In the digital age we’re living in, it seems everyone views themselves as a marketing expert. While that’s not the case, maybe it should be. Marketing is a main supporting beam of the structure that is your business. One careless crack and the whole thing comes tumbling down. While they don’t necessarily have to be all-around marketing experts, it’s vital for real estate agents to be aware of common oversights and content marketing errors. If you’re aware of what can cause cracks in your own business, you can take preventative measures and make the most of your marketing efforts.
Here are the nine marketing mistakes real estate agents make when marketing themselves and their clients’ properties:
1. Not Doing Extensive Research Before Laying Out Your Marketing Plan
First things first: Learn everything you can about your local market. Market research will set a foundation and determine the need for your services in your area in the first place. Before you even build the brand, you need to fully understand the current greatest needs in the market, the perception clients have of your competitors and what your future clients view as exceptional or not-so exceptional service. When you conduct market research, it’s common to identify opportunities in the market you wouldn’t have known about otherwise. By doing so, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to best to approach your marketing plan and brand positioning as a whole.
Remember that the research doesn’t stop after first launch. Successful real estate agents know market research is an ongoing process. In order to improve and keep giving your clients the kind of service they want, you’ll need to check back in with them and see how your efforts are landing. Always ask for feedback. For business owners, feedback is like gold at the end of a rainbow built with blood, sweat and tears.
2. Not Setting Measurable Objectives
Throwing all your ideas to the wall and seeing what sticks isn’t a marketing plan. It can be tempting to want to move onto the next great idea and keep the ball rolling, but to build a truly successful brand, you need to strategically plan out your content.
Set goals, measure performance of said goals, and adjust your strategy accordingly. This is especially important for promotions and social media initiatives. Paying attention to the quantitative feedback your clients are giving you through the amount of email sign-ups, likes on social posts and various other data will give you valuable insight into how your clients are perceiving your efforts. If you continue to set lofty but realistic goals and use tangible measurements to quantify the success of those goals, it’ll provide a much clearer picture of how you’re doing. You’ll know for sure whether your marketing efforts were successful and are tactics you should repeat, or if it makes more sense to go in a different direction for the next promotion.
3. Being Afraid To Outsource
As a real estate agent, you wear a million hats. Unless you’re professionally trained in graphic design, copywriting, search engine optimization, photography, social media management and business analytics, you should consider taking some things off your plate. We live in a gig economy, and because of that, it’s simple and relatively inexpensive to outsource projects to those who are professionally trained in a specific area.
“A jack-of-all-trades is a master of nothing,” says Rick Albert, a broker associate with LAMERICA Real Estate. “Delegate where you can to focus on what you are and should be good at.”
This strengths-based approach allows you to optimize your time and energy and often leads to higher-quality output. While it can be nerve-racking to trust a piece of your business to a total stranger, it can pay off immensely in the long run.
4. Marketing To Everyone Instead Of A Specific Niche/ Persona
It’s an easy trap to fall into considering we all want as many people to buy our homes and use our services as possible. If you don’t specialize and target a specific niche, you won’t be able to reach any audience. The greater the amount of competition in your area, the higher the importance that you specialize. Viewers should know who exactly you’re speaking to, and you should, too.
Segmenting by location, home type, age group and income is a great place to start when narrowing your scope of potential clients. Maybe you have experience working with high-end clients, first-time home buyers or empty nesters. Leverage that experience and own that niche. Determine the major needs of the market that aren’t being filled, discern which of those needs you can fill, and strive to fill those specific needs with every client, every time. Once you narrow your target market, the rest of your brand development and marketing efforts will be a breeze.
5. Not Budgeting For Marketing And Spending As You Go
The primary goal of marketing is to make your business more profitable, right?
According to The Balance, your marketing budget should be about 10% of your commission income. Take this into consideration when you’re planning out your promotion ideas for the coming quarter. Also, keep in mind that while the majority of your marketing budget will go to listing properties, setting aside money to promote yourself and your business as a whole is important, too. When you plan out your marketing expenses ahead of time, you’ll alleviate unnecessary spending and ensure you have more money coming in than going out. Know your return on investment and plan ahead.
6. Not Replying To Client Questions Within 24 Hours
We’re in an age of instant gratification. Clients expect swift replies to their inquiries and quality solutions to their problems. In order for your clients to build trust in your ability to handle their affairs, you’ll need high level of attentiveness to their needs.
“Because if you don’t, someone else will,” says Albert. “Plus, keep in mind, as an agent you only get paid when the deal closes. The longer you wait for that process to happen, the less likely you are to get paid.”
It’s in the best interest of you and your clients to answer any inquiries quickly and with a well-thought-out response. If you don’t have the answer they’re looking for, tell them you’ll look into it, and give a time stamp for when you’ll get back to them. This will hold you accountable to find the answer as soon as you can and put the client at ease knowing when exactly they should expect that answer.
7. Not Investing In Relationship Marketing
This is especially relevant in the real estate industry. Your clients are making high-dollar purchases. This means the consideration process before buying is considerably longer than most retail purchases. The client might have to save, get approved for loans, etc. before making the actual purchase. Since the buying process is so drawn out, it’s even more important for agents to offer multiple touch points and stand out. It may be obvious that an agent needs to stay attentive to their client during the buying process, but the agent should also be maintaining those relationships even after the deal closes. If you brush clients aside post-closing, you might lose them for good. This means missing out on possible referrals and repeat business for your client’s future real estate needs.
“Building long-term relationships with clients is the foundation of a solid ongoing business,” says Denise Supplee, a licensed REALTOR®, property manager, and co-founder of SparkRental.com. “Not only because most buyers, especially first-timers, will move again in the future, but also because people love to refer. Just visit any local Facebook group and watch what happens when someone asks for a good plumber, doctor and REALTOR®. Comment after comment with names that served these participants well. And, if you have worked it well, you will see your name repeated over and over again. And that speaks volumes!”
Stay relevant by remaining at the forefront of the client’s mind. Send communication to them often enough to stay connected, but not so much that you come across as pestering. Be sure to personalize your efforts as much as possible to each individual. Remember little details about your clients, and what’s important to them. You can even send them personalized gifts around the holidays. When your clients have future real estate needs, your name will be the first one that comes to mind. These little extra efforts separate the good from the great.
8. Ignoring The Impact Great Copywriting Can Have On Your Business
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Little mistakes in spelling and grammar in copy can take away from perceived credibility of the entire business. Take a moment to run any external facing copy through a grammar and spelling checker. It takes 2 seconds and can significantly strengthen the perception of your brand reputation.
This applies to listings as well. Be sure to avoid repetition of basic information in your posts and pay attention to your tone. In 2020, clients see right through salesy promotion talk. In a world rife with over-stimulation, people crave transparency and simplicity. Keep your writing straightforward, and opt for a more honest, conversational tone that conveys your listing information in a way that’s there to serve the client.
Use exclamation points sparingly, and avoid words and phrases and like “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and “amazing.” These are inflated and ambiguous and they automatically cheapen your message. Stick to clear and specific details about the property you’re listing. Help your readers visualize themselves in the space by using clear, transparent language.
9. Social Media And Digital Marketing Have Many Pitfalls Of Their Own
- Not using social media at all. Whether we like it or not, social media has taken over. It has quickly become the primary way businesses communicate with clients, and the way most clients prefer to communicate. This direct line of communication between you and your clients can be a powerful tool in driving sales. Failing to take advantage of this tool would not only be unwise but could cause you to lose leads. It’s not only common for real estate businesses to be on social media, it’s expected.
- Posting Inconsistently. Consistency is key when building your social platforms. Find a posting cadence that keeps your content at the forefront of your clients’ minds, but that won’t overwhelm them. If you’re posting so often that their feed is flooded with your content, it’s highly likely you’ll lose followers and have a much lower engagement. It’s also common to fall into the trap of only putting effort into social media in the short term. The longer you’re consistently posting relevant content, the more likely you are to build a loyal following.
- Posting only promotional posts and forgetting to incorporate storytelling. Clients want more than just promotions. Work some storytelling into your posting cadence. “Stay on brand and be authentic,” says Albert. “Remember, their perception is their reality.” What you communicate to your followers about your brand is what you’re saying you want to be known for. A great way to pull authenticity into social media is to bring user-generated content into play. This is content created by your followers, or in the case of real estate, your clients. Reposting the content your clients post about your brand can help put faces to the story you’re telling and build credibility with your audience. This is a great, inexpensive way to tell the stories behind your sales that make your business unique.
- Not adding social sharing buttons to property pages. Giving your clients the option to share your properties is free advertisement. When a client shares your property listing onto their page, you’re gaining exposure to an entire group of potential clients you didn’t have access to before. This is a quick and simple way to get more eyes on your listings.
- Underestimating the affect great video content can have on your business. This is a big one for 2020. While written word is still important, consumers want to be visually stimulated. Videos tend to garner a greater number of engagements than the written word and even static images. They offer the greatest amount of stimulation for the least amount of effort. If you find yourself among of those who aren’t currently using video, a great place to start using video to grow your business is YouTube. Even your images should be high quality content. Clients want to see every inch of the home. They want to experience the home before even stepping foot inside it. If you aren’t a professional photographer and you don’t happen to have thousands of dollars worth of staging furniture just lying around, an inexpensive alternative is to use virtual staging tools. These allow you to post high-quality staged photos while not creating extra work on your end. The apps are exactly what you need to take your listings and social media posts up a notch without breaking the bank.
If you avoid these nine marketing mistakes, you’re on the right track to growing a successful real estate business. But the truth is, the number one way to truly be successful in your real estate business is to do your best to serve every client well every single time. When you consider the clients’ needs and constantly strive to see things through their eyes, success will eventually follow. There may be hundreds of businesses that are similar to yours. What they don’t have, and what they can never obtain, is your story. Be transparent with your intention to provide the client with an excellent experience. It’s this transparency that sets average small businesses apart from extraordinary ones. You don’t have to be a content marketing expert to be successful in marketing your real estate business. Just be consistent and sincere.
Learn about more about how Quicken Loans® can support your real estate business at https://www.quickenloans.com/real-estate.
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