What’s your real estate marketing plan for 2011? If the first thing you thought of is “Well, hopefully the market conditions allow for a good year,” it’s time to reevaluate how you approach your career. When you operate from a proven game plan, success comes much easier. And that’s what this month’s article is all about. It’s about taking what you know, using your resources to the fullest and making things happen instead of waiting for market conditions to dictate your success.
If you’re serious about success, this article is all about helping you create a winning marketing plan for 2011. But remember – a plan isn’t a plan unless it’s written down, so start by creating your game plan. Then, follow the comprehensive year-round marketing plan you’ve mapped out. Your own plan may vary based on your budget, what’s available in your area and other factors, but try to follow it as closely as possible.
Once you’ve mapped out your own game plan, it needs to become your guide to the coming year. You should review it every quarter and chart your progress.
The problem I see far too often is that agents don’t plan their marketing in advance and then their marketing suffers by operating under a shotgun approach that lacks focus and consistency. Too many times agents operate in the deal-to-deal mentality – “It’s been a bad month, I better do some marketing.” That approach is ineffective and a total waste of money. You need to stop operating from deal-to-deal and develop a long-term plan for growing your business. That’s exactly what this game plan is all about – setting a plan and sticking to it over an entire year to get all your marketing money working together to present a consistent image.
Develop Your Mix
The first step toward a successful 2011 is determining how you’re going to disseminate your marketing message. There are virtually limitless combinations of various channels at your disposal. Analyze which marketing methods will be most effective for you. If you’re not quite sure yet, this article will walk you through many of your choices.
Your year-round marketing plan should be built from a combination of the following aspects of personal marketing: online marketing, social networking and email farming, direct mail, strategic networking, advertising and public relations.
Start with the Basics
No matter what combination you choose, make sure your plan calls for continual communication with your PSAs – Past clients, Sphere of influence and All leads generated – via both direct mail and email farming. This critical group provides the core of your business and must be tended to before you target anyone else.
Now let’s examine some of the methods you’ll choose to include in your marketing mix.
Web Sites and E-mail Farming
It never ceases to amaze me how many agents still do not have an adequate web presence in today’s Internet age. Agents are shooting themselves in the foot by choosing the cheapest option just so they can say they have a web site. Many others don’t have one at all or simply rely on a tiny section on their company’s site.
You should be driving traffic to your site through both search engines and your marketing. But it’s not enough to simply get people to your site, however. The key to success on the web is providing valuable content to your visitors. Don’t only give them a reason to visit, but you also need to inspire them to return frequently. You want their experience on your site to make a positive impression and convey a sense of quality and trustworthiness.
That’s why your annual marketing game plan needs to have scheduled time to work on adding new content to your web site. These activities need to be scheduled and executed with purpose. The beauty is that continually adding new content to your site will not only lure visitors back repeatedly, but it will also increase your search engine ranking. The more timely and relevant information your site can communicate, the more business your web site will generate.
Your site should also demonstrate the value you bring to your clients by offering free special reports and other “opt-in” opportunities. For purposes of your 2011 game plan, your focus should be on increasing your “opt-ins” and growing your email database. The larger you grow your email database, the more you can take advantage of this powerful and virtually free of charge method of generating more leads and increasing your bottom line.
Social Media Integration
Social media has grown up and transformed from “that thing the kids are doing” into an essential element in business. From a marketing perspective, there’s great strength in generating a strong following on Twitter, building relationships on Facebook and LinkedIn and becoming a trusted resource for valuable information through your personal blog. Your 2011 game plan should include time reserved specifically for working on improving and capitalizing on these – and any emerging – social networking opportunities.
This doesn’t mean just “having” accounts on the various social media sites and posting without purpose, but truly using them to your advantage. Establish yourself as the authority on your local real estate market by providing timely, market-related updates via the various social media outlets. To maximize your effectiveness, you need to map out how many posts you’re going to make a week. You should aim for a balance of personal and professional content in your posts.
If you’re not sure where to start with social media and feel you’re falling behind, get educated in this topic to avoid making costly mistakes.
Right now is an outstanding opportunity for you to make a big impression in your farm area using direct mail. By following a consistent mail plan and continually providing new content to homeowners in your mailings, you can build credibility and generate more leads.
We recommend mailing an average of three times per month to each person in your direct mail farm. This way, you’ll establish name recognition quickly and maintain it consistently. Some of the tools to consider in your direct mail toolbox include: