To succeed in real estate you must strategically plan out different actionable steps to take. A Real Estate Marketing Plan is an essential part of succeeding as a real estate professional. Whether you’re a broker, agent or marketing professional without a plan you are simply shooting from the hip. Let’s break down the necessary items of a real estate marketing plan.
Here’s a high level overview of what we’ll cover for a Real Estate Marketing Plan:
- Plan Summary
- Mission Statement
- Market Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- Personal Analysis
- Goals and Impact
- Define your role as a Real Estate Agent/Broker
- Marketing Strategy
- Evaluation and Control
Real Estate Marketing Plan Summary
K.I.S.S. – the single most important thing to remember is the K.I.S.S. acronym. Keep It Simple Salesperson. Your summary should outline a very intentional, simple, actionable outline of what you and others should expect if they were to read it. Here is a great example:
“This real estate marketing plan will outline the actions, materials and organization I intend to put in place to be more successful this year as a real estate agent/broker. The following information will include my overall mission statement, detailed information on my market, competition and personal analysis to achieve success. I will also create a breakdown of the services that will be provided to clients and a detailed strategy for all of my marketing needs for the year. We will set a strict budget that will be adhered to and have scheduled evaluations to review and adjust our efforts as needed.”
Just like that, we are done with the first step of our real estate marketing plan!
Mission Statement: Don’t overthink it!
Many professionals, regardless of industry, overlook the importance of a mission statement. It plays again into the mindset of, “build it and they will come”. Without having an intentional plan or desired outcome, how do you know what direction to take your business? Are you a buyers agent, a sellers agent or a listing broker? What is it about your services and personality that will set you apart from other agents? This is the single most important transactions in their lives, so what do you bring to the table that is different from other agents? Tailor your mission statement carefully, don’t just slap something on paper to check off an item from your list. Actually use your real estate marketing plan that you will take the time to put together.
Here are a few examples:
“As a Real Estate Agent I will provide top notch service to all individuals that are looking to purchase a home. I will continue to grow my skillset to best serve the person or family looking to purchase their future residence. – Buyers Agent example
“As a Real Estate Agent I will provide best in class services for an individual or family who is looking to sell their home. I will coach my clients through listing needs, repairs, and home care during this time. Also, I will provide all of the support necessary to successfully sell their property as quickly, and for as much value as possible. During this time, I will also work with my client(s) to find their next home as much as they are available to do so.” – Listing Agent
Hopefully these two examples show you how you can keep it simple while also providing content for potential clients to digest so they understand who you are as a real estate professional verses others they have spoken with. If you need help in this, look to organizations like Inman, Realogy, and RIS Media others for assistance.
Market Analysis – You’re the expert. Make sure you know why!
This is real estate 101! Without understanding days on market, average sales price, home buying trends, the goings on in your community how can you say you’re a real estate professional? A major factor of the value you bring as a real estate professional is your understanding of your target market. To successfully plan and execute a real estate marketing plan you can not be lazy in this area. You need to have a detailed understanding of what’s happening today as well as what’s planned for the future.
Here’s an overview of some of the things to look for:
- Community Growth
- Are there new developments going in somewhere? Commercial, Residential, Medical, etc.?
- Is the population shrinking or growing?
- What does the job market look like? Who is looking, and what types of potential clients will that bring to you?
- Target Neighborhoods – understand how your community is organized. Are there neighborhoods that are more desirable than others? Are some neighborhoods so highly sought after that nothing lasts more than a day? Make sure you stay up to date regularly.
- What’s the average days on market?
- What’s the average sales price per square foot for different neighborhoods in your market?
- What value do different schools add?
- What are the crime rates in different pods of your market?
- Are the City, State or Federal governments planning on making any significant improvement that will add/subtract value from a property? (i.e. a jail being built, toll road, new park)
Competitive Analysis – Competition is healthy. Make friends!
Competitive analysis sounds like something you’d hear in a spy novel or at a Fortune 500 organization. As a real estate professional, it does not have to be scary! Simply make friends with the other realtors, brokers, and marketers in your specific arena. Find out what services they provide. How do they market? What do their yard signs look like? Their business cards? Their logo and message? How many properties did they sell last year? What segment of the market do they usually work with and/or cater too?
Now that we’ve done this, we can adequately assess where we are and how we can better shape our real estate marketing plan to position ourselves at a higher level.
Personal Analysis – Beat yourself up then; Build yourself up
First things first, looking in a mirror is never easy. A personal, friendly or professional level self evaluation is one of the hardest things to do and be truly honest about. We all know our short comings but regularly ignore those. We know our strengths and fail to leverage them. That being the case, what can we do to make sure we are accountable? Regular personal analysis is critical. We’ve looked at our competition already, now it’s time to do the same thing to our own personal and professional situation. Remember, if you do not analyze yourself, your real estate marketing plan may not be as successful as you’d like.
The best advice I can give a professional – be overly critical then sit down to talk through your self analysis with your partner, spouse, and/or business mentor. Keep your analysis simple, organized and detailed. Here’s a quick breakdown of the items that need to be looked at:
- Personal Life – What am I willing to give up to be successful in real estate? What am I not willing to give up?
- How dedicated am I to my craft as a real estate professional?
- What am I truly good at?
- Where do I struggle?
- What are my challenges in my business? What are my threats?
The next step, once you’ve done a deep dive to break all of this down is to simply sit down and discuss it with key individuals in your life. Your partner/spouse and business mentor/leader would be my suggestion.
A Real Estate Marketing Plan without a goal is pointless
Setting goals and intended outcomes are pivotal points for every business and organization. This, once again, falls in the K.I.S.S. realm. Let’s refer to this as our SMARTY goals:
- Specific – Be as specific as you can possibly be when creating goals.
- Measurable – Always put a number or percentage in your goals.
- Actionable – Create goals that are under your control.
- Realistic – Ensure your goals are attainable and doable.
- Time-specific – Put a date on it.
- Y – Why – Why are you doing this?
Follow this easy to use list for every goal you set and you will find it is a simple way to show off how much of a SMARTY you are! (insert eye role for the cheese factor…I know) Do this and your real estate marketing plan will thank you!
Define your role as a Real Estate Professional
This will be short and sweet. Who are you as a real estate professional? Who do you focus on when providing your services? What services do you provide? What services will you not provide? Why should a client choose to do business with you?
Now, answer these questions; surprisingly enough, you will understand who you are and how you help others with the work you do. It’s a simple formula really, especially if you follow the process we are outlining here. Outline your value, decide what you do not want to do or focus on, and determine your position in the real estate equation. The roles of Buyers Agent, Sellers Agent, Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Expert, etc. all filter down to a few key questions, almost all of them are listed in the paragraph immediately above this one. Once you understand your role, your real estate marketing plan can truly begin to take shape.
Marketing Strategy: Finally, the Meat & Potatoes!
A real estate marketing plan is more than just a marketing strategy, however marketing strategy can not be successfully implemented without a real estate marketing plan! Your strategy should be guided by all of the pieces you are evaluating. Now, let’s take a look at the actual marketing we need to do:
The world of marketing is huge and sometimes hard to navigate. There are thousands of vendors. A seemingly infinite number of tools and platforms to choose from that drive the activities needed to be successful. Let’s explore the different marketing channels to leverage when marketing for any business, especially real estate:
Direct marketing is often overlooked and under utilized in many industries. Why? Because it costs money and the ROI is difficult to capture. You need to market with intention in this channel. Take the analysis you’ve done and leverage that to market to different segments of your community in targeted ways. Every Door Direct Mail will hit the most desirable neighborhoods at least once a quarter, if not twice. With list mailing you can target your previous customers, prospects, and investors you have or will be working with to remind them of your services. Door hangers is a lot of work, but if managed correctly can return HUGE dividends.
All of this can be easily managed through Amarki, a great platform to help organize, print, and ship materials easily. If direct marketing isn’t part of your real estate marketing plan, it should be. Check us out!
The new frontier of marketing, if it can be called that, is digital marketing. Times have changed. However, it’s not as easy as simply putting up a web site and being finished. Now a days digital marketing has transformed into a wide spectrum of different elements and functions. Digital marketing, if done right will include multiple emails, social media posts, social media ads (yes, there’s a difference!), Search Engine Optimization or SEO, blogging (like Amarki’s blog), and more. The experts all agree that moving forward from 2019 and beyond, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines are no longer looking for the biggest money spenders, they are looking for a new reality in our modern world. You can also refer to blogs by Neil Patel or another one of my favorites, The Close.
The new reality of digital marketing is as follows: to be successful in digital marketing you will have to have a thorough and detailed digital footprint. Your content will have to relate to who you are, and what you’re selling. You will need to be accessible through every point of contact that you can be in order to compete whether you’re a massive organization or a one-person operation.
The other crazy part of this digital marketing equation is that you or a trusted expert has to understand how to best use the different social media platforms for your business. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others all play a huge role for today’s successful real estate pros. Do you know how to do this the way each platform is designed?
Referral marketing is simple. Ask for a referral every time you interact with a client, friend, family member or even complete stranger when appropriate. There are multiple ways to ask, not simply by saying, “Hey do you know anybody looking for a real estate agent? I’d love for you to introduce me to him/her!” Referral marketing is an art in and of itself. Leverage post cards, business cards, social media, email, showings, open houses, and even closing transactions to generate your next opportunity. The cool thing is that if you create the right real estate marketing template, Amarki can automate this step and make sure you never forget to ask again!
Sending out a direct mail piece or EDDM campaign? Simply input a nice catch phrase in the marketing template. “We truly value every single client we have as a friend. A referral of a friend or family member is something that we take personally every single time. We would be humbled to offer the exact same services you received to anyone you would send our way.”
Social media, email, phone calls, and in-person meetings are different but similar. Always ask! If you don’t, the answer is always no. More on this topic in a later post.
Networking and referral marketing are similar critters. The main difference, is that you intentionally step into events and opportunities for networking to drive new business. Look to social events, professional organizations, public meetings, and partnership opportunities with the goal of meeting new clients or building relationships that will push you towards your goal. In this case, time is valuable, so use it wisely. If an event isn’t productive, and you gain nothing, take it off your list. On the flip side of that coin, if an event is huge for you, make sure you never miss a meeting if at all possible!
Radio and Television marketing is something super successful businesses and organizations still leverage. Real Estate Companies that leverage these channels usually fall into this group. How does a single agent or small real estate brokerage leverage this? Believe it or not, most don’t but should! The cost of primetime advertising is very expensive, look to other times to potentially get high value with lower cost! Advertising between 2 and 4am may sound crazy but your market may respond to this in a bigger way than you’d ever imagine. You don’t know unless you try.
All of these items will be different depending on your market and other factors. Regardless of where you are or the plan you put in place, every marketing channel should be explored if you want to be successful and generate leads.
The dreaded “B” word
Budget…everybody HATES this one. Personal, business, marketing, supplies, it seems like there is a budget for everything! Aside from certain crazy accountants I know, there aren’t many people who love this word. The goal here is to evaluate our entire real estate marketing plan and decide several important things. Mainly, how much money do I have to spend on my real estate business? Once you have that figured out, you then have to complete the pain staking task of going through your desired marketing plan and determining the best use of your financial resources. Don’t over commit, don’t lock yourself into one area, be flexible on the marketing channel, not the money you’re willing to spend.
Without a big bump in financial resources do NOT over leverage yourself or your business. In the world of sales there is a phrase that is regularly used, “Commission Breath”. Desperation has not and will never sell anything. If you over burden your resources two things could happen. Your results will not support your business expenses. Additionally, you may be forced to make lifestyle changes you may not have foreseen. Ultimately, leading to total failure.
Evaluation & Control: Gauge success of your Real Estate Marketing Plan
We’ve covered a lot in this post! The importance of a real estate marketing plan is never adequately addressed. If you’ve read this far, it’s been a marathon. Hopefully, you understand the value this content helps you create.
The last phase to executing a successful marketing plan is evaluation and control. Without assessing outcomes, A/B testing, tracking your response rates against your financial outcomes, and time spend you will never know how to best serve yourself or your business. Every successful marketer uses a real estate marketing plan to constantly and consistently evaluate their success. Then, based on the impact their tasks, campaigns, platforms, and different collateral have on their overall goals determine the outcome. It’s like putting that last puzzle piece into a 1,000 piece puzzle. You are evaluating where you are and controlling the outcome based on a response verses budget, including money and time! This will lead you to a happier and more successful real estate business experience.
One last shameless plug, we at Amarki would be thrilled to help you simplify your marketing life! Please reach out directly if you’re interested.
(see Zillow for a free downloadable real estate marketing plan template)
Director of Sales & Business Development