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Creative Ways to Market Real Estate Listings

Real Estate Listings Marketing

For some reason, spring always gets me thinking about listings. It must be the warm weather and the fact that the busy season for real estate is just around the corner.

Marketing for real estate listings is something that you can develop a system for. You can make sure you always take certain steps to get the word out – Just Listed postcards, open houses, letting other Realtors® know about the property, and so on.

But I like to think outside the box too. So today, I’m sharing some creative ways to market your listings this spring.

Offer an Immersive Neighborhood Experience

Buyers looking at real estate listings often have a hard time imagining themselves living in a new community, and they may worry about what there is to do or whether they can fit in. One great way to set yourself apart and help the buyers see themselves in the new location is to offer an “Uber and Dinner” package to serious customers.

This just involves making a reservation at a local restaurant – the more unique, the better – and ordering an Uber to take the buyers to and from the dinner. Having a ride allows the customers the chance to notice things they might not see otherwise. And a nice dinner helps them relax.

Of course, this is a “Wow” experience that sets you and your sellers apart as you compete for the buyer. It will impress sellers that you think outside the box and help you win listings as well.

If you don’t like Uber and Dinner, you can offer a guided tour of the neighborhood or take advantage of any local, fun activities that would help the buyer feel like they’ve experienced the area in a new way.

Hold an Event Instead of an Open House

Open houses seem to be on their way out, for safety reasons as well as because they’re poorly attended. People prefer to look online at pictures and videos, view the house on their own time, and then make a buying decision.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t give you the opportunity to build buzz about your real estate listings, get more prospective buyers in, and create interest. So, try something new – hold an event instead of an open house.

You can choose and host the event yourself, or you can contact charities or organizations you know that are looking for a space to hold a fundraiser or public activity. Work with your homeowners to see what they’re most comfortable with – maybe they’d prefer a backyard affair with tours available, for instance, rather than an indoor event.

Inviting people from the neighborhood is a good start, and then you’ll want to let other Realtors® know about it. Realtors® will be a lot more likely to bring buyers over if there’s something fun going on, so your event will attract a lot of attention!

Hold a Virtual Open House on Facebook

Facebook allows you to host events online. You can invite people you know, or even target people using Facebook’s demographic and psychographic tools.

Facebook has an excellent guide for creating and managing events on their platform. Also, consider these ideas:

  • Use Facebook Live to do a virtual home tour. Because it’s live, people can ask questions and you can answer them in real time. You can highlight areas that people ask about and share specific features. Best of all, when you’re done, the video will be available to others who visit your event page.
  • Invite the friends and family of your sellers, and ask them to invite people they know. You can get a big organic reach by starting with who you know and moving outward from there.
  • Use Facebook ads to reach those who live in the area, are in the target demographic, and/or are likely to move soon. It’s amazing how specific you can be when you use Facebook for targeting. Don’t miss the opportunity to bring in a very specific audience!

A virtual open house saves you and your sellers time and money. It secures your safety and the security of the home. It also shows that you’re savvy with technology, which can help you win a listing from an uncertain seller. Win-win-win!

These three ideas are just the surface of what you can do to be creative in your marketing. Of course, you should do the things you already know work – postcards and flyers, featuring the property on your website, networking, and more. These new ideas just add to your arsenal!

Six Ways to Expand Your Reach and Stand Out as a Realtor®

Expand reach and Stand Out as a Realtor

Now that the busy summer season is slowing down, it’s a good time to take stock of your business and see what worked, what didn’t, and what you might want to add. As you get ready for real estate marketing in 2017, here are six things you can do to expand your reach and stand out as a Realtor®.

Add Social Sharing to Property Listings Online

You probably already have a website that showcases your various listings. But do you have an easy way for viewers to share that listing with family and friends? If you add social sharing buttons, you make it simple for someone to put the listing out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and more – expanding your reach substantially!

Consider a Niche

The number of Realtors® continues to grow as the country recovers from the housing crash in 2008. To stand out, consider picking a niche based on your expertise and who you love to serve! Some ideas include focusing on new parents, newlyweds, first-time buyers, dog owners, or recently divorced folks. Whoever you choose, be sure to market yourself specifically to them – create materials they would find helpful, focus your outreach, and hone your skills!

Host a Webinar

Many small business owners use webinars to share information, gain interest, and introduce themselves to prospects. Oddly, very few of these folks are Realtors®! Because Realtors® aren’t yet using webinars as a way to educate, build curiosity, and market to consumers, you can stand out by doing so. Host a webinar on “5 Things Buyers Often Overlook” or “10 Ways to Prepare Your Home to Sell Quickly”. End the webinar with a call-to-action for those ready to buy or sell now. Use the registration information to follow-up with the rest of the viewers and build the relationship.

Write for Local Publications

Real estate is a highly local business, so having visibility in your local area is key. You can gain this type of exposure by writing a column for a local newspaper, a popular local website, or a local magazine. Write about things homebuyers and home sellers would be interested in, similar to the webinar ideas above. Building your local expertise puts you top-of-mind!

Host Seminars or Ongoing Education

If you have a community college or other organization in your area that provides adult ongoing education classes, find out if you can offer one on home buying, mortgages, or the home selling process. If not, promote free “lunch and learn” or evening seminars. These can be held inexpensively at a local library, or you can scale up and make it a dinner affair. Either way, you’ll be building relationships and positioning yourself as an expert.

Use a Scheduling App for Showings

This tip will not only streamline things for your clients, it will save you unbelievable headaches as well. By using a scheduling app, you’ll get to choose when you’re available for showings, and customers will pick from those options. No more explaining why you can’t show a home at 5:30pm on Tuesday or 6am on Friday. Those options simply aren’t available! Not only do you control your time better, a scheduling app lets you avoid endless back-and-forth about when schedules match up. There are a lot of options available – pick the best one for you!

Expanding your reach and standing out as a Realtor® isn’t something you can wait until January 1 to plan for. Use the end of the year to assess your results so far and see what you can do even better in 2017. Then, create and execute your new plan!

As you prep for the new year, don’t forget about your print marketing. Make sure you have all the postcards you need and new business cards if necessary. We can help!

5 Ways to Develop Relationships in Your Target Neighborhood

Building Relationships

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:

  1. 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.”

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

 

Three Ways Realtors® Can Market in Social Media Without Going Nuts

Realtor Social Media Marketing

Real estate marketing isn’t easy. It’s a simple fact – although you want to spend time on helping others buy and sell houses, you have to spend a significant amount of time standing out making sure people know you’re available.

When you throw social media into the marketing mix, it can get pretty overwhelming. Social media requires a lot of time and there’s a lot of pressure to be on EVERY platform. Unfortunately, this usually backfires – you end up with a poorly-maintained presence online, and are too stressed to give great service to the clients you do get.

So, here are three ways that Realtors® can make good choices in social media marketing without losing their minds.

Be Choosy

The first, most simple technique is this: DON’T be on everything. Choose 1 – 3 social media platforms that make the most sense for your business. What do people in your farm area use most? What do people looking to enter your area use most? By being fully present on the social media that your customers are active on, you’ll get great return for your effort.

In addition to choosing where your customers currently are, look at social media options that will allow you to get a leg up in the market. Periscope is a great example of a new platform where Realtors® can establish their expertise by being one of the first to share important real estate information. In addition, some social media options allow you to change how you do things, such as using Skype to communicate with distant clients face-to-face and using Periscope to host a safer, more efficient open house.

Create a Routine

All marketing efforts require consistency, including social media. You can’t post 3 times one day and then not post for two weeks and expect things to work out. Give social media the same routine consistency you give your other outreach efforts. Create a schedule and stick to it.

In creating a routine, mix automated interaction with real-time interaction. Use tools like BufferApp to schedule certain posts in advance, so they happen while you’re doing something else. Then, schedule one or two specific times to be online and do real-time chatting with your followers. By doing this, you can build a very consistent social media presence.

Know the Best Practices of the Platform

No matter what social media outlets you choose, you’ll be most effective if you know the best practices. Let’s say you chose Twitter, Facebook, and Periscope. If those are your choices, ignore articles about using Pinterest, Instagram, or other platforms. However, study closely the tips and tricks of Twitter, Facebook, and Periscope. Remember, you can’t do it all!

If you find that despite implementing the best practices, you’re not getting a good result from a specific social media outlet, don’t be afraid to shift to something else. Mind you, I didn’t say add something. Just shift. You can only do a few things well, so if after a few months you aren’t getting a following or results, you may need to try something new.

All of the new social media platforms can drive you crazy if you try to use them all at once. Instead, maximize your social media marketing using the three tips above: be choosy, create a routine, and know the best practices. Don’t be afraid to be flexible if things aren’t working after a good period of time. You can use social media without going nuts. Now you know how!

How do you make good use of social media without getting overwhelmed? Share in the comments!

16 Great Tips for Realtors Using Periscope

Periscope for Realtors

The previous post about using Periscope as a safer, more efficient technique for open houses generated a lot of buzz! Due to the interest, I wanted to follow up with a post outlining some tips and tricks for Realtors® using Periscope.

Things to Do

  • DO keep location turned on during your real estate scope. This will tell people where the home is located, and will allow you to be found by people searching a specific city or area.
  • DO use emojis. Emojis are small cartoon-like icons that demonstrate emotion or playful actions. This will help you be more relatable to your clients, and home-shaped emojis will also help you stand out as a Realtor®!
  • DO just jump in and do it! You’ll learn something new every time. Folks are scoping all kinds of random things, so don’t be shy!
  • DO plan a descriptive and catchy title. The title will bring people in.
  • DO announce who you are and what you plan to talk about in the beginning. Then, every few minutes, do a quick recap for folks who may have just joined.
  • DO answer common real estate questions. Do a Q&A scope, or cover a specific topic!
  • DO be an early adopter. If you get in now, you can be one of the key real estate experts.
  • DO schedule a private scope with one or two people to try it out and test features. Then, when you do your first public one, you’ll be ready!

If you want a test buddy, let me know! I’m happy to help you. I’m @NadineLarder.

Things NOT to Do

  • DO NOT scope and drive. If you see someone else doing so, exit the scope to discourage them.
  • DON’T ignore questions or comments. You’re there to interact! You can, however, say that you’re going to share and then take questions/comments at the end.
  • DON’T interrupt your sentence to answer a question or comment. It’s frustrating for those listening to your content.
  • DON’T use more than one hashtag. Your scope will have #Periscope added automatically, so by using an additional hashtag, you will end up with two. Any more than that looks cluttered.
  • DON’T think you need perfect hair and makeup and a practiced script. Know what you want to talk about, but be natural about it.
  • DON’T be afraid to block trolls. Some folks will make dumb or inappropriate comments. Tap on their name, tap on “block”, and move on.
  • DON’T have your camera below eye level. Folks don’t want to see up your nose. It’s best to hold the camera level with your face and look into the camera hole, so it looks like you’re making eye contact.
  • DON’T forget a call-to-action. Tell folks where they can find you online, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Offer a free download on your website so you can build your email list!

Periscope is a new world, and everyone using it is a newbie. It’s a great time to jump in, establish yourself as a real estate expert, and learn how to make great use of this platform. You’ll be learning right along with the rest of us!

If you have additional ideas about using Periscope for real estate, please let me know! On Twitter and Periscope, I’m @NadineLarder. I’d love to connect and follow you as well!

What questions do you have about using Periscope for real estate? Share in the comments!

Real Estate Marketing: Why Social Media Doesn’t Work

IMG_1729 A recent rant about social media on Inman News by Dave Barr left me wondering what has Dave all worked up and insisting social media doesn’t work. He was very absolute in his thinking when he said “Social media is a joke and does not produce any results, regardless of which platform you use.” This was in response to an article about social media effectiveness. I myself, tend to disagree with Dave and feel a social media presence essential to your success, which led me to wanting to investigate further.

Dave says social media doesn’t work, but has social media channels. The big question in my mind was…how active and committed is Dave to his social media channels? Is he truly working at social media and coming up empty or is he coming up empty because he’s not working at it? When someone is truly committed, they rarely come up empty.

Here’s what “my five-minute social media investigation” identified:

  • Dave’s website is quite nice and very well branded with links to his social media outlets. Nice logo and color scheme!
  • I couldn’t find Dave on Facebook. Social media channels must be on to work.
  • Dave does have a Twitter feed, but it isn’t consistent. @sarasota_homes
  • Dave has a blog hosted on Blogger, not his own domain, which serves up awesome content for Blogger, but not for Dave. Blogs need to be self-hosted to be effective Internet search marketing tools.
  • I was impressed to see how active Dave was on YouTube with videos.  Nice work!
  • Dave’s last post on Google+ was two-months ago. Google+ isn’t my strong suit either Dave, but I’m working on it! Google+ is becoming a much more important social media outlet when you consider Google being “God of all search”.  Bill Gusset (@massrealty) is a Realtor® who is big on Google+ and writes about it.  I know Bill, 100% due to his social media presence and if I needed a Realtor in Massachusetts, he’d be the guy I’d call!  Social media absolutely works for people like Bill, who are active and dedicated to it.

The moral of the story here is that you mustIMG_1730 participate for social media to be effective. If you aren’t active in your posting, conversing, sharing, Tweeting and retweeting, liking, following, “1+ing”, connecting, “Pinning” and “Repinning”, “YouTubing” or otherwise, how do you expect to see results? Results come to those who work at it, unless your Joe Montana who joined Twitter (@joemontana) in January 2013 and had 35,655 followers in less than three-months, with only 32 posts. He did his time winning all those Super Bowls, so he doesn’t have to work as hard at his “social media” game.  Within the first few days of having a Twitter account, he had 1,972 retweets on one of his posts.

I’m really not trying to bust anyone’s chops as my own social media plan needs constant work, attention and improvement.  I want to highlight how important it is to commit yourself to something if you really want to see results.

We just launched a new Facebook Page specific to Real Estate Marketing Magazine and hope you’ll join us there!  You too Dave, it’s about everything real estate marketing related and it will help you stay connected and current.

Sources: Inman News