In real estate, there is an unspoken rule of thumb that 10 percent of your budget be allocated for marketing. Today’s real estate professional needs a plan and strategy around how to best put that money to work for your business.
The myriad of traditional and digital marketing tools available can be perplexing to understand and strategically organize including high end websites, popular social media channels, local newspaper advertising, branded giveaways, partnerships and sponsorships, public relations campaigns, search engine optimization and more.
In choosing how to invest your marketing budget, you must plan a strategy that supports the objectives of your overall business plan. Here are three straightforward tips all real estate professionals should think about:
1) Make sure the business plan includes a well defined mission statement. This should typically answer a few key questions:
- What kind of real estate do you sell or want to sell?
- Who are your customers? Residential buyers or sellers? Commercial buyers? Investors?
- Where is your business focused? Where do you want it to focus?
- What do you offer customers that they won’t find elsewhere?
2) Your mission statement can define the direction for your marketing plan. What, where and how you sell tells you plenty about whom you need to be targeting in which markets.
Marketing involves paid, earned, owned and shared media, like a television commercial, a newspaper article, a company website or a client’s photograph of a house posted on Facebook. Understanding the target audience of your geographic market will help determine how to use which mix of media in each market.
3) Examine your options, compile costs and pull the trigger. If you’re selling houses in New York City’s suburbs, you’ll want to advertise in train stations. If you’re selling luxury homes overseeing the Hudson River, you’ll want to advertise in New York City and Hudson Valley-centric magazines. If you’re catering to late-thirtysomething parents seeking to leave the city, consider building a webpage for each property you’re trying to sell. They’ll be shopping online before they call.
At the same time, be sure to budget for marketing tactics that appeal to broader audiences – signage, business cards, and branded giveaways that enable customers to bring the brand into their outside lives.
When your business has news of interest to the local community, such as a new groundbreaking for an apartment complex, a new department with a dozen job openings or an new trend report on real estate prices in the area, reach out to regional media first and offer the publication with the widest distribution an exclusive. You might also offer your CEO or top sales broker as an expert guest on a local television or radio news segment about real estate in that community. Securing positive mentions of your company and people’s names in the news builds credibility.
Of course, a critical way to keep your marketing strategy dynamic is to stay educated and informed. Be sure to read housing news in your local newspapers and blogs as well as the major news publications in your state and the country, like The New York Times or Wall Street Journal. Sign up for specialized real estate courses on nights and weekends and of course, make it a point to attend industry trade shows and conferences when you can.
Reading and training will keep you informed about the changes in your market and help you brainstorm new ways to close more and larger deals.