6 tips for developing a real estate marketing plan
- The real estate market is ripe with opportunity, with the average home price in the United States expected to grow by 8% in 2021
- A real estate marketing plan outlines your business goals, potential customers, and the strategies you intend to use for lead generation
- Putting your plan to paper is essential; marketers who do so are 313% more likely to succeed
As a real estate agent, you’re always looking for ways to grow your brand and create interest in the homes and properties you’re selling. Enhancing your marketing efforts and creating a real estate marketing plan can dramatically increase your bottom line.
Consider this: 73% of homeowners say they’re more likely to list with a realtor who uses video to sell property, and 93% of home buyers and sellers say a website is the most useful information source. Furthermore, 89% of buyers in 2019 bought their home through a real estate agent or broker. It’s clear that marketing both yourself and your listings is integral for a successful real estate business.
Whether you’re coming up with a real estate marketing plan for the first time or reworking your current plan to focus on growing trends, this guide will help you with tips and ideas to capture potential clients.
Why marketing is important in the real estate industry
Experts are calling for greater-than-average growth in the U.S. real estate market. Home prices are expected to increase by 5.5% in 2022, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). There’s also an increase of buyers in the market and not enough homes to meet the demand. In 2020, home sales exceeded 5.5 million units, the highest annual mark since 2006.
As a real estate agent, these statistics present plenty of opportunities for you, as long as you have a solid real estate marketing plan. Since you’re competing against other agents for business, you need to find ways to set yourself apart from the competition.
Developing a real estate marketing plan
A real estate marketing plan is a specific document outlining your goals, budget, the demographics of your target market, and details on how you plan to succeed.
You might think you don’t have time to write down a formal marketing plan, especially when you’re busy scheduling walkthroughs and open houses. But creating a marketing plan can take your business to the next level, and it’s something that the best real estate agents do on a regular basis.
Marketers with a documented strategy are 313% more likely to report success. Consider the tips and strategies below to help write your business plan and meet your marketing goals.
1. Identify your target audience
When creating your real estate marketing plan, it’s essential to understand the specifics of your target clients. Start by researching the real estate market in your area. Are you focused on commercial or residential real estate? If it’s commercial, are you catering toward small businesses or larger companies like a financial brokerage? If it’s residential, are the buyers and sellers in your area millennials or Baby Boomers or a mixture of both?
Some marketers find it helpful to put together a persona of your target buyer and seller. A persona is a “fictional character” that reflects the client you’re targeting. It represents your ideal customer based on both your market research and the data you have about your existing customers. Creating personas allows you to fine-tune your marketing efforts to attract the types of clients you want.
2. Establish your brand
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you want to make sure your company identity is clear and consistent. Your “brand” boils down to the perception others have of your company. Every time someone sees or hears your name, they are forming an opinion about you and your company. Take time to hone in on the impression you want your name or brand to leave on potential clients.
Establishing your brand involves the following:
- Researching your target audience
- Determining your focus (e.g., commercial or residential real estate)
- Choosing a business name that reflects your personality and services
- Having a logo
- Creating a slogan and mission statement
- Developing a professional real estate website
Research other agents in your area to determine what sets you apart. This is what’s known as your value proposition. Is your pricing structure better than others? Are you taking lower commissions? Perhaps you have 20 years of experience and the industry know-how to assist buyers and sellers. Whatever the case may be, identify the thing that makes you different from your competition, and focus on this selling point when creating your real estate marketing plan.
3. Understand lead acquisition
Lead acquisition is the process of getting potential clients in your pipeline. Your goal in marketing is to generate buyer and seller leads—in other words, capture detailed information about those looking to buy real estate.
An example of lead generation would be hosting a free webinar for first-time homebuyers (assuming they are your target market). To enroll in the webinar, attendees would enter their contact information on a form on your website or on a physical sign-up sheet, perhaps one that you leave sitting out at an open house. By getting people to provide their contact information for the webinar, you’ve automatically generated leads.
You can use this information for market research to get a better understanding of the buyers in your area and use it to contact these leads in the future. If you distribute a quarterly e-newsletter highlighting the market trends in your area, you can add these new email addresses to your distribution list to keep them in your pipeline.
4. Focus on search engine optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ensuring your website shows up in search engines. You can increase organic traffic through the use of select keywords. If you don’t already have a business website, you can buy your domain name on sites like GoDaddy.
You can then set up your site with platforms like Wix or WordPress. However, if you don’t have the time or know-how, you can hire a freelancer to do it for you. Sites like Upwork offer plenty of professionals for hire with prices as low as $16 per hour.
From there you can create content on your website such as blog posts and landing pages. When blogging, add keywords that will make your content more likely to appear in search engines. For example, if you’re in the Phoenix area, a potential keyword could be “first-time homebuyers Phoenix.”
The goal of SEO is to get your website to appear first in the search results when homebuyers in your area search for these keywords, which in turn drives traffic to your site. Free keyword research tools like WordTracker are available to help you figure out which words you should be using.
5. Develop your online and social media presence
More homebuyers than ever are active online—using sites like Zillow for market research and to see available homes. As such, some buyers might think they no longer need real estate agents because they can see listings for free online. Having an online presence is necessary to compete with this growing trend as well as to promote your local business and reach your target audience.
Start by claiming your Yelp Business Page, which gives you a place to list your contact information and link back to your business website. When buyers and sellers in your area search for real estate agents, your name will come up in the listings. Reviews from your clients also show up on your Yelp Business Page, serving as digital word-of-mouth referrals. This gives you an opportunity to engage with previous (and potential) customers and demonstrate your level of customer service.
These days it’s critical to create social media profiles for your business on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, where you can publish posts featuring new content from your blog and potentially drive users to your site. You can also create original content for your social media accounts to promote your latest listings, open houses, and other worthwhile industry news.
If you’re targeting older individuals who want to put up their home for sale before retirement, you may choose to skip social media altogether and opt for direct mail (such as real estate flyers) in the areas you serve. Knowing your target audience helps you get more bang for your buck when mapping out your real estate marketing strategy.
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6. Come up with your executive summary
Once you have your real estate marketing plan in place, your next step is to develop an executive summary. The executive summary provides a snapshot of who you are as an agent, your business goals, and the real estate marketing ideas you have.
The executive summary typically comes at the beginning of a marketing plan, but some find it easiest to write it after you’ve laid out all the details of your business. Having a summary down on paper (even if it’s just digitally) helps you focus on your current situation, your short- and long-term goals, and your value proposition for prospective clients. You can also update it regularly, so it’s always as current as possible.
Grow your business with a real estate marketing plan
As a real estate agent, you’re constantly competing for business. With so much growth expected in the coming years, it’s more important than ever to invest in your marketing efforts so you can work smarter, not harder. Identifying the audience you want to reach, strengthening your brand, developing more ways to generate leads, and focusing on online marketing tactics are just some of the useful tips that can help you create a real estate marketing plan. For more ways to boost your business and grow your client base, check out this guide to free online advertising.
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.