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March 31, 2010

Real Estate Agents: 12 Best Ways to Market Yourself

This may come as a total shocker, but here's what I've discovered: Marketing is an art. Not a science. You design your marketing. You design it around what methods and techniques work best for you and your clients. And regardless of the methods you choose, the key is to be consistent (e.g., communicate biweekly, weekly, monthly, or quarterly).

So, generally speaking, which methods works best? Well, from what I gather, the following are the best of the best in terms of allowing movers and shakers (like you) to make the rain (get it . . . rainmaker . . . oh, never mind!)

Ideally, you want to do some "old school" (traditional/offline marketing) and some "new school" (internet marketing). 

These "oldies but goodies" still work, if you know how to work them.

1. Network
I know . . . I know. You've heard it a thousand times. Network, network, network!  But, you know why you've heard it a thousand times? Because it works! What can I say? Generally, though, it's a process. You know the routine: you go . . . say hello . . . get to know. . . then watch business grow. That's the blueprint for success.  And when you go, don't just go with dollar signs in your eyes, be willing to listen and take an interest in other people. And if you absolutely hate the idea of small talk, then I suggest a few good books: "How to Work a Room" by Susan RoAne, "How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends" and "Talking With Confidence for the painfully shy" both by Don Gabor.  

You can take someone to lunch, join an organization, volunteer, attend a fundraiser, or whatever you choose.

2. Write an Article for a Local Newspaper
Newspapers are always looking for good content.  If you write an article for a newspaper, you automatically gain expert status. Beats me, but for whatever reason, people seem to think you're a big shot if you get your name and picture in the paper. Unless, of course, you're pictured with your hands behind your back and you're walking next to someone in a blue uniform. Now, that's a different story!!!

So, assuming you're NOT that person, try contacting editors of the real estate section of local newspapers, ask for submission guidelines, then send in an article. You may find you're the next big shot on the block after your article is published.

3. Give a FREE Seminar
People love free seminars. They can't resist. Just choose an interesting topic, promote it, and they will come. Tell me, what client could resist: "Guaranteed: Sell Your House in 30 Days or I Pay Your Closing Costs" or "5 Easy Ways to Sell Your House in a Down Market for 10% More Than It's Worth" or "How to Own the Home of Your Dreams for Only $1,000 Down and $1,000 a Month"? Well, you get the point.  Just pick a juicy topic you know well (or could easily learn) and turn it into a "How to" or "Tips and Tricks" or "Secrets of" presentation and you should be able to draw a nice crowd. You could arrange it to last 30-45 minutes with 15 minutes after that for Q&A. Give a handout and your business cards. If people like what they hear, they will remember you when they need your services.

4. Mailers
Mailers are a good way to keep your face in front of people when you can't have a face-to-face meeting. You could do a postcard campaign. Mail a branded magnet. Or send a "Just Sold" mailer. And if you haven't "just sold" anything, then send a recipe card. People love those things. [Sidebar: I used to send them when I was a realtor. Never got me any deals, but people would always thank me for the lovely cards. Gee . . . how nice. Never mind my lack luster results, though. Maybe it was just bad timing. Mailers do work because they help people remember you. And when the time is right, they'll contact you.]

5. Family and Friends
Don't be a secret agent.  Let your family, friends, and neighbors know what you do. Ask for referrals. Word of mouth is how most successful real estate professionals get a lot of their business. 

6. Make Some Calls
I know. You don't exactly relish the idea of making calls, do you?  Especially, cold calls. But it can be very effective. Just have a script and start dialing. Every "no" is one step closer to a "yes." In addition, after you attend networking events, follow up with a call. That way, it's not a cold call, but a warm call. 

Research shows that approximately 80% of consumers start their search for real estate information on the internet. So internet marketing is crucial. Following are a few key techniques that may help you increase your market reach:

1. Website
Nowadays, clients expect you to have a website. Having a web presence is important for many reasons. A website enables you to:

  • Do business 24/7 because your website can educate and inform all day long
  • Reach millions of people worldwide
  • Save time because your website answers frequently asked questions, such as the services you provide, contact information, how long you've been in business, etc.
  • Receive instant feedback from clients
  • Save money on printed marketing materials

 So, if you haven't already done so, please consider setting up a website.

At the risk of stating the obvious, a blog is a type of website that allows the blogger to connect with visitors on a more personal level. Many real estate professionals blog and have found it to be an invaluable networking tool that enables them to share information, solicit feedback, and build business by generating traffic and leads. Some of the topics real estate pros blog about include: community events, new development projects, property listings, mortgage information, home improvement tips, and foreclosure, short sale and REO information.

3.Social Media
Geez! You can't have a conversation these days without someone talking about linking, friending, or tweeting. Social media is . . . in a word . . . hot!! And there's a bunch of sites out there: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Active Rain, Ryze, Digg,, Trulia, Zillow, Youtube, Squidoo, StumbleUpon, LiveJournal, 43Things, you name it. These sites are a way to interact, not only with family and friends, but with business contacts. And businesses of all shapes and sizes are playing the social media game. Clients have come to expect it. I mean . . .don't try telling someone from Gen X or Gen Y you don't have a Facebook page, they may look at you like you're . . . well . . . old! And who wants that?!!

4.Email marketing campaign/Newsletter
Some real estate professionals swear by email marketing. They say it is their primary marketing strategy for contacting prospects and staying in touch with past clients. Email marketing is a great tool because it allows you to reach your target market on a regular basis, provide them with useful information, and stay on their minds without being overly intrusive. You can send local real estate data and statistics, photos of Just Listed, and neighborhood information. It's up to you. But to do it right, you may want to use a service such as Aweber, Constant Contact, or Mail Chimp so you can automate the email-sending process. And remember to: (1) include your contact information in your signature; and (2) provide a link to your website or blog.

5.Online Forums and Groups
Online forums and groups allow you to be a part of an online community of people who share similar interests. In these forums and groups, you can give and receive advice and information. To comment, all you have to do is register. And when you leave a comment, be sure to include a link to your website or blog so visitors can find you. If you post regularly and provide useful content, online forums and groups are a good way to establish your credibility and expand your network. To find forums and groups, just do a Google search for "real estate forum" or "real estate online groups."

6.Article Marketing
This is similar to the offline activity of submitting an article to a local newspaper. In this case, however, you would submit to an articles database online. To find the most popular articles databases, just do a Google (or Bing or Yahoo!) search for "article directories list" or other similar search term.

So, there you have it, some effective ways to market yourself and build your business. This short list was not meant to be exhaustive, but to highlight proven strategies and get your juices flowing.

Get creative. Try new strategies. Find out what works. Rinse and repeat. And remember to send me a recipe card!!

Until next time.

Be well.

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