With the wealth of advertising options every realtor has at their disposal, it can be difficult to wrap your head around what approaches work, what approaches don’t work, and where your time and money will work the hardest for your business. As a realtor, you likely have sales reps from lead gen companies, branding companies, newspapers and online magazines all contacting you and trying to get you to buy their services. So who should you listen to? My advice is to hear them all out; it’s important to not only know what’s out there, but understand how it all works in order to make savvy business decisions moving forward. On that note, let’s take a look at some of the popular methods and how they work.
So this might be a bit of a broad term, but branded marketing for realtors mainly encompasses flyers and other mail outs, bus bench ads, billboard ads, radio, as well as hard copy and online magazines. They all sound great, right? Well, I would venture to argue otherwise; let me explain why. Branded marketing is very costly. If you think that you can run one branded marketing campaign and get results from it, you’d better guess again. Branded marketing is a long term approach that must be committed to for a minimum of 6-12 months if you hope to gain any traction. The whole idea with this form of marketing is to put your brand out into the public eye, repeatedly and consistently. One month just won’t cut it, as the likelihood of an active buyer or seller seeing one ad of yours and choosing to contact you, is extremely slim. The idea is to shove your branding down their throats. Now, that may seem bad, but why else would someone contact you? You want people to see so many of your ads that when they are ready to buy or sell, they automatically think of you. So that’s all fine and dandy, but it’s very costly. One billboard or bus bench add, depending on location, can easily run you anywhere from $500 – $1500 a month. Sending out thousands of flyers can run thousands of dollars. And you’d have to do this for months on end, all the while hoping that someone contacts you. Seems pretty risky and very costly, no?
A Better Solution: Consider Tag Marketing. Tag Marketing is more targeted then any of the other forms of branded marketing, and a fraction of the cost. With tag ads, or “re-targeting”, anyone visiting your website, will get “tagged” with an advertisement of yours that follows them to 90% of the websites that they visit for 90 days after leaving your site. Agent Locator sells 8000 impressions a month for a mere $50. That is around a half a penny per impression. To send out 8000 mail outs can easily run you over $1000. With mail outs, bus bench, billboard, print etc, you are targeting a community and hoping that active buyers and sellers see it. With Tag Marketing, you only advertise to people who visit your website, which means you are targeting only active buyers and sellers, provided you are marketing your website correctly. More importantly, it’s not a flyer they throw out, it’s not a bus bench where they sit on your face, and it’s not a billboard they drive by and pay no mind to. This ad follows the lead around the internet for 3 months, meaning they see you multiple times a day/week/month, and you’re branding is having an impact on them whether or not they even recognize it.
Key Points: Tag marketing is a fraction of the cost, more targeted, and it meets the “consistency requirements” that a branded marketing campaign should entail.
Door Knocking and Cold Calling:
Some of you hate it, some of you love it. Door knocking and cold calling are two of the safest routes you can take to generate leads, provided you commit to it; it requires zero financial commitment and puts your success in your own hands. Whether or not you enjoy it, it works. With that said, it’s not for everyone. Some agents excel in a “sales oriented” approach, whereas some agents get nervous at the prospect. If you fall into the latter category, I would strongly encourage you to reanalyze your approach, and try to tackle your fears. At the end of the day, whether you like it not you are in sales. Real estate is sales. You need to put yourself out there and make connections. With that said, there are alternatives to door knocking and cold calling. More importantly, even if you excel with these two methods, there may be a better option. An option that frees up your time and puts you in touch with more qualified candidate’s right from the get go:
A Better Solution: Consider online lead generation. For some of you, the very thought might be enough to turn you away running. Good, that leaves more business for the rest of us. Online lead generation works if you are an agent who understands the concept and commits to the follow up. In comparison to cold calling or door knocking, it’s a far better solution, provided you have the funds to invest. With cold calling and door knocking, you are contacting a trade zone repeatedly in hopes of finding an active buyer or seller who actually takes the time to hear you out and consider your services. So you are searching for intent before you can even sell them on using you. With online leads, the lead has already shown intent. They’ve shown you that they are an active buyer or seller by typing in real estate specific key words on Google, Yahoo or Bing, and registering on a lead capture form. So the “prospecting” portion of cold calling or door knocking has already been handled for you. You’re only need at this point, is to follow up and get the lead to work with you versus another agent. The only requirement for online lead gen is startup funds. Once you start closing business from the campaign, the system pays for itself tenfold. So instead of spending your precious time and efforts cold calling and door knocking, you are spending a little bit of money to free up your time. In turn, you are getting inquiries from real buyers and sellers, and you only have to worry about the follow up.
Where Does This Leave You?
I’m not saying not to do mailouts, and I’m not saying not to cold call. In fact, I think the best agents utilize a combination of all of the services outlined in this article. But in an industry where time and money investment can be difficult, it’s best for agents to maximize each resource and focus their efforts where they will get the most results. For agents who don’t have a ton of time on their hands, focus on online lead generation. For agents who don’t have a ton of money, invest your time in door knocking and cold calling. In terms of branded marketing, that is best saved for a point in your career where you can afford to pump the money into your branding without needing a return. Tag Marketing is the best alternative, and also something that the agents who have money to invest should utilize. Food for thought!