It is essential for a real estate agent to create and maintain a strong, memorable presence regardless of market conditions so that people think of him anytime they want to sell a house. Your advertising strategy as a real estate agent will be the key to the success of your business. You can create and maintain a working advertising plan to help grow your real estate business.
First Steps First
Prior to creating your advertising strategy, you must first create your business plan for the year. For advertising to be effective you need to know exactly how much you have to spend and where you want to spend it. A business plan acts as a working document for your business and will guide you into the growth that you desire. A business plan should include the following sections:
I. Mission Statement This includes who you are and what you do as a real estate agent. II. Target Market and Demographics Do you work primarily with foreclosures, elderly or first-time homebuyers? What are the demographics of this group? III. Goals This includes financial goals (How much do you want to make this year?), educational goals or any other goals that you may set for yourself. How many homes to you have to sell to meet your income goal? IV. Financial Once you have an idea of your goals you can write down the specifics of how much you need to spend. Be sure to include all license fees, Multiple Listing Service fees and association fees that you have to pay during the year to get a fair idea of your expenditures. After listing the fees you can determine how much you have left over for marketing and advertising. Then you can begin to break the budget down even further by dividing the money into advertising categories such as newspaper, business cards, fliers, billboards, or whatever you think might be appropriate.
Who Are You?
As a real estate agent you need to have a strong, identifiable presence. This can be created by focusing on what you love. Consider for a moment your passion in life. Is it being environmentally conscious? Is it boating? Is it cars? Whatever you have an interest in is where you can create a business focus. For example, if you are dedicated to preserving the environment you can get a designation such as EcoBroker (see Resources). If you love boating you can focus your real estate efforts on houses by the water, homes with a dock, or perhaps you can be the agent who takes clients out on your boat to view homes.
Once you decide what your focus is you can then create an image. As an environmentally conscious agent your business cards, fliers and pamphlets might contain background images of flowers, trees or the planet Earth. If you are creating an image within the boating community your materials can contain water or boat images. Be consistent with your images, don't change them every week. If you have trees in the background and change to Earth next month people will be confused. Consistency is key in advertising.
Be certain to get your image in the public eye as often as possible. Newspaper advertising can be expensive but necessary for brand awareness. Remember, you are promoting yourself as a brand. The public reads the newspaper on a daily basis, so on a subconscious level they are absorbing your information. Check with your local newspaper to see if their ads appear in the online edition. Your Internet presence is important, and you should be able to have your ad appear in both print and online.
Event networking is an excellent way to meet people and gain contacts. Attend as many events as possible that are related to your brand as a real estate agent. Boat shows, environmental clean-up efforts and volunteering your time at a local nonprofit agency are all ways to meet new people and tell them what you do. By spending time with people who have similar interests, you can be assured that you have a greater chance of being remembered.
The key to successful advertising is consistency. Your image needs to be in the public eye as often as possible. Other methods for doing this include:
—Deliver small gift items related to your brand to previous clients with your business card attached three or four times per year. —Choose one geographic location that you would like to have clients in to focus your direct mail efforts. Direct mailings should be every 30 to 45 days to be effective. —Always mail your postcard to neighbors around your listing. If one person in the neighborhood is selling, chances are that others might be interested as well.
Don't give up. Real estate can be difficult at times, but your efforts will eventually work.