Being in real estate is a tough business, especially when you only get paid for the performance and results you deliver. Here are the essentials you must be doing today to be a winner.
As a real estate marketer, your primary responsibility is to create a perception of value for a home that becomes the reality and expectation of the potential home buyer. Creating that value perception becomes the key. It requires effective marketing strategies that draw in the home buyer. That means every potential customer contact – from online listing, advertisements, listing flyers, brochures, direct mail contact – must communicate the value story aimed to entice the potential buyer.
The Secret: It’s Not About More Marketing; It’s About More EFFECTIVE Marketing
To sell a house in a slow market, you don’t necessarily need more marketing or advertising, but you need more EFFECTIVE marketing and advertising. Here are some research-based ideas to help real estate marketers sell more homes in a market that has suddenly gone cold.
Tell Stories About The Home, Don’t Just Describe It’s Features
Real estate listings are just that: fact-based objective listings of the home’s features. But such listings – square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms, baths, etc. – tell the prospective buyer nothing about the experience of living in the home. Story-based listings that weave the home’s facts and figures into the story romance the listing and make it come alive. Don’t just write a listing, tell a story about the home. Take a peek at this amazing story from Tim Smith one of the very best in the world at 1627 Bayadere Terrace
Hire A Writer
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but in today’s internet-powered, social-media driven, content-marketing world, a thousand words need to go along with that picture. Those thousand words must tell stories engaging enough to make the prospective home buyer curious enough to call the agent and set up an appointment to experience the home for themselves.
Real estate agents think nothing of hiring professionals to do their photography and videography, yet they write the listing themselves. This is a huge mistake! Writers can take that fact-based listing description, including the extensive brand-name inventory, and tell a story about the home that will romance the listing and make it pop! Plus, writers are fairly inexpensive to hire. Put one on the payroll and see the difference it makes to the listings and your sales.
Don’t skimp on pictures. Spend the money and get a professional to make your place look like a million bucks. Yes, your property will essentially sell itself, but to do that you need to entice people to walk in the front door, and pictures (and video) are what make that happen. Stop using your phone! While phones have great cameras and take amazing photos (See iPhone photos here) They are not intended to be used to photograph your new listing. STOP A Smart Phone does not make you a professional photographer. You are getting paid to MARKET THE HOME. Spend the money to have it professionally photographed.
Speak Directly to the Perfect Buyer in All Your Marketing
Don’t just regurgitate the features of the place. Instead, put those features in the context of the target buyers’ daily life. Think about the most likely buyer profile for your property, and “speak” to that person in the marketing you do. For example, will the space be perfect for a young single professional, a couple with a newborn, or a couple of empty nesters, or someone who simply must have a calm, serene view? (Be careful not to touch on anything that will smell like you are referencing or pushing away any protected classes.). This is why #1 is so important. Let’s focus on telling the story of the home.
With COVID-19 forcing many of us to reinvent how we shoot a video for a home. It is super important you not only create and tell a story but let’s roll up our sleeve and creat a highen professional walkthrough tour. Not Matterport which has its own place in the marketing tier, but putting you front and center walking through the home and explaining to the potential buyer everything about the home. See this example: 1545 Rockville Road You don’t have to be all serious. It’s perfectly okay to be real and have fun. When selling a condo it can be hard to tell a story about a tiny little condo so instead be creative. I love this agent’s video Funniest Real Estate Walkthrough Video Ever! The point is to do more than stage the home and have a video shoot an abandoned home that looks pretty. Walk them through each room, explain the functionality of the home how one might enjoy the space. Don’t forget the exterior and the neighborhood. Going as far as sharing how far schools, shopping, parks are.
These gadgets are currently being used for sports events, minor films, and even some security companies. And, of course, in real estate. If you don’t keep up with the competition, you could risk being left behind!
This kind of visual marketing speaks for itself: homes with aerial images sell 68% faster than those without. When a client asks to see a property, instead of many hours of photography, panoramas, and lighting, with a few fly-bys a drone can capture the entire plot in a few minutes.
That’s one of the reasons 73% of clients are more likely to list with agents using video. Montages, slow-zoom, the plot captured at any distance from any angle – all with one simple tool.
It’ll provide unique insights, movement, and dynamism to any marketing or property plans in your business. It could just be the new perspective you need!
First of all, drones allow you to show your clients the full exterior of the house without any of the long processes of organizing a house visit, or photoshoots from more difficult angles requiring skilled photographers. The whole area can be shot in a few minutes.
They also give you the ability to capture unique shots of the plot of land you can’t get from any other medium. A close-up bird’s eye view, a 360 panorama outside the house, a slow-zoom directly down the street – none of these was possible before the drone.
The drone’s ability to capture video also means you can be far more concise with your content. No need for an entire album of photos of the site – one exterior video will do it.
They can give up-close, focused details of certain parts of the house that a photographer would be unable to reach: windows and upper floors are now far easier to capture than before
Smaller drones can also be used to show the interior of a house (with an adequately skilled pilot of course), giving you the ability to capture wider angles and more dynamic shots of living space.
Obviously, you have to find someone skilled enough to use the drone, and if you’re wanting to buy one yourself they can often come in at pretty hefty prices.
Drones are usually relatively loud, so you’ll need the permission of neighbors and you’ll probably want clearance with anyone that has small children or animals in and around the area.
Drones are also slightly difficult in legal terms when you have clearance to fly them. It’s forbidden to fly within 150ft of a person, vehicle or property outside of your authority, over a congested area, near airfields, etc, etc. You need someone who knows what they’re doing.
We’ve been doing this for so many years we have seen quit a cycle of real estate websites. It used to be really important to have a website with names like MarinHomesForSale.com, or SacramentoHouses.com, or some city name with homes. People use to actually use real estate websites to find homes. Head up… THEY NO LONGER USE YOUR WEBSITE TO SEARCH FROM HOMES! This is now Zillows job. Zillow accounts for 99% of all home searches. Don’t mistake me here. there is still a place for home search on your website. To capture buyer leads you should instead create a specific city, neighborhood, landing search pages, and advertise them through social media or online pay per clicks. We generate hundreds of leads through Facebook each month for our clients. We can the same for you for about $10/day.
Today’s agent focus website needs to be an online listing presentation. Think about how the consumer finds you. Google you. What do they find? Go ahead and try it. Search Google for your name Most likely the results are caldwellbanker.com/brokersofthevalley/agents/yourname.. Pretty terrible right? How successful do you look with two or three paragraphs about how awesome you are on the about section of your brokerage website. Heck, some of you don’t even get that right.
Instead, you want a stunning custom personally branded website all about you, your marketing, how you sell homes, how you help buyers, loaded with video, testimonials, and a site that makes you look like one of the agents from Million Dollar Listing. (Example site) This does not have cost tens of thousands. You can get a site like an example for as little as $150 a month with IDX. IDX is still important. You want to feature communities, neighborhood-specific home statistics, and sold results as well as new listing alerts, etc. Just remember the site needs to be first and foremost about you! Then a consumer will see the amazing story you share about how you do it and your success.
A Quick Rant: STOP USING TOP PRODUCER
Pick up any real estate magazine, newspaper, advertisement even start looking at every agent’s business card. You can’t all be Top Producers… Right? I mean if there are 100 agents in your cit and you are not #1, then you are not a Top Producer. As Ricky Bobby once said… If you ain’t first you are last! All giggles aside. Consumers hate fake news and being lied to. The words Top Producer are better left to the CRM and never ever used in your marketing.
Social media is the place to be. I continue to get asked by older agents. Do I really need to be on social media. I hate Facebook and Instagram etc. The answer is yes, yes, yes!! You don’t have to be all crazy active on your personal account, But you should be using a business page to work side by side with you as a website. It provides a place for you to showcase your business. Profile, the work you do, how you do it and to tell your story. This get’s back to Google. When consumers see a for sale sign go up in the yard the majority of neighbors and passerby’s will Google your name and the properties address. If you have a Facebook Business page, posted the properties website, just listed, etc online then Google will rank you all the ay at the top. even above Zillow. This in turn generates business for you.
No one really cares about what you ate for breakfast and how exhausted you are from your daily run. But being personal is most important to your social sphere. Imagine you meet Mr. & Mrs. buyer and after showing them a few homes the wife asks you if you have kids and you tell them you are happy to be their real estate agent but would like to keep thing to business only and are not interested in discussing anything other than if they are interested in buying this home. IMAGINE THAT! Your buyers would be running away from you. As you all know so well the courtship that happens when working with your clients starts by finding areas of similar interest and being able to share moments. It’s the personal moments that build the relationship. Social media allows us to do this with very little effort and allows us insight into our client’s like never before. You can learn just about anything you want about someone if you look at their social profiles.
Using social media for your business starts with balance. 70% you, personal lifestyle-driven content followed by 30% business-related posts. Like your just listed, in escrow, sold, pending, client reviews, market statistics, etc. Think of a Sunset Magazine. Your Facebook feed should reflect this type of publication. Stories about the Home, health, and wealth. Day trips to places nearby, amazing recipes, travel, entertainment, and a few home stories about improving your home life. Exercise, health, and wealth all play a vital role in attracting consumers to your sphere. Then you hit them with the advertising (Your business posts). When done right the results are amazing.
Good news you don’t have to be an expert in social media an or take a bunch of classes to learn how and what to post. we do this for you. Check out our social media “All In One package.”
Believe it or not hyper-local market focused newsletters are one of the very best ways to stay in front of your consumer. How many listings and or buyer opportunities have you missed because you are doing anything to be in front of your past client and or sphere? Neighborhood-focused newsletters with lifestyle stories (Again think like Sunset Magazine) backed by events, happenings, and things to do, market data on the sold and new listings inventory, etc all packed into a weekly or monthly newsletter personally branded to you will go along way. It’s our most popular feature and one that agents send us constant reviews about how past clients connected with them through a reply to their newsletter. The key is to do something. Newsletters that focus just on real estate, the market, or how to improve their home if they plan to buy and or sell are a waste of your money. They are 100% advertisements to your sphere and think about how you respond to non-stop advertisements. Variety and lifestyle content is crucial. Check out our newsletters
We are finding more than ever sending out market updates that are being opened and read by consumers more than ever. After all, it’s the one area you can still shine in. Being the local market expert. See recent blog story “What Do Real Estate Agents Really Do Anymore” Before you rush to judge take a deep breath and say. I will learn from this information and focus on growing my business with what matters to the consumer. Marketing and market knowledge I found one of the best market reports that are live 24/7 and are easy to understand and super easy to send out. One of our client’s The Elite Partners uses it with great success. It’s called Altos.re. here is an example of their technology you can enter your own zip code and see for yourself how awesome this report is. See Sonoma Report
Even using your own MLS data and sending out weekly or monthly market data is super effective at attracting buyers and sellers who see you as constantly connected to what’s happening in the market. This knowledge is most important when having a conversation and the magic question you always get asked. “How’s the market?” you can answer intelligently and not with “Its great homes are selling super fast, with multiple offers in days” Thi answer is sure to have the consumer saying to themselves. Why would I need an agent to sell my house if they are selling so fast, with multiple offers and no work or efforts from the agents?
I will finish with an add-on from the previous must-do marketing tip. Stop Doing Coming Soon listings. Many of you have been in business long enough to know that trick to having a coming soon is to get a buyer and hopefully double end your deal. Not worth the risk at losing out to other potential listings. There is a way to effectively do a coming soon and get a new listing every time! This is how it used to work. You install the sign in the yard and a neighbor calls and ask about the home you just listed. They ask about the size, and say things like “How that’s just like mine” and you effectively use your scripting tools and get a quick appointment to go and take a listing. Again this no longer works with today’s coming soon consumers. When you sign goes in the yard immediately every neighborhood driving by the home Googles the address to find the listing and what do you think they find? NOTHING ABOUT YOU! They find the home on Zillow either the old listing or other homes in the neighborhood they have recently been listed. Nothing about you, the listing agent, nothing about how awesome your marketing is, how you are selling this home. Instead, the consumer sees a BIG GIANT “L” ON YOUR FOREHEAD.
It is super important you put all the marketing together before you do the coming soon. Now I know your seller just said “I want the home on as soon as possible. You reply with this “Mr. seller, I really appreciate your confidence in my ability to sell your home and am excited that you have chosen us to market your home. The reason I am so successful at what I do in getting the most for home is our marketing is the very best. In order to effectively market your home and ensure you get top dollar, I need two weeks to ready the home. This gives you the time to put all the marketing together so you can get more sellers and perhaps a few buyers and grow your business.
One of our clients is crushing it this year. On the phone the other day he says, “I have two more listings coming this week, and I just ut three in escrow. I just took a listing and I need it on the market today.” I said…WHOA! Let’s talk about this for a minute. Sure you are killing it. Selling homes as fast as they hit the market for above asking with multiple offers. What do you think the sellers think of your selling abilities and how you sold the home. He thought for a minute and said “I assume they are overjoyed that their home sold fast”. I said yes, but if asked how was your agent how would they respond. Would they say “the market is really hot right now, the home sold really fast, we got above asking? Our agent didn’t really have to do much”? This would be a terrible referral, right? Instead would it not be better for the seller to respond. Our agent worked hard and put together an awesome marketing plan that sold our home fast and for the above asking. Do you see the difference?
Stop doing coming soon listings and start marketing yourself with every opportunity you have. I hope you take to heart these must-dos in today’s real estate world. Many of you already do a lot of these. Take your business to the next level with our Essential All In One Package and enjoy more success.