The housing market is finally bouncing back — and so is the number of members in the National Association of Realtors.
Membership in the NAR is climbing back up toward its all-time high (1,357,732 in 2006) after years of decline. You know what that means…
Which means YOU need an effective real estate marketing plan now more than ever!
To that end:
I’ve compiled this list of 19 real estate marketing tips to help you stand apart from your competitors and grow your business.
Some of these ideas you’ve heard. You may have even considered them but not thought them worthwhile.
So as I go through the list, I’ll explain exactly what is to be gained from each idea.
Even if you’re scanning, make sure you make it to the bottom — you never know when that big idea will hit!
From Realtor postcards to branding, here are 19 real estate marketing ideas to help you generate more sales this year:
1. Find your niche and make your marketing 325% more effective using these three steps.
Are you an expert on waterfront homes or ranches? Downtown condos or beach living? Why not brand yourself that way?
I know you might be thinking:
Why limit myself to ONE kind of real estate client?
Because it gives you an advantage, especially in a super-competitive market.
Think about it from your prospective client’s perspective:
Say you want to buy a house on the water. Who are you going to trust to find you the best deal on a GREAT piece of waterfront property? The general Realtor who sells all kinds of properties, or the Realtor who specializes in waterfront homes?
The specialist, of course!
And your Realtor marketing doesn’t necessarily have to focus on a type of property or a location. You could specialize in a type of client or even a lifestyle — think about what you’re good at and what’s needed in YOUR market!
Are you passionate about a specific type of architecture? Is there a particular type of buyer you tend to attract — families? Young professionals? People looking to relocate from far away?
Find your target audience and connect with them so that you are the agent they want to work with!
Here are three steps to defining your niche:
- Choose a type of property or buyer/seller to focus on and become an expert on that topic.
- Pinpoint the ideal prospects for that market.
- Market to them!
2. Create a unique selling proposition and lift sales 9%.
You might be wondering:
What the heck is a unique selling proposition? Besides being one of the most effective (not to mention FREE) real estate marketing tools available…
A USP is a desirable, exclusive benefit that sets your business apart from the competition. It can be tied into your niche — or not.
Some USPs you might be familiar with:
Toms: The only shoe company that donates a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair purchased.
Domino’s: The only pizza company that guarantees delivery within 30 minutes or it’s free.
PostcardMania’s USP: The only postcard marketing company that creates your campaign based on the proven results of over 73,792 clients.
Here’s the story behind it:
When I started PostcardMania, I didn’t have a ton of competition.
But over the years, competitors started popping up left and right — and I knew I had to do something to set myself apart.
That’s when I had the idea to hire a full-time results manager to track our clients’ campaigns. Then we could share that data with our other clients and prospects so they can use the same successful actions!
Anyway, back to YOUR USP…
Here are three jumping-off points:
- What void can you fill in your marketplace?
- What can you guarantee that your competitors can’t?
- What do people HATE about buying or selling real estate, and how can you make it so they don’t have to experience it?
I won’t lie:
Creating a USP can be tough. But it’s worth it!
One ecommerce site tested a shopping cart with a USP at the top of the page against a standard shopping cart page and saw a 9% increase in sales on mobile devices on the page with the USP.
I’ll take a 9% uptick any day!
3. Stay top of mind with 88% of buyers and sellers with branded swag.
Don’t underestimate the power of branding!
A 2013 report by PPAI showed that 88% of consumers could recall the name of an advertiser on a promotional product they received in the last year, and 62% could even recall the message!
Have a professional headshot taken and a logo professionally designed. Write a short biography and a tagline for all of your marketing materials (this can be your USP).
Then put them on EVERYTHING:
- Just sold postcards
- Real estate flyers
- Pens, notepads and other swag
You could even go full Phil Dunphy…
Or maybe not.
But here’s why creating a brand for your real estate business is important:
Each time a prospect sees your logo, that’s an impression. And multiple impressions add up to name recognition, which results in sales!
4. Partner with local businesses to boost referrals by 65%.
The New York Times reports that 65% of new business comes from referrals — this includes referrals from other companies that your prospects do business with.
Establish relationships with different types of businesses and choose some that you would feel comfortable referring your clients to. (Even giving them gift cards to — see #19 for more on that!)
Think about what kind of businesses your clients need, and what other businesses’ clients need you, like:
- HVAC professionals
- Child care centers
- Fitness centers
- Moving companies
- Divorce lawyers
Then ask to leave some of your real estate business cards or swag at their place of business, or you could even draw up a referral agreement!
5. Be an active member of your community to get hired 85% more often.
I’ll bet you’ve heard this a hundred times:
It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know!
Get out in your community and MEET PEOPLE! A recent survey showed that 85% of jobs are acquired through traditional, in-person networking.
It shows prospective clients you care about more than just your commission, but about your neighborhood and the people in it!
Here are a few suggestions for ways to get involved:
- Attend neighborhood association meetings. You could even offer to be a guest speaker at a meeting to talk about buying/selling, curb appeal or home improvement trends.
- Write a column for local newsletters or magazines.
- Sponsor a local sports team or event.
- Donate (time or money) to local charities.
- Host a workshop or seminar for homebuyers or sellers. (Yes, this will take time and energy, but the relationship you establish with the attendees will pay off big time when they’re ready to shop for a home!)
6. Pinpoint your ideal prospects and waste ZERO marketing dollars.
Depending on your specialty or niche, you probably have an “ideal” client.
If you don’t already know who that is, it’s not difficult to figure it out:
Look at your most profitable sales and see what those clients have in common. Ask yourself things like:
- How old are they?
- What kind of work do they do?
- Do they have children?
- Do they have animals?
- Where are they moving to/from?
Once you figure out who your ideal client is, you know who your ideal prospects are — people just like them!
Why should you pinpoint your ideal prospects?
Say you sell million-dollar homes. Not everyone can afford one — obviously! So you wouldn’t market yourself to every single person in your town, would you?
You only want to spend money on marketing that reaches the people who are most qualified to become your clients — that is your target market!
7. Get an exact count of your best-client matches with this 60-second online count.
Get the best possible return on investment (ROI) on your real estate postcard marketing by purchasing a mailing list that comprises your ideal prospects.
You can narrow down your list by any number of factors:
- Home value
- Zip code
- Marital status
- Children present
- Even interests and what they’ve recently purchased!
At PostcardMania.com, you can run a list count for FREE to see how many people in your area fit your ideal demographic.
- Select your geographical area (you can choose by zip codes, city, county, radius, etc.) and how many people you want to target
- Define your audience using your selected demographics
Even if you don’t buy your mailing list from us, this will give you an accurate count of how many matches there are.
If you decide to purchase your mailing list elsewhere, ask your list company the following questions:
- How often is your data updated? (If it’s less than monthly, move on!)
- What amount of deliverability do you guarantee? (The answer should be 90% deliverability or more.)
- Will they refund you for postage and production costs for anything beyond the deliverable guarantee?
You’ll ALWAYS have some real estate direct mail that’s undeliverable, that’s normal — nearly 40 million Americans move every year (you should know)! But if you use a reputable list company for your real estate postcards, you should get no more than 10% of your pieces returned. (PostcardMania’s lists generally have closer to a 5% undeliverable rate.)
8. Generate up to a 1,485% return on investment with Realtor marketing postcards.
Real estate postcard campaigns are a PROVEN way to generate leads. To wit:
- This agent achieved a 1,485% ROI with his postcard campaign
- These brokers generated about $260,000 within two months with their postcards
- This Realtor achieved a 625.7% ROI with her real estate farming postcards
Direct Mail gets 50x the response rate of when targeting prospects, according to the Direct Marketing Association (and 10x the response rate of pay per click advertising)!
And check this out: 39% of consumers try a business for the first time because of direct mail advertising.
After helping more than 4,600 real estate professionals (and counting!), PostcardMania can create revenue-generating postcards for real estate based on proven results.
Our marketing experts recommend including these 10 essential elements in your real estate postcard design:
- A clear, bold headline: Tell your recipient right away what service you’re advertising. A good guideline is for the headline to take up at least 15% of the postcard front.
- A graphic that supports the message: The main image should be easy to understand and should help convey the headline’s message (like a house with a sold sign!).
- Color that pops: Make the headline and other important text stand out in a color that contrasts well with the rest of the postcard elements. Ask yourself what you see first when you look at the card — it should be the headline!
- Sub headlines that lead into text: This gives recipients a “point of entry” on the back of your card — it tells them where to start reading! If you just slap a ton of text on the back of the card, no one will bother to read it.
- Benefits, not features: Don’t just tell prospects how great you are, tell them what YOU can do for THEM — sell their house fast, for example.
- A valuable offer: Your prospects have plenty of options. Give them a good reason to call YOU — like a waived application fee or a guarantee that you will their home within a certain number of days (see USP, #2 above).
- Your business name and logo: This is important, but it can be small. Don’t let it overshadow your message.
- A call to action: Many business owners assume people know what to do once they see your marketing piece. They don’t! A clear call to action (CTA) on your Realtor direct mail tells them exactly what step to take next — e.g., “Call today for an appointment!”
- Your contact information: Make it easy for your prospects to reach you. We suggest our clients include this data on the front AND back of the card.
- Your return address: You need this not only to get back any undeliverable postcards (and avoid wasting postage on mail that doesn’t reach its intended recipient), but it adds legitimacy to your business. People like to know they’re dealing with a real business with an actual, physical location.
One more thing:
You may have seen some unique or funny real estate postcard ideas, but I recommend that you never, ever sacrifice clarity in the name of cleverness. If your prospects don’t understand what you’re offering right away, they won’t bother to find out!
Watch this webinar recording to learn how to dominate your market, budget correctly and boost ROI with postcards:
Click here to see real estate postcard templates that are currently working for our clients.
9. Increase your response up to 400% with Google follow-up ads.
Repetition and follow up are the keys to any successful marketing campaign.
Not only does repetition increase the likelihood that you will reach your prospect at the right time (when they’re ready to buy or sell a home), it also helps create a sense of familiarity and credibility.
In addition to sending multiple real estate mailers, studies show that retargeting (also called remarketing) your prospects online can provide awesome returns.
According to CMO.com:
- Google follow-up ads can boost ad response up to 400 percent
- Website visitors who are shown Google follow-up ads are 70 percent more likely to convert
DirectMail2.0 combines direct mail postcards and Google follow-up ads into one seamlessly integrated campaign to create exponentially better results. (And without any extra effort on your part!)
Here’s how it works:
- An unobtrusive piece of coding is added to your website that “cookies” your visitors
- Your prospects get your real estate prospecting postcards in the mail
- They check you out online
- They’re not ready to call you yet, so they leave your site without taking action
- They automatically start seeing your ads on other websites all over the internet, reminding them that they were interested in you!
10. Reach 91% of prospects where they go every day: their email.
Build up your email list — through your website, seminars you host, events you sponsor — and keep in touch with your clients and prospects.
According to Outbound Engine:
- 91% of consumers check their email once a day
- 70% of consumers always open emails from their favorite businesses
- 61% say they enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly
When marketing real estate, email is an effective, affordable way to stay top-of-mind with your prospects and clients.
Why stay in touch with former clients? To keep referrals and repeat business rolling in!
Set up a drip campaign (a series of emails that go out at specified intervals) that goes out to new leads who reach out to you. (This is where lead generation forms come in — more on those in a second!)
Send your leads emails about new listings, local events and news or helpful tips and information every few days at first, then weekly, then every few weeks.
And make sure each email ends with a CTA that encourages them to call you!
You should also send out a monthly newsletter to ALL of your clients and prospects.
Your newsletter should include useful information that your recipients will appreciate — like home improvement tips or event calendars — not just new listings.
Make sure they all include a CTA!
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?
MailChimp and other email marketing software can automate it for you so that as soon as someone becomes a lead, they get your first drip email — you just set it and forget it!
One big difference to note between email and direct mail for Realtors:
I NEVER recommend buying an email list. I don’t know about you, but I (and most of the people I know) HATE getting unsolicited email! It’s intrusive and creepy — only email people who have voluntarily given you their contact information!
11. Optimize your website to snag up to 90% of home buyers in your area.
According to the NAR, 90% of home buyers conduct online searches. Plus:
Most of the people who receive your real estate farming postcards will visit your website before they call you.
Make sure your website is designed to attract prospects and — more importantly — turn them into LEADS!
Keep it fresh: If your website hasn’t seen a design update since the early 2000s, it’s time to revamp. A Stanford University study showed that 75% of people judge a business by its website. (I think it’s probably more like 99%, personally!) And update your content at least weekly. The internet moves fast — if a prospect sees the exact same information every time they visit your website, they’re going to think that’s all the information they’re ever going to get from you, and stop visiting!
Optimize it for search engines: SEO (search engine optimization) helps Google finds you when someone searches for information about real estate in your area. The more “optimized” your site is for search engines, the higher it will appear in the search results. HubSpot research shows that 75% of searchers never scroll past the first page! Make sure your page titles, headlines and sub-headlines include keywords like “real estate” and your city.
Include lead-capture forms and squeeze pages: Your home page (every page, in fact) should include a form that visitors to your real estate website can fill in with their contact information. Require their email address before they can look closer at a listing, or if they want to request more information from you. Then you can follow up with them via email (See #10)!
12. Attract 126% more leads for your real estate business with a blog.
I know what you’re thinking:
Between showing houses and closings and paperwork and taking care of my own house and the kids and the dogs… I don’t have time to blog!
When you regularly update your blog, you’re giving Google more pages to index and rank your website for! A study by Ignite Spot showed that business websites with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without.
Every post does not have to be a dissertation. Just a brief entry once a week will do. Here are some suggestions:
- Events in the area
- Home trends
- Lists (Like the screenshot below)
- The most expensive homes on the market today
- What $500,000 (or whatever amount) gets you in different cities
- The most outrageous (bathrooms, kitchens, whatever… and not just YOUR listings!)
You can also guest post on other sites for backlinks (links to your website from other websites — these are GREAT for SEO) and name recognition!
And just like your emails: Every post should end in a CTA!
13. Increase brand awareness by 80% and guarantee your spot on Page 1 of Google with PPC ads.
If your SEO and blogging aren’t getting you to the top of the search results, you may need to pay up.
With Google pay per click (PPC) advertising, you can run an ad on Google when people search for specific keywords, and you only pay when someone clicks on it.
You know, these guys:
A Google study showed that search ads can increase brand awareness by 80%!
In a highly competitive market, Realtors can pay a pretty penny to get to the first page.
I recommend you start by setting a budget (say $50 a day) and playing around with it.
But running a cost-effective PPC campaign is complicated! There are so many variables, and to avoid wasting money, you need to constantly monitor your clicks. It’s probably worth the cost to hire a specialist to handle it for you. (PostcardMania offers PPC management, by the way!)
14. Improve conversions by 161% by leveraging call tracking phone numbers.
The most frustrating aspect of marketing for Realtors is not knowing whether or not your campaign is actually generating leads.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix that…
With call tracking numbers!
You should use a separate call tracking number for every Realtor mailing, pay per click ad, social media campaign and any other channel you use to advertise your real estate business.
A call tracking number rings directly into your business line, but is tracked and recorded as it comes in, so you can see exactly how many calls your campaign brings in, when they came in and from what phone number (so you can call them back!).
You can also listen to each call to check your reception and sales processes. One of my clients increased his conversions by 161% after listening to his recorded calls and seeing where his receptionists needed improvement!
And then, once you know exactly how each campaign is performing, you can tweak your ads or shift your marketing budget as necessary to maximize each one!
15. Get your message to 78% of your prospects on social media.
More than three quarters of Americans have at least one social media profile, according to Statista. As most real estate marketing companies will tell you: So should you!
Post your listings, sure — but also post about other interesting things that are related (or even not-so related) to real estate: events, gardening, how-tos, etc.
If you’re going to only focus on one platform, make it Facebook. It’s by far the biggest social media site — 58% of Americans have a Facebook account — with the most common age bracket being 25-34 (prime first-time home-buying age!).
The problem with Facebook is that organic reach has been in steady decline, and today as few as 2% of people who “like” your page may see your posts.
It’s worth ponying up to “boost” your posts so they get seen — Facebook’s ad manager makes this quite easy.
Instagram is another great place to advertise real estate, since it’s a visual platform and people LOVE looking at pictures of gorgeous homes!
Plus, it’s popular: Instagram has 500 million monthly active users and sees 4.2 billion likes PER DAY!
If you want to try more creative real estate marketing, get on Pinterest, which is also highly visual. You can create separate boards for your listings, your city, architectural flourishes… anything you can think of.
Here’s a helpful Field Guide to Pinterest for Realtors from Realtor.org.
16. Claim your local search listings and be found by 60% of potential clients.
Local listings aren’t sexy, but they’re vital to increasing your visibility on the web. Each listing is a new web page where your business can be found.
They also help with your SEO, because each listing is a link back to your website. And if each listing and link is consistent, it gives you more credibility with Google — which will reward you with higher search rankings!
So make sure you claim your business listings and that they are correct and up to date.
There are hundreds of online business directories, but here are some of the big ones you NEED to be on:
- Google My Business
- Bing Local
- Yahoo Local
- Angie’s List
17. Ask happy clients for reviews and get up to 94% more business.
Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes again, and pretend you’re looking for a real estate agent in Tampa.
Which one of those Realtors are you more likely to call?
The guys with NO reviews?
The agent with a 4.9-star rating based on 7 reviews?
The agency with 3.2 stars based on 11 reviews?
All else being equal, I’m going with the company with the 4.7-star rating based on 134 reviews! Wouldn’t you?
Online reviews are incredibly important today. According to the 2016 BrightLocal survey:
- 92% of consumers read online reviews
- 84% of people trust them as much as a personal recommendation
So ask your happy clients for them!
Don’t assume they will write reviews for you: 83% of satisfied customers are happy to refer products and services, but only 29% actually do!
Like you, they’re busy — you have to ask, and make it as easy as possible. Send them an email thanking them for their business and asking them for a review. Even better, include a link so they can do it with just one click.
Think carefully about your timing, though. Look at what has worked in the past or ask your peers what works for them.
One in four homeowners experiences buyer’s remorse — you definitely don’t want to ask someone in the throes of regret and doubt!
18. Attract a potential 92% more referral clients with an incentive program.
The NAR reports that 75 percent of a real estate agent’s business is from word of mouth.
Are you shaking your head, like “Duh?”
It’s no wonder: 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know above any other form of advertising, according to a Nielsen survey.
So how do you capitalize on that?
Start with a referral mindset:
Be helpful to your clients and contacts however you can. Give them tips, steer them toward a good deal, be generally awesome — and they’ll be inclined to return the favor!
Then offer them rewards for referring new clients to you! Some suggestions to get you started:
- $100 gift card
- Dinner at a nice restaurant
- iPad or other tech device
Whatever you spend on a prize will amount to a tiny fraction of what you stand to gain from the sale!
19. Show clients you appreciate their business to generate a potential 83% more referrals.
Last but not least:
Your job isn’t over once the sale closes. Let your clients know you appreciate their trust and that you’re available to them if they have questions or concerns.
Check in with them via email or text, of course — but if you really want those referrals, go the extra mile. A Texas Tech University study showed that 83% of consumers are comfortable making referrals after a positive experience!
Deliver a new-home gift basket with hand towels, a gift certificate to the local hardware store and a coupon for the closest pizza restaurant!
Put them on your holiday greeting card list and send them a happy-first-anniversary-in-your-home card. Small gestures like this can reap huge rewards!
You made it to the end — I hope you’re feeling inspired! For even more Realtor marketing ideas, check out these real estate postcards that work! And if you have questions about anything mentioned here, leave a comment or email me at Joy.Gendusa@PostcardMania.com.
Ready to start your real estate marketing campaign? Call one of my experts at 800-628-1804 — the consultation is completely FREE, even if you don’t use our services!