Marketing Tools: The Good. The Bad. The...

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Education & Training with U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.


"There are no losers.  There are only lessons."
-Carol Williams

Although I retired from active sales over 6 years ago, some of my most effective marketing tools will probably still work today. So, this is my entry in Jeff Dowler's Best Marketing Tools Challenge for February. 

PART 1 - LOSERS:
Direct Mail:  This strategy was never effective for me simply because I wasn't consistent.   I did this off and on over the years and was never consistent due to time management issues. I targeted apartment complexes and mid-range neighborhoods with constant turnover.  I had perfectly good intentions but always got sidetracked.  In hindsight, I should have outsourced this task.  I know it would have worked and my business would have grown much quicker.  The lesson:  Don't do direct mail if you won't be consistent.  It is a total waste of time and money. 

Cold Calling:  I never liked cold calling, but the franchise I worked at had occasional cold calling nights at the office.  I hate being cold called and I hated doing it.  I never got one appointment from this strategy because I didn't have my heart in it.  People can tell.   The lesson: Don't use a marketing strategy you don't believe in.  It won't work and you'll be miserable trying.


PART 2 - WINNERS:
Since I have been out of the business for several years, I'm not going to make any technological recommendations here... except for the general comments about blogs and websites.

* 3 1/2" x 8 1/2" lined notepads.  I used the lined version because they are great for lists, notes, etc.  I purchased the ones with 25 pages per pad because they were compact.  I took a couple to ALL listing presentations, left them at listings, and included one in each mailing I sent out... including bills paid to local companies. The local bill-paying strategy might not be valid anymore since most people pay their bills online or through auto-pay these days. I also donated hundreds of these notepads to be stuffed in goodie bags at golf tournaments and women's conferences.  I often received requests for a refill supply from clients because they gave them to family and friends.  Be generous with them.  They're a very inexpensive, and useful, tool.  Of course, be sure all your contact info is on the notepad, including your web address, blog, phone, e-mail, etc.  The cost was about .25 per pad.  They are no doubt more now.

* Bookmark size business cards:  I loved these!  I had a variety of designs... flags, flowers, golf, fall foliage, and others.   Other agents often commented on how great they are.  Of course, I leave them at showings, and I've had other agents say their clients use them as bookmarks.  I've been told this type of business card is not on the approved design list for some of the big franchises.  I don't know what the current sources of these bookmark size business cards are.  I used to order them through VistaPrint.  I think my cost was about .10 each.  I don't remember.  Again, they are no doubt more expensive now.

 * My primary blog: I started my blog before most people even knew was blogging was.  This blog ranked very high Google rankings for my keywords "Wenatchee Real Estate" "Wenatchee real estate agent" and other Wenatchee related terms.  I watched where my traffic came from, and Google was, by far, my #1 referring website source.  Also, I put a bright yellow piece of paper in every envelope I mail with my blog address.  It says:  "For current Wenatchee real estate news, info and trends, visit www.CarolsWenatchee.com."  Since I've retired, this site has been deactivated. The hosting cost was $17 per month. I was able to attribute 75% of my new business to my blog and website, which were linked together and also on all marketing materials.

* My "other" blogs:  Besides my primary blog, I also had some niche blogs for condos, rentals, and general real estate in surrounding towns.  These were all linked back and forth to each other and with my IDX website.

* My website:  I received a lot of unsolicited e-mail from prospects about what a great source of information this site was.  It was a standard template from a local IDX website provider, but I stripped it and made it unique to me.  I didn't want it looking like every other agent in town.  It was not the most flashy professional look, but I did get a lot of great comments.  It reflected my personality which was professional and knowledgeable, but casual.   As stated above, 75% of my business during the last few years I was active came from my primary blog and website.  The cost was $59 per month.

* Hobbies:  My hobby happened to be golf.  I played 2 - 4 times a week and received a lot of business from my golfing friends.  Don't dismiss the opportunity to get business while having fun.  The cost was about $1500 per year, and it was money I was going to spend anyway.

PART 3 - The Future 
I am retired now, so I have no future marketing plans.  I do have my trusted REALTOR® friends that I refer business to, and I help them with marketing if they want it. 

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"The best way to predict the future is to create it!" -Peter Drucker

Carol Williams: 
The Real Estate Agent's Survival Guide.  

Customized coaching, goal setting and marketing

Ask for a FREE consultation with Carol
TopTeamCarol@gmail.com

 

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Rainmaker
135,106
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

You have some great marketing methods listed here for the winners. I am glad that they worked well for you. Thank you for sharing. 

Feb 08, 2018 07:16 PM #32
Rainmaker
613,098
Diana Zaccaro
Veterans Realty of Brevard - NOT just for Veterans! - Cocoa Beach, FL
Your Brevard County, Florida coastal connection!

Carol, I also dislike cold calling and you are so right about not using a marketing strategy you don't believe in.  It is much better to stay with what you know, like and get results from.

Feb 08, 2018 07:26 PM #33
Ambassador
3,450,396
Jeff Dowler
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Carol

There are some terrific lessons here, especially about being consistent! I know a number of people who do notepads and have had great success with it! Thanks for your entry.

Jeff

Feb 08, 2018 08:10 PM #34
Rainmaker
1,112,709
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Direct Mail - I am guilty of not being consistent, but I am now back in the swing of things. We'll see if it works this time around!  

Cold Calling - I couldn't agree more! Yuck.

I love the ideas of the note pads and the bookmark sized business cards! I'll have to do some investigating on those two things.

Feb 09, 2018 04:00 AM #35
Rainmaker
1,259,695
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group - Alexandria, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Carol, you have a lot of great suggestions here. I like that you point out you can get business while having fun. I think that comes with being authentic and that really pays off. Yuck to cold calling, I'm with you and was the absolute worst at it.

Feb 09, 2018 05:00 AM #36
Rainmaker
311,768
John Wiley
Jones & Co. Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Carol, what great information to share.

I appreciate that you tells us why some things did not work for you.

This is a thought provoking post that gets me to thinking about ways I have not thought of to reach more people.

Thanks.

Feb 09, 2018 07:19 AM #37
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Thanks Lisa Von Domek .  Have a great weekend!

Feb 09, 2018 07:25 AM #38
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

You're welcome Corey Martin .  Have a great weekend.

Feb 09, 2018 07:39 AM #39
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Absolutely, Diana Zaccaro .  My favorites were working my network, blog and website and they worked for me! Have a great weekend.  Tuesday is getting closer and closer!  Yay!

Feb 09, 2018 07:40 AM #40
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Thank you Jeff Dowler for hosting the challenge.  I think we are all going to learn a lot from each other.  

Feb 09, 2018 07:41 AM #41
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Good morning Kat Palmiotti .  Glad you liked some of my methods.  I hope they work for you too!  Have a great weekend.

Feb 09, 2018 07:42 AM #42
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Amanda S. Davidson .  Glad you liked some of my methods.  Perhaps they will work for you too.  Yuck to cold calling seems to be a fairly universal feeling.  Why not do what's fun is my philosophy.  Have a great weekend.  

Feb 09, 2018 07:43 AM #43
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Good morning John Wiley .  Thank you for stopping by to read about some of my marketing methods.  Have a great weekend.

Feb 09, 2018 07:44 AM #44
Rainmaker
604,821
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Don't use a marketing strategy you don't believe in.  It won't work and you'll be miserable trying. This I totally agree with and told over and over by Trudy when I suggest somethng she does not like herself. I have also over the years unfortunately found it to be true as well. 

Feb 09, 2018 02:44 PM #45
Rainmaker
950,887
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Love your idea of using a bookmark sized business card - except, of course, that so many people (me included) read digitally! The notbooks are also very clever.

Feb 09, 2018 06:58 PM #46
Ambassador
2,351,504
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Absolutely invaluable advice here, Carol! LOVE the comment about not using a strategy if you don't believe in it...OR if you can't be consistent! Both are SO true.

And, I love your notepads - I have done those in the past but, went to pens - perhaps I should add the pads as well. I do football magnets and clients ask for them each year so, I'm sure you had that same success with your calendars. 

OH and I did the bookmark cards and the last move I made, I never had new ones done. Thank you for reminding me to get on that!

Have a great week, Carol!

Feb 11, 2018 04:02 PM #47
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Margaret Goss .  It is many people don't read "real" books so much any more.  Even with the digital revolution, though, people use bookmarks.  I know I do, for magazines, Bibles, reference books, etc.  Thanks so much for reading my post.  Have a great week.

Feb 12, 2018 08:30 AM #48
Rainmaker
821,398
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Hi Debe Maxwell, CRS .  Thanks for reading my post.  I found some of these low tech marketing tools were very popular.  Personally I still love the bookmarks and notepads.   Have a great week with your Valentine!

Feb 12, 2018 08:32 AM #49
Ambassador
1,476,806
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

If I commented on this before, forgive me, but I'm really digesting it this morning and love your philosphy. So in agreement regarding the advice you share, especially about the concept of not doing something you don't 100% believe in... 

Feb 18, 2018 07:25 AM #50
Rainmaker
540,210
Chuck & Lucy Willman www.TheHouseBuzz.com
www.TheHouseBuzz.com - Alpine, UT
TheHouseBuzz

Hi Carol- you mentioned a stripped down IDX site, out of curiosity, which provider did you choose?

Feb 22, 2018 06:23 AM #51
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