“If you’re not sure where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Most people have heard that quote as it relates to goal setting. And it’s very true. If you’re not planning out where you’re trying to get to, you could end up anywhere. But unfortunately, this is how many Realtors® approach their marketing. They understand the value, and are willing to budget it as an expense into their business budget, but often don’t really have a plan for where their marketing will take them, besides knowing that they plan to repeat a few newspaper ads that have worked in the past.
One great way to really strategize and plan out your marketing is with a marketing calendar. And while it’s hard to provide a one-size fits all example, I can lay out the steps to help you quickly and easily create one that fits you.
To get started, you should know what your yearly goal is for either commissions or number of sales, and break it down into a monthly figure. So if your goal is to have 25 closings this year, that breaks down to about 2.1 closings per month. If you are doing it by commissions, then figure out what you want your yearly income to be, figure out what your average commission is, then break that down into how many monthly closings you need.
Once you know how many closings you need per month to hit your goal, take a look at your conversion rate lately. If you’re closing on one house for every 2 listing presentations you do, then you need about 4-5 listing presentations per month to hit your 2.1 closing average.
This makes it very easy to keep on top of whether you’re in line to hit your yearly goal, and can see at a glance if you need to step up marketing now, instead of waiting until you realize a few months down the road that you’re not going to make it.
Now to create the actual calendar:
Start by entering all your recurring networking events – things like Chamber of Commerce lunches, networking events, TweetUps, and other groups you may be a part of. As you’re looking at the calendar, is there anything you need to do ahead of time to be ready (order more business cards, prepare a talk, make a handout or flyer available)? If so, add that task to your calendar. Then, add in followup for the event. Whether it’s a card mailed out the next day, or a phone call a week later, enter in the follow up that is appropriate for you/your event and add that to your calendar.
Next, add in any marketing you already have planned – a postcard series to be mailed out, your monthly newsletter, a newspaper ad already scheduled, etc. Is there any preparation needed for that (article to be written, design approval, etc.)? If so, add this task to the calendar as well. But making sure you’ve added all the details that go along with the bigger marketing pieces, you ensure things happen on schedule, and avoid last minute rushing and stress that sometimes accompanies these projects.
Now, take a look at the openings in your calendar. At-a-glance, you should be able to see the days or weeks that you need to fill up with marketing activities. You might look at local activities in your area – can you help organize a neighborhood festival? Mark this on your calendar. Have you wanted to join a Condo board or Neighborhood Association? Do it, and add these meetings to your calendar as well. Add in times to make phone calls to your database, send cards or small gifts to past clients, cold calls/drop-bys, or other marketing pieces. Schedule times to do follow-up for recent listing presentations you’ve made, or showing appointments you’ve had. You can even pencil in social marketing activities like updating and monitoring Facebook & Twitter, writing blog articles, website updates, keyword research or social networking time as appropriate. This way you’ve made time for all the things you know you should be doing, instead of approaching your day-to-day marketing haphazardly.
Once you have your calendar set up, take a look at it as a whole. Is it realistic for helping you hit your goal each month? If not, reevaluate and replace/outsource marketing activities that have a lower Return on Investment for those that will help you hit your goal. If having a strategic marketing plan is pretty new to you, then make some kind of plan, and know you’ll come back each month to reevaluate and see which activities brought in business and which didn’t.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of working on your business instead of in it – supporting your clients, dealing with office issues, and generally being a very busy real estate agent! Unfortunately, it’s also easy to suddenly realize that you haven’t done any marketing this month! By taking this quick, proactive approach, you know that you are always filling your sales funnel through a wide variety of marketing activities. If you pledge to sit down at the end of every month (and this should also be scheduled on your calendar!) you can put one of these together in about 15-20 minutes. Then, it’s very easy to knock-out a marketing activity whenever you have a few minutes. Or, if you have an office assistant or virtual assistant, it’s really easy to hand off certain tasks, because they will know exactly what needs to be done, anything that needs doing in preparation, and when it’s scheduled for completion.