If you’ve recently joined the real estate industry you’re in for a long haul. If no one has said those words to you, hear them again…it’s ain’t easy! That being said, there are great ways to market yourself without spending a ton of money on wasted efforts and ads. After all, if you don’t have any buyers or listings yet, what do you advertise anyways?! The days of print are fading and savvy internet and social networking are an untapped goldmine.
I was born into a real estate family in upstate NY and watched real estate from the dinner table. My folks have one of the first “teams” in their area and have been very successful in the “old school” ways of the business. My perception was, “this is easy…the phone rings, you jump in the car and you sell a home.” So in 1999 I decided to take a swing at this business I had watched for so many years. I’d relocated at that time to North Carolina and didn’t really know a soul. I had no friends or family network, no college buddies, no corporate relationships from a job path and only my ex-husbands family who lived about 20 minutes away. Let’s just say that they weren’t a gold mine or referrals nor were they buying anything anytime soon, enough said! I did however have the guts to open my mouth and start talking to people I met on the streets. In 1999, the internet wasn’t nearly the source of business that it is today. I joined a team and proceeded to sell over 20 homes my first year but it was costing my superior thousands of dollars each month to “get us out there”. I didn’t know any better and thought, “This must be how it works!” Maybe then, but not now…so are you ready to learn a few tips and tricks from someone who’s figured out how to capture business, improve your bottom line and build value to home buyers and sellers in your marketplace? Here we go…
- Do not start advertising that you work with “ABC Realty Firm”. Firm names don’t really matter much anymore. Potential clients care about the value that YOU offer not the company that you work for. Yes, I underlined that word because you need to keep in mind that you work for YOURSELF! Also, what happens if you leave and move to another company? Now you have to start over and market yourself at XYZ Realty Company. You need to advertise yourself as Bob/Betty Jones, Real Estate Agent. Then in your signature or on your webpage you can have you logo. If you really want to get fancy, think of a snappy slogan that will stick in people’s brains. Personally, I use Happy House Hunting and my blog title is www.happyhousehunt.com. That is much easier to say and spell than Erica McClenny! I’ve switched companies several times over the past decade and it never mattered…it just took me time to reset all my online profiles.
- Speaking of online profiles…you need to get these rolling ASAP. Free marketing is the topic of this ebook so here are a few spots you need to establish yourself. I didn’t stumble on to this concept for 6 years! I didn’t even know what half of these sites did, stood for or offered members. Now I do know and for me, they equal a stream of ready, willing and able referral resources. They can for you too, if you use them. They do not run themselves. It will take a little time and effort but the pipeline feed in the long run is well worth it. When I first discovered social networking, I’d spend 20 hours a week on figuring more sites or places I could put my name and information. I’m going to give you the top ten sites that generate me the most return. We’ll cover more in depth social networking in another blog. All of the following sites were free (at the time) for me to join and network on.
Your job on each of these sites is to “brand yourself” with the same picture, contact information, profile description and slogan. If someone Google’s you or does some research, it needs to be similar on each site. I could go one with 300+ more sites but I'll cover that on a list of effective sites tomorrow.
- Blogging- It’s the best way to establish yourself as an expert in your area, quickly! I didn’t even know what a blog was until 3 years ago. When I first discovered it, I thought “Geeze this must take a ton of time and I’m certainly not a writer.” (By the way, are you still with me?!) Then I read an article in 2007 that blew my mind.
"Internet Home buyers spend an average of 4.8 weeks doing online research before they contact an agent.
86% of home buyers started using the Internet as part of their process before they started looking for a specific home; the other 14% did after they started looking, but before they contacted a real estate agent; that means that 100% of buyers surveyed started looking at homes first, agents second. When you combine that finding with the already existing one that fully 81% of Internet buyers stay with the first real estate agent they choose to contact, you can see a powerful case for being able to have consumers find you, first."
If you can start offer a “Deal of the Day” with a posting, or write an upcoming event in your area. If you’re not comfortable sharing your opinion on your market there are plenty of resources and articles that you can use, add your own twist and publish on your blog. I DO NOT MEAN COPY and add your name! That will get you in trouble!
My rule is:
25% about my local real estate market and my featured listings
25% light hearted stories
25% about local businesses and events
25% Hot Topics buyers and sellers are asking about