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Finding a simple marketing plan that works
In real estate, the number of marketing options available to us can become overwhelming. Everything from printed flyers to social media, posted newsletters to blog posts, recipe cards to Google display network advertising.
We get bombarded with choices and this can lead to two possible outcomes:
Outcome 1. Paralysis by analysis.
We have so many options that we delay choosing one. We fear making the wrong choice and feel as though we need to undertake more research before taking the plunge.
It’s always tempting to keep searching for the silver bullet before making a start, but all that time you spend looking for a better flyer template or trying to decide between Facebook and Instagram is time you could be spending getting your message in front of potential sellers.
Outcome 2. We give up and move on to quickly.
The key to marketing is repetition and consistency, whichever channel we choose. When we are faced with an abundance of choices, we tend to get bored quickly and switch focus away from our current marketing methods before giving them a chance to actually work.
Question: Have you ever started dropping flyers in one area, only to give up after 1 or 2 months? Or worse, after 1 drop?
Don’t beat yourself up, it’s only natural in our fast-paced world to feel like we constantly need to embrace the ‘new-new-thing’.
One of the antidotes to this lack-of-focus problem is to have a plan that you believe in.
The best plans are simple, easy to follow and don’t take up a lot of time to execute. I’m going to give you a simple way to think about marketing that can tick these boxes and simplify your marketing in future, so you can spend less time thinking ‘what am I going to do this month?‘ and more time working with actual buyers and sellers.
Keep it simple
Think about everyone in your target location (the area you work) as being part of two possible groups.
MET and UNMET
MET = People who you have met in some form or another, from your friendship group, right down to people you meet at an open home. These should be people that would recognise your name and photo, but don’t necessarily have to know you personally. You should have their contact details in your database. This includes friends or people who have ‘liked’ your pages on social media.
UNMET = Literally, people who you haven’t met yet. Everybody else who lives in your area who isn’t already on your database in some form. Particularly homeowners in your target area.
Now you can think about all the marketing activities you do in terms of these two groups.
Side Note: I learned this concept from the exceptional book Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, which I recommend checking out.
What’s your ‘target area’? Anywhere you want to grow your business. I recommend you don’t limit this to just your farm area as that could restrict you un-necessarily.
Now, draw up two lists under each header (Met & Unmet) and under each header, write down the marketing you are currently doing, or are going to start doing, for that segment.
It might look like this:
Met Group (1,000 ppl)
- Email newsletter every week
- Posted newsletter once per quarter
- Anniversary letters to past buyers and sellers
- Post something useful on social media 3x per week
- Text messages to owners in my database after a recent sale in their suburb
- Text messages to open home visitors with new listings and sale prices
- 5 phone calls per day to close contacts or past clients
- 1 lunch or coffee per week with a key referrer
- 2 x Active club memberships (Rotary, gym, football etc)
Unmet Group (20,000 ppl)
- Blog posts boosted on facebook
- Sign-written car(s)
- Flyer drops around recent sales and in my farm area
- Sponsorships (local sports teams or community events)
- Listings online which outshine the competition with better photos, more info and download links.
Everything in its place
Grouping your marketing activities this way helps provide clarity. It can help you decide whether there are gaps in your approach, or too much focus in one area, rather than the other.
If you are a new agent, there won’t be many people in your MET group, so you will need to focus on activities targeting the UNMET. You might add in activities like:
- Foreign listing prospecting
- Private sales (FSBO’s)
- Targeting withdrawn listings
- Building your network – meeting local valuers, builders, property managers, accountants, mortgage brokers.
If you are just getting started, you might set a goal like: Have coffee with 3 potential key referrers every week.
Conversely, if you are an experienced agent, you will know loads of people in your marketplace and you may choose to focus largely on your MET group, knowing that your database is already big enough to support your business as long as you nurture it by keeping in touch.
Less is more
You don’t need to use every method on the list above. This isn’t necessarily a prescription. The amount of marketing you can employ will depend on how much time you have available. If you are already flat out busy, maybe just doing an email newsletter consistently and driving a sign-written car will be enough to keep your business humming.
If you aren’t busy, then don’t knock anything until you’ve tried it consistently for a period of 6 months.
Whatever you commit to, stick to the plan for 6 months, preferably without changing it. Then re-evaluate and decide whether you want to swap any of the elements you have chosen for a ‘new-new-thing’.
If you choose to add a new element to your plan. Commit to testing it for the full 6 months too. Chopping and changing your approach is a sure-fire way to reduce the overall effectiveness of your marketing.
Pick the low-hanging fruit
Keep in mind, some UNMET marketing is good for business even if you are already established. It reassures the local market that you are successful and productive. Strategies like having a sponsored billboard at a local sports field take no added work once they are set up, but constantly remind the market who you are and what you do.
Both sets of marketing (MET and UNMET) allow you to stay relevant, even for periods when you don’t have any listings online.
That last point is worth keeping in mind. I’ve seen so many salespeople over the years who rely on ‘work to create work‘. Real estate is a momentum game and listings often lead to more listings. But that approach doesn’t always provide reliable results. One day you could sell every listing you have and suddenly become invisible in the market place.
With an action plan like I have outlined above, you can build a consistent business with regular commission income and a steady flow of listing opportunities.
What steps do you need to take today, to implement this plan and grow your business?
Where to learn more…
This concept originally came from the book Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller.