"What's the best way to get my name out there?"
I hear this question a lot. Agents, particularly newer ones, ask it wanting to know how they can best spread the word that they're open for business.
Usually, they're looking for advice on the best places to advertise - should they take out an ad in the newspaper? Issue a press release? Buy a promotional panel on the side of a bus or a magnet for their car? Or maybe they've been offered a great "opportunity" to include their personal brochure in a neighborhood mailer or door-hanging promotion. One guy wanted to know if he should pony up $1000 to advertise on a banner at his health club.
I always ask the same question of these hopeful agents. "What do you expect to accomplish with your investment?"
They always answer: "I want to get my name out there."
Um... Out WHERE? Out there in the universe of people who don't know you, don't care about you and wouldn't dream of remembering your name, much less calling you for real estate service? Seriously?
Would YOU call a total stranger whose face you saw plastered on the side of a bus or smiling out at you from your shopping cart? Would you run screaming for the phone to hire someone who hung a HIRE ME brochure on your door? Do you really care that so-and-so just joined such-and-such firm and is now happily accepting referrals?
Of course not. And even on the off-chance that someone might respond to this sort of thing, the chances are far too slim for someone on a limited budget to risk the expense.
My point is that "getting your name out there" is a concept promoted primarily by the industries who have something to gain by helping you "get your name out there." And they prey on the "young" (i.e. the rookies) and the desperate.
If you're wondering how to "get your name out there," you probably don't have the budget to do it effectively. And that's okay! Getting Your Name Out There is overrated anyway. Focus your efforts (and marketing dollars) closer to home, literally and figuratively. Before you spend a dime on self-promotion-to-strangers, make darn sure everyone you know knows you sell real estate (without pestering them for referrals, of course). Every day, go forth and smile - that is - go out into your world with the sole intention of making others' days brighter.
Don't worry about competing with the heavier-hitters in your market; there's no need. Real estate business comes in one client at a time. When you run into someone who has a real estate need, all you have to worry about is being the Best (Wo)Man for the Job, which has nothing to do with advertising or marketing or branding... it has everything to do with knowing your stuff - and knowing you know your stuff.
THAT's the best way to get your name out there!