to take ALL the calls and emails yourself. This is another serious time commitment. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending two weeks going back and forth with a potential buyer only to find out they never had financing.

An agent will have the experience to be able to tell right away if someone isn’t going to be able to complete a purchase. And, if a potential buyer does end up wasting their time, that’s part of what you’re paying them to handle. This way, you can spend time on your own commitments and let your agent handle the curious and the serious buyers.

There’s also the consideration of safety.  Most experienced Realtors® won’t work with buyers who aren’t pre-qualified and pre-screened by a mortgage broker. Getting pre-qualified requires showing proof of identification, financial background, a credit check, etc.  It’s good to avoid having complete strangers traipsing through your home with no record of who they are.

Buzz Creation
Real estate agents belong to a close-knit community and know how to build buzz about your property with other agents. In doing this, they are exposing your home to a market you wouldn’t have access to on your own. When a Realtor® can call up a professional contact and recommend they bring a client by, you have an immediate prospect that is actually ready to buy.

In addition, agents have a lot of experience setting up open houses and creating interest in their events. An agent isn’t going to want to waste time or money on an open house that isn’t attended, so they will put their network and advertising skills to good use on your behalf.

Price Setting
The key reason sellers choose to go on their own is to save money. Unfortunately, a real estate agent can offer significant expertise in setting a price-point for your property. They have experience in the area, so they know what price to ask for that will bring good value while also selling your property quickly.

Homeowners have the potential to fall off of both sides of the pricing wagon. Some homeowners love their house so much they price it inappropriately highly, resulting in it sitting on the market unsold for months. Others are unsure of themselves and need to move quickly, so they underprice their homes and cost themselves a lot more financially than they would have saved in commissions.

Ironically, the founder of ForSaleByOwner.com had to use an agent to sell his own home after he “mispriced” it and couldn’t sell it himself. Not only did he gain a lot of money in the price – even after the commission – the property sold quickly.

Paperwork
If you do find a buyer on your own, you’ll quickly realize the mountain of paperwork that it takes to complete a sale. It takes a lot of time to understand all the legal and financial forms you need to make available and sign with the buyer. A mistake in the paperwork and proper disclosures can open you up to serious liability or financial loss.

If you do sell on your own, the sales paperwork is an area where you can’t afford to go it alone. Make sure you do your research and perhaps even consult a real estate lawyer to help you draft the correct forms and disclosures so that you don’t find yourself in significant trouble later.

In the final analysis, you may save a few bucks by going the FSBO route. Unfortunately, you will also spend a significant amount of time, in addition to your current professional and personal obligations, to do so. You may also misprice your home, and you’ll need a lot of help with the final paperwork once you find a buyer. In the end, using a real estate agent is the easier and more affordable way to go.